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More on DD 5.1 Gaming

Discussion in 'PC Gaming & Rigs' started by Stellavision, Nov 26, 2003.

  1. Stellavision

    Stellavision
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    We have recently discussed on the forum about Dolby Digital PC games starting to hit the shelves. I have 2 at the moment; Max Payne 2 and Enter The Matrix.
    I have been slightly puzzled however, that my receiver does not seem to be receiving a DD signal from the digital out on my Audigy 2 ZS. I do get a Dolby Digital signal out my Audigy when watching games from Power dvd, so I know my hardware is fine.
    I tried to alter the audio settings in the games themselves but I was unable to do so.
    Tonight I have found this article at the Dolby website which may give a slighly better understanding, but I am still in a bit of confusion. A game with a DD logo surely should output DD from a card such as the Audigy 2 and not just from the interactive Dolby Digital encoding from the NVidia motherboards.
    At the moment I am enjoying these games with EAX in ProLogic2 which sounds good enough, but I want that DD light to glow on my Pioneer!
    :D
    As a final note, I do have an NForce2 board in the form of an Asus A7N8X Deluxe and have tried the interactive Dolby Digital encoding. It is good but the overall quality of sound is not as good as the Sound Blaster.
    I wonder why Dolby apear to have worked on this new gaming 5.1 development with NVidia and not with Creative who in my eyes are arguably the most successful and popular of soundcards available today.
     
  2. Mr_Belowski

    Mr_Belowski
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    I *think* you only get 5.1 sound in games from the Audigy if you use the analog outputs (the main, surround, and front/sub 3.5 millimetre jacks). If I remember correctly, the sp-dif output is only stereo.

    I could be wrong tho
     
  3. Stellavision

    Stellavision
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    The sp-dif output on the Audigy2 is capable of 7.1 surround using a dvd signal. This is what bothers me. Theoretically if I can get multi-channel discrete audio playing dvd's through the sp-dif out I should be able to get the same from compatible games.
     
  4. sweetmate

    sweetmate
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    The Dolby Digital signal from dvds reaches the amp becasue the soundcard is passing the pre-encoded AC3 bitstream straight to the amp where it is decoded. But the Audigy2 is not capable of encoding a DD bitstream in realtime from the 3d audio it creates during games. The only card capable of this is the Nvidia soundstorm. So your options are to use the soundstorm (but you say the overall sound quality isnt as good) or use analog outs from the audigy to the amp. Have you tried the latest nvidia audio drivers? I have read that the EAX support is up to scratch now (but have not heard it) so maybe give that a go?

    Heres a link: nForce audio drivers 3.75
     
  5. BBCuk2day

    BBCuk2day
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    but what he is saying is the game is in dolby digital therefore it should pass through no encoding should be needed
     
  6. Stellavision

    Stellavision
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    I spoke to Creative live support a while ago. Here's what they said:

    "The signal on a digital connection is either
    Optical SPDIF - which is either Stereo PCM signal or AC-3 Bitstream
    Coaxial SPDIF - which is either Stereo PCM signal or AC-3 Bitstream

    If you play AC3 (Dolby Digital) sounds, the amplifier will decode these and will address all speakers discretely.

    With PCM stereo signals like WAV and MP3 the amplifier unit may generate a "surround" signal based on the incoming PCM stereo signal, provided Dolby Pro Logic function is activated."
     
  7. Stellavision

    Stellavision
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    I just tried those 3.75 audio drivers but I had snags with it.
    I have though, just installed the 3.13 NForce 2 driver. It's the latest official release from this month, and the release notes seem to clarify a fix in a glitch on the sound chip when the system is under heavy load. This was one of the main issues I had which bothered me.
    How does it sound?..........BLOODY GREAT!
    I just watched the opening screens to Enter The Matrix and to my surprise the sound was much better than SB Audigy2 and of course I am getting true DD5.1!:D

    I think I mint have to let the Audigy2 go.
     
  8. Stellavision

    Stellavision
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    After more tests playing Halo it is aparent that the NForce 2 chip while very good with Dolby Digital is still lacking in the EAX department. Hopefull NVidia have cracked this with the next fix. The weapon sounds in particular suffered with intermittent drop outs in a big shoot out, although the general ambient reverbs are very good.
    At the moment I can play games with very good DD and poor EAX or no DD and very good EAX!!:(
    Why can't anything be easy!!:rolleyes:
     
  9. sweetmate

    sweetmate
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    It isnt really, its just a sneaky bit of marketing! It just means it supports Dolby Digital (if you have a soundstorm). But essentially any game supports dolby digital if you have a soundstorm. Im sure the soundstorm can encode dos games to a DD bitstream. It wont have 3D positional audio but it will still be a Dolby Digital bitstream! :D

    P.S. The problems some games have with non Creative EAX cards is often not the card makers fault. Many games that detect EAX automatically assume its a Creative card and then start doing non regular things that can trip up the non-Creative cards. But nVidia are definitely getting better with their audio drivers, give it some time, and they should be up to scratch. (or just wire the Audigy up analog, it will sound great, bit more messy on the cabling but it will still sound great!)
     
  10. Stellavision

    Stellavision
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    Sweetmate, wiring the card up with the analogue connectors is something I have considered.
    I don't quite see how I could set the wiring up correctly.
    ie, the Audigy has 3 Anologue outs and to connect to my Pioneer amp I need 6 inputs for 5.1 and 8 inputs for 7.1.
    It starts simple enough in that I simply connect the l & r speakers via a mini-jack to 2 phono. However, the next output feeds the rear right, rear left and side right. The third output feeds center, subwoofer and side left.
    It would be possible if you could get a jack to 3 rca but I could'nt find one on a quick search. Any one seen one of these?

    Looking at it I can't do an easy 5.1 anyway because the third analogue out on the card feeds side left, sub and center. If creative had swapped the side surround output with the rear surround output it could have made it a little easier to simply hook up a 5.1 setup.
     
  11. sweetmate

    sweetmate
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    Woaah, thats some wierd speaker connection setup!! My Audigy 1 has 3 outputs, each one is a stereo mini jack carrying 2 channels, FL and FR, RL and RR, and C and SW.

    Does your audigy 2 have this THX setup console as shown here? If the outputs are like this for 5.1 maybe you can just set it up in 5.1 mode?
     
  12. BBCuk2day

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    audigy 2 is 6.1 so the third output ie c and sw also carries the SB signal if you use a 4 pole connector (i think its called that the one wi 3 stripes in stead of usual 2!) it says that in the manual anyways!
    Any actually got there audigy hooked up via analog? i tried it but the connectors where to big so could only get 2 in at once :(
     
  13. Stellavision

    Stellavision
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    I've just checked my THX setup console and you can set it up for 5.1. It just defines the second ouput for RL & RR. I was refering to 7.1 configuration before and did'nt look ibto the requirments of the THX setup console.
    Slightly confusing at first cause it refers to the surrounds as Rears when in 5.1 I'm used to thinking of Sides for 5.1 with rears used in 7.1.
    I think I'll give it a go. Just need 3 pairs of jack to 2 rca cable and I should be sorted.
    Anyone know of a good supplier?

    PS. One digital cable would be much bloody easier!:mad:
     
  14. Stellavision

    Stellavision
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    Just found some phono stacking leads HERE .
    You would need 2 of these with mini-jack adapters at the card end.
    A single rca to 2 rca cable plugged into the stack will give you 3 rca from a single connection. This should in theory provide a way of hooking up 3 single jack outs on a sound card to 8 rca analogue inputs on a surround amp/receiver to create 7.1.
    :clap:
     
  15. ric_hall

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    I think he is referring to the 3-way mini-jack to three RCA leads that would be required to hook up all the 7.1 speakers(if required) from this card . A standard stereo mini-jack has two separate 'wires?' that are built into the mini-jack - one makes contact with the audio source further down from the other . Unfortunately all that is likely to happen with the Phono Stack leads is that you get two of the three channels from the audio card, with one of those channels being duplicated .

    Sorry, I haven't seen any 3-way mini-jack leads on-line just yet . They still seem to be uncommon enough for few manufacturers to produce the leads . I have seen your stereo mini-jack to two RCA leads arounds on http://www.homestead.co.uk/stereo1.htm at a relatively cheap price over what you would pay for it on the likes of http://www.maplin.co.uk/, although I couldn't vouch for the quality of the leads as I have yet to purchase them myself .

    lol - he is you
    sorry about my mistake
     
  16. Stellavision

    Stellavision
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    Looks like I'll settle for 5.1 via analoge wiring.
    Doing it this way am I right asuming I need to have the card set up to do the decoding? Presently I have it set at spdif pass through with my receiver doing the decoding.
     
  17. sweetmate

    sweetmate
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    Yup you'll have to set it to "5.1 speakers".
     
  18. Stellavision

    Stellavision
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    I've just wired my audigy 2 up via analogues.
    All the test tones play fine through the proper channels but when it comes to firing up a DD game I get nothing at all coming from the surround speakers. Should it be like this?
    Front's, center and sub all sound pretty good, but overall it does'nt sound as good as Dolby digital from the NForce2.:(
     
  19. sweetmate

    sweetmate
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    Which game? Does the game have a speaker setting in it?
     
  20. Stellavision

    Stellavision
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    Just tried Max Payne 2.
    The game is marked Dolby Digital and I have the multi-channel audio checked in the audio settings box.
     
  21. Stellavision

    Stellavision
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    Doh!!!
    Just checked my speaker settings and they'd some how been set on 2.1. I definately had them on 5.1 earlier. :rolleyes:
    Anyway it's sorted now, cheers.
    Just trying some final speaker calibrations.
     
  22. Stellavision

    Stellavision
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    Right, here's my next problem.
    I set up my speakers for 5.1 and adjust the volume and every thing seems fine.
    I close the THX set up box, when I return it has reverted to 4.1 or 2.1 and all my volume settings are gone.
    Any thoughts on this one?
     
  23. sweetmate

    sweetmate
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    Some games like to reset the Audigy panel to 2.1 or 4.1, Mafia, MOHAA and GTA3 come to mind. Do a google on "Mafia speaker setting" and you should find a registry edit to stop games changing your channel settings.
     
  24. Stellavision

    Stellavision
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    I could'nt do a proper speaker calibration. After a quick re-install everything seems to be running much better now.
     
  25. Stellavision

    Stellavision
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    After a lengthy proccess of sorting out wiring and software problems, I can say I am very very impressed.
    I have just played Halo for an hour and the audio experience was one like I've never experienced before in gaming.
    I had big plasma bombs going off to my left behind me, I stepped left and I could them then land to the right behind me. Simply fantastic. Added to the surround channel steering I have superb ambient effects powered by EAX.
    This is deffinately the way to go!!!
    Thanx for reccomendeing the analogue wiring. I didn't expect such a good final result.
    :D
    I feel like I've got my 100 quids worth out of the Audigy 2 ZS now!:D :smashin: :clap:
     
  26. sweetmate

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    Rock on! Yup PC sound has come a long way, its a shame that people dont always get to hear it on top quality audio equipment. But if you do, its awesome stuff!!
     
  27. ric_hall

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  28. kron

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    I like this thread :) after reading it i connected up my GTXP to the 6.1 inputs on the back of my Marantz SR4300 ,athough it's only virtual (they call it Intelligent 5.1 and 6.1 virtualization for games and music) it's still sounds awesome :thumbs:

    For any one with a Game Theater XP there's a great review on the updated drivers http://www.3dsoundsurge.com/reviews/GameTheaterXP/gtxp-301update.html Although a bit outdated as i think we now have a 7.1 option in the control panel but it is very informative.
     

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