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Old 01-29-09, 08:48 AM   #1
tornadog
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Default How do I get 5.1 audio through spdif

Bought my first htpc this week. The cute little Dell Studio Hybrid. I connect it to my tv with hdmi for video and connect an optical cable to my home theater system(Sony HT-SS2000) for audio. But in Vista, when I look up sound properties, I cant click configure to setup the speakers and it defaults to 2.1. Is there something I am missing. The onboard audio is a Realtek ALC888S HD Audio. I was using the same optical cable with my old 360 and it was putting out 5.1 audio just fine. So I know the cable is good.


I am just wondering which end to troubleshoot, the PC or the Surround Sound System.
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Old 01-29-09, 10:10 AM   #2
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Default Re: How do I get 5.1 audio through spdif

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Originally Posted by tornadog View Post
Bought my first htpc this week. The cute little Dell Studio Hybrid. I connect it to my tv with hdmi for video and connect an optical cable to my home theater system(Sony HT-SS2000) for audio. But in Vista, when I look up sound properties, I cant click configure to setup the speakers and it defaults to 2.1. Is there something I am missing. The onboard audio is a Realtek ALC888S HD Audio. I was using the same optical cable with my old 360 and it was putting out 5.1 audio just fine. So I know the cable is good.


I am just wondering which end to troubleshoot, the PC or the Surround Sound System.
Optical is uncompressed 2.0 only, but passes compressed dobly digital and dts fine; so you just need to set your optical out as your default output device from the control panel under sound settings.

If you want 5.1 sound in games and such - you need dolby digital live or dts connect support(and you also need to set your speakers as the default output device from the control panel).
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Old 01-29-09, 10:22 AM   #3
tornadog
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Default Re: How do I get 5.1 audio through spdif

in my control panel under playback devices, I have 3 options, speakers(disabled, unplugged), Digital out spdif(working,default) and digital hdmi(working). When I select hdmi I can chosee configure to set my speaker configuration but only shows stereo. When I select spdif, the configure option is greyed out. I tried playing a 720p mkv file which has 5.1 dts audio and i only get audio in the front Left and front right speakers. I run the same file using my laptop which has hdmi out and it plays on all speakers.
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Old 01-29-09, 11:52 AM   #4
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Default Re: How do I get 5.1 audio through spdif

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in my control panel under playback devices, I have 3 options, speakers(disabled, unplugged), Digital out spdif(working,default) and digital hdmi(working). When I select hdmi I can chosee configure to set my speaker configuration but only shows stereo. When I select spdif, the configure option is greyed out. I tried playing a 720p mkv file which has 5.1 dts audio and i only get audio in the front Left and front right speakers. I run the same file using my laptop which has hdmi out and it plays on all speakers.
You can't set up your speakers as spdif means passthrough only. Spdif only outputs stereo unless the ac3 track has been decoded by software first.

Which playback program are you using? I'd recommend mplayer HC + ac3filter(remember to disable all internal filters and set your playback device to digital out).

How to properly set up media player classic:



And AC3Filter:
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Old 01-29-09, 02:05 PM   #5
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Default Re: How do I get 5.1 audio through spdif

oh...so I need to turn off all the decoding options in the sound control panel and let the audio pass through using the ac3filter??
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Old 01-29-09, 02:54 PM   #6
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Default Re: How do I get 5.1 audio through spdif

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oh...so I need to turn off all the decoding options in the sound control panel and let the audio pass through using the ac3filter??
Yup just put it to passthrough and let ac3filter do the work.

EDIT: I might add that you need to restart media player classic after changing the settings in order for them to work. If you use Windows 7 you also have to run media player classic as administrator to get any sound via spdif.
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Old 01-29-09, 06:45 PM   #7
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Default Re: How do I get 5.1 audio through spdif

I set everything up like u guys said but when I play the video, in ac3 filter it says spdif disabled:spdif output is not supported. looks like I am screwed I guess???
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Old 01-29-09, 07:07 PM   #8
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Default Re: How do I get 5.1 audio through spdif

I am using a optical toslink cable. Is that an issue. Do I need to a coaxial cable?
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Old 01-30-09, 04:58 AM   #9
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Default Re: How do I get 5.1 audio through spdif

I'm using PowerDVD to play DVD, BluRay and HD-DVD films. It outputs DTS and DD through my S/PDIF no problem. For gaming I just use the analogue outputs, but like Toss3 said, if you want 5.1 output through your S/PDIF for gaming you'll need a card that'll encode the 5.1 analogue channels in to a digital signal. I also use Windows Media Player with FFDshow and Haali Media Splitter to play other formats like .mkv's, which can also be setup to output the digital signal through the S/PDIF. Or course you'll only get 5.1 if the film you're watching is encoded in 5.1.
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Old 01-30-09, 07:25 AM   #10
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Default Re: How do I get 5.1 audio through spdif

unbelievable...after struggling all night I go by a tip in another forum about a similar issue. All I had to do was ditch the dell audio drivers and get the realtek HD codecs from Realtek's site. And now AC3 pass through works great. In fact I can get 5.1 even with the hdmi, so no need for separate cables for audio/video. I almost bought an external usb soundcard yesterday. Now I dont have to.

This is only for watching movies, songs and limited browsing. So not concerned about gaming audio and this machine is seriously underpowered for any type of gaming.
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Old 02-09-09, 08:44 AM   #11
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Default Re: How do I get 5.1 audio through spdif

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Originally Posted by tornadog View Post
unbelievable...after struggling all night I go by a tip in another forum about a similar issue. All I had to do was ditch the dell audio drivers and get the realtek HD codecs from Realtek's site. And now AC3 pass through works great. In fact I can get 5.1 even with the hdmi, so no need for separate cables for audio/video. I almost bought an external usb soundcard yesterday. Now I dont have to.

This is only for watching movies, songs and limited browsing. So not concerned about gaming audio and this machine is seriously underpowered for any type of gaming.
Please, I DO have the same problem, what forum did U use and what Realtek drivers did U use?
I have the Realtek audio software and it also shows Stereo 2Channels option...it freaks me out... :-(
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