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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have my Audigy 2's digital out connected to my Dolby Receiver. When playing DVDs with TheaterTek, I get DD 5.1, but when testing my speakers in Creative's control panel, DD 5.1 doesn't work. I have the "digital output only" enabled, but it doesn't seem to work.


I would really like to play games in 5.1 sound instead of stereo.


Any suggestions?
 

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I have the same issue. I've posted in the HTPC forum, and it sounds to me like there's no way to digitally pass multichannel audio from a soundcard to a receiver.


I'd really like to find out that I'm wrong.


My receiver (Onkyo 898) has a myriad of psuedo-multichannel modes, like PL2 and DTS NEO. It's not THAT BAD, but I know that these games are encoded with some kick ass multichannel effects, and I want to hear them!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I have an Onkyo TX-SR500. I have all the analog inputs for the 5.1 channels as well. I'll configure the SB Audigy 2 to decode and send out via the analog. I'll see what this sounds like. Hopefully, I have the connections :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I don't have the right connectors; I suppose I'll go to RadioShack and pick up some cheap connectors. I do have a question though.... My manual states the following:


Line Out 1: Front speakers

Line Out 2: Rear speakers

Line Out 3: Center, Subwoofer, rear center


How would I connect Line Out 3 on my receiver in lieu of having separate center and subwoofer analog inputs?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I found my answer at Creative Lab's Knowledgebase:

http://dmzweb3.europe.creative.com/S...xi=18,Case=obj (12835),VARSET=centric:280,Kb=creative_cli_en


Quote:
When a multichannel receiver is connected to the Digital Out of a multichannel Sound Blaster card, such as the Sound Blaster Audigy 2 (6.1), Sound Blaster Audigy (5.1), Sound Blaster Live! 5.1 or Sound Blaster Extigy, it will only reproduce multichannel audio when playing DVD games, or DVD movies, or standalone AC3 files.


The commonplace multimedia files such as mp3, mid, wav, avi, or wma etc, are of stereo format: right and left only. It is common to hear only front right and front left channels from a multichannel capable receiver when it is connected to the Digital Out jack on a Sound Blaster card. Though there are software applications, for example, the Creative CMSS, that can replicate stereo audio to a surround sound, this process requires the sound card be connected to speakers with a proprietary Digital Input, or its analog out.


The physical connection between the card and receiver is another factor. The Digital-Out jack on the Sound Blaster 5.1, Sound Blaster Audigy, and Sound Blaster Audigy 2 cards is a 4-pole minijack that enables the card to deliver multichannel audio via three discrete streams (Front SPDIF, Rear SPDIF, and Center/Subwoofer SPDIF) to compatible speakers such as the Creative Inspire 5700, DTT3500, or MegaWorks 510. The Digital Out jack can also send out a compressed, single stream AC3 data to an external decoder such as a recover.


Common home theater receivers including those labeled as Multichannel receivers have are either a Coaxial or Optical Digital Input connectors. These Digital Input connectors are capable of receiving a single data stream only, be it AC3 data stream, DVD, or a regular stereo stream. These connectors are not capable of receiving multichannel audio signals that have been decoded already by the sound card, the receiver will only output the front channels only, and disregard other channels.


When the receiver receives a compressed audio data stream such as a AC3 or DVD from the sound card or a setup DVD player, it decodes the compressed audio, and then output to appropriate speakers. You may also find that when the same Digital Input on your receiver is connected to Digital Out of a standalone DVD player, it plays multichannel audio as expected, it is because the DVD player is sending a single digital stream to the receiver for it to decode.


If your receiver has discrete multichannel analog connections. It is recommended that they be connected to the Analog Front-Out, Rear-Out, and Center/Subwoofer Out on the audio card. In this case, the Sound Blaster card will decode the AC3 files or DVD files, and output to appropriate speakers. It addition, it can upmix, if desired, regular stereo files such as MP3 files, wave, or MIDI files to multiple channels.
Go figure, they use a proprietary AC3 stream for their Creative Inspire speaker line of products. Why couldn't they have just left it alone is beyond me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Ok, I found my answer on how to connect to the receiver via analog inputs....again, I found at Creative's website:

http://dmzweb4.europe.creative.com/S...xi=12,Case=obj (3835),VARSET=centric:280,Kb=creative_cli_en


Quote:
Connecting External Consumer Devices


If your receiver has a Dolby Digital SPDIF-In, connect it to the Digital Out jack on the sound card with a 3.5mm mono stereo to RCA adaptor.


Note: DVD-Audio cannot be played back via digital speakers.


If your receiver has discrete Line-In jacks for Front Right, Front Left, Rear Right, Rear Left, Center, and Subwoofer, connect Front Right and Front Left to the Line-Out 1 on the sound card with a 3.5mm (stereo) to RCA "Y" adaptor cable; connect Rear Right and Rear Left to the Line-Out 2 jack with another 3.5mm (stereo) to RCA "Y" adaptor cable; connect the Center/Subwoofer In to the Line-Out 3 on the Sound Blaster Audigy 2 card, with a 3rd 3.5mm (4-pole or stereo) to RCA "Y" adaptor cable. Connect the white RCA plug to the Center input and Red RCA plug to the Subwoofer input on the receiver.

 

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Thanks for this info, this actually helps me greatly.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Chris the Rock
I have the same issue. I've posted in the HTPC forum, and it sounds to me like there's no way to digitally pass multichannel audio from a soundcard to a receiver.


I'd really like to find out that I'm wrong.
Good News... You are wrong! I played with this for a week before finally taking a simple mono "headphone type plug to RCA plug" and hooking it from the last hole (SPDIF?) on the Audigy 2 card to the coax in on my receiver. The mono plug carries the full Dolby signal to your reciever where it is decoded. Works great.


J
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by bennutt
Good News... You are wrong! I played with this for a week before finally taking a simple mono "headphone type plug to RCA plug" and hooking it from the last hole (SPDIF?) on the Audigy 2 card to the coax in on my receiver. The mono plug carries the full Dolby signal to your reciever where it is decoded. Works great.


J
What you are hearing is stereo (2-channel) across your surround sound system. I did EXACTLY what you did and noticed this. Go into the Creative Speaker setup and do the test where it allows you to hear the sounds on each speaker. You will notice that both the left front and left rear, for example, both play at same time when the left front speaker is activated. Same goes for the right front and right back. If memory serves, you cannot hear anything when the subwoofer and right back and left back are activated - again, if memory serves. Regardless, you are not hearing Dolby Digital during game play....only when playing DVDs, etc. Does your receiver have lights or any indications when it detects a DD signal? Mine does and only would detect it during DVD playback.


The SPDIF connector on the Audigy 2 carries the AC3/DTS stream if and only if it is set to pass thru mode. This allows DVDs played on the computer to send the DD or DTS signal to the receiver to be decoded. It does not, however, send the DD stream out the SPDIF for anything else, such as games, etc. According to Creative Labs, you cannot do this. The SPDIF connector on the Audigy 2 sends out a proprietary AC3 stream out - only the Creative Inspire digital speakers can decode this unfortunately.


I did the same thing you did and I could indeed get my receiver to detect the DD 5.1 signal when playing things such as DVDs, but with games, it would not. Read the previous URLs I posted above. It will explain everything.


To get it to work, I had to get three stereo to RCA cables. The SPDIF connector connected to both my subwoofer input and front speaker input - the red connector connect to the subwoofer input. Line 1 on the Audigy connects to the front-left and right. Line 2 connects to the rear-left and right. Voila! Dolby Surround 5.1 for game in the living room!! :) Make sure you set the sound card to decode the DD signal. Works great.


Instructions from Creative Lab's website:
Quote:
If your receiver has discrete Line-In jacks for Front Right, Front Left, Rear Right, Rear Left, Center, and Subwoofer, connect Front Right and Front Left to the Line-Out 1 on the sound card with a 3.5mm (stereo) to RCA "Y" adaptor cable; connect Rear Right and Rear Left to the Line-Out 2 jack with another 3.5mm (stereo) to RCA "Y" adaptor cable; connect the Center/Subwoofer In to the Line-Out 3 on the Sound Blaster Audigy 2 card, with a 3rd 3.5mm (4-pole or stereo) to RCA "Y" adaptor cable. Connect the white RCA plug to the Center input and Red RCA plug to the Subwoofer input on the receiver.
I've already quoted this above, but I felt it important to post again to reexplain...
Quote:
When a multichannel receiver is connected to the Digital Out of a multichannel Sound Blaster card, such as the Sound Blaster Audigy 2 (6.1), Sound Blaster Audigy (5.1), Sound Blaster Live! 5.1 or Sound Blaster Extigy, it will only reproduce multichannel audio when playing DVD games, or DVD movies, or standalone AC3 files.


The commonplace multimedia files such as mp3, mid, wav, avi, or wma etc, are of stereo format: right and left only. It is common to hear only front right and front left channels from a multichannel capable receiver when it is connected to the Digital Out jack on a Sound Blaster card. Though there are software applications, for example, the Creative CMSS, that can replicate stereo audio to a surround sound, this process requires the sound card be connected to speakers with a proprietary Digital Input, or its analog out.


The physical connection between the card and receiver is another factor. The Digital-Out jack on the Sound Blaster 5.1, Sound Blaster Audigy, and Sound Blaster Audigy 2 cards is a 4-pole minijack that enables the card to deliver multichannel audio via three discrete streams (Front SPDIF, Rear SPDIF, and Center/Subwoofer SPDIF) to compatible speakers such as the Creative Inspire 5700, DTT3500, or MegaWorks 510. The Digital Out jack can also send out a compressed, single stream AC3 data to an external decoder such as a recover.


Common home theater receivers including those labeled as Multichannel receivers have are either a Coaxial or Optical Digital Input connectors. These Digital Input connectors are capable of receiving a single data stream only, be it AC3 data stream, DVD, or a regular stereo stream. These connectors are not capable of receiving multichannel audio signals that have been decoded already by the sound card, the receiver will only output the front channels only, and disregard other channels.


When the receiver receives a compressed audio data stream such as a AC3 or DVD from the sound card or a setup DVD player, it decodes the compressed audio, and then output to appropriate speakers. You may also find that when the same Digital Input on your receiver is connected to Digital Out of a standalone DVD player, it plays multichannel audio as expected, it is because the DVD player is sending a single digital stream to the receiver for it to decode.


If your receiver has discrete multichannel analog connections. It is recommended that they be connected to the Analog Front-Out, Rear-Out, and Center/Subwoofer Out on the audio card. In this case, the Sound Blaster card will decode the AC3 files or DVD files, and output to appropriate speakers. It addition, it can upmix, if desired, regular stereo files such as MP3 files, wave, or MIDI files to multiple channels.


Hope this explains......
 

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I stand corrected!

My receiver does light up and detect the Dolby signal, but only from DVD sources.

I don't really have a way to test whats happening inside of games.


Example, I get pretty good sound from Warcraft III, set to Creative EAX with all 3D and environmental effects turned on. The receiver shows Prologic II on this. Based on your description, the receiver is "faking it" and only using 2 channel from the Audigy to do it. The subwoofer works great in the game with this setup, which confuses me a little.


My first attempt at all this was using the 3 cable setup you describe from Creative's website. I could not get the Denon receiver to use the subwoofer at all with this. All other speakers would have noise using the Creative software test except the sub. You mentioned to make sure you set the card to do all the decoding, does this mean it only uses the sub for 5.1 source material? If I want to play MP3's (which I do often through the receiver) I want them to use the sub also.


Thanks for the help, sorry to be ignorant about the Dolby working in games, just sounded good with the sub working, I assumed it was set. What games use an actual 5.1 flavor sound setup?


J
 

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I have the Audigy 2 ZS card and wasn't able to get games to play in 5.1 with the digital outs also.


I did some research, and right now the only solution is to use a motherboard equiped with the Soundforce chip. Soundforce will encode real-time the proper digital data to your AV receiver.


Then again do we really need to pass the sound on the SPDIF output to play games. Analog works fine for me, although the wiring would be less cluttered via SPDIF.
 

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Great post! Lots-O-Info!


In other words: games wont do multichannel because there is no setting to allow AC-3 passthrough (unlike in PowerDVD).


Maybe someone could make a game patch to allow this?


awilki01 - I have the Onkyo SR500 also, how did switching between analog and digital out work for you for games? Worth it?
 

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Quote:
I did some research, and right now the only solution is to use a motherboard equiped with the Soundforce chip. Soundforce will encode real-time the proper digital data to your AV receiver.
This is a function of the motherboard? Does this mean these motherboards have on-board sound, or do you still use a soundcard?
 

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Its a function of the sound chip on an nforce2 with apu equipped motherboard. There is no need to use a separate sound card with this setup (in fact using one will leave you in the same position everyone is in with the sb cards or any other card for that matter). Only the nforce2 apu encodes DD5.1 on the fly from EAX or whatever games at this point AFAIK. It does work pretty well.

-Trouble
 

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i have the same problem with my 7.1 analog inputs. I get all channels to output during the creative test pattern except subwoofer. What would cause this?

Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by gamma_seraph


awilki01 - I have the Onkyo SR500 also, how did switching between analog and digital out work for you for games? Worth it?
Well, I must admit, the digital out (stereo) seemed to have more bass for some reason, but I still like the analog out (surround) better. I was playing Unreal 2 and was actually physically moving on my couch to avoid weapons fire from the enemy as I heard it rush past me on each side :D The surround (even with less bass) was more appealing for game play.


I don't have the PC hooked up in the living room currently - you know...the wife factor :D But, I'll test the bass again to see if I can get it to work any better.

Quote:


i have the same problem with my 7.1 analog inputs. I get all channels to output during the creative test pattern except subwoofer. What would cause this?

Thanks
I don't seem to recall having an issue getting the bass to respond, however, as mentioned above, the bass was not as powerful with the analog out to the receiver. Maybe it has something to do with the crossover frequency. For my speaker setup (Polk RM6200?) I need to set the crossover frequency to 100Hz. My receiver is set up for that, but I wonder if the sound card is also. I'll have to check. If its set too low, then this would definitely affect bass output (if I understand correctly).


Again, I'll try to adjust the bass settings in the Creative control panel when I get a chance.....maybe not this weekend, but when I do, I'll try to remember to post here the results...but I do remember the bass did work....


oh, and remember, the red connection goes to the bass and the white one goes to the center channel.....this is coming from Line-Out 3 from the Audigy 2....
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I found out how to change the crossover frequency. Go to Creative Speaker Setup and click on the "bass management" tab. Click on Bass Redirect and move the slider. If you move the slider and then leave your mouse over it, the crossover frequency will be displayed.


Can someone who already has their PC connected to their receiver play with this and let me know if this helps?


Thanks....
 

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It appears to use 6.1 you must use white on Center, yellow on subwoofer, and red on rear center. I hear center and rear center fine but no subwoofer. If I use red on subwoofer, I hear rear center through subwoofer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Can you actually get 3 RCA connections for one 1/8" stereo jack? How do you get Red, Yellow, and White??
 

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First, I'd like to say this is the best audio video forum I've seen. I've learned more here than by googling my way around the web.


Yes, the 1/8" to 3 rca connector is called a camcorder cable. Most places have it, and I got mine at Radio shack, part 16-3686 $15. You plug it into the line3 out jack on the audigy2, and that's how you get outputs for center, sub, and whatever the other one goes to(front surround?). I forget. You need this cable for 7.1, otherwise you need the standard y adapters, headphone jack to 2 rca male plugs.


As for digital vs analog outputs from the PC, I prefer analog. The bass output on digital inputs always seems to suffer at the expense of better clarity.
 
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