Audio through Old AVR while using HDMI 2.1 Video

I posted on the LTT forum already but I’ll post here to since this a particularly difficult issue. I plan to be running my TV at 4k-120 after I get my new GPU and TV. My receiver only supports HDMI 2.0, so my main HDMI connection has to go straight to the TV. But I would really like to keep using my current receiver for my 5.1 channel audio setup. Anyone have a good solution for this?

Current options I can think of:

  1. Run an extra HDMI cable to my AVR and extend the display so I can send audio to it.
    -This seems to break HDCP 2.2 support.
    -Having an unconnected screen is really annoying.
    –If anyone else goes this route this program can automatically lock your mouse cursor to the primary screen.

  2. Use Gen 1 ARC to send Dolby Atmos to my AVR
    -Audio has bad latency and is buggy. (Tested on my 2017 TV. It might work better on the CX)

  3. SP/DIF output on the TV.
    -Not sure if the TV can convert PCM to dolby digital for me or not.
    -Also not ideal due to low audio quality.

  4. USB to HDMI audio converter
    -Haven’t been able to find a good one yet.
    -It would need to present itself to Windows as pure audio device. So a device like that might not exist.

  5. Analog Outs on the Motherboard.
    -Could work… but my receiver doesn’t support analog in for anything other than stereo.

One more thing about this windows installation is it’s running as a VM on unRAID. But that shouldn’t really matter

Your pretty much screwed until something that will split the audio out is available, eARC seems like the best bet, but assuming you have an LG OLED, it won’t pass DTS.

Yeah I think you might be right. If my receiver was 1 year newer, it would have got a firmware update to support eARC. I might have to just use the extend display option. At least then I can keep maximum audio quality.

When i was using my PS4 Pro, with my very old AVR literally doesnt have HDMI, i used my TV’s SPDIF and it passed through DTS and Dolby Atmos just fine at 5.1. But I also when using my pc I just direct the audio out through my pcs built in sound card to the AVR through either SPDIF or Analogue from the built in DAC till i get a dedicated one. Then I just use HDMI for video. Simply dont use the AVR for video passthrough and just use it for audio.

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Yeah that’s the goal. 5.1 ch audio makes this much more difficult. I will give the optical output a try. But it may not work since the audio going to the TV is PCM.

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Skip the tv then and just output Optical to the AVR, its what I do now, Does all the standards.

Well when im watching something, Till I can either get a 5.1 dac or get the cables to analogue it all up seen as my AVR has 5.1 analogue inputs.

The issue with the LG TV’s is they no longer pat the license fee for DTS, so they won’t pass it over optical or eARC.

Yes but he mentioned his pc no? So he just uses the optical out on his mobo. Then there is no problem.

In Windows, you can only output stereo audio when using optical, unless you have a native dolby or dts source to bitstream. Getting 5.1 to always work is difficult because the formats are proprietary.

Meanwhile over in LTT land, even Linus himself couldn’t offer much help lol. Option 1 is the best he’s aware of.

I mean my Optical defo does DTS and Dolby Digital,
so not sure why it doesnt for u. Depends on ur source but if u want 5.1 the source is obviously going to be 5.1 no? And if it isnt then its only stereo u want anyway.

Yeah you can send DTS/DD over optical. But the problem is when your source only supports 5.1 PCM audio. This is the case for many video games on PC.

Ahh gotcha ive only used it for Movies, Hmmm I dunno then I take it ur AMP doesnt have analogue in? like mine does, show in picture as then u could just use the MOBO built in dac for ur 5.1 stuff? But I take it as its newer it wont have this.

My AVR only has 2 CH analog ins. So that’s not an option unfortunately.

Yeah thats a real shame, Im not quite sure how you would go about this then. Seen as basically it comes down to ur tv not doing it now. Sorry I couldnt be of more help.

Thanks still. Option 1 shouldn’t be that bad. My main concern with it was bugs related to having two screens on always

It still sends signal when the monitor is off so you wouldnt really need it on. But Yeah i getchu, I multimonitor as I use one just for critical listening but dont really have many bugs at all really.

Is anyone aware of a receiver that supports USB audio? Or how about a surround sound integrated DAC/AMP combo?

There are HDMI splitters and HDMI audio extractor boxes. Quick Amazon search shows that right now the HDCP 2.2 models are topping out at 60Hz refresh rates for 4K, but I would not be surprised if 120Hz supporting models don’t come around soon. It could be a place to start as they are not very expensive. Over the years Creative has made external soundcards that have USB connection to the PC and have optical digital outs that support DD/DTS. You may still be able to find them around. To my knowledge, even the latest AVRs don’t accept a surround signal from a pc, only stereo.