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234 posts

Master Geek
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Topic # 25129 12-Aug-2008 20:18
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I am hoping someone can shine some light on a problem I have had for ages.

My PC (Windows Vista Home Premium) has onboard audio (RealTek ALC650), and I have 3x outputs (front, rear, centre/subwoof) going in to an old Home Cinema Amp. When I go through the audio config (both the native Vista as well as the Realtek controls), the tests all pass with flying colours with all the sounds coming from the correct speakers.

However, when I am listening to anything in Media Centre there is no, or sometimes a very intermittent and muffled, subwoofer. It is as though there is not enough power to make the sub work (my knowledge in this area is non-existent).

Any suggestions, on how to resolve this one? Unfortunately I do not have access to another Home Cinema Amp, but my gut feeling is that it is a problem on the PC.

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Ultimate Geek


  Reply # 156397 12-Aug-2008 21:00
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Does your system, both motherboard & amp have either coax or optical (digital) SPDIF? If so, that is the preferred method of audio decoding as the signal will sent raw into the amp & decoded there, with correct bass separation to your sub (also dependant on the sub setup in the amp's menu).

If not, you may have not setup the menu, in either the PC and/or the amp correctly. Don't use Vista (Mediaportal here). But doubt the issue lies there. Check the Realtek Audio manager. Look for anything (in amp as well) relating to LFE, also cross-over frequencies. With lesser quality speakers, set crossover to  around 80hz otherwise could result in over-rating the speakers.





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  Reply # 156425 12-Aug-2008 22:13
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have you run through the sound config wizard in media center and correctly chosen the sound setup?  it probably defaults to 2 ch stereo.  mine is set up to use the toslink (optical spdif) connection and send out 5.1 signal.  dts and dolby digital are passed through untouched




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Master Geek
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  Reply # 156427 12-Aug-2008 22:14
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1gkar:

Does your system, both motherboard & amp have either coax or optical (digital) SPDIF? If so, that is the preferred method of audio decoding as the signal will sent raw into the amp & decoded there, with correct bass separation to your sub (also dependant on the sub setup in the amp's menu).

Thanks 1gkar, My motherboard has SPDIF, but my ancient amp only has RCA plugs. I will see if I can find the other settings you mentioned, but I suspect not as I have spent a lot of time on this already. Maybe it is time for a new amp!


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  Reply # 156430 12-Aug-2008 22:20
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another question:

does this happen while watching tv only, while watching xvid or mkv files etc, when watching DVDs with dolby digital and/or DTS?

it may also depend on what your audio codecs are doing with the signal....  e.. ffdshow has a bunch of audio codecs and they could be downmixing everything to 2.0 stereo for example




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Master Geek
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  Reply # 156433 12-Aug-2008 22:25
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Regs: have you run through the sound config wizard in media center and correctly chosen the sound setup?  it probably defaults to 2 ch stereo.  mine is set up to use the toslink (optical spdif) connection and send out 5.1 signal.  dts and dolby digital are passed through untouched


I hadn't, but I just ran through it again then. I set the correct connectors, and configuration, then the test plays all the speakers including woofy. Then I went back to listen to recorded TV and there was no sound coming from the subwoofer. Same old problem still unfortunately.

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  Reply # 156444 12-Aug-2008 22:36
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now that you have the sound set up right in MCE, chuck on a dvd with dolby digital or dts and see what result you get.  also do you have ffdshow installed?  if its actively decoding audio you will usually see an icon in the systray.  if you havent changed anything you're probably using the standard microsoft mpeg2 audio and video decoders which should output the right stuff for tv and dvd at least




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Master Geek
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  Reply # 156445 12-Aug-2008 22:37
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Regs: another question:
does this happen while watching tv only, while watching xvid or mkv files etc, when watching DVDs with dolby digital and/or DTS?


Thanks again - it happens regardless of what I happen to be playing: MP3's, CD's, DVD's, TV... The only time I hear the sub properly is when the test is playing all the speakers individually. Another thought though, maybe it is just the bass I am missing, which is why I can't hear the sub.

I will also try to see if I can get anything to play outside of Media Center, but I expect not seem it is all using the same codecs. 



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Master Geek
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  Reply # 156451 12-Aug-2008 22:57
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Regs: now that you have the sound set up right in MCE, chuck on a dvd with dolby digital or dts and see what result you get.  also do you have ffdshow installed?  if its actively decoding audio you will usually see an icon in the systray.  if you havent changed anything you're probably using the standard microsoft mpeg2 audio and video decoders which should output the right stuff for tv and dvd at least

I tried a DVD, and there is no change. I also tried playing a DVD outside of Media Centre using WinDVD but got the same result (not surprisingly!).

I do not have ffdshow, but will take a look - maybe this will give me some clues. I have loaded other codecs - wanted to record all my CDs as MP3 (not WMV for example). I also run AnyDVD to get round multi-region issues with DVDs. Not sure if that is relevant.

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  Reply # 156471 13-Aug-2008 07:04
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Have you tried playing media files with other than MCE. Try opening with Windows Media or Media player classic. Make sure the audio options are set properly. With Classic, look for filters & the audio settings are inside this area.

Also, you could you Graphedit to check what codecs are actually being used. Don't have time to explain now. Do a search for mcraenz as he has explained this in a number of other threads.




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  Reply # 156487 13-Aug-2008 08:28
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Is Windows Media Center set up to output in 5.1 channels?  Go to the settings screen and into General Setup from memory.  There should be some audio settings in there.

Having your soundcard is set up correctly is one thing, but WMC also needs to be told in what way to output audio so set it to 5.1 surround and it should start working - test using a DVD not an avi or tv. 



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Master Geek
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Reply # 156491 13-Aug-2008 08:40
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gehenna: Is Windows Media Center set up to output in 5.1 channels?  Go to the settings screen and into General Setup from memory.  There should be some audio settings in there.

Yes thanks - done all that with no change. I think that the problem is where Regs and 1gkar are leading me. I need to find some time tonight to check out what codecs are being used. I downloaded ffdshow last night, but I think it was a very old version and not much help.

Thanks for all your responses - it is much appreciated.

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Ultimate Geek


  Reply # 156654 13-Aug-2008 17:53
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Another audio codec that appears popular & is quite customisable is AC3Filter. It may assist with narrowing down the issue. Haven't used for a long time so can't help further.

Get Graphedit & check what codecs are used first. Then check to make sure they are set correctly in the respective menus & go from there.

If Vista MCE is like Mediaportal, set the frontend to open in windowed mode, not fullscreen before you open Graphedit. Then open Graphedit & click on 'connect to remote server' & open the link. It will display the codecs.




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  Reply # 157409 16-Aug-2008 13:23
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What are you expecting to come out the sub? In my experiance it varys greatly between dvds as to how much the LFE is used, some are so infrequent that my sub turns off, others its booming away because it has a copy of all the bass from the other channels in it.

If your sub is set to turn off, it may be taking so long to turn on with each loud event in the movie that it is over before the sub is on.




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Master Geek
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  Reply # 163081 8-Sep-2008 14:33
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I am just posting to keep the topic alive (automatically locked after 30 days?).

I couldn't get near the HTPC while the Olympics were on and have been away, so I will hopefully get to it this weekend. I did manage to have a brief look at Graphedit but I could not connect to a 'remote server'. There were no 'servers' listed. As I said, I have not had a chance to investigate properly, so I will either have this resolved soon, or I will have more questions. In the meantime, thanks for all of your responses.  

PS. What I have noticed is that if I turn the volume up VERY LOUD I more or less get the expected sub/bass levels.

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  Reply # 163355 9-Sep-2008 18:11
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i'd love to help further but my subwoofer packed it in a few days ago..... periodic clicking sound and nasty popping/rumbling sound when outputting bass.  Apparently all KEF PSW2000 model subwoofers eventualy die in this way from what i can see on the internet :'(   Something to do with dodgy design causing overheating and failing capacitors.  I'm going to try and get it fixed but i'm not liking my chances




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