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Newbie needing help with getting surround sound from PC

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deastr

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I want to get 5.1 surround sound from my PC using my 5.1 home theater system but I couldn't figure out what sound card to buy and what kind of cables, output and inputs to use to connect it to my receiver. I'm kinda lost and I'd appreciate any help.

Here's the backside of my receiver:

receiver_inputs.jpg


Does this receiver support true 5.1 input? It supports DTS-HD and Dolby TrueHD/DigitalPlus/ProLogic II.

What kind of sound card should I buy? (my on-board sound card doesn't support surround sound)

What kind of connection should I use? What output from sound card to what input on receiver using what kind of cable?

I'd appreciate any guidance.
 
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HDMI from your GPU on your PC is the best option
You don't need a sound card. The receiver is the DAC
 

deastr

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HDMI from your GPU on your PC is the best option
You don't need a sound card. The receiver is the DAC
I tried GPU->HDMI->TV and it only does Stereo, no option for surround on output device (Nvidia) settings. I also tried PC->HDMI->Receiver->TV but that also turned out only Stereo.
 
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What is the receiver model?
 
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Only some DTS or Dolby encoded 5.1 fits through Coax or Optical.
HDMI can fit 5.1 channels through but you may need to check the receiver documentation/specifications for what it can actually do.

Using HDMI for audio should be the best option either way.

I tried GPU->HDMI->TV and it only does Stereo, no option for surround on output device (Nvidia) settings. I also tried PC->HDMI->Receiver->TV but that also turned out only Stereo.
That depends on a bunch of things. Some receivers can detect the output device capabilities and if TV says it is stereo, receiver will only work with stereo.
 
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I tried GPU->HDMI->TV and it only does Stereo, no option for surround on output device (Nvidia) settings. I also tried PC->HDMI->Receiver->TV but that also turned out only Stereo.
Its your source?? . You not passing through the sound to your TV are you? You have 5.1 speakers on your receiver right?

If your source is 2.1 you can use Prologic to have it mimic 5.1
 
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Plug the Optical(Toslink) from your MB sound card to the Toslink on the receiver. That should allow you to use the receiver's sound settings to give you whatever the receiver can do natively. Just remember to set Windows to default that output for your audio.
 
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Toslink can't do
DTS-HD or Dolby TrueHD. Only compressed 5.1
 
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Toslink can't do
DTS-HD or Dolby TrueHD. Only compressed 5.1
Actually you are quite correct. The OP might be able to use one of these to get that. I am pretty sure this card may be the solution to his problem. I had a Xonar card before (I find the 1220 is fine for sound) and it supported DTS.

 

deastr

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What is the receiver model?
Philips htb5570d/12

Its your source?? . You not passing through the sound to your TV are you? You have 5.1 speakers on your receiver right?

If your source is 2.1 you can use Prologic to have it mimic 5.1
I don't know what passing through means. I chose receiver output as input source on TV?

Toslink can't do DTS-HD or Dolby TrueHD. Only compressed 5.1
What's the difference with compressed 5.1? Sound quality? Or fake surround or something?

Actually you are quite correct. The OP might be able to use one of these to get that. I am pretty sure this card may be the solution to his problem. I had a Xonar card before (I find the 1220 is fine for sound) and it supported DTS.

If I get this card how should I connect it to the receiver? Toslink?
 
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Philips htb5570d/12



I don't know what passing through means. I chose receiver output as input source on TV?



What's the difference with compressed 5.1? Sound quality? Or fake surround or something?



If I get this card how should I connect it to the receiver? Toslink?
Yes.
 
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Thank you, but which of my questions did you answer, I see three quotes?
For using the Toslink on the sound card.
 
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I don't know what passing through means. I chose receiver output as input source on TV?

What's the difference with compressed 5.1? Sound quality? Or fake surround or something?
TV has nothing to do with sound. Compressed 5.1 is DTS or DD. Uncomplessed is DTS HD or True HD. Its mostly real 5.1. Prologic and some DTS compresion mimics 5.1

Passthrough:

When a component does nothing to a signal, just lets it go as is. This is why you do not need a sound card. HDMI will carry the Digital audio to the AVR to be processed there.

One more thing. Trash in / Trash out. If your source is not 5.1 your sound will not be 5.1
 

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understanding Dolby and DTS.

There are just a few ways to connect a computer to a AVR system. Thins have changed over the years.
I'm not like everyone else I do not have any way to hook my computer to the AVR other than through the optical inputs.
I could use 3.5mm jack to RCA but that is only analog and you would need WOW 4 of these wires to hook up the AVR.
It's really odd to me that if HDMI is the ONLY way to get 7.1 or Dolby or any surround you need HDMI when in fact this is NOT even close to true.
If this is even close to true then the fact that the very connection used (optical S/PDIF - out.) would in fact be an HDMI connection.
Any way this sound stuff is very confusing.
I have only 2 way to connect any ANY other components into my AVR receiver. HDMI is NOT one of them so simply telling EVERY one to use this HOOK up or you wont get TRUE this or Dolby that is well miss leading at best (TO ME) JMHO.
From my understanding of all this Dolby this and DTS that is no matter the signal that is coming into the receiver (2 Channel) It will take that "Signal" and run it through a special board on the ARV that takes that signal and makes it 5.1 , 7.1 , Dolby and the such.
I personally would use the optical S/PDIF and NOT the video card. Just my preference and all this talk about the signal not getting through and not having TRUE this OMG You guys give me a headache with this crap.
If you can hook up through the video card / HDMI then yeah go for it. But stop thinking EVERY one can hook up this way. It's NOT at all the ONLY way to get true surround sound!
I KNOW!
 
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understanding Dolby and DTS.

There are just a few ways to connect a computer to a AVR system. Thins have changed over the years.
I'm not like everyone else I do not have any way to hook my computer to the AVR other than through the optical inputs.
I could use 3.5mm jack to RCA but that is only analog and you would need WOW 4 of these wires to hook up the AVR.
It's really odd to me that if HDMI is the ONLY way to get 7.1 or Dolby or any surround you need HDMI when in fact this is NOT even close to true.
If this is even close to true then the fact that the very connection used (optical S/PDIF - out.) would in fact be an HDMI connection.
Any way this sound stuff is very confusing.
I have only 2 way to connect any ANY other components into my AVR receiver. HDMI is NOT one of them so simply telling EVERY one to use this HOOK up or you wont get TRUE this or Dolby that is well miss leading at best (TO ME) JMHO.
From my understanding of all this Dolby this and DTS that is no matter the signal that is coming into the receiver (2 Channel) It will take that "Signal" and run it through a special board on the ARV that takes that signal and makes it 5.1 , 7.1 , Dolby and the such.
I personally would use the optical S/PDIF and NOT the video card. Just my preference and all this talk about the signal not getting through and not having TRUE this OMG You guys give me a headache with this crap.
If you can hook up through the video card / HDMI then yeah go for it. But stop thinking EVERY one can hook up this way. It's NOT at all the ONLY way to get true surround sound!
I KNOW!
100% agree with this. I was an audio buff before getting into PC. I have a Sony receiver. Any receiver that has digital sound stages will be able to reproduce those from any digital signal coming into the receiver and the best is still Toslink. Even though my receiver is from 1999 it plays fine with my 2019 (R5 2400G) HTPC using Toslink. It's too bad we don't know the OP's specs though because most modern motherboards come with a Toslink out. Even if it's an older Codec the receiver will do the heavy lifting in outputting the sound so the quality will be there. WIth HDMI there are so many standards from 1.1 to 2.1 and each of those has different sound settings and capabilities.
 

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100% agree with this. I was an audio buff before getting into PC. I have a Sony receiver. Any receiver that has digital sound stages will be able to reproduce those from any digital signal coming into the receiver and the best is still Toslink. Even though my receiver is from 1999 it plays fine with my 2019 (R5 2400G) HTPC using Toslink. It's too bad we don't know the OP's specs though because most modern motherboards come with a Toslink out. Even if it's an older Codec the receiver will do the heavy lifting in outputting the sound so the quality will be there. WIth HDMI there are so many standards from 1.1 to 2.1 and each of those has different sound settings and capabilities.
Also the question of why sound cards ( Really good ones) Have Toslink and 3.5mm - RCA and NOT just an HDMI out? OH wait NOT one sound card out to date has an HDMI cable connection. NOT ONE!
Yeah can you tell me why the sound card is needed on the MB if the video card can do that heavy lifting?
LOL. Confused yet? I know I am LOL.
I have NEVER looked at a video card and said OMG this is going to give me KILLER SOUND And where is the head phone jack on the video card?! WTF!

TV has nothing to do with sound. Compressed 5.1 is DTS or DD. Uncomplessed is DTS HD or True HD. Its mostly real 5.1. Prologic and some DTS compresion mimics 5.1

Passthrough:

When a component does nothing to a signal, just lets it go as is. This is why you do not need a sound card. HDMI will carry the Digital audio to the AVR to be processed there.

One more thing. Trash in / Trash out. If your source is not 5.1 your sound will not be 5.1
Yet NO one buy's a video card to use as a sound card and well all of what I have said.
No line in /Line out no mic. WOW what a useless way to hook up an AVR system.

Read this
There is only 2 new reasons for HDMI and it would seem like it is still taking time to catch on.
Dolby True and DTS master, MEH I have enough surround sound modes and have the full range of my AVR receivers different sound modes.
Just choose the one that works best for you.
If I use HDMI I still have to some how get that signal to the ARV and there are ONLY 2 ways Toslink and RCA. So it's like got to go through 2 or 3 (depending on how you look at it) different decoders and not just one, This is where things get messed up.
SO if you have your computer video card hooked to the monitor/ TV just how are you connecting the system to the AVR?
It's not like the system can magically pick up this signal.
I can use my TV/monitor to as a decoder through the HDMI cable that hooks to the video card but then I have strange signal crossover and distorted surround sound and when you click on setup speakers you only hear 4 speakers LOL the sub is dead the center is dead the surround A-L/R is GONE it's a JOKE!
Be careful 2 many decoders and you will get shitzzzy sound.
 
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@deastr After connecting your receiver to the HDMI port, go to sound control panel, right-click the HDMI audio endpoint and select configure speakers. Check whether you can configure 5.1 there.
Your device has HDMI in, in your case HDMI is preferred to spdif.
If you don't have any other option other than stereo, open the endpoint, select the supported formats tab, take a screenshot and post here.
Edit: Apologies for the noise on the thread; a discussion on the superiority of either SPDIF or HDMI was being made; you can skip to the next page to discuss your case.
 
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@deastr After connecting your receiver to the HDMI port, go to sound control panel, right-click the HDMI audio endpoint and select configure speakers. Check whether you can configure 5.1 there.
Your device has HDMI in, in your case HDMI is preferred to spdif.
If you don't have any other option other than stereo, open the endpoint, select the supported formats tab, take a screenshot and post here.
So let me see if I got this right, You connect the video card to the tv/monitor, Then from the TV/monitor via another HDMI cable to the AVR?
That would meant that the sound decoder (or whatever it is) on the Video card needs to go through the TV/Monitor then from there to the ARV? 2 many decoders and mixers things are NOT going to be good IMHO.
WOW seems like a bit more than needed at any rate some HOW that ARV has to be connected to the computer and Toslink is still the best way to do this IMHO (and only way for some).
 
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So let me see if I got this right you connect the video card to the tv/monitor, Then from the TV/monitor via another HDMI cable to the AVR?
That would meant that the sound decoder (or whatever it is) on the Video card needs to go through the TV/Monitor then from there to the ARV? 2 many decoders and mixers things are NOT going to be good IMHO.
WOW seems like a bit more than needed at any rate some HOW that ARV has to be connected to the computer and Toslink is still the best way to do this IMHO (and only way for some).
No, Video card to receiver HDMI in, the receiver then goes to TV directly.
Note: my receiver is SPDIF only.
 

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No, Video card to receiver HDMI in, the receiver then goes to TV directly.
Note: my receiver is SPDIF only.
Oh okay well that does sound more like it then.
But just remember some can NOT hook up VIA the HDMI nor have I seen any sound cards implement this as the norm so there is still this to consider as well.

Still need 2 HDMI cables though.
 
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Actually, I would disagree. Not much has changed over the years. The latest big change was audio over HDMI (more specifically the addition of ARC) and that has been a thing for... a decade? It is confusing but there is logic to it:
- Analog is simple and elegant - you need wires, usually RCA connectors and multiple cables for more channels.
- Digital is a mess when you go beyond stereo.
Stereo is fine and you can use pretty much any cable/connection.
5.1 and more on the other hand needs considerable bandwidth and it does not fit through SPDIF (either RCA or TOSLINK).

Workaround to lack of bandwidth was and is DTS and DD which compress the audio data are are both proprietary codecs that device manufacturers need to pay for using. By today, most receivers do support the various codecs but the picture is not that pretty on PC side of things. Passthrough audio - i.e. sending already compressed and encoded audio stream (for example the one from DVD or Bluray) through the cable works fine most of the time. Getting PC 5.1 audio DTS/DD encoded is an annoying mess and generally better to avoid.

HDMI has a lot of bandwidth for audio and uncompressed 5.1 will go though it just fine, making it a plug-and-play solution that is objectively better than others.
 
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Oh okay well that does sound more like it then.
But just remember some can NOT hook up VIA the HDMI nor have I seen any sound cards implement this as the norm so there is still this to consider as well.
Forget sound card.
There was only 1 HDMI soundcard, the ASUS HDAV Xonar and it was a placeholder solution when no high quality audio video cards were there. Previous video cards used SPDIF to use as HDMI audio.
Modern video cards do have a native sound controller on the GPU die for audio.
 
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Actually, I would disagree. Not much has changed over the years. The latest big change was audio over HDMI (more specifically the addition of ARC) and that has been a thing for... a decade? It is confusing but there is logic to it:
- Analog is simple and elegant - you need wires, usually RCA connectors and multiple cables for more channels.
- Digital is a mess when you go beyond stereo.
Stereo is fine and you can use pretty much any cable/connection.
5.1 and more on the other hand needs considerable bandwidth and it does not fit through SPDIF (either RCA or TOSLINK).

Workaround to lack of bandwidth was and is DTS and DD which compress the audio data are are both proprietary codecs that device manufacturers need to pay for using. By today, most receivers do support the various codecs but the picture is not that pretty on PC side of things. Passthrough audio - i.e. sending already compressed and encoded audio stream (for example the one from DVD or Bluray) through the cable works fine most of the time. Getting PC 5.1 audio DTS/DD encoded is an annoying mess and generally better to avoid.

HDMI has a lot of bandwidth for audio and uncompressed 5.1 will go though it just fine, making it a plug-and-play solution that is objectively better than others.
That is why you use a sound card. Any sound card worth it's salt will overcome what you are mentioning.
 
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That is why you use a sound card. Any sound card worth it's salt will overcome what you are mentioning.
Sound card cannot prevent technical limitations. SPDIF is bandwidth limited to only stereo and compressed DD/DTS.
HDMI is not. It supports all that SPDIF has and more.
"That is why you do not use a sound card."
 
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