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Can a 5.1 receiver work with a pc?

Discussion in 'PC Gaming & Rigs' started by gargoyle, Jun 7, 2004.

  1. gargoyle

    gargoyle
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    I'v been using my sherwood 925rds receiver for 5-6 years now and even though its still in excellent condition and puts many more expensive receivers to shame, I'v decided to purchase a new 6.1 amp as I'm curious as to what that centre rear speaker sounds like, given that I have a large quantity of 6.1 software playing on a 5.1 amp.
    However, before I consider selling the sherwood, is it possible to use it in conjunction with a computer equiped with 5.1 soundcard?
     
  2. H4r7y

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    sure is, just make sure you use the digital out on your sound card and make sure its set up correctly in your OS and drivers etc and youll be fine
     
  3. gargoyle

    gargoyle
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    I don't intend to use it primarily for watching dvd's on my pc, I was more interested to see if it could be used in conjunction with games as a great many titles offer surround capabilities.
     
  4. Dfour

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    If you do as H4R7Y says your soundcard will output all sounds to the amp and then all sounds will be played on your main speakers, games/dvd/windows etc. :lesson:
     
  5. james.miller

    james.miller
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    If you mean in full surround sound then no it wont. that only applies if he is using a nforce2 motherboard with onboard 'soundstorm'. If he's using anything else then he will also have to connected up 5.1 analogue connections to get his surround sound from games....so he'd better how his sherwood has 5.1 analogue in....
     
  6. H4r7y

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    i would have thought if it was connected up using the optical out or coax out from the sound card to the receiver it should be in 5.1?
     
  7. james.miller

    james.miller
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    unfortunately not. Anything that is DD/DTS will be passed straight thru in their original formats - i.e a 5.1 dvd will arrive at the amp as 5.1, but anything else (windows sounds, games ect) will be downmixed to 2 channel PCM.

    The only platform that can upmix multi channel games to 5.1 DD is nvidia's soundstorm.
     
  8. H4r7y

    H4r7y
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    ahh i c, i get it thats why it says dd and dts decoder on dvd players.
    typical, me getting the wrong end of the stick.
    sorry gorgoyle, best listen to james me thinks
    :thumbsup:
     
  9. gargoyle

    gargoyle
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    Thanks for the valueable input people, it seems that games in surround is out of the question so here's what I'm going to do -

    1 - Connect the computer to the receiver via 3.5 plug to dual phono plugs and play games with stereo left/right speakers. :mad:

    2 - Use the digital output on the soundcard for Dolby Digital dvd's.
     
  10. Dfour

    Dfour
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    The amp can always be used on pro-logic/dts neo:6 to provide 5.1 surround on games from a stereo pcm signel. That is how you get surround from terestial braodcasts :lesson:

    Forget soundstorm use Audigy :D

    Xp2500+@2.35gig, NF7-Sv2, Radeon 9800PRO, Audigy lots more bits lol and 21" monitor :smashin:
     
  11. <<ERROR>>

    <<ERROR>>
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    And pray tell: how do you get an Audigy to give me sweet pro-logic or Neo:6 for all my games?

    I have an Audigy 2 ZS Platinum, but the NForce sound chips are looking better all the time. The worst part is that I have a P4 - which would mean spending a lot of money on an upgrade.
     
  12. Dfour

    Dfour
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    YOu connect the audigy/sound card to the home cinema amp with either digital or analogue and use the amps internal surround processor eg. DPL/2/2x/DTS NEO:6 to change the signal from 2 channel to multi channel. :smashin:

    You will also need to tell your OS to output the sounds in either digital or 2 channel/stereo speakers, whichever you are using. :lesson:
     
  13. <<ERROR>>

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    Yep, but that still doesn't make my sound card output PLII/Neo:6. If it isn't being sent, how can I decode it?
     
  14. Dfour

    Dfour
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    its the reciever that does the decoding not the soundcard. The whole question on this forum was about using a reciever not the soundcard doing the decoding
     
  15. <<ERROR>>

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    I know. The question was based on the problem that nothing is being encoded (as in the optical outputs not spewing DD 5.1).

    If something isn't being encoded, how can it be decoded (as in the case of your receiver)?
     
  16. Dfour

    Dfour
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    OK I think you are getting confused by the difference between Dolby Digital and DTS Digital and analogue decoders/2 channel decoders/encoders.

    Signels in DD/DTS are Encoded in that format and need a Decoder to be able to use them properly especially DTS. ie. NO DTS decoder= NO sound :eek:

    DPL and NEO:6 take stereo signels and re-encode them so that they simulate a properly encoded multi channel format eg.5.1

    So to get the best out of your games eg. need for speed:underground (THX certified) you would need a digital out to a THX amp or a THX soundcard to PC THX certified speakers eg audigy 2 and thx megaworks speakers :cool:

    I hope this clears it up for you (and me :D)
     
  17. onewingedangel

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    There seems to be some mix up here, lets get some of it straight. For the reciever to recieve a digital stream the encoded stream needs to be sent to the reciever via either optical or coaxial spdif connections, this applies to dvd's, dolby digital/dts encoded games, or games encoded into dolby digital by soundstorm. However you can still have 5.1 from your games using eax etc. if your amp has an analogue six channel imput, you can then use your current soundcard to decode the games sound, and send the 5.1 signal to the reciever for amplification. If you do not have a 5.1 analogue input, you can use either a 2 channel analogue input or pcm digital stream, and use a ProLogicII or Neo6 decoding to get pseudo 5.1.
     
  18. <<ERROR>>

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    I can select audio options of 'Mono' , 'Stereo' and 'Dolby' (PL2) from Metroid Prime - signifying that there is some kind of difference between ordinary stereo and PLII-compensated stereo. I don't know the exact specs of PL2, but I know that for PL1, it gets a front centre channel by adding left to right and it gets a rear centre channel by subtracting left from right.

    You can use a PL2/Neo:6 decoder on any audio stream and get surround channels, but if the software that is generating the audio doesn't mix in the correct positional info, then the resulting sound will be somewhat b0rked and not be representative of the actual in-game position...

    I will test a PL decoder on Metroid Prime with the sound configured differently. I have already tried it with the output set to 'Dolby' and there are real surround effects (fire a missile on a large level and spin round. The degree of 'rearness' for the sound depends on how much you have spun).
     
  19. gargoyle

    gargoyle
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    As you guys appear to be fully 'tooled up' in terms of knowledge concerning this issue, can you tell me which would be the best sound card to use for 5.1 gaming?
    I'm currently using my asus A7N8X-X motherboards own built in realtek 6 channel card, I also have a santa cruz card lurking about somewhere but if push comes to shove and its required, I'll purchase an audigy or other quality card if it'll do the job.
     
  20. <<ERROR>>

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    I wouldn't really describe me as seriously in the know, but here's my opinion:

    Your Asus motherboard is a good one and the on-board sound chip will output Dolby Digital 5.1 for all audio sources - keep using that if you have a 5.1 amp with speakers. I assume that you are using the provided drivers and so you will get the DD 5.1 output on the digital outputs.

    That said, I have an Audigy 2 ZS Platinum Pro and the sound quality is great. The one thing that it will not do is give me DD 5.1 for my games - so if I want surround sound, I need some analogue speakers for my PC. Alternatively, I could feed the outputs into a compatible amp (as in this hypothetical amp has analogue inputs for all 6 channels). Get one only if you will never use a 5.1 amp for other sounds (as in your PC does everything for you, like mine does).

    My view on this situation would be to keep using your motherboard's audio, as you will get good results whether you have PC speakers or a digital out to a 5.1 amp.

    If you want your PC to be the centre of your electronic entertainment (as in your monitor feeds you console games, DVDs and PC games), then get a high-end Creative card. They are chock-full of inputs and will decode digital audio fed in to it (as in DD 5.1 and DTS) to output through a set of PC speakers.
     
  21. gargoyle

    gargoyle
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    I don't normally use built in soundcards as they usually don't compare well to stand alone cards but your last post concerning my motherboard is great news for me - if the chip does what you say it does, I'm halfway there!
    Thanks for the gem <<error>> :smashin:
     
  22. Dfour

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    I agree with <<error>> The sound chips are quite good on nforce 2 mb's. The sound storm is better (even though i dont use it :D) I like the audgiy and my creative speaker setup. I was never really happy with the way and sound output of the sound storm.
    I only used my amp for my pc when i had friends pc's over for a little lan gaming love :smahsin:
    I used to have a Turtle Beach Montego bay2 sound card and that was a fantastic sounding card but limited in outputs :( Stay with what you have got unless you have £70 buring a hole in your pocket :devil:
     
  23. gargoyle

    gargoyle
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    I'v just hooked my pc up to the sherwood (I'll sort out the digital connection later as it requires me to delve into my pc) and even though I'm currently only using the front stereo pair of speakers at present, it sounds very muscular - certainly more depth and precision that some of the dedicated pc speaker systems available - in fact, given that it sounds this good, I 'm going to leave it this way - far cry, which I just demoed, sounds the bees knees!! :zonked:
     
  24. Dfour

    Dfour
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    Fantastic :clap:

    Now imagine what it will sound like on a new amp with 6 or 7 speakers pounding it out :devil: Halo is also great for that!
     
  25. <<ERROR>>

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    I envy you - having proper digital surround sound without having to use silly Creative speakers. It's good that you got a decent result from it (although, to be honest, I didn't expect fantastic results from the analogue outputs - perhaps it's your amp?).
     
  26. Dfour

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    If you used most full range speakers and surround amps it will sound much more powerful than to use normal PC speakers. I quite like my creative 5.1 speaker set but it pales into significance when I hool it up to My Yamaha and the Evo's:devil: even if im only using analogue as DPL2 has a setting just for gaming:D
     
  27. gargoyle

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    Your right dfour - if your serious about how your pc setup sounds, you'll ditch those 'plastic boxes' and invest in a decent set of bookshelves, they need'nt cost the earth but they'll sound much better than those 5.1 solution kits sold by everyone these days, my setup is based around 4, jpw bookshelves and a cheap gale centre speaker and I can't ever see myself going back to what came before!
     

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  28. mattyp

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    Hi,

    Sorry to jump in the middle, but i'm having a similar problem which is driving me mad.
    I use my PC for all gaming, tv, dvd and music, so sound quite important! I have an audigy 2 zs plat pro connected to a sherwood rd7106 av reciever and 5 lovely speakers and a subwoofer. this was all quite expenesive, and sounds great on it own so i am loath to buy a creative speaker system.

    However i cant get multichannel audio digitally. The amp is connected both digital coax and optical to the soundcard, but it will only ever recognise a stereo signal from the soundcard, even for dvds. Using analogue inputs works, but i want the nice digital ones to! The soundcard comes with software which uprates stereo music to a multichannel signal which i assumed my amp would recognise, but it doesnt!

    Is there anyone familiar with this problem, or the software etc who can help??

    Cheers,
    Matt
     
  29. <<ERROR>>

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    For multichannel digital audio from your DVDs: make sure that your DVD software is set to S/PDIF Passthrough on its audio properties page.

    For anything else (games, TV, music), you can't do it. I have that exact sound card and that is the thing that annoys me most about it. As said many times before by me, the only sound chip that can do as you ask is the one built into NForce motherboards (eg. Asus A7N8X). No other sound chip will give you DD5.1 for everything.

    The CMSS options in the drivers only work by routing the sound with various effects to the different analogue outputs, so you are going to have to bite the bullet and use the analogue feeds if you want to use your amp (in my opinion, you would get better sound by using some really good cables to feed analogue to your amp than you would if you bought Creative digital speakers - which connect to a weird 3-channel digital output)
     

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