I've recently setup a Logitech Z506 5.1 sound system with my new Windows 8 PC using the 3 3.5mm jack cables, but when playing HD MKVs and MPEGs in Windows Media Player it seems that the channels may need some configuration. For example, there is sound coming from every speaker but when watching a film the music often overpowers the dialogue and sound effects. Someone previously suggested that the channels may have been reversed in some files.
Testing each speaker in the configuration within the sound properties is successful however, as a sample is played through each speaker. However, when I play the DD5.1 AC3 448.TestSample file I downloaded, the rear channels are being played in the front speakers. This seems to vary from file to file. Is there anything I can try?
I have the K-Lite codec pack installed which includes AC3Filter and I have also used MKV2VOB to convert some of the MKVs into MPEGs to watch on the PS3 - AC3 filter does not appear when viewing these files.
It all seems to sound fine if I set it to stereo, although I noticed it sounds a lot quieter playing music when it is set to 5.1, when it should obviously be the same as stereo.
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Thread: Logitech Z506 quiet channels
I don't use any of the programs you've mentioned, but if were me.......
MediaInfo will show the audio channel assignments. They should be the same all the time but even if they look correct that doesn't mean they weren't swapped around when they were encoded, although it doesn't happen often.
I think K-Lite also installs ffdshow which is what I'd use for decoding, but I'd try using MPC-HC as it makes it easy. WMP is horrible anyway.
I'd download MPC-HC and run it, go into it's options and under "Internal filters", disable the appropriate audio filters on the right. Restart MPC-HC, open a file, and see if AC3 filter or ffdshow run. If neither do, go back into options and under "External Filters", click "add filter" and hopefully you'll find AC3 filter in the list. Or the ffdshows audio decoder. Add one/both as an external filter. This should get MPC-HC to load the external filters directly, bypassing the Windows system. Restart MPC-HC and try the video again. Hopefully that'll work although I've not used Windows 8 myself so I don't know if you should expect the expected.
If ffdshow loads instead of the AC3 filter it has a mixer section which can display current levels for each channel after ticking the "show levels" box. It also has a mixer section which may be set to downmix to stereo by default, If it's enabled, just disable it.
Hopefully some of the above will at least get you heading in the right direction to work out where the problem is. My money's on WMP.
VLC won't load external filters. WMP probably should but Microsoft keep changing the way the system works with each version of Windows. MPC-HC should let you use them by loading them directly, if nothing else works. It should also be able to use the same renderer as WMP (probably the EVR Renderer) but if there's a noticeable difference in video quality it's probably something like the method used to resize the video, or filtering the player might apply. If it's a brightness difference it might be an issue with levels (PCs use a wider range of levels than video and some players correct it by default while others don't).
In what way does it look better using WMP?
The colours just generally don't look as vibrant in VLC.
I tried it in Media Player Classic but have the same problem, although I would prefer to use WMP anyway.
Could it be to do with the fact the files were remuxed using MKV2VOB? I noticed it changes the audio from DTS to AC3, but again AC3 filter doesn't appear anyway in WMP.