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Dolby digital 5.1 need help!

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March 31, 2012 10:58:50 PM

Hi all,
ive recently got a dolby digital 5.1 amp and speakers and connected them to my pc via the coaxial spdif and ive noticed the audio doesnt sound dolby digital 5.1. It sounds like something you get when 5.1 isnt suported so you just get the same sound coming out the rear speakers just lower volume. Im wondering now if my motherboard even supports it and if i have to get a sound card. I have a asrock M3A770DE+ motherboard does this support dolby digital 5.1 or will i have to get a sound card? Thanks :) 

More about : dolby digital

April 1, 2012 9:45:47 AM

You need something that supports realtime encoding like dolby digital live or DTS-Connect to do surround sound over s/pdif.

Some mobos support it, but usually you need a sound card.
April 1, 2012 4:52:07 PM

MagicPants said:
You need something that supports realtime encoding like dolby digital live or DTS-Connect to do surround sound over s/pdif.

Some mobos support it, but usually you need a sound card.


Hi thx for the reply, on the website of my mother board it says this under audio "7.1 CH Windows® Vista™ Premium Level HD Audio (VIA® VT1708S Audio Codec)" does that mean it does support this? http://www.asrock.com/mb/overview.asp?model=m3a770de theres the website so u can look for your self=]
April 2, 2012 6:54:50 AM

This site:

http://www.via.com.tw/en/products/audio/codecs/vt1708s/

Lists that has dts-connect which will give you 5.1. For 7.1 you need analog or HDMI.

Keep in mind that encoding 5.1 (like in games) is much different from passing along a pre-encoded signal (the type you get with movies).

It sounds like you just need to dig around your audio settings for something called DTS-Connect.

Disclaimer: 5.1 or 7.1 over analog or HDMI does sound better than 5.1 encoded over s/pdif though most people won't hear the difference.
a b V Motherboard
April 2, 2012 11:59:27 AM

SPDIF is incapable on transporting a raw 5.1 audio stream, as it simply does not have the bandwidth. Hence why compressed [and frankly, horrid] audio formats like Dolby Digital and DTS exist.

Games typically do not contain a Dolby Digital or DTS soundtrack, so the only way to get 5.1 when using SPDIF is by having a soundcard that supports realtime encoding to one of those two formats.

Hence why using analog is always a better option, since you get a better output format with less hassle then when using SPDIF.
April 2, 2012 1:48:17 PM

gamerk316 said:
SPDIF is incapable on transporting a raw 5.1 audio stream, as it simply does not have the bandwidth. Hence why compressed [and frankly, horrid] audio formats like Dolby Digital and DTS exist.

Games typically do not contain a Dolby Digital or DTS soundtrack, so the only way to get 5.1 when using SPDIF is by having a soundcard that supports realtime encoding to one of those two formats.

Hence why using analog is always a better option, since you get a better output format with less hassle then when using SPDIF.


Hi thanks for the reply,
Im bit of a noob at this. My amp doesnt have hdmi but what is analog? is it just 2 phono plugs for left and right? thx
a b V Motherboard
April 2, 2012 4:43:14 PM

inf said:
Hi thanks for the reply,
Im bit of a noob at this. My amp doesnt have hdmi but what is analog? is it just 2 phono plugs for left and right? thx


Basically. Odds are, the amp accepts RCA [Red/White] and not TRS [Green; the stereo output from the PC], so you probably will need a $1 converter cable.
April 2, 2012 5:28:26 PM

Analog for surround sound is a cluster of 6 or 8 rca inputs labeled something like : "front," "surround," surr back," "center," and "subwoofer."

Spdif compression is for 5.1 is about the same as listening to an average quality mp3.

inf said:
Hi thanks for the reply,
Im bit of a noob at this. My amp doesnt have hdmi but what is analog? is it just 2 phono plugs for left and right? thx
April 2, 2012 6:03:56 PM

MagicPants said:
Analog for surround sound is a cluster of 6 or 8 rca inputs labeled something like : "front," "surround," surr back," "center," and "subwoofer."

Spdif compression is for 5.1 is about the same as listening to an average quality mp3.

Darn but my ampliefier doesnt except that many only 2 for each device u have connected to it.

gamerk316 said:
Basically. Odds are, the amp accepts RCA [Red/White] and not TRS [Green; the stereo output from the PC], so you probably will need a $1 converter cable.

Yes my amp has 1 white 1 red, luckily i had that cable lieing around from my old pc speakers :D  thx for the help =]

are those 2 cables enough for 5.1 surround? cuz i just tried it and atm im only geting play back from 2 speakers :s
April 2, 2012 6:16:51 PM

It's one of those features you have to look for (typically by viewing a picture of the back of the receiver). It used to be a common connection for DVD players, but it's been phased out with the move to blu-ray and HDMI. These days, it's pretty much only useful for computers.

If you ever look for a new amp, Harmon Kardon and Yamaha make the best bang for the buck receivers with analogue surround inputs. Samsung makes some too(and cheap), but they get bad reviews.

Personally (and I know Gamer316 disagrees) I don't think DTS-Connect over s/pdif sounds bad, particularly if you just want sound that feels full. It's sort of like listening to bose speakers. They sound good until you start looking for flaws.

inf said:
Darn but my ampliefier doesnt except that many only 2 for each device u have connected to it.

a b V Motherboard
April 2, 2012 6:25:39 PM

Quote:
are those 2 cables enough for 5.1 surround? cuz i just tried it and atm im only geting play back from 2 speakers :s


Nope, that only gets you left/right stereo. Basically, since the amp only supports stereo analog inputs, that means the only way to get 5.1 out of that amp is to send a 5.1 signal via SPDIF.
April 2, 2012 6:29:56 PM

gamerk316 said:
Quote:
are those 2 cables enough for 5.1 surround? cuz i just tried it and atm im only geting play back from 2 speakers :s


Nope, that only gets you left/right stereo. Basically, since the amp only supports stereo analog inputs, that means the only way to get 5.1 out of that amp is to send a 5.1 signal via SPDIF.

So for that i need a sound card? can you guys recomend me one? under £30 would be good if possible thanks so much

p.s i have a pci express x1 available

a b V Motherboard
April 2, 2012 7:25:54 PM

...question: Does the amp accept DTS signals, or just Dolby? The cheapest option is the ASUS Xonar DS, but it only supports DTS encoding, not Dolby.
April 2, 2012 7:36:17 PM

gamerk316 said:
...question: Does the amp accept DTS signals, or just Dolby? The cheapest option is the ASUS Xonar DS, but it only supports DTS encoding, not Dolby.

No it doesnt accept dts, its quite an old amp got it for free from my brother =]
Its this one http://www.amazon.co.uk/GOODMANS-GHC-5-1-HOME-CINEMA/dp...
April 2, 2012 10:38:22 PM

The receiver is your limiting factor, not lack of a sound card. So if you plan on using DTS-connect (or Dolby Digital Live) the sound card is largely irrelevant as the encoding is done in software (on your CPU) and really just passes through your sound card. I believe your mobo supports DTS-connect, if so, there is no point in wasting money on a sound card.

For good surround, you have a few options:

1) Replace your receiver with one that has HDMI. For this you also need a video card that outputs HDMI, and a monitor that accepts it (though you may be able to get a DVI to HDMI cable). This will probably run at least $200

2) Buy a 7.1 or 5.1 output sound card and a receiver with direct inputs. Here your looking at $30 to $150 bucks for a sound card, and $320 for a receiver (I suggest a Harman Kardon avr 2600)

3)Buy some surround sound powered computer speakers. They will have all the right input jacks, and it's the cheapest option at around $70.

4)Another, crazier option is buying 3-mini amps and jury-rigging together a 5 channel amp from those. I'd suggest lepai TA2020 mini amps, which run $24 a piece.
a b V Motherboard
April 2, 2012 11:12:15 PM

inf said:
So for that i need a sound card? can you guys recomend me one? under £30 would be good if possible thanks so much

p.s i have a pci express x1 available


I recommend that you do get a sound card to make such efforts that you have invested already more worth while but you won't find any thing good for under 30 pounds. Be careful about which brand and model sound card you get because they can be troublesome in more ways than most can expect. Creative make very bloated drivers and other bloatware along with those drivers but one of their worst problems is often the lack of decent support. The other is their crappy caps they use on their cards that cause a lot of problems besides maybe a little hiss or pop. The other brands are ok and some are good value. The best that seamed convincing aren't cheap and around $200 usd :cry: 
April 3, 2012 4:45:08 PM

nforce4max said:
I recommend that you do get a sound card to make such efforts that you have invested already more worth while but you won't find any thing good for under 30 pounds. Be careful about which brand and model sound card you get because they can be troublesome in more ways than most can expect. Creative make very bloated drivers and other bloatware along with those drivers but one of their worst problems is often the lack of decent support. The other is their crappy caps they use on their cards that cause a lot of problems besides maybe a little hiss or pop. The other brands are ok and some are good value. The best that seamed convincing aren't cheap and around $200 usd :cry: 
thx for dont think im willing to spend £200 on a sound card or a sound system(waiting for ivybridge atm my moneys gona go in to that).If i was to go for one i think id go for 5.1 pc speakers seem to be the cheap option, but investing that much money for me just for sound is way to much arnt there more afforadable ones at around £50?


a b V Motherboard
April 3, 2012 5:03:14 PM

The lowest tier cards I can think of with Dolby Digital encoding are the ASUS Xonar D1/DX and HT Omega Striker, which go for about $70 or so...you might be able to find a Diamond/Turtle Beach one that does the job, but I can't comment on the quality of the cards themselves.
April 3, 2012 5:50:06 PM

MagicPants said:
You might want to checkout this page:

http://www.reaper-x.com/2011/04/25/how-to-realtime-ac3-...

Ive just tried that but im geting the usual sound i get. what i always get is all 5.1 speakers working it seems to be fine but if i listen to the rear ones what i get is echoes and some of the same sound thats coming out of the front left and right. i tried running www_lynnemusic_com_surround_test and front left right and center worked fine but the sound thats supposed to be coming out the rear speakers also comes from the front speakers. also tried throwing a grenade in bf3 behind me when it blew up i heard it infront of me even though it was behind my back.
a b V Motherboard
April 3, 2012 6:06:06 PM

Well start hunting around on second hand sties and stores who knows you might find a good deal or two.
April 3, 2012 10:25:45 PM

This is driving me nuts. This is atleast supposed to work with prencoded movies right? not even working there -.- about rdy to give up on this and just use it as 2.1
April 4, 2012 5:43:02 PM

Is there a way to tell if it's using Dolby Digital 5.1 or Dolby Prologic 2?

Dobly Prologic simulates 3d sound the way you describe(echos). I think you need Dolby Digital 5.1 to get true surround sound.
a b V Motherboard
April 4, 2012 6:32:16 PM

inf said:
This is driving me nuts. This is atleast supposed to work with prencoded movies right? not even working there -.- about rdy to give up on this and just use it as 2.1


An already encoded Dolby Digital soundtrack should be able to be passed without issue. Make sure the system is set to 5.1, and whatever media player you are using is passing the audio through and NOT decoding the signal.

Also note that some extended forms of Dolby Digital [Dolby Digital EX] may not be decoded properly on older amps, even if SPDIF is capable of passing it through.
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