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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I looked all over the internet for hours and I just can't get things straight. I have an XBOX 360 and I want to play games using the Dolby Digital 5.1 output. The problem is, I don't know what cable to use! I need to know which kind of surround sound system to buy and which cables to use. Do I use digital optical cables? RCA? What's the difference? How do I get the 5 separate channels with one digital optical cable? Or do I use a different cable?


And if you could, try to explain all this stuff in really good detail so I understand everything completely.


Thanks.
 

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Analog audio uses a separate cable for each channel. Those good old fashioned red and white cables are used for analog stereo - one cable for the left channel and one for the right. The digital source on a CD or DVD is converted to analog in the player and sent to the receiver as two separate analog channels.


With digital audio, a single cable is used to carry multiple channels. The player sends the digital data to a receiver over a single cable. The receiver converts the digital data to analog audio and sends each channel out separate cables to the speakers.


Xboxes generally have custom cable assemblies. One end attaches to the Xbox. The other end has a specific type of video output (HDMI or component) and a jack where you can attach an optical cable. So, you will need to get the custom cable assembly and an optical cable.


As for getting a surround system, that's a much larger question. What's your budget? How large is your room? Will you be using the sound system for music, DVDs and Blu-ray, TV? A sound system consists of a receiver and speakers. The receiver is the hub. You plug your devices into the receiver, which processes and amplifies the audio to drive the speakers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Ok so all I gotta do is get a digital optical cord, run it from my xbox 360 to the subwoofer in the 5.1 system and that's it? It will be 5 true channels?


If so, I just want a basic 5.1 system. A long time ago I bought a 5.1 surround system but it ended up being RCA only. There was no optical in so I guess it just split had the same channel coming out of two speakers on the left and two speakers on the right, mono the center and call that surround sound? Wow, I was missing out on true surround sound this whole time!


Thanks again.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by durkmusic /forum/post/18261897


Ok so all I gotta do is get a digital optical cord, run it from my xbox 360 to the subwoofer in the 5.1 system and that's it? It will be 5 true channels?

You would run the optical cable to the receiver, not the subwoofer (unless you have some sort of super-compact system where the SW and receiver are one unit).


The speakers and SW would all attach to the receiver outputs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by durkmusic /forum/post/18261897


If so, I just want a basic 5.1 system. A long time ago I bought a 5.1 surround system but it ended up being RCA only. There was no optical in so I guess it just split had the same channel coming out of two speakers on the left and two speakers on the right, mono the center and call that surround sound? Wow, I was missing out on true surround sound this whole time!


Thanks again.

A receiver can support surround via RCA analogs in two ways: there are six (5.1) RCA analog audio inputs for the audio, or the receiver is so old/basic that it takes 2 RCA analog audio inputs and applies old-fashioned Dolby Surround to the audio and extracts out rear channel info that is encoded in the main two channels.


It is also possible the surround input was via digital Coax, which looks like a signle RCA input, but carries the electrical equivalent of the optical signal found in the optical cable.


So it depends on what you have.


A few more details about what system you have might help - we're providing fairly generic advice as we don't have the details.


shinksma
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Ok Ok I understand now. Thanks a bunch. What are my choices as far as home theater systems from the very lowest to the middle of the line stuff (price wise)?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by durkmusic /forum/post/18262354


Ok Ok I understand now. Thanks a bunch. What are my choices as far as home theater systems from the very lowest to the middle of the line stuff (price wise)?

Wow. There is a lot of stuff to choose from. Just browse your local Best Buy or Target and see the types of systems available: complete Home Theater in a Box (HTiB) with combined receiver and BD player and fairly cheap speakers for $300 or so, for example, or take out the BD player feature and it drops to $200 or less (some with a regular DVD). But you get not very good speakers out of those packages, and usually not very capable receivers.


Assuming you have OK speakers already, for $250 you can get a suitable entry level receiver that does the advanced audio codecs from BD via HDMI but doesn't have all the latest bells and whistles.


You should start by figuring out what kind of budget you want to spend: for a little more money you can always get a little more in the way of features, and if you could have afforded $20 or $200 more, you might have purchased a slightly better system that will last you much longer.


You mention pricing from lowest to middle of the line: that has so many different meanings for various folks, I hesitate to assume. Middle of the line for me is about $400 to $800 for a receiver, but for others it may mean $2000 to $3000, and maybe for you it means $200 to $300.


And I would suggest you check out the Receivers, Amplifiers and Processors Forum here at AVS - lots of good info there - just very overwhelming at first, since there are a lot of makes models to choose from, a wide range of prices, and lots of experts and fanbois.


Your question is kinda like someone saying "hey, I hear there are these cool things called 'cars' that I can drive from location to location, which one should I buy?"


shinksma
 
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