Multichannel playback, AirPlay versus Roon Bridge

When I play music from Roon directly to my Denon AVR via Airplay and select one of the surround sound settings on the AVR I can achieve multichannel (5.1 in my case) playback of 2 channel stereo sources - all channels, including the sub are playing music. It’s a nice listening experience that fills my room with sound, plus it uses the subwoofer. That said, I’d like to use the higher quality DAC on my AVR so I setup a Roon Bridge - a custom NUC with Windows 10 installed, connected to the AVR by HDMI. When playing via the Roon Bridge no matter the sound setting on the AVR I only get 2 channel stereo. It seems strange, why is there a difference between these two methods of playback? You’d think they are doing the same thing because the source material (ie 2 channel stereo) is exactly the same.

Paul, you should check your AVR settings for the particular HDMI input you’re using. I believe you can set different sound modes for each individual input.

Thanks for the response. I’ve cycled through all the settings, it only ever plays 2 channels of audio. It’s like Airplay sends a signal the AVR can “upmix” to multichannel but Roon Bridge does not. I’ve also checked all the Windows settings. I can do the channel test in Windows sounds settings and all 6 of them play sound.

I’m pretty sure the receiver can upmix any stereo source. I have a Denon; I’ll try this when I get home.

Ok I just played with it as well and was able to get it to work by changing the channels in the device settings to 2.0 instead of 7.1… duh… guessing now that based on the documentation 7.1 setting forces 2 channels of music and 6 channels of silence. So to upmix you need to send just the 2 channels to allow the AVR multichannel processing to do its thing.

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If you look under the advanced settings for a multichannel audio device, you’ll see a “Send stereo/mono content as 7.1” which you probably want to set to No, for the reason you just observed.

Good luck!

It does beg an interesting question. If you are sending 2.0 channels of music but playing a multichannel file, what happens on the AVR? It seems like there should just be a setting “send whatever number of channels the file has” instead of forcing the amount of channels.

Hi Paul, I own a Denon AVR X2400H and connect it via hdmi to a NUC running roon on top of ROCK

When I Play 2 channel files I get this expanded on all available channels of my AVR.
I have a 7.1 setup and all speakers play music.
Please note, that you have to setup the channel settings for every output. So when you are playing via roon use the DENON App or the Remote and change it to multi channel. That works perfectly on my setup