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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, I was away from computer games for a while, but got a new rig a few months ago to get back into it. There are plenty of older games out that i haven't played that still look great, so that's awesome, but almost none of them work with surround sound - I'm getting two channels only.


I have a 5.1 receiver connected to the computer via optical jack. Input/output is set to Dolby Digital. DVD's and HD downloads work fine, and even Crysis works in 5.1, but noting else so far (Mass Effect, Fallout 3, Red Faction Guerrilla) will give me anything but 2.1.


Any thoughts?
 

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Do u have a Dolby Digital Live encoder on your sound card? This is the only way to send 5.1 audio with games to your home theater reciever. I know this cause years back I was in the same boat as your in. So I bit the bullet and picked up a Auzentech Prelude soundcard. There is also Asus Xonar card that has DDL encoder. Hope this helps
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doucheatron /forum/post/18124144


DVD's and HD downloads work fine, and even Crysis works in 5.1, but noting else so far (Mass Effect, Fallout 3, Red Faction Guerrilla) will give me anything but 2.1.


Any thoughts?

Since Crysis apparently gives you 5.1 audio over optical, I will assume you have a sound card that uses a Dolby Digital Live encoder.


Have you tried the patch for Red Faction: Guerrilla that fixes 5.1 issues for some users?

Fallout 3 uses DirectSound3D, and thus cannot provide multichannel audio in Windows Vista/7 without a sound solution providing some kind of emulation (e.g., Creative's ALchemy software) for the API. You never said what sound card you have, so it is tough to tell about your particular situation.


I need to know what card you have before commenting on Mass Effect.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
No sound card - S/PDIF jack is on the motherboard. I assumed that the receiver would decode the signal and a sound card would be unnecessary when I put this thing together. The friend I had consulted with indicated as much, and he knows his hardware.


I haven't found or used any specific patches to address audio problems for games...I'll give that a try for RFG, just to see the results.


I'm also using Windows XP - freebie courtesy of the university tech help desk from when my friend worked there (they gave him a pile of copies for one reason or another).
 

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Could you look in the audio control panel to see what your onboard sound solution is and what the default device is set to?


As WiseGuy mentioned, the sound solution needs on-the-fly encoding to output discrete 5.1 DD or DTS audio over SPDIF while gaming. Given their real-time nature, games differ from movies in that the content is not pre-encoded in DD or DTS. And yes, your receiver will decode whatever it is given.


An alternative is to connect the onboard audio to your receiver via multichannel analog and see how things work out.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doucheatron /forum/post/18124619


No sound card - S/PDIF jack is on the motherboard. I assumed that the receiver would decode the signal and a sound card would be unnecessary when I put this thing together.

That pretty much is the culprit then. There are currently no onboard sound cards that do DD Live or DTS Live encoding on motherboards (at least that I am aware of). If the game itself supports DD or DTS audio (thus it is doing the encoding in the software layer of the game for streaming to your audio card), you will get surround sound. Otherwise you will get 2 channel audio audio, or stereo surround (i.e. 2 channel played through all speakers).
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fallen Kell /forum/post/18169407


That pretty much is the culprit then. There are currently no onboard sound cards that do DD Live or DTS Live encoding on motherboards (at least that I am aware of). If the game itself supports DD or DTS audio (thus it is doing the encoding in the software layer of the game for streaming to your audio card), you will get surround sound. Otherwise you will get 2 channel audio audio, or stereo surround (i.e. 2 channel played through all speakers).

Exactly. Soundstorm nVidia motherboards used to. Last one was in 2004 though. That's when soundcards started to come out with it. DDLive and DTS-connect sound cards are CHEAP. $50 or less. That's the ONLY way over SPDIF. The other 2 options are HDMI through the video card, sound card, or motherboard, or analog through the soundcard or motherboard.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
MSmith83: Tried patching Red Faction, and all that did was render the program unable to start. Seemed like the instability was showing through on the rest of the system, so I deleted Red Faction. The software to control sound outputs that came with the motherboard is called Realtek HD Audio Manager, and it's set to Dolby Digital 5.1 output. And I would give a different connection setup a shot, but the outputs on the motherboard for analog speakers don't correspond with the component input on the receiver.


Favelle and and Fallen Kell: So, the reason DD 5.1 works with DVD's, HD video (both played through VLC media player)and Crysis is because the software itself is mixing the audio in Dolby Digital. The rest of the games I've played do not mix DD in the software, but a soundcard would (and thus give me that sweet sweet 5.1 surround for all my modern games?) Do I have that right?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doucheatron /forum/post/18182242


MSmith83: Tried patching Red Faction, and all that did was render the program unable to start. Seemed like the instability was showing through on the rest of the system, so I deleted Red Faction. The software to control sound outputs that came with the motherboard is called Realtek HD Audio Manager, and it's set to Dolby Digital 5.1 output. And I would give a different connection setup a shot, but the outputs on the motherboard for analog speakers don't correspond with the component input on the receiver.


Favelle and and Fallen Kell: So, the reason DD 5.1 works with DVD's, HD video (both played through VLC media player)and Crysis is because the software itself is mixing the audio in Dolby Digital. The rest of the games I've played do not mix DD in the software, but a soundcard would (and thus give me that sweet sweet 5.1 surround for all my modern games?) Do I have that right?

Yes, the content must be encoded in DD 5.1 for you to pass it in 5.1. Well, that was the case. Now, you can buy a sound card that changes all surround PCM material to a 5.1 Dolby Digital stream right to your receiver. Handy, but again, also outdated as all ATI 4xxx and 5xxx cards have HDMI connections which carry LOSSLESS sound, right to your HDMI-capable reciever.
 

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I just got an HD5850 and an streaming lossless audio to my receiver. I was formerly only getting 2 channel stereo as well but the new ATI card has fixed the 2 channel issue for me.


Just make sure if you go this route that you use the realtek ATI HDMI driver instead of the one supplied by AMD. Until I switched to that one I was still stuck in 2 channel even with the new video card. Mass effect 2 is now running in 5 channeel surround and what a difference it makes
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
My receiver predates HDMI, so any solution with that is a no go. Optical or component audio is my best solution. My HD 4870 cards have DVI output ONLY (and they'll stay good for a while, so I'm not itching to buy a new video card any time soon.)


Guess I'll get a sound card. Definitely getting one before I get Mass Effect 2.
 
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