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Does X-FI support realtime digital 5.1 encoding?

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  • Sound Cards
  • Components
Last response: in Components
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August 23, 2005 7:40:49 PM

I have been looking for a sound card that can output digital 5.1 from games. Practically the only one that currently does that is Nvidia's Soundstorm, the rest can only encode 2 channels (thought they can pass through EXISTING content such as a DVD audio track).

Anyone know whether the X-Fi can encode digital 5.1 in real time?

More about : support realtime digital encoding

Anonymous
August 29, 2005 2:00:35 AM

I'm thinking they would be saying it does if it did. Seems kinda like a waste huh? Especially since so many these days are trying to integrate the PC's into the home theatre system. It sure would be nice to play BF2 up on that HDTV screen while pumping out digitally passed EAX4'd AC3 from the home theatre sound system. I am betting it takes a while until the drivers aren't buggy anyhow (if ever that is).

Maybe you could somehow feed the output of the X-Fi to the soundstorm encoding hardware. hmmm....
Anonymous
August 30, 2005 7:05:53 AM

So I've been looking into this a bit.

It looks like the DAC's even on the fatal1ty card (elite is even better), if you can believe the CL hype, are better than alot of mid range 7.1 surround reciever DAC's anyhow. This means: why not just pass it to your AV reciever/preamp via line level analog signals? I found a decent looking Yamaha with 8 channel analog input and 8 channel preamp outputs, and about a million other digital and analog I/O's for like $330 at some etailers. So what I'm saying is if you can keep the noise out of the lines the analog outs may not be a bad way to go if you don't have a $3000+ 7.1 preamp. Even if you do have that expensive preamp I don't see any evidence yopu will get to decode digital from this line of soundcards anyway.

The question that still remains in my mind is the drivers. I have been burned to a crisp in the past by crap CL drivers.

I'm halfway tempted but I repeat I am having a hell of a time forgetting bout my past experiences and when I swore to myself "never again CL, you dirty bastards".
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September 1, 2005 2:27:56 AM

I have a X-Fi extreme music, and it does have a onboard 5.1 dolby decoder built in. If you love your music spring for a X-Fi. Serioulsly it makes my old Audigyzs2 sound lousy. Games are wicked, movies and music even better.
September 1, 2005 2:35:54 AM

Great now can you tell me if it has a 5.1 "ENCODER". :) 

For example my SB Live 5.1 can decode 5.1, pass through any preexisting digital signal (AC3 DTS from a DVD, avi ect), but it can only dynamically create 2 channel AC3!

So movies = digital 5.1/analog 5.1 games =digital 2.0/analog 5.0 (because I can't find a special pole cable).

The XBOX and NVIDIA's Soundstorm both feature 5.1 digital encoding, which is great for those of us who like output to a TV and home theater system.

Do you happen to have a home theater receiver with digital input?
September 1, 2005 2:48:20 AM

No I am not using a external reciver with DI input. All I can tell you is that it features decoders for DTS, and 5.1. No options for an encoder that I have found so far. Ill tool around with it and let you know.
September 1, 2005 12:49:07 PM

No way of testing it without a digitial reciever or digital speakers. :( 

The setting would be digital output, and if its anything like other creative cards it will gladly let you set it to 5.1, but when you play the speaker test you will only hear "front left", "front right".

I am keeping my SB Live 5.1 until Creative releases a card with 5.1 DolbyDigital encoding.
September 16, 2005 3:12:47 AM

I doubt it. That would be like doing things the right way. The Creative way of doing things is to ignore all the things people want and provide hundreds of things they don't.

Turtle Beach has a Dolby Digital Live (DDL) soundcard, the Montego DDL.

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September 30, 2005 3:17:37 PM

I own an X-FI now and it definately does not feature digital 5.1 encoding.

It does however downmix 5.1 sounds to 2 channels whereas by ancient SB Live 5.1 would just ignore the other channels.

Something doesn't sound "right" about the digital audio output.

However it could just be that the better soundcard allowing me to hear the high quality of my headphones and notice the average quality of my home theater speakers.
October 1, 2005 11:14:38 AM

Well 2 things happen if you do bitperfit digital output, vs Analog on the X-Fi.

1) You don't get the new X-Fi compression system that just evens out SPL of the entire FR range (making highs louder). Unless you are playing very low bitrate material, you are just exaggerating the sound material you are playing.

2) No 44.1Khz -> 48Khz resampling...maybe you got used to "distorted Creative sound."
October 1, 2005 12:58:16 PM

I can't do bitperfect output. All digital output is getting the same treatment as analog, except for DVDs.

X-Fi won't let me turn off AC3 decoding. Options are thier own AC3/DTS passthrough (which ignores avi ac3/dts tracks) or AC3 decoding.

AC3 fileter could only passthrough AC3/DTS using my SB Live 5.1 when AC3 decoding was disabled. Now its not an option.

I had to rearrange my living room to move my reciever closer to my PC and now I am enjoying my movies in analog 5.1.

BTW you can turn off the crystalizer. It did make one or two songs sound better, but it ruined far more songs than it helped. That and the 3d Heaphone option and everything sounds as it should.

Oh and my heaphones are Sony MDR-600 studio monitors (perhapse the only Sony headphone that don't suck) and my Home Theater 5.0 system (had to buy the SW seperate) cost $500.

The more I use the heaphones the worse my speakers sound :( 
!