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Surround sound to PC

For Christmas my in laws gave me a Sony bluray/surround sound system (Sony BDV-E390) for my basement. Now, instead of hooking it up to me TV I've decided to hook it up to my PC, in fact I went out and bought a Asus Xonar DG sound card instead of using the mobo inputs. I'm having a few issues while trying to get this working, not to mention this is the first time I've tried to hook up a system like this to a computer, so I have no idea if I'm missing something simple.

When I use a 3.5mm cable that splits to an RCA connector I get sound from the speakers, but it's not true 5.1 surround sound, and when I do a surround sound test only the front speakers make a sound, while the rear ones are silent. My question about this is, can true surround sound even be relayed properly using the 3.5mm>RCA cord, or is it bottle necked?

The second issue I'm having is that I can't get any sound when I use my toslink (optical) cable to connect with my computer. Both my computer and the bluray player have the optical inputs, and when I connect them and switch the player output to the optical port I get nothing.

Thanks in advance for any help or insight provided.
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  1. In order to get true 5.1 sound you need a digital connection, or at least three analog connections. Those RCA cables can only carry a stereo signal.

    Now, moving along a bit, the toslink port on the Xonar DG is output only IIRC. The only place I've ever seen those as inputs is on receivers, but I'm sure high end sound cards will also have them, but the Xonar DG is not one of them. I don't do a lot of sound card support, so there's always a chance I'm wrong on that, but I don't think so.

    If I bottom line this, what you have is a very low end surround sound setup. Given it was a gift from the in-laws, that's probably a sign they really like you, but from the audio enthusiast standpoint, it's garbage. Everything is built into the bluray player as opposed to a proper receiver. Save your head and the wall a lot of punishment, and just use the thing with the TV as it was intended. If you want to then start investigating the option of getting a proper receiver and speakers to go with it, to connect to your PC, we can certainly do that. However, there's no point beating your head against the wall with what you have now. Sorry to be so blunt, but sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind.
  2. You can't really output a bluray player video connection to a computer. You can only easily output from the computer to the sound system.

    In order to get the toslink to work you're going to need an encoder, either dts-connect or dolby-digital-live. Look for those in your sound card options. Off hand I think the Xonar DG support dolby but not DTS.
  3. It seems like the card is the issue here since this article says:

    "However, one of the key features of the Xonar series has been given the chop; the DG can't do multichannel digital encoding in the form of Dolby Digital Live. This means that the card can't output 5.1 sound in-game over optical, falling back to stereo instead. It's only an issue if you want to game with speakers hooked up via an optical cable."

    So if the DDL encoding is the issue do you think this sound card would fix the problem?
  4. Best answer
    Yeah, that'll work. Personally I'd recommend an asus dsx and using DTS-Connect for encoding, it's just like DDL only a little better quality (your receiver needs to support DTS-interactive to decode it, but most do.)
  5. Best answer selected by Mcarr.
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