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X-fi Home theatre setup

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September 28, 2006 3:57:41 PM

Ok guys,

This is my 1st time trying a Home PC theatre setup and so far i am confused.

I bought X-Fi platinum which comes with the front bay.
I used Digital/Optical out to connect to my Sony Reciever (with a digital in of course)

The confusion comes in this part. When i am doing a diagnostics test for each channel (under the x-fi application)
F.LEFT,F.CENTER,F.RIGHT,S.RIGHT,S.LEFT

The surround left seems to come out on the Front left and the surround right seems to go to the front right.

What am i doing wrong? I have set everything to 5.1 setup.
Does Digital/Optical out only send out Stereo information?

If so I have truely failed on my research...
pls help. thnx.


This is the specs of the Hometheatre in a box setup i got:

# of Speakers in Package, Including Subwoofer 6
2-Way Centre Speakers No
2-Way Main Speakers No
2-Way Rear Speakers No
Component Video Input/Output 2 Inputs/1 Output
Disc Capacity None
Dolby Digital EX No
Dolby Digital Surround Sound Yes
Dolby Pro Logic II Yes
Dolby Pro Logic Surround Yes
DTS Decoder Info Not Available
DTS ES No
Frequency Response 28Hz - 20KHz
Front-Panel A/V Inputs 1
Headphone Jack Yes
Hook Up Wires Included Yes
Included In Box See The Features Section
Includes DVD Player No
Magnetically Shielded Yes
Multiroom Capability No
On-Screen Display Yes
Preamp Outputs 1
Product Warranty 1 Year Parts & Labour
Product Weight 18.2 kg
Progressive Scan DVD No
Remote Type Universal
S-Video In/Out No
Speaker Colour Silver
Stereo Audio Inputs/Outputs 5 Inputs/1 Output
Subwoofer Colour Silver
Subwoofer Power 200 Watts
Subwoofer Size 7.8"
System Colour Silver
THX Select No
THX Ultra II No
Total System Power, Including Subwoofer 900 Watts
Video Monitor Output 1

More about : home theatre setup

September 29, 2006 12:12:47 PM

The X-Fi series of can't decode Dolby Digital or DTS and all they can push out through their digital outputs is 2-channel PCM (stereo).

To get 5.1 sound from your X-Fi to your receiver you'll have to go with the X-Fi's analog outputs. ...and fortunately the X-Fi is a very strong analog card, some feel its the best.

I believe you'll need a cable similar to this to connect the X-Fi to your reciever (that would need 5.1 analog inputs on its backplane): http://us.creative.com/products/product.asp?category=1&...
September 29, 2006 12:35:40 PM

Great thnx! ill give it a shot today and post the difference.
Related resources
September 29, 2006 1:12:29 PM

Yeah, X-Fi's optical outputs aren't nearly as powerful as its 5.1 analog out, which is what most computer speakers use anyways. If you wanted something more for home-theater use with DTS and Dolby, and not EAX for gaming, then an Auzentech or similar soundcard would work fine.
September 29, 2006 2:26:38 PM

Will Coaxial digital output a 5.1 signal from the X-fi Sound card?

Finding these cables seem to be harder than i thought.
September 29, 2006 3:17:27 PM

Unfortunately not, you'll only get 2-channel PCM out of the optical or coaxial digital outputs. ...and I think you can really only get that analog cable from Creative. I've purchased directly from them, myself...7 days for UPS ground...not quite NewEgg.
September 30, 2006 7:24:51 AM

Quote:
and I think you can really only get that analog cable from Creative.


Well of course Halcyon, Creative makes them! So you can only get them from Creative =P

Anyways, those are just 3 pairs of RCA to stereo mini cables. Radioshack or any electronics store has bundles of them, in cable form (1m, 2m, 4m), in adaptor form (female RCA to stereo mini, or Stereo mini to RCA)
October 1, 2006 2:40:55 PM

LOL, no I wasn't being a complete dummy (perhaps close, though).

If you look carefully you'll see all of those cables are not stereo mini cables. Two of the cables (the orange and black) are 3-way cables, not 2-way stereo cables. That's probably why Creative states the whole shebang only works with their cards. Sometimes you can get Creative products from other vendors and retailors than Creative...NewEgg, etc.
October 1, 2006 10:36:11 PM

Which leads me to my next question iguess..

Looking behind my reciever i fail to see more RCA slots to put in the 3 way cables.

Are these cables specifically made for 7.1?

My setup is currently 5.1
Maybe the answer is already at the tip of my nose but i just want someone to clarify this.

Will i get surround by getting 3 stereo mini cables?

I just called creative and they are moving their warehouse to L.A
and wont have it until they can find it in stock perhaps until next month...
October 2, 2006 12:45:37 AM

Whoa, hold on a moment. Remember, you'd have to a 5.1, 6.1, or 7.1 analog input available on the back of your receiver to use that Creative HT cable or anything put together to provide the same functionality. If you do not, than this is all academic. ...but that is indeed the only way, I'm aware of, to get 5.1+ sound from a Creative Labs soundcard to a reciever. ...otherwise you can connect digitally and use the reciever to upmix the 2-channel PCM to multi-channel simulated surround if the reciever has Dolby ProLogic II or DTS Neo 6 or some of Sony's own proprietary surround upmix schemes.

You have to weigh the importance of putting those 6+ discrete channels from the X-Fi to the inconvenience, cost, and patience needed to getting that proprietary HT cable from Creative or trying to make-shift something that will substitute for it. If I were you I'd at least try sending the 2-channel PCM to the receiver and let the receiver upmix that to multi-channel surround (if you have that option)...I'd at least try it and decide if I could live with it.
October 2, 2006 4:11:00 AM

auzentech xplosion....

it owns....IT OWNS !!!

lol does dts and ddl. then you can use that nice old digital connection you got.

its like 115$ so its around the cost of an xfi.

creative is a little slow when it comes to realizing that people odnt always want to use 5 cables or more to connect to their reciever or speaker setup.
October 2, 2006 4:21:45 AM

Im positive that this reciever has only 5.1 analog ins.

So coming from what I've been reading..The Optical signal coming out from the soundcard is actually Stereo PCM only. Now thats IF the signal i am using is uncompressed.

Compressed files such as AC3's dvds Divx's with a 5.1 support can still be transfered as a 5.1 signal to the Reciever using an optical connection.

is this true?

I already know that im not getting true surround from my games as games dont have Dolby or DTS support.

Anyhows im gona try get a hold of 3 stereo Mini RCA tomorrow and see or more like..hear what happens.

Thnx for everything guys. I just wish i was in this forum before :\
October 2, 2006 5:16:03 AM

the games dont have to support dolby digital or dts for you to get surround... most current games come encoded with multiple surround channels, so you have native surround right off the bat... the issue is how will you go about being able to take advantage of that surround sound...

...you can use a card that features dolby digital live, or dts interactive, and that will allow your games surround to be encoded and streamed over the digital connection as a discrete surround encoded signal (either ac-3, or dts)...

or, you can do the same thing with the multiple analog cables, but instead of only one coaxial rca or optical toslink cable... you have 6 (or more) analog rca cables... either way, the end result is the same
October 18, 2006 2:22:23 PM

hey there
i was reading up on the x-fi and optical output as well and had the same concern as you about being able to output at 5.1 using the optical connectors in the front
As the above posters said, the optical out does not decode DTS and DD, but I did come across this while reading a review about the x-fi series which might be helpful to you to use the optical out to connect to your receiver:

"if you want internal decoding select SPDIF from your DVD player and let the analog cords do the rest. If you want external optical decoding select "External Decoder" under bitstream options."

Let me know if that helps

(*I dont know why they didnt put optical out on the back of the card...thats the only thing stopping me from buying this card b/c my case door would have to stay open :(  *)
October 18, 2006 5:57:45 PM

While that appears to be a nice piece of kit, IMO, it requires itself and a 5.1+ soundcard. You could get a Montego DDL or XPlosion and have a simpler solution if DTS to receiver is truly your goal.
October 18, 2006 7:04:45 PM

As far as what the question at hand is, i believe what i have posted might be a solution for the OP instead of having to buy aditional equipment (if his receiver has hardware decoding)....and am looking forward to see if it works...as i am in the process of buying that exact card and the logitech 5500.
October 18, 2006 7:29:31 PM

"if you want internal decoding select SPDIF from your DVD player and let the analog cords do the rest. If you want external optical decoding select "External Decoder" under bitstream options."

Sorry for being noobish but im still not sure how this is going to work.

I do have a sony dvd player ican use to connect anaologe to the reciever.
so my question is...i go from Soundcard Digital out> DvD player digital in> Dvd player analog out> Sony Analog In.

Did i get that right? I havent tried this yet.

(*I dont know why they didnt put optical out on the back of the card...thats the only thing stopping me from buying this card b/c my case door would have to stay open :(  *)[/quote]

I know..currently i have my case door open all the time attracting dust..
October 18, 2006 8:30:37 PM

eh? Your sound card should have nothing to do with your DVD player...if your dvd player has digital out, just go from DVD Digital Out >> Receiver Digital In

I dunno maybe im confused as to what your trying to do or maybe I am not understanding this myself, but I thought that you are going from X-Fi Optical Out >> Receiver Optical In >> Speakers Optical In correct? So above when I was talking about the options to change, i was referring to the PC DVD player/Sound Blaster options, not your external DVD player.

I dont have the x-fi card so i cannot tell you where to find those options, although i will search for them also b/c i want to know also. Maybe someone else can sound in about this who has this card and is using the optical out.

How old is your receiver? Do you have a link to the product page?

Heres an intersting thread that you should read: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=206854&...
Says to do what i listed above...
October 18, 2006 9:13:06 PM

October 18, 2006 9:46:10 PM

i found the answer, here u go:
http://forums.creative.com/creativelabs/board/message?b...

Everything makes sense now :) 

Maybe buying a cheaper x-fi card and using this: http://www.soundblaster.com/products/product.asp?catego... would have done as well...but then you lose the ability to use headphones (i dunno why they didnt put a headphone jack on that...).

So basically, you wont get surround sound thru optical unless its encoded (basically movies), all other sounds will be sent to front speakers....so if your planning on only using the 5.1 setup for movies, then use optical, as for everything else, use headphones? :p  ... or be happy with the sound just coming out the front....so i guess the above poster had the answer if you want to buy the additional equipment...which blows...
im glad the z5500 has he necessary analog connections needed to go from soundcard straight to speaker...
October 25, 2006 10:15:10 PM

Thnx for the advice everyone. With all this research and help I've come to realise that buying the Sony Home theatre set wasn't the best for me.
I'm also a gamer as much as a movie enthusiast.

I have returned it, got my money back and purchased a simpler Logitech Z5500. I am definately much happier with more money in the pocket +The sound seems loud, punchy and neighbour friendly. ( also no need to buy extra analog cables)

For anyone Curious the Home-Theatre-In-a-box i returned is this:

Sony HT-DDW900


Once again thnx for the help and I hope this thread keeps users informed.

-MiguelOne-
October 26, 2006 9:20:23 AM

Quote:
i found the answer, here u go:
http://forums.creative.com/creativelabs/board/message?b...

Everything makes sense now :) 

Maybe buying a cheaper x-fi card and using this: http://www.soundblaster.com/products/product.asp?catego... would have done as well...but then you lose the ability to use headphones (i dunno why they didnt put a headphone jack on that...).

So basically, you wont get surround sound thru optical unless its encoded (basically movies), all other sounds will be sent to front speakers....so if your planning on only using the 5.1 setup for movies, then use optical, as for everything else, use headphones? :p  ... or be happy with the sound just coming out the front....so i guess the above poster had the answer if you want to buy the additional equipment...which blows...
im glad the z5500 has he necessary analog connections needed to go from soundcard straight to speaker...


...yeahp. ...and the links you've provided nicely illustrate what we've been saying all along but they explain it more clearly than I've written or have seen written in this forum. Thanks.

The newest X-F's (Xtreme Gamer, Xtreme Gamer FPS) include a software DVD player to decode the AC3/DTS signal for this purpose, yet cards like the Auzentech Xplosion and Turtle Beach Montego DDL offter HARDWARE based AC3/DTS decoding...just like a HT receiver. ...but using software decoding is fine (IMO) and still allows access to an otherwise very complete set of audio cards, again, IMO.
!