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Issues with 5.1 surround sound from X-Fi Titanium

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February 6, 2012 10:11:52 PM

Hi guys,

(Had a quick look around previous threads and couldn't seem to find anything matching my issue, feel free to shout and link if it's been asked).

So for the past few weeks I've been trying to output 5.1 surround sound from my PC via S/PDIF optical out. To cut a long story short, I bought a Creative X-Fi Titanium sound card and installed it, however I'm still not seeing any way to output 5.1 surround via the sound card's control panel (Win7 64-bit). It seems to just send 2 channel audio down the optical cable to my speakers, and plays sounds that should be coming from rear/centre speakers out of the left, right and subwoofer. I downloaded a few sample audio files that are designed to use the full 5.1 setup, so I assume I'm testing the right things here.

After some googling, it seems that the accepted format for 5.1 surround is Dolby Digital Surround - however, in my "encoder" tab in the Creative control panel, I only have "DTS Connect" listed which seems like it fakes surround sound on 2 channel speakers. I've run the auto-updater tool and downloaded the latest drivers direct from the Creative website to no avail. What makes this even more confusing is that when searching around on various sites, I saw a screenshot of someone else's control panel which has Dolby Digital Live listed (these options are completely absent from mine despite me having the latest drivers).

What's even more frustrating is that when I test the S/PDIF out supported formats in the sound control panel, it outputs a test in full 5.1 (it plays sounds on the centre/rear speakers), so I know it's not a fault with the cabling or speaker setup. Is anyone aware of any extra steps I may have forgotten to take, or software I need to install, to make this possible?
February 7, 2012 8:02:13 PM

For anyone else with the same problem that stumbles across this thread, after searching around, I finally found a solution!

It turns out when the drivers installed they didn't install the Dolby Digital surround pack - this can be downloaded from here. This will then open up the appropriate settings in your Creative Audio Control Panel.

Unfortunately I wasn't able to get it to work straight out of the box - I had to tick the "Play stereo mix using digital output" box in the SPDIF I/O tab which seems like a possible hacky workaround (and may be the cause of some small latency issues I'm having) but other than that, I'm now getting functional 5.1 surround sound through my optical cable!
February 12, 2012 4:11:28 PM

I am also having an issue with surround sound using the spdif I/O i can also get surround sound using the test function in windows control tab but cannot get surround sound on anything else.
I have already got the dolby option available to test so im guessing i have the dolby digital surround pack, if i test the surround sound on the creative tab or in the speakers tab then it just plays through the front two speakers, can anyone help me please i am stuck now.
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February 12, 2012 4:54:36 PM

It may be the app you're using to "test" not supporting 5.1. Try downloading a file from here - http://www.lynnemusic.com/surround.html - and opening it in VLC. Make sure your VLC is set up to output 5.1. Alternatively try playing a video game or something which natively outputs 5.1 (BF3 will output 5.1 if you set the audio option to "Home Theater".
February 12, 2012 10:30:32 PM

This is exactly why I got rid of my Creative X-Fi Titanium HD sound card. It seems (to me) that ever since Vista Creative hasn't been able to turn out anything but buggy drivers, which is really a shame because they really do turn out some good quality hardware.

The best advice I can give anyone with buggy creative drivers is eBay your card and buy from a company that doesn't use creative drivers.

I know this probably sounds like crappy advice and little to no help at all. I apologize for that but, as a long time creative fanboy the X-Fi Titanium HD caused me to finally turn in my creative fanboy membership card and buy a HT | OMEGA eClaro. This card has very simple drivers that just work, all the time!

This is not a card recommendation, that depends on what your into. If your a big time gamer there are cards made by company's that also use the Creative X-Fi chip and either have revamped (working) Creative X-Fi drivers or drivers of their own.

Creative does make some quality hardware, but others do as well. If Creative ever figures out how to make rock solid drivers again I might have to ask for my fanboy membership card back but, until then I think it's best to just stay away.

Again, I apologize for the crappy advice but, in my humble opinion it really is the best advice I (or anyone else) could give.





February 13, 2012 11:03:57 AM

The ONLY way to get 5.1 out of SPDIF is to send either a Dolby or DTS stream out. SPDIF is INCAPBLE of sending uncompressed 5.1 audio. The reason you get 5.1 when using the speaker test is because it tests each speaker individually [IE: One audio stream at a time, instead of a 5.1 sample].

You have to use either Dolby Digital Live or DTS-Connect to convert a 5.1 PCM stream to a lower quality Dolby/DTS stream to get 5.1 over SPDIF. Thats why I avoid using SPDIF at all costs.
February 13, 2012 4:55:44 PM

Idonno said:
This is exactly why I got rid of my Creative X-Fi Titanium HD sound card. It seems (to me) that ever since Vista Creative hasn't been able to turn out anything but buggy drivers, which is really a shame because they really do turn out some good quality hardware.

The best advice I can give anyone with buggy creative drivers is eBay your card and buy from a company that doesn't use creative drivers.

I know this probably sounds like crappy advice and little to no help at all. I apologize for that but, as a long time creative fanboy the X-Fi Titanium HD caused me to finally turn in my creative fanboy membership card and buy a HT | OMEGA eClaro. This card has very simple drivers that just work, all the time!

This is not a card recommendation, that depends on what your into. If your a big time gamer there are cards made by company's that also use the Creative X-Fi chip and either have revamped (working) Creative X-Fi drivers or drivers of their own.

Creative does make some quality hardware, but others do as well. If Creative ever figures out how to make rock solid drivers again I might have to ask for my fanboy membership card back but, until then I think it's best to just stay away.

Again, I apologize for the crappy advice but, in my humble opinion it really is the best advice I (or anyone else) could give.



Don't have any issues with my Creative Titanium HD, sounds excellent , records well , games sound great and no drivers problems at all.
February 13, 2012 6:13:05 PM

monsta said:
Don't have any issues with my Creative Titanium HD, sounds excellent , records well , games sound great and no drivers problems at all.
So then you have no problem. I was writing in responce to one of the many like myself that do or have.
February 13, 2012 6:38:43 PM

Agreed. I would argue that the a majority of people have problems with Creative drivers. That, and at their current cost, it is near impossible to cost-justify a Creative soundcard, even if their drivers were stable...
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