Troubleshooting 5.1 Surround Sound Setup

Hi guys, i've recently started using a 5.1 surround sound system for my home theater system. I initially started using it just as a stereo system with two speakers and a sub and everything was working great, but now i want to add in the 3 extra speakers.

My setup is as follows:

1) Media played from my PC, connected to my HDTV via (cheap ebay bought) HDMI cable.

2) Optical cable running from TV to my receiver (Digital input 1)

3) As there was no dedicated subwoofer out on my reciever, I am running speaker wire from the receivers front speaker outputs (L/R) to the L/R input on my sub.

4) Subwoofer L/R outputs are running to my two largest speakers that I am using as front L/R setup.

This was my initial 2.1 stereo setup, and everything was working perfectly, i could play movies/songs from my pc to the speaker setup and it was great.

I now want to add in a front centre speaker, and two rear L/R speakers for 5.1 sound. I hooked these up with speaker wire from the remaining centre and rear speaker outputs on my receiver. Output setting was changed from stereo to multichannel out.

I tested this setup with blu-ray movie files on my pc, as well as youtube surround sound test vids, however I am not getting any sound played from these extra 3 speakers.

All of the speakers + wires were previously working perfectly in my stepdads setup for surround sound so I don't think there are any faults in the gear used.

Wondering if anyone has any ideas about what the problem might be! Possibly in the HDMI transfer of signal from PC to TV?

Thanks for any help!
12 answers Last reply
More about troubleshooting surround sound setup
  1. Have you set up the speaker config in windows.

    If you are using windows 7 click on the start pearl.

    In the search box type: manage sound devices,then click on the icon at the top of the bar.

    Select the output device you are using as the source to your TV or 5.1 decoder box.

    Click on the configure tab in the window.
    Choose your speaker configuration, and test all the speakers are working in your 5.1 speaker setup.
  2. there are 5 places where the problem could be.

    1) the tv might not have a surround sound capable digital decoder. if that's the case, then it will only send an analog feedback to the receiver, and therefore you won't get more then stereo sound.
    2) the subwoofer, by having 2 of your outputs plugged into it, may be confusing your receiver into thinking you're running some soundbar or some mono-speaker setup. not sure, but stranger things have happened.
    3) the subwoofer sucks up too much power, and your receiver can't power the other speakers.
    4) the receiver is not a true digital 5.1 surround receiver; or runs an incompatible digital format from your tvs digital output format.
    5) the PC isn't sending a surround sound signal to the tv, check your audio settings in windows.

    I probably could help more, but you didn't give us much to work with. sorry for the generalities in my reply.
  3. thanks for the quick replies guys.
    after trying to configure the sound output, it turns out my pc isn't sending a surround signal to the TV.

    Im running hdmi from my radeon hd 6850 hdmi out (having to manually swap the cable over from the monitor to my tv as I only have one HDMI output on the video card) amd when I try to configure it it says the maximum audio channel outputs are 2, so only stereo shows up in the list of output options.

    I take it i'm screwed then? Is there another way to send surround sound signal from a PC?
  4. davehvos said:
    thanks for the quick replies guys.
    after trying to configure the sound output, it turns out my pc isn't sending a surround signal to the TV.

    Im running hdmi from my radeon hd 6850 hdmi out (having to manually swap the cable over from the monitor to my tv as I only have one HDMI output on the video card) amd when I try to configure it it says the maximum audio channel outputs are 2, so only stereo shows up in the list of output options.

    I take it i'm screwed then? Is there another way to send surround sound signal from a PC?


    Well, if your PC doesn't have a suround sound, sound card, you can buy a surround sound sound card., if it does but it can't send it via your hdmi cable because the gpu sucks, then you don't use the HDMI cable and cut the tv out of the loop.

    I have a similar selection of parts... here is how i do it.

    I have my PC connected to my hd monitor through a standard video cable (DVI to DVI, though HDMI works too, you just don't send sound through it)
    I have my PC connected to my sound receiver via an optical cable

    problem solved.
  5. Hi
    Unless your TV and receiver are Dolby compatible then the optical link between your tv and receiver will only carry stereo sound.
  6. thanks again for the help.

    im pretty sure my tv is dolby compatible, and my receiver definitely is.

    Is it possible to run HDMI signal from both my graphics card (e.g. to my monitor for standard pc use) and also from my motherboard to my TV simultaneously? Im using this motherboard http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/P8Z68V/ and in the specs page it says

    Realtek® ALC892 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC
    - Supports : Jack-detection, Multi-streaming, Front Panel Jack-retasking

    At the moment ive plugged my monitor in to the video card hdmi output and tv into the motherboard hdmi but the tv isn't getting sent any signal
  7. davehvos said:
    thanks again for the help.

    im pretty sure my tv is dolby compatible, and my receiver definitely is.

    Is it possible to run HDMI signal from both my graphics card (e.g. to my monitor for standard pc use) and also from my motherboard to my TV simultaneously? Im using this motherboard http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/P8Z68V/ and in the specs page it says

    Realtek® ALC892 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC
    - Supports : Jack-detection, Multi-streaming, Front Panel Jack-retasking

    At the moment ive plugged my monitor in to the video card hdmi output and tv into the motherboard hdmi but the tv isn't getting sent any signal


    your mb has an optical jack. just run the optical cord to the receiver. call it a day.
  8. ingtar33 said:
    davehvos said:
    thanks again for the help.

    im pretty sure my tv is dolby compatible, and my receiver definitely is.

    Is it possible to run HDMI signal from both my graphics card (e.g. to my monitor for standard pc use) and also from my motherboard to my TV simultaneously? Im using this motherboard http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/P8Z68V/ and in the specs page it says

    Realtek® ALC892 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC
    - Supports : Jack-detection, Multi-streaming, Front Panel Jack-retasking

    At the moment ive plugged my monitor in to the video card hdmi output and tv into the motherboard hdmi but the tv isn't getting sent any signal


    your mb has an optical jack. just run the optical cord to the receiver. call it a day.



    i forgot to mention in my last post that I also use the same TV to play console games, so ideally id like to keep the TV in the audio signal path if possible. If not I'll sacrifice playing those through the speaker setup and just use an optical cable like you've suggested!
  9. davehvos said:
    ingtar33 said:
    davehvos said:
    thanks again for the help.

    im pretty sure my tv is dolby compatible, and my receiver definitely is.

    Is it possible to run HDMI signal from both my graphics card (e.g. to my monitor for standard pc use) and also from my motherboard to my TV simultaneously? Im using this motherboard http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/P8Z68V/ and in the specs page it says

    Realtek® ALC892 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC
    - Supports : Jack-detection, Multi-streaming, Front Panel Jack-retasking

    At the moment ive plugged my monitor in to the video card hdmi output and tv into the motherboard hdmi but the tv isn't getting sent any signal


    your mb has an optical jack. just run the optical cord to the receiver. call it a day.



    i forgot to mention in my last post that I also use the same TV to play console games, so ideally id like to keep the TV in the audio signal path if possible. If not I'll sacrifice playing those through the speaker setup and just use an optical cable like you've suggested!



    well, in my setup, my audio receiver is also a blueray player, so i run an hdmi cable from the receiver to the tv. You don't need a bluray player to do something similar. if your audio receiver is an audio receiver worth a hill of beans it has multiple forms of inputs. I'm sure there is some alternate audio out you can run from your tv to the receiver. Then you just switch from audio sources when you're using it for tv watching or computer use.
  10. It could be the cheap cable you bought. I'm not saying you need to buy an expensive one...

    Also, you can't have SDPIF and HDMI at the same time. HDMI is a superior format, use that over SDPIF

    More info would be helpful; what TV, speakers and model of receiver?

    Happy listening, the Prisoner...
  11. thee_prisoner said:
    Also, you can't have SDPIF and HDMI at the same time. HDMI is a superior format, use that over SDPIF


    there is no difference in audio signal quality from sdpif to hdmi. so i'm not sure where you're getting this idea. Unless you're going to claim fiber-optic cable is somehow inferior to copper wire.
  12. I didn't say that there was a difference in audio quality( I said a superior format) in the cable but how SDPIF compared to HDMI. HDMI sends over uncompressed 5.1 and can do 7.1. Due to limitations of SDPIF, it can only send compressed 5.1, can't send 7.1, ethernet and etc.
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