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Realtek 889A SPDIF Dolby Digital Live in Widows 7

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January 16, 2010 9:28:17 PM

I'm trying to get my computer to ouput sound on all my speakers using the SPDIF output.

I have a Gigabyte GA-P55M-UD4 motherboad with a Realteck 889A codec.
I'm running Windows 7 64-bit.
I'm using the optical SPDIF output on the motherboard to my receiver.

When I go into the properties in the Supported Formats tab the DTS Audio, Dolby Digital, and WMA Pro Audio all work and output to all my speakers when I click Test.

The 44.1, 48.0, and 96.0 (but not 192) work as well.

When I go to the Advanced tab, I set the default format to Dolby Digital Live (5.1 Surround), but when I hit Test, I only get sound out of my two front speakers.

If I play around with the Environments, I do get some sound out of my rear speakers.

In the Realtek HD Audio Manager there is no Speaker Configuration Tab at all for the Digital Output.
My old DDL Card (Turtle BeachMontego DDL) in my old computer running XP allowed me to set the speaker levels individually and test them. It also had stero up-mixing without additional software.

I have tried DFX, and SRS Audio Sandbox but neither one will up-mix stero audio out to all my speakers.

I've only tried one game (Warcraft 3) but the 3D audio doesn't work and I only get sound out of my front speakers.

How do I fix this problem?
Is there some test software that I can use to test the speakers individually?
Is there some software that will up-mix my stero music into 5.1 output since the driver doesn't seem to be able to do it?

Should I give up and use my old Turtle Beach Montego card?
January 16, 2010 10:45:25 PM

Just so you get some sort of reply, I don't know anything about Windows 7, but in Vista I had to set Control Panel/Sound/Playback to "Speakers" before DDL would work on my C-Media CMI8768+-based card. Don't ask me why. Maybe 7 with Realtek is like that, too. I would monkey with my driver's setup screen, and when I got back to Control Panel, funny things had happened--it showed 7.1 with two speakers. At that point I gingerly backed away fingers crossed and haven't touched anything since. It works, what do I care why?
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January 17, 2010 5:22:21 AM

Unfortunately, windows 7 doesn't work like that. "Speakers" and "Realtek Digital Output" are two separate playback devices and it will only play to one at a time. If I switch to "Speakers" it will play over the analog outputs and turn off the SPDIF output.
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January 17, 2010 1:58:46 PM

As I said, I don't know Windows 7, so I can't tell whether I understood you or, for that matter, vice versa. Here's what the window looks like in Vista. I would call what I have two diifferent playback devices, too, and I thought the same thing (that selecting "Speakers" would turn off the SPDIF) before I tried it. And, truth be told, I wish I did know what is going on with that.



And here's the weirdness of 7.1 with two speakers in "Configure":


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January 18, 2010 4:51:36 AM

So I installed my Turtle Beach Montego DDL card and I also installed the RightMard3D Sound (Positional Accuracy Test) to better test my system. This is what I fould out:

The Turtle Beach Card is detected as a C-Media Card and it behives eaxctly as you describe. By selecting the "Speakers", I was able to use Windows to select a 5.1 speaker config an test each speaker. I was also able to test the speakers using the driver software. Testing the speakers while Windows Media Player was running (not even playing) crashed the computer completely, not even CTL-ALT-DEL would work.

The driver SW provided an option that would take a 2Ch source and up-mix it to 5.1, but without selecting that option I got the same behavior as before. DFX, and SRS Audio were still unable to up-mix from 2Ch to 5.1.

Then I started useing RightMark3D Sound. I discovered that in fact both sound cards work for outputing 3D sound via the SPDIF output. I guess using a really old game to test the 3D sound was not a smart idea.
If you want actual accurace 3D sound using the Positional accuracy test you need to use Realtek's SurroundBack and run both the application and the Soundback Utility in Vista Compatibility mode and run as administrator.

So the Realtek 889A DDL SPDIF works but:
1) There is no way within control panel or HD Audio Manager to check the speaker configuration, you need something like RightMark or similar.
2) To adjust the speaker levels indivually, you can use the "levels" tab, but you only see 1-6 and you have to guess which ones are which speaker.
3) I could not find any method of up-mixing 2Ch Audio to 5.1 in software. (But my receiver can do it)
4) Analog and Digital Outputs are completely independent and selecting Speakers is grayed out unless a cable is plugged into the outpuck jack.

Thanks for all the help, I think I have this all figured out now.
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