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5.1 Soundcard to surround amp?

Discussion in 'Computer Components' started by Glasswalker, Aug 12, 2002.

  1. Glasswalker

    Glasswalker
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    Right. I've got a PC with a 5.1 soundcard, I've connected it via the fibre optic out to the in on my surround amp. Have selected the right channel on the amp, however I get no sound.

    The soundcard is a Avance AC '97 (I think). It has been set to use the S-Bracket which is installed. But still no sound.

    Help, I wanna use this as a HCPC but without sound it's useless.
     
  2. MuFu

    MuFu
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    Are you sure your soundcard ouputs a (TOSLink) optical signal?

    Most cards that support raw DD/DTS pass-through, e.g. SB Live!/Audigy, usually use a mini-jack and the S/PDIF (electrical signalling) protocol. It's been known to catch quite a few people out, myself included!

    "AC '97" is Intel's 20-bit desktop audio specification. Your soundcard just complies to it, like many others (it's royalty free and therefore widely adopted) - if it supports v2.2 or later of the spec then it may have S/PDIF output.

    I think you really need a 3.5mm monophonic mini-jack-to-phono (RCA) converter, and then just hook up the lead to the co-ax digital input on your amp. You need to set up the soundcard not to decode AC-3 and then it will just forward the DD/DTS bitstream without doing anything to it; the amp will do the decoding. Otherwise, you can use the soundcard to decode 5.1, and it will ouput the front/rear/centre+sub channels individually to the amp through separate leads.

    I hope this helps a bit. Setting up these things can be a nightmare! :eek:

    MuFu.
     
  3. Glasswalker

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    Thank you for your reply. I will get one of those leads at the weekend, have to wait till next week before I can try it though as I'm out this weekend.

    Cheers.

    Neal.
     
  4. Gazz

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    ummmm - this has raised worries in my mind.
    I've got a Fortissimo II 5.1 card and have tested it through the phones out and the line out so far.
    I can see the optical out glowing nicely red so I'm assuming there's a signal present there as well.
    Am I right in thinking though that if I blow my hard earned on a 5.1 amp and hook the card's optical out up to the amp's optical in, the signal won't be recognised?

    yours anxiously
    Gazz
     
  5. MuFu

    MuFu
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    No... it should be. There's a split between cards which output S/PDIF and those that output TOSLink. Some (Audigy Platinum is one example) can output both. I'm sure your card will work just fine with an optical link, provided things are set up corrently.

    That's a good point though - Glasswalker, you should double check exactly what kind of signal your soundcard outputs. Seeing a red light as Gazz did is obviously a sign that the ouput is optical (TOSLink). If you could find the complete specs of your soundcard, that would settle it.

    LOL... just when I get my stuff all set up and working nicely using either the optical or digital output, I go and sell my AV amp and drop back to a stereo pair with an analog feed to a power amp. Oh well, time to suck it up and buy some over-priced cables with lots of ".99999's" in the specs... :rolleyes: :D

    MuFu.
     
  6. Glasswalker

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    I shall have to dig out the manual. There certainly is a lovely red light glowing on the back of the card (well S-Bracket).
     
  7. MuFu

    MuFu
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    The "S-Bracket" is MSI's port expansion daughtercard, right?

    If the red light is coming from the centre of a socket, then yes, it is most likely a TOSLink digital output. As long as your soundcard isn't set up to decode AC-3 and the amp is set up to decode from the digital optical channel then everything should work fine. Hmm... :-\

    Have a look and see if that S-Bracket has S/PDIF output too (might be doubled with an analog socket). I'm sure it does. If you have a 3.5mm jack-to-phono lead then grab that and see if you can get 5.1 working using your amp's digital co-ax input.

    MuFu.
     
  8. Glasswalker

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    Certainly is MuFu it's an MSI motherboard with the soundcard on board. I'll try and have another play with it tonight and see what I can work out.
     
  9. Glasswalker

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    I've had a look at the manual for the soundcard and it calls the fibre optic out S/PDIF out (Optical), does that make a difference? I hope not.
     
  10. MuFu

    MuFu
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    No, it doesn't. I may have been a bit misleading before - S/PDIF is the digital signalling protocol, TOSLink is just a standard for the physical interconnects when using optical connections. S/PDIF can be carried optically or electrically (via co-ax), it's just that people tend to associate it with the latter.

    So if it still doesn't work and you are sure you have the right connections etc then I guess it must be some kind of set up problem. :-\

    MuFu.
     
  11. Timh

    Timh
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    Gazz

    What do you think of the Fortissimo II 5.1 card? I am thinking of going for it, Hercules are selling it for £45 Can you please tell me what you payed for yours and where, if you don't mind :)
     
  12. Gazz

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    Hi TimH - sorry for delayed answer, been busy tweaking again
    I must admit I'm impressed with the Fort II. I haven't taken delivery of the amp to try the digital signal yet, but having amped it up through the analogue jacks, it exhibits very good channel seperation and there's no perceptible background noise. Nice clean sound and sounds like a pretty flat response across the frequency spectrum i.e. no peaks in bass mid or treble (although you can of course put those in yourself with the eq on its control panel).

    I got mine from PC world in Charlton (convenience more than anything) - just been hunting for the receipt but I think it was about £50. It also comes with the Power DVD player and a Yamaha XG player if you're onto midi files (haven't tried it yet as I use a full blown sequencer package (Cakewalk) for my music studio work with an outboard Yamaha tone generator).

    cheers
    Gazz
     

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