Decent 7.1 for my computer.

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Decent 7.1 for my computer.

Postposted on Wed Nov 23, 2011 10:23 am

Decent 7.1 for my computer, so I've had my machine running a basic 2.1 setup for far to long, my sub got wet in a fish tank accident and now its time to plan the upgrade. I've wanted 5.1 or above for so long. I had started a thread on AVSforum about my aspirations and they advised me to try connecting my computer to a basic HT receiver like this:

http://www.amazon.com/Onkyo-HT-S5400-Ch ... 337&sr=1-1

Sighting it would sound better and be cheaper and more flexible in terms of upgrades or whatever down the line than a typical decent PC 7.1(they are pretty pricey)

So I wanted to bounce that off you guys and also ask what is the best/easiest way to connect my machine to that device for 7.1??? HDMI? Optical? Do I need a sound card to get 7.1? Are their different requirements for games than for movies? I'm also curious what pc games support surround sound, I've never gamed on a surround setup, pc or otherwise.

Thanks in advance.
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Re: Decent 7.1 for my computer.

Postposted on Wed Nov 23, 2011 11:00 am

kamikaziechameleon wrote:Try connecting my computer to a basic HT receiver like this:
http://www.amazon.com/Onkyo-HT-S5400-Ch ... 337&sr=1-1
Sure, that's a good plan.

kamikazechameleon wrote:what is the best/easiest way to connect my machine to that device? HDMI? Optical? Do I need a sound card?
Any of the above. A digital output (optical or SPDIF) is a fine way to get the signal from your PC to your receiver/home theater. A sound card like the SoundBlaster X-Fi Titanium could also re-encode the surround channels on the fly. With some on-board audio, you might be limited to 2-channel stereo sound in certain situations. If you're using an analog connection from your PC to your receiver/HTIB, you'll appreciate the cleaner analog output of a sound card over most integrated audio solutions.

kamikazechameleon wrote: Are there different requirements for games than for movies? I'm also curious what pc games support surround sound.
Most games have included surround sound for at least the past 15 years.
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Re: Decent 7.1 for my computer.

Postposted on Wed Nov 23, 2011 11:15 am

If you have a graphics card with an HDMI output, that would probably be the easiest method and also the best quality.

The only way to get 7.1 sound is via HDMI or the analog outputs from your sound card. If you use optical or coax SPDIF, you will only get 2.0 channel sound unless its dolby encoded. For games, you will need a sound card with DDL (Dolby Digital Live) which will encode 5.1 channel sound onto an SPDIF connection. For DVDs, the encoding is already done, so you will get multichannel sound over the SPDIF connection even if you don't have DDL.

The receiver you selected doen't have multi-channel analog inputs, so in this case the only way to get better than 2.0 sound is to use a digital conenction (HDMI or SPDIF).

If you end up with an SPDIF connection and are only geting 5.1 sound, you can bi-amp the front speakers. The receiver you selected supports this. This duplicates the 2 front channels on the 2 surround back channels from the amplifier giving you 4 front-channel speakrs instead of 2. That way you get some use out of the extra amplifier channels.
Last edited by prestonfaiks on Wed Nov 23, 2011 11:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Decent 7.1 for my computer.

Postposted on Wed Nov 23, 2011 11:35 am

prestonfaiks wrote:The only way to get 7.1 sound is via HDMI or the analog outputs from your sound card. If you use optical or coax SPDIF, you will only get 2.0 channel sound unless its dolby encoded. For games, you will need a sound card with DDL (Dolby Digital Live) which will encode 5.1 channel sound onto an SPDIF connection. For DVDs, the encoding is already done, so you will get multichannel sound over the SPDIF connection even if you don't have DDL.

If you have a graphics card with an HDMI output, that would probably be the easiest method and also the best quality.


If I run an HDMI to my receiver will that have to carry video? I'd rather run video straight to my monitor and not through the receiver so my computer can "see" the monitor ya know, unless that isn't an issue. Will HDCP goof with this in any way?

My 460 has HDMI out so when I get the sound system I'll try that first.
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Re: Decent 7.1 for my computer.

Postposted on Wed Nov 23, 2011 12:01 pm

kamikaziechameleon wrote:If I run an HDMI to my receiver will that have to carry video? I'd rather run video straight to my monitor and not through the receiver so my computer can "see" the monitor ya know, unless that isn't an issue. Will HDCP goof with this in any way?


The receiver has an HDMI output, so you use that to run video back to your monitor. If your monitor doesn't have an HDMI input, then you will need an HDMI to DVI converter.
http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=104&cp_id=10419&cs_id=1041902&p_id=2080&seq=1&format=2

Or you can clone the display and have the same video go out a DVI port and an HDMI port.

HDCP will only be an issue if you use an HDMI to DVI converter and your monitor doesn't support HDCP. All HDMI devices support HDCP, but some DVI devices don't.
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Re: Decent 7.1 for my computer.

Postposted on Mon Nov 28, 2011 10:02 am

Well I'm upgrading my Home theater setup first and as such I can experiment with that before settling on what I'm doing for my room where my tower will reside on a more perminant basis.
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Re: Decent 7.1 for my computer.

Postposted on Mon Dec 05, 2011 12:13 pm

Got a Pioneer VSX921K with polk monitor 70s and monitor 40s and CS2 with a psw505 sub. Setting it up was a nightmare as the pioneer is not at all intuitive nor is the reference manual/guide even remotely helpful beyond helping you exit demo mode. I actually used my sub instructions to setup my reciever, lol. At any rate after a day and a half of fussing with stuff I finally had my computer mirroring its main display over a 25 ft hdmi extension into my theater. I played BF3 on my 60" plasma in 1080P with booming 7.1... WOW! I've started an new thread pertaining to a planned purchase for my next GPU so as to further expend my PC. Just thought I'd let you guys know I'm living the dream. First surround system I've ever had.
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