I am new to the forums, but have been reading TH posts and articles for some time now and they always seem helpful, so I decided to sign up to ask you good people some questions and meet like minded folks.
I recently got a Medion Erazer X6813. Its a gaming laptop, with an NVidia GTX 460M and an Intel Core i7 2630QM. It has onboard Realtek HD Audio, which it outputs through a selection of jacks - including an 8-channel SPDIF jack on the side.
I have looked for external sound cards to convert the SPDIF to 5.1, as I have an exisiting Creative 5.1 Speaker System with the separate green, black and orange connectors (front, rear, centre / woofer). However there dont seem to be any products that use the optical jack - only USB sound cards. I don't want to pay through the nose for a top-quality AV Receiver.
I have looked at the "Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Surround 5.1 Pro USB Sound Card powered by THX TruStudio Pro" ( http://us.store.creative.com/Creative-Sound-Blaster-XFi... ) which makes claims about producing 5.1 audio for movies and music. However, I want the card to covert the 3D Positional Audio that video games produce, so I can hear those soldiers / aliens / armed bunny rabbits sneaking up on me
Does anyone know if the Creative can do gaming positional audio, and send it to 5.1? If not, can anyone recommend a good external sound card for laptops? What is the difference / advantages / disadvantages of USB versus using the optical jack?
Lots of questions, hope I haven't waffled too much!
a USB audio card is nothing but a dumb finger sized processor that does all the audio processing on it. In fact the built-in soud card is far superior in terms of quality compared to that X-fi.
2| the x-fi badge is a tag once used by all the big names in the IT industry now its a shell of its former self and creative is doing nothing to improve that image. The best bet you have now of getting a quality piece of hardware with the x-fi badge and good support from creative is the titanium HD but thas for a desktop not a laptop.
3| creative can't do true positional audio ita all audio/software emulation so its not really what you're looking for.
4| did you think about hooking up the audio device to a speaker system or a pair of headphones?
5| if its speakers, you should go with the onboard device.
6| if its headphones that is causing you to get an add on USB card, then forget about the card...and look into a pair of tritton ax720 pro's or AX720's if you have more dough then you should chekc out astro gamers headphones with a mix amp that can accept 5.1 audio via optical jack.
I am a bit embarrassed. Turns out even though the jacks are marked as headphone, mic, optical SPDIF and 2 way speaker, all you have to do is use the usual 5.1 coloured jacks. Plug them in and the port automatically detects that you have put a speaker into the mic jack, and changes the function of the port accordingly.
I now have my 5.1 surround through my old creative speakers. I feel silly, it was incredibly easy. Seems to give full positional audio with Fallout New Vegas, shall have to test other games too and see if it works.
Thank you very much for your help anyway, was much appreciated! Its also saved me a wedge of cash. Can put that towards the 23 inch monitor I am planning on treating it to...
Hi Alford and Area51, thanks for the info! I was talking about the little thumb up / thumb down thing that was at the top of each post, but the slect best answer is even better. Thanks very much for changing the type of post for me, I will keep an eye out for that in the future.