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    Game Console Movie Surround Sound

    Although certainly a lesser purpose than games, game consoles sometimes are used for playing movies. The question is how to get surround sound at least as good as existing systems.

    The PS4 console has 2 audio outputs: Optical (TOSLINK, presumably with S/PDIF encoding) and HDMI.

    An optical TOSLINK port can handle only 2 full channels of sound. Any 5.1 surround sent through TOSLINK must be lossy-compressed to discard 2/3 of the original bandwidth (6 channels sent on 2). That is not ideal.

    The HDMI output is mainly video, but also carries the only high-bandwidth digital audio stream. Normally that will be connected directly to the TV. If so, we must depend upon the TV to deliver audio, either directly from TV speakers, via stereo RCA jacks, or yet another TOSLINK port. None of these are good options.

    People with an existing surround sound system driven by analog outputs from their computer have a problem: The computer which formerly played DVD video and produced true 6-channel surround from AC-3 has no HDMI input.

    One option is to get a small 5.1 decoder box for TOSLINK and connect the 6 power amplifier inputs to the new decoder outputs. (And then connect them back later.) But that is still ENCODED surround sound, which is not ideal. Or the box could produce stereo which probably could be connected to the computer, but that would just be stereo, and not even pseudo-surround.

    The better option would be to find a small and inexpensive (but still 24-bit Hi-Fi and low-noise) 5.1 / 7.1 sound decoder box for HDMI. That audio box also needs an HDMI video output to daisy-chain video on to the TV. Ideally, the box would include an easy way to switch between computer and game console sources, and perhaps even have analog inputs for sound from the existing computer. Sadly, I have found nothing like this, and even fairly-expensive receivers are both way overkill and yet still unsatisfactory.

    Another option would be an external USB-based sound card plugged into the game console, but it is not clear whether a game console would support that.

    So what am I missing? Surely audiophiles have fought this battle before! What are people doing for game console movie sound?

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    I ran into that problem when the PS3 came out, so I just bought a new receiver to fix the problem! DTS-HD Master Audio never sounded so good!

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    Send the hdmi to av receiver then to the tv.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RandSec View Post
    Although certainly a lesser purpose than games, game consoles sometimes are used for playing movies. The question is how to get surround sound at least as good as existing systems.

    The PS4 console has 2 audio outputs: Optical (TOSLINK, presumably with S/PDIF encoding) and HDMI.

    An optical TOSLINK port can handle only 2 full channels of sound. Any 5.1 surround sent through TOSLINK must be lossy-compressed to discard 2/3 of the original bandwidth (6 channels sent on 2). That is not ideal.

    The HDMI output is mainly video, but also carries the only high-bandwidth digital audio stream. Normally that will be connected directly to the TV. If so, we must depend upon the TV to deliver audio, either directly from TV speakers, via stereo RCA jacks, or yet another TOSLINK port. None of these are good options.

    People with an existing surround sound system driven by analog outputs from their computer have a problem: The computer which formerly played DVD video and produced true 6-channel surround from AC-3 has no HDMI input.

    One option is to get a small 5.1 decoder box for TOSLINK and connect the 6 power amplifier inputs to the new decoder outputs. (And then connect them back later.) But that is still ENCODED surround sound, which is not ideal. Or the box could produce stereo which probably could be connected to the computer, but that would just be stereo, and not even pseudo-surround.

    The better option would be to find a small and inexpensive (but still 24-bit Hi-Fi and low-noise) 5.1 / 7.1 sound decoder box for HDMI. That audio box also needs an HDMI video output to daisy-chain video on to the TV. Ideally, the box would include an easy way to switch between computer and game console sources, and perhaps even have analog inputs for sound from the existing computer. Sadly, I have found nothing like this, and even fairly-expensive receivers are both way overkill and yet still unsatisfactory.

    Another option would be an external USB-based sound card plugged into the game console, but it is not clear whether a game console would support that.

    So what am I missing? Surely audiophiles have fought this battle before! What are people doing for game console movie sound?
    I don't intend to sound to crass but unless you've got at least $3K worth of speakers and a $3-5K Amp and are an audiophile you're not going be able to tell a difference between lossy 7.1 over TOSLINK and lossless Dolby TrueHD. Sorry but from the information you regurgitated from the internet you don't really sound like an Audiophile to me. That said, prove me wrong - List out your speakers and your Amp.

    You're talking about inexpensive solutions. If you're going that route even w/ high end components the low power analog side of the decoder equipment is going to take this to much lower quality than the raw decoded audio.

    Personally I think you should do yourself a favor and get an AV receiver w/ HDMI audio decode (to make it simpler) and some decent speakers.

    PS: Go visit the AVSForum.com if you want some decent advice on receivers and speakers.
    Last edited by TAZ427; 09-05-2013 at 20:14.



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    Quote Originally Posted by TAZ427 View Post
    I don't intend to sound to crass but unless you've got at least $3K worth of speakers and a $3-5K Amp and are an audiophile you're not going be able to tell a difference between lossy 7.1 over TOSLINK and lossless Dolby TrueHD. Sorry but from the information you regurgitated from the internet you don't really sound like an Audiophile to me. That said, prove me wrong - List out your speakers and your Amp.
    First you failed your intent. Then you proved yourself wrong: Audio is not about money, or particular equipment, it is about sound.

    TOSLINK is unarguably a compromise. Unless you have the real-time ability to switch back and forth between TOSLINK and true 5.1, you simply cannot know whether you can hear a difference or not. Absent proof that I, personally, could NEVER hear any difference at all, I prefer not to compromise in the first place.

    Someone with a TOSLINK into an expensive receiver and speakers might well insist that they have the best system, and then become rather agitated when simple facts suggest that they do not. That sounds like a classic pseudo-Audiophile to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RandSec View Post
    First you failed your intent. Then you proved yourself wrong: Audio is not about money, or particular equipment, it is about sound.

    TOSLINK is unarguably a compromise. Unless you have the real-time ability to switch back and forth between TOSLINK and true 5.1, you simply cannot know whether you can hear a difference or not. Absent proof that I, personally, could NEVER hear any difference at all, I prefer not to compromise in the first place.

    Someone with a TOSLINK into an expensive receiver and speakers might well insist that they have the best system, and then become rather agitated when simple facts suggest that they do not. That sounds like a classic pseudo-Audiophile to me.
    Dude, go to AVSForum.com and argue those points. I've done plenty of testing at high end audio equipment suppliers. That's where you'll get the best input from Audiophiles, and while there may be a limited few of us here, you're obviously not one of them.



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    Since Diablo III came out, I had to actually use a mic on my PS3 lol, yeah, sue me ok. I've never used one until now. Talking with members here while playing the game... was nice. Well, to the point.. my headset is a 5.1 ss headset. I have it going from the PS3 to the mixer via optical. I am now working on getting surround sound for my home lol. I was freaking out. $#@! going on behind me. Voices making my head turn around to see wtf was back there, sound effects making me duck my head and look to the left or right lol.

    Anyways, any info here will be awesome for a newbie like myself.




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    Game Console Movie Surround Sound

    ^^ Hahah. I get exactly what you are saying. I was playing Dead Space 2 the other night, lights off and all. The surround sound makes a hell of a difference. Talking about freaking out. I never run out of ammo and run around so much before. lmao


    To the OP, I'd just get a new receiver. Might cost a bit more, but it will save you time and headaches.


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    Last edited by MjW; 09-05-2013 at 23:28.
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    I thought about getting a surround sound just for my movies and game console but I would just get complaints from my neighbors.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SkarEffect View Post
    I thought about getting a surround sound just for my movies and game console but I would just get complaints from my neighbors.
    You do not have to turn it up loud. Presumably you do make some noise with your TV and games already.

    Sometimes, on some movies, the difference in enjoyment between no-surround and surround can be almost as much as the difference between black-and-white and color. In my opinion, of course.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RandSec View Post
    You do not have to turn it up loud. Presumably you do make some noise with your TV and games already.

    Sometimes, on some movies, the difference in enjoyment between no-surround and surround can be almost as much as the difference between black-and-white and color. In my opinion, of course.
    I will have to check into it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RandSec View Post
    You do not have to turn it up loud. Presumably you do make some noise with your TV and games already.

    Sometimes, on some movies, the difference in enjoyment between no-surround and surround can be almost as much as the difference between black-and-white and color. In my opinion, of course.
    With games too. I can't imagine playing an FPS game without surround. Being able to hear where they are coming from before you see them is a whole new experience.


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    What is a good surround system, something that isn't too outrages in price.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SkarEffect View Post
    What is a good surround system, something that isn't too outrages in price.
    That really depends on how deep your pockets are. I'd definitely put having surround sound above audio quality for gaming. For a starter system you could go with a HTIB solution (Make sure you get one that takes external HDMI input and decodes the audio.) These generally have slightly better than PC speaker quality but it's good enough for gaming purposes, especially when you want to hear that directionality.

    Next step up would be a moderate AV receiver w/ HDMI audio decode (not just passthrough) these started at about $300 and up a few years ago, but I'm sure today you can get baseline systems w/ HDMI Audio Decode for $200 range. The get a set of speakers to what you're comfortable spending. I'd focus the money on the center and front speakers, can go with satellite speakers for the rears (quality isn't the most important thing on the rears - but you might want to keep all the speakers from the same series.) Then a moderate subwoofer.

    Next step up would be higher end AV receiver and speakers.

    Again, this is really dependent upon what you have available (or are willing) spend.



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    Quote Originally Posted by TAZ427 View Post
    That really depends on how deep your pockets are. I'd definitely put having surround sound above audio quality for gaming. For a starter system you could go with a HTIB solution (Make sure you get one that takes external HDMI input and decodes the audio.) These generally have slightly better than PC speaker quality but it's good enough for gaming purposes, especially when you want to hear that directionality.

    Next step up would be a moderate AV receiver w/ HDMI audio decode (not just passthrough) these started at about $300 and up a few years ago, but I'm sure today you can get baseline systems w/ HDMI Audio Decode for $200 range. The get a set of speakers to what you're comfortable spending. I'd focus the money on the center and front speakers, can go with satellite speakers for the rears (quality isn't the most important thing on the rears - but you might want to keep all the speakers from the same series.) Then a moderate subwoofer.

    Next step up would be higher end AV receiver and speakers.

    Again, this is really dependent upon what you have available (or are willing) spend.
    Thanks for the advice.

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    Get an HDMI capable receiver. Spend the money on a good one. Check your local thrift stores or craigslist for speakers and gradually save up and upgrade your speakers.

    HTIBs are great for budgets, but they aren't usually upgrade friendly or even friendly for various setups and settings

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    The PS3 is great at surround sound. Whether it be for playing movies or games. Anything works well.


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    Quote Originally Posted by mini E View Post
    Get an HDMI capable receiver. Spend the money on a good one. Check your local thrift stores or craigslist for speakers and gradually save up and upgrade your speakers.

    HTIBs are great for budgets, but they aren't usually upgrade friendly or even friendly for various setups and settings
    I disagree somewhat: selecting a modest but serviceable item often is a good way to get started. It can be a way to find which features are important before spending much, much more money. In some (many?) cases, an HTIB can be updated with better speakers, and nowadays the amplifier electronics itself often is more than good enough for movie and game listening. Ideally it would have a remote and possibly even switch between 6 channels from the game console and 6 channels from the PC.

    But using an HTIB just reiterates the original problem, which is how to get the HDMI audio stream decoded into 6 individual surround channels for the amplifier to use.

    * The attractive USB sound card option apparently does not work on the PS3.

    * HDMI video capture devices and boards may be an option. But they are reported to be fiddly on games console output, and it is not at all clear that they decode HDMI audio.

    * Then we have the new receiver option, which is way overkill as an upgrade to a working existing system, and...

    * The TOSLINK plus decoder box option, which I think would be the least enjoyable, but workable and available at moderate cost.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RandSec View Post
    I disagree somewhat: selecting a modest but serviceable item often is a good way to get started. It can be a way to find which features are important before spending much, much more money. In some (many?) cases, an HTIB can be updated with better speakers, and nowadays the amplifier electronics itself often is more than good enough for movie and game listening. Ideally it would have a remote and possibly even switch between 6 channels from the game console and 6 channels from the PC.

    But using an HTIB just reiterates the original problem, which is how to get the HDMI audio stream decoded into 6 individual surround channels for the amplifier to use.

    * The attractive USB sound card option apparently does not work on the PS3.

    * HDMI video capture devices and boards may be an option. But they are reported to be fiddly on games console output, and it is not at all clear that they decode HDMI audio.

    * Then we have the new receiver option, which is way overkill as an upgrade to a working existing system, and...

    * The TOSLINK plus decoder box option, which I think would be the least enjoyable, but workable and available at moderate cost.
    sometimes if you wanna play you gotta pay. The only real solution is to get an hdmi capable receiver. You can get a decent denon for a few hundred dollars.

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