Surround Sound??

My sound card is an Aureal Vortex II. It has two stereo outputs. From these I can get 4 speaker surround sound coming from 2 speakers in the front and 2 behind.

This works fine. However, I am ready to ditch the toy plastic PC speakers and put in a real stereo amp and some serious stereo speakers.

It seems to me that in order to do this, I would need 2 stereo amplifiers. One for the front and one for the back.

Is this correct? Is there a way to do this with a standard stereo amp? Do I need 2 amps? Is there specially built stereo amps for this type of setup?


<font color=purple><b>Brad</b></font color=purple>
10 answers Last reply
More about surround sound
  1. Well, I'm no professional, so I hope someone will correct me if I'm wrong but you would need two amplifiers or a surroud sound processor that will consolidate the multiple outputs into single output to be processed and distributed (amplified) to a 5.1 speaker set-up. I think it would be easier and more cost-effective to change your card to a digital card with the 5.1 capability. Then use high-end powered speakers (Monsoon mm-2000) or send the signal to an external surround sound amplifier.
    I hope that isn't ass backwards!
  2. Yes, you would need two amps.

    Your best bet is to look at a speaker system designed for computers. Something like <A HREF="" target="_new"></A> has two line in jacks, one jack for the front speakers and one for the rear speakers. If your soundcard has a digital out you can also get speaker sets with a digital in jack such as <A HREF="" target="_new"></A> which produre slightly "cleaner" sound.

    - JW
  3. Hey JCLW

    Are you saying that the digital out on my Aureal card, is outputting the...

    Left Front
    Right Front
    Left Back
    Right Back

    ...sounds all along. Therefore I just need an amp that has a digital 'in' and can work out what goes to the front and what to the back.

    Is that it?

    The creative links you sent me look very nice, but I have some serious wooden cabnet type speaker boxes, just dying to have the sounds of my computer hammering out. (Mp3's, Diablo II, Quake III, Max Payne etc etc). Plastic boxes just does not cut it.


    <font color=purple><b>Brad</b></font color=purple>
  4. Yes, that is correct, dolby digital audio connections can carry up to 8 seperate speaker channels (in a 7.1 setup) down one wire. I've never seen one of those cards so I don't know what kind of connectors it has. From what I can tell on the web
    (<A HREF="" target="_new"></A> is that it?) it has two stereo output jacks (front L/R & rear L/R), and an RCA S/PDIF digital output.

    So... If you want to go digital then you'll need a dolby digital amp such as a <A HREF="" target="_new"></A> that'll plug into an RCA S/PDIF. I don't know that much about digital connections (as both my soundcard and amp are made by creative they just plug into one another) but I'm sure someone here or someone at your local A/V store can help you with that.

    Don't be fooled by the small size of the speakers in those setups. The high quality ones (Creative/Yamaha/Altec Lansing/...) all put out amazing sound at 1/2 the cost of a dolby digital amp, but if you already have speakers and want to use it for other things as well an amp might be better for you.

    BTW: Dolby digital amps (like the Sony one above) will expect to have six speakers connected to them (FRight, FLeft, FCenter, RRight, RLeft, and a subwoofer).

    Hope that helps,
    - JW
  5. In order to get the full 5.1 Surround sound setup the material (games) that you are playing must be in Dolby Digital. It is my experience that very few games come with this sound option. If you really want a good sounding system, I would recommend a Dolby Digital Receiver with 6.1 channel inputs on it. I have my current Soundblaster Live Value card, with the Hoontech SB DB-III hooked up to the Teac AD-D9320 Digital receiver. The difference between the two modes (digital and anolog) is very minimual, and the 3D sound sensational. It(the Reciever) includes 6 Channel analog hookups, 3 digital inputs, one output, Dobly Digital Decoding, DTS, 3 Component Switching (good if you want to hook up Satalite and your Radeon Graphics Card to your HD TV set), S-Video switching, plus a whole lot of other features for under $425, with shipping. I like it a lot but any model you get will do. This may be more expensive than just buying two stero Amp's. but you will have a box that can do just about anything when it comes to A/V stuff.

    If it works for you then don't fix it.
  6. You'll love the stereo amp man. I used to have a creative labs 4.1 system, but gave it to my brother and I'm now running just two large tower speakers. I don't get surround sound with them, but I do get to add DSP to my mp3s, and I have a nice set of Sennheiser wireless headphones. When I listen to mp3s, the speakers sound awesome with the DSP enabled, and when I play games or watch DVDs, what I do is use the headphones, and then on my stereo speakers, I turn the bass way up, the treble way down, and engage the high filter. Now what happens is for speech and quiet stuff, I get the awesome sound from the headphones, but when something blows up, the 10" woofers kick in and shake the entire room.

    It works great for Q3 and CS, but it really shines with DVDs. The dolby headphone algorithm incorporated into PowerDVD 3 is, in my opinion better than any surround system (within reason of course). I watch movies at my friend's house, and he has a 5.1 dolby digital system, and it sounds nowhere near as good as my heaphones. And I still get way better bass and shaking with my tower speakers than he gets.

    Lyrics. Wasted time between solos.
  7. You have a truely great soundcard. The digital output is Dolby 4.1 compatable. But I use the front and rear analog outputs with some very nice speakers on mine (2 sets).

    What's the frequency, Kenneth?
  8. Just a little add on here. I just bought myself a 15W Marshall amp for my Les Paul. I just used the line out on the amp to connect to the line in on my sb live, and out to the towers. It sounds great, and can get really loud. I'm gonna try using the line in on the amp to see what I can get out of my rear analog out ports on my live, just to mess around a bit.

    Lyrics. Wasted time between solos.
  9. ok...since you guys know a lot about this audio stuff...please help me figure this out...

    I'm currently using a SBLive! Value card + ADDA890 + <A HREF="" target="_new">NewQ Platinum Equalizer</A>. And I have the soundcard's signal goes through the NewQ. It's pretty nice with all the DSPs and equalize bands with colors from the NewQ. Ok, the ADDA890 has like 5 sound modes(Dolby Digital, ProLogic, Quad, Stereo, Stereox2). Everything works fine except the Dolby Digital and maybe the Quad are not working right. Whenever I switch to Dolby Digital, I can only hear the sound coming from the front speakers and the subwoofer, no sound from rear speakers. For the Quad mode, the sound only comes from 4 satellites, and guess what, no bass! Should I upgrade to a 5.1 Dolby Digital card? If so, is the Audigy Platinum EX worth it? Thanks guys!

    I try to smile everyday but I can't... :smile:
  10. Well, the Value you have may or may not be digital. Check to see if it has a yellow or orange jack. That'll be the 4.1 digital out. If you want to have 5.1 dolby digital work, then you'll need a 5.1 capable card.

    Lyrics. Wasted time between solos.
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