Does Optical Audio Support 7.1? ( Explained )

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With the rise in popularity for optical cable use across America, most users have been wondering if Optical audio supports 7.1 surround sound system setups.

As a general guide, optical audio and 7.1 surround sound systems are not supported because there are specific bandwidth constraints in place- it’s incapable of supporting such sounds as well other formats like Dolby digital plus or DTS X among others.

However, if these codecs were sent using an optical linked then the quality would be reduced from 7 1/2 to 5.1. While it is possible to send 7.1 surround sound system setups through optical, the only drawback is that there would be a reduction in quality as well as format- another important factor to consider.

However, for those who are looking forward to 5.1 channel audio output, you can do so if you’re using HDMI cable which also can be used to connect optical audio cables.

Therefore, with the use of a few auxiliaries and adapters in between, 7.1 channel surround sound system setups can be achieved through optical cables- this is where you require the technology based on the number of channels that are being transmitted through your system.

Optical connectors are not compatible with coaxial and vice versa, so if you’re using a 7.1 channel surround sound system setup and you want to go the optical way, then you need to ensure that your optical audio cable is connected via HDMI or through an adapter which would then convert the format into Coaxial- this would enable 5.1 channel outputs of audio instead of going for the lossless 7.1 audio quality.

These are a few things to consider when it comes to using optical connectors and getting the most out of your surround sound system setups so you can have a great time watching movies on a bigger screen with better audio output quality from your device- at least that’s the dream, right?

A number of surround sound system configurations are also supported by optical cables but that is something that should be looked into before the purchase, if it’s even possible to support 7. 1 channels through optical audio.

There are several other factors to consider as well including the type of receiver and source devices available for optical cable connections- although most modern TVs only offer optical audio connectivity, there are some that offer coaxial as well which would then have to go through an adapter for 5.1 channel surround sound system output instead of 7.1.

You can even get adapters now which can combine both optical and coaxial audio cables into one single cable- all you need to do is make sure it’s compatible with your setup.

As far as 7.1 channel surround sound system setups are concerned, the only way to do so is by connecting your devices either through an HDMI cable or Coaxial cables- this would then depend on the source and receiver coming with your device.

Although you can send audio formats like Dolby digital plus over optical connections, that would come with a reduction in quality as well as format, which is something that shouldn’t be supported by 7.1 channel surround sound system setups.

In short, optical cables can support 5.1 channel audio output using optical cable while if you are using 7.1 surround sound, they will work if connected via HDMI or through an adapter which would then convert the format from Coaxial to Optical- this would enable 5.1 surround sound outputs instead of lossless 7.1 audio quality.

What is optical audio and how does it work?

Optical audio is a very common connection that people use when they would like to send audio signals of high quality from one device to another device.

A function called optical audio output must be present on one of the devices, most notably the device that is providing audio, for the connection to be feasible.

For example, if you would like to send sound from a TV to a soundbar, the TV needs to have an optical output while the soundbar must have an optical input.

On the other hand, optical audio inputs may be found on a wide variety of equipment, including an AV receiver, amplifier, soundbar, and even a digital to analog converter, among others.

Optical audio has a variety of applications.

Optical connections, on the other hand, are being phased out in favor of HDMI cords. Optical audio links, which are still frequently employed to transport digital audio information, are still in widespread usage.

The Toslink connection is capable of transmitting high-resolution audio on up to 7.1 channels at the same time. In terms of audio quality, there are no significant variations between an HDMI connection and a Toslink cable.

The following are some examples of circumstances in which the Toslink Cable may be used:

When you are utilizing older audio equipment, one of the most popular reasons for adopting Toslink cables is to improve sound quality. Optical audio connections are used by the vast majority of older audio equipment.

These also provide high-resolution audio for a high-quality experience. Optical audio ports are also used by the majority of other devices, including gaming consoles, Blu-ray players, and other electronic gadgets.

The usage of optical audio cables might also be beneficial if you want to segregate audio and video signals in your system. Other cables, such as HDMI cables, are capable of transmitting both video and audio simultaneously via a single connection.

How to Connect Optical Audio To Sound System

In most cases, connecting an optical cable from a television to a surround sound system is a straightforward procedure. The steps are as follows:

Start by removing the protective cap on the optical cable. Similarly, the protective cap on the system’s optical input should be removed.

Next, connect the optical cable coming from the Television’s optical output to the system’s optical in. Make sure everything is properly lined up because it can only be inserted 1-way.

Turn on the television as well as the amp, and check to see that the Television set output is activated and also that the proper input is chosen on the sound system before proceeding.


7.1 sound is not supported by optical audio because the sound is encoded at a high resolution that optical audio is unable to handle. Another format that optical audio does not support is the Dolby Digital Plus format.

Other formats that optical audio does not support include Dolby True HD and others. So when you attempt to play these incompatible formats over an optical audio output, they will often be downmixed to stereo sound or reduced in quality, depending on the format.

A method for dealing with all of the unsupported formats that are played over optical audio is usually included in the player’s handbook.

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