Integrating PC 5.1 Surround with LCD TV phono outputs

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by ross01, Sep 10, 2007.

  1. ross01

    ross01
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    Hello,

    I am getting an LCD flatscreen television which will have standard phono (RCA) outlets.

    I currently have a PC, which has a Creative SB Wave Live! 5.1 sound system. The 5 surround speakers connect to the subwoofer and from the subwoofer, 3 mini jack cables connect to the sound card in the PC. I am guessing the amplifier is inside the PC, rather than the subwoofer.

    I want to be able to connect both the TV and the PC to the PC's surround sound system. I do not want to have to switch the PC on in order for the TV to play to the surround speakers. Despite asking a number of TV dealers, Maplins, and searching the forums on here, I am at a loss how to do this.

    Do I need to buy a specialized amplifier/switch, which can accept the TV's phono outputs and the 3 mini jacks outputs from the PC, which will then connect to the subwoofer?

    If so, can you direct me in the right direction?

    Many thanks,
    Ross
     
  2. Matt_C

    Matt_C
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    If none of your speakers plug into the mains (as in, have a mains plug attached to the actual speaker) then yes, the amp is in the PC, and not part of the sub. Which I very much doubt.....

    What you probably have is an active 5.1 sub/sat system, with the three mini jacks from the sub to the speakers are the cables the PC uses to send the seperated audio channels....

    So unless you have an AUX input of stereo phono (2x RCA) on the sub, then you will have a problem.

    You can probably take the stereo phono from the TV and plug it into the PC (I guess you have a 3.5mm stereo jack input on that sound card?) but you will need the PC on for the sound to get through......
     
  3. ross01

    ross01
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    Matt,

    Thank you for your reply.

    Neither the sub nor the satellite speakers connect to the mains, so, according to your argument, it looks as if the amp is inside the PC.

    The sub does not provide for any auxilliary inputs, phono or otherwise.

    I'd rather not relocate the TV's sound card and really do not want the PC to have to be switched on in order to watch TV.

    I guess that ideally, I would need an independent amp, with two inputs; one which is 2 x phonos and one which is 3 x mini jacks. The amp wouldn't amplify the 3 mini jacks from the PC but which would have to amplify the 2 phono cables from the TV. The output from this amp would have to be 3 mini jacks, in order to connect to the sub.

    Is my logic correct? If not, please say so! If it is correct, are you aware of the existence of such an amplifier?
     
  4. rEVILospud

    rEVILospud
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    It would help if you could name or indeed link to your speaker system, so we could see what we're dealing with.

    I find it very odd that the Sub doesn't have a mains power suppliy, as although the power over the 3.5mm jacks is enough for headphones, it wouldn't be enough for a 5.1 speaker system.

    With a standard AV Receiver, all you would need is a 5.1 analogue input (3 x "3.5mm jack to phono" cables to attach) and a stereo phono input.
    This is not difficult to get hold of but we need to know what speaker system you have as it may not work with a separate AV Receiver.
     
  5. Matt_C

    Matt_C
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    I'm confused as to how the speaker system is drawing power then, if none of them are mains powered. Typically the sub is mains powered and the speakers feed off that.... Must admit I haven't seen many, if any, systems that draw all their power from the PC soundcard/PSU!

    Either way tho, you would have to have the PC on in order to hear the TV audio if you connect your TV to the PC.....
     
  6. ross01

    ross01
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    The sound system is a Creative SB Wave Live! 5.1 sound system. After closer examination, I see that the sub is indeed powered from the mains :oops:. Does this mean the the sub acts as the amp?

    "rEVILospud"; I have looked on Creative's website to see if there is anything which would suggest that the speaker system would work with an RV receiver, as you suggest, but haven't found anything useful. I may well be looking in the wrong place, though!

    I would be grateful for your advice!

    Thank you.
     
  7. rEVILospud

    rEVILospud
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    Well the "Creative SB Wave Live! 5.1" is the soundcard in your PC so it doesn't really tell us what the speakers are.
    As you say your sub is powered and the speakers also run off that, a standard PC-style setup.

    The simplest solution I can think of is to connect the PC to it as normal.
    Then put in a 2-1 jack adapter (here) into the Front L&R socket between the sub and PC; basically giving you 2 possible jack inputs on the Front L&R inputs.
    You could then use a jack to 2 phonos cable to the TV.
    Unfortunately you would get 2.0 (no subwoofer signal) sound from the TV and 5.1 from the PC
     
  8. ross01

    ross01
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    The speakers are Cambridge Soundworks. I couldn't see a more detailed description / model on the speakers.

    If the maximum I could ever achieve by linking my TV to the Soundworks setup is a basic 2.0 then there is no point in the exercise; I may as well use the TV's inbuilt speakers.

    Is there no way I could get 5.1 from both the PC and TV?
     
  9. xs2man

    xs2man
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    Your 2 RCA connections from your tv will only ever allow stereo (2 channels) to your set up anyway. What you need for 5.1 is an optical, co-ax (or I beleive advanced scart?) connection?
     
  10. Matt_C

    Matt_C
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    You will never get "real" 5.1 from the TV, you will only ever get "pseudo" 5.1 - using the likes of a Dolby Pro Logic decoder. TV is only broadcast in 2ch stereo (unless you have Sky or Virgin where *some* films are broadcast with multichannel audiotracks - tho I think you only get this on SkyHD or Sky+, can't remember)

    To do what you want to do, the easiest way is to get an AV Reciever. You connect the TV via standard stereo RCA leads, and let the AVR output the stereo signal in Pro Logic to give you a surround effect. For proper DD or DTS 5.1 from the PC, you would need a card that either has 6 analogue outputs to plug into the 6 analogue inputs on the AVR, or better still a soundcard with a digital output (coaxial or optical) and then the amp would do the relevent decoding. DD and DTS would be native, whilst 2ch content would be converted to Pro Logic.....
     
  11. Matt_C

    Matt_C
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    True about only doing RCA only doing 2ch stereo, and whilst an optical/digital connection will aloow transport of multichannel, it won't do it from the TV as the TV will not ever output multichannle audio!

    and as far as I know, there isn't a scart that carries more than 2 channels of audio......
     
  12. rEVILospud

    rEVILospud
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    Basically your speaker system will not do any surround processing of a stereo source (i.e. your TV), be it Dolby Pro-Logic I/II/x or DTS Neo:6 etc., you would need a separate AV Receiver to do this.
    Your soundcard is fine as the 3 jack outputs can be used with 3 x jack to phonos leads giving you a 5.1 analogue output.

    The problem is that your speaker system is not made to work with a separate AV Receiver / Amplifier.
    The speakers themselves should work, but you'll have to check their power handling, the Subwoofer on the other hand may be difficult to connect although a jack to single phono lead might work in this case.
     
  13. ross01

    ross01
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    rEVILospud: How do I check the speakers' power handling? Would it be easy to connect the AVR/A to the sub?
     
  14. rEVILospud

    rEVILospud
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    Try and find your speaker package here.
    The Inspire T6100 (8W rms/channel) and the SBS580 (6W rms/channel) will most probably not be suitable to be used with a separate AV Receiver.
     
  15. ross01

    ross01
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  16. rEVILospud

    rEVILospud
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    Good news is that it states that it features Dolby Pro-Logic so will extend your stereo input from the TV to the 5.1 speakers.
    Bad news is that I don't think you'll be able to use the speakers with a separate AV Receiver;
    5 x satellite - 5 Watt
    1 x subwoofer - 17 Watt
    They're just not made for it.

    Your only solutions are to use the adapters as I mentioned earlier, or buy an AV Receiver and new speakers.
     
  17. ross01

    ross01
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    Urgh, this is becoming a headache.
    With the adaptors, I would have to have the PC switched on though, wouldn't I?
    May be it is easier to have a 10.2 set up in my studio!
     
  18. rEVILospud

    rEVILospud
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    You wouldn't need the PC on for the adapter solution.
     
  19. ross01

    ross01
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    OK, thank you.
    As adopting the adapter solution would only result in 2.0 sound, regardless of the presence of Dolby Pro-Logic, then there is nothing to be gained by going down this route, is there? (Or am I missing something?). I apologize if I sound naive but I am trying to understand how these things work!
     
  20. rEVILospud

    rEVILospud
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    Well if you're speaker system performs Dolby Pro-Logic processing, like the specs say it does, then it means you will get pseudo-5.1 sound from a stereo source (like your TV).
    An easy way to test if this will happen is to play a stereo source on your PC, e.g. music, and see how many speakers are used when it plays it back.
     
  21. ross01

    ross01
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    [Thinking out loud]
    Of course; because it's the speakers which are creating the 5.1 sound, using Dolby Pro-Logic, not the Creative soundcard. Which is why I could still potentially get a surround sound from the TV, via the Desktop speakers, without the PC being any part of the equation. :clap:
    Are all CDs recorded in simple stereo, and so don't play in surround sound, unless a system like Dolby Pro-Logic is involved?
     
  22. ross01

    ross01
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    rEVILospud:
    I played a CD on my PC and got a 4.1 result. That is, the left and right front and rear speakers, and the sub, produced sound but the centre speaker remained silent. Would you have expected the centre speaker to have produced sound?
     
  23. rEVILospud

    rEVILospud
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    I would have expected the centre to make some sound, in fact it is usually more prominent than the others with Dolby Pro-Logic; but at least now you have an idea of what you would get from your TV.
     

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