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Surround sound for Games

Discussion in 'PC Gaming & Rigs' started by adams901, Aug 16, 2004.

  1. adams901

    adams901
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    Hi Guys,

    I have read the many threads below about this and think I know what I need to do, but I would really like you to treat me as though I am an idiot and give it to me in the most simple way possible.....

    I have a Videologic Digitheatre which has a Dolby Digital Decoder and am using the onboard sound that comes with the Asus P4C800 Deluxe (but I may soon be investing in the Audigy® 2 ZS if the onboard sound which claims 5.1 sound doesn't work out).

    If I am understanding this correctly.... Coaxial to Coaxial will not produce surround sound for games such as Doom 3 or battlefield Vietnam because these games don't offer "true" digital surround. On the back of my Subwoofer I have 6 RCA sockets, these sockets are currently filled with connections from the Digital Decoder, if I were to remove these connections and instead plug the sound card into them using 3 Mini Jack to RCA plugs would the sound quality be better than or worse than Coaxial to Coaxial and will I notice the surround effects, will the sound also be 5.1 as it will be using all the channels the digital decoder uses.

    I ask this now as I plan to buy the required leads today (Monday).

    Thanks in advance
    Adam
     
  2. Munkey Boy

    Munkey Boy
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    As I understand it, the way 5.1 is produced from an Xbox, for example, is different from the way it is produced in a PC. An Xbox puts out an undecoded signal, and therefore you need an AV Amp to decode and put out the sound to the speakers.

    The PC, however, puts out a decoded 5.1 signal, through the 3 stereo connections you mention (3*2 = 6 = 5.1 sound). This just needs to be put out to a speaker system, whether this is your amp connected to your speakers via the 6 inputs or direct to an amplified speaker sytem.

    However, both the Xbox and PC are true 5.1 systems, but just do the decoding in different places. I have heard that using a coax/optical connection can be worse as it will slow your PC, due to the extra processing needed to put out the undecoded source that an AV Amp will accept.

    This is as I understand it, though I'm sure someone will correct me before long...
     
  3. Stellavision

    Stellavision
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    A coaxial connection will only produce 5.1 on 5.1 enabled games.
    If you use 3 minijack to rca's, ie analogue connections, you will get 5.1 in most games regardless of whether it has in game dolby digital or not.
    I have a coaxial plugged into the onboard soundcard on my Asus A7N8X deluxe, decoding everything in DD, and I have my Audigy 2 ZS connected to my amp via analogue, and I think the latter is the most pleasing.
     
  4. Apnomis

    Apnomis
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    How I did it was to have mini jack to 2 RCA cable. If your Asus onboard sound is anything like mine then it is set up in the options, but you loose the line in and mic channels. IIRC the Line Out mini jack converts to the left and right front speakers, the Line In jack converts to the left and right rear speakers, and the mic jack converts to the Centre and Subwoofer channels. If you have multi-channel in on your processor use that, works very well.

    In my case I did it a bit differently, I have 7.1 surround sound for my TV and wanted to use it for my PC, only my PC isn't on the same wall as the TV. However it does sit directly between the right front and right rear speakers (which are the same type). So what I did, because I wanted to use my Hi-Fi speakers as they would outshine any PC speakers, was to go with quadraphonic sound by having the front channel from the sound card hook into the front right and rear right multi-channel connection on my Receiver and the rear channel plugged into the left front and left rear connection on my Receiver. Effectively when multi-channel is selected on my Receiver it changes the angle of the sound to go right to left (front to back from my PC's POV) and when I'm in a normal mode it goes front to back (left to right from my PC's POV). Anyway I digress, I'm very happy with the results and all I needed was a couple of cheap mini-jack to RCA cables!!!
     
  5. adams901

    adams901
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    Got it working :).

    All i did was plug the surround Phono cables into the front left & right sockets and put the front left and right into the surround.

    It sounds very nice but could sound better (im sitting right infront of the front speakers and the surround it about 5 meters behind me).

    Guess its time for me to turn the OC round so i can use everything properly, I might even connect the PC to the TV and see what thats like for gaming.

    I dont like the way Battlefield: Vietnam uses surround though, from a distance it all sounds very nice but when you are up close it isnt as it should be.

    Normally surround effects play through a couple of speakers as you turn (middle, middle & left, left, left and surround left, surround left), with bfv when you are close it seems to jump from one speaker to another (not blend from one speaker to another) as you turn, at one point i was able to position myself so I could see a chopper but not hear anything from it.
     
  6. pez

    pez
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    PCs can create 5.1 sound. It isnt Dolby Digital 5.1 sound though, not unless you have your soundcard ENCODE it to output along a digital cable to your Dolby Digital Receiver.

    pc audio....this is where it gets complicated.

    Only the NForce2 with SoundStorm and the new Intel HDA on board audio solutions can output Dolby Digital from games via the SPDIF to a Dolby Digital receiver/amplifier.

    The Audigy cant do it, and neither can any other sound card currently available for games.

    The reason is that the NForce2 with SoundStorm and the Intel HDA both carry out Dolby Digital Encoding (DDE). They take the 5.1 sound that a game produces and encode it into Dolby Digital so that you can output it via 1 digital cable to your Dolby Digital receiver/amp.

    Most sound cards can create 5.1 sound from games, but you can only output it via multichannel audio outs (2 for backs, 2 for fronts, 2 for centre and sub etc). These are analog signals.

    Most sound cards have SPDIF sockets, and you CAN pass Dolby Digital soundtracks from DVDs straight through them to a Dolby Digital receiver/Amp to decode, or you can get the card to decode it and output the sound, again, via the analog outputs (why bother though, your Dolby Digital receiver/amp will likely do a MUCH better job).

    You will only be able to pass 2 channel PCM data down the SPDIF from ALL non DDE sound cards, be they the latest Creative Audigy, or the cheapest 20quid bargain bin special.

    EAX is just a method of creating 3d sound, Doom3 doesnt use EAX, as id software wrote their own 3d sound code.

    Outputting this 3d sound can only be done using the SPDIF on sound solutions that can carry out Dolby Digital Encoding (DDE). It has to be done via analog cables on non DDE cards.

    pez
     

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