Jump to content
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...
Hourglass

Help with 5.1 Audio Gaming Computer Setup

Recommended Posts

Posted · Original PosterOP

Long story short I am trying to get my basement setup to run 5.1 surround sound audio from a PC to a receiver for movies, games, etc. 

 

I have a Yamaha RX-V361 receiver with speakers connected to it in a 5.1 configuration. I have an older desktop I was going to use for this purpose, my custom build from 2013(ish) which has an FX-8120, in a GA-990FXA-UD3 mobo which has optical audio out. This should be capable of outputting dolby digital or DTS 5.1 audio signals out. In fact I know it does, because when I test these encode formats in the sound settings I can hear each speaker independently playing sound. (see next picture to see where I am testing the sound).

 

Image

 

It would seem that when I updated this computer to win 10 from win 7 the Realtek drivers associated with the mobo decided to just no longer support 5.1 sound and all it will do is 2.0, which doesn’t even make any since because I can still go into the sound settings and test a 5.1 signal and hear that is works and then there is no option to use that signal as a default, only 2.0 options (see next picture).

 

Image

 

There isn't any modern info on the LTT youtube about audio or sound setups for computers in living room configurations. So I came here to ask: Am I screwed? Do I buy a $120+ PCI sound card just to get 5.1 optical audio out, or is there a different solution here that would involve a different receiver. I'm very lost on this issue and would appreciate any help anyone could give.

 

P.S. I did also try getting different drivers per this microsoft suggestion on the problem but had absolutely no luck with that. https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/all/51-optical-not-working-in-windows-10-1809/a9026823-9ce4-458e-a7e1-11047c863c33 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

This happened to me once.

 

what I discovered is that the issue is the computer wants to do the sound AND the receiver wants to do the sound, and the receiver is downstream.  You can do all the Dolby and splitting with your computer.  That’s why there are i audio outs on the back, but unles your receiver has an in jack for each channel AND can be turned to some sort of “dumb” mode where all it does is act as a multichannel amp they’ll fight each other.

 

My solution was to turn the computer to “dumb stereo” turn all the Dolby and splitting off, and just pipe straight stereo to the receiver and let it do its job.  I could still vary volume from the computer.  I set the computer to max volume and then turned the receiver up to as much as I could ever reasonably want, then left it there and turned it down on the computer.  Downside is the stereo tends to get left on and wastes power.


Life is like a bowl of chocolates: there are all these little crinkly paper cups everywhere.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted · Original PosterOP
6 minutes ago, Bombastinator said:

This happened to me once.

 

what I discovered is that the issue is the computer wants to do the sound AND the receiver wants to do the sound, and the receiver is downstream.  You can do all the Dolby and splitting with your computer.  That’s why there are i audio outs on the back, but unles your receiver has an in jack for each channel AND can be turned to some sort of “dumb” mode where all it does is act as a multichannel amp they’ll fight each other.

 

My solution was to turn the computer to “dumb stereo” turn all the Dolby and splitting off, and just pipe straight stereo to the receiver and let it do its job.  I could still vary volume from the computer.  I set the computer to max volume and then turned the receiver up to as much as I could ever reasonably want, then left it there and turned it down on the computer.  Downside is the stereo tends to get left on and wastes power.

Interesting, I can give this a try. How would one go about setting their computer to "Dump Stero" Mode?

Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, Mira Yurizaki said:

The "Default format" I believe is when delivering uncompressed PCM audio. S/PDIF has only enough bandwidth to support 2.1 channels if using uncompressed audio. The only way to get 5.1 over the interface is to use a codec like Dolby or DTS.

Yep.  All there ever is is 2.0.  There is no more data. That’s why it’s called “stereo”.  It’s analog.  You only need 2.0. Run it all over to the receiver uncompressed and let it do it’s “I’m a receiver” thing.  It’s probably all it can do.  It will digitize and split the analog stereo itself.  
 

the problem is conversion between computer tech and audio tech.  Audio tech only knows how to deal with analog stereo so it’s what you have to give it.


Life is like a bowl of chocolates: there are all these little crinkly paper cups everywhere.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted · Original PosterOP
13 minutes ago, Bombastinator said:

Yep.  All there ever is is 2.0.  There is no more data. That’s why it’s called “stereo”.  It’s analog.  You only need 2.0. Run it all over to the receiver uncompressed and let it do it’s “I’m a receiver” thing.  It’s probably all it can do.  It will digitize and split the analog stereo itself.  
 

the problem is conversion between computer tech and audio tech.  Audio tech only knows how to deal with analog stereo so it’s what you have to give it.

I really don't fully understand this. If I am feeding through SP/DIF my receiver a 2.0 audio signal it will only be able to give me 2.0 audio on the speakers, correct? What sort of setup do I need to move to to have actual 5.1 surround sound audio in my basement on a gaming computer?

 

There are no codecs for windows 10 that support DTS or Dolby in optical format as I understand it.

Link to post
Share on other sites
39 minutes ago, Hourglass said:

I really don't fully understand this. If I am feeding through SP/DIF my receiver a 2.0 audio signal it will only be able to give me 2.0 audio on the speakers, correct? What sort of setup do I need to move to to have actual 5.1 surround sound audio in my basement on a gaming computer?

 

There are no codecs for windows 10 that support DTS or Dolby in optical format as I understand it.

It occurs to me I may not have enough information about this receiver.  “Receiver” may not mean the same thing to me as it does to you.  What is the make and model of the device?
 

Assuming what you are talking about is a 5.1 audio receiver according to my understanding of that therm then:

 

Nope.

2.0 signal IS 5.1 signal.  It’s just unprocessed.  Your 5.1 audio receiver receives audio and makes it 5.1.  That’s what it does, and it very probably can’t do anything else (unless it can)

 

the only thing it knows how to work with is unprocessed 2.0.  The receiver will make the 5.1 by itself.  It receives 2.0, processes it splitting it into 5.1, amplifies it, and sends it to the speakers.

 

it will do that to anything you give it.  If you give it processed signal it will just process it again, making mush.


Life is like a bowl of chocolates: there are all these little crinkly paper cups everywhere.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted · Original PosterOP
1 minute ago, Bombastinator said:

It occurs to me I may not have enough information about this receiver.  “Receiver” may not mean the same thing to me as it does to you.  What is the make and model of the device?
 

Assuming what you are talking about is a 5.1 audio receiver according to my understanding of that therm then:

 

Nope.

2.0 signal IS 5.1 signal.  It’s just unprocessed.  Your 5.1 audio receiver receives audio and makes it 5.1.  That’s what it does, and it very probably can’t do anything else (unless it can)

 

the only thing it knows how to work with is unprocessed 2.0.  The receiver will make the 5.1 by itself.  It receives 2.0, processes it splitting it into 5.1, amplifies it, and sends it to the speakers.

 

it will do that to anything you give it.  If you give it processed signal it will just process it again, making mush.

The receiver is a Yamaha RX-V361.

 

looking at page 30 in the manual of the receiver it seems that there is a setting I can turn on that will tell the receiver how to process the signal it is receiving with the AMP then MENU buttons, however the remote I have doesn't seem to do anything for these buttons, it may be that the remote is busted for the AMP button.

 

image0.jpg?width=507&height=676

 

So basically if I give the receiver 2.0 signal via optical from my PC the receiver should be able to take that digital signal and process it into a 5.1 audio out signal?

Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, Hourglass said:

The receiver is a Yamaha RX-V361.

 

looking at page 30 in the manual of the receiver it seems that there is a setting I can turn on that will tell the receiver how to process the signal it is receiving with the AMP then MENU buttons, however the remote I have doesn't seem to do anything for these buttons, it may be that the remote is busted for the AMP button.

 

image0.jpg?width=507&height=676

 

So basically if I give the receiver 2.0 signal via optical from my PC the receiver should be able to take that digital signal and process it into a 5.1 audio out signal?

Yep.

 

i was able to look at a photo of the back. This is the kind of receiver I thought it was.  It’s got a ton of ports, but apparently it’s because it’s an AV receiver.  Most of them are for legacy analog video signals.

 

it has optical though so that’s perfect.  Plug in the optical, set it for “pro logic” and whatever it calls optical input, and go.

 

4919DF94-AD16-4273-834C-D6FDBDBDFA9D.jpeg


Life is like a bowl of chocolates: there are all these little crinkly paper cups everywhere.

Link to post
Share on other sites

looking at that. yea its the tail end. of audio to use  even be able to use pc audio. i do remember some where on a audio vidieo on you tube the source their stuff. how to di that with that type.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm gonna be real with you guys, a lot of these answers are terrible.

 

@Mira Yurizaki was on the right track. spdif only supports uncompressed 2.0 audio. To get 5.1 support, you have to use the compression from dolby (dolby digital) or dts. The video file may have this audio compression natively, just as it might be mp3 or aac or opus (other types of audio compression that you may be more familiar with). Then you only have to instruct the player to pass this along to the receiver, and you will get 5.1 audio (look for "passthrough" or "bitstreaming" settings specifically).

 

Games usually have surround sound pcm audio. You will need an encoder to be able to send this as 5.1. The best known encoder is dolby digital live. iirc, you can usually find drivers that have been modded to include dolby digital live for realtek chipsets, if your motherboard audio drivers don't come with dolby digital live natively.

 

Using dolby digital pro logic decoding on the av receiver isn't the proper solution. That's really meant for sources that have been encoded in a certain way.

 

Now, to sidestep this problem entirely, you could use hdmi, which does support uncompressed 7.1 audio.

Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, an actual squirrel said:

I'm gonna be real with you LTT guys, a lot of these answers are terrible.

 

@Mira Yurizaki was on the right track. spdif only supports uncompressed 2.0 audio. To get 5.1 support, you have to use the compression from dolby (dolby digital) or dts. The video file may have this audio compression natively, just as it might be mp3 or aac or opus. Then you only have to instruct the player to pass this along to the receiver, and you will get 5.1 audio.

 

Games usually have surround sound pcm audio. You will need an encoder to be able to send this as 5.1. The best known encoder is dolby digital live. iirc, you can usually find drivers that have been modded to include dolby digital live for realtek chipsets, if your motherboard audio drivers don't come with dolby digital live natively.

 

Using dolby digital pro logic decoding on the av receiver isn't the proper solution. That's really meant for sources that have been encoded in a certain way.

Yeahhh. You don’t understand the problem she has with that receiver there.
 

 It’s very possibly older than you.  It’s got integrated everything, and it can’t be separated.  What it does have is 5 pretty good amps inside it. Expensive ones. Built back when copper was cheap.  Better than basic computer garbage by a lot.

 

What you are saying would in fact work, but to do it you’d have to toss the receiver entirely.  Probably the speakers too because they’ll draw 3 times as many watts as what it would take to replace them, and what you are talking about is 7.1 not 5.1.

Youd have to get an entirely different sound system.  For a lot of money.
 

This whole concept relies on the fact that all of that fancy codec garbage has to get compressed back into regular old stereo.  So we do that.  And then we feed it to the ancient old receiver and it splits it with moldy old Dolby pro logic 5.1

 

Would she get more accurate sound with your system? Sure.  But it would require entirely new equipment and unless you spent a grand or two on it it wouldn’t be as good.


Life is like a bowl of chocolates: there are all these little crinkly paper cups everywhere.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted · Original PosterOP

I have to say even after all of these posts I don't understand what the path forward is, will I be able to fix this issue by changing the way the audio is encoded into the optical cable or need to buy some sort of sound card or need to replace everything?

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Hourglass said:

I have a Yamaha RX-V361 receiver with speakers connected to it in a 5.1 configuration. I have an older desktop I was going to use for this purpose, my custom build from 2013(ish) which has an FX-8120, in a GA-990FXA-UD3 mobo which has optical audio out. This should be capable of outputting dolby digital or DTS 5.1 audio signals out. In fact I know it does, because when I test these encode formats in the sound settings I can hear each speaker independently playing sound. (see next picture to see where I am testing the sound).

 

It would seem that when I updated this computer to win 10 from win 7 the Realtek drivers associated with the mobo decided to just no longer support 5.1 sound and all it will do is 2.0, which doesn’t even make any since because I can still go into the sound settings and test a 5.1 signal and hear that is works and then there is no option to use that signal as a default, only 2.0 options (see next picture).

 

There isn't any modern info on the LTT youtube about audio or sound setups for computers in living room configurations. So I came here to ask: Am I screwed? Do I buy a $120+ PCI sound card just to get 5.1 optical audio out, or is there a different solution here that would involve a different receiver. I'm very lost on this issue and would appreciate any help anyone could give.

I have almost EXACTLY this same setup.

Yamaha RX-V379

FX-8350

Same Mobo.

Win7/10 Dual boot

 

I use HDMI for superior audio though. Optical is technically only stereo with encoded surround information that's decoded in the AVR. I'd check to make sure you're getting stereo or surround audio.

 

And after reading the other comments and looking up the AVR, I realize that you don't have HDMI so you're stuck with optical. If you're getting correct "test" tones, I'd try as I recommended and ensure if it's passing through 5.1 or stereo. I can also check things out on my end with an optical. If you'd like some surround sound tests, I have a few videos and music files I can shoot your way.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Also, for the record I have an old sound blaster that I put in my PC for shits and giggles, and it also only claims 2 channel, but I've gotten perfectly good surround through it via music and games.

 

Edit* Turns out I might be wrong. Not surprising, but I'm also dealing with a sound card that may or not support DD and/or DTS. Trying music, games, or movie through VLC player is only giving stereo.

 

I did find this though:

https://superuser.com/questions/1095458/windows-10-and-realtek-optical-output-5-1-dts-how-to-enable

 

Double Edit* I could be double wrong. I'm remembering trying to play a game from my brothers PS3 and it was using an older Dolby Pro Logic II that my AVR wouldn't decode. It's pretty legacy at this point.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Alright, new post. VLC has a built in S/PDIF "mode" button in the audio settings, and enabling that gives proper DD from the DVD I'm playing through it. So... something somewhere needs to be able to universally just pass through the DD signal to the AVR.

I'll keep looking and see if I can find anything. Seems to me, worst case scenario you get one of those HDMI to optical things. I have no experience with them or how well they output surround sound though, so no guarantees.

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Hourglass said:

I have to say even after all of these posts I don't understand what the path forward is, will I be able to fix this issue by changing the way the audio is encoded into the optical cable or need to buy some sort of sound card or need to replace everything?

You just have to change how the audio is encoded for gaming or 5.1 flac files. For some video files, the audio may already be encoded in the right format, and then you just have to change player's passthrough settings.

Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, an actual squirrel said:

You just have to change how the audio is encoded for gaming or 5.1 flac files. For some video files, the audio may already be encoded in the right format, and then you just have to change player's passthrough settings.

It’s got only one pass though setting: totally off.

 Here’s why I didn’t use it.  Dolby pro logic 1 was the very first advance of Dolby since Dolby2. As a result it still does dolby2.  There will be no encoding on that 2.0 zero.  What this means is that the Dolby pro logic will decide which Dolby to use.  That’s the pro logic. And what it will choose is dolby2.  Dolby2 was built for unencoded stereo.  Cassette tapes even had dolby2. Dolby2 can work with what it’s being fed.  It won’t do the cool stuff that can be done with modern surround. It will do everything that some very smart and highly paid engineers could do with stereo though and that’s not nothing.  Things will be missed.  It will not be the amazing super immersive gaming experience.  The thing is it’s not her gaming computer.  It’s her basement backup being forced into a primarily htpc role.  And it could kick absolute ass at movies.  80 near studio grade watts per channel and there are five, plus whatever the sub kicks out.  What’s the average  wattage on those little cube speakers for computer surround 7.1? 20w? Maybe?  It’s a dragster not a sports car.  It’s got hemi though.

 

what was the dollar cost of this? 1optical cable.

 

You could put a really nice sound card in the computer, turn off the pro logic, go through hours of setup and yes, make those codecs work.  The computer could even handle it. It’s got MHz.  That card would be worth more than the machine though.  And this is a basement.


Life is like a bowl of chocolates: there are all these little crinkly paper cups everywhere.

Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Bombastinator said:

It’s got only one pass though setting: totally off.

 Here’s why I didn’t use it.  Dolby pro logic 1 was the very first advance of Dolby since Dolby2. As a result it still does dolby2.  There will be no encoding on that 2.0 zero.  What this means is that the Dolby pro logic will decide which Dolby to use.  That’s the pro logic. And what it will choose is dolby2.  Dolby2 was built for unencoded stereo.  Cassette tapes even had dolby2. Dolby2 can work with what it’s being fed.  It won’t do the cool stuff that can be done with modern surround. It will do everything that some very smart and highly paid engineers could do with stereo though and that’s not nothing.  Things will be missed.  It will not be the amazing super immersive gaming experience.  The thing is it’s not her gaming computer.  It’s her basement backup being forced into a primarily htpc role.  And it could kick absolute ass at movies.  80 near studio grade watts per channel and there are five, plus whatever the sub kicks out.  What’s the average  wattage on those little cube speakers for computer surround 7.1? 20w? Maybe?  It’s a dragster not a sports car.  It’s got hemi though.

 

what was the dollar cost of this? 1optical cable.

 

You could put a really nice sound card in the computer, turn off the pro logic, go through hours of setup and yes, make those codecs work.  The computer could even handle it. It’s got MHz.  That card would be worth more than the machine though.  And this is a basement.

I feel like most people who use dolby prologic II never learned how to use surround sound with spdif connections and just gave up. It is not that difficult to do properly. There are modded realtek drivers out which have dolby digital live (a realtime systemwide dolby digital encoder for uncompressed 5.1). The video content may have dolby digital audio already, and then you just have to tell your video player to bitstream it. Or the video player may offer a realtime ac3 (dolby digital) encoder itself, and that can be used to create compatible surround sound from other formats. So in the latter cases, we are talking about simply changing one or two options in the software to get proper 5.1 audio.

 

Using dolby prologic II is not the proper solution. That is meant for 5.1 audio that has been mixed down to two channels such that the surround channels are out of phase and all the original channels are algebraically encoded, and the prologic decoder can see this to recreate the original 5.1 audio. So this is obviously not as good as sending 5.1 digitally where everything is always kept separate. But configuring your player's mixer to dowmix like this or creating a systemwide downmix like this requires about the same amount of effort as incorporating a dolby digital encoder. So I see no value in pursuing this method. What you were advocating for was to use a prologic decoder without using the corresponding downmix and assuming that everything would just work, which is not correct.

Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Bombastinator said:

It’s got only one pass though setting: totally off.

 Here’s why I didn’t use it.  Dolby pro logic 1 was the very first advance of Dolby since Dolby2. As a result it still does dolby2.  There will be no encoding on that 2.0 zero.  What this means is that the Dolby pro logic will decide which Dolby to use.  That’s the pro logic. And what it will choose is dolby2.  Dolby2 was built for unencoded stereo.  Cassette tapes even had dolby2. Dolby2 can work with what it’s being fed.  It won’t do the cool stuff that can be done with modern surround. It will do everything that some very smart and highly paid engineers could do with stereo though and that’s not nothing.  Things will be missed.  It will not be the amazing super immersive gaming experience.  The thing is it’s not her gaming computer.  It’s her basement backup being forced into a primarily htpc role.  And it could kick absolute ass at movies.  80 near studio grade watts per channel and there are five, plus whatever the sub kicks out.  What’s the average  wattage on those little cube speakers for computer surround 7.1? 20w? Maybe?  It’s a dragster not a sports car.  It’s got hemi though.

 

what was the dollar cost of this? 1optical cable.

 

You could put a really nice sound card in the computer, turn off the pro logic, go through hours of setup and yes, make those codecs work.  The computer could even handle it. It’s got MHz.  That card would be worth more than the machine though.  And this is a basement.

I have no idea what you're talking about. No ones talking about Dolby 2 or Pro-logic, and I have even less idea why you're talking about wattages when it's not an issue at all.

1 hour ago, an actual squirrel said:

The video content may have dolby digital audio already, and then you just have to tell your video player to bitstream it.

As I mentioned, VLC player has a button for SPDIF that gets the DD signal from DVDs to the receiver where it gets decoded and played back in "proper" surround in the AVR. Seems odd to me though that the sound card I have doesn't seem to pass that on by default even when set to 5.1

Link to post
Share on other sites

Ah

3 minutes ago, JZStudios said:

I have no idea what you're talking about. No ones talking about Dolby 2 or Pro-logic, and I have even less idea why you're talking about wattages when it's not an issue at all.

As I mentioned, VLC player has a button for SPDIF that gets the DD signal from DVDs to the receiver where it gets decoded and played back in "proper" surround in the AVR. Seems odd to me though that the sound card I have doesn't seem to pass that on by default even when set to 5.1

Hmm.. perhaps I missed a section of the conversation and am talking about something that is already passed.  The only settings the receiver she has has is pro logic 1, some probably merely annoying filters for different input types and pass through.  I told her to set it to pro logic.  I was trying to explain my choice.  Perhaps it was a bad one.


Life is like a bowl of chocolates: there are all these little crinkly paper cups everywhere.

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Bombastinator said:

Ah

Hmm.. perhaps I missed a section of the conversation and am talking about something that is already passed.  The only settings the receiver she has has is pro logic 1, some probably merely annoying filters for different input types and pass through.  I told her to set it to pro logic.  I was trying to explain my choice.  Perhaps it was a bad one.

I'd have to look into that then, Pro-Logic is not a great solution and even most DVDs have been using a newer format for a very long time, and the only thing I've seen recently was my as mentioned Pro-Logic 2 PS3 game. My AVR won't even support that. If it truly only supports Pro-Logic 1 it might be worth looking into just getting a newer budget AVR with current connections and formats.

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, JZStudios said:

I'd have to look into that then, Pro-Logic is not a great solution and even most DVDs have been using a newer format for a very long time, and the only thing I've seen recently was my as mentioned Pro-Logic 2 PS3 game. My AVR won't even support that. If it truly only supports Pro-Logic 1 it might be worth looking into just getting a newer budget AVR with current connections and formats.

According to the manual pages the OP photoed and posted that is all it’s got.


Life is like a bowl of chocolates: there are all these little crinkly paper cups everywhere.

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Bombastinator said:

According to the manual pages the OP photoed and posted that is all it’s got.

Yeah, might be time to look into a new AVR at that point. According to Google, Pro-Logic was released in 1987 with Pr-Logic II launching in 2000. Dolby Digital seems to have been launched in 91, but is far more common and still used today.

Link to post
Share on other sites
18 minutes ago, Bombastinator said:

According to the manual pages the OP photoed and posted that is all it’s got.

You can google the model and find the entire manual. It says it has a dolby digital decoder and a dts decoder. It was a standard feature on av receivers for the dvd era, and dolby digital is still the audio compression used on digital tv broadcasts today.

 

34 minutes ago, JZStudios said:

As I mentioned, VLC player has a button for SPDIF that gets the DD signal from DVDs to the receiver where it gets decoded and played back in "proper" surround in the AVR. Seems odd to me though that the sound card I have doesn't seem to pass that on by default even when set to 5.1

When you enable a passthrough/bitstreaming option in the player, you are telling it to pass the audio down the connection. When it is not enabled, the player will decode the audio to 5.1 pcm. This is a problem, because spdif itself only supports up to 2.0 pcm. So the sound card can't pass that down. It can potentially re-encode it at that point, but then you are looking at unnecessary quality loss from using additional lossy compression. Best solution is to bitstream it from the player.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


×