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WMV-HD 5.1 audio to dolby digital success

Discussion in 'Microsoft Windows' started by monopole, Sep 3, 2005.

  1. monopole

    monopole
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    Hi,

    After viewing some of the high definition wmv files from microsoft, I noticed that wmv-hd doesn't use dolby digital (AC3) as the audio format, instead it uses WMA Professional 5.1 channel audio. Which meant I wasn't getting multi-channel audio sent to my amplifier via the S/PDIF cable - I was getting stereo. Damn!

    A quick use of google and along came ac3filter to my rescue - it converts the WMA 5.1 audio to dolby digital on the fly (much like the newest nForce montherboard sound chips).

    This is how I did it:

    From http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/archive/index.php/t-403818.html

    Install the latest version of ac3filter from here:

    http://ac3filter.sourceforge.net/download/

    - I'm using ac3filter_1_01a_rc5.exe

    Then in the configuration options:

    Main tab:

    3/2+SW 5.1 channel
    PCM 32bit
    SPDIF disabled box checked

    System Tab:

    Use AC3 filter
    all boxes checked
    prefer AC3 encoder & and use dircetsound enabled

    Then change speaker setting in the windows control panel (sounds and audio devices->speaker settings->advanced) to say you have 5.1 speakers.

    Works like a charm and saves me the hassle of extra cables.
     
  2. meansizzler

    meansizzler
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    Nice job, never new the filter could be used for that, but I use Analogue outputs of my audigy card so I get the 5.1 audio no problem, and no conversion needed, and assume you loose some qulity on the conversion, though it's prolly to small for you to tell....
     
  3. monopole

    monopole
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    Yup, there will be some loss in the conversion, but for the limited watching I'll be doing with wmv-hd (an occasional wmv-hd movie from p2p - most seem to be encoded in xvid/divx with AC3 though), it serves the purpose.

    There's some amazing free software out there.
     
  4. Ray

    Ray
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    Hi,

    I had the same issue at the weekend but after a quick search of these forums I too installed the AC3 filter and got 5.1 sound from my HD clips. BUT I have noticed that it is not consistent. Most of the HD trailers form Microsoft work great (Ray, Troy etc) but some others still come out in stereo. Haven't been able to spot a common theme in the clip audio properties to tie it down to a particular reason. Still as long as some of them work ok.

    Now if ony I could get 5.1 over SPdIf from my games !

    Ray
     
  5. monopole

    monopole
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  6. Ray

    Ray
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    That's a useful article - thanks.

    I need to build an HTPC soon so now I understand what's going on with SPDIF I can make sure I've got the right mobo/soundcard to solve this.

    Cheers

    Ray
     
  7. monopole

    monopole
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  8. Ray

    Ray
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    I read the card spec etc but still not clear if it outputs multi channel via coax/spdif or just the analogue outputs. If I can get multi channle gaming from it then £49 looks cheap.

    Ray
     
  9. monopole

    monopole
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  10. Ray

    Ray
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  11. dan1979

    dan1979
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    Indeed it does, I've had a few months now and it's excellent.
     
  12. Ray

    Ray
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    Where did you buy it from ? And any issues with not having the latest incarnation of EAX ?

    Ray
     
  13. paulpenny

    paulpenny
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    Can I just clarify what ac3filter does?

    At the moment output the audio through spdif. If I play a dolby digital DVD (or DTS) then my amp will detect this and decode it without a problem.

    If I play any other files, divx, WMV HD etc then my amp takes the stereo signal and applies Pro Logic to create a suround effect.

    Am I correct in saying that ac3 filter will enable 5.1 channel sound on any DD encoded divx file and convert WMV HD multi channels audio to DD on the fly?

    Will this have any impact on my DVD's?

    Thanks

    Paul
     
  14. Molly

    Molly
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    Do any of these technologies encode psuedo 5.1 on the fly from a stereo signal which can be sent to a AV as a Dolby digital signal via SPDIF?

    I would like to encode a MCE TV stereo signal and then watch a DVD without changing channels on my amp (wife friendly) and use my MCE remote to control the volume on the amp.

    Thanks
     
  15. lisag

    lisag
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    Yes
    No

    You can set AC3 filter to do DVD's too if you want, but if they work ok now, there is no need to.
     
  16. paulpenny

    paulpenny
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    Thanks.

    A supplementary question if I may. Do the Divx rips from US HDTV usually have 5.1 sound?
     
  17. lisag

    lisag
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    It all depends.... not meaning to be unhelpful, but it depends on who ripped them, what codecs they used etc.. but I think we are on dodgy ground here :lesson:
     
  18. paulpenny

    paulpenny
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    I have installed ac3filter now and my divx files are using it, as verified through graphedit.

    I have disabled it for DVD playback as the DD or DTS bitstream is passed through to my amp properly by default.

    I am, however, still somewhat confused about which settings to enable in ac3filter.

    I want the sound to be output via sp/dif. It appears to do this by default although the instructions as per http://ac3filter.sourceforge.net/ seem to apply to a slightly different interface to the one I get :s

    What is confusing me is what happens where in the process. With the DVD the amplifier does the decoding. So I get a blue light that comes on to indicate this and the info panel confirms it.

    If I am using ac3filter is the decoding done on the pc? or should I still just a get a DD bitstream output over sp/dif to my amp?

    Of course none of this is helped by the fact that I don't know for sure if I have any ac3 encoded divx titles to test it on. I do have the WMV-HD clips and I believe that ac3filter will convert the sound to DD 5.1 sound so I can use those as a test I guess.

    If someone could give me a simpletons guide to what I need to do I would be very grateful.
     
  19. lisag

    lisag
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    Download a free app called Gspot, this will tell you whether the soundtrack is in 5.1 or not. If it is, and AC3 filter is set up correctly, your amp should detect a DD5.1 soundtrack the same as for DVD's, and it should work the same WMVHD with 5.1 sound also.
     
  20. paulpenny

    paulpenny
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    All working now :)

    Thanks for the tip on gspot. It appears most of my files are not AC3, but the odd few are.

    What I didn't realise is that it converts PCM/MPEG etc to DD which is cool.

    I couldn't really find much which explained how that works though. What method is it using to split the stereo input out to 5.1 channels? Is it working like Dolby Pro Logic? but sending the bitstream as DD?
     
  21. paulpenny

    paulpenny
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    spoke too soon!

    I think I might be confusing myself now!

    ac3filter is giving me the following:

    avi. files with an AC3 soundtrack -> DD 5.1

    avi.files with a stereo (mp3?) soundtrack -> DD 5.1

    aac music files -> DD 5.1

    DVR-MS files -> PCM stereo if played in MCE, but DD 5.1 if played in Graphedit/WMP etc

    mp3 music files -> PCM stereo if played in MCE, but DD 5.1 if played in Graphedit/WMP etc

    I have PCM, DD, DTS checked in the system tab

    I have looked in graphedit for the DVR-MS and mp3 files and they both go through ac3filter

    I do not have the DVD or Mpeg boxes xhecked in the system tab.

    It's not a big problem but it would be nice to sort it out so any help would be appreciated.

    thanks

    Paul
     

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