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HT Sony Bravia STR-K685 Surround Issue (1 Viewer)

Franconstein

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Franco Caltabiano
Hi there!
First off, I'd like to thank Google for directing me to such a GREAT community that you guys are. There's a lot of info on this forum, and I love the fact that you also talk about movies and upcoming releases!
Now, I know that my issue 'might' be something dumb or obvious for most of you, but I am seriously handicapped when it comes to sound systems...
So, straight to the point: I've got the Home Theatre set up with my computer. Before you ask, my sound card is more than capable of handling surround sound (it's a Realtek HD 7.1). My HTiB is a 5.2, which I found really weird, because of the two SW. And the second most asked question (which I *think* might be the issue), is how am I connected. Well, I had a LOT of cables because I used to have the receiver connected to a DVD player, but none of those fit on my computer's sound card (obviously). So, I used a 3.5mm-to-3.5mm cable I use to connect my phone to my car.
What's the issue then? When in Stereo mode, all speakers work perfectly. But when I set any software-capable to play Surround, only Left and Right speakers work... Those software include: Games (main reason I set this up), Video Players, Music Players, and the Realtek HD Audio Manager (which plays a sound on each speaker, one at a time).
This used to happen to me with my DVD player too (and I connected that through the Digital Audio slot, or Red/White cables just to test). Now, my soundcard has lots of input jacks, which I suspect is where I'm failing...
So, if the issue is the way I've connected the HT, I would please ask you to recommend me how to set it up (as in, which cable into the receiver and which cable into the Sound Card). Right now, the 3.5mm on the receiver reads "VIDEO 1 IN / PORTABLE AUDIO IN / AUTO CAL MIC". Any suggestions?
Thanks in advance, and rock on! You guys certainly do! :)
 

NickSI

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I guess I am not up to date on my sound cards... but could you describe the connections available on your sound card? Is it multiple 3.5 mm jacks with different colors, or are there RCA jacks available.
Any 3.5 jack anywhere will never be capable of surround sound.
In order to get surround sound you need things, first a 5.1 (or greater) source, a decoder capable of surround sound, the correct number of speakers, and then cables that can carry the data. anything surround is digital data rather than an analog signal. The common innerconnects capable of this are digital Coaxial ( an orange RCA), Optical, and HDMI (which also carries video). I couldn't find a picture of your sound card (is it a built in unit?) but if it has anyone of those connections try that. If still nothing maybe reinstall the sound card driver?
 

Franconstein

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Franco Caltabiano
Hi! Thank you very much for the quick response!!
Yes, my soundcard has several different colored 3.5mm jacks, and it also has lots of other ports (some I don't know what they are).
This is a picture of the card from behind (it is built-in): http://www.asus.com/websites/Global/products/eCWbkolMf0DOW0IV/M0h5rKuZ6yJlxQiH_500.jpg
Here's the motherboard info, for what's it worth: http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/AMD_AM3/M4A89GTD_PROUSB3/
I just now realized (when you asked me this), about the small digital laser-like input I used with my DVD player, but that only carries sound from Left, Right and SW (which is actually worse than just the green 3.5mm jack in stereo mode).
With that in mind... HDMI should be the best option, but I'm not sure the receiver has that... My video card has a newer port called DP, maybe that works somehow? Here's the video card description along with pictures: http://www.asus.com/Graphics_Cards/AMD_Series/EAH6950_DCII2DI4S2GD5/
Thanks a bunch for your help, and sorry I didn't provide all this info!
 

NickSI

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191
Ok you will have to use digital coaxial to output from your DVD to the bravia, then use the optical output for the computer. There has to be a setting somewhere on the computer to output a true 5.1 signal.
Make sure the DVD player is set to output 5.1 via digital coax.
Your bravia doesn't sort video only audio so no HDMI.
 

Franconstein

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Franco Caltabiano
Thanks NickSl!! Thought I think you got me wrong. I mentioned the DVD just as an example. What I'm actually doing is setting the HT directly to the computer, which is why I need to know what kind of cable I should use. I don't have a jack for the orange one you mentioned, but I guess there can be some sort of adapter. My main concern is on the computer-side, since it has many jacks and ports... Can I find one that has those many endings?
Edit: I already have a way to output a true 5.1 signal from my computer, I just don't have the necessary connection to do so.
 

NickSI

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Ok what you need is one of these: http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=102&cp_id=10229&cs_id=1022901&p_id=1419&seq=1&format=2 It is an optical cable with a Toslink end. They are the most common Home Theater optical cable.
It will connect to your Computer via the square port in between the USBs/PS2 and the video outs. Then run it to your Bravia and all should be well.
Just remember the only single cables that can transfer surround data are Optical Digital coaxial and HDMI.
Computers come with those multiple outputs because computer speakers come with multiple outs to eliminate the need for surround decoding software in the speaker systems.
Good Luck and let us know if it works out.
 

Franconstein

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Franco Caltabiano
By the looks of it, that's the cable I tried before (the one I called laser-like because it has a red dot when plugged in). Somehow, though, I only get sound from my Left and Right speakers... I guess I'll have to fool around with the.drivers or configuration options. As soon as I get home I'll try it out. For what I had read, that cable transmits encoded audio and can only he decoded with select audio cards... Just in case that doesn't work, I'm out of options, right? Either HDMI or Toslink? Not even multiple-jacks cables?
Once again, thank you very much for all your help and knowledge!! :)
 

NickSI

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You are correct that optical transmits encoded audio or data. It is the surround receiver that decodes the format (either Dolby Digital or DTS) not the sound card the sound card is simply passing the signal from the audio file to the receiver through that optical link.
Multiple channel output (surround sound) can be accomplished with multiple cables. However, in your case you have no way of inputting those multiple cables due to the limitation of your receiver.
So those three Optical, Digital Coax (orange RCA) or HDMI. Your receiver does not have HDMI
There is another possibility to consider, In the late 90's and early 2000's maybe even still today, some receivers came with 5 speakers and a subwoofer and a big receiver that looked like their higher end counterparts. These receivers were not able to decode Dolby Digital or DTS they used Pro Logic which is simulated surround sound. Some manufactures may have even gone so far as to put digital inputs on their gear to "fool" the general public. I read some of the owners manual and it seemed light on details about the surround sound decoding. This may not be the case but you may be struggling against the limitations of HTiB or home theater in a box, which trade functionality and performance for cost.
To test this attach a DVD with an optical cable and see if you can select 5.1 output. There should be a setting on your DVD player to show some sort of HUD that shows chapter, audio, etc...
 

Franconstein

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Franco Caltabiano
Hi, and thanks once again!
Yes, with my DVD connected through the Toslink connection, it worked 'fine'. That means, that if I selected 5.1 sound on a movie (those that had the option), all speakers would work, but some voices and other noices were too low compared to some sound effects... I guess that's just an issue of tweaking around the settings.
Now, as I mentioned before, my main concern is getting surround out of my computer. I don't understand why can't I get surround through an analog connection? My sound card has lots of input jacks (plus the device configuration in Windows shows ALL the speaker types to modify levels and stuff), and while the receiver only has a few jacks, I'm not sure I understand why it can't work on analog.
That leads to yet another question: can't I use 'adapter' cables? As in a HDMI-to-RCA or something similar to fit my needs? I'm just wondering, since I have all those jacks (which I don't even know how to name if I were to ask for a cable), and so many others in the receiver.
I promise I won't bug you anymore with these questions. If I can't find a solution here, I'll just continue to experiment with different cable configurations, perhaps open a new thread (now that I know where my problem lies), or just stick to 5.1 stereo... So, once again, thanks a bunch in advance :)
 

schan1269

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Analog inputs(as in red/white) only use DPL. There is no way...and there will NEVER be a way to get 5.1 DD, DTS, Dolby True HD or DTS HD across a red/white analog.
I have a feeling the problem is...you just don't understand that.
Your computer should have a mini-toslink. If it doesn't have a mini-toslink...get one, then buy this cable...
http://www.amazon.com/6ft-Toslink-Mini-Cable/dp/B000FMXKC8/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1344921300&sr=1-1&keywords=mini+toslink+cable
 

Franconstein

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Franco Caltabiano
schan1269 said:
Analog inputs(as in red/white) only use DPL. There is no way...and there will NEVER be a way to get 5.1 DD, DTS, Dolby True HD or DTS HD across a red/white analog.
I have a feeling the problem is...you just don't understand that.
Your computer should have a mini-toslink. If it doesn't have a mini-toslink...get one, then buy this cable...
http://www.amazon.com/6ft-Toslink-Mini-Cable/dp/B000FMXKC8/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1344921300&sr=1-1&keywords=mini+toslink+cable
You are right, I did not understand that... Since my sound card has so many analog input jackets named for surround sound (SW, C, LR, SL, SR), I thought that it could somehow reproduce surround sound via analog connections... So now I know it can't...
Regarding the cable you mentioned, I have the one NickSI mentioned: http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=102&cp_id=10229&cs_id=1022901&p_id=1419&seq=1&format=2
I see that there's a difference with you regarding one end, but could you please explain how it would work better (the cable NickSI mentioned only seems to carry compressed data, which my soundcard's driver cannot decompress 'on the fly' - though it mentions an "Optional" DTS DirectSound license, which I don't understand what it means)... So, before I go buy the cable you mentioned, do you believe it would work?
Thanks a bunch, and I'm sorry for being a persistent PITA... As I said in my early posts, I'm really handicapped when it comes to audio setup...
Cheers!
 

schan1269

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Again...
Does your computer have a mini-toslink? Yes or no.
The difference between the cable I linked is the fact the one I linked is a mini-toslink.
Other than the fact it is a MINI version of a tos-link...there is no other difference at all between a MINI-toslink and a regular toslink.
The difference is...
Computers that are meant for media streaming should have HDMI. When you have non-HDMI audio, there are only two ways to get 5.1 out...
1. Mini-toslink
2. Multi-channel analog(which is what your computer has, but your Sony Bravia thing does not)
So, your options are...get rid of this Sony Bravia or upgrade your computer with headphone/mini-toslink jack.
 

Franconstein

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Franco Caltabiano
My computer has a regular Toslink connector, and so does my Sony Bravia receiver. When connecting that way, I seem to only be able to work Left and Right speakers, or if I'm lucky, all 5 but in stereo mode (while connected through Toslink, it only detects 2-channel as an available option).
While connected via headphones, I have all options available, but the whole idea of the HTPC is to be able to enjoy a good movie experience through speakers (so I'm not the only one enjoying, also)
My computer also has HDMI, and all those jacks that you mentioned, but the receiver neither (as you also mentioned). So, my question is: is it possible that, via an adaptor, I can use those connectors?
If no other options available... I might need to upgrade the Home Theater for a real one... In which case, what should I do? Just buy a good receiver and keep my speakers, or get a whole new HTiB?
 

schan1269

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It is possible this HTiB only supports Dolby Digital via the tos-link. HTiB such as this are only intended to be connected to a cable/sat box.
It is also possible this HTiB doesn't even support Dolby Digital(I can't find that model number anywhere).
The owners manual will state what can be processed via the tos-link.
Just because you have a tos-link does not automatically mean it processes 5.1...let alone anything other than DD.
 

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