Question USB to 5.1?

Thortok2000

Estimable
Feb 3, 2016
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4,510
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Hello all, I have a semi unique situation. I am using a device called a 'ghost' which is a thin client that connects to a cloud computer (for the service called Shadow). I'm looking to try to figure out a way to get 5.1 audio from this cloud computer. The service typically only offers 2.0 channel output, so even though the ghost has an hdmi output (and an aux port) or even bluetooth, none of those are going to support 5.1 channels.

But the option I do have is USB over IP. Using this, it's like I am installing the USB device directly to the computer, even though it's a cloud computer, and whatever associated drivers can be installed and it would run just like it would on a local computer (as long as my ping stays low enough). I'm looking for a USB device that can be used as a sound card that will allow windows 10 to detect the USB device as a 5.1 channel output source, and send 5.1 audio do it. Then I can connect my soundbar to the USB device (either via optical, bluetooth, or hdmi: I've heard HDMI is best? And bluetooth can't even do 5.1 anyway?)

Also, goes almost without saying, but I'd like to find the cheapest device that will meet this need. So far in my research I came across this: https://www.newegg.com/diamond-multimedia-bvu3500h/p/N82E16812623007 which says it supports 6 channel audio, or 5.1 audio. I think this might be what I'm looking for, although if there's any cheaper options out there, I'd like to know. And also if someone can tell me that this thing I just linked will not do the trick, please let me know that, too.

I came across a lot of cheap options that say they're USB sound cards that do 5.1 but only for analog, not for digital, and that only the L/R channels in PCM are supported on the digital output. I assume this means the optical cable connected to it wouldn't actually get 5.1 signal from such a device. They are super cheap though, some as low as the $20 range.

So I want to make sure whatever device I get will actually give a true 5.1 signal to the soundbar and not a stereo signal for it to virtualize into 5.1 (cause I don't need any device to do that, it does that already).

Does that make sense? I hope I'm asking this right. Please help!
 
If your soundbar has an actual HDMI input rather than just an HDMI-ARC port then you should be able to connect it directly to the ghost.
If the service doesn't send 5.1 then there is no way to get 5.1 regardless of what kind of output you add to the ghost. You would need something that has Dolby Prologic2 to derive surround sound but it won't be the same as discrete 5.1 like Dolby Digital. You can't use an AVR with an active soundbar so that won't work.
Does you soundbar have three channels in the bar itself and separate surround speakers? If not then there won't be any advantage to you at all to feeding it anything but 2.0
 

Thortok2000

Estimable
Feb 3, 2016
4
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4,510
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The soundbar has an actual HDMI input but the passthrough is too laggy to play games on for some reason. I tried connecting the ghost to bar, then bar-arc to TV-arc, and the sound works, but video framerate is very jerky.

Also, I kept having to switch the bar source. HDMI when using the ghost, TV ARC for everything else. And it would auto switch to the ARC but wouldn't auto switch to the HDMI (I don't think the ghost has CEC) and the TV remote can't change the soundbar's source (even when using ARC) so it made me require two remotes, which was annoying.

Anyway, the service doesn't send 5.1 via HDMI - due to the virtualization of the cloud computer, it is 'faking' what Windows is actually connected to. So the EDID and other information from the soundbar, doesn't get passed to the computer. A fake EDID that only has 2 channels is used instead.

However, a USB device doesn't have this limitation, and WOULD pass its EDID to the computer and be detected by windows as a device that has 6 channels (5.1) and so windows wouldn't have a problem sending the 6 channel output to it.

So is the theory, anyway. But since it's a theory and I want to test it, I want to test it using the cheapest thing I can. So far what I linked in OP is the cheapest I can find.

The soundbar is a Samsung HW-T550 - it's 2.1, but with rear wireless speakers (due to arrive on monday) it becomes 4.1. The manual says that it converts any 7.1 or 5.1 signals to 4.1 when the speakers are connected.
 

Thortok2000

Estimable
Feb 3, 2016
4
0
4,510
0
I got the HDMI device I linked in OP and it didn't work. The ghost will see the USB device, and I can select it as output and configure it to 5.1 speakers, but it won't see the HDMI device on the other end of it, so the USB device keeps reporting that nothing's plugged into it, and I don't actually get any sound. So I'm gonna return it.

That sound blaster from Creative looks like it would work, but it's expensive, around like $90-$100 or so anywhere I can find to buy it (or something similar) over here in the US. Is there nothing cheaper? =(
 

Thortok2000

Estimable
Feb 3, 2016
4
0
4,510
0
Alright I'm back. I bought the thing and got it hooked up to the optical. However, when I try to 'configure speakers', I can't. When I test it in properties under 'supported formats', it correctly plays Dolby and DTS in 5.1, but as far as setting in windows that the device has 5.1 speakers, it won't.

Creative support says that's because an optical cable isn't good enough to support a PCM 5.1 stream. But that the analog ports will. But my soundbar doesn't have analog ports, it only has HDMI and SPDIF input.

When I try to find an adapter that will convert analog to digital, there doesn't seem to be one that I can find, all the adapters go the other way, break down a digital signal into an analog one.

What do I do now?
 

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