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What do I need do have 5.1 surround when playing DVD's?

 
 
Jabba
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      04-19-2004, 03:58 AM
Hi all, I have a SBLive Value! card, and a Logitech Z680 set of cards. I
connect now through 6ch direct aanlog input and I have 5.1 surround sound
in some of the games I play (well, you know, the ones that actually are
written for that) .
I never have surround sound when watching DVD's though. Tried a couple
of DVD drives, DVD software players, fiddled around withe the player's
audio options, no luck.The best I can get is sound in 4 speakers, both
speakers on one side (left, right) outputting the same stereo chanel (left,
right).
I browsed these two newsgroups and the solution seems to be buying an
extra digital I/O card, however, that doesn't sound right to me , the card I
have was advertised as being able to offer surround sound straight out of
the box, not having to spend more than $50 (the SB card itself doesn't rate
that much now, three years since I've bought it) for an extra card. The
digital I/O card seems to be targeted for audio professionals , composing
and mixing sound.

A couple of e-mails are mentioning that using the digital only output
(yellow hole in the back plus the checkbox in Windows) would do the trick
for true surround sound , and luckily I have found a *mono* minijack to RCA
coax father cable in a drawer and tried it today.
I can get digital output but stereo only, not surround.
Digging further, I found that I might need a *stereo* minijack to RCA
coax father cable to get the signal for more than two channels. Is this
correct? What is the right thing to do?

I also plan to buy an Audigy2 card for another machine. Do I need the
same kind of gimmicks for that one too?

Thanks,
Jabba





 
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Lenny
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      04-19-2004, 08:39 AM

> I never have surround sound when watching DVD's though. Tried a couple
> of DVD drives, DVD software players, fiddled around withe the player's
> audio options, no luck.


You have two options. Either you get a player that can do "digital
pass-through"; ie, send the DVD disc's audio in its compressed form out the
back of your computer through a SPDIF output (SBLive Value has one; the
yellow connector at the back) and to your external decoder. You need an
audio cord with a phono-style connector in one end that you connect to the
Z680's coaxial digital input, and a 3.5mm mono male headphone-style
connector in the other to stick into your SBLive. There are adaptors
available that will transform a phono plug to 3.5mm; this is a much
easier/cheaper solution than trying to find a cable with these two different
types of connectors mounted on it directly. In PowerDVD, this is
accomplished by setting "SPDIF" as the speaker environment in the sound
section of the configuration panel.

The second option is to let your DVD software decode the audio and use the
soundcard's analog outputs to send the signals to the speakers. You need to
make sure the DVD software supports this, I use PowerDVD 5, and it works.
Note, DTS decoding usually does not come for free, so if you want to enjoy
these soundtracks it typically requires purchasing an extra audio pack.
Selecting "6 speakers" as the speaker environment accomplishes this (again,
using PowerDVD).

Note, I don't actually recommend PowerDVD, because even though it works NOW,
I did have some problems initially and their tech support is outsourced to
India and though very polite, is absolutely HORRIBLE AND USELESS. I might
just as well not have spent the time to write down my complaints at all, it
was that much a waste of time. Next time I need to update my DVD software, I
will look at WinDVD instead.

> A couple of e-mails are mentioning that using the digital only output
> (yellow hole in the back plus the checkbox in Windows)


You don't need to check that checkbox btw; all it does is disable the
regular analog outputs, nothing else.

> I can get digital output but stereo only, not surround.
> Digging further, I found that I might need a *stereo* minijack to RCA
> coax father cable to get the signal for more than two channels. Is this
> correct?


Well, yes and no.

SPDIF is only specified to carry two channels of audio; more will simply not
fit in the available bandwidth. That's why Dolby Digital and DTS are
compressed to squeeze more data into the available space. Getting a stereo
plug will not help you, as this design is a proprietary Creative thing only
made for some of their own speaker systems. There's no way to input two
SPDIF audio streams to your Logitech speakers and get them to re-combine the
audio signal for multichannel sound. Besides, you'd only get four-channel
audio that way anyway, not full 5.1.

> I also plan to buy an Audigy2 card for another machine. Do I need the
> same kind of gimmicks for that one too?


You need a phono to 3.5mm audio plug to use the SPDIF output, yes. And if
you buy an Audigy card, buy Audigy2 ZS, nothing else. It rocks btw, very
nice sound and very low CPU consumption also.


 
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Jabba
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      04-19-2004, 07:17 PM
Whooo-weeee, what a complete answer,
thanks, Lenny!
"Lenny" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message news:<6fMgc.90175$(E-Mail Removed)>...
> > I never have surround sound when watching DVD's though. Tried a couple
> > of DVD drives, DVD software players, fiddled around withe the player's
> > audio options, no luck.

>
> You have two options. Either you get a player that can do "digital
> pass-through"; ie, send the DVD disc's audio in its compressed form out the
> back of your computer through a SPDIF output (SBLive Value has one; the
> yellow connector at the back) and to your external decoder. You need an
> audio cord with a phono-style connector in one end that you connect to the
> Z680's coaxial digital input, and a 3.5mm mono male headphone-style
> connector in the other to stick into your SBLive. There are adaptors
> available that will transform a phono plug to 3.5mm; this is a much
> easier/cheaper solution than trying to find a cable with these two different
> types of connectors mounted on it directly. In PowerDVD, this is
> accomplished by setting "SPDIF" as the speaker environment in the sound
> section of the configuration panel.
>
> The second option is to let your DVD software decode the audio and use the
> soundcard's analog outputs to send the signals to the speakers. You need to
> make sure the DVD software supports this, I use PowerDVD 5, and it works.
> Note, DTS decoding usually does not come for free, so if you want to enjoy
> these soundtracks it typically requires purchasing an extra audio pack.
> Selecting "6 speakers" as the speaker environment accomplishes this (again,
> using PowerDVD).
>
> Note, I don't actually recommend PowerDVD, because even though it works NOW,
> I did have some problems initially and their tech support is outsourced to
> India and though very polite, is absolutely HORRIBLE AND USELESS. I might
> just as well not have spent the time to write down my complaints at all, it
> was that much a waste of time. Next time I need to update my DVD software, I
> will look at WinDVD instead.
>
> > A couple of e-mails are mentioning that using the digital only output
> > (yellow hole in the back plus the checkbox in Windows)

>
> You don't need to check that checkbox btw; all it does is disable the
> regular analog outputs, nothing else.
>
> > I can get digital output but stereo only, not surround.
> > Digging further, I found that I might need a *stereo* minijack to RCA
> > coax father cable to get the signal for more than two channels. Is this
> > correct?

>
> Well, yes and no.
>
> SPDIF is only specified to carry two channels of audio; more will simply not
> fit in the available bandwidth. That's why Dolby Digital and DTS are
> compressed to squeeze more data into the available space. Getting a stereo
> plug will not help you, as this design is a proprietary Creative thing only
> made for some of their own speaker systems. There's no way to input two
> SPDIF audio streams to your Logitech speakers and get them to re-combine the
> audio signal for multichannel sound. Besides, you'd only get four-channel
> audio that way anyway, not full 5.1.
>
> > I also plan to buy an Audigy2 card for another machine. Do I need the
> > same kind of gimmicks for that one too?

>
> You need a phono to 3.5mm audio plug to use the SPDIF output, yes. And if
> you buy an Audigy card, buy Audigy2 ZS, nothing else. It rocks btw, very
> nice sound and very low CPU consumption also.

 
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