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Creative Speaker Config problem.

Last response: in Components
January 29, 2006 11:17:24 PM

I just built an entirely new computer from scratch rather than upgrade the old monstrosity i had before.
The new computer looks something like this:

AMD Athlon 64 3500
1 Gig PC 3200 Ram (Cas 3.0)
Asus Motherboard (can't remember model # though)
On-board Gigabit Ethernet
On-board Realtek 7.1 sound (disabled)
Geforce 6600GT 128Mb Video
1 80 Gb 7200 rpm IDE HD (primary)
1 120 Gb 7200 rpm IDE HD (slave)
Win XP Pro with Sp 2
Soundblaster Audigy 2 ZS

Old Speakers: Logitech 2.1 (don't remember model #)
New speakders: Altec Lansing 5.1 (don't remember model #)

With my old speakers I was able to get.. pretty decent sound, good bass through sub-woofer and all. Positional audio seemed to work ok (left to right and vice versa). Movies and music both sounded ok.

With my newer speakers, I get even better sound, far better bass but positional audio doesn't seem to work.. I just get the same sound being pumped through all 5 speakers.. albeit I don't have much in the way right now to actually confirm it.. but that's not the main problem.

The problem is that whenever I run Creative's speaker configuration tool, it reports that I have my cabling for the speakers all messed up.. but the satellite speakers all run into the subwoofer and are color coded for
id10t5 like myself. I've checked/double checked/triple checked the connections and they're all running exactly where they should be, yet the speaker config says its not connected properly.

One thing that I have to gripe about, is that the connectors on my Audigy are NOT color coded like they were on my older SB 128. Now I have a stupid sticker that has colors on it that I'm supposed to stick onto
the back of the card itself that but god knows I might have put the stupid thing in backwards.. *sighs*

Another thing.. the speakers I received (a gift from a co-worker) have 3 connectors on them.

1 Green
1 Black
1 Yellow

But using the stupid sticker as a reference, there isn't a 'Yellow' connection on the back of the card.. just 'Burnt Orange' and 'Dusty Brown'.. what gives? Where does that connector go? What does it do??

I tried checking on Altec Lansing's website, but the manual for the speakers is pretty vague about which connectors go where and what they do.

This is my first time trying to hook up more than 2 speakers so I'm a little out of my depth here..

Any help would be appreicated

Also.. I was instructed by the person I got the speakers to plug all the satellite speakers into the subwoofer.. but should it go there? or into the sound card itself?

Thank you
January 30, 2006 12:05:42 AM

Umm, with 5.1 speaker sets it's like this (most, if not all of the time) Every satelite must be connected to the subwoofer unit. From the subwoofer unit there should be 3 cables, the green, black and yellow you listed. Use those cables to connect the subwoofer to the sound card. If your soundcard can't support all those 3 cables then you've got a problem. Your sound card doesn't support 5.1 surround sound. In which case you should buy a new soundcard OR just connect the 2 front speakers and left the rest unused.
January 30, 2006 12:26:23 AM

Turn off CMSS on your Audigy 2 settings. It must be set to 5-channel stereo or something.
Related resources
January 30, 2006 12:30:08 AM

Please forgive this.. but wtf??

Taken directly from Creative's Website..

"The THX® certified Sound Blaster® Audigy™ 2 ZS delivers 24-bit ADVANCED HD™ audio, 108dB SNR clarity across 8 channels, and is the only available PC platform to deliver Advanced Resolution™ 24-bit DVD-Audio playback in 24-bit/192kHz stereo and 24-bit/96Khz 5.1 surround. With EAX® 4.0 ADVANCED HD™ effects, Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS produces clear, ultra-realistic sound in supported games and multi-channel playback in 5.1, 6.1 and 7.1 with over 400 existing DirectSound 3D® games."

Now in the specification's page it says...

"Line level out (Front / Rear / Center / Subwoofer / Rear Center)
Digital Out for 5.1 support(6-channel SPDIF output to Creative digital speakers"

So what?.. this means I need to have freaking SPDIF speakers to get real 5.1??

*curses profusely*

How is it they can say it delivers up to 7.1 but then neglect to mention that you need a specific set of speakers to do so??

January 30, 2006 12:43:20 AM

While I dont have 5.1 speakers, I do how ever have 4.1 and directional audio works on my klipsch. The audigy 2zs does do this through the analoge outputs.

Go into the THX menu under speaker selection and make sure you have the 5.1 speakers selected then go through the test channel.
In this menu you will see there is a diagram of you sound card with correct color and ports to plug-in.
January 30, 2006 12:47:55 AM

Ah, I didn't know you had an Audigy 2 ZS. There shouldn't be a problem, my card came with some manual where it explained where the black/yellow/green should be plugged into, since they are all goldish colored. You should have 3 analog plugs, they are not colored but numbered. If I remember correctly 1 is for green, 2 for yellow and 3 for black. Also as others said check your THX Settings and make sure you are using 5.1 output.
January 30, 2006 1:15:27 AM

The card is already configured for 5.1, but I did have CMSS 2 enabled (which I turned off).. Does it make a difference?

Sorry if I seem ignorant of such things.. the sound card was OEM.
January 30, 2006 3:36:05 PM

I have CMSS enabled and have no problems.
January 30, 2006 10:27:11 PM

Notice that the Rear Left speaker will sound pretty much JUST LIKE the Front Left speaker, this also applies to the Rear Right - Right speaker.
February 2, 2006 12:36:35 PM

Thanks for all the help!

I think I got my issue resolved. I plugged in all 3 cables into the back end of the sound card, disabled both CMSS and Environmental Effects and am
very pleased with the output of the sound from the speakers. I'm not sure what to make with the speaker config software.. i've checked other sites
and it seems that I'm not the only person that has issues with it.

I'm not going to mess with it now that it seems to be working.

February 2, 2006 2:31:02 PM

Unless the source is encoded with the 5.1 surround you wont get true surround sound. If the rear/center channels arent in the source the card will simply take the front channels, add a delay and maybe a sound effect and send it out.
make sure your sources are encoded correct when your expecting true surround.