Getting 5.1 surround through S/PDIF 3.5mm jack

By Repjas ยท 15 replies
Dec 20, 2013
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  1. Hi there,

    My Asus N53SV laptop has a 3.5mm jack plug which includes a S/PDIF signal. I tried to connect this to a Bose 3 2 1 system, but it turned out as a PCM 2.0 signal. I used a mini 3.5mm S/PDIF to S/PDIF adapter. The video file I played had a AC3 audio format.

    I have no idea whether the problem lies with the Bose, the cables or my soundcard? I have Realtek high definition audio.

    If you need any more info, please ask. Any help is greatly appreciated.

    Kind regards,
  2. GhostRyder

    GhostRyder This guy again... Posts: 2,198   +593

    Ok I looked up your laptop on newegg to double check the ports on it (This one correct?). It only does have that one 3.5mm jack for sound, so thats your only option other than the HDMI port. Thing is, im not understanding exactly what kind of adaptor you have because if im understanding, you have an SPDIF to 3.5mm Audio Jack adapter which to be honest ive never seen used. However, if your having trouble using that, its likely the setting on the Adapter, my previous Asus G73 had to have the audio setting adjusted when you plugged something in from that surround sound setup HD audio manager that comes up when you plug something into the port. Change it to surround mode and it should work, but im pretty sure that the 3.5mm jack is not able to output in that high a setting and thats why your having problems.
  3. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,021   +2,550

    SPDIF is optical! The 3.5mm jack is electrical. Get over it.

    It seems to me, an adapter to do this, would almost be as complicated as the sound card of the motherboard itself. I could be wrong though. It surely won't be the first time.

    And for 5.1 (or whatever more than 2 channels), normally the three (3) audio output jacks on the mobo are employed.

    Modern A/V receivers are capable of synthesizing multi-channel audio from a 2 channel source. (Phase detection, if memory serves`). In the case of a stereo music source however, (IMHO), it sounds like s***.
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2013
  4. LNCPapa

    LNCPapa TS Special Forces Posts: 4,276   +461

  5. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,021   +2,550

    I said I could be wrong, and it seems that has come to pass. Stuff happens.
  6. LNCPapa

    LNCPapa TS Special Forces Posts: 4,276   +461

    Heh :) Though if the machine GR linked is the one the OP has then I doubt it is capable. It's usually only available on higher model laptops. I have it on both of my MBPs but it doesn't appear to be available on my MBA.
  7. Darth Shiv

    Darth Shiv TS Evangelist Posts: 1,811   +472

    Iirc you cannot output 5.1 uncompressed via a toslink or 3.5mm digital port. You can output 5.1 compressed such as Dolby or DTS. To output 5.1 uncompressed, you would need to go via HDMI or via 3 stereo analogue outputs, 2 channels per 3.5mm jack.

    Most soundcards that I know of cannot, on the fly, encode to 5.1 compressed. That feature is DDL (Dolby Digital Live) or DTS Connect and I'd be pretty surprised if any realtek solution did it!

    A quote from Wikipedia which supports my statement:
    "where it carries a digital audio stream from components such as CD and DVD players, DAT recorders, computers, and modern video game consoles, to an AV receiver that can decode two channels of uncompressed lossless PCM audio or compressed 5.1/7.1 surround sound such as Dolby Digital Plus or DTS-HD High Resolution Audio. Unlike HDMI, TOSLINK does not have the capacity to carry the lossless versions of Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio"
  8. LNCPapa

    LNCPapa TS Special Forces Posts: 4,276   +461

    As far as I know these are all true statements unless things have changed since I learned about this stuff.
  9. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,021   +2,550

    So, even after admitting I had no idea what I was talking about, I still scored about a C on the test?
  10. Chris Ski

    Chris Ski TS Rookie

    I just bought an Insignia 32" TV for the den, and while I already have 2 other flat screens with 5.1 surround with one having a Pioneer receiver and the other a Sony. Both have traditional and expensive speaker systems...including powered subs.

    I don't want to go this way on the Den. There is not much room, and it is primarily a relaxation area. However, I noticed a 3.5" SPDIF output. This (to me) means I can use PC type surround speakers...for a lot less $ and they are easy to hide/incorporate in the room.

    Have any of you come across this before, and is there any reason that this will not work?
  11. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,021   +2,550

    I'm not reading you. You need an AV receiver to decode 5 channels of audio. If you're talking in terms of "computer speakers", they would have to be a system with a central amp, containing a 5.1 channel Dolby decoder.

    The issue of the thread, (as best I can figure out), is whether Toslink will carry uncompressed audio or DTS sound. Pretty much everything can carry standard 5.1 channel sound.

    Now, if the speakers are amplified individually, you have to use the triple analog outputs, and feed a line to each speaker. Every computer sound card I've seen, (yes, even the board's internal card), can be configured for 5.1, if not 7.1 sound output,

    A computer's analog outputs are, "line level", which means they can't drive a passive speaker on their own, the speakers need to have audio amps built in.

    FWIW, this line is about 3.5" (inches) long: >...........................................................................................................................<
    I think you meant "3.5 mm".;)
  12. ketan patel

    ketan patel TS Rookie

    I have altec lansing 5.1 speakers I need converter for surround sound just check back side of my speakers

    there is 3 input for surround sound my old PC motherboard is capable for this using software but I need it from my laptop which has only one output jack so I need converter for it.

    Attached Files:

  13. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,021   +2,550

    This is something I've never played with, but it seems like you're going to need an external USB sound card, to do what needs top be done

    Here's Newegg's search page for those items. 600011978 All I can say at this point is, I hope you have enough free USB ports. Also, it looks like you're going to need free space around the ports for some of the configurations.
  14. ketan patel

    ketan patel TS Rookie


    Thanks for your reply but I don't think so this is working for me because all devise is play only one output not surround sound.
    I will upload more information and video so you can help me more.
  15. ketan patel

    ketan patel TS Rookie

    check this is the speaker I have
  16. Darth Shiv

    Darth Shiv TS Evangelist Posts: 1,811   +472

    Your laptop (99% likely) has only stereo out. You could connect it with a stereo to RCA adapter but you'd only connect the front left/right that way. If you want to use your whole 5.1, as Cranky says, you need an external sound card that has 5.1.

    There is no such thing as a stereo to 5.1 converter - you can't magically create 4 channels of sound from nothing. What you might/should be able to do is have a splitter that just has the same signal on 3 stereo cables on the output side. Never seen it myself but pretty trivial so it's probably out there somewhere.

    Quick search and I found this:

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