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War Games coder
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
'Ello. Just bought this sucker (the platinum version) to complete my home theater PC project. This thing has left quite a positive impression on me so far... including some bonus features that fit right in that I wasn't expecting.

Anyways, I seem to be having problems with the optical output; It goes from the 5 1/4" bay to my DTS receiver, and I can get audio out of it... it's just stereo audio, not surround. It's strange - I can do the speaker test and get front left, center, front right... and I hear rear right and rear left, but they're coming from the front two speakers! Any idea what's causing this? I think I've been scratching my head so long that I'm starting to feel brain matter. I have the CMSS turned off, the DTS and Dolby are both set to an external decoder (which I have hooked up), I have 5.1 output selected, and I have selected digital output. I note that the speaker wizard defaults to 2.1 audio if you select digital with no other options (can somebody say "stupid?"), but I can manually re-select 5.1 after the wizard goes away.

Anyways, I got an unexpected bonus feature... the remote that comes with the device - it doesn't care if I use the built-in IR receiver... or another one 150' away (where the home theater is at) using USB. On top of that, the remote controls an interface that's HD-TV friendly to let me select movies to play back with full control. I love it! I wasn't expecting to be able to use the thing.
 

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Mr. Stupendous
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1,138 Posts
the above post....makes no sense:p lol

you will only get stereo out of the sp-dif unless your watching a dvd or playing genuine DD5.1 supporting games (of which there are only 2 or 3). There are no card capable of outputting 5.1 for windows or games except the HDA x-mystique, The turtle Beach montego and a few onboard solutions.
 

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The seeker of perfection
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4,008 Posts
You can also get 5.1 if the game supports it in the form of directx or something, i'm not sure since i don't play pc games anymore. Call of Duty can be heard in 5.1 even if it's not Dolby Digital.

Anyway, for stereo sources try using a Dolby Prologic Mix since you will only get 5.1 in movies and cutscenes of some ps2 games in example.

And you can control your pc with that remote. Try using Uice or Girder. The first one is the easiest since it has a preset for your control. Then you can skip scenes in PowerDvd, change to the next song in Winamp, minimize all the windows....
 

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War Games coder
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1,927 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Most games have supported a center channel since Baldur's Gate 1 (ever try that with 4.1 audio? Anything in the center can't be heard because it's going through the non-existant center channel. You needed 5.1 or disable EAX). Anything that supports EAX supports as many speakers as your card can use. The problem is I seem to be realizing that my $200 top-of-the-line card can't handle anything better than stereo for games, which is a clear step down from my Audigy 1 Gamer, which could (and goes real cheap nowadays).

Also, my whole home theater is centered around being able to use S/PDIF to get out there... OK for movies, but I have a PS2 right there with optical output to my receiver... no need to walk to the other room to load a DVD. I can't use analog outputs to play the games because my speakers are over 100' away and I didn't buy an analog extender - just an S/PDIF extender.

Argh... sorry to offload that on you guys, I'm just getting a little worried about this thing.

EDIT: Oh, another thing... anyone know of any software for Linux that is remote-friendly? It was originally my intention to go with a linux multimedia machine, but the windows support surprised me. If not, I'll just have a spend some time designing one, and I'll be glad to share the result if anyone would care.
 

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The seeker of perfection
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4,008 Posts
What you are trying to say is that he can't get DD5.1.
I'm pretty positive that he can get analog 5.1 in pc games as i did.
There is an easy way but you will need to give up digital out. Pug your speakers to the 3 analog outputs of the card or use the outputs and plug those 3 cables to the receiver and select 5.1 speakers in control panel.
 

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War Games coder
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1,927 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Only problem with that is that analog won't reach 100' to the receiver. I'm kind of in a pickle.

EDIT: Today is a sad day. I can no longer buy Creative products as long as they do not support digital surround.

I am faced with a choice: I can either buy 3 additional analog audio extenders at $100 a pop ($300 total + becoming an attic monkey again) or I buy another sound card (even though I just bought this paperweight). Which audio solution would you recommend? I noted that the HDA x-mystique has EAX 2.0 support (though not 3.0 / 4.0) and also has linux support, which is a very good step in the right direction. The montego, on the other hand, supports the Aureal standard only (and I have never seen that used in gaming). Are there any other non-integrated options? (I have a specialized system not likely to be bundled with multimedia components)
 

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War Games coder
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1,927 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Aha! I found a more cost-effective solution that allows me to keep digital audio (kinda) and EAX 4. The DTS-610 salvages the project, though it puts yet another box on my desk. I don't like the solution much - digital should stay digital all the way to the receiver, and possibly to the speakers if that ever becomes cost-effective... but it's the best way to salvage what I've got now. I'm still not pleased with Creative, but this at least makes it possible.

EDIT: Just noticed on the specs: The device introduces a 50ms latency to the audio. I'd imagine that I'd face the same problem with a sound card, but the drivers (or the OS or even the game / movie player) would be able to slow down the video to sync... an external device has no such luxury. How much of a problem do you guys think this will introduce? Should I attempt to put in a bypass for when I'm in the office playing games? Won't fix the long cable run, but at least there would be no delay in the office.
 

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War Games coder
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1,927 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Can someone recommend some software capable of artificially creating a 50ms delay on the audio in a video? I'd imagine that would be done via some video editor rather than a player.

This is kind of a make-or-break issue; I either don't notice the difference and buy the DTS-610 or go out and snag a HDA x-mystique (which is sounding better all the time, even with the driver bug I've been reading about (not saving speaker settings after reboot)). Either way, I think this will be my last dealings with Creative until this is resolved internally.
 

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The seeker of perfection
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4,008 Posts
KillerShots said:
Only problem with that is that analog won't reach 100' to the receiver. I'm kind of in a pickle.

I am faced with a choice: I can either buy 3 additional analog audio extenders at $100 a pop ($300 total + becoming an attic monkey again)
I think i don't get it. If the original analog cables don't reach your system then just buy a little converter for 1 dollar at Radioshack. It has 2 female outputs, in once you connect the analog cables and buy another analog cable so you can plug one side of it to the converter and the other to the receiver or, in another case, the another converter and Tadda, there you go.
 

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Mr. Stupendous
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1,138 Posts
anlogue cables over that length are extremely suseptable to interference. 10' is bad enough, let alone 100'. There's no chance in getting it working satisfactory unless he buys some very expensive cables, or lives with 2 channel.

....or buys a DDlive card.
 

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War Games coder
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1,927 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Just wrote the following to creative:
Hello... I purchased this card thinking that I could use the SP/DIF output to power my home theater. I have found that it is only capable of 2.1 digital audio, however, and I have no way of getting analog audio to my receiver. Let me describe my situation:

My PC is in my office. I connect this PC to my HDTV in my living room over 100' away. To accomplish this, I have purchased specialized extenders for VGA, USB, and digital audio that are digitized, run over CAT5e, and converted back to original format. So you see, unless there is an analog audio solution that can stretch over 100', or a cheap extender (I have found some that go for $100 that do the job for one mini-jack each, for a total of $300), I must go digital.

I have seen your DTS-610 converter and was about to purchase that as the solution... until I noticed your specs stating that there is a 50ms delay. This won't do. Do you have any viable solutions coming or do I just return this now? I do note that the HDA x-mystique has the features I need - I just wish I noticed that before buying the X-fi. Again, I would prefer to keep using this card if it is at all possible, but I'm finding it difficult to see how.
Doubt it will help me, but I've got some time to burn before returning to thist project (I'm about to leave the country for a week). Maybe something will pop up. If I get nothing from this, I'll have to purchase that x-mystique card. Thanks james - you've been very helpful in researching possible solutions. I doubt I'd have stumbled on the x-mystique myself.
 

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War Games coder
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1,927 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Got the response from Creative. They say that their response to people who need digital encoding is the DTS-610. That won't do... just placed an order for an HDA-Mystique today. I'll give the X-Fi to my little bro for christmas - he always wanted something he could plug stuff into the front of (and could actually use the record player support). I'll miss the remote control, though... I purchased an InterVideo Home Theater remote to replace it, though... that should do the trick.
 

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War Games coder
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1,927 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Got the new X-Mystique in today. Had a little bumpy start (either the creative driver uninstaller muted all my audio or the bluegear installer did it - either way, the audio was muted and the surround didn't work (though the front left and right did)). Sounds beautiful, seems to do the job very well. It does, however, seem to cut out the first fraction of a second of any sound when it first starts.

Not sure if that's an artefact of the encoding or of the receiver... since it's not sending a continuous digital signal, it may have to initialize everything whenever it starts sending again.

At any rate, I'm officially done with Creative until they offer real-time digital encoding support. Thanks to Bluegears for saving the day :).
 

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Prepare for Descent...
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2,844 Posts
I bet it's the receiver trying to determine the type of stream that's coming through the cable. I don't think you can do anything about that :( It's a shame that the sound card doesn't seem to send a continuous stream to the receiver....
 
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