11 May 2012

Fun with Hi-fi

After twenty years, it was time to update my hifi system. It was sitting on one side of the living room unused with the PC and TV on the other.
I settled on a Sony STR-DH820 A/V as the hub, which though defined as 'entry level' sounds fine to me. It has more sockets in the back than Neo and is awesomely black.

Glitch #1 I managed to press the wrong buttons and disabled the remote control. A Google forum search found the remedy - press a previously untouched button unintuitively labelled 'AMP'. Yes it was in the manual but in the wrong place.

The PC, TV and satellite box connect to the A/V via HDMI cables, and the A/V turned out to have better video output: Channel 4 HD had been choppy but is fine now.

Glitch #2 was (ha!) Windows. Switching from the PC speakers to HDMI output, the only option was Stereo. Where's my surround sound? Back to Google, which suggested some complicated and suspiciously old remedies. So... update driver? Yes, there was a recent update but that made no apparent difference.
Eventually the solution hit me last night: Windows was being clever and looking to see where the sound was going. To a TV with just two speakers? OK, just stereo then. In the A/V settings I needed to disable 'Pass Through'. Now Windows could only see the A/V and up came the speaker options I wanted.