Friday, October 26, 2007

Get multichannel audio from your PC

How to get Get 5.1 or 7.1 multichannel audio from your PC to your Multichannel Home Theater System or Multichannel Speaker System? The first obvious requirement is to have a soundcard (external or on-board) that supports multichannel analog or digital audio output.

There are several ways to get the multichannel audio signals out of the PC.

Ouput SignalPC Output InterfacePC to External Connection (Adapter, Cable)
AnalogSix 3.5mm Mono JacksMono Speaker Cable
Three 3.5mm Stereo JacksStereo Speaker Cable
Six RCA JacksMono RCA Cable
Digital SPDIF (Optical Toslink)Optical Cable
SPDIF (Coaxial RCA)Digital Coaxial Cable
SPDIF Motherboard Header"Header to RCA" Adapter (Link1) (Link2) or SPDIF bracket, Digital Coaxial Cable
Analog-Digital Combo 3.5mm-Optical Combo"3.5mm to Mini Toslink" Adapter (Link), Optical Cable
3.5mm-Coaxial Combo"3.5mm to RCA" Apadter (Link), Digital Coaxial Cable

Ouput SignalPC Output InterfaceType of Signal Allowed
AnalogSix 3.5mm Mono JacksUncompressed PCM, MLP
Three 3.5mm Stereo JacksUncompressed PCM, MLP, etc
Six RCA JacksUncompressed PCM, MLP, etc
Digital SPDIF (Optical Toslink)Compressed dts & ac3, Stereo PCM
SPDIF (Coaxial RCA)Compressed dts & ac3, Stereo PCM
SPDIF Motherboard HeaderCompressed dts & ac3, Stereo PCM
HDMIAll compressed & uncompressed
Analog-Digital Combo 3.5mm-Optical ComboCompressed dts & ac3, Stereo PCM
3.5mm-Coaxial ComboCompressed dts & ac3, Stereo PCM

And then again there are two ways to get the actual audio thorugh the speakers

a) For analog multichannel audio - Use a 5.1 or 7.1 PC speaker system or Home Theater Receiver that has multichannel analog input, hooked up directly to the six 3.5mm mono jacks or six RCA jacks or three 3.5mm stereo jacks
b) For digital multichannel audio - Use a Home Theater Receiver capable of decoding multichannel digital audio hooked up to one of the digital output interfaces mentioned above.

1) Play the media in Foobar or Media Player Classic or VLC media player or Windows Media Player or PowerDVD
2) Set bit depth in these players as well as your soundcard controller to 24bit or less
3) Set sampling rate to 44.1kHz

You HAVE TO turn up the volume to maximum everywhere in your computer (player, sound controller, etc). You can control the volume ONLY through your HT receiver.

Soundcard Controller Settings
In my case its Sound Blaster Live 24bit


Windows XP Audio Controller Settings
1) Turn up the volume of Playback and Wave to maximum

and the use the following setting under Playback->Advanced

Players and their settings
Using Foobar
1) Install Foobar either using the following settings


2) Install Foobar SPDIF passthrough plugin from Here
3) Turn up the volume to maximum (i.e. 0dB)
4) Deselect all DSPs as shown below


5) Use the following settings under Preferences->Playback (Optional)

and under Preferences->Playback->Output (Optional)

6) Use the following settings under Preferences->Playback->SPDIF

Using Media Player Classic
1) Use the following settings in View->Options->Playback->Output

2) Turn up the volume to maximum

3) Use the following settings in View->Options->Internal Filters->DTS or AC3

Using VLC media player
1) Use the following settings in Settings->Preferences->Audio

2) Use the following settings in Settings->Preferences->Audio->Output modules

Using Windows Media Player (For playing wma pro)
1) Use the following settings in Tools->Options->Devices->Speakers->Properties

You should now have 5.1 channel DTS/DD audio through your 5.1 HT speaker system.

When using KS output, the kmixer is bypassed, so you can mute WAVEout (and everything else except Main Volume) in the mixer. This way there's no other sound that'll find a way to your speakers
* Use S/PDIF when available: ON
* (Advanced options) Audio output module: ALSA audio output
* ALSA Device Name: hw:0,1

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