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5.1 Surround Sound Questions

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
My understanding is that 7.1 is not that much better than 5.1, but 5.1 is much better than stereo. Is that correct?

I am looking into purchasing something like this device to use my 5.1 speakers to play dolby digital 5.1 surround sound on both PC and Mac.
http://dx.com/p/coaxial-dts-ac3-5-1-digital-audio-gear-decoder-65727

But first, some quick questions:
Will my PC motherboard be able to connect to it using a Toslink Optical cable output and provide any better sound quality than my motherboard can provide in Windows 7?

Will my iMac also be able to connect to it using a headphone jack to Toslink Optical cable and provide better sound quality than stereo?

How can I determine what music can be played at full 5.1 surround sound, and what music can not? Can this be checked in iTunes for all of my MP3 files?

Will some videos such as those on YouTube not support 5.1? If so, will they just play from 2 speakers as per how many channels are embedded in the video?


Pretty basic questions but just want to make sure that a device like this is indeed going to provide richer sound quality for my PC speaker experience overall. I am thinking that the iMac is the only thing that is going to really benefit from it but just want to make sure. Otherwise it would be a waste of money to purchase it.

Thanks!
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My System
(15 items)
 
HTPC
(8 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i7 2600K Gigabyte Z68X-UD3H-B3 MSI GTX480 Lightning 8GB Patriot G2 Series Division DDR3 @ 9-9-9-24 ... 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveOS
10TB 7500RPM SATA3 64GB Crucial M4 CT064M4SSD2 (Boot Drive) Lite-On IHAS124-04 DVD RW Windows 10 Ultimate 64-bit 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Dual Screen (x2) Dell UltraSharp U2412M 24" IPS... Apple Keyboard (A1243) Antec Truepower New 650W Modular Corsair Carbide Series 500R 
MouseMouse PadOther
Logitech MX Anywhere 2 None Cooler Master Hyper 212+ 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
AMD A6-5400K MSI FM2-A75MA-E35 AMD Radeon HD 7540D 8GB Patriot G2 Series Division DDR3 @ 9-9-9-24 ... 
Hard DriveHard DriveOSCase
64GB Crucial M4 CT064M4SSD2 Toshiba HDKPC08 3TB SATA3 7200RPM 32MB Cache Windows 8 Professional 64-bit Apex DM-387 mATX HTPC Case w/ 275W PSU 
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post #2 of 3
Most sources such as games, multichannel SACD/DVD-A/DTS-CDs and movies are limited to 5.1, AFAIK only only some movies 6.1 or 7.1--and the latter is just 6.1 with the rear center mirrored into two rear surround channels.
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post #3 of 3
Quote:
Originally Posted by revlimiter View Post

Will my PC motherboard be able to connect to it using a Toslink Optical cable output and provide any better sound quality than my motherboard can provide in Windows 7?
The device you listed probably has a better analog output path than your motherboard.
Quote:

Will my iMac also be able to connect to it using a headphone jack to Toslink Optical cable and provide better sound quality than stereo?

Again, the analog output path of this $50 device probably beats any typical onboard solution, which are extremely cheap.
Quote:
How can I determine what music can be played at full 5.1 surround sound, and what music can not? Can this be checked in iTunes for all of my MP3 files?

I'm not familiar with iTunes, but Foobar has an information display at the bottom of a the screen that displays file information, such as whether its a 2 channel or 6 channel file.

dsd2.jpg
Quote:
Will some videos such as those on YouTube not support 5.1? If so, will they just play from 2 speakers as per how many channels are embedded in the video?
I'm not aware of any audio on youtube that is 5.1.
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CPUGraphicsRAMHard Drive
Intel 3770k @ 4.3GHz GTX Titan @ 1136MHz 16GB DDR3 1600 CAS 8 OCZ Vertex EX 
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Windows 7 Ultimate 32" 32LG70 IPS 120Hz LCD TV Corsair 1000W Coolermaster Cosmos 1000S 
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