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5.1 Sound Setup with MCE

406 Views 4 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  jgrahamiii
I have a home made HTPC with a Soyo Dragon 2 880 motherboard. The board has a CMedia soundchip on it and outputs for both digital out and separate outputs for either 6 (5.1) or 8 (7.1) speakers. I don't have any more digital inputs to my Sony HT, so I plugged the 5.1 speaker outputs directly into the HT's "Multi-IN' jacks, which has descrete inputs for the two front, center, two surround and subwoofer.

I then used the audio driver in Control Panel to tell my system I have a 5.1 setup, and used CMedia's Xear applet to try to set up the system. Using it's self test, I got tones from each of the 6 speakers as I should, the Helicopter demo seems to work, and the music demo sound awesome. I also went into Media Center Setup and told it I had 5.1 sound and ran the "test." I get "bell" tones out of each speaker, though I'm less certain about the subwoofer, which I don't really hear anything out of.

The problem is, when I play MP3's or DVD's from either Media Center or MP3's from Windows Media Player 10, the music or dialog sound horrible - hollow and tinny. It seems quite clear that the subwoofer is not working at all (maybe a little when I use the CMedia Xear setup to "boost bass").

It really sounds as if the 2 channel music is not being split up and delivered to the correct speakers, especially the subwoofer (I've even tried boosting this with the volume control on the SW, but without much effect). Note, when I finish setting up the 5.1 speakers in Media Center, if I say I did not hear a sound from each speaker, it says to look for additional properties in the DVD setup menu. When I go to that, two abnormal things happen. First, for a second, you can see three choices, two video related and one audio. Then the audio choice disappears. Second, if I try to change anything on the video choices, it says I cannot do that unless and DVD or Mpeg2 is playing. This is true even if a DVD is playing.

Could it be my Video/DVD Codec? I am using the one that comes with Nero 6.6 (it was the right price, and video playback seems very good). Would the Nvidia Codec work better for this or not help much.

Any ideas would be helpful. Otherwise, I have to go back to 2 channel from the motherboard and let the HT due the splitting. (this was working fine, until I decided to try to get 5.1 for movie watching and such).

Thanks! -John
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this has been discussed multiple times, i really think it should be stickied at some time.

i use nvidia's purevideo codec and make sure it registers as spdif, receiver. works like a charm.
Thanks. I guess I'm stuck buying the Nvidia Codec. Thought I could get away with the free Nero one. Can someone point me how to make sure it registers as spdif, receiver? Thanks, I'm good with computers, but new with this. -John
Actually, I looked at the NVidea site for more info, and I don't think this is what I need to do. Remember, I'm not using an optical or coax cable. I'm using six separate RCA cables to go directly from my sound chip to the receiver, one for each of the 5.1 speakers. I need the decoding to go on inside my PC, not inside the receiver. Plus, the PC has to deliver the correct sounds to the correct speakers both for playback of stereo CDs/MP3's (which I think actually get split up between the 6 speakers) and for DVDs with DTS or DD.

Is this possible?

BTW, for now anyway, MP3 playback is more important than DVD playback, but I'd still like a solution that works for all.

Thanks. -John
I just noticed this on the NVidea site:

If you will be using Digital Output (S/PDIF) only then we suggest the Bronze pack. If you need Analog multi-channel output then you will need the Gold or Platinum pack. The difference between Gold and Platinum being DTS decoding capability for the Platinum kit.

Is this what I need?
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