Optical or HDMI for sound to AVR from PC?


Novice Member
I have a 4.1 setup in my computer room, my AVR (Yamaha RX-V375) its currently connected to my Creative sound blaster Z via Optical.

When i select 'signal info' from the AVR menu it reads '2/0/---', i believe this is because optical only allows 2 channels?

Would it be in any way beneficial to me to connect a HDMI from my 1080ti to the AVR for the audio only or would my AVR still process the sound to the rear speakers in the same way and it would sound the same?


Active Member
You can have up to 7.1 surround using its digital optical cable. Check in the Soundblaster Control panel what output settings are set. It maybe on Stereo Direct (2 Channels Only) There is an updated software available for that sound card, not sure if it’s free, but gives you much more selections on sound outputs available. Check the Creative website for more info


Well-known Member
depending on your source, An optical connection also can't support more than 2 channels of uncompressed PCM audio, If compressed 5.1/7.1 sound.


Standard Member
You can experience lossless audio from your PC if you follow my instructions but it will make your SoundBlaster redundant if you rely on it.

Your Yamaha can decode lossy and lossless audio format up to 7.1 channels and has an HDMI ARC port (listed as HDMI OUT). Your GTX 1080ti should have a number of HDMI and displayport outputs as well.

1. Connect 1080ti to TV/Monitor using Displayport cable (or active Displayport to HDMI adapter). This way you can get the highest resolution and refresh rate from your display.

2. Connect 1080ti to Yamaha using HDMI cable. This way the 1080ti passthroughs lossless audio of up to 7.1 channels. If you do not have an HDMI out on your 1080ti then get a passive Displayport to HDMI cable and use that.

NB. Be aware that using the HDMI/Displayport out to passthrough audio to Yamaha will identify it as another display. To mitigate the issue, use extend display and set the Yamaha's resolution to 1280x720 resolution. You can use a program called Dual Monitor Tools to lock your mouse to one display.

3. Connect TV's ARC to Yamaha's ARC port if using a TV. Doing this will allow you to change the volume from the PC with the TV's remote. If you are not using a TV then ignore this part.

When you configure speakers in Windows, select your desired number of speaker channels and in audio properties make sure that your desired format is selected under advanced.

I am not sure whether your receiver supports Dolby Atmos or DTS:X but if it does then you can try that option. Get the Dolby Access app from Microsoft Store as it is free and select Dolby Atmos for home theatre.

Some media players support bitstreaming so be sure to find and change those options so that the receiver can processes those sound.

This is the way to get lossless audio judging from your setup.

Hope it helps.
Last edited:


Novice Member
The Sound Blaster Z supports Dolby. You just have to enable it in the Creative software. I believe there is a video on YouTube telling you how to do this. Hope this helps if you're still looking for an answer. I use my AE5 Plus card with optical from my av receiver and I like the sound much better than hdmi.


Distinguished Member
Optical is limited as to what audio it can convey when compared to HDMI. HDMI can convey HD multchannel formats such as DTS-HD Master Audio and or Dolby TrueHD and uncompressed multichannel PCM. S/PDIF Optical is limited to SD formats consisting of no more than 6 discrete channels and only 2 channel uncompressed PCM. You'd also not be able to convey Dolby Digital Plus (DD+) via optical even though DD+ is technically an SD format.

Even is the PC's own card fascilitate the output of any of the formats I've said S/PDIF doesn't support, your destination device will not also have that same level of additional support. S/PDIF is a standard and is generally recognised as the standard used for optical audio connections. It is this standard that limits what is pssible via optical more than the limited bandwidth available via optical.

By the way, digital is digital. It makes no difference as to what you use to convey the data, the data will be the exact same data as long as the means oif conveyance is able to convey it. OPtical will not alter or improve the signal or alter than data and quality is the same whether you use optical or HDMI. The only factor effecting HDMI may be jitter and HDMI is more subcepable to this due to HDMI's reliance on the video timing clock for audio delivery. After saying this, it is extremely unlikely that you's d experience enough jitter to even notice it. THe devices you are using would need to be particularly badly effected by jitter for it to make a difference. Convey the same format via either optical or HDMI and the digital data being conveyed will be identical.
Last edited:

The latest video from AVForums

Paramount + UK launch: Halo, Star Trek and Beavis, and all the latest 4K + Movie/TV News
Subscribe to our YouTube channel
Support AVForums with Patreon

Top Bottom