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Help setting up 5.1 with Audigy 2 ZS please?

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June 24, 2005 7:28:53 PM

The more and more I read, the more and more I get confused as to what should be my de facto standard settings.

Mainly for games and secondly for film dvd.

is CMSS recommended switching off on AC3 sources? I'm told yes, and logically from their description of the feature that sounds true.

So I try this but in games I don't notice a difference anyway? So what does that mean?

Furthermore I wonder about the quality of my speakers as although they sound great one minute in video games like Hitman Contracts (came with the card), Mafia, and Vietcong (for example) the center speaker sounds almost 'muted' in the tradional sense of the word, as if it's being filtered through something first making it more of a dull sound.

So say; a helicopter is sat on an airfield and it's roters are going around. You look straight at it, it doesn't sound very loud, quite muted.

Fair enough, so you look a little to the left or right, or down or up and then it suddenly comes to life with more clarity and range in the sound.

It's actually more subtle than I make it appear I suppose, and I can live with it - but I can't help but feel something is odd here, something missing.

In Thief Deadly Shadows another game that came with the card, the center is clearer but when I turn away from things (such as people talking) their voices actually get even louder. It doesn't work well in that game for me, even though I can tell the sound work is good.

Must be something wrong here?

I wonder also what bass redirection is and when it should be used, what does the frequency cut off mean?

Also, do I have EAX4?

More about : setting audigy

June 25, 2005 1:06:47 AM

Could be a couple of reasons the center speaker isn't working right, you may not be properly connected to your speakers, check you speaker connections to the soundcard and make sure you're hooked in to the proper outputs.

You may not have 5.1 enabled in the control panel, have you run a diagnostics check to see if everything is alright hardware wise?

Right click the Creative volume control in the task bar and select Diagnostics from the popup menu.

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June 25, 2005 11:26:18 AM

Diagnostics check out fine.

I have it setup as 5.1 in the control panel both for windows and for Creative panels and it does give me 5.1 when I test in the creative app itself.

It's just very noticeably (now that I've dwelled on it) muted than all the other speakers [my center channel that is].
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June 25, 2005 10:43:55 PM

Okay, development, I get annoyed with this and decide to just use my headphones - the same problem! The center seems to be muted for some reason as if all the sound is being dragged out to the left and right?

Does this ring any bells?
June 25, 2005 11:44:51 PM

further;

I just hadn't set the THX screen to headphones so it was still 5.1 setting which is why it sounded the same centrally.

But this suggests to me that it's not the speaker system but more the way the soundcard and the game are interacting yes?

So why could it be that the center speaker is not utilised correctly in games (it's not noticeable in DVDs for me, but I have no frame of reference for those so I could just be mistaken).

Putting THX settings on headphones made everything clear and it sounds great - but I want 5.1 not headphones (even though it's even better than my old soundsystem regardless).

hmm, I'm confused :( 
June 26, 2005 9:45:55 AM

godsake.

5.1 works perfectly as far as I can tell for DVD films like Fight Club, and Lord of the Rings trilogy (they have very full tracks from what I know).

I get sounds behind me, moving around and the center speaker is so crystal clear with edward nortons narration for example.

Is this a limitation for games that 5.1 is not at that quality in films? Does anyone have a 5.1 setup and able to confirm that?
June 30, 2005 8:18:25 PM

hmm.. If the audigy 2 ZS does its 5.1 in software then the center channel would simply be an approximation (sum of the left and right front channels) as opposed to an actual channel. This is what my turtle beach santa cruz does in analog mode anyway. Think it has something to do with the number of analogue connectors on the card... With the turtle beach card, if you were to switch to a digital cable, you would get all 6 channels in their full glory.. But with analog, that center channel is simulated, and therefore tends to sound a bit more muffled...

<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by Macel on 06/30/05 04:20 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
July 3, 2005 8:20:24 AM

that could be because the Turtle Beach can't decode DD in hardware like the Audigy 2 can and/or it utilizes EAX 1/2 as opposed to later versions (true, EAX is decoded in hardware passed through analog, but still a possibility...). if the source has discreet 5.1 and the Audigy 2 has the means to decode it, you shouldnt have center channel matrixing (when an additional channel is calculated from other channels as opposed to existing in the soundtrack as its own channel) regardless of the source.

as for your center channel sounding louder when it seems it shouldn't, i have a similar problem, if you can call it that. it seems like when sound comes from the surround speakers, the subwoofer shows up a little more...no idea why, but it just does. say someone is talking in a game, if i turn my back to him, the bass tends to sound a little more "there."

also, frequency redirection is the frequency where below that frequency, the sound is redirected to the subwoofer as opposed to being played in the satellites. the lower the set frequency, the more boomy the bass tends to be. i find the right balance at around 80 Hz, but you should just experiment with it.
July 3, 2005 8:15:15 PM

Interesting, thanks for the responses fellas. I'm no closer to fixing the problem though but I've only just come back from holiday so I'll try and get an email off to Creative to see whether they can help me at all.

..for the information on Frequency Cutoff, I wasn't sure what it did but I'll be sure to have a tinker later, thanks!

As for your problem, it could be that it's a simulated effect of muffled sounds perhaps?
July 7, 2005 3:49:31 AM

that's probably why. it doesn't bug me too much considering no matter what i do, it'll sound great :D  . it's just a little anomoly (again, if you can even call it that) that i noticed.

and about the question posed in the beginning about CMSS and AC3, i'm fairly certain that when audio source is in discreet 5.1, it won't upmix the source. at least in my experience it's been that case. but CMSS effects (like the audible "room" reverb that CMSS2 adds to sources) might be rendered with discreet sources. i'll get back to you on that one when i try out some source material....
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