Setup guide for Dolby Atmos on PC

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Dragonarmy

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Hi, I am going to setup a 3.0 Dolby Atmos system on my pc. I have chosen the following Klipsch speakers:
2* RP-160M Reference Premiere Monitor Speakers with RP-140SA Add-On Dolby Atmos Enabled Elevation Speakers
Reference RP-450CA Premiere Dolby Atmos Center Channel Speaker

I have only used powered speakers before, so I do not know what else I will need. A DAC? An amplifier? Both? Would someone recommend me the parts I will need (price does not matter, just performance)?

Ps. If anyone knows better Dolby Atmos enabled bookshelf and center speakers, please let me know!

Thanks!
 

Rogue Leader

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You need a Dolby Atmos source and something to process it. I'm not sure why you would bother with this on a PC, AFAIK there are no games that support it, only some movies. You could easily just get a blu ray player and an Atmos enabled receiver and be done with it.

That said your PC just needs a Blu ray player and an optical output (or you can output using HDMI as well), The processing is done within your Atmos Enabled Receiver (for example the Onkyo TX-NR656). You need a pair of rear speakers as well and a subwoofer for the full experience. All these speakers are connected to the receiver.

There is no such thing as "Atmos Enabled" despite what it says on the marketing speak. Any speakers can be used as Atmos front speakers, just need to point them at the ceiling. That said the add on Atmos speakers make it easier since they already are designed to be pointed upward.

Like I said, keep in mind this stuff is useless as "Atmos" if you're not running something (a movie) that supports the Atmos codec.`
 

Rogue Leader

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You need a Dolby Atmos source and something to process it. I'm not sure why you would bother with this on a PC, AFAIK there are no games that support it, only some movies. You could easily just get a blu ray player and an Atmos enabled receiver and be done with it.

That said your PC just needs a Blu ray player and an optical output (or you can output using HDMI as well), The processing is done within your Atmos Enabled Receiver (for example the Onkyo TX-NR656). You need a pair of rear speakers as well and a subwoofer for the full experience. All these speakers are connected to the receiver.

There is no such thing as "Atmos Enabled" despite what it says on the marketing speak. Any speakers can be used as Atmos front speakers, just need to point them at the ceiling. That said the add on Atmos speakers make it easier since they already are designed to be pointed upward.

Like I said, keep in mind this stuff is useless as "Atmos" if you're not running something (a movie) that supports the Atmos codec.`
 

Dragonarmy

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1. But Dolby's website says that games like Overwatch support dolby atmos. It doesn't?

2.So I will need a blue ray player to play my in PC content? OK...

3. A blue ray player, a receiver and an optical output is all I need then? (What do you mean by optical output?)
 

Rogue Leader

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There are some games that do support it I stand corrected, not many but some. For movies only Blu-Ray movies have an Atmos soundtrack as streaming films rarely have more than a 5.1 soundtrack (Atmos requires at least 7.1 channels). So your PC needs an optical out (or use HDMI) and then it needs to run to an atmos enabled reciever (like the one I mentioned) to drive your speakers.

Edit: fixed number of required channels
 

Dragonarmy

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So no DAC and amp then? What about when I am playing non Dolby content?
 

Dragonarmy

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So no DAC and amp then? What about when I am playing non Dolby content?
 

Rogue Leader

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The receiver i recommended is a DAC and amp. All you need to do is get the signal to it, either via HDMI or Optical.
 

Dragonarmy

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Got it. Thanks!
 

Dragonarmy

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I looked at the receiver you recommended, I also looked at the Marantz SR5011, Denon AVR-X3300W, Onkyo TX-NR838, and the Onkyo TX-RZ810. I know that they cost a lot more, but are they superior compared to the one you recommend? If they are, I am willing to pay the hefty $1000 price tag. Thanks!
 

robert600

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I know nothing about 'Atmos' so I'll ask some stuff.

'rogue leader' wrote "There are some games that do support it I stand corrected, not many but some. For movies only Blu-Ray movies have an Atmos soundtrack as streaming films rarely have more than a 5.1 soundtrack (Atmos requires at least 8.1 channels). So your PC needs an optical out (or use HDMI) and then it needs to run to an atmos enabled reciever (like the one I mentioned) to drive your speakers. "

so atmos requires a minimum of 8.1 channels ... but my understanding of optical cables (TOSLINK ... yes?) was that they could only carry 5.1 ... so how can they carry atmos? Or is that 5.1 limitation the spdif rather than the cable itself? I was also wondering what quality of hdmi cable he would need if he connected through hdmi.
 

Rogue Leader

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There is no such limitation, the minimum required for Atmos is 7.1 (I don't know why I wrote 8.1, I was having a bad day yesterday). Toslink does have a limitation beyond 7.1 and also it only carries compressed audio signals. Uncompressed master signals (Dolby True HD, ie available from a Blu-Ray) can only be carried through HDMI. Also any HDMI cable v1.1 or higher (most cables today and for the past few years can easily support 2.0) can carry such signal, however on a PC that may not be practical because you'd need to run the HDMI from the PC to the Receiver and then back to the monitor.
 

Rogue Leader

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They are superior and worth it. Personally I have been considering the Denon AVR-X3300W to do Atmos in my basement home theater, just haven't gotten around to pulling the trigger on it yet. I like it because of the full HDMI 2.0a support on all the HDMIs, 4k ultra support, and that it has 2 optical inputs (many receivers these days only have 1). The build quality on high end Denons is amazing as well.
 

Dragonarmy

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So can I use optical cables? Because my motherboard manual told me how to connect a 7.1 Channel. I know that this is a dumb question, but where do I connect the hdmi if I must use it?
 

Rogue Leader

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Optical cable is easiest to do, not all motherboards have an optical port on it though so theres that to keep in mind.

HDMI is preferable however since if you do watch Blu-Ray movies it allows the master signal. Using HDMI is easy, I'm assuming your monitor has an HDMI input right? So you run one cable from the HDMI out of the computer into the input on the Receiver, then you run a second cable from the monitor output on the receiver to your monitor.
 

robert600

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Again … let me restate that I know nothing about ‘atmos’. However, I’ve been thinking about which cable you should use to connect your computer to your receiver.

Let’s use an example where you are playing a blu ray on your computer (or simply a video that has any lossless versions of Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio, or more than two channels of PCM audio) DTS as the sound component. There are two ways for the computer to deal with the sound. It can process this sound information and send the processed sound to the receiver or …. It can send the send the sound unprocessed to the receiver and then the receiver would have to do the processing. Ok … that receiver you are thinking of will have a sound processor ‘light years’ better than the one in the computer so … can we agree that it would be much better to have the receiver doing the processing? Here’s the thing though … the optical cable (TOSLINK) is not capable of sending these type of unprocessed high quality sound components … it can only send them if the computer processes them. Does this make sense to you? HDMI on the other hand can carry the unprocessed sound and … since you want ‘the best’ … it would seem to me a no-brainer to use the hdmi.

Anyway … that’s my thinking.
 

Rogue Leader

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Thats incorrect, the sound processing is all done on the receiver side. The optical cable is sending a raw data signal. The difference between using Optical and HDMI is the Optical cable carries only a compressed sound standard (compression done on the PC side), vs HDMI having the bandwidth to carry an uncompressed signal, that uncompressed signal obviously has more detailed data, hence Dolby TrueHD/DTS-HD Master.

Basic Dolby Digital/DTS is done by almost any PC sound processor, but thats only 5.1 (hence the multi speaker outputs on most boards), the only time you are actually using that processing is if you use the analog outputs. If you use optical its just transmitting the compressed signal. It still needs to be Dolby Digital/DTS compatible even to transfer that signal, despite not doing any processing.
 

robert600

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Clearly you know way more about this than I - I'm definitely not disputing that but ... this quote from Wikipedia:

"Unlike HDMI, TOSLINK does not have the bandwidth to carry the lossless versions of Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio, or more than two channels of PCM audio."
 

Rogue Leader

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Yes that is correct, I never said that optical does carry that, it does not. Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master as I said are uncompressed formats and require HDMI. However Optical can carry Dolby Digital all the way up to Plus which can do Dolby Atmos.

Keep in mind Dolby Atmos at home and Dolby Atmos in the movie theater are distinctly different. Home Atmos is using the 2 extra channels (of a 7.1 setup) to do sound effects from the top as opposed to having the 2 extra surround channels, theater Atmos requires 64 speakers and is far more complicated.
 
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