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5.1 Dolby surround in Games on PC via optical out?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Is there a soundcard or any other way to get surround sound from your PC in games via optical out? It would seem a good way to go for someone to make a soundcard like that but I havent seen anything since the now obsolete Nforce 2 motherboards did this.
post #2 of 17
here you go-
the Creative SB X-Fi Xtreme Audio 70SB104000000 7.1 Channels PCI Express Interface Sound Card (from newegg)

-sorry i tried to post the url but i have under three posts.

Also, my motherboard, an asus maximus formula s/e, has the optical audio out, (along with other audio outs) right on the board.

the board is an excellent choice if you are a pc gamer who overclocks.
post #3 of 17
Yeah, look for soundcards that have "Dolby Digital Live" or "DTS Connect". This is basically on the fly DD5.1/DTS encoding and then they usually output over optical.

Not necessarily a recommendation but I am using a Turtlebeach Montego 7.1 which has EAX2.0 support and encodes to DD5.1. Pretty good for my needs (gaming & htpc).
post #4 of 17
The Creative X-Fi card linked to above will not output games in 5.1 surround over optical. Creative does not make any cards that will do that, they can only passthrough Dolby Digital from DVD's or AC3 encoded movies, and everything else (like games) will be output in stereo over optical out.

krimson is right, you need a sound card with Dolby Digital Live or DTS Connect support. That will encode any source on the fly to Digital 5.1 for output over optical. If you do a search you should be able to find several different cards that do what you are asking.

krimson do you ever notice any sound delay or lag when gaming? That is supposed to be one of the downsides to the on the fly encoding, but I am curious as to if it really is a problem or not.
post #5 of 17
The X-Fi XtremeAudio is not even an X-Fi card.
"The entry-level model of the X-Fi series, the Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Audio, does not actually have the EMU20K1 chip but is a re-branded Audigy SE, "

Beware of Creative's false advertising.
post #6 of 17
X-plosion, X-mystque, X-merdian all do EAX 2.0 game sounds 5.1 via optical

post #7 of 17
How does the bass sound on those Auzentech cards? And do they have any problem with games on Vista? I am done with Creative's cards... I get no significant bass coming from my home theater audio setup when playing PC games on my HDTV.

I've tried the Audigy card as well as the X-Fi gamer card but it's the same problem (connecting with six phono wires to a 5.1 receiver). As long as I can get 5.1 audio WITH a decent bass response, I'll try one of these other cards.
post #8 of 17
Originally Posted by Justmtnb44 View Post

krimson do you ever notice any sound delay or lag when gaming? That is supposed to be one of the downsides to the on the fly encoding, but I am curious as to if it really is a problem or not.

I have never noticed it. After you asked this I actually had to go load a local CS game to test pressing the mouse to when I hear the gunshot. It's almost imperceptible and I had to really "study" the sound to hear it at all. If you're under the impression that it's the sort of lag that would throw out a lip sync, then no, not even close.
post #9 of 17
Krimson, are you using Vista or XP? If Vista, is the bass in your games nice and strong? Are there any negatives you know of when it comes to 5.1 surround sound in your games?
post #10 of 17
I'm in the market for an optical card as well. I'm returning this piece of junk X-Fi Elite Pro. I played an audio CD in my standalone dvd player, then played it through my computer with X-Fi Elite Pro. Nowhere near what my old dvd could do. The X-Fi really jacked the sound up - this was with both audio and optical. I tried every setting I could find... bah.

I hear about the time they release the driver (1Q'08) for the Auzentech Prelude, they will also be releasing a similar card with HDMI output. Yummy.
post #11 of 17
if your in the market for a card that has Dolby Digtal Live and DTS Live, or whatever they call the DTS version, id definately go with either one of the Azuntech or one of the HT Omega boards at newegg.com...or if you wanted to go on the really cheap end you could get one of those Dolby Live Cards from Turtle Beach or Diamond...ive owned both and they sound okay but nothing to great...BTW, if your using Win Vista with the Diamond card the drivers on the disk dont work...BUT, you can download the C-media drivers from a website link that can be found in the Diamond Extremem 7.1 review section at newegg...this will enable the card to work under Win Vista

and yes creative is oh so sneaky with their ads...i hadnt been into computers for a few years as i was into console gaming unfortunately...but who would have EVER thought that optical would not carry a 5.1 signal without a card that actually FAKES Dolby Digtal output...wierd if u ask me
post #12 of 17
Thats good to hear about the no delay issue, I may have to consider a DDLive type card for my next PC build.

My current computer has a Creative Audigy 2 ZS Platinum sound card. I just recently connected it to my home theater system (that I put together using advice on this forum). I connected both the optical out and analog 5.1 inputs to my receiver. This way I can get surround from games over analog, and pass through 5.1 sound from movies to the receiver for decoding. Stereo sources like music can be played over either input.

I had to do some tweaking to get the bass working correct. First, most receivers that I know of do not apply any effects or equalizer settings to the analog inputs, they just amplify them and pass it on to the speakers. The .1 (bass) track of movies is recorded 10 db higher than the other channels for more effect. However the sound card analog outs do not boost the bass by 10db, so I had to go into my receiver settings and adjust the bass for the analog inputs up 10 db. It sounds perfect now. Also in the Creative speaker settings there is a bass management tab, it has a checkbox and slider for bass redirection. This makes a difference for stereo sources over digital and analog. I think it has to be unchecked for digital and checked for analog for the bass to be correct.
post #13 of 17
About bass with Auzentech cards. I get full bass when use in the HT settings, but in games the bass is not as pronounced as with HT media playback. My gaming system uses a X-mystique and has its own dedicated Sony AVR and a 5.1 peaker setup. The bass in most games is weak if I leave the sub set for HT stuff. But I just crank up the sub since this is really a gaming system and not a HT setup.
post #14 of 17
I can recommend the bluegears (www.bgears.com) if you need DD Live! and DTS Connect through optical. It works flawless in Vista, but I think it worked better in XP.
post #15 of 17
I'm extremely happy with my bgears card.
post #16 of 17
I read this at newegg's customer reviews:


Pros: Good DTS Connect & Dolby in Vista & XP

Cons: Doens't support OPEN AL! Won't work on Quake 4, Bioshock, and a lot of OTHER Games unless you dissable hardware acceleration, which effectly makes this card as useless as Mainboard audio. BASICALLY THIS CARD WILL PLAY NO SOUND ON GEARS OF WAR, UNREAL TOURNAMENT 3, CRYSIS, AND A LOT OF OTHER GAMES THAT USE OPEN AL!

Other Thoughts: I can't belive such a nice card and they rep on the phone said you need to dissable sound acceleration to get any game to even start up, so basically no differnece between mobo sound and this thing...What a shame. Guess I"ll have to auction on the worlds biggest garage sale...

Are you guys having issues with Open AL games as well?
post #17 of 17
If you want to spend the money, the Auzentech Prelude looks good. It has the X-fi chip and everything else is designed and made by Auzentech.

The only problem now is that the Dolby Digital Live drivers are still in beta. It supports OpenAL ASIO and a bunch of other cool features (again some will come later with better drivers).

It's the only card that has EAX 3,4,5 with dolby digital live and DTS connect (again, those drivers are in beta - but the analog out on their cards are great).
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