Surround sound

Ah, the idiot box, our childhood companion/minder let us speak of your marvellous ways and bask in your shiny technicolour.
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Chewi
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Surround sound

Post by Chewi » Sun Sep 19, 2010 9:57 am

Does anyone here have a home theatre system? I've been trying to get away with not buying one by running all my surround sound stuff through my PC. I've come to realise that this isn't as straightforward as I thought. Here are some of my recent discoveries.
  • I always thought the whole point of S/PDIF (optical or coaxial) was to carry surround sound. Apparently not. Unless you have the right equipment, it'll only carry plain old stereo.
  • Digital surround speakers on a PC are fairly useless unless your sound card has Dolby Digital Live. Stick to analog unless you know what you're doing.
  • It is quite normal for a TV not to pass through Dolby Digital or DTS from a device connected via HDMI to its optical out port. In my case, it'll only output stereo and in some cases, it won't pass through anything at all. I'm going to bypass the TV and buy one of those optical switches. Seems ridiculous to me.
I think I've got this all worked out now and I've still managed to avoid buying a home theatre system. I just never thought it would be this hard to get surround, especially given that I've never even seen a home theatre system before.
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kaos
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Re: Surround sound

Post by kaos » Sun Sep 19, 2010 2:33 pm

Never seen ones?

That makes europe sound so behind.
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Chewi
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Re: Surround sound

Post by Chewi » Sun Sep 19, 2010 2:41 pm

I guess plenty of enthusiasts have one. Just can't think of anyone I know who does.
EchoPark
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Re: Surround sound

Post by EchoPark » Tue Sep 21, 2010 3:30 am

Dont judge a area by one idiot i always say. Surround sound are in all the stores, they offer it with tvs and computers. Even most supermarkets sell it. Poor Chewi just doesnt get out and look enough. I've had many of a Surround sound in my time. I dont have it down stairs due to the system i had i didnt like. The system i want i cant get locally, but am the type of guy who likes it the easy way .... i'll go out and buy the kit. Leave it to the pros. I had it once kitted up to my Sony viao and it did a stand up job but the viao died and my system had to go due to running out of space.

I think i have 2 kits upstairs am tryin to get rid off.
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Chewi
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Re: Surround sound

Post by Chewi » Tue Sep 21, 2010 8:12 am

Are you talking about home theatre systems or just speakers though, dude? Most home theatre boxes come with speakers but not vice versa. I've never seen a home theatre box at your place. You gave me those surround speakers, which I'm still using, but without software decoding, I can't use them to play my 360 or any other external device in true Dolby surround. True enough, you can get stupidly cheap Technika systems from Tesco but Glen informed me that for every 10 Technika products they sell, about 7 come back broken.
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Re: Surround sound

Post by Squirrel » Wed Sep 22, 2010 1:53 am

Don't buy Technika anything, even headphones are shit! If you are serious about your music, movies and want to keep the sound real Technics are the ones to go for, in my personal opinion. Ed has a £500 (possibly even more than that) Technics hifi system, with surrond sound that he has for 8 years now. We use it to watch DVDs, play CDs, radio, and we connect my PC to the hifi for when we have gatherings. It's still the best and the bass is tremendous. Try not to go budget, an expensive system will last you, but go to Which? to see what's good at the moment.

http://www.the-home-cinema-guide.com/be ... ystem.html
http://whathifi.com/Reviews/Home-cinema-Reviews/
http://www.shopwiki.co.uk/HTIB
http://www.whathifi.com/BestBuys/Style- ... -speakers/
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Re: Surround sound

Post by EchoPark » Wed Sep 22, 2010 6:16 pm

Not being funny man but i've had 8 sofas and u probably seen 2 meaning ur never down here much lol. My surround sound lasted a few months i'm way to picky i rather have nothin than dodgy equipment. Its upstairs in the attic theres 2 of them up there. I've got a Samsung set and a Sony set.

I wouldnt find the point buyin speakers that wont do the job i want.
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Mik
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Re: Surround sound

Post by Mik » Mon Oct 11, 2010 3:55 pm

10 Technika products they sell, about 7 come back broken.
I pity the poor bastard in their customer service dept.

And to think I was giving our Morphy Richards rep shit for a 1 in 20 fail rate.
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Chewi
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Re: Surround sound

Post by Chewi » Thu Nov 04, 2010 4:50 pm

It looks like I may get away with not buying a home theatre system after all. Before starting this thread, I bought a fancy ASUS Xonar D2X in the belief that it would allow me to decode the surround sound data one way or another. No such luck. I was told that very few cards, if any, are able to capture the data without jitter problems. I considered several other cards but didn't bother trying my on-board card simply because I didn't think it would work and also because I needed to put the S/PDIF backplate back in. Well I finally got around to trying it today. It works! 8) I couldn't believe it.

So I'm now decoding the surround sound data in software. The only remaining problem is that sometimes the Xbox 360 switches back to plain old stereo and when that happens, the decoding stops working and I get silence. I can tell it to process the data as stereo, of course, but then when I switch to surround, I get a very nasty noise! I'm gonna have to write some code to make it switch automatically.
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