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Short guide to 5.1 (passthrough) audio for X7?

Discussion in 'NEO X7 mini Guides & FAQs' started by DavideG, Feb 21, 2016.

  1. DavideG

    DavideG New Member

    Just upgraded my X7 mini to the latest build (250) and I'm amazed how the multichannel audio config is such a best kept secret!
    I guess this is probably the #1 feature for Minix and there are a number of configs, both at android level and XBMC (Kodi) level, would you please provide some guidance?
  2. DavideG

    DavideG New Member

    Adding more details hoping someone, maybe from Minix, chimes in to provide some guidance on this topic that is a real pain.
    Please see the attached .pdf where I collected many screen-shots.

    Premises:
    a) Minix X7 mini upgraded to the latest FW, build 250. So it's set to factory defaults except for audio, as i0m going to explain in detail. In the 250 build I found the minix xbmc (still the old one) and I have also installed the latest Kodi 16.0;
    b) Connections: X7 mini connected to the 5.1 A/V receiver (very recent Onkyo) via HDMI for video and Optical for audio. On the A/V side the channel is configured with HDMI3 for video and Optical for digital audio.

    Now, with reference to the page numbers in the attached .pdf:

    1) page 1: rebooted the X7 mini

    2) pages 2-4, the X7 Android config: here the pain starts: there are different "settings" with different audio options! WTF#1!
    - the "Settings" app seems to be rockchip oriented so I start from there: Settings/Device/Sound/Sound Device Manager
    - pages 2 and 3 show the available options: there I select ROCKCHIP-SPDIF PASSTHROUGH.
    - I then check with the Android settings for audio (page 4) and see that this option here is mapped to Spdif Passthrough. Fair enough.

    3) Then I launch XBMC, the MINIX version (13.3 compiled dec 2014, see page 5)
    Here I go to systems/settings/audio output (expert view): see page 6,7 and 8
    The only thing I can do there is enable passthrough.

    Now I play a 5.1 file (.mkv): pages 9-10. The audio option is a strong regular noise, difficult to describe, like a "FFFFFF...." and the A/V receiver sees an incoming 2.0 channel PCM input. WTF#2!!!!

    Interestingly, if I disable passthrough (pages 11 and 12) the noise stops and the audio plays nicely even if as 2 channels! WTF#3!!!!

    3) Now I switch to Kodi (pages 13 and 14) without changing anything at Android/Minix level.

    Go to System/Settings/Audio output (pages 15,16)
    The settings are different from the Minix XBMC: here I can specify the number of channels so I set this to 5.1 and of course I also enable passthrough.

    Now let's play exactly the same 5.1 .mkv: now it seems to work, the A/V receiver sees a Dolby Digital 5.1 input (page 17), triple WOW!!!!!

    But the audio keeps dropping on a regular basis, at 1 Hz more or less and that is also shown by the A/V receiver that keep showing "UNKNOWN". HUGE WTF#4!!!!!! (pages 18 to 21).

    So in conclusion I can't find a working configuration and no guidance from Minix. Hope someone can shed some light.

    Thanks in advance
    Davide

    Attached Files:

  3. ENDRJUPL

    ENDRJUPL Well-Known Member Super Moderator

    Can you set the audio in Android settings to hdmi bitstream and see if passthrough works through hdmi in kodi? @Villa do you remember if there is a solution to this?
  4. Villa

    Villa Well-Known Member Super Moderator

    Sorry, I tend to shy away from all this passthrough stuff as I don't use or have a need for it! :(
  5. Villa

    Villa Well-Known Member Super Moderator

  6. stifler

    stifler New Member

    Only thing I can say is try SPMC 14.2 or 15.0...For me 14.2 did not work so good but some people have good result with that, in my system it just kept crashing...15.0 seemed to be bit laggy for start but then it just started to work perfectly dunno for reason...maybe some updates came in for apps or something. I think no one has got multi channel passtrough working with kodi 15 or up. And is there some reason to take audio with optical cable, why not just let it go with HDMI and let your onkyo do all the work...that is the best way to get audio in anyway ;)
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2016
  7. DavideG

    DavideG New Member

    Thanks for your feedback ENDRJUPL I can give it a try *but* I'm using optical for audio, not HDMI. BTW, is that a supported configuration having HDMI and Optical from the X7 mini to the A/V receiver?
  8. DavideG

    DavideG New Member

    Got it, will try removing the optical cable and using HDMI only. BTW, isn't there a more recent Minix version of XBMC?
  9. stifler

    stifler New Member

    I think that 13.3.3 what came with 250 is the latest... http://spmc.semperpax.com/ SPMC was build for android and rockchip devices by one of Kodi developers. There you can get "kodi isengard" so you get better compatibility with addons :)
  10. ENDRJUPL

    ENDRJUPL Well-Known Member Super Moderator

    Give it a try. We'll see if it works better.
  11. stifler

    stifler New Member

    HDMI can pass higher-resolution audio, so I don't even see a reason to use optical cable if you have AV receiver with HDMI inputs. Well it only makes difference in DTS HD master audio, Dolby trueHD etc. witch cannot even passtrough via toslink optical cable. But my point here is that if you choose to use it you don't win anything at the moment, you just have one extra cable in use behind your home theater system. :whistle: And BTW if you use optical in your bluray player you actually lose in audio quality there cause of these audio formats they use.
  12. DavideG

    DavideG New Member

    So I tested with your recommendations and it works, at least with the old Minix XBMC!

    In short:
    - removed the optical cable, audio and video over HDMI from the X7 mini to the A/V receiver;
    - ignored the "rockchip" settings, the yellow icons "settings", configured audio using the Android settings. Selected "HDMI bitstream"

    Outcome:
    - Minix XBMC works fine with 5.1 audio
    - Kodi 16.0 outputs 5.1 audio too but still suffers of the continuos audio drops.

    Will give a try SPMC as soon as I can. For now thanks a lot. Hope this can be useful for someone else too.
    stifler and ENDRJUPL like this.