sound, via the digital out.

wampas30

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Jun 19, 2004
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Hey, I'm building a new computer and I have a 6.1 home theater system that I want to use with it primarily for playing games. After some research, I have been left with a few questions that maybe someone could answer. First, The Audigy 2 says that it can put out 6.1 sound. If I connect this to my receiver, will I be playing my games in 6.1 sound, or is this only for dvd playback? Second, my receiver needs either a digital coax or an optical input. I couldn't find any reference to either of these connections on the regular audigy 2 pci card yet it still indicates a digital output. Could someone explain this to me? Is there some type of cheapo converter that I could use? I see the that Audigy 2 Platinum has both digital outputs on the faceplate, but I would like to stay away from that because it would look sill having wires forever coming out of the front of my computer.

One last thing, if I can't hook the basic Audigy 2 up to my receiver due to lack of proper digital outputs, how does the digital sound that comes onboard sound. For instance the Realtek ALC850 8-Channel Codec seems to be popular with the new Nforce 3 mobo's and it does have the digital outputs that I require. I'm guessing the onboard sound doesn't compare with a pci soundcard though, does it?

Thanks for the help!
 

stuman

Limp Gawd
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first off, to play your games in 5.1 using the digital interface you will need to have a motherboard based on the nforce2 soundstorm chip as this is the only soundcard regularly available with DD encoding on the fly, and as such this restricts you to socket A chips, sorry, after his, if your home theatre system accepts optical in the all you need is the optical lead. good luck

stu
 

aug1516

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The Audigy2 will use the digital output when playing a DVD or something like that. The only way you will get 5.1/6.1 surround sound in games is if you use the analog outputs of the Audigy. Even then you will only get real DD 5.1 if the game supports it. Most games support things like A3d or EAX which use 4 channels for audio I believe. So to actually use your home theater with the Audigy2 your receiver will need to have analog inputs for each channel. Some receivers have this, most cheaper models do not.Your other option would be to get an NForce2 motherboard and use it's Dolby Digital encoding and output the digital signal to your receiver. That method would probably provide some of the best multi-channel audio you are going to get when gaming but does restrict you to the older socket-A platform. To answer your other questions, the digital out on the Audigy 2 is not an optical connection and will require some sort of adapter to use with your receiver. Onboard audio is generally ok but not up to the same quality as the nicer PCI sound cards.
 

leukotriene

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The only way you will get 5.1/6.1 surround sound in games is if you use the analog outputs of the Audigy. Even then you will only get real DD 5.1 if the game supports it

The Audigy's do not do Dolby Digital Encoding in games. They do EAX HD, which as you say requires the analog outputs of the card be used and requires that the reciever has 6-channel analog inputs.

The only solution that does dolby digital encoding on the fly for games in hardware is the NForce2 APU through the digital output as stuman stated, which is commonly referred to as "SoundStorm". This is an athlonXP solution only since the NForce3 does not have this functionality.

Some of the newest AC97 2.3 CODECs can do dolby digital encoding on the fly in software, but no boards yet availible use these CODECs (and the ALC850 is not one of those).

Using the digital output of the onboard CODEC or the Audigy 2 will give similar results: PCM Stereo only for games, with dolby digital/dts from preencoded sources like DVDs only.
 

wampas30

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Jun 19, 2004
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Thanks for the replies. It seems kind of odd to me that soundcards don't encode digital on the fly.I guess that's expensive... Anyways, my receiver does have like 6 analog inputs for each channel of sound. I also have the Logitech Z560's 4.1 speaker set. I guess I'll just hook the Audigy2 up with the analog inputs.
 

Mister X

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wampas30 said:
It seems kind of odd to me that soundcards don't encode digital on the fly..
Why is that odd?
All encoding a Dolby digital signal will give you is a more convenient transport method.
One cable Vs. three.
Oh yea ... and a loss in quality.
Lets not forget that this format is a lossy compression scheme. ;)

wampas30 said:
I guess that's expensive...
Expense was not an issue. It was more of a licensing thing.
This may all change in the near future.
This old Deviceforge announcement will help explain why.
http://deviceforge.com/news/NS4608333843.html

wampas30 said:
Anyways, my receiver does have like 6 analog inputs for each channel of sound...

Good luck there..... many people (myself included) have had issues related to the Audigy2's inability to output a LFE channel that will work in this situation.
In plain English..... if you have a subwoofer don't count on it working well with the card connected to the system in this fashion. :(

wampas30 said:
I also have the Logitech Z560's 4.1 speaker set. I guess I'll just hook the Audigy2 up with the analog inputs.
That is a pretty good match.
Speakers that have a poor top end and a sound card that is on the bright side = :)
 

aug1516

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leukotriene said:
The Audigy's do not do Dolby Digital Encoding in games. They do EAX HD, which as you say requires the analog outputs of the card be used and requires that the reciever has 6-channel analog inputs.

Right, but the Audigy should output 5.1 if the game has Dolby Digital as an option, which some games do. Even then though I had heard that you will only get the DD soundtrack when using the analog outputs.
 

Kingofl337

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Right, but the Audigy should output 5.1 if the game has Dolby Digital as an option, which some games do. Even then though I had heard that you will only get the DD soundtrack when using the analog outputs.

Should is the key word there. It doesn't. Only does DD in movies
 
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DD is a compressed data stream. Thus, it must first be encoded before it can be decoded. No sound solution other than SoundStorm is capable of encoding DD. If you want DD from any other solution, such as an Audigy, it must be pre-encoded. DVD movies have pre-encoded DD right on the disc, so this is not a problem - Audigy simply decodes the stream and gives you DD sound. Games like Far Cry and UT2004, however, cannot have pre-encoded DD since they're interactive and require an outside solution to process sound on-the-fly. They carry the DD logo on their boxes as proof that they are capable of being encoded to DD.
 
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wampas30 said:
It seems kind of odd to me that soundcards don't encode digital on the fly.
I too think that it is odd. I have always wanted to use my 5.1 Denon home theater system for my pc via one cable. That would be my dream. Pc speakers and analog connections, it all seems so cheap to me. My brothers Logitech (Klipsch?) control unit for his crappy "computer speakers" has stopped working numerous times. HAHAHA
 

ncantador

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The good thing about the Audigy 2 ZS is that since the digital output is not shared with the analog sub/center out, both the digital and ananlog outputs are active at the same time, so connect your machine to your Receiver or Home theater preamp/processor using the digital output, and connect your PC speakers via analog, and there you have it, all effects and surround modes active all the time.

PS, if you can still find it, the Phillips Acoustic edge did DD encoding on the fly.
 

FanZ

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ncantador said:
PS, if you can still find it, the Phillips Acoustic edge did DD encoding on the fly.

are you serious? or was that sarcasm?
 

CSx-2011

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If your receiver has multi channel analog input, use those for gaming. Use the digital connection for dvd's, etc..

The audigy will be much better than any nforce3 codec.
 

GodsMadClown

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Allow me to quote our proto-FAQ.
http://www.hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=767698

[size=+2]How can I get Dolby Digital output from [non-Soundstorm]?[/size]

You can’t¹.
Well, it’s possible in one scenario, but it’s not all that impressive. When playing a DVD with a properly configured software DVD player, the DD soundtrack can be output from a digital output of a soundcard or onboard audio. This is called “pass-through”, because the sound hardware isn’t really doing any encoding or decoding here, but rather letting the encoded signal simply “pass-through” from the DVD software directly to the output jack.​

[size=+2]I want digital surround sound output on my gaming audio, but I don’t have Soundstorm. What can I do? [/size]

Sorry. You can’t do it¹.

Some computer speaker manufacturers have now designed systems with included decoders so that they can play back digital output. However, digital decoder hardware doesn’t going to come for free. It is likely that the additional cost of the decoder came at the expense of quality in the speaker and/or amplifier subsystems, in order to keep the price competitive. Decent analog connections don’t cost much. In the majority of cases, the quality of the amplification and speaker components is vastly more limiting than the quality of the connections. It is preferable to have the most of your purchase price going to pay for quality components. With analog output, fidelity is dependant on the driver and soundcard implementation to provide a quality analog signal.​
¹This might change in the future but is true for current available consumer hardware.​

[size=+2]How do I connect my PC to my home theater system? [/size]

The quickest and easiest way to connect a PC to a home theater system is to use a 1/8” jack-RCA adaptor. Plug the 1/8 minijack end into the appropriate soundcard output, and plug the RCA ends to an available input on your audio equipment.​

3_5jack_RCA.jpg

Get 3 of those cables. Hook it into your reciever's multichannel analog inputs. Dealing with Audigy 2's bass management will be a problem, however. My advice? Get a M-Audio Revolution or a Chaintech AV-710.

Do you have analog multichannel inputs?
 

John-St

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Jul 8, 2003
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The newer beta versions of AC3Filter will do real-time AC-3 encoding. You can get them here (the latest version, RC5, is on page 5.)
 

mangoldm

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Jun 26, 2004
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I have my Audigy 2 connected to Creative Megaworks 510D speakers via the digital out. I thought games were in 5.1 with this arrangement.
 

Mister X

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That is the one exception ... the Digital out jack on the Creative Audigy cards is actually a proprietary discreet multichannel digital interface.
It will output 6 channels of PCM as opposed to a multiplexed (or encoded if you will) Dolby digital signal.
 
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If I get the M-Audio Revolution, will the digital coaxial output only be active for DVDs, or will it work for all sources?

If it won't work for all sources, then the correct solution would be to get 3 3.5mm-2RCA cables and then hook up the sound card to my reciever's analog discreet inputs?
 

aug1516

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lucifer11287 said:
If I get the M-Audio Revolution, will the digital coaxial output only be active for DVDs, or will it work for all sources?

If it won't work for all sources, then the correct solution would be to get 3 3.5mm-2RCA cables and then hook up the sound card to my reciever's analog discreet inputs?

I have not verified this with my own Revo, but it should be active for all sources. It will output or pass-thru a 5.1 signal if you configure the software DVD player software right. All other sounds will be output in 2 channel PCM. A better idea is to use the analog outputs of the revo and connect them to your receiver via the cables you mentioned. Then the Revo could emulate up to 7.1 audio from any source.
 

Auric

Limp Gawd
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Mar 27, 2003
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The digital output on the Revo will be active on all sources, but you will only get 5.1 discrete channels if you're playing a DVD, CD, or sound file that has been encoded with Dolby Digital or DTS. Any other sound source will be stereo, which can be upmixed using the Revo's SRS TruSurround XT mode, but the channels are not discrete.
 
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