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How to use 5.1 with Nintendo Switch


I just got the Nintendo Switch today, but there's no optical out on the system. If I just use the optical out on my tv instead of through the system like I do for the xbone, will that output 5.1 surround sound? I know I had to change some settings around in the xbox to get surround sound working, I'm wondering if anyone knows the best way to accomplish this with the Nintendo Switch.
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Best answer by Ryan S 6 March 2017, 20:30

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14 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +26
Hey boya056, the Nintendo Switch is only supporting the audio format linear PCM 5.1 channel via HDMI cable in TV mode. This is an uncompressed stream which the PLAYBAR only supports in stereo. That audio, when sent to your TV, is likely to get converted down to stereo as well before it gets outputted to the PLAYBAR.



To get surround off of the Nintendo Switch on Sonos, you'll need a device between the two that can convert the linear PCM 5.1 audio into Dolby Digital 5.1 and output it on the optical connection to your PLAYBAR. From what I've read, the Switch can't do this on its own.
To get surround off of the Nintendo Switch on Sonos, you'll need a device between the two that can convert the PCM 5.1 audio into Dolby Digital 5.1 and output it on the optical connection to your PLAYBAR.



Thanks for the response Ryan. What kind of device is that called and is there one you'd recommend?
Userlevel 7
Badge +26
There isn't one in particular I'd recommend, but you're looking for an HDMI switch or an HDMI extractor. Those are usually the names it'll go by.



I took a look and can't find a TV out there which will convert PCM 5.1 into Dolby Digital 5.1 for optical output.
Userlevel 7
Badge +21
I don't really think any hardware device will convert PCM 5.1 to DD 5.1... at least nothing that I've seen will do it. Usually the conversion is done in the opposite direction (DD 5.1 to PCM 5.1). An HDMI switch or extractor won't convert the audio format... just take the audio that is part of the HDMI signal and split it to an optical connection.
I don't really think any hardware device will convert PCM 5.1 to DD 5.1... at least nothing that I've seen will do it. Usually the conversion is done in the opposite direction (DD 5.1 to PCM 5.1). An HDMI switch or extractor won't convert the audio format... just take the audio that is part of the HDMI signal and split it to an optical connection.



Pretty much this. I bought an hdmi switch/extractor but it did not do what I needed. As Mike said, it just replicated the PCM 5.1 through the optical, it did not convert it to DD 5.1. I really don't think we're gonna see support for 5.1 using Sonos. Really disappointing though.
Userlevel 4
Badge +5
There isn't one in particular I'd recommend, but you're looking for an HDMI switch or an HDMI extractor. Those are usually the names it'll go by.



I took a look and can't find a TV out there which will convert PCM 5.1 into Dolby Digital 5.1 for optical output.




Hey Ryan, I think you need to be more clear in your recommendation since PCM 5.1 is not supported over optical but only over HDMI which means an HDMI switch or extractor will do nothing.



You need some kind of converter (run your Switch into an Xbox One) or Nintendo needs to transcode to DD 5.1 OR Sonos needs to add HDMI to its PLAYBAR/BASE.
Userlevel 1
This is such a terrible answer in the year 2017.

It's time Sonos start making this mythical 6ch pcm => dd 5.1 encoder device if they're not going to add an HDMI port.

I Currently have thousands of dollars wrapped up in sonos gear and I can't get surround sound out of a Nintendo, pretty sad state of affairs.
There isn't one in particular I'd recommend, but you're looking for an HDMI switch or an HDMI extractor. Those are usually the names it'll go by.



I took a look and can't find a TV out there which will convert PCM 5.1 into Dolby Digital 5.1 for optical output.




Hey Ryan, I think you need to be more clear in your recommendation since PCM 5.1 is not supported over optical but only over HDMI which means an HDMI switch or extractor will do nothing.



You need some kind of converter (run your Switch into an Xbox One) or Nintendo needs to transcode to DD 5.1 OR Sonos needs to add HDMI to its PLAYBAR/BASE.




I ran my Switch through my Xbox One this morning hoping that it would transcode the signal to DD. Sonos app said it was receiving Dolby Digital 5.1 (Xbox is set to bitstream -> DD), however I did the surround test and got no signal out of the rear channels. I'm not certain that it's even possible for the Switch to get a 5.1 signal to Sonos.
Userlevel 1
ONE OF THE HIGHEST RATED GAME OF ALL TIME IN stereo 😞
Found this on eBay in America, anybody think it will work? http://m.ebay.com/itm/HDMI-Dolby-DTS-PCM-5-1-7-1-To-Optical-Digital-Audio-Converter-Decoder-/230840436904?hash=item35bf2988a8%3Ag%3A6PEAAOSwLEtYlKRV&_trkparms=pageci%253Ab24b6074-9600-11e7-8eb8-74dbd1809741%257Cparentrq%253A6adeca6c15e0a991f30a797bfff483bc%257Ciid%253A1
I’m pretty disappointed as well. More with Sonos than Nintendo. It’s wrong of Nintendo not to include DD5.1 output but it’s a bigger disappointment that Sonos can’t handle anything more than DD. For its money it should have. It’s surreal that I have spent so much money on a good surround setup and have to settle with stereo from my switch, whereas with my cheap LG HTiB before I had full blown surround. t least I got to finish Zelda before “upgrading” to Sonos
Another unhappy customer. The SONOS SoundBar should be able to decode if they want to be the audio hub in your HT, especially for customers that have invested in multiple speakers and sub for the full 5.1 experience. I have tried a HDMI audio extractor I had at home to fix a Sony Bravia/Plex to SONOS issue but didn’t work. SONOS any plans to fix?
i have this problem, and have had several other with Sonos. Not supporting DTS keeps me from watching other movies. If i could go back, i would have never bought my Sonos 5.1 surround setup. They have cost me a pretty penny, but have only very limited support. I cringe every time i have to enable my poor tv speakers just to enjoy something properly.
Userlevel 1
Badge +1
i have this problem, and have had several other with Sonos. Not supporting DTS keeps me from watching other movies.

Not at all the issue here, this is entirely on Nintendo. The only devices I have that don't output/downsample to a 5.1 DD signal are my Wii U and Switch. I doubt there's a BluRay or DVD player on the market that lacks the ability to do this because as I understand it it part of the DVD/BluRay spec to have to do this. To my surprise my Chromecast supports this also. As I understand it the only reason why Nintendo doesn't do this is because they don't have to. It's not a DVD/BluRay player therefore they can avoid paying that licence.



This is the same story with the Beam (which I have) and the new Amp. So if anyone like me googles this same question and comes up with a solution using some converter? Please reply to this, I'm all ears.