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5.1 Surround sound computer setup Q's

Last response: in Home Audio
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June 2, 2011 6:32:06 PM

Hey folks, I just have a couple questions about setting up a 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound system to my computer.

1. Do I -have- to buy PC specific speakers? Or can I buy a home theater system and just plug it up to my computer?
2. How would I go about plugging it all up? Since I've never done it before, I just don't want to drop a ton of money on a surround sound system and spend a ridiculous amount of time troubleshooting since I have no idea how to do it. Is it just plug and play?
3. I -know- my soundcard supports it, and it has multiple ports other than voice and headphone jacks, is that where I'd plug it up?

Thanks a ton, I'll probably have more questions after these are answered :b
June 2, 2011 9:20:59 PM

1. you can buy a home theater system and plug it up with the computer.
the digital connection will play stereo only IF the audio isnt encoded into a surround sound format.
most video games are not encoded into a surround sound format for output to the soundcard.
this means you have to do one of two things:
- connect the receiver to the soundcard with analog connections (probably the easiest)
- use dolby digital live or dts connect to encode the audio into a surround sound format to be sent through the digital connection to the receiver with the rear speakers functional. (dolby digital live or dts connect doesnt support 7.1 - only 5.1)

2. to plug it all up, you get some 3.5mm to RCA cords (unless your soundcard has RCA output jacks)
these are usually color coded to make it easy.. and lots of soundcards come with a piece of paper to show you which one is what.
some of the soundcards have a picture in the included software to show you which output jack is what.
3. soundcards is where you would want to plug the receiver to

since you dont want to try and mess around with encoders, because they make you lose frames per second while playing video games.. you'll want a receiver that has analog inputs for all channels.

and since 7.1 surround sound is inevitable in our future, you would want a 7.1 surround card and receiver to be 'future proof' (for now anyways).

the reason why 7.1 surround sound is inevitable is because of the room reflections.
not everybody is going to have a professional installer come in and calibrate their system.
since the reverb in the room for each speaker isnt calibrated already, they use extra speakers to help.
most reverb plugins dont have the option for anything more than the front two and rear two speakers.
but
creative does allow for all speaker pairs to have reverb calibrated.

anyways, the extra speakers will help localize the surround sound by placing a physical speaker there instead of relying on audio processing to do it.
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