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  • 5.1 and stereo

    If someone has a dvd HU or carputer with optical 5.1 output and wants to add a 5.1 DD processor, how do you keep stereo music playing normally and just the dvd's being decoded into 5.1.

    Obviously the stereo rcas would go to your x-over, or amp etc. and the 5.1 optical output to the 5.1 processor, but what about after that.
    Does the output of the 5.1 go into the amp also?

    Can you set up the pc so DVD's only play out of the optical output? And everything else comes out of the rcas?

    I'm just very confused on how to do both. or does fm radio sound good in 5.1 and eliminate the need for the x-over?

    then there's nothing to worry about.

    Any help would be appreciated. Links, or how some of you guys have done it.

  • #2
    I have a 5.1 setup in my living room right now where just about every source I have is split into 5.1 including: DVD, radio, tv, cd player, ps2. Because my receiver supprts it, I can take a 5.1 source and downmix it to stereo, or upmix a stereo source to 5.1. I prefer using 5.1 for most things, but for CDs I always use stereo because CDs are engineered to be heard on a "stereo" system.

    That said, in a car I would recommend using stereo for the radio and CD player because radio broadcasters use processing to enhance the 2channel audio before it gets to your car (I work in radio). Plus you will get to use your crossovers and subs...etc... I would use 5.1 for DVD playback because that is the way it is intended to be heard. This is only my oppinion though.

    For hookups, ideally I would have a HU feed a 5.1 decoder that is capable of passing both 5.1 and stereo signals to the outputs (rca I assume). Then use your HU to select 5.1 or stereo output.

    I think that makes sense, let me know if that helps.

    ~Teenkertoy

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    • #3
      I use a Turtlebeach Santa Cruz sound card. If the source isn't encoded for 5.1 surround I have it set to just "fake" it. Basically it just plays the stereo channels on front and rear speakers. I bypassed (more like got rid of) the HU, though.
      My Install Thread
      digitaljetta.com

      MKIV VW Jetta
      How do I get sound to my car?

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      • #4
        ppgt94 and teenkertoy:
        So basically, fm radio doesn't sound good in 5.1...ok

        teenkertoy:

        so if you use both, the crossover for stereo sources, and the 5.1 proc for dvd, how do you run them both into an amp?
        do you just use a splitter/joiner?

        or am I missing something.

        Its my understanding, that for 5.1 sources, the proc performs the same functions as the x-over. So after the proc you will have FL, FR, C, RR, RL and sub outputs. Obviously the sub output is low frequency (.1) and that goes to the sub amp...and to the sub.

        I know amps have stereo inputs, but what about inputs for the (4) FL, FR, RR, RL outputs?

        Thanks to you guys I kinda understand the why, just confused on the how.
        I wonder if maybe alpine, or some other manufacturer will have a sample system diagram on how a 5.1 proc fits in a system so I can visualize it.

        maybe I should just get the turtle beach sound card...sounds easy

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        • #5
          Okay check it...

          When you purchase a DSP (digital surround processor) such as the Panasonic CY-AC300EX it does all of the processeing. So your analog line and digital line (S/PDIF [toslink or coax]) would all go from whatever (carputer/headunit/dvdplayer) and split it up into 6 analog channels that would then get fed into the amp. Usually amps have crossovers but if there are external crossovers they go inbetween the amp and the speakers.

          The DSP calls all of the shots...meaning it decides how the sound gets interprited and which channels it goes to.

          In my setup (using the panasonic mentioned above) it interprits MP3's as Linear PCM which is basically stereo. And DVDs as Dolby Digital. when everything goes to the DSP first there is no need to worry about having stereo and digital sources. They integrate well

          Look in the Car Audio Forum. I did a write up on how to get 5.1 the right way with Dolby Digital DTS and Prologic using the carputer as the source (no HU)
          -Jesus- King of Kings Lord of Lords

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          • #6
            antimatter:

            I partially read that other thread, and I think I asked a question too.

            It helped, but my main, dumb, simple question I think has been answered in this thread:

            When playing a 2 channel source does it have to be output seperately to remain 2 channel, thus having 2 inputs in the audio section of the setup?

            but ppgt94 answered that with the santa cruz, and probably others, you just tell it not to process the signal. and "fake it" in four channels.

            So instead of getting an outboard proc like the panny, I can just use a sound card.

            thanks antimatter

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            • #7
              Yea this is true...but why do you want 5.1? Are you watching DVD's with DTS or Dolby Digital or DivX movies encoded with Dolby Digital?

              If you decide to go the sound card method then watch out for the following things.

              1. Introduced noise as sound cards werent meant for such a harsh environment as a car (thats why i ran everything didital)
              2. High utilization of USB bandwidh (if you go with a USB sound card watch the USB bandwidth with addition of other USB devices especially ones that consume a lot of USB bandwidth like IDE-USB bridge)
              3. Before you get in to deep realize that you will not achieve DTS decoding with this setup.
              4. You may have problems controlling the sound properly with the frontends that are available

              There are caviats with all setups and these are the ones for using a USB sound card

              good luck
              -Jesus- King of Kings Lord of Lords

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Teenkertoy
                I prefer using 5.1 for most things, but for CDs I always use stereo because CDs are engineered to be heard on a "stereo" system.

                That said, in a car I would recommend using stereo for the radio and CD player because radio broadcasters use processing to enhance the 2channel audio before it gets to your car (I work in radio). Plus you will get to use your crossovers and subs...etc...
                ~Teenkertoy

                This is exactly why I don't understand the added cost of doing the 5.1 in the car. It's like how many movies are you going to watch in your car. You wouldn't ever have time to watch movies and get the full enjoyment of the surround sound and like you mentioned cds aren't designed for surround sound. I'm like if it's not a show car or if you aren't taking two hour trips every other week, is it really worth it. Then again someone may look at having a computer in the car the same way as I look at the surround sound thing. I'm not flaming anyone I just don't understand the added cost. It's not like listening to the audio from a movie will sound terrible in stereo.
                Georgia Area Meet Photos

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                • #9
                  @falcony

                  Thanks for that pointless rant.
                  -Jesus- King of Kings Lord of Lords

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by falconey
                    This is exactly why I don't understand the added cost of doing the 5.1 in the car. It's like how many movies are you going to watch in your car. You wouldn't ever have time to watch movies and get the full enjoyment of the surround sound and like you mentioned cds aren't designed for surround sound. I'm like if it's not a show car or if you aren't taking two hour trips every other week, is it really worth it. Then again someone may look at having a computer in the car the same way as I look at the surround sound thing. I'm not flaming anyone I just don't understand the added cost. It's not like listening to the audio from a movie will sound terrible in stereo.
                    Falconey has a point. I never plan to use 5.1 in my car because it simply won't sound right. The center channel speaker will most likely be about the size of a small cell phone and won't reproduce a soundtrack very well. Unless a car comes from the factory with a 5.1 system already installed, it just doesn't make sense to me...

                    ...pointless rave or not, I agree...

                    ~Teenkertoy

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                    • #11
                      Well i guess file me in the over-the-top category for wanting true 5.1 in my vehicle.

                      I would have to dissagree with you on how it sounds. By you saying that it just wont sound right is incorrect. Yes the soundstage is cramped but when you have a decent center channel (i have a 5 1/4 mounted behind the HVAC bezel) and proper tuning it sounds very close to my living room.

                      Anyways If true 5.1 isn't your thing thats fine. It is my thing and disagree that it is pointless. Yes I do go on long trips in my car and yes i do enjoy the 5.1 surround sound effects just as much as in my living room. Some cant justify the cost/benifit but I can. To me there is nothing like sound of Dolby Digital or DTS wether your in the car or in the livingroom.

                      But keep in mind you two that you are posting these opinions on why not to do 5.1 in a thread that asks how to do 5.1.

                      Cheers
                      -Jesus- King of Kings Lord of Lords

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                      • #12
                        Yeah, the thread starter is asking for how-to, and not why-not, thanks for the reminder I was thinking about that after I posted last but was too lazy to change anything. A properly set-up system will sound terriffic no doubt, but I personally cannot afford both a nice home theater and a nice car theater. That's about it, good luck with your project.

                        ~Teenkertoy

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                        • #13
                          it was a how-to, but why-not's are fun too, once you find out the how-to.

                          As for me,

                          I want 5.1 for DVD's only, not mp3's, radio etc.

                          According to some home theater mag's including sound and vision, and home theater mag, the car is a perfect venue for surround sound. And can sound decent without costing too much.

                          And a 5.1 sound card doesn't really add much cost to the project anyway. The santa cruz is ~$50, and a small amp and speaker for the center channel isn't expensive. The rest of the 4.1 channels will probably already be in the car.

                          As for show off factor, you can't beat Air Force One playing in your car with the bullets whizzing around you.

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                          • #14
                            I agree. Matrix is good to. i was enjoying it today at luch sitting on the cliffs.
                            -Jesus- King of Kings Lord of Lords

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                            • #15
                              Teenkertoy:

                              Does the santa cruz differentiate betweeen 2 channel and 5.1 sources and decode accordingly? 2 channel= 4 channel like you have it, 5.1 for 5.1..

                              or do you switch it manually?

                              thanks

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