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Can't get surround sound working with PC

Last response: in Home Audio
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March 2, 2012 5:30:00 AM

I have the a Pioneer VSX 821-K receiver, along with 5 speakers and a sub hooked up to it. I am attempting to hook this system up to my PC via a single optical cable. I am not running any video through the receiver, seeing as my GPU outputs DVI.

The problem is, no matter what I change in windows, the system will only act as a 2.1 system. I tried hooking it up to the Optical out port on my soundcar(and old Turtle Beach Montego DDL). The software and program to manage sound for that card is junk IMO. It gives you the option to select your speaker configuration, so I select 5.1. Then you select the signal you want to use, I try Dolby, DTS, 5.1 DLL Encoding, but whenever I select any of those, it overrides the speaker setting and locks it to a 2-channel setup.

So I try the optical out on my motherboard. This time I'm using Realtek HD Audio manager. In there, the only way to get a speaker layout is by selecting the analogue connections. By hitting Optical Digital, the only option I am presented with is DVD or CD quality.

Any games that I try output as stereo(BF3 and Crysis 2 tested, I enabled all necessary settings in each, still only stereo). So I put in a DVD and play it with VLC media player. After selecting the output device and telling it to output in 5.1 via the VLC and DVD options menu, still only stereo.

What gives?

If you need any more information please ask.

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March 2, 2012 10:40:58 AM

there should be a setting for your computer to export the audio data via the spdif (optical) port. perhaps under sound devices. i believe it has nothing to do with the number of speakers you assign as it bypasses all of that and just exports the raw signal for processing by your receiver. i've never hooked it up that way so this is just what i've heard from others along the way.

i have a pioneer vsx-30 receiver and a video card that exports via dvi only. they do make dvi to hdmi cables (my evga even came with one!). one solution i know works flawlessly is to connect up to your receiver in this manner and to then export to your display. in my case i run a hdmi to hdmi to a television. however, it should be possible to convert back to a dvi if you use such a display.

you mentioned that you "output to stereo" for the games. in stereo mode you will not get 5.1 sound.

also do not forget to change the mode on your receiver! remember it has a stereo mode too. i normally have mine set to auto, but there are other options.
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March 2, 2012 3:08:18 PM

Yes, if have it set to output via the optical port. And I do get sound, so it must be outputting throug the correct port.

My 4870 only has two DVI ports. And my monitor only accepts VGA and dvi. And I do actually have two DVI to HDMI cables. So I could run one from my video card into the receiver, then the other as an output from my receiver to my monitor? I thought that dvi didn't carry audio, and that the same applied to to dvi to hdmi cables. The only thing I heard that worked is sometimes you get a special dvi to hdmi adapter with a card, and those can make the audio transfer, but a standard dvi to hdmi cable wouldn't work. I'll give it a try though, thanks for the suggestions.

That's what I mean about the games. No matter what settings I change in the game options, the output is stereo. Only the 2 speakers and the sub produce sound.

Another thing that's weird is this test I downloaded. It's a Dolby 5.1 video, that shows onscreen what speaker is being played. The front two speakers light up, and sound comes out of them. But with the center speaker, when that lights up, sound comes out of both the left and right speakers. And when the two rear speakers in the video light up, the sound comes out of my front two speakers. I just don't understand.

I'll try to read about the settings on my receiver. Since all the speakers played properly during th receivers automatic setup, I have a feeling there is just some setting that I am missing somewhere.
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March 2, 2012 5:20:45 PM

Wow...I feel like an idiot.

So I got it working. Turns out I had to change the mode on my receiver, just like you said. I guess is was just on basic stereo, because as soon as I went through the modes and selected one like Dolby PLII, I had sound from all speakers.

So thank you so much, you helped me solve the problem I've been trying to solve for days. THANK YOU!!!
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March 2, 2012 5:20:57 PM

Best answer selected by trogdor796.
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