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Muffled 2.0 sound from PC to receiver - Help!

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Hi guys, not sure if this is the right forum but any help is appreciated.



I currently have a living room setup as follows Onboard PC sound -> (toslink cable out) -> Yamaha receiver 5.1 setup -> crappy HTIB Yamaha cube speakers and a semi decent sub



The problem with this setup is if I am watching 2.0 (stereo) movies (usually action movies or movies with loud sound effects) the dialoge is very low and a bit muffled, and the action scenes and other effects are super loud. I use the mode on my receiver "Direct Stereo" which I presume limits it to just 2 channels (and the Sub I think) so I know it is not a center channel issue which is something I read online when I tried to research it.




When watching 5.1 streams or retail DVDs with Dolby Digital or DTS, it sounds a lot better. The reciver can encode DD or DTS, however my onboard sound does not have those options.  



Basically Im not sure if it is just the speakers are crappy or it has something to do with not being able to enable pass through as an option on VLC player, so the onboard is doing the DAC conversion and then just passing that through the Toslink? Sorry I am no expert on this but I cannot seem to find any answers online. 

post #2 of 12

hmm, so when your playing 2 channel have you got the receiver set to "straight?"


if you do then its probably just that films like to use a very large dynamic range so people talking is quiet, thing blowing up is super loud.

post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 

Yes, either set to Straight or to Direct Stereo.


Both these settings show the "PCM" light indicator on, and these are the only settings that work (if you try to switch to any other setting it says "unavailable" but you have to have direct mode on in the windows audio settings), so I guess I am outputting the correct digital 2 channel audio which is being converted by my receiver. I also verified that my subwoofer is not working at all when this is happening.



Yes i considered that it was just the movies themselves, but Im not completely sure. I guess the other option would be to replace my two front speakers to see if it makes a difference. It is just those small crappy cube speakers which probably are fine when the bass is going to the sub but in stereo mode I guess they are trying to do bass as well which they probably arent so good at.


Finally I could get a mic and do the auto calibration on my receiver to see if that makes a difference. Anything else i could be missing?

post #4 of 12

This happens to me when the video/movie im watching doesn't downmix properly form 5.1 to 2.0

post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 

Ya its really annoying cause my wife is not a naitive english speaker and even though she speaks it very well, when its a movie and the dialogue is quiet she cant hear properly and then we have to hunt for subtitles and even then I spend teh whole movie with the remote in my hand switching the volume up and down depending on the scene.



I think the speakers themselves have to be an issue. They are those super ghetto 5 inch cubes. I bought the receiver itself cause it was used and had pretty good reviews, but i was planning on changing out the front speakers anyways.


Anyone have a recommendation for a good set of smallish bookshelf speakers I can use with this setup? Preferably ones under 100 for the pair. This isnt for critical music listening, just for movies etc.

post #6 of 12

hmmm.  straight should make the reciever do nothing but play what channels its being fed plus the .1, sending lows from l and r to the sub.  "pure direct" sends everything as is.  so 2.0 goes to l and r and nothing to sub unless its fed a sub channel.


it could possibly be that the player thinks its feeding 5.1 so you got the l and r coming out but the centre channel with all the dialoge is being output by the player but not making it past the soundcard.  not sure how that would be the case though.


id suggest speakers but i presume your in the US and im not sure what you would get for that there.  speaker availability and price vary a lot by country.

post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thanks Im in Europe though.


Thanks for explaining the difference between striaght and direct.


Both seem to sound the same, straight even more muffled. Maybe also my sub is not positioned correctly.

post #8 of 12

when listening/watch to 2.0 sources, disconnect all your speakers and leave the front left and right connected. If it sounds normal, then you know that it's not your front speakers that are broken. If it still sounds weird, try replacing your current front speakers and connect 2 of your rear speakers to front left and front right. If it still sounds messed up. Tne it should mean that it's either your receiver's fault or software issue on your pc.

post #9 of 12
I agree with what mark said. Action scenes are always going to sound louder than dialogue--that's just how movies are mixed.

However, if you have Windows setup for multichannel output, with multichannel audio sources, then it's going to sound best with 5.1 because the audio is configured such that more dialogue is happening out of the center channel. Because you are using Direct Sound, your receiver is likely not downmixing from 5.1 into 2 channel audio but just playing the left and right channels without the other channels.


(1) Not using Direct Sound but whatever stereo mode you have otherwise (I'm not that familiar with Yamahas), and then perhaps your receiver will do the downmixing of 5.1 into 2 channels.


(2) Change your Windows sound configuration settings for your output device from 5.1 to stereo audio, and I think it should do the downmixing.

Meanwhile, using Direct Sound is probably disabling the digital processing that is necessary for your receiver to split off the low frequencies and send them to your sub.
post #10 of 12

hmm i realise that the htib speakers wont be great but they shouldnt be unintelligible.

post #11 of 12
Originally Posted by mark2410 View Post

hmm i realise that the htib speakers wont be great but they shouldnt be unintelligible.

Not necessarily. Poor speaker placement could be part of the problem..

Are your left and right speakers toed into toward the listening position, with the tweeters aimed at ear height? How are they setup? Hopefully not shoved back inside of a cabinet. If you can provide a good picture of your front soundstage setup, that might help smily_headphones1.gif
post #12 of 12

Ensure the speakers are connected in phase as well..?

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