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FAQ: Connecting the Audigy 2 ZS to your receiver

post #1 of 220
Thread Starter 
This took me a while to figure out, so I thought I'd try to conglomerate this whole mess in one thread. First, there are 2 ways to connect the SB Audigy ZS 2 to your receiver.

Digital
Use a mono minijack to RCA connector. If you don't use a mono connector, it doesn't work. The part you need is this: RS 274-897 Plug this adapter into the digital out hole on the soundcard and then run an RCA from it to the receiver. With this connection you will be sending a Dolby Digital signal to the receiver and the receiver will decode the signal. Realize that a DD signal doesn't mean that it will always be multichannel audio. A DD signal can be multichannel (DD5.1, DTS, etc) or it can be uncompressed 2 channel stereo. When you play a DVD the DD signal will be multichanne;. With all other sounds the DD signal will be only 2 channel stereo.

Analog
Use three stereo minijack to RCA connectors. This part will not work because the adapter is too big and the holes on the sound card are too close together: RS 274-369. I just ordered three of these cables and I expect them to work just fine when they arrive: Belkin F8V235-12 Plus these cables into the three holes in the sound card and plug the six RCAs into the analog inputs on your receiver (left, center, right, left surround, right surround, and subwoofer). With this connection you will be sending an analog signal to the receiver. When you play a DVD the soundcard will decode the DD5.1 signal and send the sounds to the correct speakers. With all other sounds, the soundcard decides which speakers get the sound.

So you want to play DVDs?
Both connections can give you multichannel audio, the difference is where you want the DD signal decoded. If you want the receiver to do this work, use the digital connection. If you want the soundcard to do this work, use the analog connection. I have a Denon 3803 receiver and so I would hope my $850 receiver is better at decoding the DD signal than an $80 soundcard. Any comments? In reality you probably can't tell the difference.

So you want to play games?
Most games sounds use EAX, which is something Creative invented just for that purpose. EAX provides multichannel audio and also applies effects to the sounds so that when you are in a tunnel sounds reverberate, when you are under water sounds are muffled, etc. With the analog connection the soundcard will apply the EAX effects and you will get multichannel audio. With the digital connection, games will only be 2 channel stereo.

What about this nForce2 Soundstorm thing?
Nvidia has a motherboard called the nForce2, but what we care about is that it has an MCP-T southbridge chipset. Any motherboard with this chipset has the ability to encode a DD multichannel audio signal. When you play a DVD the multichannel DD signal is passed through to the receiver. With all other sounds the DD signal will be only 2 channel stereo, except this chipset can handle EAX 2.0. Games that use EAX 2.0 and below will give you multichannel audio in the form of a DD multichannel encoded signal that your receiver will decode. However, the very latest version of EAX is 4.0, so motherboards with this chipset won't be giving you the latest and best EAX effects. I'm not sure if there are even any EAX 4.0 games at this time. I would assume that HalfLife 2 will be EAX 4.0, can anyone confirm?

Please feel free to add any info or comments.
post #2 of 220
Thread Starter 
Well this sunk like a rock. Hopefully people can find it with a search!
post #3 of 220
Great looking guide, only a few comments:

Quote:
Originally posted by NaTeDoGG
Digital
Use a mono minijack to RCA connector. If you don't use a mono connector, it doesn't work.

You can use the left side of a stereo connector.
Quote:

So you want to play games?
With the digital connection, games will only be 2 channel stereo.

Games that use Dolby Pro-Logic surround will provide surround sound via the S/PDIF connection (if the receiver is in Pro-Logic mode), but that's splitting hairs.
post #4 of 220
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by helzerr
You can use the left side of a stereo connector.

I tried this and it did not work! Thought I had a bum card or something, but went out and bought a mono adapter and everything was gravy. Very bizarre as others have mentioned this works and some others have said it didn't work for them.

Quote:
Originally posted by helzerr
Games that use Dolby Pro-Logic surround will provide surround sound via the S/PDIF connection, but that's splitting hairs.

Not at all, that is interesting to know.
post #5 of 220
HorrorScope said:
Quote:
Why digital out? I use it for stereo music. As you mention above I have the receiver turn the 2-channel stereo output into 5 channels so all the speakers are being used, to have full room sound.

Everything else I'm using Analog, although I could go either way with the movies. Once you have it setup it's a snap. Usually it will be one button on your remote to go either way on the receiver. In software you won't have to do anything. Games are analog, the receiver doesn't know how to handle computer game surround, that is all done on the sound card.

Quality for everything imo is quite good for non-audiophiles.

Cable needs: Those mini-rca-stereo male headphone ends. Those go into the SB, check your receiver for analog in's they are usually standard RCA inputs. You will need three of these cable (males both end). (Front L/R, Back L/R, Sub/Center). That's your analog path.

As mentioned above you also need the mono-mini headphone adapter mini(male) to rca(female) for digital out on the back of the SB. Then get a standard RCA cable (male both ends) and send that to your receiver. This will be your digital path.
post #6 of 220
Good job. Hope this will be a sticky note on top of the forum.

A few things I have to add:

(1) nForce2 SoundStorm - I believe DirectSound3D can also be multi-channel. Hence you will also get 5.1 sound out of your receiver if your game supports DS3D and multi-channels.

(1) EAX 4.0 or EAX HD. I believe UT2003/2004 supports this as well as Call Of Duty.
post #7 of 220
First, I got to say thanks for this FAQ. It really helped me out alot in solving some of the problems I have with my Audigy 2 ZS.

I've hooked up both the analog as well as digital outputs to my Yamaha RX-V340 as per the FAQ. Digital works beautifully, but I've some problem with analog.

The channels are decoded fine off the card to 5.1 and sounds great for games, but I seem to be losing bass, especially when playing mp3s, not to mention dvd-audio. My subwoofer just doesn't seem to be activated at all. (subwoofer sounds great off digital out)

Tweaked around alot of the settings for the soundcard but all I got was some distortion off the sub if I put bass high, with no improvement on the sound quality. When testing channels with the Creative sotware, the subwoofer also emits some weird squeaking sound after afew seconds (after the low test rumble). Any advice on this? I'm using a stereo minijack to 2 RCA as specified.

Currently I resigned to the fate that I have to use digital out for everything else, and analog out JUST for games. This really isn't a problem except I can't seem to convert my 2 channel stereo to 5.1 on my amp (damn DSP settings), and the fact that dvd-audio sounds really flat now without bass. Help!!!
post #8 of 220
Nate, if you want 7.1 sound out of the audigy zs you need different cables from the mini jacks...

http://www.pccables.com/cgi-bin/orde...les.com&rcode=
post #9 of 220
The only game I know that utilizes EAX 4 is Colin McRae Rally4 and it sounds good on a 7.1 setup!...oh, possibly the new Myst.

Call of Duty and UT2004 utilize EAX HD. Others that will probably support both EAX HD and DS3D is Half Life 2 and Far Cry.
post #10 of 220
I use a stereo rca cable for digital out with my Audigy 2 and it works.

Maybe there is a diff btw Audigy 2 and Audigy 2 'ZS'.
post #11 of 220
Quote:


Originally posted by N3W81E
I use a stereo rca cable for digital out with my Audigy 2 and it works.

Maybe there is a diff btw Audigy 2 and Audigy 2 'ZS'.

ZS is 7.1 while the 2 only is 5.1
post #12 of 220
Audigy2 is 6.1 while ZS is 7.1.
post #13 of 220
mjcummings, thanks! I had no idea where to look for a 4 pole minjack--with your hint, I found one at rat shack, part #16-3686.
post #14 of 220
With the Audigy2 ZS Platinum, can you achieve getting the EAX sounds if you are using the optical out to an audio receiver?

Also, how does this hardware setup? Is there a PCI card and then something that goes in one of the DVD slots in your case out front for the optical hookups, etc.?
post #15 of 220
Quote:
Originally posted by JoeFigueiredo
With the Audigy2 ZS Platinum, can you achieve getting the EAX sounds if you are using the optical out to an audio receiver?

No, you must use the analog outs. For DD and DTS you can use the optical/coax out at the same time. Just change the inputs on your receiver.
post #16 of 220
Will DVD-Audio disks play through a single digital connection, or do you have to use multiple analog?
post #17 of 220
Quote:


Originally posted by Quest88
First, I got to say thanks for this FAQ. It really helped me out alot in solving some of the problems I have with my Audigy 2 ZS.

I've hooked up both the analog as well as digital outputs to my Yamaha RX-V340 as per the FAQ. Digital works beautifully, but I've some problem with analog.

The channels are decoded fine off the card to 5.1 and sounds great for games, but I seem to be losing bass, especially when playing mp3s, not to mention dvd-audio. My subwoofer just doesn't seem to be activated at all. (subwoofer sounds great off digital out)

Tweaked around alot of the settings for the soundcard but all I got was some distortion off the sub if I put bass high, with no improvement on the sound quality. When testing channels with the Creative sotware, the subwoofer also emits some weird squeaking sound after afew seconds (after the low test rumble). Any advice on this? I'm using a stereo minijack to 2 RCA as specified.

Currently I resigned to the fate that I have to use digital out for everything else, and analog out JUST for games. This really isn't a problem except I can't seem to convert my 2 channel stereo to 5.1 on my amp (damn DSP settings), and the fact that dvd-audio sounds really flat now without bass. Help!!!

I have the same problem w/ my original audigy 2. There were plenty of others that also had this. The old audigy threads are probably gone by now but you might try a search. I've never found a solution, but let us all know if you do. I've assumed that something is wrong with the bass channel on the card itself.
post #18 of 220
Creative has diabled the dvd audio-digital out (analog works) so we can't record it. If I would have known this I would have never bought this card.
Unfortunately I can't even listen to it now because I use digital out to my klipsch promedia 5.1(unless I want to switch my cables back and forth).
Just another example how we pay for something and can't use it due to some idiots fear we may copy it.
p.s left side of stereo mini/rca works for me...
post #19 of 220
Even if Creative some how let DVD-Audio pass over the digital out, will your receiver decode it? Probably not. So don't blame Creative for it.

There are a few proprietary digital out solution for DVD-Audio (like Pioneer) but you need both the player and the receiver from the same company to achieve it (assume both actually have the DVD-A support in it). There is no standard way of transport DVD-A digitally because Lables/Studios fear of illegal copying.
post #20 of 220
With the Audigy2 ZS Platinum, can you achieve DD/DTS out if using the optical connection to a Yamaha 540 receiver?

I have mine on all SPDIF bypass settings, including the DVD plalyer software (WinDVD), and can't get audio at all when SPDIF is bypassed, and when set to decode, I get sound but not DD/DTS.

I'm thinking I need to also hookup the mini-jack to RCA connector in the back of the unit to my digital connection on my receiver. Anyone able to let me know if this is the case?
post #21 of 220
Quote:


Originally posted by JoeFigueiredo
With the Audigy2 ZS Platinum, can you achieve DD/DTS out if using the optical connection to a Yamaha 540 receiver?

I have mine on all SPDIF bypass settings, including the DVD plalyer software (WinDVD), and can't get audio at all when SPDIF is bypassed, and when set to decode, I get sound but not DD/DTS.

Make sure you have the Audigy 2 ZS's onboard DD/DTS decoding disabled. You'll find this setting in the AudioHQ application (one of the two icons in there on my system).

Quote:


I'm thinking I need to also hookup the mini-jack to RCA connector in the back of the unit to my digital connection on my receiver. Anyone able to let me know if this is the case?

I have 3 stereo mini-jack to stereo RCA cables for 5.1 surround (EAX games and WMV audio). I also have a mono mini-jack to mono RCA for passing DD/DTS out to the receiver. I have just the basic Aud2ZS, so I don't have any optical connections. I expect if you disable the onboard decoding your optical cable will work fine.
post #22 of 220
So in using optical hookups do I disable it in the AudioHQ in two places:

Device Controls - Digital Input - SPDIF Bypass
AND
Device Controls - Decoder - SPDIF Passthrough

Finally, in for example, WINDVD5, what do I sleect in the Audio screens? Do I select Digital SPDIF Out to External Decoder, or do I select Analog Output?
post #23 of 220
bump
post #24 of 220
I seem to be having a problem with my Audigy sound card... hooked up to Denon 3805 through radio shack adapter using spdif pass through. I receive full digital sound on receiver when playing a DVD through TheaterTek software. My problem comes about when I check speakers in Audigy control panel and I only get sound out of my front right and left speakers... no sound from center, sub, rears. Also very strange when I play the Coral Reef Adventure DVD I get the same response as above. Do I have a setting wrong in my soundcard configuration? or on my Denon Receiver?

Also when playing a DVD through TheaterTek my receiver shows all speakers working... dolby digital etc. When playing The coral Reef Adventure the receiver shows PCM and no speakers?

Thanks

Keith
post #25 of 220
Yes, Coral Reef uses WMA which requires analog outs. Most, if not all, of the WM9 releases do. So in reality you need both analong and digital hookups if you both use Theatertek for DVDs and want to play WMA audio.

-MP
post #26 of 220
Thank you Mp I had a feeling that is what I needed to do... appreciate the quick answer.

Keith
post #27 of 220
Quote:


Originally posted by JoeFigueiredo

Finally, in for example, WINDVD5, what do I sleect in the Audio screens? Do I select Digital SPDIF Out to External Decoder, or do I select Analog Output?

Digital SPDIF Out to External Decoder
post #28 of 220
Am I missing something? What is wrong with Coax/SPDIF out of the break out box directly to the receiver. What is the advantage of the RCA mini jack over this connection?
post #29 of 220
Well, some folks prefer analog, but more to the point, with the Audigy 2 ZS, I think it has to do with DVD-Audio support and possibly multi-channel game support. You need the analog outs for that.

- David
post #30 of 220
Time for my own question... is anyone having problems getting the subwoofer output passed correctly? I've got the standard Audigy2 (not ZS) connected via digital to my Denon 3805. My 3805 is set with a crossover frequency of 80, and my sub is also set to 80. If I leave the sub in auto on, it never gets enough signal to kick in when I play a DVD with TT. Even DVDs that should seriously power it like U571's depth charging don't turn it on. Other sources like my Voom box do kick it in, so it's got to be something with the Audigy configuration. Anyone have any ideas?

Thanks,
MP
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