Surround Sound in Games?

mikenw

Active Member
Hi all,
I am confused as to whether I need a soundcard to achieve surround sound in games?

Current set up is a gigabyte Z68AP-D3 with Realtek ALC889 onboard sound connected to my amp via optical, DTS works in movies.

I also have a 4870 graphics card, and have tried audio over HDMI for surround in games, again with no luck.

Do I need a soundcard? if so any recommendations?

Thanks
MIke
 

EndlessWaves

Distinguished Member
You don't.

Presumably the games you're playing do support surround sound and have a surround sound option in the settings?

Have you double checked the sound devices (realtek/speakers/S/PDIF or ATI HDMI) are set up for 5.1 speakers in the windows control panel?

What exactly are you getting? Just sound from the front two speakers or non-surround sound from all speakers (i.e. duplicated stereo signal).
 

buckle247

Novice Member
If DTS is working in movies it must be the game thats the problem. How many games have you tried, and have you been through the in game settings like mentioned above to insure 5.1 is enabled.
 

mikenw

Active Member
Its all the games I have tried, Borderlands, Batman Arkham Asylum etc, I just see the stereo option on my amp.

Movies switch to DTS fine, if I sound test it triggers the amp to DTS and I hear it in all 5 speakers, its just games that remain in stereo front 2 speakers only.

I have no clue! Cannot see the option in the above games to enable DTS.
 

EndlessWaves

Distinguished Member
I have no clue! Cannot see the option in the above games to enable DTS.

You don't, games don't do on the fly DTS encoding as far as I know. Set the game to 5.1 and then set your sound card control panel to do the encoding to DTS (or anything else that'll transport 5.1 over S/PDIF). Looking at the DTS website the option may be branded DTS Connect/DTS interactive.

Your sound chip may not support that (the realtek website says DTS connect is 'optional' for your chip), but HDMI should be just a direct uncompressed 5.1 output so you can definitely output surround sound that way, there is a slight snag there that your receiver may not be able to receive it though.
 

mikenw

Active Member
Unfortunately HDMI is not an option, and I cannot see any of these options in my sound chip settings.

So will a sound card solve this? If so which one would be recommended?

Thanks for the help :)
 

Oggie

Distinguished Member
Hi mate

I actually have the same problem and have figured it out. The reason you cant get surround sound for games is cause onboard doesnt have dolby digital live which is needed for games. It was driving me mad as I also had dolby and dts for movies but not for games, gonna order soundcard :thumbsup:

Hope this helps :)
 

Oggie

Distinguished Member
Didnt know that :) I have Maximus IV GENE-Z which has SupremeFX X-Fi 2 Built-in built on but no DDL support
 

EndlessWaves

Distinguished Member
Unfortunately HDMI is not an option, and I cannot see any of these options in my sound chip settings.

So will a sound card solve this? If so which one would be recommended?

Thanks for the help :)

Ah, you should have said HDMI wasn't a long term option.

If you want it over S/PDIF then you do need a sound card that supports DTS connect or Dolby Digital Live.

As a final check it might be worth downloading the latest realtek audio driver for your motherboard from the gigabyte website as that'll give you access to all features as well as the latest version of the realtek control panel.


If you definitely can't find any support for either of those two technologies on your current chip then you'll need a new sound card. Are there any other features or capabilities you fancy and do you want PCI, PCI-E 1x or external USB?
 

mikenw

Active Member
Thanks for the replies.

Am happy to buy a sound card either PCI or PCI-E is fine, whichever is the best card.

Do I need DTS connect or Dolby Digital Live for gaming or both?

And will the card still pass through the movie format's over optical, even if it did not support DTS?

Any recommendations?
 

EndlessWaves

Distinguished Member
Do I need DTS connect or Dolby Digital Live for gaming or both?
/
Not both but either, they're two technologies from competing companies designed to do the same job. They compress the sound the computer is generating so you can fit 6 channels down a S/PDIF optical cable instead of the usual 2.

And will the card still pass through the movie format's over optical, even if it did not support DTS?

If it doesn't support DTS Connect but has all the other requirements for DTS Digital Surround I'd imagine it will as it's just passing the signal between the DVD and the Decoder but I don't watch movies myself so I may be missing something.


As to recommendations, most >£50 cards should have it. Certainly all of the Creative/Auzentech X-FIs (except the XtremeAudio as that's rebranded older technology rather than an X-Fi chip) and most, if not all, of the Asus Xonar cards have it. I had a quick check and the cheapest I could see in those ranges is the Asus Xonar DS which supports both and is around £40-45, although it uses a creative-style flexijack where the optical output shares a 3.5mm jack with other uses so you'll need to spend a couple of pounds more on a 3.5mm to optical adapter.

If you're looking for cheaper then I'm afraid I'm not familiar with those cards and they do change around a lot so you'll have to look and see what's available.
 

techmob

Active Member
did you buy a card in the end?

i am in the same situation, i am after the cheapest card that will allow me to play games in 5.1

currently using the spdif onboard audio on the asus p6tse but it only does 2 channel on games.

using a turtlebeach x41 headset so want proper dolby passed through so need a sound card.
 

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