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5.1 channel with SPDIF?

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February 22, 2008 10:18:13 AM

Hi. So i have a gigabyte p35 ds3r board that supports 5.1/7.1 channel audio (has 6 audio jacks). I am planning to get a 5.1 speaker set.
However, the mobo also has SPDIF out and in connections. I tried searching couldnt really understand about this. Is SPDIF digital output while if I connect to audio jacks its analog? I mean could you connect 5.1 system through SPDIF out and would this connection be better? I am still not sure how SPDIF is used. Any clarification would be great.

The on board has Realtek ALC889A HD Audio, I hope its good for 5.1.

More about : channel spdif

February 22, 2008 11:03:38 AM

The Sony Philips Digital Interconnect Format will give you better sound quality assuming the decoder and hardware on the other end is of a better quality than your onboard, which it normally is.
February 22, 2008 11:17:28 AM

Analog mini jacks are stereo which is why you need so many connections, rear left/right, front left/right and center/sub. SPDIF carries the digital multi channel audio on 1 cable and is a cleaner signal than analog. Usually SPDIF is used to connect through a A/V reciever which contains the D/A (digital to analog) converters to convert the signal to something the speakers can reproduce.
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February 23, 2008 6:00:15 AM

oh ok, its more clearer now. So if I did get 5.1 speaker set for eg, either 1) i could just plug it in the audio jacks, OR

2) use SPDIF out which would go to a a/v reciever (decoder) and I would connect the 5.1 speakers or appropriate ones in the a/v reciever. But i guess this would be a more expensive option .

Besides never had a good speaker set, so even if its not good, to me would sound good :) 
February 23, 2008 1:43:46 PM

Yes you are correct, you can use SPDIF to connect through a reciever to traditional home speakers (think HTPC).
I know Logitech made a set of speaker which connected through either Analog or digital (SPDIF) but I'm not sure of the model or if their even available anymore.
February 23, 2008 2:10:14 PM

The only requirement to work with SPDIF is that your reviever has SPDIF input :) 

I wish mine did, so the dang xbox could do 5.1 out
February 23, 2008 4:14:51 PM

Like Ausch30 said S/PDIF - Sony/Philips Digital Interconnect Format (commonly known as Sony Philips Digital Interface) It is an Optical (toslink) or Coaxial (RCA) (also mini jack used by Creative) connector that is used to transmit digital (compress) signals of a number of formats.

Like most of Optical Disc Writer now sold for PC also comes with S/PDIF like this one - http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/82

The old format called Mono and Stereo becuase like the wordings, It carries 1 (mono) left channel of signal or 2 (stereo) left and Right Channel.

Then the 5.1 consist of Stereo Front + Suround Rear + Center and Sub
or 6.1 = Stereo Front + Suround Rear + Center Rear + Center Suround and Sub
7.1 Stereo Front + Front Suround + Rear surround + Center and Sub
or the .2 which comes with 2 sub usually connected as Left and Right Sub.

If the signal carries the DTS ES or Dolby Digital ES the S/PDIF now carries 6.1 or 7.1 signal so It's up to the reciever to decode that signal.
So if the Reciever any good it might be capable of the DTS-ES or Dolby Digital-EX and the new High Difinition formats.

He also ment the Logitech Z680, Z5450 and Z5500 models have Optical and Coaxial Digital connector inputs as well as 6 channel.

Youre Realtek ALC889A HD Audio sounds better if connected S/PDIF - the Logitech Z680, Z5450 or Z5500 then the uncompress 3 dual channel connectors. Becuase the Decoder from Logitech Z680, Z5450, Z5500 is better than the ALC889A have.

But if you don't have S/PDIF reciever then the 5.1 analog is fine, if your speakers and amplifier anygood then it's as good as listening to MP3 Player.
February 24, 2008 5:04:02 AM

Thank you rexter for expanding on what I wrote. The speakers I was refering to are the Z-5500 Digital, I was unaware that Logitech made several models with SPDIF connections.

To the OP, what kind of price range do you have in mind for your new speakers?

http://www.logitech.com/index.cfm/speakers_audio/home_p...
February 24, 2008 5:29:53 AM

thanks for the reply guys, its pretty clear now. Well ideally i dont want to go above 100 AUD, and well i can get a Logitech 5.1 x-540 speaker set for around 85 AUD. So i was thinking of this set.

Cant really go higher as have pretty much maxed out on my budget on this new build. Still have to get a couple of hard drives, cpu cooler, 120mm fan . So cant go much higher on sound. From the reviews i do think the x-540 would be pretty good and decent.
March 11, 2008 6:50:58 PM

Isn't it true though that the mobo only supports PASS-THRU on the TOSLINK/SPDIF in/outputs???.. It won't multiplex/mix the multichannel digital stream for you??

So any pre-encoded signal sent THRU the PC then out to the amp will be fine... but a DIGITIAL 5.1 channel signal (PC sound) will not be output via the SPDIF?

Please someone tell me I'm wrong, as I have a similar situation in which I'm trying to get 5.1 out of my 8RDA3+pro via the optical TOSLINK.

It seems the only way to get 5.1 PC sound is using the analog minijack outputs (messy/noisy).

help?
March 11, 2008 7:12:00 PM

Correct.
Generating 5.1 analog can be generated via software.
To generate 5.1 digital requires hardware. Very few if any motherboards have this hardware. So if you want digital 5.1 you need a soundcard.
The soundcard needs to have one of several hardware codecs.
I think the CMI8770 and the CMI8788 are the only ones available AT PRESENT.

I also have an older soundcard with the CMI8768+, but I wouldn't recommend this, it's not great.
March 12, 2008 10:51:36 AM

thanks jay...

This whole situation just seems counter-intuitive to me. Why are there not more PC products supporting(generating) multichannel digital audio onboard? I mean I can get a DVD player with digital audio encoding for like 40bux!

Just blows my mind considering TOSLINK and SPDIF digital interfaces are by no means "new" standards?

Thanks for the hardware suggestions, I'll be sure to check them out.
March 12, 2008 11:11:48 AM

I took a quick look at what the egg had to offer. This: is one of the few cards that will encode a digital bit stream instead of just pass-along a pre-existing digital signal.
March 12, 2008 11:52:16 AM

After doing more checking it seems that what I need to be looking for are "Dolby Digital Live" certified products. These will convert any source into a multichannel digital signal and kick it out via SPDIF.

(from wiki)
"Dolby Digital Live (DDL) is a real-time encoding technology for interactive media such as video games. It converts any audio signals on a PC or game console into the 5.1-channel Dolby Digital format and transports it via a single S/PDIF cable.[1] The SoundStorm, used for the Xbox game console and certain nForce2-based PCs, used an early form of this technology. Dolby Digital Live is currently available in sound cards from manufacturers such as Turtle Beach[2],HT OMEGA SYSTEM[3] and Auzentech[4] using C-Media chipsets, as well as on motherboards with codecs such as Realtek's ALC882D,[5] ALC888DD and ALC888H. A similar technology known as DTS Connect is available from competitor DTS."

Guess that's why the MCP-T southbridge of some Nforce2 chipsets is so prized.

March 12, 2008 5:20:25 PM

Mr Boogedy said:
thanks jay...

This whole situation just seems counter-intuitive to me. Why are there not more PC products supporting(generating) multichannel digital audio onboard? I mean I can get a DVD player with digital audio encoding for like 40bux!

Just blows my mind considering TOSLINK and SPDIF digital interfaces are by no means "new" standards?

Thanks for the hardware suggestions, I'll be sure to check them out.


Because no-one cares.

'do the speakers go bang when I fire the gun? They do? Thanks, that's great'

Soundcards are the forgotten technology.

It amazes me that the creative cards are so popular, and I don't believe one of them has onboard s/pdif.

Audio has always been about perception. Framerates are tangible. Audio is not so easily benchmarked.

Onboard audio is 'adequate' for most gamers. They're not going to spend 200 on a card, 300 on a receiver, 300 on some speakers for (to them) negligible GAINS.
March 12, 2008 5:22:51 PM

Mr Boogedy said:
I took a quick look at what the egg had to offer. This: is one of the few cards that will encode a digital bit stream instead of just pass-along a pre-existing digital signal.


their power search is screwed.

Check Auzentech, HT Omega, Turtle Beach, Diamond...

There are loads of them
March 12, 2008 5:23:56 PM

Mr Boogedy said:
After doing more checking it seems that what I need to be looking for are "Dolby Digital Live" certified products. These will convert any source into a multichannel digital signal and kick it out via SPDIF.


Yep, read the other threads about surround sound. I've said the same thing about 4 times now in different threads
!