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PC to HT. 5.1 surround sound & games?

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by Chunk-O-Funk, Mar 27, 2009.

  1. Recently I hooked up my PC to my home theater system via a DVI to HMDI cable for the Video, and an optical cable for the audio. So far it works great for things like Netflix, Pandora, and the like in stereo, but I was expecting to get 5.1 surround sound for gaming. I'm not.

    The audio is an on-board Realtek system on my Abit IP35-Pro motherboard. It is capable of 7.1.
    I double checked my BIOS setting and HD audio is enabled. I can get 5.1 audio from a DVD.

    The first game I tried was COD4. In the audio settings there is a setting for 5.1 audio, but after enabling it I only get 2.0. Even after restarting the game with 5.1 enabled I only get a stereo output.

    Any ideas?
    The only thing that I can think of is the game only does 5.1 through the speaker outputs and not the SPDIF (optical) output. Either that or I need an actual sound card to achieve what I want.

    Any insight would be helpful.
  2. Nothing wrong with a good excuse to buy a new soundcard. :)

    I do have the latest driver.

    Actually, the one on the Abit website is old, so I downloaded it directly from Realtek. I may give it a shot, though. Can't hurt. Maybe Abit's driver has some features that only work with their motherboard. Although, Abit's revision numbers does coincide with Realtek's, so there's probably no difference.

    Just got done looking at the Sound Blaster card in my old computer. No optical output. :(
  3. DigMe


    Aug 10, 2002
    Waco, TX
    I'm guessing it would be remedied with a new soundcard. If I were buying a new soundcard today I think I'd go with one of the new ones that uses the PCIx 1x slot like the Xfi Titanium. Or you could just upgrade your video card in the process to an ATI 4870 that has the built-in HDMI and 5.1 surround sound. :D

  4. If its worth anything I've got an Asus DX soundcard which is PCI-e and it's pretty good :)
  5. :D
    Oh, how I wish I could at this point. I'd love to do a SLI setup with the TV. It sure would help when running in duel view.

    I really don't want to spend the money right now, but these sure do look sweet.


    I've got Cristal taste on a Budweiser budget!
    I think I'll shop around a bit. :D

  6. DigMe


    Aug 10, 2002
    Waco, TX
    Links don't work for me.
  7. In my research I came across this very informative, yet disappointing thread over at the AVS forums.

    The conclusion is if you want to get the 5.1 audio from the game to a receiver you will have to use the analog speaker outputs. It doesn't get sent through the optical cable. Of course to do this you will also need 5.1 analog inputs on your receiver.

    Some soundcards today have DD and DTS live which will only simulate a 5.1 from a 2.0 signal through the optical output.

    This info is exclusively for gaming. Most soundcards can decode and pass DD and DTS through the optical cable when playing a DVD on the PC.

    I'm still going to poke around a bit. That thread is a little over a year old now. Probably wasting my time though. :(
  8. That's not so good :(

    I didn't think it would have been limited like that through the optical output
  9. Slight correction.
    Someone responded to a post I made at AVS

    It seems cards with DD Live will actually do and pass 5.1 games though the optical output. Even better if the card supports both DD Live and EAX 5.

    The question now (for me) is if works with Vista. Vista does not support EAX. I'm guessing, but I think OPEN AL is being used more often now. Not sure about DD Live, yet.

    [cheesy reporter voice] I'll report back as the story unfolds! [/cheesy reporter voice]
  10. Just the promised follow up to those that are interested.

    Sort story.

    It's as simple as getting the right soundcard. As long as it supports Dolby Live/DTS Connect. Either of these technologies will work.

    Dolby Live
    DTS Connect

    What they do is convert the audio files in games into a Dolby/DTS signal that can pass 5.1/7.1 through an optical or other SPDIF output. Something your receiver will be able to decode.

    I had one person confirm that he uses Vista and a soundcard with Dolby Live and has no issues.

    As far as what Vista supports I don't think that question will actually be fully answered. :D There seems to be some debate if it supports EAX5 or just parts of EAX. Also, someone mentioned that only Vista supports DTS connect. Either way, the conclusion to that is it's a non-issue as a card with Dolby Live should work with any Windows OS. Some games use EAX and the more current games also have Open AL which seems to be what most games are moving to. Worst case scenario older games may not get converted to 5.1.

    So, any X-fi card will work. Even ones without the Dolby Live option can get upgraded with a $5.00 download from Creative.
    Also cards with C-Media CMI8788 will support Dolby Live.

    That pretty much leaves a few options from Creative, AuzenTech, and HT Omega as well as a couple others. I'm still leaning towards HT Omega, but my budget may make me go for something else.

    So, yay for me. :hyper: :D

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