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Why aren't my surrounds and subs working?
#438231 09/21/20 07:11 AM
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I have an abox A1 max Android box hooked up to a pioneer vsx-lx101 receiver via a hdmi cable and I'm not able to get any surround sound from it. The receiver is hooked up to the tv via a hdmi cable as well. I have a different android box hooked up to a different receiver in my house in the same manner and it works just fine.

On the remote there is a "status" button, when I have a movie playing if I push it, a box comes up on the tv saying:

"input:hdmi 3
Pcm
2.0 ch 48khz
Output:dts neo:6 cinema
5.1 channel"

I have a movie on kodi right now and when I goto the audio settings it says:

"audio stream english-aac stereo - 2 channels default, forced".

If I watch a movie on Amazon prime, it's still only 2 channels.

In the audio settings for the android box there are only 3 options.

The first is "dolby sounds" and in there the options are off, line and rf. The default was line and I tryed rf as well but there was no difference.

The second is "digital sounds" and in there the options are pcm, spdif raw and hdmi raw. The default setting was pcm but I've tried all three and again there was no difference.

The third option is "dts drcscale" *and in there are options from 0-100% in 10% increments. The default is 0 but I haven't tried changing to any other percentage

The android box is the only device I have hooked up to the receiver. I was initially thinking that the android box was the problem but just now I connected my phone via Bluetooth to the receiver and did a dts 5.1 surround sound test on YouTube and got some peculiar results.

When it did the test tones, the fronts and center worked properly but when it came to the rears, the sounds still came out of the front speakers and my subs did not turn on at all.

In the second part of the test it checks to see if the speakers are in phase and while it did that i had some sounds coming from my rear speakers. I don't know what to make of that???


When I do the test tones from my receiver, all of the speakers do what they are supposed to.


I'm inclined to think this is something to do with my receiver now.

I just did a firmware update on the receiver but it didn't make a difference.

Does anyone have any suggestions on what I can do to try to get this working properly?

Re: Why aren't my surrounds and subs working?
Jumbo #438232 09/21/20 11:11 AM
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Have you tried swapping the android boxes to isolate that as a source of the problem?
Do you have another HDMI source and have you swapped the inputs to the receiver to test the original HDMI input?


Regards,

Mike
Re: Why aren't my surrounds and subs working?
Jumbo #438233 09/21/20 02:13 PM
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YouTube is available in 2-channel only. During the phase testing, you had the Pioneer on PLII or Neo and that steered 2-channel out of phase information to the surrounds. That's how PLII and Neo work to simulate surround.

SPDIF raw is a bitstream for optical connections. HDMI raw is a bitstream for HDMI connections. Select HDMI raw. The Android box will send a bitstream to the Pioneer and the Pioneer will decode it into the correct format. The Pioneer may have some option you need to enable to make this happen.

DTS DRCscale is dynamic range compression. Your wife will love that. It limits dynamics so that all sounds don't exceed a normalized range. Good for relationships; terrible for audio.

Dolby sounds is a way to increase the volume of dialogue relative to other sounds.

You may also want to check if the Android box is on the latest version. Some manufacturers ship without full testing and follow up with new versions.


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Re: Why aren't my surrounds and subs working?
BBIBH #438234 09/21/20 03:16 PM
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It would be a major pain to swap the android boxes based on how I have everything setup.
I'm thinking it's just some settings that are wrong in the receiver so I'm hoping to leave swapping the android boxes towards the end of the troubleshooting process.
I just realized I have a laptop I can hook up and try to play a DVD. I will try that this afternoon.
I got the receiver about 4 years ago. It was brand new and I only took it out of the box to measure it, then it went back in the box for about a year because I was renovating my basement. When I finally did hook it up my wife gave birth to our first born and it's barely been used since. I turned the volume down on the subs and pretty much only watched the odd hockey game so I never noticed that the surround sound wasn't working until the other day when I was watching a movie and turned the volume on the subs back up only to realize they weren't doing anything. I'm not ruling it out yet but I would say it's doubtful that it's the hdmi port on the receiver.

I tried running the same YouTube test on my other receiver and all of the speakers except for the sub played the test tones so doesn't that mean that YouTube is outputting at least 5 channels?

I just compared the settings on my android box that is working, the default audio settings are basically the same between the two boxes. It's set to pcm and not hdmi raw on the working box.

The settings menu isn't very extensive on the pioneer receiver so I've gone through literally every setting but I don't see anything that could be preventibg the surround audio.

I will check the android version this afternoon as well

Last edited by Jumbo; 09/21/20 03:17 PM.
Re: Why aren't my surrounds and subs working?
Jumbo #438235 09/21/20 03:26 PM
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"I tried running the same YouTube test on my other receiver and all of the speakers except for the sub played the test tones so doesn't that mean that YouTube is outputting at least 5 channels?"

No, it does not. If your receiver or Android box is set to a simulated surround mode, like PLII or Neo, you will hear sound from all speakers. The stereo signal from Youtube is upmixed to simulated surround.

Make sure the Pioneer's Auto/Direct function is set to Auto via your remote. Set the box to HDMI raw. The Pioneer should then detect the bitstream and adjust to the correct sound mode (stereo, DD, DTS, etc).

Last edited by Mojo; 09/21/20 03:34 PM.

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Re: Why aren't my surrounds and subs working?
Jumbo #438238 09/22/20 01:13 AM
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I choose hdmi raw and set to auto as you suggested...It didn't work.
When I hit the status button now it says:
Input:hdmi 3
Pcm
2.0 ch
Output: auto surround
2.1 ch

When I look at the actual receiver, when it's in auto mode it only shows the fl, fr and sw as being enabled. I think the subs are working but at a very, very low level. I can feel very minute movement on the actual sub if I touch it and it's barely audible. The volume on the subs is set at maybe 60% so I would expect a much louder output than its getting.
When I choose surround instead of auto, on the receiver itself it shows all of the speakers enabled but it doesn't actually use all of them.
I just tried a DVD in the laptop. I initially tried playing it using VLC player and it was no different, I then tried it with windows Media player and it worked, I was getting full surround and there was noticeable bass from the subs.
I hooked up the laptop to the same hdmi port as the android box so this confirms the hdmi port is good, and it appears to me that it must be a setting or settings in the android box that is preventing it from working.
Do you have any other suggestions?

Re: Why aren't my surrounds and subs working?
Jumbo #438240 09/22/20 01:24 AM
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That's great. You know the Pioneer, speakers and subs are all good.

Is the status button on the Android box or the Pioneer?

Can you confirm you are playing multi-channel material through the Android box?

Note that it's possible the implementation of the app you are trying to play material through (eg. Netflix) may not be implemented with multi-channel support on that box.

Last edited by Mojo; 09/22/20 01:24 AM.

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Re: Why aren't my surrounds and subs working?
Jumbo #438241 09/22/20 02:44 AM
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"Note that it's possible the implementation of the app you are trying to play material through (eg. Netflix) may not be implemented with multi-channel support on that box."

Geez. That's some bad English there.


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Re: Why aren't my surrounds and subs working?
Jumbo #438246 09/22/20 04:32 AM
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The status button is on the pioneer.

I just tried playing the same movie on Amazon prime on both of my android boxes. The one works fine the other doesn't play with surround.

These are the specs for the android box I'm using :

More Supports:
Support airplay/DLNA/Miracast &H.265
Support Decoder Format: HDMPEG1/2/4, H.265,4K-HD, HD AVC/VC-1, RM/RMVB, XVID/DIVX3/4/5/6, REALVIDEO8/9/10
Support Media Format: AVI/RM/RMVB/TS/VOB/MKV/MOV/ISO/WMV/ASF/FLV/DAT/MPG/MPEG
Support Music Format: MP3/WMA/AAC/WAV/OGG/AC3/DDP/TRUEHD/HD/FLAC/APE
Support Photo Format: HD JPEG/BMP/GIF/PNG/TIFF
Support Subtitle: SRT/SMI/SUB/SSA/IDX+USB
Support Language: English/French/German/Spanish/Italian and more.

I don't see anywhere in the Amazon app that shows what specific audio format is being used.

This is a newer and more expensive android box than the one that is working so I'm inclined to believe this one can do anything the other one can do

Re: Why aren't my surrounds and subs working?
Jumbo #438247 09/22/20 04:50 AM
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The Pioneer status reads:

Input:hdmi 3
Pcm
2.0 ch
Output: auto surround
2.1 ch

This means the Pioneer is receiving 2.0 channel audio in PCM from the Android box. The Pioneer is outputting 2.1 channel.

So the Pioneer is doing what it's supposed to do.

Why is the Android box outputting PCM when you've set it to output HDMI raw?

You've proved the Amazon movie is coming in via multi-channel using your other system. The other Android box is looking more and more suspect.

Sometimes "newer" means unproven. You may want to try updating the software on it if not already done so.

Last edited by Mojo; 09/22/20 04:51 AM.

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