Home surround sound to computer via digital coax? HOW!!

By avian · 13 replies
Mar 13, 2005
  1. Ok, i bought a sound blast live sound card with digital IN/OUT. I have surround sound with digital in/oout or whatever. Now, i bought a digital coax cord and a thing to put on the end of one end to turn it into a mono mini plug to put into the sound card. I plug it into the sound card and into the reciever's digital in. But what i don't really know is how do i make it all work and such. I don't know what setting it should be on, if i have to configure stuff on my computer or if i have to do some fancy jazz with my surround sound reciever. Could someone help? If you need more info about the whole thing just ask, i am very eager to get this to work :(

  2. olefarte

    olefarte TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 1,345   +13

    Do you mean computer to reciever? If so you need to go to Audio Headquarters in Control Panel, look for "Digital Output Only" and check it. You need to set your reciever to play Dolby Digital. You will only get digital surround if you play a digital source like a DVD. A stereo source such as internet radio will be output via digital, but will still be in stereo only on your reciever.

    If you set Digital Output Only, you will not get any sound from your computer speakers until you uncheck digital output.
  3. avian

    avian TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Umm, i have my sound card setup for digital output only. But when i put on my winamp and play music, No sound come from my surround sound speakers, none of them. I have tried every setting, aka CD, aux, dvd, vcr etc etc, and none of them will put out the music i'm playing. I really need help :S help? :p

    Oh and yeah i mean computer to reciever via digital coax. But my sound card doesn't have the same hookup as the reciever...it's a mono mini plug converter i have used, not sure if that's what's making it not work or not.
  4. neelyjohns

    neelyjohns TS Rookie

    Whtyp ofreceiver?

    Knowing what make and model receiver you have might help some. But the main thing is this... you mentioned CD, DVD, VCR, TAPE... those are al input channels, and the digital in is usally strapped onto one of those channels. Once you figure out which channel that is (which you can usally figure out by looking at he back of the receiver) (also, it's usally DVD or CD) the once you are on that channel you have to make sure that your surround settings are kosher, which could mean doing a variety of things. at this point you need to consult your manual that came with the receiver. What I suspect is going on is that you are either not on the right channel or your receiver has not been told to look for a digital signal. Your basic DTS settings are either "ON" "OFF" or "AUTO" and their functions are petty self explanitory. When in AUTO it will look for a digital signa, and revert to analog in the abscence of a digital signal. Hopefully that will get you going in the right direction. Peace...

    Neely Johns
  5. The Best Alias

    The Best Alias TS Rookie Posts: 113

    SPDIF (sony phillips digital interface) uses only a single cable for the digital audio signal. Unfortunately this is only a stereo dolby digital signal and not a 5.1 (or higher) surround sound signal.
  6. neelyjohns

    neelyjohns TS Rookie


    I did not know that... I mean I knew what spdif is I just didn't realize that it was limited like that.f you are using the SPDIF out on your CD rom will your sound card not be able to decode 6.1 out of it? Peace...

    Neely Johns
  7. avian

    avian TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Yamaha HTR-5730 reciever, It does say CD on the back, i've put it on CD and it still doens't work so i'm still stuck. Does any of this have to do with the mono mini plug converter from the digital coax cable? anyways please help me out. thanks.
  8. avian

    avian TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Alright i put it back on cd like i had it before, it was setup the exact same way, everything was the same but it works now for some reason....i'm lost but it works so i'm happy. Thanks all.
  9. neelyjohns

    neelyjohns TS Rookie

    yamaha, the way to go...

    I also have an HTR series receiver. You are happy now, but I'm sure you will eventually want to know why. I'm pretty sure it has to do with your DTS settings, I still advise you read up on it in your manual. There should be a button marked "input mode" just below the input selector wheel. There also exists the possibility of there being a way to manipulate it through the remote, but not on mine, I am running a 5640, so there may be differences between our receivers, but I can't imagine it's a lot. Play with the input mode button, if you have one, and it should be pretty easy to figure out. Peace...
  10. olefarte

    olefarte TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 1,345   +13

    SPDIF will output a 5.1 signal if that is the source, such as if you are playing a DVD with WinDVD or any other DVD program. If you set WinDVD to output a 5.1 signal and your sound card is set to digital output, that's what is output on the SPDIF to the reciever. That's they way I have mine hooked up and I watch DVD's in Dolby Digital 5.1 all the time. If you listen to a cd, then the signal with be digital stereo, and if you like surround, you can listen to music in Dolby Pro Logic, but that's not true discrete surround.

    If you don't have a DVD player in your computer, or a motherboad capable of getting Dolby Digital from games, there is really not much advantage in using a SPDIF digital signal to your reciever. Yes, it would be a cleaner signal but probably not enough to notice the difference. I've got my system hooked up both ways and only use the digital output for DVD's.
  11. avian

    avian TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Alright, i played with the input, i more than likely had it on 6 channel input. But, i'm pretty sure i know the answer to this question since i read it somewhere...but is there anyway to get the surround sound speakers to work with the computer? center, back right/left. I doubt it but hey, might as well ask while i'm here. Also, is there any way to replace the sub inside the box? i bought this whole system coiuple months back when the place was having a sale...and my bloody brother blew the sub..so now instead of shaking the walls it does jack all. I'm pretty pissed and i would replace it if i knew i could. THanks.
  12. neelyjohns

    neelyjohns TS Rookie


    the 128 Live! Does not do 6.1 as far as I am aware, but what you can do is use some of the simulated surround programs in your receiver, I am particularly fond of the "6 Channel Stereo" it's one of the "Entertainment" programs, again I am assuming that our receivers are very similar. Either way you should be pleased with how it sounds. The 128 is a pretty neat card, I had one for years and loved it to death. If you really want to do your receiver justice, save a few bucks and look for an audigy 2 on ebay or something, spend a little more and get the one with the remote control, if you have an extra 5.25 bay in your tower that is. With the audigy you can eithe go SPDIF or you can use the 6 channel outputs and pipe them directly to the 6 channel input on your receiver.

    As far as replacing the actual basket, cone, magnet assmebly on your sub, anything is possible, you just have to dive in with a screw driver and see for your self if it is practicle. You have to be careful with what you replace it with, match the impedance with what was in it or you can fry the apmlifier circut. Most subs these days are getting to be more of a precision thing than a power thing and they are very carefully tuned. It wouldn't be a bad idea to replace it with something that can handle a little more power than what was in there to begin with in order to avoid a repeat performance.
  13. The Best Alias

    The Best Alias TS Rookie Posts: 113

    copied from here:

    S/PDIF is the Sony and Philips Digital Interconnect Format. It can carry a
    stereo pair of channels with a sampling rate of up to 96 Ksps (kilo-samples
    per second) and with a sample precision of up to 24 bits.
    The S/PDIF output
    from CD players fits inside this envelope, being only 16 bits per sample at
    44.1 Ksps. S/PDIF receivers can often automatically adapt to the rate and
    precision being delivered to them. When different sampling precisions are
    used, the most significant bit is always at the same position in the frame.
    This means that if the transmitted precision is greater or lower than the
    receiver can render, then the least significant bits become automatically
    dropped or padded with zeros respectively.

    The physical link for S/PDIF carries a Biphase Manchester Coded
    stream with a line level of 0.5 volts and transformer isolation at
    both ends. Manchester Coding is a class of line coding methods which
    combining a data stream with a clock on a single channel where there
    are up to two transitions on the line for each bit conveyed. With
    Biphase Manchester, there is a line transition at each end of a bit
    period and a central transition if the data is a one. For CD audio at
    44.1 Ksps the line rate is 5.6448 megabaud and the effective data rate
    is 2.8224 Mbps or 352.8 kilobytes per second. RCA/phono sockets are
    normally used.

    S/PDIF was first used in the commercial hi-fi world to interconnect CD
    mechanisms to external DACs, however at least one hi-fi company today makes
    hi-fi separates which are interconnected using S/PDIF, including an S/PDIF
    pre-amplifier with digital input and output and active loudspeakers with
    S/PDIF input and digital cross-overs. S/PDIF is now widely found on DAT
    players and home theatre separates.

    Apart from the pair of audio channels, S/PDIF also carries a
    subcode similar to the subcode on CDs which indicates the current
    track number and current time within the track. For S/PDIF the only
    widely used subcode component is SCMS, the serial copying management
    system. This enables a stream to be marked as an original or a copy.
    A DAT recorder sold for the consumer market or digital recording
    studio component should mark as a copy anything it records from the
    digital input and is not supposed to allow the user to make copies of
    material which is already marked as a copy. Many contemporary DAT
    recorders my be switched between the consumer and professional mode.
    Other components of the subcode that delineate tracks from each
    other are now becoming more widely supported.

    For professional digital audio, where cable runs between studios
    are often needed, a precursor to S/PDIF known as AES-EBU is widely
    used. The two formats are compatible with each other for audio,
    differing only in the subcode information and connector. The
    professional format subcode contains ASCII strings for source and
    destination identification, whereas the commercial format carries the
    SCMS. Professional equipment will use balanced XLR connectors to carry
    S/PDIF over differential pair cable, as commonly used for low
    impedance microphones. A normal balanced to unbalanced cable will
    allow interconnection and may devices nowadays have both XLR and RCA
    connectors. However, it is important not to use low-microphony cable,
    such as posh guitar leads, for digital interconnections (including
    MIDI actually) since it has very poor high frequency transmission

    A third physical media often used is plastic optic fibre. Optical
    fibre has the advantage that, since it is non-conducting, earth-loops
    cannot be generated and the fibre link is imune to hum and noise
    pickup. In practice, poor quality optical fibre components sometimes
    used can lead to increased jitter generation in the process of
    separating clock from data in the Manchester decoder at the receiver.
    This can cause a measureable degredation of the conversion back to
    analogue format, but advanced design of the circuits using low
    bandwidth phase-locked loops ameliorates the problem.
  14. olefarte

    olefarte TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 1,345   +13

    How to Listen to 5.1 Audio on your computer and Home Theater System

    5.1 Audio on your PC - In order to enjoy 5.1 multi-channel surround sound music, your computer must be capable of playing back 5.1 content.

    Playing AC3 and DTS 5.1 surround sound on your personal computer requires some hardware and software in order to hear 5.1 surround sound.

    There are two options:
    Hardware-based system - Sound Card S/PDIF output connected to an external home theatre system
    A PC with a DVD ROM player (DVD Movies) or CD Player (DTS or AC3 encoded Audio CD)
    A soundcard with digital-out *(S/PDIF)
    Any external decoder - Home Theatre System (see your local circuit city)
    External Speakers connected to your receiver:)
    Software-based configuration - 6 channel sound card's analog output connected to amp/speakers
    A PC with a DVD ROM player (DVD Movies) or CD Player (AC3 or DTS encoded Audio CD)

    Software based DTS decoder such as WinDVD or Power DVD
    Multichannel Soundcard with analog outputs
    External 6-channel powered computer speakers or connect to 6-channel input on audio/video receiver. **5.1 (or Quad) capable speakers - Front Left, Center, Front Right, Left Rear, Right Rear and Sub Woofer

    *Sound Cards with a digital S/PDIF (optical or coaxial) output:

    NOTES: A desktop PC user will need a soundcard that has a certified digital-out (this is indicated with a DTS Digital Out logo). An example of a certified DTS soundcard is the Creative Labs “Sound Blaster Live!” SB0060. Some docking stations/port replicators for laptops have digital-out already available (sometimes labeled “SPDIF”.) DTS 5.1 music discs playback may not be available via the digital out if the soundcard “up-samples” all data to 48KHZ

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