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I tried searching for this answer for a couple hours and haven't found a clear concise answer.


I'm currently using an m-audio Audiophile soundcard with the SPDIF output to my receiver which drives a 5.1 speaker setup. It works great for DVD, MP3 playback, HDTV tuner. Unfortunately I can't get 3D sound for games. (I'm a CounterStrike fanatic :p)


I then bought an Audigy 2 card and had the SPDIF out feeding my receiver. Unfortunately I can't get 5.1 sound to work in the speaker setup program or the supplied demos/games either. I only get left/right and the sub. Theres no center or rear speakers.


Will the Audigy 2/Audigy 2 ZS enable me to hear games with 3D sound via the SPDIF output? I realize it will work using the analog outputs, but will it pass this through the digital outs?


Are there any cards out there that will fill this need? Maybe the Revo?
 

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I think if you have a nforce mobo with the dice APU, you can have all audio encoded in dolby digital and have it go through your s/pdif. Otherwise, for your games, you're stuck with the analog outputs.
 

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bump!


I really, REALLY want an answer to this.


Question: All sound should end up at my receiver (Denon 3803) which will output the waveforms/signals to the correct channels, amplify them, and send them down their merry copper ways to my speakers.


The question really is, are some games encoding their audio information into a digital format where the SPDIF (Sony Phillips Digitial InterFace) connection can carry it in it's pristine glory to the receiver?


I think not.


This is really confusing. All help appreciated. This would solve the problem of having two cards in a system.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by jcarlsony2k
bump!


I really, REALLY want an answer to this.


Question: All sound should end up at my receiver (Denon 3803) which will output the waveforms/signals to the correct channels, amplify them, and send them down their merry copper ways to my speakers.


The question really is, are some games encoding their audio information into a digital format where the SPDIF (Sony Phillips Digitial InterFace) connection can carry it in it's pristine glory to the receiver?


I think not.


This is really confusing. All help appreciated. This would solve the problem of having two cards in a system.
I think part of the problem is that for multi-channel (4.1, 5.1, etc...) transport over the digital line, you need to use a dolby digital encoded signal. So, unless the games themselves encode a dolby digital signal (unlikely and likely to be CPU intensive) the only way you can get multichannel sound over the digital link is a pre-recorded dolby digital signal (i.e. DVDs).


Fortunately (for me :) ) the nforce chipset does dolby digital encoding, and does a quite satisfactory job of 3D gaming hooked up to my Denon 3803. Otherwise, I think the only solution, which was mentioned above, is analog connections.


In fact, the dolby digital encoding is what ultimately determined my choice of an Athlon system over an Intel system.


Ozy
 

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It's worth noting that while the Nforce2 can do dolby encoding, not all Nforce2 motherboards are using the Nvidia sound chip since it can be quite costly. As such when going this route make sure that if that is what you want that you get the Nvidia sound chip and not the AC97 sound typically found on the budget Nforce2 boards.
 

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Hey Ozy666,

How does your sound card handle 5.1 WMA stuff? Specifically, do you get Dolby Digital out when you listen to something like the Microsoft HighDef version of T2?
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by jcarlsony2k
The question really is, are some games encoding their audio information into a digital format where the SPDIF (Sony Phillips Digitial InterFace) connection can carry it in it's pristine glory to the receiver?


I think not.


This is really confusing.
Actually, you seem to understand what is going on. SPDIF can carry two things


1) A 2-channel PCM signal, which gets played by your receiver as is

2) An encoded DD or DTS signal which gets decoded by your receiver into 5.1 (or whatever) sound to be played by your speakers.


Games/your soundcard are producing an analog multi-channel signal. The main two channels of that can travel as PCM over SPDIF, but there is no way for the extra channels to go over SPDIF.


You've got two choices:


1) Encode the multi-channel audio signal into DD, send it over SPDIF and have your receiver decode it back.


2) Send multi-channel analog sound from the soundcard to receiver without using SPDIF.
 

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Actually, I think I'm starting to understand.


Couple of follow up questions/points:



-> To hear any type of surround sound/multi-channel audio information, that information must be presented to the receiver either on analog or digital signals (SPDIF or RCA/line level jacks).


-> Games (applications) must have the information pre-encoded or must encode on the fly (nforce2 motherboards)


-> Not all games are surround sound/multi-channel


-> DirectX and EAX -- how do these fit in?



A final thought: soundcards are primarily designed to lay more on one side of the GAMER/AUDIOPHILE fence than another. The MAudio REVO (from what I'm understanding and reading) is the first card to TRY and sit smack dab on the fence; offering up high quality audiophile potential (24/96) all the while supporting the gaming requirements (being here DirectSound and EAX).



Please clarify if I've missed the points above.




Jeff
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by pkcrawford
Hey Ozy666,

How does your sound card handle 5.1 WMA stuff? Specifically, do you get Dolby Digital out when you listen to something like the Microsoft HighDef version of T2?
I haven't checked that specifically. In theory, it should encode the 5.1 stream properly and stream it as a dolby digital signal over SPDIF. I know I'll get dolby digital out, but I'll have to try and see if it is encoded properly.


Ozy


EDIT: just to be clear, it's the onboard SoundStorm that is part of the Nforce MCP2-T chipset that does the dolby encoding. My MB is an Abit NF7-S (Newegg for $113). So, it's really not that expensive.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by jcarlsony2k
Actually, I think I'm starting to understand.


Couple of follow up questions/points:



-> To hear any type of surround sound/multi-channel audio information, that information must be presented to the receiver either on analog or digital signals (SPDIF or RCA/line level jacks).


-> Games (applications) must have the information pre-encoded or must encode on the fly (nforce2 motherboards)


-> Not all games are surround sound/multi-channel


-> DirectX and EAX -- how do these fit in?



A final thought: soundcards are primarily designed to lay more on one side of the GAMER/AUDIOPHILE fence than another. The MAudio REVO (from what I'm understanding and reading) is the first card to TRY and sit smack dab on the fence; offering up high quality audiophile potential (24/96) all the while supporting the gaming requirements (being here DirectSound and EAX).



Please clarify if I've missed the points above.




Jeff
A minor distinction...multi-channel sound only really needs to be encoded (or pre-encoded) if you want to send it digitally. With analog connections to your receiver, you can get multichannel sound (including EAX environmental effects and whatnot) from any soundcard that supports analog 5.1, 7.1, etc...(most of them).


Ozy
 

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I had the same problem as you, I just wanted to send game sound thru digital conections to my reciever, but I couldnt (only in UT2003 which can do DD), but the rest of the games I'm stuck with analog to my receiver, which at the end sounds great, and I'm happy that this way you can hear EAX HD, and other game formats that todays recievers cant handle.


I think you will be able to do what you want when game formats standards go to DD or DTS, but I dont know if this will happen in the short term.
 

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Dolby Digital encoding is no small software feat. The developers of any game would be hard-pressed to find a GOOD reason to include a CPU cycle sucking feature like that with today's hardware when analog out works just as well. DD or DTS in a game is a special case because the sound has to be encoded on the fly, unlike a movie that has been encoded in the studio only once and will never change. I had an Audigy 2 in my system but ended up tossing it for the nForce2's DICE feature, which does an outstanding job with real-time dolby digital encoding. DICE is currently the only way to get 5.1 output in all applications/games using SPDIF. Ozzy .. I happen to own the T2: Extreme Edition DVD and if I turn off DICE, I only get stereo, meaning the sound is decoded from WMA 5.1 then reencoded to Dolby Digital before it reaches your speakers. Apparently only genuine Dolby Digital streams are passed through without encoding.
 

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Apart from the nForce real time DD encoding the only way to do this is with analog connects.


The Audigy 2 ZS just came out and will to 7.1 connections vs 5.1 with DD encoding. Should be very cool for the upcoming half life using EAX. Talk about surround sound :)
 

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I beleive that a more useful feature would be Dolby Headphone encoding.


Dolby Headphone encoding takes 4, 5, or 6 channel sound and encodes to a two channel mix for headphones, maintaing a credible 3D surround field.


The sound field sounds like it comes from speakers around you in a room, rather than "inside your head", a problem with most headphone listening.


I'd like to see Dolby Headphone support in games and/or sound cards before anything else, as headphones are basically a necissity for LAN parties.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by mjcumming
Apart from the nForce real time DD encoding the only way to do this is with analog connects.


The Audigy 2 ZS just came out and will to 7.1 connections vs 5.1 with DD encoding. Should be very cool for the upcoming half life using EAX. Talk about surround sound :)
The Audigy 2 ZS sounds formidable. Any comparison to the MAudio Revo?
 

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I don't think the revo can touch the audigy in terms of performance in gaming/eax etc. The revo may have better overall specs in terms of analog performance - but I use spdif for DD or DTS so its not an issue.
 
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