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Question about cables

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Last response: in Components
May 11, 2003 12:59:50 AM

First off, I don't know much about audio stuff. I bought my speakers a few years back and have been using the digital out on my soundcard (back then it was an SB Live platinum but now it's a normal Audigy 2). I've never had surround sound, and only recently did I figure out why; the stupid digital cable only puts out 2.1 sound. So my question is what cable do I need to get 5.1 sound going? The speakers are Creative DTT2500.

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May 11, 2003 5:10:35 PM

What type of digital cable did you use for your old system? Any digital cable (fibre optical or coaxial) should be able to transmit 5.1 sound. I don't think cable is related to your problem. Maybe it's just your old sound card or speakers/receiver that can't do 5.1.
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May 11, 2003 9:22:55 PM

I'm using a cable that plugs in to the Digital DIN port in the back of the receiver. It's red and has 8 prongs on the inside (2 on the bottom, 4 in the middle, and 2 at the top). One end of that is in the receiver and the other end is in an adapter which has a yellow plug that plugs in to the right-most port in the Audigy 2 (which, according to the manual, is for digital sound). Both those came with the speakers.

I just found a picture that could help.

At the bottom of the page there's a picture of the back of the receiver; the digital DIN is there in the top row. When I flip that Input switch to Analog, my speakers don't work; it has to stay on Auto for any sound to get through.
May 12, 2003 12:16:22 AM

Is that all you do confoundicator?

And for you, Jabberwhacky, if you set the switch to analog, it expects a signal from the RCAs on the back. If no signal is coming in on the RCAs, no signal will come out the speakers.

Seriously, it looks like you have it setup correctly as far as wiring is concerned, but you need configure windows for 5.1 sound, and I don't know if you've done that. Go into the sound audio devices and see if you have windows configured for 2.1 sound or what.

umheint0's phat setup --> <A HREF="" target="_new">;/A><--
May 12, 2003 12:45:14 AM

Going through Sound and Audio Devices and then Advanced speaker settings they are in fact set at surround 5.1.

I just realized I need to clarify something; I do have sound coming from all speakers, but the rear two mirror the front two. So I have 5.1 in a way but I don't have surround sound, if you know what I mean. Also, the reason I thought of this was an article about the new Klipsch GMX speakers in Maximum PC which says "In the case of PC audio, digital outputs on soundcards only output PCM stereo signals, not the multichannel Dolby Digital signal that the D5.1s need in order to shine. This means that the market-leading soundcards - including the Creative Audigy 2, original Audigy, and Sound Blaster Live! 5.1 - don't play nice with the new Klipschies." Am I way off base and reading too much into this? I thought that since I'm using digital sound and only getting 2.1 this was the culprit, so I came here looking for advice :) 

<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by Jabberwhacky on 05/11/03 09:18 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
May 12, 2003 1:27:46 AM

Have you tried using the RCA-shaped SPDIF connector? It is also a digital signal. What are you trying to listen to? MP3's? Games? DVD's?

<font color=blue>-Any tool dropped while repairing a car will roll under the car to the exact middle.</font color=blue>
May 12, 2003 1:34:26 AM

BTW, I have read that the Klipsch GMX line is their lower end stuff. Their Promedia line is number one.

<font color=blue>-Any tool dropped while repairing a car will roll under the car to the exact middle.</font color=blue>
May 12, 2003 1:52:36 AM

All of the above. I test it mainly in games (like GTA3) just since it's easiest to control where the sound comes from. I can just wait for a car to drive by and see if the sound goes past (which it has yet to do). I've used both Creative EAX 3 and DirectSound 3d in GTA3 and neither have given me surround, so I don't think it's the drivers.

Is RCA the one that looks like the plug found on a set of headphones? I bought a cable and adapter from radio shack and tried it to no avail. The cable is (from the receipt) 6' w/1/8" ST Plugs. The adapter is just a silver dealy that has one of those smooth rounded plugs that fits into the SPDIF slot in the upper left hand corner in that picture. When I have that adapter in the receiver and the other normal end in the digital output of the Audigy 2 I get all sorts of crazy static. Trying it in any other slot on the Audigy didn't do anything (I left sound running and no noise ever came out of the speakers). I also found a little option somewhere in the Sound menu that said "Digital output only" and I tried it both on and off. Neither way worked.
May 12, 2003 2:28:02 AM

Wow I'm kind of at a loss.

An RCA connector is the kind like the ones used to connect stereo components together (like the Dolby Digital input and the speaker outputs in the picture). 1/8"ST is a headphones mini-jack.

You could always just use the analog outs. The Audigy2 has excellent 24/96 DAC's. I realize the whole point is to use the digital signal, but if you've tried every connector and you're <i>positive</i> that you have all the settings right then I'm back to the old stand-by: re-install/update all drivers.

<font color=blue>-Any tool dropped while repairing a car will roll under the car to the exact middle.</font color=blue>
May 12, 2003 5:35:13 AM

1. Check the other thread about digital output on Audigy2 Platinum. Digital output will be stereo only in case of games because games don't have pre-encoded Dolby Digital 5.1 music tracks, sound effects, etc. I don't know about computer speakers but stand-alone receivers can only accept and understand stereo PCM, 5.1 DD or DTS tracks over their digital input port. Have you tried DVDs for example? They contain pre-encoded 5.1 tracks that should come out 5.1 on your speakers with a digital connection.

2. If you're using Digital output, you SHOULD enable the Digital output only option.
May 14, 2003 4:11:33 AM

I really can't tell with the DVD's I have if the 5.1 is working. I went ahead and set each of em for 5.1 in their options, but throughout the course of the movies I never noticed a distinct sound coming through the rear speakers. Are there any mainstream DVD's that have some really obvious surround sound effect? Something like the Matrix or another similar movie. I'm going to my brother's this weekend and I could prolly snag one of their's (they have a sizeable amount while I only have 3).

At this point I don't care at all about the digital signal. I'd gladly give up some quality for actual surround sound. As for the analog outs, what kind of wires would those be? More importantly, are they sold at radio shack or some similar store? I'd assume so, since radio shack seems to have everything electronics-related.

<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by jabberwhacky on 05/14/03 00:13 AM.</EM></FONT></P>
May 14, 2003 5:20:50 AM

Analog cables? You need three Mini-to-RCA cables (one end is like a small headphone plug and plugs in to the output port of your sound card and the other end are RCA plugs that go into your receiver, amplifier, etc.). Three are needed to connect the three output ports on the Audigy2 to a 5.1 receiver (one for front left/right channels, one for rear left/right channels and one for the center/LFE). Although I just remembered that Audigy2 is 6.1 and the outputs may be different than the Audigy a bit. Read the documentation of the sound card.

That's all. And yes, they have it everywhere.
May 15, 2003 5:29:41 AM

According to the audigy 2 sheet line out 1 is for the front speakers, 2 is for the rear and 3 is for the center, sub and rear center. I'm leaving for my brother's in like 11 hours so I won't be able to try any plugs till sunday/monday. Hopefully next time I'll post it'll be to say how wonderful surround sound sounds.

Thanks for all the help :) 
May 16, 2003 5:08:02 PM

5.1 is easy; go get the cables r2k mentioned from RadioShack. 6.1 is <A HREF="" target="_new">ugly</A>. Check out page 29 (<i>Installing Hardware\Connecting Speaker Systems</i>). If you look closely, you'll see that the rear centre channel is on a <i>four</i>-conductor 3.5mm plug nearest the game port. This means that you'll have to not only buy the special cord from Creative, but you need a Creative speaker system with 6.1 channel analog inputs! That, or break out the wirecutters & soldering iron.

I love my nForce2!

<font color=blue>Learn from the mistakes of others. You won't live long enough to make them all yourself.</font color=blue><font color=green>
<i>Canadian Flight Safety periodical, ~1987</i></font color=green>
May 18, 2003 9:10:37 PM

You asked: "Are there any mainstream DVD's that have some really obvious surround sound effect?"

An excellent tool to check/setup your sound system and test digital output, can be found on Star Wars DVD's, either Episode I or Episode II.
They both include a THX tool to check both audio and video. To set up, start the DVD (disk 1), go to Audio Selection Screen. There you will find a small "THX" logo, that is actually the setup tool.
This will let you send a test signal to *each* speaker independently - and you will definitely be able to determine, whether your digital output works ok.

If you have problems with that tool, please feel free to Email me!

To send Email, please remove CAPITALIZED part of my Email address.