PC gaming and Sonos surround sound problem to consider

  • 20 July 2018
  • 7 replies
  • 2331 views

Userlevel 4
This thread is like a mixture of a conversation and a question.

I recently bought the new Sonos Beam, and started experimenting with surround sound. And before you go out and buy one; if you use a PC to game through your TV - you might have a problem.

Now, the issue is you can't get Dolby Digital surround sound from using an Nvidia GPU (AMD, I am not sure). You're strictly locked to stereo, unless you have an Nvidia Quadro GPU or a very unique TV. But, chances are you don't as Quadro's cost multiple thousands of pounds and all the TV's I know supplement the issue.

So, what platforms pass in delivering Dolby Digital surround sound?

Xbox/PS4: PASS
Blu-ray player: PASS
TV built in apps: PASS
PC gaming with Nvidia GPU: FAIL

So, I plugged the HDMI in from my PC (GTX 1080Ti) to the TV (Sony 43" XE7073). Then, the TV will re-route the signal to the Beam. And there is nothing wrong with any of the hardware from the PC to the speakers in delivering 5.1 Dolby Digital surround sound. So what's the issue?

Cut short, every TV has what we call an EDID which informs the player (in this case, GPU) about what video and audio signals to send to the monitor/TV. Now, the TV, Sonos Beam and PC all have the capable hardware to deliver 5.1DD... but the cause of the issue is the TV and Nvidia.

Firstly, TV's have built in stereo speakers, which means the EDID passed will inform the GPU in your PC that the HDMI sound should be in stereo. And Nvidia give you NO option to override the EDID to pass 5.1DD like the Xbox or PS4...
So, I am stuck with stereo sound with PC gaming 'til Nvidia gives you the option to override the EDID.

It might work if I plug the HDMI from my GPU to the TV, then another cable from the optical output (optical to HDMI adapter) into the Beam for the audio. Unfortunately, that completely ruins the simplicity of my Sonos system and that's the last thing I want to do!

Anyway, I am fine with the setup so far - actually heavily thrilled! I love listening to music, watching films and YouTube through it (5 stars from me)! But, I will leave this thread open as a question if anyone has a technical solution to this problem. I like my PC gaming, you see. If I am stuck with stereo, it's not the end of the world.

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7 replies

Userlevel 7
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Hey there, JackWright. By chance, does your MoBo have an optical audio output? I was pleasantly surprised to find that my Asus Maximus Hero VIII did and it works like a dream when connecting my Beam. 🆒

Either way, thanks for sharing!
Userlevel 4
Hey there, JackWright. By chance, does your MoBo have an optical audio output? I was pleasantly surprised to find that my Asus Maximus Hero VIII did and it works like a dream when connecting my Beam. 🆒

Either way, thanks for sharing!


Yes, it does! But as I said in the thread I could use the optical output, then have a HDMI to the TV but it's that constant unplugging and plugging in of cables that ruins the simplicity of my system. As much as I want to avoid it, I might just have to!

Would it be alright to ask you to check a diagnostic of a problem I have been having with my surround sound setup too? If it's alright the thread is https://en.community.sonos.com/home-theater-228993/frequent-beam-surround-sound-cutouts-6810194 but don't bee obligated!
Userlevel 4
Update, PC gaming through optical is still no good. You need either a soundcard or motherboard that has a lisence to Dolby Digital Live so that the sound chip can transcode the game's 5.1 to DD on the fly. Something my modern motherboard (ax370 Gaming 5) doesn't have. You can use the analog outputs instead for 5.1 but Sonos has next to nothing to do with analog inputs other than their Connect which is stereo.

Oh well!
I have a very similar setup to you but instead of a 1080 I have a 1070. My beam is connected to my sharp smart tv via the ARC port and the TV apps play 5.1 surround. But when I play audio from my PC the sound actually comes out of my TV speakers. What settings did you use to get the sound to come out of the beam? Even if I don't get the 5.1 experience i'd like to have sound coming out of my beam

Thoughts?

Thanks
Userlevel 4
I have a very similar setup to you but instead of a 1080 I have a 1070. My beam is connected to my sharp smart tv via the ARC port and the TV apps play 5.1 surround. But when I play audio from my PC the sound actually comes out of my TV speakers. What settings did you use to get the sound to come out of the beam? Even if I don't get the 5.1 experience i'd like to have sound coming out of my beam

Thoughts?

Thanks


Hey! Yeah, some TVs might require you to select the audio system. For example on my Sony TV, I have the option in the sound settings for "TV Speakers" and "Audio System" and I have Audio System selected for Beam audio. 🙂 Chances are, the TV doesnt play audio through the Beam because of that option being different.

Setup might require different hurdles of menu navigation and different menu labels but the core of what you're doing should be the same as my TV.
Other than that, I don't see any other reason why it's playing audio through the TV becaise ARC is very smart.

EDIT: Forgot you're using a PC ? - make sure you have the HDMI digital output on your graphics card set to output sound!
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I ran into an interesting issue with Battlefield 1. When enabling Dolby Atmos ingame it transcodes the audio to Dolby Digital 5.1, albeit with a slight delay. So apparently a game can override to 5.1.

On top of that it seems that the "Movies & TV" app/Windows Media Player both allow 5.1 surround playback as well. While, for example, VLC won't do that.
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In case anyone comes across this. There's a workaround available which enables Dolby Digital 5.1 surround support via 'any' endpoint (such as NVIDIA HDMI). Info can be found here: https://forums.geforce.com/default/topic/1023992/geforce-drivers/-petition-add-5-1-7-1-dolby-digital-live-dts-connect-encoders-to-nvidia-hdmi-sound-drivers-/post/5921475/#5921475