Troubleshooting 5.1 Surround Setup - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 24 Old 07-08-2013, 11:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi guys, i've recently started using a 5.1 surround sound system for my home theater system. I initially started using it just as a stereo system with two speakers and a sub and everything was working great, but now i want to add in the 3 extra speakers.

My setup is as follows:

1) Media played from my PC, connected to my HDTV via (cheap ebay bought) HDMI cable.

2) Optical cable running from TV to my receiver (Digital input 1)

3) As there was no dedicated subwoofer out on my reciever, I am running speaker wire from the receivers front speaker outputs (L/R) to the L/R input on my sub.

4) Subwoofer L/R outputs are running to my two largest speakers that I am using as front L/R setup.

This was my initial 2.1 stereo setup, and everything was working perfectly, i could play movies/songs from my pc to the speaker setup and it was great.

I now want to add in a front centre speaker, and two rear L/R speakers for 5.1 sound. I hooked these up with speaker wire from the remaining centre and rear speaker outputs on my receiver. Output setting was changed from stereo to multichannel out.

I tested this setup with blu-ray movie files on my pc, as well as youtube surround sound test vids, however I am not getting any sound played from these extra 3 speakers.

All of the speakers + wires were previously working perfectly in my stepdads setup for surround sound so I don't think there are any faults in the gear used.

Wondering if anyone has any ideas about what the problem might be! Possibly in the HDMI transfer of signal from PC to TV?

Thanks for any help!
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post #2 of 24 Old 07-09-2013, 12:21 AM
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Hi Dave,

Welcome to the forum.

The problem is in the sizes of your pipes. You can fit a whole-lot of audio down that fat-pipe HDMI cable, but not so much down that skinny-pipe optical cable. The TV will only send two-channels to your receiver down optical, down-mixed from HDMI (there are exceptions).

So run the HDMI cable from your PC into the receiver, and then use another HDMI cable from the receiver to the TV. This is the way the system was designed to work. Stick with the big pipes, and let the receiver drive the TV.
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post #3 of 24 Old 07-09-2013, 06:40 AM
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"4- subwoofer L/R outputs are running to my two largest speakers...."

Huh???

This is unclear and makes no sense.

The connection in "3" makes sense.

Exactly what speakers and receiver do you have?

With that information, one could answer your question.
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post #4 of 24 Old 07-09-2013, 07:59 AM
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The explanation is perfectly clear as the OP's receiver apparently lacks a subwoofer preout and he is using the old fashioned speaker connections to the sub instead. The first response is also clear. The TV is likely outputting stereo over the optical connection as that is a limitation with most TVs. The OP needs to use a digital connection from each device to the receiver in order to get discrete 5.1.
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post #5 of 24 Old 07-09-2013, 12:46 PM
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Assuming you hooked everything up correctly...


Youtube doesn't (unless it changed recently) do 5.1. There are a number of tests on youtube for 5.1 surround, but that doesn't mean that youtube actually streams in 5.1. Youtube streams in stereo.


I'm also running an optical cable from my TV to my receiver (smart TV, I can play youtube, stream netflix, amazon instant video, play movies from my server, etc.). I can stream [compressed] audio in 5.1 through an optical cable with no problems (NOT from youtube. From Amazon instant video, or my file server through DLNA)

Back to the TV /settings/ -- For example if I'm playing a movie from my server, each time the source sound encoding changes (different movies, different encoding), I need to manually select whether it's DD or DTS (both 5.1), otherwise it defaults to 2-channel PCM. So in your TV audio, you need to check and make sure that you're sound output is /not/ defaulting to 2-channel PCM.


Assuming you have a cable box, you need to connect it with either HDMI or optical to your TV/receiver, otherwise those red/white RCA connectors will only do stereo. If you don't have a cable box, try watching something on TV that has 5.1 sound (I don't know if OTA can do 5.1), and set your TV to the proper sound output mode and see if the rear speakers work.


Also, how is the bluray connected to your receiver?


EDIT:
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Originally Posted by davehvos View Post

I tested this setup with blu-ray movie files on my pc, as well as youtube surround sound test vids, however I am not getting any sound played from these extra 3 speakers.
Opps, just noticed this. I think the culprit is the way the TV audio is being send to your receiver. With your equipment can you send the bluray movie from the computer straight to your receiver and see if you have 5.1 sound?

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post #6 of 24 Old 07-09-2013, 01:32 PM
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Questions123 - Most TVs will output encoded 5.1 from sources they acquire themselves (off air antennas and Smart TV apps) but not from external devices connected with HDMI. The TV will use the HDMI handshake to tell the source device to send stereo PCM instead of DD 5.1 or DTS. The initial post explains that he is playing Blu-rays on his PC, which is connected to the TV with HDMI.
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post #7 of 24 Old 07-09-2013, 07:39 PM - Thread Starter
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thanks for the replies guys!

with your help and some I also got from another forum, I've figured out its in the connection from PC to TV where my signal is being narrowed down to 2 channel stereo.

after trying to configure the sound output, it turns out my pc isn't sending a surround signal to the TV.

Im running hdmi from my radeon hd 6850 hdmi out (having to manually swap the cable over from the monitor to my tv as I only have one HDMI output on the video card) amd when I try to configure it it says the maximum audio channel outputs are 2, so only stereo shows up in the list of output options.

Is it possible to run HDMI signal from both my graphics card (e.g. to my monitor for standard pc use) and also from my motherboard to my TV simultaneously? Im using this motherboard http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/P8Z68V/ and in the specs page it says

Realtek® ALC892 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC
- Supports : Jack-detection, Multi-streaming, Front Panel Jack-retasking

Which leads me to believe the motherboards HDMI output will send a 5.1 signal?
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post #8 of 24 Old 07-11-2013, 05:58 AM
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Sorry to jump this thread, but something you mentioned, told me that you could answer this. I am a having a similar question about connections. I have a 7.2 Yamaha RX-V765 with 1 HDMI out and 4 HDMI in ports. I am connecting my Oppo BDP-83 to HDMI 1 (in) and my DirecTV box to HDMI 4 (in) and from there, I have the HDMI (out) going to my UN60F8000. I also am connected via Toslink from AV 1 on the receiver to the optical connection on the 8000. I just recently added the Toslink so I could get 5.1 sound from OTA broadcasts. Samsung told me that the 8000 or any Samsung TV for that matter, does not do anything other than 2 channel and not 5.1 Dolby Digital. I am more than a bit confused by this, because the display on the receiver indicates Dolby Digital when I am watching any TV show using the DTV box and I also hear it on all of my speakers. Is it because the DTV box is sending that channel to the receiver and that is what it is reading or am I really hearing the 5.1
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post #9 of 24 Old 07-11-2013, 06:45 AM
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Nearly all TVs will output DD 5.1 from their own internal tuners. That's the only way to get surround sound when using an off air antenna.
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post #10 of 24 Old 07-11-2013, 07:01 AM
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Thanks for the quick response, but my real question has to do with my total connection. Am I missing something with the HDMI connections
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post #11 of 24 Old 07-11-2013, 07:26 AM
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Sorry, but I guess I don't understand the question. Your TV will output DD 5.1 over optical from OTA sources that have it. The same goes for the DTV box with any sort of digital connection.
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post #12 of 24 Old 07-11-2013, 07:54 AM
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I think it is me that is not understanding the problem or maybe I am creating one that isn't there. I currently have all of my components (DVD player and DTV box) going into my receiver via HDMI and then my receiver has 1 HDMI going into the UN60F8000 HDTV. Is this the correct method or should I be doing something different. I hear all of my speakers, but is that a true 5.1 sound or is the receiver just distributing the sound to the available speakers with the 5.1 separation. I already get the DD 5.1 over the air with optical, so that is not my concern. This TV is new and I want to get the best I can get out of it and want some advice about proper connection. Thank you so much for your time
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post #13 of 24 Old 07-11-2013, 08:49 AM
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Yes, connecting the devices to the AVR with a single HDMI out to the TV is the usual setup. If your receiver reports getting multichannel codecs from the devices (DD 5.1, TrueHD, etc) and you are getting sound from all the speakers, then you have it configured correctly for discrete 5.1 audio.
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post #14 of 24 Old 07-11-2013, 09:19 AM
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Thanks again for your response. The confusion began when I contacted Samsung after going into the various categories in the menu, specifically "SOUND", I noticed that I was only getting 2 out of 4 items available to select. In the "DIGITAL AUDIO OUT" section, "PCM" and "DTS Neo 2.5" were the only selectable items with "Dolby Digital" and "DTS" grayed out and the questions began. They told me that I would not be able to get 5.1 DD or DTS directly from the TV unless I was using an optical connection, which really confused me as I always thought that HDMI was the best and my receiver does not support ARC if that matters. In fact, just last night, the Samsung Tech told me to connect my HDMI from the AVR TO THE HDMI (ARC) port on the TV and only then would I get the 5.1 sound...........
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post #15 of 24 Old 07-11-2013, 09:28 AM
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First off, devices such as the DTV receiver that are connected to the AVR have nothing to do with the TV's audio output.

Second, what Samsung told you about using optical may be correct. Some sets support DD 5.1 over optical, but not using ARC. That difference doesn't matter fot you since you lack ARC on your AVR and must use optical anyway.
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post #16 of 24 Old 07-11-2013, 10:02 AM
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I currently have all of my components (2) connected to the AVR with HDMI and one HDMI going into my TV. I also have a Toslink connection between the TV and AVR. How is the Toslink being used. Is it just for OTA or is it somehow tied into the sound when I am using the DirecTV box
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post #17 of 24 Old 07-11-2013, 10:22 AM
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I must really misunderstand the HDMI thing. I was under the impression that it was the do-all connection
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post #18 of 24 Old 07-11-2013, 10:25 AM
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The Toslink cable is only sending audio from OTA reception to the AVR. If you have smart apps on the TV, the audio from them would also use the optical connection for audio output. Your source devices that are connected directly to the AVR aren't involved with that optical connection at all.

BTW, use a large grain of salt with advice dispensed by Samsung support. biggrin.gif
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post #19 of 24 Old 07-11-2013, 10:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnHoward View Post

I must really misunderstand the HDMI thing. I was under the impression that it was the do-all connection

I don't think you're misunderstanding. The only reason you need the optical connection from the TV is for OTA (and smart app) audio. If your AVR supported ARC, then the same HDMI cable going to your TV for video from the source devices would be able to send audio to the AVR. Of course sometimes people prefer using an optical connection rather than ARC anyway.
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post #20 of 24 Old 07-11-2013, 10:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnHoward View Post

I must really misunderstand the HDMI thing. I was under the impression that it was the do-all connection
It is, but with some limits. HDMI carries both video and audio. On the audio side, it supports multichannel PCM and lossless codecs such as TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio. So, HDMI enables you to connect a device like a Blu-ray player to your receiver with a single cable and get the best possible video and audio.

Until recently, HDMI always worked in only one direction - feeding video and audio from a source device to a receiver and/or TV. Audio acquired by a TV from its OTA tuner or from Smart TV apps could not be sent back down the cable used to feed picture and sound from the AVR to the TV. You had to use a separate optical or coax connection to send audio from the TV to the AVR. HDMI 1.4 added a new feature called the Audio Return Channel to solve that problem. The same cable sending picture and sound to the TV can be used to feed audio from the TV back to the AVR. But there are two important limitations to that feature:

First, both devices must support ARC. Your AVR does not, meaning you have to use optical to get sound from the TV.

Second, the audio being sent has the same limitations as optical - only two channels of PCM and no lossless codecs, just the older lossy codecs such as DD 5.1. So, there is absolutely no sonic advantage to using ARC. And with some sets - perhaps yours based on what Samsung said - ARC doesn't support DD 5.1, meaning optical is actually better.
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post #21 of 24 Old 07-11-2013, 11:50 AM
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Thanks Possumgirl,
So, from what I gather, and it just hit me, all this time I have been ignoring the fact that my AVR was actually the brains of it all. The AVR is getting the appropriate signal from either the DVD player or the DirecTV box and sending it to the speakers in the appropriate format and when I am listening to an OTA broadcast, the Toslink is doing the same. The AVR being set at "PASS THROUGH" is just allowing the video portion of the signal to go to the to the TV without processing that signal and the poor old TV just has to display a picture
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post #22 of 24 Old 07-11-2013, 11:50 AM
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Thanks Bislander,
So, from what I gather, and it just hit me, all this time I have been ignoring the fact that my AVR was actually the brains of it all. The AVR is getting the appropriate signal from either the DVD player or the DirecTV box and sending it to the speakers in the appropriate format and when I am listening to an OTA broadcast, the Toslink is doing the same. The AVR being set at "PASS THROUGH" is just allowing the video portion of the signal to go to the to the TV without processing that signal and the poor old TV just has to display a picture
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post #23 of 24 Old 07-11-2013, 01:03 PM
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Yes, that's the basics of it. The AVR handles all audio processing from the attached devices, including the TV. You just need to make sure each device is configured to send the best possible audio to the receiver. Video gets sent to the TV without being processed by the AVR.
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post #24 of 24 Old 07-11-2013, 01:15 PM
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Stupid question number 50.............how do you know what is best possible audio (from a novice)
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