Record 5.1 on computer through digital input

Short intro:

I recently asked whether there is a sound card that can record 5.1 surround audio through optical SPDIF input and was told that the sound card is irrelevant here because I'll record what I transmit and it would be up to the software to decode the info
(http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/page-267526_10_0.html)

However,

I've contacted several sound card companies (Creative and M-Audio and I forget) and asked them whether the <insert sound card with digital input> can record 5.1 audio and was told that it could only record stereo. When I asked for sound cards that can do this I basically got the same reply.

So...what do you think, who's in the right? Can it be done?
3 answers Last reply
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  1. Of course it can be done...with a caviat:

    The digital input port (SPDIF) can only carry 5.1 by means of Encoded Dolby Digital or DTS. This can cause one of two things to happen:

    1: You can record the input just fine, but its in an encoded format
    2: You can't record until the signal if first decoded (meaning you're recording software would need the relevent decoders).

    I'm not sure which is the case, although I would assume 2 is the case in this circumstance...
  2. Thanks gamerk316, you're right, 2 is the case

    I found a good explanation in another forum
    http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?p=15846010#post15846010
  3. Looks like you need to find some software that will convert a .DD (a Dolby Digital encoded file) into a more common (.mp3) format.

    So basically:

    Encoded Audio -> Capture Program -> .DD filetype -> Converter Program -> .mp3/wav

    Some sound cards still have decoders though; I know the Audigy 2 line has decoders, and THINK the Elite Pro has them as well...Then its just a matter of capturing the audio stream.
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