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Audigy 4 Pro and Logitech Z-5500 incompatible?

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April 17, 2006 3:22:58 AM

My father-in-law just upgraded his home PC and bought an Audigy 4 Pro along with Logitech's Z-5500 5.1 surround speakers. Upon getting them set up they failed to produce correct surround. Everything comes out of the front speakers only (or when the backs come into play it's just what's supposed to be on the front only).

I haven't been able to get over there yet but tried helping over the phone for several hours one night and got nowhere (I'm in the sound industry so this isn't new to me so it's somewhat unlikely that it's some sort of newbie setting that got overlooked.) We tried disabling Creative's CMSS3D, their Dolby decoder, everything everwhere is set correctly to 5.1, etc.

What's most frustrating is that he called Creative twice and both of the reps said, "Oh, those are digital speakers and won't produce 5.1 output with our sound cards." WHAT?!?!?! No f'ing way. I called and got a similar answer. We then both called Logitech and Logitech reacted almost as if they weren't sure they even sold speakers. In other words, they were no help what-so-ever.

I simply find it impossible to believe that one of Logitech's top speaker systems simply do not function with the most popular name in sound cards. It just makes no sense.

Anyone have any ideas about how to get these two items working together or have any idea what's going on? I've tried having them set up as digital (via optical toslink cable) and analog (via the standard 3-cable connection) with no luck. I had him set for 6-channel Direct output but that didn't work either.
April 17, 2006 4:05:14 AM

Creative sound cards don't have an algorithm that can encode discrete channels into a wrapper like Dolby Digital or DTS in real time. Really, few decoders can, and no receivers that I can think of can do that either. So it's not exactly a widely available feature, much less generally affordable. You would need a soundcard that is capable of encoding Dolby Digital or DTS in real time.

>>Or, just use the analog inputs.<< That's what most PC soundcards are for--they are decoders. It's slightly redundant (although usually not the customer's fault, mostly he is misinformed) to buy a sound card that's essentially a decoder, just to bypass the DAC processes to yet another decoder. In this case, I would surmise the Audigy 4 Pro DACs are superior to the ones on the Logitech Z-5500s, so even if it could bypass realtime DDL it would be of much lower source quality.

EDIT: I noticed you part where you said you used the 3 analog outs. In that case, the only logical answer, barring driver error, is that the surround amps are dead. The 5.1 speaker test should prove whether or not they are working or not.
April 17, 2006 4:31:04 AM

Er, all I'm after is getting him 5.1 sound out for his games, DVD's and whatever test files we have handy. I get 5.1 out with my SB X-Fi and Creative's S750 speakers (I also have the Klipsch Ultra's and they work just fine too).

We've tried changing speakers and any speaker works when moving them around so the rears aren't dead.

There's a simple 6-channel sample .WAV/WMA fileset that Microsoft has for testing your setup and is just says "Front Left, Front Right, Center, Rear Left, Rear Right" and then hums the subwoofer.

On my systems this works flawlessly (as do the THX optimizers in DVD's and other such utilities). On his setup the sound is coming out incorrectly at every turn and with support telling him that 5.1 just isn't supported, he's thinking there's nothing wrong with the hardware.
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April 17, 2006 5:14:49 AM

The only logical course of action is either to replace or return the Logitechs and get something else.
April 17, 2006 6:04:45 AM

Not so sure that's the only logical solution. I see reviews for those speakers that refer specifically to solid 5.1 support with Creative cards.
April 17, 2006 6:28:10 AM

Okay, feel free to do what whatever you think is the best for you.
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