Best HDMI to 5.1 RCA decoder

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amco

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What is the best economical HDMI to 5.1 RCA decoder, for example to connect a laptop HDMI to a great set of Active Speakers. There are many cheap boxes available, but most seem to pass through vanilla LPCM multi-channel, though not Dolby, DTS and DSD etc.

Apart from a myriad of no-name import boxes, THESE ones MAY fit the bill:
https://www.amazon.com/Decoder-Separator-Digital-Receiver-Coaxial/dp/B082Q1XVZR (BEST ?!? But NO longer available ?!?)
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07X94PF4D?tag=geekdeck-20&linkCode=osi&th=1&psc=1 (AVAILABLE, but SPDIF, not HDMI !!!)

An AV Receiver or Preamp with analog outputs is a solution, but is overkill in $$$ and space.
A last ditch alternative seems to be a USB-C DAC from Sound Blaster o_O

Awaiting the experts comments, with thanks in anticipation.
 

LennonCobain

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I am curious as to the suggestions you get. One thing to keep in mind is that the device providing the HDMI signal may not actually allow the converter to work as intended. And some of these devices tout 5.1 audio but it’s not a true 5.1 decode.

Here is a related example. I had purchased an HDMI splitter/repeater to have an Apple TV signal go to 2 monitors. It didn’t work.
 

Mark Anderson

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I have two of these

Amazon.com: 7.1CH HDMI Audio Converter HDMI Digital Audio Converter Support 3 Modes for Audio Output Blue-Ray Player 4k Video : Electronics

currently unavailable but you get the idea, Somewhere on QQ their are previous post that about this with1/8" phono jacks, I chose RCA connections. I use on from my PC thru this box to a receiver at home and feed the analogue output to a display scope. The bummer is it will not pass Atmos to the receiver via HDMI in this setup only 5.1 or 7.1. I also use one at work. Laptop to this unit then analouge audio to a non HDMI receiver using it's 5.1 inputs, and out of this unit to a computer monitor. I must have a video source connected via HDMI for the audio to work (pass thru).
I purchased one of these to fool the box and video pass thru hoping I did not have to have a video monitor in the chain
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07FB8GJ1Z/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
That did not work as the dummy is only for video.
While looking for this unit I do recall similar products that do decode DTS and DD but were limited in some other way that did not meet my needs as I do not need those capabilites. Everything is ripped and decoded.
I think any current version you can find will work, Just remember you have to have a video source passed on to your TV or monitor to get the 5.1 analouge audio to pass thru and work on the amplifier end.
 

Mark Anderson

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I have two of these

Amazon.com: 7.1CH HDMI Audio Converter HDMI Digital Audio Converter Support 3 Modes for Audio Output Blue-Ray Player 4k Video : Electronics

currently unavailable but you get the idea, Somewhere on QQ their are previous post that about this with1/8" phono jacks, I chose RCA connections. I use on from my PC thru this box to a receiver at home and feed the analogue output to a display scope. The bummer is it will not pass Atmos to the receiver via HDMI in this setup only 5.1 or 7.1. I also use one at work. Laptop to this unit then analouge audio to a non HDMI receiver using it's 5.1 inputs, and out of this unit to a computer monitor. I must have a video source connected via HDMI for the audio to work (pass thru).
I purchased one of these to fool the box and video pass thru hoping I did not have to have a video monitor in the chain
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07FB8GJ1Z/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
That did not work as the dummy is only for video.
While looking for this unit I do recall similar products that do decode DTS and DD but were limited in some other way that did not meet my needs as I do not need those capabilites. Everything is ripped and decoded.
I think any current version you can find will work, Just remember you have to have a video source passed on to your TV or monitor to ge the 5.1 analouge audio to pass thru and work on the amplifier end.
Wait, here is the unit and available
Amazon.com: 7.1CH HDMI Audio Converter HDMI Digital Audio Converter Supports 3 Modes Audio Output Player 4k Video : Electronics
 

MidiMagic

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Until there are ways to reliably convert in both directions, I have no interest in HDMI at all.

There are too many different standards in surround, I liked it most when Dolby Surround was the only active standard in use. Then everything available worked with everything else. Now we have a hodgepodge of incompatibility.

This sounds like Bill Gates ran it. Windows upgrades were the biggest sources of incompatibility ever.
 

fizzywiggs41

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I agree that there are too many surround standards available , that can cause incompatibility situations.

But I do like DTS , DTS MA , DD , DD TRUE , DVDA , SACD and Bluray lpcm , and find these systems most adequate for my digital surround needs for my audio systems reference.

As for analog matrix surround..... my order of preference would be SQ , QS , MP , and Shure HTS.
 

quicksrt

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The Oppo machines were and are about the best decoder boxes with 5.1 analog outs. Maybe not practical for the op’s use. But surround was never about space saving tiny parts doing large things.
 

jimfisheye

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HDMI connecting audio interfaces are prone to the HDMI 'copy protection gone wild' stuff, FYI. The price is enticing on some of these. You get what you pay for though with unbalanced outputs and such.

A USB connecting audio interface doesn't get into any of the copy protection wildness. There are cheapness products with USB interfaces too but there are professional grade USB audio interfaces in the $200 - $500 range with up to 8 outputs. A model with 16 outputs (or using a DA expansion box to add another 8 outputs to an 8 channel unit) could be ready to go for Atmos. I mean, if they ever release the playback codec...

There's a new crop of products aimed at art house or small theater. Brightsign Media Player is one of them. The idea is it's a Linux running device you can program for your hardware setup. A receptionist with zero tech skills can just hit play. I haven't looked any more closely and I'm not recommending any brand! Just an example.

All the same idea. Bring your own amps and speakers as always. Keep the system to media server (computer or other) -> DACs -> amps/speakers. Don't duplicate expensive bits like DACs in both some DVD player and AVR when you only need and can only use one set. Avoid the copy protection gone wild crap.
 

ummagumma

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My scenario: I saw a bluray/sacd player cheap & bought it for any potential sacd & dvd playback. it only has HDMI & RGB/stereo RCA outs though. So one of these converters would be great.

I'd like to be able to split the HDMI audio into component analog & use the video at the same time.
 

winopener

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My scenario: I saw a bluray/sacd player cheap & bought it for any potential sacd & dvd playback. it only has HDMI & RGB/stereo RCA outs though. So one of these converters would be great.

I'd like to be able to split the HDMI audio into component analog & use the video at the same time.
That's exactly what these devices do. HDMI IN & OUT + Analog audio.
 

ghalteman

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winopener

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As i said, any decode is done by the laptop.
Foobar2000 on the laptop send thru HDMI a 5.1 WAVE decoded from a 5.1 FLAC file, then the unit strip the 5.1 digital audio from HDMI and convert it to analog.
 
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