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Windows 7: Is anyone playing 5.1 sound with minijacks vs spdif?


13 Mar 2014   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 
Is anyone playing 5.1 sound with minijacks vs spdif?

If it is working in WMC for you, please tell me your sound card.
My MB only has spdif or stereo out from minijacks.

I have a free PCI slot but my experience with sound cards has not been good.

Can I expect a pci windows 7 sound compatible card to work, like a cheap cm chip card off ebay?

I have a dynex 5.1 sound card and it only plays stereo and conflicts with my wonder HDTV tuner.
But windows update has a driver and it works in control panel.

So I dont want to waste money buying a card if it wont work outputting 5.1 sound from the minijacks, rear and center and woofer.

I have a soundblaster PCI which does not conflict with the tuner, but of course driver issues make it not work correctly.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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17 Mar 2014   #2

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

In control panel a sound config button.
And I can assign the minijacks to output 4 or 5.1 sound.
So I do not need another sound card.

WMC speaker setup is either 2 or 5.1, but does work properly at 5.1 but no center voices or woofer can make sound since I dont have them yet.

WMC needs more speaker setup choices.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Mar 2014   #3

Windows 7 Pro x64 (1), Win7 Pro X64 / WinXP Pro x86 on (2)
 
 

Normally, if you have a motherboard with built-in multi-channel audio HD audio codec chip support (through related mini-jacks, via the onboard DAC from the audio chip) and you have an appropriate external 5.1 audio speaker system, you'd just connect the speakers to the associated mini-jacks. You'd then go into "playback devices" (from a right-click on the speaker icon in system tray), select "speakers" to configure both properties (for "supported formats" tab) and configuration (i.e. 5.1).

This approach uses something like the Realtek chips and associated HD Audio Manager software/drivers to provide multi-channel output directly from your motherboard's speaker mini-jacks to your speaker system. It supports any media player program (including WMC, set to 5.1 which is what HDTV is broadcast with) which supports multi-channel audio.

And "playback devices" specifies "speakers".


Alternatively, if you have an external AVR which manages your external speaker system, you need to route digital audio from the computer to the AVR. This is typically done in either of two ways: (1) optical via S/PDIF output from the discrete sound card in your PC (or motherboard S/PDIF connector if present), or (2) HDMI via the video card's HDMI output, so that the HDMI cable is "routed" through the AVR where audio gets "dropped off" and then out of the AVR with a second HDMI cable to your HDTV display device for video.

Or, you can just send audio-only out HDMI from the video card (using the video card's HDMI audio driver), and separate video out via DVI from the video card to your monitor.

Again, you use "playback devices" to designate where/how the digital audio gets from your PC's possibly multiple digital audio outputs (optical or HDMI) to the external sound system. And then in Properties -> supported formats for the selected output device you check the multi-channel formats so that the original multi-channel DD5.1 is sent from the HDTV program to your AVR for decoding and delivery to the attached external speakers.

Since HDTV is only DD5.1, and since optical cables support DD5.1, the simplest and still 100% acceptable way to get multi-channel audio to your sound system while also providing HDTV video to your monitor or TV is to use the optical connection for audio (with the multi-channel "supported formats" checked) to your AVR. Then you're free to use either DVI or HDMI for video, to a connected monitor or HDTV.


WMC doesn't need anything other than 2-channel stereo or 5.1 audio, since that's all that HDTV supports.

The rest of your audio/video system configuration is up to you and your hardware, either built into the motherboard or available through external expansion cards and their available audio/video connectors.

I myself use the optical cable approach for multi-channel audio (as my ASUS P8Z77-V Pro board has S/PDIF optical output available) to send digital multi-channel audio directly to an optical input on my Yamaha AVR. The AVR does the decoding and sends multi-channel sound to the connected speakers. I don't use the analog speaker outputs from the motherboard. "Realtek optical" is selected in "playback devices", configured to support all multi-channel formats.

Video from the PC (HDTV from WMC or from any other windows function or program) goes to my dual 24" LCD monitors via my dual-DVI ATI HD5870 video card.

All audio from my (1) Ceton InfiniTV4 4-tuner cablecard-enabled TV tuner card, and (2) Hauppauge HVR-2250 2-tuner OTA/ATSC TV tuner card, as picked up by WMC, is simply routed directly to the S/PDIF optical audio output along with ALL OTHER AUDIO from Windows.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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18 Mar 2014   #4

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

well thanks.
yes, 5.1 or 2 channel is the standard, BUT, If I setup 4 speakers in windows, then WMC and other players should follow and use 4 channel sound. VLC does do this.

I had to scrounge up a stereo speaker set to get multichannel sound.

So WMC forces you to conform to the standard. No freedom to modify the way they want you to hear.

This is a small upstairs room, board has spdif, but not going to spend the money for receiver and better speakers.

I t actually sounds good enough the way it is.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Aug 2014   #5

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by dsperber View Post
I myself use the optical cable approach for multi-channel audio (as my ASUS P8Z77-V Pro board has S/PDIF optical output available) to send digital multi-channel audio directly to an optical input on my Yamaha AVR. The AVR does the decoding and sends multi-channel sound to the connected speakers. I don't use the analog speaker outputs from the motherboard. "Realtek optical" is selected in "playback devices", configured to support all multi-channel formats.

Video from the PC (HDTV from WMC or from any other windows function or program) goes to my dual 24" LCD monitors via my dual-DVI ATI HD5870 video card.

All audio from my (1) Ceton InfiniTV4 4-tuner cablecard-enabled TV tuner card, and (2) Hauppauge HVR-2250 2-tuner OTA/ATSC TV tuner card, as picked up by WMC, is simply routed directly to the S/PDIF optical audio output along with ALL OTHER AUDIO from Windows.
Hi dsperber - I also have a similar set up. I have an ASRock Z97 with Realtek HD audio (ALC1150 chipset). I've selected the DTS Connect 5.1 as the default output. I have a Hauppage DCR-2650 cable-card tuner and whenever I watch WMC Live TV, it cuts off all other current audio sources, such as video games, and Pandora. Sound is output via optical to a Sony CT660 soundbar.

Does that happen to you? The only way for me to get multiple audio sources concurrently is to change the WMC TV audio settings to enable auto-volume.

Edit: Found the solution, unchecked exclusive mode in the digital out properties.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Aug 2014   #6

W7 X-64 W8.1 X-64 Opensuse 13.1 W2003 Server
 
 

Hi there

If you've rubbish speakers - then don't waste your money --bog standard Analog output probably will sound BETTER -- the higher the grade of speakers BTW the more you'll notice defects in the sound like hideous artifacts in compressed 128 kbs mp3 files compared with uncompressed FLAC/WAV/WMA etc.

The sound cards in most computers (or the onboard audio) usually have pretty terrible DAC's in them so unless you are a gamer or like boxy boomy over emphasised Bass I'd use a totally separate subsystem for your sound.

5.1 audio in a tiny typical "teenagers" room with small speakers isn't the most exciting sound system you've ever heard in your life. Go for a separate DAC / decoder and some decent speakers or buy yourself a really high quality set of headphones . A proper Cinema amp might be OK too but standard computer sound and speakers --you really are wasting your money.

Cheers
jimbo
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Aug 2014   #7

Windows 7 Pro x64 (1), Win7 Pro X64 / WinXP Pro x86 on (2)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by jimbo45 View Post
If you've rubbish speakers - then don't waste your money --bog standard Analog output probably will sound BETTER -- the higher the grade of speakers BTW the more you'll notice defects in the sound like hideous artifacts in compressed 128 kbs mp3 files compared with uncompressed FLAC/WAV/WMA etc.
Could certainly be true for 2-channel music audio, and especially if you are playing cheap store-bought low bitrate MP3. But honestly, do people still buy those and not care or know the difference? Are these still for sale?

Nevertheless, he's talking about using Windows Media Center and listening to audio from HDTV programs, which is DD5.1 typically. Playing it out via S/PDIF to an external multi-speaker sound system (or even a sound bar) is what he was asking about.

I'd say that if you have an external multi-speaker audio system capable of being fed digital audio input from the PC, then it's generally going to sound better (perhaps falsely) than any desktop computer 2/2.1 speakers because of the surround nature of the external system. But in the end it's really the quality of the amp and speakers and EQ that will make anything sound better or worse on various alternative setups. A good 2/2.1 computer speaker setup could sound "better" than a cheap 5.1 computer speaker setup, but when playing true 5.1 sound through both (i.e. down-converted to 2-channel stereo for the 2/2.1 speakers) I doubt you'd come to the same conclusion.

Anyway, it was 5.1 sound which was the subject of this thread.
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 Is anyone playing 5.1 sound with minijacks vs spdif?




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