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Alienware X51 5.1 Dolby Digital Problem!

  • I recently received my Alienware X51 and I am having trouble trying to figure out how to use or get 5.1 dolby digital surround sound with my games. I have my X51 connected up to my Samsung 40" HDTV with a mini HDMI to HDMI cable and I have I have an optical cable going from my X51 to my sony surround sound amp/speakers. I am getting sound but it is only stereo/prologic sound. I am at a complete loss as to what I need to do to fix this problem. I would really appreciate if someone could please give me some feedback regarding this problem. I would be very grateful. Thanks in advance. To any X51 owners out there. How are you getting 5.1 dolby surround sound and how did you achive this. Please reply because I am desperate at this stage. Cheers

  • heyyy im having the same problem please let me know if you figure it out

  • Test with a real video DVD that has Dolby Digital 5.1 on it (most newer ones do).

    In Control Panel / Sound ... make sure the proper Audio port is selected. HDMI is HDMI , and Digital is the Optical port ( set it to match the way you use below).

    If the Amp supports HDMI: You should really have the TV connected to the amp's one main HDMI output. Connect the x51 to one of the Inputs. Be sure the TV is programmed to NOT use it's internal speakers. This way requires 2 HDMI cables.

    If the Amp doesn't support HDMI: Connect the x51 to the TV with a $3 DVI-to-HDMI adapter and a HDMI cable. So the video comes from the x51's DVI port (that gets the video to the TV). Connect the Optical cable from the x51 to the Amp (that gets the sound the Amp). This setup might only work as surround with true bitstream encoded content.

    It's been my experience with HTPC, that if you use HDMI, you have to use it for Audio and Video (so I follow the above rules). If HDMI sees the TV's speakers, it will hold (or mix down) the audio at 2 channel stereo (because most TVs only have 2 speakers).


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  • I have never heard of such a problem.  I use hdmi for video and optical/coax for several components (I dont have X51, Ive been browsing these boards in contemplation of getting one).  My AV receiver only allows HDMI pass through, so to get dolby/dts I have to use optical/coax, never had a problems as the op stated.  

  • MG1959

    I have never heard of such a problem.  I use hdmi for video and optical/coax for several components (I dont have X51, Ive been browsing these boards in contemplation of getting one).  My AV receiver only allows HDMI pass through, so to get dolby/dts I have to use optical/coax, never had a problems as the op stated.  

    Discrete or "real" home audio video components are more forgiving and allow it. I have found HTPC and computers to work differently sometimes. Try hooking up a bunch of different computers to your home theater (all with different OSes, sound cards, drivers, etc.) and you will see. Smile

    My procedures above are the more "fool proof" ways to get it to work. I took the time to type them out because they said they were having problems.


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  • Thank you for the reply. My amp does indeed have a one HDMI output and two HDMI inputs. Currently I have my X51 connected to my TV witha mini HDMI cable. The mini HDMI runs from the X51 graphics card to the HDMI input on my TV. This gives me my picture. I have an optical cable running from my X51 to my amp and I am getting nice clear sound but it's only prologic and not proper dolby digital 5.1. What you say makes a lot of sense to me and I think I will try what you have stated. There is an option on my TV to disable the TV speakers and enable an external speakers option. Should I do this tp prevent my TV speakers from confusing the matter? If I do the following will I be able to get dolby digital 5.1 on my games: Connect X51 to my amp with the mini HDMI port (from GPU) to HDMI port input on my TV. Connect my TV with another HDMI cable to the main HDMI output on my amp. Connect my X51 to my amp with a optical cable. Will this work? I'm really confused and my head is spinning now! Has anyone else been able to play Battlefield 3 on the pc with true 5.1 dolby digital surround sound? My final question. Is the real issue here not the hardware inside my X51? I feel as if my X51 is unable to send 5.1 audio signal because it lacks a dolby digital decoder or something? The X51 has Coaxial, optical, mini hdmi, standard hdmi and 5.1 analog connections. Surely I must be able to achieve dolby digital 5.1 with pc games with one of these options? I am getting 5.1 dolby digital surround sound when watching blurays on my X51 with no problems. I am aware that DVD's are pre formatted in 5.1 so maybe the X51 is struggling to decode the signals on the fly. If someone can explain in detail how to resolve this matter I shall be forever grateful. Apologies for the long post!!:)

  • Thanks Tesla your a gent but I am still confused a little and I hope you respond to my reply post. I do not connect my X51 to my amp with hdmi correct?

  • does your AV receiver decode dolby?  If the audio signal is encoded with dolby coming from the X51 optical output the AV receiver should decode it.

  • Hi there. Yes my amp does decode dolby digital. It is a top of the range Sony surround sound system. I have all the connections anyone could possibly want between my X51, TV and surround sound amp. I just hope somebody can explain to me exactly what I need to be connected between these devices to get my beloved 5.1 surround sound to work:)

  • You can't use the TV speakers and the speakers on the amp (at the same time) and expect to get DD 5.1. Like I said, you have to turn them off in the TV's options. So, you use Procedure #1.

    If that doesn't work, try Procedure #2. This way uses the DVI port on the x51, a $3 DVI-To-HDMI adapter, and a normal HDMI cable. The x51's HDMI port is not used.

    You originally said you wanted DD 5.1 to work. First, the source material must be encoded with DD 5.1 (that's why I said to test with a DVD). The idea is to send that "digital bit-stream" directly to the amp (as digital code) for decoding there.

    Once that is working, THEN you can try BF3. BF3 may or may-not support DD 5.1. Just because games have "surround sound" doesn't necessarily mean it's DD 5.1 . It might just be something like EAX that's decoded at the computer on the sound card. But even then, I think it's sent as multi-channel PCM tracks to the amp. It might not light the amp's DD symbol, but it should be "surround" (multiple speakers playing ... each with slightly different content).

    Don't get overwelmed. Step back, take a break ... then read my posts carefully once more and give it another try. Your success will help others trying to go the same thing. I think many are going to try to use the x51 as either a HTPC or "gaming console" connected to the main home theater.

    I don't have an x51 or a copy of BF3 ( I know, I'm a little behind the times ... I'm still playing Fallout New Vegas) so I can't hook it up to my 1080p projector and 700w Onkyo amp ... and then give you step-by-step directions. BF3 would be cool on a 9 ft. screen though Surprise


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  • @Tesla. I am willing to try your technique but you must explain it to me more clearly, step by step, start to finish. I have disabled my tv speakers now can you please tell me everything that needs to be connected. If you explain every cable that must be used I will definitely try it and report back my results to others. Do i need to use an optical cable using procedure #1? What input should i connect my X51 with hdmi to (amp input? TV input?)?  I would be much obliged if you could take the time to be extra specific regarding procedure#1 and I will put your steps into action. Cheers

  • Irishlad147

    but you must explain it to me more clearly, step by step, start to finish.

    I'll try ... but I don't know if I can make it much simpler Smile

    It sounds like you have it connected the best you can using Procedure #1, right?

    When you play a real DVD on the x51 ... does the DD light on the Sony amp's display light up? Can you hear DD 5.1 surround sound while playing the DVD?


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    256gb Samsung 830 SSD / 1tb HDD ~ LG Blu-Ray ~ USB 3.0 PCIe
    Dell 24" UltraSharp u2410 LCD ~ Dell 22" LCD

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    Registered Microsoft Partner
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    I answer questions here, but
    I'm not a Dell employee.

  • @Tesla. Yes DD does light up and I am definitely getting 5.1 dolby digital while watching my dvds through the X51

  • Irishlad147

    @Tesla. Yes DD does light up and I am definitely getting 5.1 dolby digital while watching my dvds through the X51

    See ... I knew you could do it. Smile

    Your x51 is now properly connected and configured to provide DolbyDigital 5.1 over your home theather system (TV and Sony amp).

    Remember, only games and movies encoded with a DolbyDigital 5.1 digital bit-stream will provide true DolbyDigital (same applies to DTS).

     


    Alienware Aurora ~ Intel i7-930 ~ 12gb ram ~ AMD HD-5870
    256gb Samsung 830 SSD / 1tb HDD ~ LG Blu-Ray ~ USB 3.0 PCIe
    Dell 24" UltraSharp u2410 LCD ~ Dell 22" LCD

    All my Dell Machines and Specs

    Wiki-like Threads I've written and other Favorites

    Posting Tips:
    - Always provide machine make, model, specs and software versions.
    - Click the button if we answered your question.

    Registered Microsoft Partner
    & Apple Developer:

    Gaming when I'm not programming.

    I answer questions here, but
    I'm not a Dell employee.

  • @Tesla. You must not be reading some of my posts. I have already stated that I am getting DD 5.1 when watching dvd's but I am not getting DD 5.1 while playing games! That is the reason I started this thread. I have tried Mass Effect 3, Battlefield 3, Portal and Crysis and none of these games are giving me DD 5.1. I appreciate you trying to help but you are not reading what I am writing. I am still looking for a fix to my problem. Dvd's YES. Games NO.