Wii U - Surround Sound Guide and FAQ

SPE

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Mar 30, 2007
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#1
Spin off from the Wii U - No optical audio connector? Nintendo. Fix this!! thread, to cover commonly asked questions around getting 5.1 surround from a Wii U.

Wii U Surround Sound Guide.

  • The Wii U only supports LPCM 1.0, 2.0 and 5.1
  • The Wii U does not support any licensed surround formats: DPII, Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, DTS, DTS-HD etc.
  • The Wii U does not have an optical out port.
  • Optical out from your TV/Monitor into your receiver/HTiB will not produce 5.1
  • For Wii U use, only one AV port on the back is active. If you output HDMI to your TV, the AV Multi Out analogue output will be disabled.
  • For Wii Mode use, it does output through both in Wii mode though, so you can have HMDI video and analogue audio. This functionality was removed by a firmware update.
  • It is LPCM 5.1 via HDMI to a supporting receiver or nothing.
  • Firmware 4.0.0 adds DPII back into Wii Mode.

There is only one method available to get 5.1 surround from a WiiU:

Connect your WiiU via HDMI to an AV Receiver or HTiB that supports LPCM 5.1. Then connect AVR/HTiB to TV/Monitor with HDMI.

Code:
WiiU > HDMI > AV Receiver/HTiB > HDMI > TV/Monitor
                   |
	      5.1 Sound (LPCM only)
Any other methods will either result in plain stereo (with no Pro Logic II) or silence. The below methods will not produce surround sound.

Code:
WiiU > HDMI > TV/Monitor 
               |
              Optical
               |
              AV Receiver/HTiB 
               |
              2.0 Sound (No DPII, DD or DTS)
Code:
WiiU > Analogue > TV/Monitor
                   |
                  Optical
                   |
                  AV Receiver/HTiB 
                   |
                  2.0 Sound (No DPII, DD or DTS)
Code:
WiiU > Analogue > TV/Monitor
                   |
                  Analogue 
                   |
                  AV Receiver/HTiB 
                   |
                  2.0 Sound (No DPII, DD or DTS)
Code:
WiiU > HDMI > TV/Monitor
  |
Analogue
  |
AV Receiver/HTiB
  |
No Sound
Code:
WiiU > Analogue > TV/Monitor
  |
Analogue
  |
AV Receiver/HTiB
  |
2.0 Sound (No DPII, DD or DTS)
FAQ

I have an AV Receiver with an HDMI input. I'm guaranteed to get surround, huh?
Maybe. As well as needing an HDMI input on the back of your AVR, it must support LPCM 5.1 over HDMI. Some older HDMI receivers only accepts LPCM 2.0 (so you will only get stereo). Some AVRs just do HDMI pass-though, which is video only. Check your AVR user manual to confirm it supports six (or more) channel LPCM via HDMI.

Can I hook my Wii U up to my HTiB to get surround?
Maybe. See above. If you have an HDMI input and it supports LPCM 5.1, you will be OK. If you just have optical or analogue inputs, then no, you'll just get plain stereo.

I have an older AV Receiver or HTiB that doesn't have HDMI. I can still get surround, yeah?
No. If your receiver doesn't support HDMI, you won't get surround.

What if I use the optical output from my TV and hook that into my receiver/HTiB? I'll get surround then?
No. You will just get plain stereo.

But the above works for my 360/PS3/DVD etc?
They all output DD or DTS, which works over optical. The Wii U just outputs LPCM 5.1, which doesn't.

What if I get an HDMI to optical spliiter? That will work?
No. Optical will never produce surround from the Wii U, as optical doesn't have the bandwidth to carry LPCM 5.1 audio.

What if I...
Dude, seriously. It's not going to work.

So how do I get surround then?
Join the 21st century and buy a modern AV Receiver (sorry).

What the hell is LPCM anyway?
LPCM is a lossless, uncompressed audio format, which results in the best possible sound. It is unrelated to DD, DTS etc, and requires the large bandwidth of HDMI to send the 5.1 audio stream to a receiver. Optical doesn't have the bandwidth to carry LPCM 5.1.

What about in Wii Mode? Does DPII still work?
Only on a per-game basis.
As of Firmware 4.0.0, DPII has been added back into Wii Mode. As long as the original Wii game supported DPII, it will output surround on the WiiU.

I guess I'll just use my surround headphones then.
Good luck with that.
 
Aug 12, 2009
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#2
good post.
you might want to note that using HDMI splitters with optical out isn't going to work either although one should realize that by reading everything else in the OP.
edit: and that all dolby or 5.1 headphone solutions are not compatible with WiiU currently because all of them they use optical DD output from a console.
 

SPE

Member
Mar 30, 2007
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#6
Done.

I'm not familiar with surround headphone, so if someone can let me know what works and what doesn't, I'll update the OP.
 
May 17, 2012
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#7
So how do I get surround then?
Join the 21st century and buy a modern AV Receiver (sorry).
You should be sorry. :p So should Nintendo. It would cost me $600-$700 to get a comparable quality receiver +HDMI. Even an entry level receiver is $200. Not worth it at this time since this is the only device on the planet that I have encountered that would give me this issue and there is currently nothing compelling on the Wii U that would justify this purchase to me.

Thanks for the thread though. Should provide people with all the answers they need since that other thread had the same questions on every page.
 
Aug 12, 2009
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#20
How about using LPCM to Dolby Digital converter boxes such as http://www.ambery.com/2hddodtsdihd.html ?
That does work, it's like buying a new receiver, although a lot cheaper in comparison.

No DPLII at the very least? WTH nintendo

Would DPLII still work with backwards compatible Wii games?

I guess so, DPLII encoding and mixing are done by Wii/GC games themselves and the console is just outputting the stereo mix. Should work.
 

SPE

Member
Mar 30, 2007
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#22
How about using LPCM to Dolby Digital converter boxes such as http://www.ambery.com/2hddodtsdihd.html ?

Then again these converters are usually over $100.
I don't understand how these would work.

This HDMI digital to analog audio converter supports decoding uncompressed digital LPCM 7.1, 5.1 or 2 channels and passing the compressed digital Bitstream (Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus and DTS-HD Master Audio) through HDMI input and output ports.
They say they'll accept a LCPM input over HDMI, and out can convert it to the newer HD audio formats. then Bitstream that over optical.

However, I didn't think that optical had the bandwidth to carry the HD formats, and these can only be sent over HDMI.
 
Sep 22, 2010
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#26
Question not related to surround, but very important to me. If I hook the Wii U with HDMI to my PC monitor can I connect the sound via composite cables separately to speakers like I do with my PS3 and 360? If not, I'm totally fucked.
 
Sep 11, 2011
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#27
Question not related to surround, but very important to me. If I hook the Wii U with HDMI to my PC monitor can I connect the sound via composite cables separately to speakers like I do with my PS3 and 360? If not, I'm totally fucked.
You can't - but Nintendo may patch the functionality in later, how likely that is: I don't know. It's also why I'm going to use HD over Component instead of HDMI for the foreseeable future, to power my headphone system.

I would have bet before release that this is functionality that would be included on day one, but obviously Nintendo likes to defy expectations ;)
 
Aug 12, 2009
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#28
Question not related to surround, but very important to me. If I hook the Wii U with HDMI to my PC monitor can I connect the sound via composite cables separately to speakers like I do with my PS3 and 360? If not, I'm totally fucked.
you answer:
Code:
WiiU > HDMI > TV
  |
Analogue
  |
AV Receiver/HTiB
  |
No Sound
No, analogue out is turned off if you use HDMI unlike PS3/360. If your monitor doesn't have speakers or audio out you're out of luck.
 
Sep 22, 2010
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#29
You can't - but Nintendo may patch the functionality in later, how likely that is: I don't know. It's also why I'm going to use HD over Component for the foreseeable future, to power my headphone system.

I would have bet before release that this is functionality that would be included on day one, but obviously Nintendo likes to defy expectations ;)
you answer:


No, analogue out is turned off if you use HDMI unlike PS3/360. If your monitor doesn't have speakers or audio out you're out of luck.
Sorry since it didn't exactly pertain to surround in my case I thought it wasn't covered. I'm totally fucked then... fantastic.
EDIT: My monitor has speaker, but they're not exactly fantastic. I really need to get a TV :/
 
Jun 6, 2004
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#30
Can we get some receiver recommendations going in this thread? I'm looking for something that has tons of analogue inputs, tons of HDMI inputs, with great audio processing and a good scaler for older sources (like classic gaming consoles). Thoughts? Been considering a Yamaha Aventage RX-A2020 primarily for that HQV Vida, but many have told me to go with a lower-end receiver and simple s-video/component/composite switches for my classic devices.
 
Jun 7, 2004
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Thanks for the post. Unfortunately, it sounds like it'll screw me over since my receiver takes optical from my TV. Fortunately I don't use my sound system very much, but still.
That actually means you're not getting any sort of surround sound through your speakers. 99.9% of TVs only output stereo over Optical, period.
 

TAS

Member
Nov 21, 2005
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#32
I'm sure most people know this already..but you must manually change the settings to 'Surround" in the sound settings. By default, it is set to Stereo.
 
Aug 28, 2005
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#33
Lame as hell.... Im not buying a new reciever just because nintendo are cheap asses.... This along with the slow os, large updates and constant freezing makes me want to return my wii-u.
 
Aug 23, 2006
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#38
Can I hook my Wii U up to my HTiB?
Probably not. Any method you use to do this will likely result in plain stereo.
That is incorrect. Most HTiB's sold in the last few years include receivers that support audio over HDMI (and thus surround). I mean, what would be the difference if you bought a receiver, or the exact same receiver came in a HTiB?
 
Jun 7, 2004
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That is incorrect. Most HTiB's sold in the last few years include receivers that support audio over HDMI (and thus surround). I mean, what would be the difference if you bought a receiver, or the exact same receiver came in a HTiB?
A lot of HTiB don't have multiple inputs. But yes, the post should be amended.
 
Aug 27, 2006
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#43
My Wii U is hooked up to my Onkyo TX-NR609 Receiver via HDMI. I have a 7.1 speaker arrangement and the Receiver seems to only output sound to the left front, center, right front, left side, and right side. None of the rear speakers output any sound. Does anybody know what the issue is here? Is there a way to at least force the side sound to come out of the rear? The receiver works perfectly fine with my PS3, Xbox 360, Apple TV, DVR, and PC.
 
Jun 7, 2004
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#45
My Wii U is hooked up to my Onkyo TX-NR609 Receiver via HDMI. I have a 7.1 speaker arrangement and the Receiver seems to only output sound to the left front, center, right front, left side, and right side. None of the rear speakers output any sound. Does anybody know what the issue is here? Is there a way to at least force the side sound to come out of the rear? The receiver works perfectly fine with my PS3, Xbox 360, Apple TV, DVR, and PC.
You have to tell the receiver to output the side as rear. It should be there in the manual.
 
Mar 20, 2011
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#46
My Wii U is hooked up to my Onkyo TX-NR609 Receiver via HDMI. I have a 7.1 speaker arrangement and the Receiver seems to only output sound to the left front, center, right front, left side, and right side. None of the rear speakers output any sound. Does anybody know what the issue is here? Is there a way to at least force the side sound to come out of the rear? The receiver works perfectly fine with my PS3, Xbox 360, Apple TV, DVR, and PC.
How are you able to output out of the rear for 360? The side speakers are always the default for 5.1 except on PC.
 
Jun 11, 2009
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#49
my receiver in my living room (5.1 setup)had no hdmi. @bestbuy they had a samsung open box receiver- regular price 299.99 no remote box etc for 41.99 i nabbed it and it works perfectly though i cannot find a universal remote code for it.

check the insignia(best buy brand) line of receivers that have 4 hdmi in one out @ebay, that one is made by onkyo for ~100ish buy it now with shipping.

this one: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Insignia-NS...499?pt=Receivers_Tuners&hash=item43b611cc13--
 
Dec 19, 2011
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#50
Question not related to surround, but very important to me. If I hook the Wii U with HDMI to my PC monitor can I connect the sound via composite cables separately to speakers like I do with my PS3 and 360? If not, I'm totally fucked.
There I was reading this thread and thought "Oh good thing that none of these audio-issues affect..." then your post came and I was like "Oh oh... I will have the same issue! >.<"
Though I wonder can anybody tell us if we PC-monitor users can simply use the Wii U Gamepad as a "carrier" and use the headphone-port as a LINE-OUT for a PC LINE-IN, would that work?

If it does I myself will be fine with it as, since I use my monitor, I'm sitting at my desk all the time anyway so a single 3.5mm cable won't bother me.