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receiver listening modes, games, music, movies?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Software & Troubleshooting' started by SkaarjMaster, Aug 29, 2009.

  1. SkaarjMaster

    SkaarjMaster enemy of time

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    OK, I would like to get all this straight once and for all. First, I presently have an Onkyo TX-SR503 receiver taking multichannel inputs from an Audigy2 sound card from my computer (WinXP) as well as taking a digital input; the receiver is outputing to a 5.1 system (Dayton subwoofer with Klipsch satellites). I am about to purchase most likely a TX-SR506 to replace the 503 soon and just want to make sure I've been using the 503 correctly over the past 3.5 years.

    First, games are played through the analog connections, so I'm guessing the input signal format is analog and not multichannel. For the 503, you can't pick the multichannel listening mode for an analog input signal format, so I've been using the Original Onkyo DSP All Channel Stereo listening mode all this time. I've been hitting DVD button on the front of the receiver and this selects DVD as the input source; but I just noticed in the manual that it says if hit the multich button (which selects multichannel as the input source), then you are selecting the DVD analog multichannel input. Have I been doing it all wrong this whole time and should try to get it to work with the MultiChannel button on the receiver instead of the DVD button or what should I be doing?

    Second, music from my computer is played the same way as above, so the same question remains for music. Have I been doing it all wrong this whole time and should try to get it to work with the MultiChannel button on the receiver instead of the DVD button or what should I be doing?

    Third, movies from my computer are rarely played but when they are I usually switch to one of the digital modes; although, I can't remember which one sounds the best right now.

    I've been just leaving the settings on my computer the way they were setup when first getting the receiver and haven't been changing those, but now I'm wondering if I should be changing those based on the source as well. Any ideas on any of this stuff?
     
  2. SkaarjMaster

    SkaarjMaster enemy of time

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    Where is this THX setup console? Also, I have the plain ol' Audigy2 (5.1 version on one computer and 6.1 version on the other, but only using 5.1 sound), but probably doesn't make too much difference.

    Under Device controls (Audio HQ), how do I set my decoder options? Dolby Digital Decode or Passthrough? Does it matter at all for games/music if they are all analog multichannel? I'm guessing if I'm watching a movie I'd want it to passthrough and have the receiver do the decoding, but maybe I'm wrong on this.

    As far as analog and multichannel, the owner's manual for the 503 lists analog, PCM as one input signal format and multichannel as another (all the rest are Dolby or DTS types that I really don't need to worry too much about unless I'm playing a movie).

    Under the analog input signal format is shows the source as CD, TV,....etc. and under the multichannel input signal format all it shows is DVD as the source. Continuing under the analog input signal format column the listening modes available that we're concerned about right now are Direct (this is what you were talking about earlier and is the North American equiv. of Pure), Stereo/Mono, and all the original Onkyo DSPs (one of which is the All Channel Stereo). Now is where it gets rather confusing. Under the multichannel input signal format column (DVD source), the only listening modes available are Direct and Multichannel. So that's why I was confused on which button to hit on the front of the receiver (DVD or Multichannel). Although, right now it seems like they are input signal format buttons and if I hit Multichannel then I get only direct and multichannel as listening modes and DVD would be everything else. Since the only inputs are from my sound card on the computer, then the other buttons won't do anything. So if I'm under Multichannel-DVD, what would be the difference between the multichannel and direct listening modes?

    I really can't test anything until I get the 5.1 working again, but this is what I think I need to do or want to do:

    games - use Multichannel button on front of receiver for input signal format with DVD as the source (even though it is really the sound card) and either direct or multichannel listening mode. If this doesn't work, then hit DVD button on front of receiver for analog input signal format with sound card as source and Direct listening mode. I'm still getting all the positional sounds with UT, etc., so not sure how the all channel stereo listening mode is changing the signals from the games.

    music - I'll keep it the way I have it now with All Channel Stereo listening mode as I like music coming from all speakers.

    movies - I'm pretty sure it automatically sends the signals through the digital coax connection, but is there any settings in windows that need to be set for this. Do I need to change anything in windows when playing a movie vs. games/music? I'll also explore better which mode sounds the best and it may vary from movie to movie as well.

    I also need to read the old threads at hardforums/pcper and see WTF these guys were telling me before that got me to set it up wrong 3-3.5 years ago.

    Oh, here's a link to the 503 manual if you would like to look at the table on page 43:
    http://www.onkyousa.com/download/own_manuals.cfm?cat=Receiver
    (not a direct link)

    Thanks for your help so far.:)

    EDIT: (i'm also trying not to keep these latest 2 threads separately on each topic if possible):)
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2009
  3. SkaarjMaster

    SkaarjMaster enemy of time

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    OK, that answers all my games/music questions. About the movies, is my receiver using the 5.1 analogs anyway when processing movies no matter what I do then? I thought once I switched to any Dolby/DTS settings on the receiver that it was now processing the signal through the digital coax cable. I set this up like this originally to use analog for games and music and digital for movies on those rare occassions that I watch a movie on my computer.
     
  4. SkaarjMaster

    SkaarjMaster enemy of time

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    I'm using PowerDVD. also, it looks like I was supposed to hit the "digital input" button on the front of my receiver and assign DVD-COAX as the input signal to play a movie. I may mess around with this on my new receiver, but the Pioneers do it differently. Maybe this is why I could never get the movies to sound quite right on my computer (don't ask me what this means though).
     
  5. SkaarjMaster

    SkaarjMaster enemy of time

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    I never got around to figuring out the movies anyway.:)
     
  6. SkaarjMaster

    SkaarjMaster enemy of time

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    Let's try to figure out the movie setup on my new receiver (Pioneer VSX-819H-K). I'm going to go ahead and switch to digital every time I want to watch a movie anyway. I know how to do it on the receiver and I probably change to "digital only" in the creative speaker setup and then make sure my DVD program is setup to output in 5.1. I don't watch many movies and I'll compare the sound and hear which way sounds better to me also.

    First, it looks like I need some better DVD player software for my computer. I have a free version of PowerDVD (5) that came with an old video card and it looks like it only has setting for stereo (headphones and SPDIF also but I'm not messing with those). I guess I was supposed to buy some upgrade kit when I first got the program and never knew it. I have an old version of WinDVD that came with something, but I bet it does the same thing. I tried WMP 10, but it gives me an error and also looks like it's using the PowerDVD decoder anyway. Any good free solutions or will I need to buy something?
     
  7. SkaarjMaster

    SkaarjMaster enemy of time

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    What do you mean "let the PIO decode"?

    Also, if WMP is going to screw me over with DRM-type and other BS errors, I might just use another program. Does Nvidia have its own player? What are some good options? Should I just $ up and get the new PowerDVD?
     
  8. SkaarjMaster

    SkaarjMaster enemy of time

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    PureVideo says it's a plug-in for WMP; nothing I could see that says it comes with its own software package except that it's just decoder software. It seems like I'm OK with WMP10 and XP SP2, but they weren't extremely specific in the system requirements section. Now I just need to decide on the Gold edition ($29.95, includes Dolby stuff) or the Platinum edition ($49.95, also includes DTS). Don't most movies include both? Is it really worth it to get the Platinum version?

    Also, does WMP give you a pure movie screen (no garbage at top or bottom of letterbox) with PureVideo as a decoder?

    I'm also considering the new version of PowerDVD and will try and test out the VLC media player (using for real media files now, but maybe it works for DVDs also). OK, I'll hold off on buying anything for the moment until I check out the following:
    - VLC Media Player (for movies, I've only used it for mostly audio so far)
    - KM Player
    - MPC (whatever that is)
    - MPlayer + MPUI (sounds vaguely familiar but might be something different)
    - I may also reinstall my old WinDVD version (probably about 4-5 years old) on one of my machines and see if it allows me to choose surround sound 5.1 as an output or not.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2009
  9. SkaarjMaster

    SkaarjMaster enemy of time

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    I don't have nStant Media, so whatever.....maybe it is part of the PureVideo. I don't even have that NVIDIA Corporation subdirectory. If I get PureVideo, I'll probably get the Platinum I guess.

    By garbage, I mean anything related to the program interface remaining on the screen. PowerDVD can do it and I just got VLC media player to do it (just movie with black bars on top and bottom just like the TV). Unfortunately, the audio channels and audio device for VLC media player only goes up to stereo and this version as well as PowerDVD5 that I have only have stereo audio output. I'll keep checking around.

    What's the difference between WMP10 and WMP11?

    Other observations:
    - I can get VLC Media Player to use a 5.1 audio device using DirectX audio output, but it seems the receiver only plays in 5.1 if I choose Multi In analog instead of CD with coaxial 1 to get Dolby surround sound (only plays in stereo). Am I missing something here? Why can't I get Dolby surround for movies with this receiver?
    - I also can't seem to select direct or pure direct modes. The receiver just blinks and goes back to Multi In Auto. Nevermind, I can select them with CD Coaxial. I wonder why it doesn't let me select it with Multi In Analog?
    - looks like I'll just have to select some sort of surround listening mode while playing a movie to get surround sound (either standard or advanced).
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2009
  10. SkaarjMaster

    SkaarjMaster enemy of time

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    OK, that clears up some stuff. This part definitely makes me want to check out GOM player,"You can also watch DVD-quality videos with 5.1 channel audio output." Thanks a lot.:) I'll wait for my converter, then setup the speaker settings and go from there.

    EDIT: looks like GOM player has some issues playing DVD movies (originals), so I uninstalled it and will try KM player instead as my second program to play DVDs.

    EDIT: Now KMplayer won't play the conversations, WTF! Why does everything have to be a f-ing chore?:(
    EDIT AGAIN: Nevermind, it works now for some odd reason.:loopy:
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2009

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