Speakers sound worse when connected to PC, Home Theater

Marek Wasilczu

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Feb 4, 2014
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I connected a PC to my home theater today. I noticed that the sound is not as good when im connected to it. I have it set up 5.1 and all, but if I play spotify for example on my PC you can barely hear the bass, while if I airplay the same song, it clearly sounds better. Im not sure what the issue is. Do I need a sound card for example? Im connected by HDMI to my gtx 760. Thank you for your help!
 
Music is going to be in 2 channel (with rare exceptions and never when you stream). Try setting the PC to 2.0.
Your PC will not synthesize 5.1 from 2.0 but your receiver will if you select a surround sound mode for that. Try the different ones your receiver has. An example would be Dolby Prologic II music.
Using the optical out and converting it to analog with a cheap converter won't do a better job then doing the same thing via HDMI and your receiver. And it would still be stereo since the DAC doesn't have 5.1 outputs.
Your phone may have a bass boost or other tone adjustment built in. You can adjust for that on the PC by increasing the bass or on receiver by raising the sub woofer level.
 

inanition02

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You probably need to tell Windows (I presume it's a Windows PC) that you're using a 5.1 setup so it will pass through the correct streams and not a 2.0 stereo track that your receiver needs to interpret.

What application are you using to play the audio?
 

Marek Wasilczu

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On the computer, I configured the output device, SONY TV as 5.1 and tested the speakers and it went through each speaker. I noticed that the sound is not where it should be at all with spotify, but Im assuming its the same for every other application.
 

Marek Wasilczu

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Please clarify what you mean. If I play spotify off my phone through airplay it sounds better than the PC's spotify. I could get like a disk if thats what you mean.
 

inanition02

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I meant to try something that isn't playing through your browser and ideally not streaming over the internet.

My typical method of troubleshooting is to change variables (or remove them) and see how that impacts the outcome. In your case, you're comparing -

1. an iPhone, using an App to stream via Wifi (or even via cellular) a song that is then wirelessly sent to a receiver that decodes it and plays it

2. a PC, using a browser to stream possibly via wifi or via wired connection a song that is then sent via a wired connection to a receiver that decodes and plays it.

So there are lots of variables here. So we start with the easy ones - we take the streaming and browser out of the mix and work with local media (I mean an MP3 or audio file or disk you aren't streaming). Another option would be to trying switching up the connections but that is likely harder.
 

inanition02

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Or, there's an easier answer...per the Spotify FAQ the same ""quality settings" mean different bitrates from mobile to desktop - meaning that they would sound different potentially.

Spotify uses 3 quality ratings for streaming, all in the Ogg Vorbis format.

~96 kbps
Normal quality on mobile.

~160 kbps
Desktop and web player standard quality.
High quality on mobile.

~320 kbps (only available to Premium subscribers)
Desktop high quality.
Extreme quality on mobile.

https://support.spotify.com/us/article/What-bitrate-does-Spotify-use-for-streaming/

 

Marek Wasilczu

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I just tried some other media and its the same issue. I think its only playing stereo even though 5.1 is selected and when i press test it plays all the speakers.
 

jwcrellin

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Does your motherboard have a optical audio out? I run my audio out thru a usb dac I got off amazon for $60 to get rca's. Sounds great thru my 5.1
 
Music is going to be in 2 channel (with rare exceptions and never when you stream). Try setting the PC to 2.0.
Your PC will not synthesize 5.1 from 2.0 but your receiver will if you select a surround sound mode for that. Try the different ones your receiver has. An example would be Dolby Prologic II music.
Using the optical out and converting it to analog with a cheap converter won't do a better job then doing the same thing via HDMI and your receiver. And it would still be stereo since the DAC doesn't have 5.1 outputs.
Your phone may have a bass boost or other tone adjustment built in. You can adjust for that on the PC by increasing the bass or on receiver by raising the sub woofer level.
 
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