How to configure S/PDIF Coaxial (RCA) to 5.1?

jvandeleur

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Jan 25, 2013
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Hello all,

I know this is a well-known topic on a lot of forums and have searched for a solution for a long time now and nothing seems to be working for me and I can't seem to find any other solutions.

First I'll start by mentioning my setup for 2 pc's:

Primary:

Motherboard: Intel DP55WG
OS: Windows 7 Ultimate x64
GPU: ATI Radeon HD 5770 Club3D
Audiosystem: Harman Kardon AVR 3000

Secondary:

Motherboard: Intel P5Q Pro
OS: Windows 7 Ultimate x64
GPU: ATI Radeon HD 5770 Sapphire
Audiosystem: Harman Kardon AVR 3000

Now, my primary pc is hooked up to my tv through HDMI. The audio is being sent to my AVR directly through a TOSLINK S/PDIF cable and is configured to send 5.1 sound at all times in the audio settings of W7. Now when I play this new game, Splinter Cell Blacklist, I get full Dolby Digital 5.1 sound from my speakers, which is awesome, problem is that my CPU cooler is too small to keep it cool.

So I brought down my secondary pc that can handle it. This one is now also hooked up to my tv through HDMI, but now instead of a TOSLINK cable, I'm having to use a RCA cable (simply because the P5Q doesn't have the TOSLINK connection) and now I cannot configure it to 5.1 surround in the audio settings of W7, which is weird because when I play a movie on that pc, through Coax, it does send DD to my AVR, but then when I close the movie, my AVR goes back to 2.1, which didn't happen on my primary because I could configure it.

So question is, why I can't configure it and if there is a way to configure it, because firstly, before this, I tried getting DD through my HDMI to my tv and with a TOSLINK cable from my tv to my AVR, which worked for movies (it would switch), but not for the game, because then it had a maximum of 2 channels when configuring. And besides this, I can't change the Standard Format to 5.1 Dolby Surround in the Advanced tab, it's only giving me the option to choose the 2 channel options.

These are the things I've tried until now:

Uninstalling and reinstalling Chipset drivers.
Uninstalling and reinstalling drivers for my onboard Realtek HD Audio.
Searched for optional updates in windows update for my onboard soundcard, there weren't any.
Checked BIOS settings, which are configured correctly to send through S/PDIF Out.
Installed AC3Filter (which as of now, I don't have any sound anymore because of that).

So far I've also read that both TOSLINK and RCA are both digital, but can't understand and can't seem to find why I can configure the TOSLINK and can't do that with the RCA:S. I've also read that this may be a fault with W7? Because some people actually managed to do it on Windows Vista or even XP. And on a side note, I looked in the audio settings for the RCA and went to the supported codecs tab and it does support both DTS and Dolby Digital, and when I test it, it works just fine.

Any help is greatly appreciated, because as of now I am at a total loss as to what I can do. And if you need more info, please let me know.

Oh and btw, if I didn't already mention, both S/PDIFs are onboard.

Thank you in advance:)

Kind Regards,

Jeffrey

Note that this Thread is also found in the Components category, my apologies for this, didn't see the Home Theatre category earlier.
 

ssddx

Glorious
Moderator
spdif refers to the encoding and has nothing to do with the cable type being used. spdif signals can be sent over coaxial or optical cables. toslink (toshiba link) is a type of optical cable. at times i may state spdif instead of saying optical and i know its technically too vague but alas... i need to remember not to do that.

the coaxial cable can also have an rca cable end which should be colored orange to signify it is different than normal rca connectors. both the input and the output and would need to have this color to verify you are connecting up to spdif ports.

the correct terminology would be analog and digital. no, optical is a digital signal. spdif coax is also digital. a digital signal is used when connecting a device which will post process the signal or as a way to reduce static noise or interference. analog signal would be the speaker wire from your receiver ot the speakers or the 3.5mm soundcard outputs+splitters going to the back of your avr if you picked that solution.

i would suggest digital all the way up to the receiver if you can.

i think we should specify now... when you say spdif on the tv do you mean optical or coax with orange rca plug? i still say that it might be some sort of software/driver glitch or limitation which for some reason is not seeing your avr at the end of the stream in games. either that or its a different format of DD for games (there are multiple formats).

--------------

my thoughts are that if that one port on your motherboard is a spdif rca (coax cable) plug that it should also be able to send the signal if you have the same type of port on your tv or receiver. actually now looking at your receiver it looks like you have two coax (rca connector) ports right below your optical ones!! have you tried using those with your spdif coax cable with rca ends (make sure they have orange ends on the cable too) ??

honestly i believe that the coax should work (try the above solution before reading further) but that if it doesnt work its probably a driver or windows limitation/bug.

a soundcard would just give you optical spdif which although i would say is better is sort of a waste seeing as how i think you have coax spdif.

a new heatsink can be rather cheap. honestly just buying some more case fans could also solve the problem.
 

ssddx

Glorious
Moderator
rca can be digital or analog. depends on what your motherboard is outputting.

as far as i know rca is used for stereo only. left, right and video. this would explain why you couldnt get 5.1

i'm guessing that when you had the tv connected up to the avr via toslink and the pc connected to the tv via hdmi it didnt work for games because for some reason the games didnt detect your avr. either that or it was false surround sound from the get go. sometimes certain hardware configurations just dont work well together but cant say much other than speculation at this point.

what are your thoughts on using 3.5mm splitters to connect up to the 6ch input on your avr? you could then configure your soundcard to output as 5.1 sound. splitters are cheap also.

you could also add a cheap $15-20 soundcard which has optical out.

or you could just buy a $15-20 cpu cooler or fans for your other computer which does have optical output already.

pc 5.1 sound 3.5 connections to optical would pretty much just be an external sound card with optical out. you may as well stick with an internal.


 

jvandeleur

Honorable
Jan 25, 2013
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Thank you very much for your response Ssddx.

In audio settings it is set as a Digital Output, so I think that it is outputting Digital at this point, though I'm not 100% certain about it, is there a way to check this somewhere?

I read that too that it is for stereo only, but what I then don't understand is that when I play a movie it does send DD 5.1 to my AVR. It just doesn't do it with the game, which is to a point logically because that is Live and not pre-recorded like a movie, but then again, when I could preset the Standard Format with the Toslink to Dolby Digital Live 5.1 in the Advanced tab of the Audio settings, it would automatically send DD 5.1 at all times to my AVR, which then I could get the 5.1 from the game, which worked perfectly.

Indeed, when I had it setup with the HDMI to send the sound to my tv and then to the AVR, it only detected the stereo device (my tv in this instance) so it could not transmit the Live sound through it, though again when playing a movie it did output DD 5.1 through my tv to my AVR. I'm pretty certain that it wasn't false surround in the game, because I could play for a bit and could clearly hear things happening behind me like footsteps, gunfire, explosions etc.. And the in-game speaker test worked fine also with the Toslink, because with that I could change the Standard Format from 2 channel to Dolby Digital Live 5.1 Surround and this is actually the problem, I don't have this option with the RCA, which for me is weird because it can actually send it and under the Supported Formats tab it shows the exact same as with the Toslink, that it supports both DTS and Dolby Digital.

I could buy splitters, but I know that S/PDIF has better sound and I'm not sure if my AVR has those connections. I'm probably going for a CPU cooler, just was wondering if there was a way to get it to have a Standard Format of DD 5.1 so I could at least play now, but it looks like it really isn't possible for some reason. It looked like the AC3Filter could fix this, but I probably set it up wrong or it just isn't possible. My motherboard though on the other hand supports up to 7.1 through the S/PDIF Coax, so it's all very contradictory for me.

Thanks again for you response and input, appreciate the help:)
 

jvandeleur

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Jan 25, 2013
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Okay, since nobody else has an answer to this yet, I'll try another theory to see what is causing this. It seems, on this forum and others, that it can be done on Windows Vista or XP. I still have a spare HDD and my old license for Windows Vista, so will be trying this, see if I then can get it to work and change the Standerd Format to DD 5.1. It's going to take some time, so will post either in a few hours or somewhere tomorrow with my findings. If it does indeed work, it would implicate that it is a Windows 7 fault, which isn't a first when it comes to audio for what I can read on a lot of forums.
 

ssddx

Glorious
Moderator
spdif is a better choice however afaik your 2nd computer doesnt have spdif output. this would require buying a soundcard. basically spdif is bypassing the soundcard so that your receiver can do the processing so you really would be buying a soundcard just for spdif.

also afaik your avr does take LF/RF/C/LR/RR/SUB connections in the bottom left corner. on a pc the signals are combined as LF/RF, C/SUB and LR/RR so if you use a splitter you should be able to seperate the signals. the sound would be processed by your onboard soundcard in this case and then sent to the receiver.

if your pc is connected to the tv via hdmi and the tv is connected to the avr by spdif then technically your cables are capable of carrying the signal. the question then is if the tv can output 5.1 to the avr via this port (sounds like it can) and if the pc recognizes the avr at the end (looks like it does for movies). since it appears that only games are affected i'm guessing that it is some sort of software limitation. or it could very well be that the surround sound mode that the game uses (ie if its not "dolby digital") may not be supported but the surround sound mode the movie uses (ie "dolby digital") is supported and transferred.

honestly you need to figure out your long term goal. i would say the easiest option is to just get some case fans and a cpu heatsink for the primary box. the second easiest and cheapest would be some 3.5mm to rca/component plugs (3 of them). the most expensive option would be to get a soundcard but even then we are talking less than $35 most likely.

any of those options should work and bypass whatever odd software or hardware glitch is holding you up.

just a thought.
 

jvandeleur

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Jan 25, 2013
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Indeed, Spdif is a better choice at all times, I know because I normally watch movies on my primary with the Toslink Spdif and it sounds incredible. As far as I can tell, the RCA connection is Spdif also, it's just digital and the Toslink is Electrical(? for as far as I can read). And in my Bios it's also set to send sound through Spdif and it is also on my backplate.

Yes, I know can see with the help of Google that it can take those connections, so that would be a thought also.

Correct, it does send the signal through HDMI and then through the SPDIF in my tv to my avr, so it is capable of doing it that way with pre-recorded DD. I'm not sure yet if it is either software or hardware related, so the last thing for me to try is doing it with Vista, which I'm working on now. It seems that for some it seems to work that way, not that I want to go back to that OS, but just want to try and figure out the exact cause of this.

My long term goal would either be a soundcard or a better Cpu-fan for the primary, both are slightly more expensive here, but would be the best options to do somewhere in the future when I can.

When I'm done checking it on Vista (which is now finally done installing) I'll post a final "answer" as to if it is related to Windows 7 or not. Either way the best option long term wise would be one of the options you mentioned (and will pick your answer as the solution in that case, to close the thread). I should have an answer within an hour after installing the chipset and realtek drivers and then the game.

Thanks again for you thoughts and input in this matter, appreciate the info and help. Will be back in af few.
 

ssddx

Glorious
Moderator
spdif refers to the encoding and has nothing to do with the cable type being used. spdif signals can be sent over coaxial or optical cables. toslink (toshiba link) is a type of optical cable. at times i may state spdif instead of saying optical and i know its technically too vague but alas... i need to remember not to do that.

the coaxial cable can also have an rca cable end which should be colored orange to signify it is different than normal rca connectors. both the input and the output and would need to have this color to verify you are connecting up to spdif ports.

the correct terminology would be analog and digital. no, optical is a digital signal. spdif coax is also digital. a digital signal is used when connecting a device which will post process the signal or as a way to reduce static noise or interference. analog signal would be the speaker wire from your receiver ot the speakers or the 3.5mm soundcard outputs+splitters going to the back of your avr if you picked that solution.

i would suggest digital all the way up to the receiver if you can.

i think we should specify now... when you say spdif on the tv do you mean optical or coax with orange rca plug? i still say that it might be some sort of software/driver glitch or limitation which for some reason is not seeing your avr at the end of the stream in games. either that or its a different format of DD for games (there are multiple formats).

--------------

my thoughts are that if that one port on your motherboard is a spdif rca (coax cable) plug that it should also be able to send the signal if you have the same type of port on your tv or receiver. actually now looking at your receiver it looks like you have two coax (rca connector) ports right below your optical ones!! have you tried using those with your spdif coax cable with rca ends (make sure they have orange ends on the cable too) ??

honestly i believe that the coax should work (try the above solution before reading further) but that if it doesnt work its probably a driver or windows limitation/bug.

a soundcard would just give you optical spdif which although i would say is better is sort of a waste seeing as how i think you have coax spdif.

a new heatsink can be rather cheap. honestly just buying some more case fans could also solve the problem.
 

jvandeleur

Honorable
Jan 25, 2013
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Okay, seems logical since both are stated to be Spdif, now I know it's only encoding and signal.

O my, I think you just figured it out. The cable I'm using right now is a cable I had a IT shop make for me years back and it has yellow on both ends. So it can send 5.1 for movies but isn't really recognized as the right cable(?) which is why I can't change the Default format to 5.1.. Because as of now, it isn't also an option on Vista, I just don't have the option at all, just 2 channel. I'll have to look if I maybe have the correct cable somewhere with orange ends.

Excuse me, I should have specified also. The connection on my tv is Optical and goes to my Optical 3 connection on the front of my AVR, as well as the coax now from my pc which is in Coax 3 (also on the front of my AVR). So, with Optical I can set the Default Format to 5.1, which enables 5.1 in my game, but as of now I can't set it with the RCA, probably because of the possible wrong cable (I can't really verify because it's specially made, but will look for a the correct cable, if I have one).

I will also try to use the back RCA connections on my AVR, see if it makes any difference, but I doubt it at this point. I never thought that there were different colours and types of cables within RCA.

Well, that's what I'm trying to find out, what is causing this. The solutions are rather simple, but I'm that kind of person that would like to know why things don't work, even though they could be easily solved. It's probably just the wrong cable or it needs to be inserted into the back of my AVR, because it should work I think.

I always used to have a sound card, a Soundblaster, but it wasn't compatible anymore with both Vista and Windows 7.

I'll first try different connections on the avr and a different cable if I have one.
 

ssddx

Glorious
Moderator


although it appears not all of them follow the orange color coding. i would suggest buying something that is listed as spdif coaxial however.

like this... http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Pro+AV/IT+Advanced+Series%26%238482%3B+Digital+SPDIF+Audio+Cable+6ft+-+Black/1306665276.p?id=mp1306665276&skuId=1306665276&st=spdif&cp=1&lp=4

perhaps taking this and connecting it from the port on your motherboard to the 3rd port down on your avr (the rca plug labeled coax right below your optical ports ) will work. not promising anything but its a high enough chance to warrant a try.
 

jvandeleur

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Jan 25, 2013
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That would probably do the trick, because with this cable is still not showing 5.1 as standard format and I can't set my AVR in-game to DD.

Either that or coax may be to old or something. It's still weird that it can send the signal with movies, but doesn't give the option to change its standard format so it is possible to have 5.1 in-game. I think for now I'll leave it with this and just play stereo (sigh), and it's probably the cable or a limitation as you stated or bug or... something. As of now, I can't afford any of the solutions having that everything in € is more expensive.

I tried this cable in the back of my avr and still no success.

For anyone else having problems with his/her coax, take Ssddx's advice, he/she is a pro at this:)

Thanks again for all the help, the solutions are obvious and simple, pitty though it couldn't really be isolated as to what exactly is causing this, maybe in the near future when I get the cable, I'll pm you if it worked or not:) Appreciate all your input and info regarding this matter, always nice to learn some new things here and there:)
 
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