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Topic: Can Wii-U output 5.1 surround sound to a non-HDMI sound system?

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StarDust4Ever

1. Posted:

I've always been kind of a audiophile. I have an older sound 5.1 sound system dating back to 2001 which accepts Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS surround sound through optical or coax connectors. It also accepts 5.1 analog inputs as well, though I've never actually used them. I've not heard any information confirming the presence of non-HDMI digital audio output for the Wii-U, or if it has support for Dolby Digital 5.1 output in addition to discrete audio. Home theater systems with 5.1 surround sound predate HDMI by quite a few years, and I have had the privaledge of enjoying emmersive surround sound for a very long time before we invested in an HDTV set. My TV set has HDMI input and a coaxial digital audio out, but it cannot decode or pass descrete 6.1 audio; the TV itself only supports/passes Dolby Digital, ACM, and stereo. Feed it anything else and both the TV and reciever go silent. Currently, I have my PS3 configured to output DTS to the optical port on the reciever, and a stereo downmix to the TV set. I want to know if it will be possible to do the same thing with Wii-U. The Dolby surround 2.0 upmix was breathtaking for Mario Galaxy, Wii, but nothing compares to true 5.1 surround, and it would be a pity if I could not enjoy my Wii-U games to their fullest on my older 5.1 theater system. :'(

Edited on by StarDust4Ever

StarDust4Ever

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Chunky_Droid

2. Posted:

Interesting, I have full HDMI surround at home but I only got it recently.

I would actually like to know that too in case I need to use my old system

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BJQ1972

3. Posted:

No, there is no optical or coaxial digital output. The only option is multichannel PCM via HDMI.

BJQ1972

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Sean_Aaron

4. Posted:

Whilst the system won't output native I'd be very surprised if some enterprising third party didn't sell an accessory that would separate audio from video. In fact you might not even need anything specialised for the Wii U, but just some kind of HDMI to analogue/optical/whatever converter like this: http://www.octavainc.com/HDMI%20switch%204port_toslink.htm

Edited on by Sean_Aaron

BLOG, mail: sean@seanswiiworld.co.uk
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StarDust4Ever

5. Posted:

At any rate, I'm sure the Wii-U will continue to support Dolby Pro-Logic II upmix for stereo output. Even in Mario Sunshine, I could stand near a shine sprite and twirl the camera in circles with the C-stik, and the sparkling sound effects would literally spiral around the room in 360 degree sweeps.

In an ironic but cruel twist of fate, we recently remodeled the house, and my mom doesn't want "unsightly" wires strewn about the room or tacked to the walls (esp. with the new crown molding), so we may end up at some point investing in a new sound system with a wireless reciever for the rear speakers. In the mean time, I'll be stuck with stereo for the time being. :p

Edited on by StarDust4Ever

StarDust4Ever

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LolWut

6. Posted:

So I'd run hdmi from the wii u to this, then the optical-whatever cable from here to the surround system?
I know NOTHING about this stuff.

Do I even play?
What's a "gamer" anyway? POKÉMON!

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skywake

7. Posted:

Sean_Aaron wrote:

Whilst the system won't output native I'd be very surprised if some enterprising third party didn't sell an accessory that would separate audio from video. In fact you might not even need anything specialised for the Wii U, but just some kind of HDMI to analogue/optical/whatever converter like this: http://www.octavainc.com/HDMI%20switch%204port_toslink.htm

or buy a new receiver that can handle HDMI signals for about the same price........

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Nitendnut

8. Posted:

I think that Nintendo should have designed Wii U with an optical output on the rear. With my PS3 I run an optical cable out of the console, and into my Dolby Digital 5.1 / DTS receiver. So I can at least have the option of ground shaking 5.1 or mellow stereo from my tv's speakers alone. Nintendo using HDMI won't utilize my older non HDMI 5.1 receiver, so I'll have to run the HDMI straight into the tv, limiting my sound to the tv's speakers :-) At least the picture will be HD :-)

Nitendnut

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skywake

9. Posted:

Next there'll be someone complaining that the Wii U doesn't support 5.1 analogue audio out...........

NNID: skywake

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StarDust4Ever

10. Posted:

skywake wrote:

Next there'll be someone complaining that the Wii U doesn't support 5.1 analogue audio out...........

Most computer sound cards can output 5.1 analog. They usually have 3 rear 1/8" stereo jacks for this. My sound system has 5.1 analog inputs, but I've never used them because the PC's in another part of the house. Even before 5.1 surround existed, there was quadraphonic 4.0. Some 8-track players even used quadraphonic sound back in the 1970s.

Ironically, most newer HDMI sound systems don't have analog inputs for anything greater than stereo. Fact of the matter is, 5.1 surround has been available since the late 90s when DVDs forst came out. I've been enjoying earth-shattering surround since 2001, and HD is overrated IMO. You can also make a $150 system rock the house like a $1000 system simply by upgrading the Subwoofer. Problem with HD is you need a huge TV to enjoy it. If you've got a 26" LCD TV in a large living room like we do, you're really not going to notice the difference between 480p and 720p or 1080i from the couch in the back of the room, even with 2020 vision. Various double blind research studies have proven this to be true with most casual observers, which explains why some uninformed consumers are perfectly happy watching Bluray movies on huge HDTVs with nothing more than composite cables. Of course bigger is better, but some people are on a budget. Using Dolby Pro Logic II for surround just seems like a step backwards when the Wii-U is capable of so much more. Also, non-encoded stereo tracks sound very fragmented and wierd if you're running them in PLII "movie" mode. For those tracks, you have to use PLII "music" instead. Unless you're deaf in one ear, anyone can apperciate a properly configured surround system. As far back as 2001, even with the 27" CRT screen, my friend told me he felt like he was in a movie theater while watching movies in my darkened living room, all thanks no doubt to the 5.1 sound system I had installed.

Problem is, most consumers don't really know how to set up a surround system properly, much less their fancy TV set. They just use whatever's in the box (usually composite), put it on one setting, and forget it. Ditto for people who view 4x3 aspect programming stretched to fit a 16x9 screen. Happens all the time, like I'll go to a sports bar to watch a ballgame and I see a bunch of midgets running around on the field. Uhggg, huge pet peeve of mine...

Edited on by StarDust4Ever

StarDust4Ever

Nintendo Network ID: StarDust4Ever

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skywake

11. Posted:

My point was that if you are walking into the shops to buy a new receiver it's going to do HDMI. Many will even pass through 3D HDMI signals now but the HDMI has been a standard feature of receivers for a good five years now. Optical out would have been nice and so would a LAN port on the back but how long do they have to support legacy connections?

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StarDust4Ever

12. Posted:

They're not "legacy" connectors. "Legacy connector" is the Red/Yellow/White RCA cables than have been commonly used in all devices since the early 90s, but existed even well before then. They will probably be around for another 20 years at least. In Europe, the SCART connector served the same function. Virtually all TVs sold worldwide support at least one of these two standards. Of course even before composite, there was the coax cable/twin lead connection, and RF modulators/adapters are still readily available for people with obsolete TVs. The lowest common denominator still survives today.

Analog component video and TOS-link digital optical audio both existed before HDMI replaced them. These are the "middle tier" connections, and both are superior to RCA/composite but inferior to HDMI. At one time, component and optical offered the best connections available, but this has ceased to be the case. HDMI was delayed for years due to the "copyright police" arguing over a suitable encryption standard. In the meantime, many wonderful technological advances in home theater took place, and anyone who bought theater components between 1997-2005 is affected. First generation HDTVs were typically rear projection or plasma and sometimes cost upwards of $5000. They are completely useless now for watching HD content across DVI/HDMI because these early TV sets used first generation HDMI protocols that did not support the digital encryption that all BlueRay players require. Moral of the story: Don't be an early adopter. But if there are no early adopters, then this sort of group-think will cause great new technology to be laid to waste. Case-in-point, the DVD-Audio vs. Super Audio format war ended with the good old CD reigning supreme. Because of this, I'll probably never be able to listen to my copy of Pink Floyd's 2003 Dark Side of the Moon SACD in 5.1 surround like it was originally intended because the market for SACD players is practically dead. But the CD layer of my Pink Floyd SACD re-issue still sounds stunningly beautiful in Pro-Logic II upmix, though it's not the same, and Wii-U won't be the same, either. :'(

StarDust4Ever

Nintendo Network ID: StarDust4Ever

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WaveyChristmas

13. Posted:

Does the Wii U support DST 'HD' Master or Dolby TRUE HD? Both of those completely eclipse DTS and Dolby Digital. I was floored when i heard it through my 5.1 (7.1 if i wanted to)speakers, new Premium Acoustic Sub Woofer, with my PS3 using HDMI while getting 96hz. Wall-E on Bluray from an audio perspective was jaw dropping. Forget the movie theatre! :p Too bad i have to resort to my sennheiser HD595 home theatre headphones which are fantastic, but headphones just can't match the wow factor and immersion of a 5.1 set up, considering it basically creates a virtual audio playground in your own living room, where you can hear water falls pouring behind you, enemie SFX coming from multiple directions, the works. :D The only way i can enjoy it is on low volume, with my Subwoofer cranked down. The downside of renting out an appartment. People who own their own homes however can properly enjoy 5.1. :p

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Lomprayah

14. Posted:

Hi,

I bought this one http://ukhdmi.com/hdmi-audio-extractor_QQ103285 , i have a old reciver with no HDMI and i need the video to my 106" projector/screen and the audio to optical input in reciever.

Looking forward to play HD games on a big screen ( i have a Epson TW9000W) ;-)

i bought it on ebay .

Anders

Edited on by Lomprayah

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skywake

15. Posted:

@StarDust
S/PDIF has been around for almost 15 years so it's hardly a new standard and not only that it's a standard that has largely been combined into HDMI. Complaining that the Wii U lacks S/PDIF is the same whine that Apple fans made when Macbooks stopped using FireWire. It's legacy in that sense.

Putting it in the same boat as SACD only further proves my point.

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StarDust4Ever

16. Posted:

WaveBoy wrote:

Does the Wii U support DST 'HD' Master or Dolby TRUE HD? Both of those completely eclipse DTS and Dolby Digital. I was floored when i heard it through my 5.1 (7.1 if i wanted to)speakers, new Premium Acoustic Sub Woofer, with my PS3 using HDMI while getting 96hz. Wall-E on Bluray from an audio perspective was jaw dropping. Forget the movie theatre! :p Too bad i have to resort to my sennheiser HD595 home theatre headphones which are fantastic, but headphones just can't match the wow factor and immersion of a 5.1 set up, considering it basically creates a virtual audio playground in your own living room, where you can hear water falls pouring behind you, enemie SFX coming from multiple directions, the works. :D The only way i can enjoy it is on low volume, with my Subwoofer cranked down. The downside of renting out an appartment. People who own their own homes however can properly enjoy 5.1. :p

Nope, Wii-U only outputs PCM via HDMI. They don't encode the audio because Nintendo is cheap and don't want to pay the 50 cents per unit in licensing fees to Dolby Labs. :P

If you live in an apartment, get a system with bookshelf type speakers with small woofers + tweets as they have better base response than single driver satellites. Then you simply disconnect the sub and it sounds good enough plus there's no boom-boom traveling through the walls. I had an old 4.1 speaker system I had in my dorm room that I used to shove an old sock in the bass reflex port to silence the sub since it was built in and you couldn't completely turn it off as the wind from the sub also air-cooled the components. It probably got a little toasty with the sock in there, but I never cranked it up much. I always hated it when stupid people cranked up the boom-boom at 3:15 in the morning while others were trying to sleep / study. Yes, you heard right, rap-crap traveling through the walls at 3 in the morning! If I complained or banged on their door, then they cranked it up louder just to piss me off. I had to blow a fan at max speed directly in front of my face to use for white noise to help drown out the distractions while I studied.

Edited on by StarDust4Ever

StarDust4Ever

Nintendo Network ID: StarDust4Ever

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Sean_Aaron

17. Posted:

Personally I binned my old 5.1 receiver and went with a Yamaha amplifier that has a subwoofer connection and a couple of bi-wired tower speakers. I'm sticking with 2.1 here on out. I use the second SCART link for stereo out from the TV and the sound is great; I started out watching films in stereo and that's good enough for me. If I ever have a TV that doesn't have analogue audio output I'll be investing in a splitter like I linked to above and yes HD_visor, that's exactly what you'd do.

Regarding not disturbing your neighbours, that's what the loudness control is for!

Edited on by Sean_Aaron

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thulsen

18. Posted:

Lomprayah wrote:

Hi,

I bought this one http://ukhdmi.com/hdmi-audio-extractor_QQ103285 , i have a old reciver with no HDMI and i need the video to my 106" projector/screen and the audio to optical input in reciever.

Looking forward to play HD games on a big screen ( i have a Epson TW9000W) ;-)

i bought it on ebay .

Anders

I think I have a similar setup as you have:
Wii U, Epson TW6000W projector, 120'' screen and Philips HTS9520 Home Cinema system, which has optical input (no HDMI-in).
However I am still doubting if I should buy this audio extractor, since it seems that SPDIF does not support the 6-channel raw PCM (so this means: no surround sound!). Can you confirm this?

Edited on by thulsen

thulsen

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PhotoJim

19. Posted:

I have to agree, TOSlink and coaxial digital connections are really legacy connections now. This is from someone who still has a device connected to his home theatre system with S-Video, and a standard composite video device on the secondary bedroom system.

There are some surprisingly good A/V receivers out there that have HDMI. The real investment is in the speakers, and that investment will not be wasted with a receiver upgrade. My previous A/V receiver did Dolby 5.1 and DTS but didn't handle video better than S-Video - I think I saved myself a lot of hassle and money by not upgrading to a HD television until just two years ago.

Incidentally, no need to bin old receivers. My trusty Yamaha RX-V595a is doing duty as a simple stereo receiver in the basement now, and I still have half a mind to pick up a subwoofer and some relatively inexpensive surround speakers for it so that I can use it and my old 4:3 flatscreen Trinitron Wega as a retro A/V system for SD content (a GameCube for starters).

PhotoJim

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SCAR392

20. Posted:

Ya, recievers are getting very minimal when it comes to BC support, but maximize newer equipment significantly. I bought a Pioneer 5.1 system a week ago, but it was faulty(also only one in stock), so I returned it and got a literally 500% better Sony STR-DH520(925 watts, 3D pass, 7.1). The only features I wish the Sony one I have now had, compared to other recievers, is USB(don't use much, but why not), and the auto calibrate microphone(took a while to set up to the max for what I have). I have 7 speakers hooked up, adding up to 725 watts of speakers, and a 100 watt sub. I'm VERY lucky to have this setup(IMO), but to be fair, I found all the speakers I have combined for around $20(some for literally $1), because they were used for underpowered OLD 2.1 systems, so no one thought they were worth anything. For speakers, I recommend going to flea markets, or second hand shops for cheap ones. The speakers I got for a $1 each, go new on the retailers site for $150 each(center solo, front pair), but my dad also gave me some surround Klipsch, too. All in all, get a good reciever from the store, and find speakers practically laying in the street to use. At the very minimum, you'll get a tri-stereo system, double front for 5.1 PCM, or able to use more of your system if you just so happen to run into 7.1 supported content. Hope this helps. I'm a crazy audiophile if I can be, and this is literally the best setup I've ever heard, and it's mine! (Customization for personal preference helps alot, too...)

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