5.1 surround sound from the PC?

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5.1 surround sound from the PC?
Marc Thomas
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August 8, 2016 - 3:17 pm

I've acquired a nice second hand home theater 5.1 speaker system which appears to be analogue but I'm not sure how to connect it correctly to the PC to get 5.1 surround.
I'm using it exclusively for the PC so the TV is out of the equation as far as the sound is concerned.
For the moment I've connected a Y splitter cable to the green audio out on the PC and the two RCAs (l & R) to the DVD input on the sub woofer.
I'm not actually sure if the three inputs on the sub have different characteristics or not anyway.
I'd read somewhere that the three generic sound ports....line in, audio out and mic (blue,green and pink) also serve as sub and speaker options and if that is the case, how would I get all those connections to a single left and right input on the sub woofer?
I'd also be happy to buy a dedicated 5.1 PCI sound card if that helps because the VIA integrated sound is just 2 channel I believe.
Any ideas?
Picture attached of the rear of the sub showing inputs for AUX,DVD and game.


And one of the front.
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Jim Hillier
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August 8, 2016 - 6:28 pm

So the amplifier is integrated with the sub-woofer, yes?

I have my PC hooked up to a 5.1 home theater system in exactly the same way - speaker out on the PC to Y splitter to the amp. Yes, it will only produce stereo sound that way but it is through five speakers spread around the room plus passive sub-woofer so the audio is still very good.

As far as I know, the only way you'll manage 5.1 through AV is via a dedicated internal or USB card. You could possibly try an HDMI splitter from your graphics card to an HDMI to AV adapter but, in the end, I reckon that might be a tad iffy and the more expensive option.

Does the sub-woofer include an optical or coaxial audio input?

David Hartsock
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August 9, 2016 - 7:44 pm

Marc, can you clarify what the bottom two yellow RCA connections are labelled? Yellow is usually a coaxial digital connection. Also, what is the make and model of your motherboard?

Marc Thomas
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August 10, 2016 - 8:10 am

Hi Dave
The yellow RCAs are video (in and out).
Mobo is MSI a78m-e35 which I believe is only 2 channel sound.
To be honest, I'm beginning to think that the speakers aren't true 5.1 at all.

David Hartsock
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August 12, 2016 - 3:52 am

If that's the case I see no digital input to the device unless I'm missing some connection I can't see, or a label I can't read.

Marc Thomas
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August 13, 2016 - 1:53 pm

You're right Dave, there is no digital input so I´m selling it.
It's also worth noting that, since I don't play my DVDs anymore, one has to know if the film is actually playing in 5.1.
I've also read that Netflix streams some films in 5.1 but only by using the app:

5.1 surround sound is not currently supported while streaming on a computer using Microsoft Silverlight or HTML5. However, it is supported in the Netflix app for Windows 8. To check if your device supports 5.1 audio, go to any Netflix original to see if there is a 5.1 audio option. If not, your device may not support this feature, or it may need to be turned on.

David Hartsock
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August 15, 2016 - 10:06 am

Looks like it's time to buy a receiver with coaxial and optical digital inputs... for business purposes only of course!

D3vz
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March 5, 2018 - 11:44 pm

Were you able to fix this?

slide9595
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August 20, 2019 - 8:22 am

If you're on Windows 10, surround sound has been broken since before the official Windows 10 release, was patched and working correctly, then broken again. No clue if it's been permanently fixed since, but I wouldn't spend too much time on the problem as it's been entirely in Microsoft's hands and no amount of driver shenanigans or tongue angle can sort it out. Microsoft is aware of the original bug.

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