Confused about PC sound settings and 2.1 setup playing 2.1+ - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 01-23-2012, 08:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Hello everyone,

I've been searching forums and the Internet for help on this topic but I suspect that I've chosen the complete wrong search terms and thus not finding the answer. First a bit of background of what I'm running:

The players
  • Windows 7 Ultimate x64
  • Auzen X-Meridian 7.1 (first gen)
  • PNY Nvidia GeForce GTX 550 Ti
  • Ceton InfiniTV PCIe
  • Pioneer VSX-D514
  • Panasonic TC-P50VT25
  • Klipsch Chorus II (with upgraded Bob Crites crossovers)
  • Sony 10" 150W sub
  • Optical TOSLINK to Pioneer, HDMI to Panasonic
  • Typical audio activity:
    • During the day: MP3 128 - 320 VBR (most around 192 - 240)
    • EveningsDigital cable audio (DD) through WMC
    • Weekends: MKV (DVD/BD) with AAC (VBR Q=.55) and FLAC (16/24bit)

Besides really needing to upgrade both my AVR and sub, I'm trying to figure out how to properly setup my system.

What I get confused about is the speaker settings in Windows (and Xear3D - Auzen software). When I set the "system input" or "speaker" settings to 2 CH or 4 CH the audio is a bit quieter but sounds decent. If I set to greater than 4 CH the sound is "tinny" (is that a word?). I typically don't use the "7.1 virtual speaker" feature or any of the DSPs.

I have the Auzen sending DTS to the Pioneer. I have experimented with the Pioneer set to FS-C*-S* (SW Yes, X.Over 100) and FL-C*-S* (SW Plus) using both "Standard" mode (DTS 5.1) and "Stereo" mode. I typically have "Loudness" enabled. I don't hear a world of difference between the two modes or the speaker size settings. Speakers are roughly 7 FT from me and the sub 6.5 FT. To my dismay, the townhouse I'm renting has the most ridiculous living orientation so my speakers are at an angle to the couch with the left aimed and physically pointed in a more direct manner than the right.

I have also been experimenting with increasing the center channel volume in the DTS signal to add clarity to vocals, but, I'm not sure that actually does anything in a 2.1 setup.

What concerns me the most about the "system input" setting is that the documentation alludes one to believe that you should change it based on the audio file you are listening too. I'm hoping that I don't have to make this change every time.

Does anyone out there have any advice on how to properly setup Windows or any of my other components to not lose audio detail?

Finally I'm taking recommendations on a new AVR and sub. (I know there is a plethora of discussion on that subject.)

Thanks in advance,
Mike
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post #2 of 5 Old 01-24-2012, 07:48 AM
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I think you may be approaching the problem the wrong way. If you have a 2.0 or 2.1 speaker system, then you should not be setting your soundcard to drive more than two channels of audio (stereo). If you send stereo to the receiver, but only have two speakers attached, then do not use the multi-channel matrixed simulated soundfields that expect to produce output for speakers you do not have.

Or am I mis-understanding your question ????
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post #3 of 5 Old 01-24-2012, 09:33 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m_vanmeter View Post

I think you may be approaching the problem the wrong way. If you have a 2.0 or 2.1 speaker system, then you should not be setting your soundcard to drive more than two channels of audio (stereo). If you send stereo to the receiver, but only have two speakers attached, then do not use the multi-channel matrixed simulated soundfields that expect to produce output for speakers you do not have.

Or am I mis-understanding your question ????

Ah, I think you understood my question correctly and that I'm just in a world of confusion which I suspect is largely due to my own ignorance and obsessive compulsiveness!

I suppose I thought that the configuration would be ideal sending all data to the AVR and then letting the AVR handle the dispersion of sound based on how it is configured.

At this point, my sound card isn't doing much of anything other than sending a DTS stream to the AVR. What is interesting is that the DTS stream appears to be 5.1 and if I use the software to "test" the speakers there is an attempt at the spacial sound reproduction for the C, LS, and RS.

Answer 1: Clearly the "system input" should be 2 CH.

Moving on from that, should I be sending the DTS stream or should I be sending a PCM stream (limited to 96 kHz as that's all my AVR is capable of receiving -- even though the card can output 24 bit 192 kHz)?

Also, I suspect that I should have the AVR mode set to "Stereo" as opposed to the "Standard" mode which (if I'm not mistaken) enables 5.1?

Regarding speaker size, I know the size affects the signal to the SW. These speakers have huge 15" bass drivers with a passive. I've always felt I've been unable to get much bass out of them though. I read somewhere on this forum that setting your speakers to "small" was the ideal option and then set the x.over to 50, 60, 80hz. I'm limited to 100hz. Any thoughts on that?

I'll be reading a few AVR configuration articles today to learn more and hopefully figure out exactly what speaker distance does to the sound reproduction if anything, among other things.

I also need to figure out if I want to use my video card's HDMI audio if and when I upgrade my AVR or stick with my TOSLINK from the sound card. If I will be sending digital audio (and hopefully bit stream one day), I don't think the sound card matters much anymore.

This is what space I am dealing with: https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/phot...eat=directlink

Thanks,
Mike
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post #4 of 5 Old 01-24-2012, 11:16 AM
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I don't know your receiver but you should be able to tell it you don't have a center or surround (as you have 2.1) and it should be able to do the right thing with bit stream or PCM. Stereo mode is probaly the right thing for you as you have stereo audio.

You can have the computer break the bitsteam into 2 channel OR the AVR.

When you get HDMI just use the HDMI for audio and video.

Have Fun!
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post #5 of 5 Old 01-24-2012, 12:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kmannth View Post

I don't know your receiver but you should be able to tell it you don't have a center or surround (as you have 2.1) and it should be able to do the right thing with bit stream or PCM. Stereo mode is probaly the right thing for you as you have stereo audio.

You can have the computer break the bitsteam into 2 channel OR the AVR.

When you get HDMI just use the HDMI for audio and video.

Have Fun!

Thanks for the reply. I'm learning...even if slowly.

Yes, I have configured the AVR to indicate the only speakers present are the front and sub. They are currently configured as small. (the AVR indicates this as: FS-C*-S* / SW YES / X.OVER 100)

So, few silly questions.

If the sound card outputs PCM it is performing the downmix and if the sound card outputs DTS the AVR is performing the downmix? Is this a DSP function or DAC?

If the source is 2 CH and the sound card is outputting DTS, is the stream upmixed by the sound card then downmixed again at the AVR?

In either situation, DTS or PCM, the AVR's DAC is used and the stream is 100% digital from file through transport to AVR?

Thanks guys,
Mike

P.S. - I'm now playing with FLAC vs. MP3 and other than the FLAC being louder, I'm trying to determine if I want to locate FLAC for all my music (6000+ songs) or just keep what I have. I wish I could buy FLAC from the place I buy my MP3 files....whole other topic!
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