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How to get 5.1 Surround Sound out of Optical jack on Windows 10


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#1 sailracer OFFLINE  

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Posted 02 March 2020 - 03:27 PM

It seems Microsoft or Realtek or the A/V industry in general is making it harder and harder for me to get 5.1 surround sound out of my computer. It seems some update within the past month or two has broken it, and I can't get it working satisfactorily again. I have done lots of googling and tried lots of things. I'm going to list what I think I know and ask questions that maybe some folks on here will be able to answer. Thanks in advance for all help and advice!

Setup:
HTPC used for Gaming / TV / DVR (AMD based with AMD graphics card)
Windows 10 Home, build 1909
LG WebOS TV
Yamaha RX-V2400 Receiver (pre-dates HDMI)
HDMI cable (active) to the TV
Optical Cable from PC to Receiver
Optical Cable from TV to Receiver

Usage notes:
*If I use the HDMI output through the TV to the Receiver, I don't get 5.1 sound at the receiver. It seems this is typical for TVs. I haven't found a setting to tell the TV to output a PCM bitstream.

*I get occasional dropouts of audio using this configuration. Short dropouts, just a fraction of a second, but very annoying. Don't know what is causing this and don't know how to debug. It doesn't happen to the picture, just the audio.

*Because of the problems above I use the Realtek Digital Optical output primarily. After whatever update got pushed, it is now only outputting 2 channels to the receiver. I tried all bit and frequency settings in the configuration. I tried old and new Realtek drivers and generic windows HD Audio device drivers.

*I tried the "patched" Realtek drivers that I read about on other forums. These give the option to select Dolby Digital Live (5.1) on the advanced tab of the properties instead of something like 2channel 24bit 96000hz. This worked sometimes. Playing MP4 movies through Emby Theater worked great. Playing videos on Youtube through the web browser or playing a computer game had lots of annoying audio dropouts. Fraction of a second type droupouts. Switching the settings around for whether I am using Emby or playing a game is not convenient from the couch. Does anyone know if this kind of setting change could be scripted or assigned to a macro?

Am I missing anything obvious that could make this work?
If I buy a PCIe plug in sound card or USB connected sound card with an optical output, will this solve my problem?

Or do I really need to buy a new receiver with HDMI input and switching capability? I really don't want to get on the audio component upgrade train again. I was peeved when 2 years after I dropped big bucks on a 5.1 receiver the industry went to component video and I needed to get a new receiver to handle that. I have so far refused to upgrade again for HDMI, but if this is forcing me, I may have to reluctantly give in.



#2 sailracer OFFLINE  

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Posted 02 March 2020 - 04:25 PM

Does anyone have experience with something like this  https://www.amazon.c...lv_ov_lig_dp_it

 

Will it solve the Windows 10 problems for getting 5.1 surround into my receiver?  This would be much less expensive than a new receiver...



#3 Luke OFFLINE  

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Posted 07 March 2020 - 05:02 PM

Did you figure this out?

@Doofus

@AdrianW

@seanbuff

@pmac

@JoshuaAJones

@rechigo



#4 sailracer OFFLINE  

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Posted 07 March 2020 - 06:47 PM

I have made some progress and gained some understanding.  I'll post what I've learned so far in case it will help others.

 

I did buy one of those HDMI Audio extractors to play around with.  It shows up on the sound devices list as the LG TV still (when passing through to the LG TV)

 

If I hit the configure button, it still shows "Stereo" as the only speaker configuration option.  However, if you click the properties button and select the supported formats tab, it shows DTS Audio and Dolby Digital under "Encoded Formats" indicating the system at least recognizes this device can support multi channel audio.  On the Advanced tab, you can select the default quality and *this is important* check the Exclusive Mode check boxes.  I did not get DD out when these boxes were unchecked.  I assume because Windows or the driver can't merge sounds from multiple apps and output them in a DD encoded stream, only a 2 channel PCM.  This is probably why there is this big driver mess in the first place.

5e64243f98ed3_LGAdvanced.jpg

 

 

With these settings Emby was able to play back in DD through my receiver.  The only problem was there was an occasional audio glitch.  I tried different bit and frequency settings but couldn't get the glitch to go away.  I suspect the HDMI Audio Extractor was the cause.  Interestingly, a number of other video playback apps did not play back the exact same files as Emby in DD.  The ability to support surround sound now seems to be application dependent.

 

To work around the glitch, I went back to using the Optical output from my motherboard and tried the same settings and it worked for outputting DD from Emby!  Also glitch free.  Note that I have rolled back to the 2.80 Realtek drivers with the Internet "patch", but I am not using the Dolby Digital Live setting that the patch enables, so I may not really need the patch version.  At some point I may try updating, but I'm tired of messing around with this for now since I have something workable.  Here are the settings for the Realtek 2.80 driver that are working for me:

 

5e64245658467_RealtekAdvanced.jpg5e6424660b894_RealtekSupportedFormats.jp

 

I'll also add that multi-channel audio test videos viewed from a web browser do not work.  I assume because the web browsers are only set up for 2 channel audio and can't play back DD.  The one case where this did work was with the Dolby Digital Live from the patched Realtek Drivers.  I expect this worked by having the driver create discrete 5.1 sound out of a 2 channel source like Dolby pro logic.


Edited by sailracer, 07 March 2020 - 06:52 PM.


#5 Luke OFFLINE  

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Posted 07 March 2020 - 07:21 PM

 

 

I assume because the web browsers are only set up for 2 channel audio and can't play back DD. 

Correct, except for Microsoft Edge on windows.



#6 sailracer OFFLINE  

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Posted 08 March 2020 - 09:18 AM

Correct, except for Microsoft Edge on windows.

Interesting- I just looked into that.  It seems Edge supports DD+, but the only DD+ source file I could find to test with was one demo on the Dolby website which was not designed to test surround sound capability of DD+ but rather the sound enhancement.  https://www.dolby.co...gital-plus.html  Youtube DD+ videos would still only play 2 channel on Edge.  I'm guessing that is a Youtube support limitation rather than a browser problem, though.



#7 rbjtech OFFLINE  

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Posted 13 March 2020 - 06:07 AM

Sometimes you just need to bite the bullet and buy some more up to date tech.  ;)  The Yammy Amp is from 2006? - some 14 Years old ...

 

I had a Yammy RX-V800 RDS (still have it - it works perfectly well) but as yours had no HDMI input and was 'only' 5.1

 

I replaced it with an Atmos Denon - and all I can say is things have come a long way in 14 years - sound stage and separation is massively improved (and yes the V800 was set correctly) - Auto source switch via HDMI, 4K support, Dolby Atmos , blutooth, wifi, HEOS and so many other toys.

 

Personally, I never had any issues using Toslink into my old amp (for DD, DTS etc) but for uncompressed TruHD etc I throught about using HDMI to 5.1 analogue input's - but at the end of the day - it's money that that could go towards a new receiver and that's the route I took.

 

The V800 is now my Garage Sound system (lol) as it's still too good to bin .. 



#8 sailracer OFFLINE  

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Posted 14 March 2020 - 09:42 AM

 The Yammy Amp is from 2006? - some 14 Years old ...

 

Geez.  Where does the time go?!  Every few years I think I might get a new receiver, but the tech is always evolving and I can't bring myself to buy one again that will be obsolete in a few years so long as my current setup can be made to work.  I also have a RX-V2092 from 1998 that was quickly obsoleted when TV went from s-video to component.  That thing has some beastly amplifiers in it and still works great but is probably worth more as scrap metal than trying to sell it now.  Someone needs to make an affordable "disposable" pre-amp that you can replace every few years.  Maybe I should just get a cheap receiver and use my current receivers as an amp only.


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