Sound Blaster Live! Value (with digital output) ==> Digital Home Theater System??

By Compuwiz · 34 replies
Sep 21, 2002
  1. I am getting really frusterated with my sound situation. Right now, I have a 500watt sound system hooked up to a cdplayer, tv, vcr, and my computer. However, it is hooked up to the "Line out" section of the sound card. I have been researching some, trying to see if I can use the digital output and hook it up to my reciever.

    I am stumped. The cables I am using are RCA cables converter thing (red & white RCA ==> computer jack thing).

    My reciever has coaxial and optical digital inputs. I dont know what I need to get to have it so that my soundcard can give full 5.1 sound from my computer.

    Also, as it is right now, i hear buzzing sound from my sound system when I have it selected to the computer. I hear no buzzing sound when I have it selected to my cd player, and sound only comes out of the right front speaker when in TV mode.

    Any help would be greatly appretiated.
  2. JAV

    JAV TS Rookie Posts: 210

    Welcome to TechSpot! :D

    I can't help but did want to let you know there are those here that can. A lot of the members here are from the UK, so there is a time difference to contend with. ;) There are w. hemisphere members here too & I'm sure some others will be around tonite.

    Enjoy the site, check some other posts, good articles on the front page & by our tomorrow afternoon you should have some good replies. :grinthumb
  3. Tweakster

    Tweakster TS Enthusiast Posts: 199

    I am in exactly in the same boat but mine works. I hope Thomas is able to help and maybe put my MSG on answer on here.
  4. bretty

    bretty TS Rookie Posts: 92

    What you need to do is....

    Go to the surround mixer within the creative driver package. In the speaker panel you will see a little tickbox that sayes enable digital output only.
    You need have this ticked, and only the cable running from the orange digital out from the sound card.

    The sound card should no send a signal to the amp. If it is like a DVD sound source, then your amp will do the mixing. If it is a analouge signal, then your amp should treat it as Pro-Logic,

    Hope that helps. Let us know how you go.
  5. Compuwiz

    Compuwiz TS Rookie Topic Starter

    no help...

    I hear nothing when I do what you said. I kept switching between different modes on the reciever "Advanced Surround Sound", "Pro Logic II", "Stereo", etc. and none of them did anything. Do I need a special cord?

    Thnx so far...
  6. bretty

    bretty TS Rookie Posts: 92

    You should only need a mono plug that goes from the orange plug on the sound card, to the COAX digital in on the reciever.

    Then change the digital output only in the creative driver software. Here, I have attached it.

    This might be the only thing that is stopping the sound. Its crap, but the forum wont let anything bigger

    Attached Files:

  7. Tweakster

    Tweakster TS Enthusiast Posts: 199

    Mines the same though mine dosnt have the advance box in the Speaker box. Theres another advance which i can enable Digital but the speaker 1 disables AC3 but i dont hav that 1 although i have a Orange Digital port.

  8. Compuwiz

    Compuwiz TS Rookie Topic Starter


    I have that RCA ==> analog (computer compatible) wire which was like 50 bucks, and i have that in the "DVD section" on my reciever in the Red and White section. U are saying "mono cord from coax to comp"? What cord would I need for that?
  9. bretty

    bretty TS Rookie Posts: 92

    A mono cord from the digitalout (sound card) to the digitalin (reciever)

    But you need to tel your sounds card why you want this to happen. By enabling digital out ONLY, you are telling it to pass through all the sound through the 1 wire.

    What are you testing it with? If it is DVD, then make sure in the same creative driver software that you have "Decode AC-3" off. Otherwise the AC-3 signal will stop at the sound card.
  10. Compuwiz

    Compuwiz TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Where is this "Decode AC-3 off" thing?

    and I can get this mono cord at radioshack right?
  11. bretty

    bretty TS Rookie Posts: 92

    Within the pic I have uploaded, the advanced box to the right of the circled section.

    In there, there are a few options. 1 is center and subwoofwer volumes. Then there is bass redirect, and the last one is AC-33 decode. Just make sure that the AC-3 option is not yellow.

    Yes you will ba able to get a cabel from Radio shack. You might want to find one in your house first before you buy one. It might not be the problem.
  12. Compuwiz

    Compuwiz TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Mine doesnt have an advanced box :-/

    And looking at ur pic, urs says "5.1" mine says "Live! Surround Sound"

    ahh this is really pissing me off. im searching all over for a mono cord and the ones that im finding dont fit into the reciever! AHHH
  13. bretty

    bretty TS Rookie Posts: 92

    Is there anywhere you can enable digital out?

    Dude, at the end of the day you want your sound card to be simply BY-PASS only. You reciever will do the amplification, and speaker positioning.
    What is the name of your sound card.... Is it a Live 5.1? or a value? gamer? There are many different models of the same chip. the 5.1DE and above have support for 5.1, if yours is a LIVE! value, then you will never get 5.1.

    This is becuase the sound card cannot recognise the signal. All it will do is UPMIX the 4 channel into 5.1. Then its a different kettle of fish.
  14. Compuwiz

    Compuwiz TS Rookie Topic Starter


    :D SCORE!:D I found a special mono cord I have, and I hooked it up just like ya said, enabled Coax on my reciever, and it sounds great!

    BTW: I have Sound Blaster Live! Value.

    Im gonna download the 5.1 thing though...see if that sounds different. its time to play along.

    However, with these settings (With digital out) if I switch modes from ProLogicII to other modes, it doesnt play from rear speakers...

    Ill keep playing around. Thanks alot. I appretiate it.
  15. Cliff

    Cliff TS Rookie


    Ok, after having typed a HUMONGOUS explanation of my problem, the soddin forum wipes out my post saying I wasn´t logged in, which I was.

    Anyhow, here we go again, short version:
    I have the same problem with my SB Live 5.1 Player.
    Tried digital, reciever only gets left/right signals.
    So with digital I get nice crisp two channel sound.
    I have a JVC home cinema reciever, with 5.1 support and infinity 5.1 speakers.
    A passive sub, which has the front speakers connected to it. The center and rear speakers are connected directly to the reciever.

    After reading these posts, I tried analog with a 3.5 plug in digital out on the SB card, split into two RCA plugs connected to the "DVD in" on the reciever.

    Now I get all channels, but only thru the front speakers.
    (BTW, I use the soundmixer that came with the SB card to test my speakersetup)
    I´ve set it to 5.1 speakers, tried AC-3 on/off, and reading the manual for my reciever a hundred times.

    Since it´s late and I´m tired I probably missed something in this post, but you get the idea.
    (the first post I wrote was three times as long *sigh*)

    So please, help me or I´ll have to by separate speakers for my computer.
  16. bretty

    bretty TS Rookie Posts: 92

    Try using the other RCA cable that the mini jack splits into.
  17. Cliff

    Cliff TS Rookie

    I´m using both RCA´s, in the analog left/right input ports on the reciever. (when I try the analog setting that is)

    Now I´m back meddling with my digital setup. Set the SB to digital 5.1, the 3.5 is in the digital out, converts into single rca (e.a. digital coax) which is plugged into the recievers digital coax in. The reciever display shows 5 speakers, of which only l/r gets a signal.

    Depending if I choose to go with the digital in or the analog in on the reciever, should I change the 3.5 cable plugged into the SB card from digital out to some other port on the SB card?

    BTW, fast reply, love this forum already

    and on another note, I noticed that when I mute something in the soundmixer and have volume control up at the same time, it unmutes that same thing. So if somethings muted in the volume settings, it´s unmuted in the soundmixer and vice versa.
    Weird. Shouldn´t be the cause of the problem tho.
  18. bretty

    bretty TS Rookie Posts: 92

    Well that sounds like the whole thing is in order. So you have Digital out enabled in the creative driver have set you reciver to recieve COAX.

    You dont have AC3 decode ticked. I presume you testing with DVD? If you are...then make sure your software player is set to SP/DIF output.
    If your not testing with DVD*quickly exits building*
  19. Cliff

    Cliff TS Rookie

    I´m testing with the sound mixers own "test speakers" function.
    I choose 5.1, get a nice pic of the speakers, and each one is highlighted in turn as I press "test speakers"
    When front left and front right is lit up, I hear the accompanying sound (Ala female voice saying "front speaker" in a sensual tone, but no other speakers make any sound.


    I also tried Operation Flashpoint, should support it, at least if I turn on surround on the reciever, but no. Are you saying that I´ll only have 5.1 sound if I play a DVD-movie?

    What about game surround?
    I know that there´s a few games that supports it, right?

    Operation Flashpoint for example.

    Now I´m even more confused :)
  20. bretty

    bretty TS Rookie Posts: 92

    You will only have digital 5.1 if you watch a DVD movie.
    To get game surround you will need to switch the reciever to
    Pro-logic, or something similar.

    For example, I have my LIVE connected to a Yamaha reciever, and I digitalout enabled on my sound card drivers. This means whenever I start playing a DVD, it kicks over into Digital mode. Windows, and all other sound sources including games are decoded by the reciever. This is done in prologic. Your sound card sould only be a pass through device for the sound. I have the same thing, only getting the front left and right in the test, although its nothing to worry about. Try a game with 4.1 channel audio. Halflife (EAX) is a good example. You should have your sound card set to digital out only, and your reciver to select the source. You will never get the DOLBY DIGITAL chip decoding games. It is done through Prologic, or enhanced surround, or what ever nice function your reciever has. You problem is at the reciever.

    If it is getting the sound then you reciever is not interpretating the signal it is getting from the sound card correctly.

    Do you have a DVD drive?
  21. Cliff

    Cliff TS Rookie

    Thanks, that explained a lot. Gonna try messing around a bit now and see what happens. Out of curiosity, would I get the sound thru all speakers in the Mixer test if I got say Cambridge soundworks or some similar computer 5.1 speakers?

    And on yet another note, when I use Pro Logic on my reciever, it sounds a lot worse qualitywise than without.

    Well, a big THANKS for the help, and I´ll be back as soon as the despair returns...:D
  22. bretty

    bretty TS Rookie Posts: 92

    If your speakers are analouge then you will. Although if you use a digital set (one that has a external reciever) then you will only get the front left and right.

    In terms of the pro logic, that is a analouge method of mixing, which is why you get less quality. Either that or you have a poor grade analouge mixer chip in the reciever. I doubt this though.

    Good luck champ.
  23. usmarine2186

    usmarine2186 TS Rookie

    PC to surround sound reciever

    the best way i know to hook up the PC to a surround sound reciever is with the 6 channel input on the reciever. i have a sound blaster live 5.1 card. you hook it up using the analog outputs. (sound card has output for front left/right, rear left/right, and center/subwoofer).

    you'll need 3 of these cables: a 3.5mm stereo jack to 2 RCA (male). this splits the audio into 6 channels.

    just hook up the stereo ends to the sound card and the 6 RCA ends to the correct spots on the reciever with the 6 channel input.
    make sure to set the reciever to 6 channel input, not an auto detect. (subwoofer for me goes with the red RCA, and center with the white/black)

    with this setup, i have 5.1 surround sound on everything that is supposed to including the test tone and games.

    if anyone knows a better way, please let me know.
  24. bretty

    bretty TS Rookie Posts: 92


    That will work fine, although the signal is only analoge. With the single cable and Digital out only enabled you will pass through the sound in digital form, thus keeping the sound cleaner for longer.


    yes If you get some analoge 5.1 speakers then you will get the speakers test though all speakers. Why do you want this so bad? I would be more concerned about Digital DVD audio.
  25. usmarine2186

    usmarine2186 TS Rookie

    digital sound


    i would like the digital sound. i've tried lots of different ways of hooking up the sound card to a reciever but whenever i do it digitally, all i get is stereo sound. since i dont watch dvd's on the computer im not worried about that. i just want the games/music to go through all the channels. the only way i've got that to work is analog.

    i've tried using that mono cord from the back of the sound card, ive tried an SPDIF cable, but still just stereo, ive tried a fiber optic cable, same thing. unless there's a setting somewhere that im missing, i dont know how to get a surround sound digitally.

    dont know if this will help at all, but i have the SB audigy 2 (platinum) with the drive bay part. let me know if you have any ideas.

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