5.1 Surround Sound on new PC

Discussion in 'PC Gaming & Rigs' started by Nik73, Jul 4, 2015.

  1. Nik73

    Nik73
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    Evening gents, I'm after some help before my new PC goes out of the window!!

    This evening after work I've connected up my old Sony surround sound system (no HDMI) to my new PC (windows 8.1) via SPDIF, but no matter what I do I can't get it working in any program and it's doing my nut in now!
    I have an ASUS Z97 Pro Gamer motherboard and am running the SPDIF into that. If I go into "sound" via the control panel and select the "Realtek Digital Output (Optical)" I can make it the default, but the configure option is greyed out. I can go into properties and under the "supported formats" tab dolby digital and DTS are both ticked and if I highlight one and then click test I can hear sound out of every speaker and the subwoofer. Happy days.

    The problem is that whatever program, game, dvd, etc I use, the sound just comes out as 2 channel PCM. I've googled my arse off and checked every option, but can't get anything to play in 5.1. In the properties if I go to the "Advanced" tab there's a rake of options, but they're all only 2 channel. Realtek Audio Manager doesn't give me the "speakers" tab I've had on previous PC's to change from 2.0 to 5.1.

    I even hooked up and old Soundblaster external card that I used to use on a HTPC, but no joy with that either. I understand that SPDIF can only handle two channels of uncompressed data, but can't seem to get mine to passthrough DD and DTS via SPDIF.
    Is there something I have to change in the BIOS? I'm totally out of ideas now.


    Any help would be REALLY appreciated. :smashin:
     
  2. stooeh

    stooeh
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    As far as I know it won't work on games unless your soundcard specifically has DD/DTS encoding (not many onboard do). It should be working on DVDs/Blurays that have the appropriate soundtrack though.
     
  3. dazpazz

    dazpazz
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  4. RidleyDeckard

    RidleyDeckard
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    I think it is down to a similar problem I'm having and it's down to digital rights management. These days with the advent of digital sound and video everything needs a digital handshake via HDCP and EDID. As you are going through SPDIF, which doesn't support HDCP and EDID, the digital handshaking isn't taking place so it assumes you don't have the authority to playback the audio.
    It seems that going digital has caused a big issue for a small number of people who want to full surround sound.
    My issue is I'm running HDMI into a CAT 6 extender, into a Samsung TV and optical out to a Sonos Playbar and the TV is telling my PC that it only support stereo.
    I'm looking at using a HDMI to HDMI & SPDIF splitter / EDID emulator to get it to trick my card to thinking I have got a 5.1 receiver, I'll let you know how I get on.
     
  5. s73

    s73
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    If your configure button is greyed out there is something not right. I would go to your motherboards support page, check all sound drivers are installed and as it's easy to miss one out thinking you've got them all. I remember using SPDIF so switched to HDMI and haven't looked back. I find you have to be very careful the order you switch your equipment on otherwise you have to set it all up again.

    Do you have any unknown devices or exclamation marks in your device manager?
     
  6. Nik73

    Nik73
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    Thanks very much for all advice gents, appreciate it. It seems to be a well known issue with Realtek drivers, but I was struggling to find a solution. I then found this thread, but didn't like the sound of disabling driver signature protection.

    Unlocked Realtek HD Audio Drivers (With Dolby Digital Live and DTS Interactive) | TechPowerUp Forums

    Then found this post from a guy with the same motherboard as me and it worked like a charm! :clap:
    The F1 Dolby Demo on youtube sounds immense now!

    Unlocked Realtek HD Audio Drivers (With Dolby Digital Live and DTS Interactive) | Page 24 | TechPowerUp Forums

    Hopefully this will help anyone else having the same problem.
     
  7. RidleyDeckard

    RidleyDeckard
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    Well this is a weird one. According to Windows my PC only I have 2 speakers attached but I'm going through a EDID emulator which is telling it that I have a full 5.1 system. If I go into playback config I only get stereo and surround sound is greyed out. However, when I run Plex, I get full Dolby Digital 5.1 as it plays the direct audio stream from the video. Anything else, just plain vanilla stereo. If anyone has any ideas as how to convince Windows I can play 5.1 audio I'd be very grateful.
     
  8. EndlessWaves

    EndlessWaves
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    S/PDIF devices don't generally recognise PCM 5.1 so you need to use a encoding like Dolby Digital or DTS. As the technology to do on the fly encoding for these both require licence fees they tend to be the preserve of sound cards and high end motherboards

    For DVDs and other sources where the sound is pre-encoded in those encodings it's possible to send that down the S/PDIF connection directly, provided your media player is correctly configured. This is generally referred to as passthrough or bitstreaming.
     

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