Wii U Audio FAQ (5.1 Surround Sound)

#1Pac12345Posted 12/11/2012 4:25:21 PM(edited)
I've seen many posts about people asking how to enable 5.1 surround sound. This, is an attempt at explaining how to do so, as well as explaining some things about why it can't produce 5.1 surround sound with some setups.

QUICK!: Does the Wii U support 5.1 surround sound?!
A: Yes, it does.

Then why can't I set it up to output surround sound?! >=(
A: Keep on reading and you'll see why/how.

OK, so first: Basically, there's two major formats for surround sound: Dolby and DTS (Kind of like VHS V.S. Beta).

The large majority of the entertainment media uses these two formats for surround sound. However, these two formats are LICENSED formats (Meaning you have to pay them to actually use said formats).

A quick breakdown:

Dolby sound formats: Dolby Digital 5.1 (Compressed) , Dolby Digital 7.1 (Compressed), Dolby True HD 5.1 (Uncompressed), Dolby True HD 7.1 (Uncompressed).

DTS: DTS 5.1 (Uncompressed), DTS Master Audio HD 7.1 (Uncompressed).

That's basically it. There are more, of course, but these are basically the most used formats for surround sound.

*Uncompressed means that the audio is pure and is played back as it was recorded.
**Compressed means that some small parts of the audio were cut back in order to save bandwidth.

OK, so, now that we got that out of the way, let's look at the Wii U.

XBOX 360 and PS3 systems do, in fact, support both, Dolby and DTS audio formats (They paid their licensing fees).

The Wii U DOES NOT

Then how come it supports surround sound?!
A: It uses a non-licensed format.
^ And that's where our problems begin.

Most Surround sound receivers/Home Theater systems use only these two formats (DTS and Dolby), because the obscene majority of movies, games, music, etc. only use these two formats.

The Wii U can only produce 5.1 surround sound (Uncompressed) via LPCM (Non-licensed audio format).

Chances are that you, as many of us do, own systems that do not support the LPCM format.

How can I get surround sound, then?
A: Check if your receiver supports the LPCM format (Read your manual, or look it up online).

If your receiver does support LPCM, then use the next setups:

Wii U>Receiver>TV
OR
Wii U>TV>Reciever (Via Optical Digital/Fiber Optic)

What if I don't have a LPCM system?
A: Then, you're screwed. Sorry, as of today, there is no other way to get surround sound out of your Wii U, without these required setups.

Can I use a HDMI splitter?
A: It won't do you any good. The problem isn't how you connect it, but rather, to what you're connecting it to. If you have connected your Wii U to a surround sound receiver, and it still does not output in 5.1 surround sound, then it means that your receiver does not support the format required to output 5.1 surround sound. No matter what method you used.

I don't have a LPCM-enabled receiver, what are my options?
A: You could buy a "signal converter" (Which converts LPCM signals to Dolby Digital/DTS). However, from what I understand these are pretty expensive, and you're better off buying a new surround sound system altogether.

EDIT: The below poster has provided a link where you can acquire cheap converters, so it's all good. Not that bad of a solution at all.

B: You could buy a new surround sound receiver that supports LPCM. Ask your vendor. This is actually the easier solution. Not only will you replace your current system for a new one, but you will also be able to experience surround sound without any problems in the foreseeable future.

---------------To be continued------------
#2Pac12345(Topic Creator)Posted 12/11/2012 4:18:46 PM
-----------------------CONTINUED---------------

C: Wait. There's always a chance that Nintendo will enable Dolby Digital and/or DTS formats in the future. It has happened before; When the Wii first launched, it only supported the MP3 format, later they added ACC format via an update. It's somewhat improbable, but certainly not impossible for Nintendo to add this feature.


Could these problems had been avoided should the Wii U had and optical port?
A: Not really. Again, the problem isn't how you connect it, but rather, what you're connecting it to. A fiber optic cable is capable of transmitting a LPCM 5.1 (Uncompressed) signal. (It is actually, the absolute maximum), but even then, it wouldn't solve your problems (Read above).

OK, so I know I am screwed. How can I make the most out of it?
A: Well, for the puny mortals that do not own a LPCM-enabled system, the best option is to use the Stereo option, and use our Dolby Pro Logic 2 setup (Which the vast majority of surround sound systems have). Granted, it's not true 5.1 surround sound, but it's better than plain stereo. Besides, Nintendo games have always had excellent stereo audio tracks.

B: Demand Nintendo to enable Dolby and DTS audio formats! Call them, e-mail them, harass them! The precedent is there (Wii) so it's not that improbable for Nintendo to add support for these formats in the near future via an update. (Even the XBOX 360 and PS3 had format issues when they first came out, and solved said issues via firmware updates).

I hope this can serve as a guide. If you have any other questions, ask.


Um, Request sticky? If this really helps?
#3Red_hot_smasherPosted 12/11/2012 4:22:36 PM
Umm, you could buy one of these: http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_trksid=p5197.m570.l1313&_nkw=hdmi+lpcm+decoder&_sacat=0&_from=R40
---
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All these organizations for human rights, and yet noone cares about the victims of copyright law. ;,(
#4thexmaverickPosted 12/11/2012 4:37:06 PM
I do have a question , the sound of my 7.1 system and the gamepad sound are lagging a little, how can I fix this
#5jackorhoadsPosted 12/11/2012 4:37:33 PM
I hope a patch to support Dolby 5.1 comes...
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#6Pac12345(Topic Creator)Posted 12/11/2012 4:47:24 PM
thexmaverick posted...
I do have a question , the sound of my 7.1 system and the gamepad sound are lagging a little, how can I fix this


There's a number of reasons for why this happens, could you be more specific? Who's lagging, the gamepad or the surround sound receiver?

How is your receiver connected to the TV?
#7SteamedRicePosted 12/11/2012 5:18:54 PM(edited)
i keep telling this but people still think they're getting true 5.1 out of netflix lmao.

Piss poor multimedia device. Simply having dolby license + DLNA support could turn it around in a future update but i wouldn't bet on it.
#8Pac12345(Topic Creator)Posted 12/11/2012 5:17:10 PM
Bump
#9thexmaverickPosted 12/11/2012 5:24:25 PM
Pac12345 posted...
thexmaverick posted...
I do have a question , the sound of my 7.1 system and the gamepad sound are lagging a little, how can I fix this


There's a number of reasons for why this happens, could you be more specific? Who's lagging, the gamepad or the surround sound receiver?

How is your receiver connected to the TV?


Ok, so wii u to the tv with hdmi, and then tv to receiver with optic(cause my receiver doesnt transfer the image with hdmi :( ) and I think gamepad is lagging behind
#10Pac12345(Topic Creator)Posted 12/11/2012 5:40:50 PM
thexmaverick posted...
Pac12345 posted...
thexmaverick posted...
I do have a question , the sound of my 7.1 system and the gamepad sound are lagging a little, how can I fix this


There's a number of reasons for why this happens, could you be more specific? Who's lagging, the gamepad or the surround sound receiver?

How is your receiver connected to the TV?


Ok, so wii u to the tv with hdmi, and then tv to receiver with optic(cause my receiver doesnt transfer the image with hdmi :( ) and I think gamepad is lagging behind


I see. I'm betting your TV has 120/240/480 HZ functionality. If this is the case do this:

-Enable the bypass audio option in your TV (It should be under audio settings).

-Enable Audio/Video sync in your TV. Or disble it if it is already enabled.

-Lower the dejudder, or turn it off completely. Or disable the 120/240/480 HZ option.

-Use the "Game Mode" option if our TV has one. From there, configure the picture settings to your liking.

In case your TV is not 120/240/480 HZ enabled
-Use the Bypass option under the audio settings.

- Use the sync Audio/Video option.

-Try using a "Game mode" option if your TV has that option. From there configure the picture settings to your liking.