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Audio Beginner - PC Surround Sound

Last response: in Components
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July 29, 2010 6:12:19 PM

I have my PC connected to my TV by DVI. When I watch movies, it's off my computer so the audio comes through the computer speakers (2.1) and the video through the TV. I'm thinking of upgrading to a set of 5.1 speakers for my pc. Since they're for the PC, I don't need a receiver, but do I need to get a sound card or specific software to hear the audio in movies in 5.1?

Also, some of the movies I'm watching are off the web, would I need to find specific 5.1 versions of these movies, or would that be something written into the file? And if a movie isn't in 5.1, or if I'm just listening to music will sound still come through all the speakers?

Thanks!
July 29, 2010 6:45:08 PM

1) Does your audio output on the computer have have more than 1 place to plug in speakers? (pink,black,green) usually 1 for front 1 for rear 1 for center sub.
If not you need an add in card.

2) Most movies come with dolby. look for the logo on dvd.

3) Most of my downloads play in 5.1 but not all

4) not sure, I never paid attention, sorry.

The 5.1 the software that comes with audio devices will give you all kinds of control/s.
July 29, 2010 6:52:14 PM

Does your motherboard already have support for 5.1 or 7.1 audio? many newer ones do so you wouldnt need a sound card, if it doesnt you will need to pick one up.

Whether it comes through all speakers or not depends partly on what you set in the software(most can do dynamic surround sound and sort of fudge which parts it thinks should be coming out the back speakers), and on the media you are listening to. Most music is just stereo normally so unless you tweak settings it will only come from the front two and the sub like a 2.1 system. Some movies will come in 5.1, others might not, it all depends how they were encoded.
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July 29, 2010 8:13:07 PM

Quote:
Since they're for the PC, I don't need a receiver, but do I need to get a sound card or specific software to hear the audio in movies in 5.1?


You need software, yes. Something to decode Dolby Digital or DTS signals. PowerDVD, WinDVD are both paid software, although Windows Media Classic Home Cinema edition is free, and all you need to do is download the AC3Filter codec online.

Quote:

Also, some of the movies I'm watching are off the web, would I need to find specific 5.1 versions of these movies, or would that be something written into the file?


Stuff like Netflix and Hulu are all 2.0 sound. I'm not aware they have options for 5.1.

Quote:

And if a movie isn't in 5.1, or if I'm just listening to music will sound still come through all the speakers?


No. I'm not sure why it would, either...?

If your speakers have a decoder/receiver unit it may have the ability to do something like that. Can't guarantee it will sound any good.
August 2, 2010 4:32:35 PM

Instead of buying a set of 5.1 speakers, is it possible to add 3 speakers to the 2.1 setup? Assume my mobo supports surround sound or I've picked up a sound card that does.

I think it should work, just don't know how good it will sound...
!