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Beginner
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5.1 sound? How to?

hey peeps,

i have a SC coming my way Friday, its gonna get hooked up to that giant philips 43inch 4k monitor (BDM4350?). anyway just hooking up to that via display port prolly. how am i gonna manage 5.1 sound tho to my 5.1 system that acepts only coaxial, optical and analogue conndctions? apologies for typos, im doing this from fone.

does the rear optical/toslink on the rear of the SC cary 5.1? am i going to have to get an hdmi to optical adapter or summin?

cheers,

bb

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Super User Retired Employee
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SC? What are you talking about? There is no NUC named SC. SC is the name of one of the Compute Sticks - which certainly doesn't have an optical/mini-toslink port on its rear panel (heck, it doesn't even have a rear panel).

The PY (NUC5PPYH, NUC5CPYH), GY (NUC5PGYH), AY (NUC6CAYH, NUC6CAYS) and KY (NUC6i7KYK) NUCs have an optical/mini-toslink port on their rear panel. The upcoming JY (NUC7CJYH, NUC7CJYS, NUC7PJYH) and HV (NUC8i7HVK) will also have an optical/mini-toslink port on their rear panel.

To connect any of these to your sound system, you need a mini-toslink-to-toslink cable. This will plug right into the optical (toslink) port on the rear of your sound system. And yes, it can carry 5.1 sound.

...S

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Beginner
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Hey N.Scott Pearson thanks for replying!

Um, i coulda sworn I posted this into the NUC6iKYK subforum, aka SC (Skull Canyon), I woulda thought SC woulda been a recognised abbreviation for it around these parts (as I have seen it referenced as that on other forums), my bad.

I've been looking at the spec sheet you see, and the 7.1 (up to) is specifcally reference as the DP and HDMI passthrough, the front 3.5mm jack is obviously stereo, and the rear (from the spec sheet) is Optical out, but it didn't specify how many channels.

I am not wise of these such things, perhaps all Optical outs are 5.1, this would be my preferred option. Are you saying the Toslink on the back of the Skull Canyone (SC lol) is actually a 'mini' one? I've not heard of a mini Optical Out before, good to know tho, one more cable I need to get ready for Friday.

Thanks buddy!

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Beginner
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S, Nuc Skull Canyon (SC) arrived today, hooked it up like you said, Optical Mini to Optical regular, it works but no 5.1

I have to say I didn't think this connection carried 5.1, in windows control panel it's all about 2 channels for this connection. Have you got it wrong or do I need to do some more stuff to get it working?

I will make a new post in the NUC Skull Canyon with more description of what I'm connected to, what version I'm running bla bla, but for now I just want someone to absolutely confirm the rear optical port on the SC can do 5.1, I have a feeling it can't and it's only DP and HDMI that can...

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New Contributor I
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Hey Bruce, I wrote quite a bit about 5.1 via TOSLINK in this thread: /thread/121536?sr=inbox&ru=790012 https://communities.intel.com/thread/121536?sr=inbox&ru=790012

If you need further help, please let us know which material you want to run on your NUC through which program.

E.g. do you want to stream Amazon Video? Or play MKV in Kodi? ..etc.

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Beginner
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Thanks, I'll look into that. Currently still setting up and installing drivers. ADSL@ max 5mbp/sec speeds makes doing all this incredibly slow.

FWIW The SC is being used as a Photography machine, LR and PS etc. I wanted to remove higher end machines out of the equation as I also do gaming and need to kick that nasty habit! SC seemed like a good middle ground.

Other than that, web browsing, Office and occasional film/tv shows via MPC or VLC, it's just important at that stage that with the mkv files etc that support 5.1 that it actually works on my logitech z-5500 system.

Because the SC is connected via miniDP to my 43 inch 4k philips monitor I don't think there is a way to somehow retrieve that 5.1 audio from that monitor. I could also use HDMI as I'm led to understand, but same problem exists. I'm just trying to avoid buying any more tech/adapters to get that 5.1, hoping that the TOSlink on the rear will work.

Will look at yer thread now. Ta.

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New Contributor I
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For VLC, if you google for "VLC 5.1 SPDIF" you should find lots of instructions. E.g.: http://www.michaelontech.com/2009/09/how-to-setup-dolby-digital-51-sound-in.html http://www.michaelontech.com/2009/09/how-to-setup-dolby-digital-51-sound-in.html.

Generally speaking, SPDIF supports 2 channel of uncompressed Audio. But it also can convey multi channel in encoded format, aka Dolby Digital. So it is not a question of the physical SPDIF interface of the NUC. It is a question of setting the playback software correctly.

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Beginner
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Thanks. I can already see (or should I say 'hear' hurr hurr) that all my speakers are indeed playing audio, from example a Youtube clip, so audio is reaching further than stereo. I'm just kinda used to visiting windows control panel, doing a test tone and getting the 5.1 think, or visiting Realtek Audio Manager, and testing each speaker in the room. I noticed this isn't 'really' possible in either app. FWIW, going to Supported Formats and testing there (DTS Audio and Dolby Digital) I do get the 5.1 channels but the subwoofer is very quick, almost hard to tell if it had a 'shot' at being tested :/ I think it's the first to get a play?

I've no doubt it will all work, it's just a different way of playing audio from my more direct methods. I have yet to install all the other applications (foobar, MPC/VLC), will shout again should I run into issues.

What strikes me as a way to test this stuff out easier, is there a file/s that have varying audio codecs that instead of being a trailer has perhaps text on the video saying something like 'you should hear sound from the rear left now' etc through the 5 to 7 channels etc. I find dling this trailer or that harder to decipher, you could for example hear all 5 speakers working (as in my case with youtube) but that might just be upsampling stereo to all 5 speakers, its not really proper 'surround' like you'd get in a film (car drives off behind the viewer, hear it leaving rear right etc, that kinda thing).

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Super User Retired Employee
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Eddy,

KY is the TLA for Skull Canyon. Please don't use SC, as that is the TLA for Sterling City, one of the Compute Stick products (us folks who regularly use the TLAs get mighty confused when they are used incorrectly ).

...S

P.S. Oh yea, TLA means Three Letter Acronym (it's an Intel thing)...

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Beginner
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No Problem N, it's just been abbreviated to SC everywhere else (such as Lightroom forums and other places when talking about the ability of the SC... sorry i mean KY

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New Contributor I
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Testfile: https://www2.iis.fraunhofer.de/AAC/multichannel.html AAC Multichannel Playback Test

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Beginner
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Hey Martin, finally getting around to some of this.

Ok, MPC-HC 64bit installed. AC3 Full installed, I also visited the AAC Multichannel Playback Test sight and I'm not getting true surround. FL, FC, FR and Sub are fine, but RR and RL actually come through the front speakers again :S

The logitech z-5500 speakers are hooked up correctly, the test from the remote confirms this.

Oh, i should have also stated, this is just for the AAC webpage you linked me, I have a Defenders and Mindhunter 6 channel file (AC3) and can confirm that's working in MPC-HC fine, it's just AAC on that website that the surround works to a point but when doing the rear channels they come through the front 2 speakers again.

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New Contributor I
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I'm not really familiar with MPC. I installed it only once to test, whether it would play surround (see other thread), but then removed it.

My guess is that somewhere along the chain you have set 3.1 (if the Center is really playing) or 2.1, instead of 5.1.

Check the settings in the AC3Filter and also in the Windows Audio Devices. Maybe also check your Logitech.

Make sure you activate Surround-Left/Right, not Rear-Left/Right. Rear would be for a 7.1 system. This is, unless you have a 7.1, but the test files from Fraunhofer are only 5.1.

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Beginner
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Sorry Martin, just to clarify, following your steps outlined previously in another thread re: AC3 and MPC etc, that all works fine. I have no problem (I think) with 5.1 sound working with MPC. My issue is the AAC link/website you sent me, none of those tests is working fully, it's fine till I get around to the rear channels where they are reproduced in the front two speakers again.

I thought I'd just mention that as perhaps that's a dead give away.

Thus far the tone tests in windows control panel Dolby Digital and DTS Audio come back correct, testing a AC3 6 channel file in MPC came back correct. The only failure in producing 5.1 correct was the AAC website links.

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New Contributor I
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Ok, got it. Maybe the AAC files aren't the best example for testing surround. https://kodi.wiki/view/Samples On Kodi you find a list of various test samples, including different Dolby versions. It just depends on what audio codec your movie, game etc comes with.

Reg. AAC: Are you really getting correct sound from all front speakers, including Center? Or does it sound like Center only, but sound is coming from Left/Right? In this case AC3 Encoding (sometimes called Transcoding) is missing. I.e. in order to transmit 5.1 thru SPDIF, the software needs to decode AAC and encode it into AC3. If encoding is missing, then you get decoded signal via SDPIF, which then can be 2-channel only. Only in encoded (AC3-) format SPDIF can transmit 5.1.

If the source is AC3 (Dolby Digital) already, then it's sufficient to not decode, but instead Passthrough this signal.

If you're running MPC with AC3Filter, then activating "Use SPDIF (AC3 encoding)" -https://www.mysysadmintips.com/windows/home-and-media/432-configure-media-player-classic-to-output-5... as shown in this example- should do the trick.

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New Contributor I
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You may need to add ffdshow, https://superuser.com/questions/390367/how-to-play-mp4-file-with-aac-5-1-through-s-pdif as shown in this example. Again: I'm not really familiar with MPC.

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Beginner
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Thanks for the help thus far Martin.

Seeing as MPC is playing AC3 fine and a few video files I've thrown at it are working ok, I'm not going to be overly concerned that I'm having trouble with AAC currently, but I will look further into it. I did however encounter another issue that I wanted to bring up;

Before with 5.1 playing direct (analogue) on my old desktop pc, when playing a movie or tv show via VLC or MPC, I had control over the volume from the computer wireless keyboard (logitech K400?, the one with the built in trackpad). I noticed that with this new SPIDIF passthrough stuff, no volume controls work at all! Using windows global volume doesn't make a difference, nor messing with the volume slider bar in MPC, the only volume control I had was via the actual Logitech Z-5500 5.1 amp, which is actually (for me) not ideal for a number of reasons;

1) kids come through in the middle of the night, need to mute tv show quick, forgot where i put the Z-5500 remote, can't mute quick enough!

2) Due to my bizarre physical layout and setup, from where I sit to watch content on the 4k 43 inch monitor (which is mounted on a swinging arm so I can toggle between sitting at a desk working on it or swinging the screen around to some comfy sofa areas for watching media), I actually can't pick up a signal from the remote to the Z-5500 receiver lol. So i have to play a file first, 'feel' as tho the volume is ok, swing the monitor around and then go sit and watch and hope I don't have to get up and adjust the volume again manually hehhe.

I'm guessing there is no way around this, as we're intending for the software to have as little to do with the sound as possible, otherwise we'll get 2 channels and i can control the sound from Windows/MPC, but if I want 5.1 I need to adjust direct from the Z-5500 amp/remote? I'm just double checking that before I go pulling wires out and trying to figure out another location that the receiver can sit so that I can use the remote to adjust sound from both my desk and couch (elaborate bouncing mirror system here i come!).

One last thing.... Kodi. I've never used it. My last experience with a 'big picture' like interface for media was with Xmbc, and it just felt like too much effort to maintain with covers and content and library that I just gave up and went back to clicking Explorer folders and launching the file from there. This isn't ideal tho;

1) sitting further back from a 4k screen and the file names are too small to read easily, I'd have to change resolution or find some kinda shortcut key to toggle resolution for browsing files and then if launching a 4k vid toggle back to being 4k again ZZZzzz...

2) when you have busy schedules and seldom get the chance to sit down and watch the next episode with the missus, we forget what episode we got up to. My main motivation for Xmbc at the time was it might 'tick' an episode you've done, therefore we didn't have to try 2-3 files to recall where we last left off lol. Does Kodi do this?

Basically, having come across to the NUC world I am seeing the word Kodi being thrown around a lot, I take it that it's generally well received?

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New Contributor I
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Your observation is correct: Passthrough means that the Media Player does not -so to speak- "open the package" (i.e. the Dolby codec), but passes on to the audio device (your Z-5500) whatever is given in the source. In consequence, the Player cannot alter the volume. If you do allow the Media Player to "open the package", i.e. to decode Dolby, then it can alter the volume, but in this format (PCM), you can only transmit 2 channels via SPDIF. So, yes, you're stuck with controlling the volume on your Z-5500.

For me, that's not an issue, since I'm using a Logitech Harmony remote anyways. That allows me to control the NUC, the TV and the AVR. You can send basic (single digit) commands, and of course Play, Pause, Stop etc via infrared. And if you have the Harmony One Hub, you can even send combined keystrokes via Bluetooth.

Reg. Kodi: You do know that XBMC and Kodi are just different names for the same thing?

If you're looking for a Media Player, which covers both Video and Audio in best quality and with a nice user interface, then it's either Plex or Kodi. Plex is a commercial spin-off from Kodi, which is open source.

I used Foobar before, only for Audio of course, which is really powerful, but the UI is -in my eyes, the opposite of nice.

I started with Kodi about 4 months ago. It took me about a day of reading all the tutorials, then 2 or 3 hours to set up the file names of my movies correctly, so that Kodi can differentiate between, let's say Total Recall from 1990 and the remake from 2012. That's it. Well, more or less. My 985pcs CD library is a different story. Yesterday Kodi found an Album artist "Machine Guns 'n Roses" in my library. No idea how that happened.

What's really impressive (besides the really nice artwork etc), is that Kodi runs on various platforms. Last week Amazon had their Fire devices on sale, so I bought me a Fire TV stick, and Kodi even runs on this 30$/8GB piece of hardware.

And, yes, Kodi marks watched episodes or movies. You can either tick them manually (and of course also un-tick them). Or Kodi does it for you. With a little tweaking, you can even tell Kodi to tick them only, when watched to an adjustable %, so they don't get marked immediately upon starting, but you also don't need to watch them to the very last second.

You'll love it!

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Beginner
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You'd be proud of me, today I actually troubleshooted over an hour to resolve an AAC issue I had. I downloaded two AAC video files, one Black Panther trailer (.mov) the other from a AAC test site. Cut a long story short, the AAC test site vid worked and the other one (.mov) didn't. I knew something was up because the bass and overall sound sounded so much better on the test AAC site clip, the .mov trailer felt like only the centre speaker was producing all the sound. Proof was how the sound/volume worked, with the AAC test site clip the volume slider in MPC-HC did nothing, it (like AC3) needed the amp to change volume, the .mov file still changed volume with the software sliders...

I eventually had to untick the 'Restrict SPDIF sample rate' and voila! the .mov Black Panther clip was now playing like the AAC test site clip

Hopefully over the weekend will test Kobi? Kodu? Kodi? lolwhatever...

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