Setting up 5.1 on Computer

Ok...I want to buy a home theatre system soon and i want to be able to hook it up to my computer. I have no Idea what i need to do this. Right now I have a Sound Blaster Live! Value. I dont think it can do 5.1. So, what would be a good sound card to buy for this? I want to buy a decent receiver, but that is NOT too expensive. Below $300 would be great. The sound card must not be too expensive either. What kind of cable would I need to connect the sound card to the receiver? I know my Sound Blaster Live! Value has a digital connect, but does this connect to a receiver? For the two front Left and Right speakers I am looking at the Sony SSM-F600H. They are bad ass speakers for their price and I can get them for relatively cheap since a friend works at Best Buy. As far as the Center, and Rear speakers, I have no idea. Any help? I dont know what i'm doing really, and hope that someone out there does :) Thanks.

It's better to be pissed off than pissed on :)
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  1. Get a sound blaster 5.1 oem card from newegg.com for 65$. It will give you everything you need for 5.1 sound. It has an AC3 (5.1 Dolby digital) out jack . You will need an AC3 digital amp/reciever for your speaker system.

    -- Chaos is the better order.
  2. If you need Dobly digital speakers you can pick up some at mwave.com for a $100 by creative labs. There are a couple of 5.1 creative systems to choose from, but the more expensive creative system features remote control. Personally, i don't think a remote is worth the extra $100, but that's up to you. Altec Lansing also makes a 5.1 dobly system as well that's THX certified! Kinda pricey though. I think mwave sells them as well.

    -- Chaos is the better order.
  3. Sounds like you want a full blown system, not computer speakers. this is an area of my expertice. First, your soundblaster live value will work, if you get the proper equiptment, Mainly, a Digital add-on board. <A HREF="http://www.soundblaster.com/accessories/optical-io/" target="_new">Creative</A>has one. Another company that produces these boards is <A HREF="http://www.hoontech.com/english/index.html" target="_new"> Hoontech</A>. You can note that Creatives is a very expensive $60.00 While the Hoontech SB DB III can be purchased at <A HREF="http://www.tracertek.com/sblive.htm" target="_new">Tracer</A> for $34.
    Next, you can purchase the reciever. I personally have a Teac AG-D9320, which comes with a price tag of $360-$400 at <A HREF="http://electronicsemall.com/teacagsteran.html" target="_new">Electronic Mall</A>
    this setup with speakers has been very good for me. Unfortunatly, I have a class to get to but will post more info as soon as clas is over.

    If it works for you then don't fix it.
  4. Here is the final part of the lession:
    Screen size: if you want to get the best atmosphere, make sure that your screen is at least 19", a 21" would be even better. Also, do not scimp on cables and connectors. Most people who put together a Surround Sound system and incorporate it with their computer get fuzzy background noise. Most of this noise can be eliminated with proper shielding and the right kind of cables. I use monster Cables and they work out great. Also, you don't want to buy cheap components, mianly your reciever and speakers. If to much power goes through them, it will cause damage and lower the systems life.
    The above Digital output cables from Hoontech and Creative are if you want to do digital sound editing as well. If you don't see yourself as using digital input (say, if you want to record from a CD Changer or Minidisk) Don't spend money on it. Creative also makes an adapter to hook up the digital output that you see on the back of your card and can be found <A HREF="http://www.soundblaster.com/accessories/cables/" target="_new">here</A>. This is a toshlink/minilink converter and only costs $13.00.
    The Soundblaster Live 5.1 boards are for decoding to non-digital environments, like a set of analog computer speakers. If you buy a Digital reciever, it will do the decoding for you, and therefore, you will not need those features. Make sure that if you wanted to watch DVD's that you DVD software or hardware decoder allows digital out. Although I currently do not use digital out for my computer's sound, I do have the ATI AIW Radeon and it provides Digital otput, for DVD movies only. If you plan on watching TV on your computer, I would Highly recommend this board for its features and, once loaded and setup successfully, stability. If you don't have the money for a full blown system of this magnitude, I would suggest buying in steps. Start by getting the receiver and stereo speakers, then as time goes on, add more. This not only allows you to get good quality parts, but it saves your checking account of large outflows all at once. If you have anymore questions, let me know.

    If it works for you then don't fix it.
  5. Since you seem like an expert on the subject, I have a SB Platinum 5.1 with live drive and also I have a sony receiver STR-DE845 running JAMO home theater speakers (5.1 surround). How can I hook my computer up to the receiver and get 5.1 surround from it. Currently I am running the optical out from the live drive to the receiver but I only get sound out of the sub-woofer and the front right and left speakers. Is this the best configuration or is there a better one?
  6. Sounds like your card is not set up to send a Dolby Digital bitstream. What options do you have for speaker setup and sound output?

    If it works for you then don't fix it.
  7. If you do not have it set up properly, here is how:
    Switching between analog and digital output modes
    By default, the Analog/ Digital Out jack of the audio card outputs analog center and subwoofer
    channels. To allow it to give digital 6- channel or compressed AC- 3 SPDIF output (digital output
    mode), do the following:
    1. In the Main deck of the Surround Mixer, click the Speaker button.
    2. In the Speaker view, click the Digital Output only check box to select it.
    (This is available for all speaker modes except for the Headphones mode).
    Alternatively, you can do the following:
    1. In the Mixer deck of Surround Mixer, click the red plus sign above the VOL control.
    2. In the dialog box that appears, click the Digital Output only check box to select it.
    To switch back to analog output mode, clear this check box.
    Changes made will be reflected in the Speaker view.

    This should allow you to have the six channell output you desire. If this doen't work for you, let me know.

    If it works for you then don't fix it.
  8. so when i check this box, will the 6 channel output go out through all outputs on the live drive? I am currently using the optical out on front of the live drive.
  9. It appears that the manul says that there should be a menue attached to this feature. If you want the URL that showed me, here it <A HREF="http://images.soundblaster.com/manuals/Platinum51.pdf" target="_new">is</A>
    Go down the bookmarks to the directory:
    Using Soundblasterlive/surroundmixer/Switching between analog and digital output modes.
    This is were I found the info.

    If it works for you then don't fix it.
  10. Good point, I guess I could have just read the manual. Thanks for the info. though, I appreciate it!!!!!!!!!
  11. Since you guys know so much about Audio and stuff...I'd like to ask this question...Can we do 5.1surround with SBLive! Value and Altec Lansing ADA890? Cuz I own them and the best they can do is ProLogic. Whenever I tried Dolby Digital, only the front speakers and the sub response...

    I try to smile everyday but I can't... :smile:
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