Home Theater Receivers

By Vehementi
Dec 25, 2002
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  1. olefarte

    olefarte TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 1,427

    You should have a Dolby Surround setting on your reciever that you can set so you get sound out of the rear speakers. Also your reciever should have at least one if not more digital inputs on the back, they should be orange RCA type plugs (could have optical to). You can use a mono mini plug that goes to an RCA plug on the other end. Plug the mini into the Audigy, the other into the orange plug on the reiciever. In the Audigy menu set this plug for digital output, on the reciever, set DVD, Aux. or whatever uses the orange plug (some recievers are programable). You should be able to listen to DVDs from your computer on the reciever in 5.1 sound.
  2. Vehementi

    Vehementi TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 3,199

    Ok so I'm using Dolby Pro Logic II "Music", and the front speakers are alot louder than my surround speakers. The surround speakers are the big Pioneer floor standers, and the front speakers are a different pair of speakers - actually the ones that came with my boombox.

    Ok I just swapped the plugs - the front speaker outputs are now leading to the Pioneers to either side of me. Now the actual front speakers, the Aiwas, are too quiet but it does sound better. I'm gonna try lowering the surround speaker outputs now...

    Ok, it works just fine...
  3. olefarte

    olefarte TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 1,427

    You should have a "setup" menu in the surround menu that will give you a test tone, and you can adjust the volume for each individual speaker. Dolby Pro Logic II Music is OK, (I can't remember if you have a DVD player on your computer) but don't use "Music" for watching movies. Also, generally speaking, the larger speakers probably sound better and should be used for the front.
  4. Vehementi

    Vehementi TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 3,199

    Yeah there is a Setup menu - and I am playing with different volumes.

    I do have a DVD drive. Will it automatically decode the Surround Sound feature? Even if my sound card output is only in Stereo?

    Man I can't wait until that center speaker comes...:eek:

    And then watch a DVD! :eek:
  5. olefarte

    olefarte TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 1,427

    The reciever will decode the STEREO signal in to Dolby Pro Logic, not Dolby Digital. When you play a DVD, make sure the DVD menu is set to "stereo" not Dolby Digital 5.1 or DTS. If you use the digital output on the Audigy, then, you should be able to get 5.1.

    Right now, without a center speaker, Dolby Surround probably won't sound right, and you won't be happy, because, for instance when watching a DVD, most of the dialog will be out of the center. Same thing when listening to music. I bet you don't have a setting for four speakers only. It's probably going to show either two or five.
  6. Vehementi

    Vehementi TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 3,199

    Alright. I have a stereo mini plug, so I suppose I could plug either RCA plug into the digital orange RCA input.

    And I have a center speaker - it's one of the little speakers.

    I'm using the digital input now, with 5.1 output, and all 5 speakers. :eek: !!! This sounds so much better than I thought it would.

    A large majority of the sound comes out of the center speaker - is this normal?
  7. olefarte

    olefarte TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 1,427

    Go to your setup menu and do the sound test again, make sure you hear the test tone at EQUAL levels from all channels.

    Actually, in a real 5.1 Dolby Digital setup most of your sound WILL come from the center. When you watch a movie most all the action comes from the center of the screen, hence, the center channel. In reality, your center speaker should be just as good if not better than the others, but in real life it mostly never is.

    I think I said it before, your next investment should be a subwoofer, that'll really make it sound good.
  8. Vehementi

    Vehementi TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 3,199

    Yeah, I calibrated the distance (very cool) measures of each speaker, and messed around with the test tone, all I did was up both the surrounds 1dB. It sounds pretty good now.

    What I really like is that I can adjust the width of the center channel.

    /me sighs

    I guess my center speaker isn't coming today :(
  9. Vehementi

    Vehementi TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 3,199

    Uh - I just ran the Audigy speaker test, and only the rear speakers played the test sound - again this from my computer, with the digital output and 5.1 speakers enabled - and it said "rear left" then "rear right" out of the front speakers. I am using Dolby Pro Logic II Music, and it does the same whatever I select. What's with that?

    And another thing - I can only select Stereo from my receiver if I make the digital output from my computer 96kHz. Is this normal?

    And the receiver smells - it's not bad, but I can smell it like an inch or two above the top grill - is this normal for new electronics? It's kind of faint - but you can smell it.
  10. Vehementi

    Vehementi TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 3,199

    Uh - I just ran the Audigy speaker test, and only the front speakers played the test sound - again this from my computer, with the digital output and 5.1 speakers enabled - and it said "front left" then "front right" out of the front speakers. No center, and no rear. I am using Dolby Pro Logic II Music, it plays out of all 5 speakers, and it does the same whatever I select. What's with that?

    And another thing - I can only select Stereo from my receiver if I make the digital output from my computer 96kHz. Is this normal?

    And the receiver smells - it's not bad, but I can smell it like an inch or two above the top grill - is this normal for new electronics? It's kind of faint - but you can smell it.
  11. olefarte

    olefarte TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 1,427

    You cannot use the Audigy test. It's only good if you have computer speakers hooked up to all the outputs on the card. Maybe I didn't explain well enough. You have to use the test tone and channel adjustments on the RECIEVER. Not familiar with your reciever but you should have a menu for that. I think you should have your "balance/fader" on the CARD set to the center and the volume probably set somewhere around the middle.

    I'm not sure of the PCM rate, but I think it's set to 48 KHz by default. Did you change it? If it worked before, but it back to whatever it was.

    With all the experience you have had with new parts on computers, I'm surprised you haven't smelled that "new smell". That's just the parts inside the reciever getting hot. Depending on how loud you play the reciever, it can get very hot on top. You're reciever might or might not have a fan inside, that will come on if it gets to a certain temp. The smell will go away in a week or so.
     
  12. Vehementi

    Vehementi TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 3,199

    Ah good - in the documentation it did say contact the manufacturer/dealer if there were any odd smells. I thought it was the "new smell" - like a car or a pair of shoes, or in computers, especially a PSU - but I wasn't sure :D Thanks for clarifying that.

    The test tone is all worked out and calibrated.

    What should I have the Audigy set for? 5.1, or stereo?

    Anyway, I rented a DVD and I'm gonna watch it now, I have it set for Dolby Pro Logic II Movie and everything :D

    Thanks!
  13. olefarte

    olefarte TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 1,427

    Set the Audigy for 5.1, the DVD for 5.1, (Dolby Digital). Your reciever may auto detect Dolby Digtal, if not manually select it. Remember, Dolby Digital and Pro Logic are not the same. If you select stereo on the Audigy you'll only get Pro Logic, which is not discrete 5.1 channel sound. Also, since you don't have the .1 (subwoofer), in the reciever surround setup, select "no subwoofer" or whatever term they might use.
  14. Vehementi

    Vehementi TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 3,199

    Yeah that's done. Should I turn Pro Logic all the way off and just let Dolby Digital take over? My receiver has center large/normal/off, and subwoofer on/off.

    My receiver didn't detect any of the Dolby Digital signals. I read the manual - and it doesn't say anwhere how to manually enable it. I even enabled it in PowerDVD.

    And will Creative's EAX work ok?
  15. rubjonny

    rubjonny Newcomer, in training Posts: 19

    I dont know if anyone has already mentioned this, but you will only be able to get proper 5.1 audio via digital out with apps that output this specifically.

    What I mean by this is that CDs, games etc will only be in stereo even if the games support EAX and surround because the Audigy is unable to encode the 5.1 audio into an AC3 stream 'on the fly'.

    I hope this makes sence! DVDs however will work perfectly, as they already output a 5.1 AC3 stream. You can set your Amp to dolby prologic which will do a good job of expanding the stereo stream to your other speakers, but you wont get proper surround in games for example :(

    AFAIK, the only soundcard that can encode 5.1 audio to AC3 on the fly is the nforce/nforce2 audio chipset but nvidia haven't made it into a seperate soundcard :(

    If you have 6 analogue inputs on the back of your amp for external decoders, I would recommend you plug your audigy into those so you can get proper surround when you play games (Unless you don't care of course;))

    This is how I have my system set up at the moment and its annoying that I have 3 digital inputs that I can't use because Creative are so lame! >: (
  16. olefarte

    olefarte TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 1,427

    On the Audigy Surround Mixer page you should have "digital output only" checked, if you don't you aren't getting a digital signal through the single digital output wire. As I said before, you have to make sure you Dolby Digital on the "DVD" itself enabled. When you first start the DVD you should get a menu on the screen that reads something like, play, audio setup or maybe language instead of audio setup, and several others. Go to audio or language and set it for Dolby Digital or 5.1, whatever is listed. If you have this set to PCM stereo, you'll get Pro Logic only. If you don't have a manual setting on your reciever for Dolby Digital, then leave it on Dolby Pro Logic and it should auto detect the Digital signal.

    Set the large/small speakers settings like the manual says, but for sure turn off the subwoofer, or you will get very little bass, at least until you get one.

    As far as EAX on the sound card, I would leave that turned off, as well as all the other surround parameters on the card and just use whats on the reciever. You shouldn't have two surround parameters going (the card and the reciever) at the same time.

    A personal opinion, I don't like any surround turned on, except when watching movies or tv (Dolby). I don't like it for music, although Dolby Pro Logic II Music may be OK, I don't have it. Most of the other surround settings on your card and reciever to me sound fake, except for a very few. As far as EAX or EAXHD, I don't like it except for some games like SOF II on which it is great. Again, just a personal opinion.
  17. rubjonny

    rubjonny Newcomer, in training Posts: 19

    I don't think you understood my comment fully (not surprising I didn't put it very well)

    What I mean is that digital out works perfectly, and I get a digital 5.1 AC3 steam when playing a DVD (and I get the Dolby Digital or DTS indicator on my amp) but if you have say, a game like SOF2 and want to output 4 seperate audio channels (i.e. front and rear) so you can hear sound coming from behind you cannot do it via digital out as the Audigy can't encode the 4 chanels into the apropriate AC3 stream, it can only output them as seperate stereo digital PCM signals.

    The way the digital connection works to Creative's digital speaker systems is that the Audigy outputs 3 seperate stereo digital PCM steams for front, back and centre/sub and you have to buy a special cable that connects each digital stream to the correct inputs on the speaker.

    You can test this yourself, if you get a headphone jack to stereo rca adaptor, and connect first the left plug to your digital in, then unplug it and use the right plug you will notice one cable caries 'front' and one carries 'rear' (I believe left caries front and right carries rear from memory)

    Use the speaker test to confirm that if you only get 'front left, front right' from one rca plug, and 'rear left, rear right' from the other.

    I hope I managed to make more sense this time :)
  18. olefarte

    olefarte TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 1,427

    rubjonny, you have enlightened me on the digital output. By reading the manual on this card (look at page 23 of the manual, it shows digital signal to amp) I thought it only output a pure digital signal only from the center/sub output if you had the digital output box checked, if you are getting a digital output from all the outputs, I stand corrected. And I guess I didn't explain very well either, I assumed we all understood that a 5.1 signal would only come from a 5.1 source like DVD or Sat. TV.
     
  19. rubjonny

    rubjonny Newcomer, in training Posts: 19

    Glad I could be of help :) I agree with you about applying pro logic to a stereo source it makes some music sound really strange, thankfully the Audigy is clever enough to just mirror the front channels to the rear speakers.

    I just wish NVidia would release their Nforce sound codec on a dedicated PCI soundcard so I can just have 1 digital cable and get proper surround from both games and DVDs :( As it is I have to have 3 messy analogue cables hanging out the back rather than just having the one digital cable.

    You see I play games more than I watch DVDs and I like having proper surround, after all I didn't spend 450 odd quid on speakers to not use the back ones properly!
  20. olefarte

    olefarte TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 1,427

    Like you, I hardly ever watch DVDs on my computer, mostly just play games, I have a DVD player for my home audio system. I don't have my computer hooked up to my reciever, so I can't say for sure, but from looking at page 23 of the Audigy manual, I understand that you could run one wire to your reciever from the center/sub output and it would be digital 5.1, IF, you have the digital output only box checked. It looks like if you run the other outputs to a reciever with 5.1 inputs it will be an anolog signal, in this case you are letting the sound card do the decoding, nothing wrong with that. If you use the center/sub output in digital mode you are useing the reciever to decode. Don't take this wrong, I'm not arguing with you just trying to understand myself.

    If I'm right about this my only question would be as to which method to use is, is the sound card decoder better or the reciever's, I don't know, probably depends on the quality of your reciever.
  21. rubjonny

    rubjonny Newcomer, in training Posts: 19

    Yes what you say is totally correct, with a digital connection you will get proper 5.1 audio but only if the application can send a 5.1 encoded signal.

    The problem is that when a program which tries to output normal surround sound via EAX or directsound, only a stereo signal makes it to the Amp.

    This is because the Audigy can not encode stereo/4/5.1 etc audio to a proper 5.1 encoded AC3 signal on the fly, it can only 'pass through' an existing 5.1 stream.

    What the Audigy does with 'normal' surround audio is send 3 seperate PCM stereo signals (front L/R, rear L/R and sub/centre) down 3 different wires through the digital output. Creative sell a special digital 5.1 speaker system that accepts these 3 seperate signals and merges them to a proper 5.1 output.

    Since all normal amps only have 1 digital input you can only hear 2 channels at a time, unless you somehow have an amp with 3 digital ins, and the ability to combine them to 1 signal. (Like the one creative sell)

    The Nforce chipset audio controller however, can encode a 5.1 streams on the fly, so games and movies will both have true 5.1 sound via a single digital connection.

    Damn its difficult to explain, I hope I managed to get it right this time! :)
  22. olefarte

    olefarte TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 1,427

    Agreed PCM stereo is only two channels, but, like on my home DVD player and my Direct TV reciever, I use one coaxial cable, digital output to digital input (could use optical cable) and I get perfect Dolby Digital 5.1 or in the case of DTS ES 6.1 discrete channels. Again I think that if you hook up your reciever to the center/sub out on the card (digital output only box checked) I think you will get 5.1 sound, again in the case of the card I could be wrong. I'm just reading what I believe the card manual says.

    I won't argue with any more, I don't want this to get unfriendly, because I could be wrong on the card. You're right, it's difficult to expain.
  23. Vehementi

    Vehementi TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 3,199

    I know what you're getting at, johnny.

    What I have now is the digital output going from my Audigy to a single digital input on my amp, and the Audigy's test tone only plays the front left and front right. If I connect the other RCA plug on the cable that's leading out of the Audigy to another digital input on my amp, that input plays the rear. So I am not getting surround. Would I need a sound card or something to fix this? Anything I can buy or something???? I would buy the nForce2 :haha: but I don't have the money.
  24. rubjonny

    rubjonny Newcomer, in training Posts: 19

    <Sigh> I dont think I'll ever manage to explain it :)

    What I'm saying is, programs that output 5.1 digital audio will work. eg DVD movies, because the 5.1 stream is ALREADY encoded. no problems. EZ :)

    However Games do not have pre-encoded output 5.1 audio, they output analogue audio. The Audigy CAN NOT CONVERT the analogue audio to a 5.1 digital stream to send to the amp.

    It can only convert each seperate analogue signal to a seperate digital PCM signal. Since PCM is stereo, only 2 of the 6 PCM streams being sent from the Audigy can pass through the digital connection, only a stereo signal makes it to the amp from games.

    If that doesn't explain it I'll just give up and we can just agree to disagree :)

    Don't worry about it getting unfriendly, I'm only gonna get angry at myself because I can't get the words out right ;)
  25. olefarte

    olefarte TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 1,427

    I absolutely 100% agree with what you said. And it can be very confusing. Look how long this thread has been going on.
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