Getting 5.1 Out from a Windows 10 PC

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sailracer

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Getting 5.1 Out from a Windows 10 PC

#1

Post by sailracer » Mon Mar 02, 2020 6:25 pm

It seems Microsoft or Realtek or the A/V industry in general is making it harder and harder for me to get 5.1 surround sound out of my computer. It seems some update within the past month or two has broken it, and I can't get it working satisfactorily again. I have done lots of googling and tried lots of things. I'm going to list what I think I know and ask questions that maybe some folks on here will be able to answer. Thanks in advance for all help and advice!

Setup:
HTPC used for Gaming / TV / DVR (AMD based with AMD graphics card)
Windows 10 Home, build 1909
LG WebOS TV
Yamaha RX-V2400 Receiver (pre-dates HDMI)
HDMI cable (active) to the TV
Optical Cable from PC to Receiver
Optical Cable from TV to Receiver

Usage notes:
*If I use the HDMI output through the TV to the Receiver, I don't get 5.1 sound at the receiver. It seems this is typical for TVs. I haven't found a setting to tell the TV to output a PCM bitstream.

*I get occasional dropouts of audio using this configuration. Short dropouts, just a fraction of a second, but very annoying. Don't know what is causing this and don't know how to debug. It doesn't happen to the picture, just the audio.

*Because of the problems above I use the Realtek Digital Optical output primarily. After whatever update got pushed, it is now only outputting 2 channels to the receiver. I tried all bit and frequency settings in the configuration. I tried old and new Realtek drivers and generic windows HD Audio device drivers.

*I tried the "patched" Realtek drivers that I read about on other forums. These give the option to select Dolby Digital Live (5.1) on the advanced tab of the properties instead of something like 2channel 24bit 96000hz. This worked sometimes. Playing MP4 movies through Emby Theater worked great. Playing videos on Youtube through the web browser or playing a computer game had lots of annoying audio dropouts. Fraction of a second type droupouts. Switching the settings around for whether I am using Emby or playing a game is not convenient from the couch. Does anyone know if this kind of setting change could be scripted or assigned to a macro?

Am I missing anything obvious that could make this work?
If I buy a PCIe plug in sound card or USB connected sound card with an optical output, will this solve my problem?

Or do I really need to buy a new receiver with HDMI input and switching capability? I really don't want to get on the audio component upgrade train again. I was peeved when 2 years after I dropped big bucks on a 5.1 receiver the industry went to component video and I needed to get a new receiver to handle that. I have so far refused to upgrade again for HDMI, but if this is forcing me, I may have to reluctantly give in.

sailracer

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#2

Post by sailracer » Mon Mar 02, 2020 8:26 pm

Does anyone have experience with something like this: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B083DDGGZ4/?c ... _lig_dp_it

Will it work for getting 5.1 into my receiver with Windows 10?

sdowney717

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#3

Post by sdowney717 » Fri Mar 06, 2020 7:31 pm

I had to create a new Monitor info file (driver) to get the nvidia card to output 5.1 DD down the HDMI cable to the TV.
Then it worked.
Alternatively, before that I ran a hacked realtek sound driver to output DD out the Motherboard coax connection, then sent that to my Sony receiver.

I did also buy an audio extractor HDMI switch so that my 3 sources, (fire stick 4K, DVD player, WMC) can be switched for one Tv, the extrcted audio is sent to the coax input of the sony reciever. I found out the coax output on the TV also forwards DD to the sony receiver, AFTER I changed the monitor file.

here is how you do this
https://www.tenforums.com/sound-audio/1 ... tever.html

sailracer

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#4

Post by sailracer » Fri Mar 06, 2020 8:41 pm

Thanks for the link- I may try going down that path assuming it applies to AMD graphics drivers as well. I did pick up one of those HDMI audio extractors and have had some success with it. I can now get 5.1 channels into my receiver when playing sources through Emby. Oddly, playing the exact same file through Windows Media Player or Media Player Classic does not output 5.1, only 2 channel. I don't know if they are going through different codecs or what. This is all way too aggravating, and I don't even know at which company I should be directing my hate! (I will default to Microsoft...)

sdowney717

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#5

Post by sdowney717 » Sat Mar 07, 2020 12:12 am

I uploaded my monitor info driver file on 10 forums, it might work for many, it is set only for a 1080p HDTV.
I have nvidia card and get DD from WMC to the Sony Receiver. The Sony only has Coax and the light input port for digital audio.

I know when using HDMI, the driver of the video and sound card look to see what capability for playback exists on the monitor or receiver, and if it is only saying it supports stereo, the driver will refuse to pass DD down the HDMI cable. So if you modify the monitor driver file to fool it by the EDID override, the driver thinks it is DD 5.1 capable and sends it to the TV.

I also have a firetv $k stick plugged into my audio extractor HDMI switch, and it passes DD from Prime, Netflix, Disney Plus. Now get this, a non 4K stick will pass DD out for Prime and Netflix, but not for Disney Plus.....
This is the switch I bought
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B075G ... UTF8&psc=1

It has been ok. But has one issue. Sometimes for the firetv stick 4k, if it sits like overnight, the signal goes away, and I have to replug the electric power for the firetv 4k stick. It is annoying. Without the switch with fire tv 4k directly plugged into hdmi port of TV, it never has a problem.

sdowney717

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#6

Post by sdowney717 » Sat Mar 07, 2020 12:34 pm

WMC also has a sound setup for DD, you probably need to run through that.

sailracer

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#7

Post by sailracer » Sat Mar 07, 2020 12:58 pm

I think I'm starting to understand parts of this problem a bit better. With the HDMI audio extractor connected, even though the "configure" button only shows the 2 channel stereo options on my AMD High Definition Audio Device, if I click on the properties and look at the supported formats tab, it shows it supports DTS Audio and Dolby Digital in the encoded formats. Emby and WinTV are both able to play in Dolby Digital, though I had to change a setting in WinTV to output in DD. It appears the problem is now pushed to the various applications and whether they can handle playing DD or not.

Now, maybe if get this EDID override working, it will do the same for the LG TV when connected directly though HDMI without needing the audio extractor in place.

sailracer

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#8

Post by sailracer » Sat Mar 07, 2020 1:08 pm

One other important finding- the boxes under "Exclusive Mode" on the Advanced properties tab need to be checked in order to get DD to the receiver. I just tried this with the Realtek Driver as well and was able to get DD out from Emby. Progress! Windows must be unable to mix sounds from various applications if outputting DD unlike it can with a 2 channel PCM stream.

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