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Digital output and EAX 4.0

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June 22, 2006 6:56:45 PM

I just bought the Z5500, and they are great. I want to make use of the digital coxial input. I already have my 360 using the optical digital. Are there any sound cards that have a digital coxial output with EAX 4.0 or greater for under $150?

Right now I am using on board sound with no EAX, connected by the analog six channel in/outputs. I did not buy these great speakers so I can play PC games with second rate surround, but I just can not afford some crazy sound card right now.

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June 22, 2006 8:49:38 PM

Only Creative cards have EAX4.0+, their licensing scheme means only EAX2.0+ for other brands.

And Creative has not liscensed Dolby Digital Live or DTS Connect, so no digital passthrough with surround sound.

But, you can get stereo + EAX 4.0 with your current setup.
June 22, 2006 9:32:11 PM

Quote:
Are there any sound cards that have a digital coxial output with EAX 4.0 or greater for under $150?


You can go with this creative combo that's less than $150:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1682...

and

http://us.creative.com/products/product.asp?category=1&...

Actually, you can pair the $15 SPDIF module to any SoundBlaster from the Live! line all the way up to the X-Fi that has a digital minijack...so there's lots of options under $150 too.
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June 23, 2006 6:52:46 PM

I thought the entire point of EAX was positional surround sound for gaming. Why would it only be available in stereo?

The connector on the I/O module is a mini analog is it not? By connverting to analog then back to digital will it be any different than using the six channel analog connectors?
June 23, 2006 8:56:27 PM

EAX is NOT just for games, by any stretch. It provides sound environment simulation like "jazz clubb" or "auditorium" for use in either 2-channel stereo or multi-channel surround. While the jack that connects the IO module to the audio card is a minijack it is digital only (on the Live!) and must be configured for digital-only on the higher-end cards. So no, it is not the same as the 6-channel analog inputs. Actually, to me, @ $15 its a bargain! ...I should get one for m'self, I'll surely need it one day.
June 23, 2006 9:56:21 PM

Quote:
I thought the entire point of EAX was positional surround sound for gaming. Why would it only be available in stereo?


Because digital out only outputs stereo in the abscence of a multichannel wrapper like dolby digital, dolby digital live, or DTS, or DTS connect. And none of the cards capable of higher than EAX2 have the ability to encode multichannel sound to digital in real time.
June 24, 2006 3:42:49 PM

Quote:
it is digital only (on the Live!)


What does "on the Live" mean?

The only game that I have that uses EAX is Doom3, and that uses 2.0. Are there games out that even use 3.0,4.0, or 5.0?

I am confused. EAX can not ouput via digital conection and still be in surround? So, analog outputs can tranmit EAX surround, or there is no EAX surround.
June 24, 2006 3:57:55 PM

Quote:
it is digital only (on the Live!)


What does "on the Live" mean?

...on the Creative SoundBlaster Live! soundcard I should have said.
June 24, 2006 4:03:57 PM

Maybe it does use a newer version. I remember seeing a option in the setting for EAX2.0.
June 26, 2006 11:36:24 PM

Quote:
Because digital out only outputs stereo in the abscence of a multichannel wrapper like dolby digital, dolby digital live, or DTS, or DTS connect. And none of the cards capable of higher than EAX2 have the ability to encode multichannel sound to digital in real time.


So you can not pass EAX surround through a digital connection?

I have the Z-5500, which has it's own dolby digital and dts decoder. Will that effect the digital out from my PC?[/quote]
June 27, 2006 12:05:39 AM

No you cannot as the SPDIF can only carry a PCM signal, that is only stereo.

Still you can use the analog outputs, which are supposed to be better than the ones found on your speakers. (Look at those 100+ dB numbers Creative is speaking about.) (Edit: I mean the DACs found on the X-Fi and Audigy 2 ZS/4 are probably better than the ones in your speaker control pod)

So you can still use your speakers and get full surround sound, but only by using the analog cables!
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