TechSpot

Unable to get 5.1 sound using Audigy/Hollywood card combination

By Benton Hui
Jul 27, 2002
  1. Hi,
    I have the following installed:
    - REALmagic Hollywood Plus Release 2.2 driver
    - Windows 98 SE
    - Sound Blaster Audigy sound card

    I have the Hollywood Plus card for a number of years now and don't have problems using it. I have been using it in stereo mode up until now. Now, I am venturing into dolby digital and tried to take advantage of the AC-3 support that the hollywood plus card provides. However, I am running into problems of not being able to get any sound out when enabling the AC-3 option. Here is what I have done:

    - From the REALmagic DVD station, I enabled the AC-3/DTS audio output mode.
    - From the Audigy Surround mixer panel settings,
    I enabled the AC-3 decode mode.
    - I connected a SP-DIF cable from the hollywood plus card SP-DIF output to the internal 2-pin SP-DIF input of the Audigy card.

    With the above settings, no sound comes out at all when I play a DVD movie.
    If I switch back to analog surround (and attach the stereo out of the hollywood plus card to line in of the audigy card), then I get sound again (of course, only in stereo).

    Is the problem with the Audigy/Hollywood SP-DIF connection not compatible? If that's the case, then I am really disappointed. Hope someone can shed some light on how I can get 5.1 sounds (without actually requiring a dolby digital receiver).

    Thanks for your help in advance.
    ....Benton
     
  2. TS | Thomas

    TS | Thomas TS Rookie Posts: 1,327

    The current Creative Audigy drivers don't support AC-3 decoding from external sources, which is what you want. The Creative drivers that are too be released soon will also enable this functionality.

    Otherwise you can enable something better than stereo output if you download DVD Genie here http://inmatrix.hoyty.com/mirror/dvdgn410.exe when loaded go to Other tab then Hollywood Plus & tick the appropriate options.
     
  3. Benton Hui

    Benton Hui TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks Thomas.
    I can't wait till Creative release the support for external AC-3 input....do you know when they will be doing that?
    In the mean time, I will give DVD genie a try....in the on-line help for DVD genie, it says it may or may not work for enabling the 4/6 speakers surround. Do you know if the operation is reversible or do I have to reinstall the hollywood driver if things got messed up? Thanks.
     
  4. TS | Thomas

    TS | Thomas TS Rookie Posts: 1,327

    I "think" I recall reading you can buy the CD with the Driver now from them, though an actual download won't be ready until late July/August I believe. If you have XP/2000 the driver can be got from Compaq (just search for "compaq audigy driver" in google & load the french site, fernando or something).

    If it doesn't work just untick the options again in DVD Genie. Re-installing the DVD Station should fix it too as it just changes some registry settings.
     
  5. Benton Hui

    Benton Hui TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Ok, thanks. Just for my understanding. How is the AC-3 signal from the Hollywood card different than what the Audigy card expect? I would have thought that since both are SP/DIF connectors and the AC-3 source should be standardized no matter where it comes from?....I guess that's not the case. Normally, SP/DIF port on the sound card is connected to the SP/DIF output from the DVD-ROM drive....I suppose the AC-3 signal from the DVD-ROM is what the sound card expected and is different from the Hollywood card. Please explain. Thanks.
     
  6. TS | Thomas

    TS | Thomas TS Rookie Posts: 1,327

    The Audigy will only decode AC-3 if its sent to it over the PCI bus, which is what a software decoder would do when set to S/PDIF Output mode (& the Audigy's AC-3 decode is enabled) as that's how it gets transferred from the DVD drive.

    With the Hollywood Plus it gets sent to the Hollywood Plus, then to the Audigy, making it external, which it doesn't support yet.

    No need to worry about connecting the cable from the drive to the Soundcard as its not needed.
     
  7. Benton Hui

    Benton Hui TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Hi,

    I finally had a chance to try out the latest Audigy driver with support for external AC-3 input. However I was really disappointed that it did not work for me. I have enabled AC-3 decoding on both the Audigy card and Hollywood plus card, and attached the external SP/DIF output from the Hollywood plus card to the internal 2-pin SP/DIF input on the Audigy card. I have contacted the Soundblaster customer service, but they were not knowlegable about this area at all.
    This forum (thanks Thomas!) has been very helpful in the past - any ideas what might have gone wrong?
     
  8. TS | Thomas

    TS | Thomas TS Rookie Posts: 1,327

    Ok, sorry seems I've been misleading you a bit after I saw a recent post on the newsgroups. The Digital input header on the Soundcard is only for PCM sources, it doesn't accept DD/DTS.

    Basically to get what you want you'd need to connect the Hollywood Plus' Coaxial output to the Coaxial input of the Audigy (Which will be on the Audigy drive). Then the external AC-3 decoding will work.
     
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