surround sound

Why Aren't My Gaming Headphones Playing Surround Sound When I Watch TV?

ARCTIS 7

Episode 1667

Chris from Santa Barbara, CA

Chris wants to know why surround sound for gaming is different from Dolby 5.1 surround on his headphones.  Leo wonders if the gaming audio is set up to use an app to give surround in the headphones vs. just listening to the system. Scott says that has to do with the bitstream that has to be decoded and the app is required. So if he's watching TV with his gaming headphones, he may not get surround. That's why Leo suggests hardware encoding. Even if he figures out a workaround though, Chris will likely be going to have lag. 

Can I Get a Wireless Surround Sound System?

VIZIO

Episode 1644

Blackie from Needles, CA

Blackie would like to create a surround sound system with a minimum of wires. Doable? Scott says that there are wireless systems that work quite well. He'd probably still want to wire the front speakers. But the surround speakers and subwoofer can be wireless. Vizio's soundbar as a dedicated wireless subwoofer and surround speakers could work. But they'll need to be plugged in or be connected to the subwoofer, which would be in the back of the room.

Where do I put surround speakers in my living room?

Episode 1551

Chuck from Fontana, CA

Chuck is in a new house with a larger room and he wants to know where to put his speakers for surround sound. It's a long room with a 65" screen. Scott says if he can keep his chairs square to the TV, he can then put the surround speakers behind him. But Chuck has the TV cornered and that makes it a very difficult. So he'd probably have to move the TV over another wall and then try to block out the main windows when he's watching TV. Or he could put the surrounds in, or on the ceiling. That can be a challenge because he'll have to run wires through the attic.

Why does enabling CEC on my HDTV prevent 7.1 Dolby Surround from working?

Vizio 70" HDTV

Episode 1454

Don from Arizona

Don has Vizio 70" HDTV running through a Sony 7.1 surround sound system, but when he enables the CEC functionality, it takes away the 7.1 Dolby surround. Leo says that CEC lets him turn on the Apple TV and lets it control the receiver. The problem is, results vary from TV to TV, so one TV may give him the center channel while the next doesn't. Leo advises turning off CEC and let the receiver handle it. It's more likely that the device isn't encoding it properly.

How can I turn up the dialog on my TV?

Volume Knob

Episode 1390

Joyce from San Clemente, CA

Joyce listens has a harder time listening to dialog on TV because everything else is louder. What can she do? Leo says shows are mixed for surround sound and if she doesn't have that, the spoken word can get overwhelmed by other sound and music. Some TVs and audio receivers have center channel settings that would allow her to turn up the center channel so she can hear it. Most TVs have that feature. If she doesn't have a center channel speaker, she should get one. It will help a lot.

Scott Wilkinson on Home Theater

Scott Wilkinson

Episode 1362

Scott is going to the Grammys this weekend and he says the best part of the awards show is all the live performances. He also says that it's the Super Bowl of music and it's a great time to think about upgrading your home theater system. Leo has an AV receiver with Dolby 5.1. He's perfectly happy with the surround, center channel, two channel speakers, and a subwoofer. But you don't want to next to the surround speakers because you'll hear that more than the center channel dialogue.

What do I need to build my home theater room?

LG B6 OLED TV

Episode 1353

James from California

James is in the process of building a home theater/recreation room combination. He's still building the walls, so wiring right now will be easy to do. Leo recommends not doing wireless, he should have everything wired. He should have wired internet to all of those devices as well. The room is 17' by 13', and the 17' wall has a fireplace in the middle with a TV above it. He plans to keep the TV there. The only negative to it is that it forces people to look up higher, but he has a reclining chair, so that makes it a little easier.

Why is the volume level of dialog so inconsistent on Blu-ray discs?

Episode 1341

Joe from Ventura, CA

Joe wants to know why the volume of dialog audio tracks so inconsistent whenever he plays Blu-rays. It's very annoying. Leo says that the TV speakers don't understand the channel information in order to route the audio properly. Dialog is mixed to come out of a center channel, so it doesn't get reproduced as intended. The TV may have a setting that can address this, but having a home theater system is a better way to go.