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Sound Cards for PS3

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February 24, 2009 2:15:06 PM

I've searched all over the internet for a definitive answer but was left more confused from all the terminology and conflicting opinions. I have a 5.1 headset that connects with the typical green-black-orange jacks. I want to use them for sounds from my HD reciever, but more importantly my PS3. I know the sound card should have a SPDIF input, but that alone does not work. I know a onboard DAC is needed for real-time audio, but I can't confirm which sound cards will work. I'm trying not to lose my life savings on a sound card, aiming for around $100. Has anyone done a setup similar to what I've described?

Currently I'm looking into the X-Fi Titanium, bluegears b-Enspirer, and Auzen xplosion. I also run Vista Ultimate 64-bit, which I've read has problems with some drivers.

Any help is greatly appreciated.

More about : sound cards ps3

February 24, 2009 3:20:43 PM

No xp 64 has driver problem's, with vista 64 you'll be ok 95% of the time.
February 24, 2009 3:44:25 PM

I just went through a simmilar thing, this is what I did:

1: Connect PS3 Optical OUT to Sound Card Optical IN (going through a receiver should also be fine)
2: Set PS3 sound output to Optical.
3: Set Sound Card output to Analog and Input to Digital. Depending on the card, you may need to enable Hardware Monitering. (Example, my Razer Barracuda will produce no sound to my analog 5.1 output using Optical IN unless I turn on monitering from the control panel for my Optical Input. This may be the issue you are having).

In short, yes, you can do Digital Optical IN to Analog OUT, at least on some soundcards...Let me know if I misunderstood the issue you are having...
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February 24, 2009 4:28:17 PM

Thanks gamerk316, I'll look into getting a Barracuda myself.

Does anyone know what features or cards I should be looking for Digital Optical IN to Analog OUT? Specifically the Auzen xplosion, HT Omega Striker, or bluegears b-Enspirer, becuase they're cheaper then the Barracuda and higher cards.

Thanks again
February 24, 2009 4:48:34 PM

I have the omega striker and can confirm that this works. Just set for spdif loop back.

Drivers are also excellent under windows 7 x64 and linux :) 
February 24, 2009 6:12:59 PM

To be fair, the Barracuda is strictly a card for gaming, and less for movie playback. I actually have both a Xonar D2X and a Barracuda in my machine (no, drivers are not an issue apparently :D ) for this reason.

I would figure most cards with a SPDIF IN have the ability to output to the more standard analog output. It looks like for most cards, you simply need to turn on the "Hardware Monitoring" or "Loop Back" option, based on what I've seen. That being said, I wasn't sure it would work myself until I tried it, and I only figured out the "Hardware Monitering" option was the solution after two hours of messing around...

And no, I haven't tried this with my Xonar yet. Same goes with my (junked) Creative card.
February 24, 2009 9:02:13 PM

Thanks for all the responds.
I've read somewhere that some sound cards will output stereo sound rather then 5.1 when feed 5.1 thorough optical.

Are there features i should be looking in a card? for example
"DTS® Interactive : A real-time 5.1 encoder that takes any 2 or more channel and encodes it into DTS® bit stream."
and
"Dolby® Digital Live(DDL) Real-Time Content Encoder converts PC audio into a 5.1 channel Dolby® Digital bit stream"

Thanks again.
February 25, 2009 11:07:29 AM

I was looking into those and AX360, but there was a sale on the Tritton AX51 ($50!!!) that i couldn't resist. That's why I'm looking for a sound card for them.
February 25, 2009 11:14:46 AM

taso11 said:
These 5.1 headphones have the digital to analog converter you'll need for the PS3:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Taso


Don't need one, most soundcards *should* be able to take a digital in and output analog out. Still, I understand the usefulness of a digital>analog converter...

As for the Dolby features, I know the Xonar has almost every Dolby feature known to man. I'm not sure exactly what they are off hand though...I'd look their first to see if they have what you need.
March 4, 2009 6:36:45 AM

Fongstar said:
Thanks gamerk316, I'll look into getting a Barracuda myself.

Does anyone know what features or cards I should be looking for Digital Optical IN to Analog OUT? Specifically the Auzen xplosion, HT Omega Striker, or bluegears b-Enspirer, becuase they're cheaper then the Barracuda and higher cards.

Thanks again




The HT Omega Striker does not work. I just got this TODAY for the exact purpose of hooking my ps3 to it optically. The Linear PCM from the ps3 through optical works great (2.0 stereo) but it does not have Dolby Digital Live or DTS Interactive? or whatever the ps3 outputs. It does old style dolby digital and dts.

I tried playing blu-ray discs and I just get garbage noise.
March 4, 2009 11:16:42 AM

vf1sveritech said:
The HT Omega Striker does not work. I just got this TODAY for the exact purpose of hooking my ps3 to it optically. The Linear PCM from the ps3 through optical works great (2.0 stereo) but it does not have Dolby Digital Live or DTS Interactive? or whatever the ps3 outputs. It does old style dolby digital and dts.

I tried playing blu-ray discs and I just get garbage noise.


I know that issue, its trying to output sound that the card can't decode, hence the crackly sound. When you select your sound source from the PS3 menu (after you select Optical Out), uncheck all the extra Dolby options, and you should at least get normal surround sound. I ran into the same issue at first, and was wondering why my PS2 games outputted correctly, but my PS3 games wouldn't. Even more annoying, my Barracuda is a bit picky about what setups I can use DTS decoding for (still toying around; I'm technically using 5.1 speakers though the driver and 7.1 through Windows so I have some form of rear round in FPS, though I know I can get DTS with plain old 5.1...)

That being said, while I know PS3 games can be run without extra Dolby encoding, I'm not sure about Blu-ray movies...that may be more of a sticking point that even I didn't think of ahead of time.

Worst case, head to wherever HT's forums and ask if theres any solutions. I know the Xonar line supports DTS decoding without even having to look up though...

Hope you find a solution to your problem.

EDIT

The Striker should at least support Dolby Digital Live and DTS Interactive, same as my Barracuda. I'll try a blue ray movie sometime tonight after I get home and play a bit with the DTS settings, and let you know what I come back with. At the very least, you would expect DTS decoding to work, so try setting that as your only extra Output option when selecting your sound source. It may also be an issue of having to enable something through drivers. (I'm not familliar with the Omega as much compared to other cards)

EDIT 2

It does seem to be an issue with Dolby settings, but selecting just PCM should work fine as a temp solution until you get those settings figured out. Theres no reason why you shouldn't be able to at least get DTS 5.1 to output correctly, but for now, just make sure basic PCM is outputting correctly. If that doesn't work, something else is not working right...

Also, i did my sound settings though the sound tab of the browser, but there also might be a Blu-ray tab somewhere where you can independently set the settings for Blu-ray movies, so take a look for that too.

EDIT 3

After more searching, I can confirm all Blu-Rays are required to be able to output a standard PCM sound output (supports up to 7.1), so at the very least, you should be able to use that (test to make sure of course). Theres no reason why DTS should not be working though; Worst case, try the sound settings one by one until you find out which one works properly.

When I get off work, I'll toy around with my setup and see the best I can get.
March 4, 2009 7:52:30 PM

As i said earlier, linear pcm works through the optical. This is for blu-ray as well as everything else (games,menu,etc). But Bitstream for blu-ray just goes horribly wrong. I've tried each dolby digital and the dts options with no luck. the whole point of buying this card was to get surround sound to work, which it clearly doesn't. as I can use the exact same linear pcm using the line in of my old card and a stereo cable.

The optical options from the ps3 do not support anything beyond 2.0 for pcm linear there are only so many options in the menu, so thats a fact. I even played a blu-ray using the 2.0 pcm and checked my speakers for sound, so it was definitely 2.0. With HDMI it goes up to 7.1 of varying types. So dolby or dts is needed for 5.1.
March 5, 2009 1:11:54 PM

Its definatly a decoding issue then. The card should be perfectly capable of decoding dolby DTS and Dolby Digital, and I know both signals can be carried via Optical (I know some advanced formats can only be carried via HDMI, but know for a fact DTS/Dolby Digital II can be carried via optical).

I guess you best bet would be to try their forums at this point...Its definatly not decoding DTS/Dolby Digital...I know on some cards, you need to explicitly state what signal is being used (for example, on my Razer Barracuda, I have to select either DTS or Dolby Digital II, and the other signal won't be decoded...). The only other option would be to try hooking up to a reciever to see if that can decode properly...

Whats annoying is I also know a 5.1 PCM signal can be carried via optical (7.1 is SUPPOSED to be according to spec...), so the fact thats not included doesn't help...
March 5, 2009 2:53:13 PM

Apparently, most cards can't decode a DTS signal going from Optical -> Analog. That explains my problems I had with DTS as well...

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1024915
and more importantly
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?p=1584601...

Looks like a reciever will be needed to decode a DTS signal over digital no matter what. The only thing I have not tried yet was doing 5.1 over HDMI to my moniter, then using its SPDIF Out to carry that signal to my card. As the source would be HDMI, I could select 5.1 LPCM, and the optical cable should still have enough bandwith for 5.1 at least...

Otherwise, your only option would be to use the card to upscale back to 5.1 using DDL or DTS:Neo PC
March 5, 2009 9:41:35 PM

Nevermind...
March 12, 2009 2:17:39 PM

Yes gamerk, what you have said will work. If you output audio from the ps3 via HDMI and then use the optical out of the tv to the optical in on the sound card, you will get proper sound to your headset (thats what I have). I have the Razer AC-1 sound card with HP-1 head set and I finally got it working through this setup.

If I understand the links above correctly, you cannot get proper sound (full dolby digital) from connecting the PS3's (or any other device for that matter) optical out directly into a sound card's optical in and then directly into speakers/head set?
March 12, 2009 7:20:57 PM

hustar said:
Yes gamerk, what you have said will work. If you output audio from the ps3 via HDMI and then use the optical out of the tv to the optical in on the sound card, you will get proper sound to your headset (thats what I have). I have the Razer AC-1 sound card with HP-1 head set and I finally got it working through this setup.

If I understand the links above correctly, you cannot get proper sound (full dolby digital) from connecting the PS3's (or any other device for that matter) optical out directly into a sound card's optical in and then directly into speakers/head set?


More or less. It turns out that most cards have a DTS ENCODER, but not a DECODER (even I messed up big there...). As such, a DTS signal will not be able to be used properly. Most cards can still upscale back to 5.1 using Pro Logic II though, which will suffice for most people.

A digital reciever (~$400+ bucks), or a headset with a built-in DTS decoder (~$250-$300) is needed for DTS decoding to get the highest possible quaility over a SPdif cable. You MIGHT be able HDMI to a moniter and then SPdif to your card (if your moniter has an optical out), use HDMI to carry sound, and try a low-quality 5.1 LPCM; its possible you might get full 5.1 effects (I tried this, and did not get my center channel (speach), but got the other 4...)


Also note, its not a bandwith issue that prevents 5 channel LCPM over optical, its a DRM issue...(Have i mentioned I hate all forms of DRM?).
March 13, 2009 10:13:52 PM

I'll try that too and see what happens. So at the moment from the tv im reieveing PCM 2 channel and then upscaled to 5.1 Pro Logic II by the sound card if i understand that correctly. Its a REAL shame and quite dissapointing that a sound card with optical in cannot decoder DTS. Very shocking. The Razer sound card is really cheap either.

So, if I want to get full Dolby digital from my ps3 to my HP-1 headset I need to buy a digital reiever that decodes DTS. So set up would be:

PS3 via HDMI or Optical --> Digital reciever Input--> Digital reciever Optical Out --> Razer AC-1 sound card optical In --> Full Dolby Digital to HP-1 headset.. Im pretty sure that is right because this time the optical out is getting decoded OR is will that be the same as going through PS3 optical out straight into the sound giving the same problem? Just want to make sure LOL

Sound like my little set up is getting more expensive if thats whats needed...maybe. after a bit more testing of the Pro Logic II LOL
March 14, 2009 5:09:21 AM

gamerk316 said:
More or less. It turns out that most cards have a DTS ENCODER, but not a DECODER (even I messed up big there...). As such, a DTS signal will not be able to be used properly. Most cards can still upscale back to 5.1 using Pro Logic II though, which will suffice for most people.

A digital reciever (~$400+ bucks), or a headset with a built-in DTS decoder (~$250-$300) is needed for DTS decoding to get the highest possible quaility over a SPdif cable. You MIGHT be able HDMI to a moniter and then SPdif to your card (if your moniter has an optical out), use HDMI to carry sound, and try a low-quality 5.1 LPCM; its possible you might get full 5.1 effects (I tried this, and did not get my center channel (speach), but got the other 4...)


Also note, its not a bandwith issue that prevents 5 channel LCPM over optical, its a DRM issue...(Have i mentioned I hate all forms of DRM?).


Inaddition to my other post, if someone cold reply to that, i guess the 2 things i'd like clarify are:

1. So PS3 optical out is NOT decoded
2. Optical out from a digital reciever IS decoded
March 15, 2009 8:07:47 AM

Conclusion

Ok, went to my friends house today, who had a Pioneer vsx-d711 reciever, to try out the above set up I wrote to get dolby digital to the hp-1 head set. Answer is NO it did not work. I got the exact same result as going from the ps3 optical out into the razer optical in. So, NO optical out from a digital reciever IS NOT decoded. So ill just have to deal with prologic II.

Second conclusion, pc sound cards are pretty lame from home theatre set ups. they cant even decode; whats the point of optical in if you cant use it for optical inputs ... any1 wana buy a 1 week old sound card LOL

Last variable is if this reciever I tried it on doesnt have a dts decoder as well.
!