Using 3.5mm PC Surround Speakers for Multiple Optical Sources

docmars

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Hey all,

I'm trying to make the most of what I already have without buying a full-on audio receiver or home theater system. I want to connect my desktop PC and TV to the same 5.1 speakers with the ability to switch between sources. I think I may have found the hardware I need, but I'm not 100% sure if this setup would work. I would greatly appreciate some thoughts on this. Would this even be possible?

I use my TV as a display for my desktop as well through HDMI, but would prefer the audio be through Optical so I can get full surround through Realtek's software.

Here's a diagram of the setup I'm wanting:


I would be looking to buy these two items (if there's something cheaper/better that's worth the buy, please post it!)

Diamond Multimedia USB Xtreme Sound, for connecting the speakers to the switch
http://amzn.com/B00K85XT8W

Panlong 3-Port SPDIF TOSLINK Digital Optical Audio Switch, for connecting input sources
http://amzn.com/B00K0E0BZ0

Thanks everyone! :)
 

boju

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http://vimeo.com/109183273 Bit of a demo of the Diamond Multimedia USB Xtreme Sound, it looks it can do all that you want but will need to worry about drivers and would probably work connecting your mobo's optical to it.

For what you want to do, there seems to be a lot going on besides also having yet another sound card. It would be more convenient with one digital to analog adapter perhaps.

What GPU do you have? If you're connected via HDMI, most likely it has sound. Nvidia and AMD Graphics cards with HDMI can do 5.1/7.1 surround, just need to configure it in windows.

Can I suggest something like this;
http://www.lunashops.com/goods.php?id=220

If your TV can out source PCM and Dolby via optical as a pass through then all your Video and Audio devices can be connected straight to the TV via HDMI (In essence to an AVR) then from the adapter to the speakers.

Can use optical from the motherboard to if you want but if your GPU can do sound then that will be one less audio cable.
 

boju

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http://vimeo.com/109183273 Bit of a demo of the Diamond Multimedia USB Xtreme Sound, it looks it can do all that you want but will need to worry about drivers and would probably work connecting your mobo's optical to it.

For what you want to do, there seems to be a lot going on besides also having yet another sound card. It would be more convenient with one digital to analog adapter perhaps.

What GPU do you have? If you're connected via HDMI, most likely it has sound. Nvidia and AMD Graphics cards with HDMI can do 5.1/7.1 surround, just need to configure it in windows.

Can I suggest something like this;
http://www.lunashops.com/goods.php?id=220

If your TV can out source PCM and Dolby via optical as a pass through then all your Video and Audio devices can be connected straight to the TV via HDMI (In essence to an AVR) then from the adapter to the speakers.

Can use optical from the motherboard to if you want but if your GPU can do sound then that will be one less audio cable.
 

docmars

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Hey boju, I went ahead and ordered that 5.1 decoder. It looks like exactly what I need, so I'll report back if everything is working nicely! Reviews on Amazon were generally positive, so we'll see.\

Thanks for the suggestion!
 

boju

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No problem, will look forward to hearing back from you.

Just to let you know so you're aware that Optical in it's natural form is only Digital stereo. It doesn't have enough bandwidth like HDMI to transmit uncompressed multi-channel audio. DVD players, sound cards, any audio device using Optical in means of surround sound use codec decoding filters such as DTS, Dolby and AC3 to convert and compress audio into 5.1 sound tracks to fit in with the bandwidth limitations of Optical.

More on it here, be worth taking a look; http://forum.blu-ray.com/showthread.php?t=40821

The optical decoder should work as it's powered and should take the 5.1 compressed track from the likes of your computer and console etc and feed to the analog speakers properly. That's the idea of it anyway. Just make sure your computer is set to 5.1 and DTS and Dolby are checked as supported formats. Same with your console. These settings should already be done automatically anyway so not to worry.

 

boju

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Another thing to look out for is your TV's ability to continue 5.1 through Optical. Older TV's and probably still cheaper TVs today will only send out 2 channels. More expensive TVs can output 5.1/7.1 to an AV Receiver to decode, so it will depend on your TV whether you need to bypass with a TosLink switch you had in your diagram.

http://www.avsforum.com/forum/40-oled-technology-flat-panels-general/1326129-functionality-optical-out-tvs-ability-pass-5-1-audio-external-sources.html

Optical is tricky to say the least.
 

docmars

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Alright, I got it in yesterday and got it all setup. Overall, everything works wonderfully.
- PC surround seems to be working with it connected via SPDIF to the 5.1 Decoder
- TV sources through HDMI, like my Chromecast, seem to be working well too, except I'm not sure if true 5.1 surround is supported there, since I'm not using an HDMI receiver.

The rear speakers seem to be working with Chromecast, but I'm thinking it's simulated maybe, because the DTS 5.1 test on YouTube didn't single out the rear speakers, but instead played through the front left/right speakers when it was testing those.

Either way, no big deal. I'm just glad to have my PC surround speakers working directly with my TV now.

I don't own a PS4 yet, but I'm maybe planning on getting one, so this setup will be awesome for that.

One last question: If I were to pick up a PS4 and connect it to the TV through HDMI, letting the audio go through HDMI, would 5.1 work through DTS as you mentioned? Or would I need to connect it directly through optical to the 5.1 Decoder?

My TV is the Samsung H5203 (40-inch). The audio formats supported with the optical cable connected are PCM and DTS Neo 2:5. Not sure which is the best for my Chromecast.

Thanks again boju! This was an excellent suggestion. :)
 

boju

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Great it worked out :)

According the Samsung specifications in this link of the H5203 40"
http://www.samsung.com/us/video/tvs/UN40H5203AFXZA - Is this your exact TV?


That TV has Dolby, DTS Studio Sound, DTS Premium Sound 5.1, sound system so looks like it may pass 5.1 via optical.

Connecting the PS4 via TV's HDMI might work, the TV will need to compress the audio as PS4/HDMI will play a lot of uncompressed audio as is Bluray. So try both TV HDMI and PS4 Optical out, see if there's any difference. When PS4 is set to Optical, like the PS3 it will compress the audio itself, so will be up to your TV if it can compress from HDMI and work with the speakers properly. Not all TVs can, from HDMI, the TV might only output stereo. This is the trouble with Optical, it doesn't have enough bandwidth like HDMI and relies on compressing and decoding.

Concerning Chromecast, DTS Neo might be best. It is emulated but you'll get 5.1. PCM sounds like it might be stereo PCM, not sure. PCM is also used in surround as well.
 
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