5.1 Sound Problem


Just got my lovely new surround sound that uses an external amplifier.

The problem I have is this: When I watch DVDs in Power DVD, it uses all 6 channels in DTS no problem. However, in any games I play, there is no surround option, only stereo.

I use on board sound - are there any programs I could use to force 5.1 sound? If not, what sound card would you recommend to go in a PCIE slot under $200?

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  1. Likely your onboard sound can only output stereo PCM or pre-encoded 5.1 content.
    Check in your codec's control software and see if it gives you the option to use DDL (Dolby Digital Live) Encoding or DTS Connect over the S/PDIF.
    If it does not, you are probably stuck with stereo unless watching a DVD.

    Does the soundcard have to be PCIe?
    ASUS just released a new PCI soundcard quite inexpensively that should work just fine for you.

    If a standard PCI will work, look into the ASUS Xonar DS for $50.
    It supports DTS Interactive Encoding and will be able to output 5.1 surround for everything.

    If you must have PCIe, check out the ASUS Xonar DX for $90.
    It supports DDL Encoding which will also output full 5.1 surround.
    It also has a better DAC and analog output section when compared to the DS.
  2. Thanks for reply. The reason I need a PCIE card is that my last PCI slot is under my monster 4890, so I fear it will be very hard to squeeze one in.

    Looking at the ASUS Xonar DX, it doesn't have a digital optical port. How would I go about plugging my cable in?

  3. Are you using the coaxial connection? Then there is no point to buy any soundcard.
    Check in the game's sound options to see if you have the right setting.
  4. Depends on the game. From what I know, most on the new games are.
  5. I had the impression that they are DTS/DG.
    I didn't know and care because usually I play games not using the 5.1 system but the headset.
    Good to know. Thanks.
  6. Gordan_Freemans_Toaster said:
    Looking at the ASUS Xonar DX, it doesn't have a digital optical port. How would I go about plugging my cable in?


    The DX has a combo line in, microphone and S/PDIF port.
    It can be used either as an analouge input or use the bundled S/PDIF adapter to output digital optical.
  7. PC games use unencoded PCM mainly because PC's lack decoders for Dolby Digital/DTS. Sure, you can software methods, but those take overhead.

    Getting 5.1 over digital all but requires a soundcard for Dolby Digital/DTS encoding, and a decoder module (usually a receiver) on the other end to handle the decoding.
  8. Thanks for all the replies.

    The setup I have is my Digital Optical cable plugged into an amplifier which decodes the sound (DTS DD ext.)

    Even with a sound card, will I still be getting PCM? (what it says at the receiver at the moment)

    Are there any programs I can get to make it so the computer leaves all the required decoding to the amp?

  9. Thanks again for all the help.

    I will buy a sound card then!
  10. My recommendations for soundcards:

    ASUS Xonar DX [DD encoding only]
    ASUS Xonar D2/D2X
    ASUS Essence ST/STX
    HT Omega Striker
    HT Omega Claro
    Auzentech Forte
    Auzentech Prelude

    Note, a few of these do cost an arm and a leg; The DX and Omega Striker are probably the two best buys out their right now, both going for $89 on newegg.
  11. ^^ And the ASUS HDAV1.3, but those cards are really geared toward HTPC systems then anything else...

    The only Creative card that makes any sense whatsoever would be the Extremegamer at $40, but its so beaten on sound quality, even by some high-end onboard chipsets, that I don't consider that to be worth the purchase.
  12. Thanks for all the recommendations, I think I'm going to go for the Asus Xonar D2X, due to it's PCIE and DTS.

    Thanks a lot for all the very useful help and have a merry Christmas :)
  13. hey guys i have a question hope u reply ASAP..i have the same problem as gordan_freemans_t
    i have a supremeFX X-fi soundcard that came with my rampage II extreme mobo...when i plugged SPDIF into my LG dvd reciever with an LG 5.1 surround..and into my soundcard..the problem is that my pc isnt playing games and music on 5.1 only dvds..so i think if i buy this thing:
    will everything work on 5.1 system btw my pc is reading SPDIF as stereo..or i can simply do a software mod and everythin will work on 5.1 surround?
    sry for bad english
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