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Xbox 360 : no surround or centre channel when playing music only movies?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
as the title suggests im having a problem with playing music on my xbox 360..

i recently swapped from analog to digital for my 360 and since doing that i have lost centre and surround when playing music from my hard drive where as when i was using analog both channels worked. im running the optical cable to a marantz sr5400 AVR all my speakers are wired ( L R C SL SR) it seems to be the xbox because the movies work fine!

i thought at first it was the amp so i reset the microprocessor and started over again but since trying a movie ive found it is neither the cable or the avr.
ive tried very setting on the avr and tried changing settings onthe xbox to no avail, can somebody help me out please ????
post #2 of 7
When using analog connections, your Xbox is outputting a stereo signal; however, through matrix encoding schemes like Dolby Pro Logic, you can get some surround and center separation. Your surround receiver then decodes the matrix and plays back sound from each speaker. This allows the Xbox to play sounds that come mostly through the surround speakers or mostly through the center channel, but as there are only two discrete channels, you couldn't have a sound that is, say, only in the center but not in the left or right channel.

Now, what this means is that when you are playing music (the vast majority of which is recorded with two channels), the surround decoder puts the music mainly into the left and right channels, but some will "leak" into the center and surround channels because the center channel essentially plays anything that is in both the left and the right channel, and the surround channel(s) play things that are in the left and right channels, but out of phase with each other. If that doesn't make sense, it's fine- just understand that when sending surround sound over an analog stereo connection sound will "leak" into adjacent channels.

Now, when you switch to digital sound, each channel is discrete. Sounds can come from any channel individually with no leakage into the other channels. This allows much better and more precise surround effects, and, for example, dialog in movies will come only from the center channel, not also from left and right, which improves clarity. However, when you play back a stereo recording, like most music, only two channels are used.

If you want the music to be played back through all of the channels, try changing the mode on your surround receiver to something like "dolby pro logic". There may also be a mode specifically designed for playing stereo music on all of the speakers; check the receiver's manual.

It is also possible that the xbox has such a feature on its end (which would decide how to play back the music on 5.1 channels and then output each channel to the receiver), I don't know because I don't have an Xbox.

Hope this helps!
post #3 of 7
That's just how the Xbox works. Its always sending a 5.1 signal, but when playing music, it'll only utilize L/R.

There's no way to change this per se, but if you switch the audio output to digital stereo, it'll send uncompressed 2.0 PCM, which your receiver can then upmix to 5.1 with prologic II.
post #4 of 7
There's no LFE either! It's a crime!!!
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
hi yes the xbox has a 5.1 dolby output and a stereo output i have tried them both and tried changing to dolby pro logic on my reciever to no avail...
thank you for your info. it has brought clarity to my problem but i cannot fix it...
many thanks
post #6 of 7
Now if you play your music while hanging out in the Hulu Plus app, music will flow through your rear speakers without changing any settings. Neither the Netflix or Amazon Prime app have this (pleasant) side effect.
post #7 of 7
If you set your Xbox to digital stereo, as previously stated, it will remedy the problem. I don't know how it couldn't. Thats what I do. If you're receiver is getting fed a 2 channel signal than you can use Dolby Pro Logic or DTS neo to matrix it to a 5.1 like sound as you previously heard over your analog connection. The problem with the xbox is that it will send you only 2 channels in a 5.1 stream. Its a poor design choice but is fixable.
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