Can't get 5.1 output from sb Extigy optical out, HELP!

Discussion in 'Sound Cards and Speakers' started by cbecker333, Dec 18, 2003.

  1. cbecker333

    cbecker333 Geek Trainee

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    I've tried everything in creative's FAQ and nothing helped (big suprise). Basically I have an xbox connected to my extigy optical spdif in, and the extigy optical out goes to my sony reciever. I have turned on the spdif passthrough mode for the sound card, but I still get stereo output to the reciever. When I connect the xbox optical right in to the reciever, it detects 5.1 and decodes it properly. PLEASE HELP! I know creative labs can't....
  2. pedroosan

    pedroosan Geek Trainee

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    I will try to do the same with a ps2, extigy, and sony receiver.

    What works for me: getting 5.1 out of my extigy when using the laptop-DVD (decode dolby digital disabled, spdif passthrough enabled) and the receiver detects 5.1.

    What also works is switching between 48 and 96khz in the control panel... so both optical out quality settings are detected by the receiver.

    Now, regarding the "optical in" -> pass through -> "optical out"...
    I can't try that yet, have to wait after xmas ;-) but want to make it work too.

    I am not sure if this can work technically:
    HOW about the mixing?
    All input signals are usually mixed together to create one output signal? So optical in might be converted to analog and then mixed and then sent as stereo to optical out. E.g. connect a cd player on line in + the optical in and see if you can hear both.

    If that works, then we need to find an option that makes the extigy treat the "optical in" IN THE SAME WAY as the software spdif-in from the driver side/software dvdplayer.

    I am not sure which "passthrough" setting you were talking about?
    But essentially we would have to find TWO options to make it work:
    1) one that simply forwards optical in to optical out without the capability to mix anlog signals into it.
    2) disable Dolby decode. This is needed in anycase, otherwise the optical-in 5.1 signal gets decoded by the extigy which then sends the Front-R and Front-L signals to optical out. (This is tested with the software dvd player. if the extigy decodes the dolby digital signal, then optical out only gets the front stereo channels.

    If I get it to work, I'll post again after xmas.

    Please let me know too, if you find any news on this topic.

  3. pedroosan

    pedroosan Geek Trainee

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    Ok here is my take on this...

    In short:
    The only available "pass through" setting for the extigy applies ONLY to the software SPDIF-in (the one coming e.g. from a software dvd player like powerdvd...)

    The physical optical-in is unaffected by this option and will regardless of its setting be decoded by the extigy (extigy's DOLBY light goes on)

    If your receiver has multi channel in (my low end sony does have it), you can get dolby digital 5.1 from you console without having to switch optical cables around. Just let the extigy do the decoding and hook up the front/rear/center channels to the receiver's multi channel in.

    I am pretty sure there is no other way around this. Initially the Extigy didn't even have the pass through feature for the software spdif-in. It needed a firmware upgrade to change this.
    Since there are no newer drivers available... there is no chance.

    My above assumption for two kinds of "pass through" was not so off: see quote from creatives knowledge base below ("by pass" option set in AUDIO HQ and "pass through" option). Essentially the physical optical-in can only be "by-passed" to the optical out on Audigy cards and livedrives.

    For me the solution is fine now: I don;t have to change any cables or configuration settings: I can get DD5.1 from my console on all my speakers (Extigy decodes and it's dolby light goes on) or play a DVD on my laptop and get DD5.1 again and the sony receiver decodes (shows the blue light).
    Again all I have to change is switching the receiver between multi channel in and optical in.

    I would have preferred to have the receiver do the decoding also for the console. I also tried to match the output frequency of the PCM signal to the console's: (using PCM 48 in the control panel instead of PCM96) . I was hoping the by-pass would work then, but no success.

    So as it is right now, with the multi channel hookup between extigy and receiver you get your console's 5.1 but if the PC makes a noise (e.g. line-in or wave) it gets mixed together.


    Solution ID # 8921
    What is S/PDIF Bypass and S/PDIF Pass through?
    Keywords SPDIF, S/PDIF, bypass, passthrough, digital,pass-thru
    Applies to Sound Blaster Live! series, Sound Blaster Live! 5.1 Series, Sound Blaster Audigy series, Sound Blaster Audigy 2 series, Live Drive Series, Audigy Drive, Audigy 2 Drive, Digital I/O Series, Sound Blaster Extigy
    Our Advice

    What is SPDIF?

    To view the Knowledgebase article on What is SPDIF, click here.

    What is SPDIF Bypass?

    The SPDIF Bypass feature allows users to route digital signals from SPDIF Input to SPDIF Out without going to the effects processor. It allows users to share SPDIF Ouput path through the Digital I/O Module from the card or another SPDIF output device (for example, DTT3500),without the hassle of plugging in and removing the connection to the single RCA input from either of the two devices.

    To enable the SPDIF Bypass for the Sound Blaster Audigy/Audigy 2, go to Start, Settings, Control Panel and click on Audio HQ. In Audio HQ, click on the tab for Device Controls, then click on Digital Input. Within the SPDIF box, click on the down arrow on the right side to view the SPDIF options, one of them is SPDIF Bypass.

    To enable SPDIF Bypass for the Sound Blaster Live!/Live! 5.1 series, go to Start, Settings, Control Panel and click on Audio HQ. In Audio HQ, click on the tab for Device Controls, then click on Digital I/O. Check the Enable box

    Note: the SPDIF Bypass is only available if there is an Optical Digital I/O card or a Live!DriveII, Live!DriveIR, AudigyDrive, Audigy2Drive or the external Digital I/O Module are installed.

    What is SPDIF Pass through?

    The SPDIF Pass through allows the Sound Blaster card (Sound Blaster Live! 5.1 or later cards) or a software DVD Player to pass the SPDIF signals to an external decoder. It may also be labeled as SPDIF Pass-Thru or AC-3 Pass-Thru.

    To enable SPDIF Pass through on the Sound Blaster Extigy, click here.
  4. cbecker333

    cbecker333 Geek Trainee

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    Thanks for the reply - I think you are right about the un-availability of true 5.1 pass-through from an optical input. Interestingly, Creative Labs support responded to me with some crap about re-installing drivers, I tried that and it didn't work (as expected.) I think they are just avoiding the issue because its kind of confusing when you read the Extigy's various feature lists and many people have mistakenly thought that this was possible with the extigy. Its part of the reason I bought the card, I just didn't have rear channels then so I didn't find out until 1.5 years after buying the card that this was an issue. Creative is happy though, they got their $150 out of me...Hey, wasn't there another big lie about the Extigy? Like that it isn't truely 24-bit? Man, Creative runs a shady business...I used to think their hardware was decent and the software support was just lacking. Now I know better.

    RE: The multi-in on my sony reciever - I have tried this but it unfortunately returns a 60Hz buzzing to my speakers (and sub), coincidentally the very same buzzing that was my original purpose for buying the extigy. I have to use opti-out to my reciever because any audio device connected to my pc, via metal wires (usb cable, audio/rca cable, you name it) always has the 60Hz buzz :(
  5. harrack52

    harrack52 Supreme Geek

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    I might had that even their flagship audigy 2 isn't truly 24-bit. I'll try to find the link if you're interested.
  6. pedroosan

    pedroosan Geek Trainee

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    actually I am pretty happy with my extigy. It let's me do things I couldn't do otherwise and for me the price was worth it. I get full 3D sound in first person shooters, a good amplifier for my microphone,.... all the dolby digital stuff....

    Anyway I don't think it's that bad, i even liked the creative's web support section which is better than what you usually see.

    ABOUT the buzz for multichannel in:
    I am not sure about it, but thats what I would try:
    Are the extigy and the receiver and any active speakers (SW?) connected to the same wall outlet? Try it!
    Also try plugging the extigy or receiver into the outlet "reversed". That is usually the outlet has a wider and a narrow metal piece. Find a way to plug it in the other way round.

    The buzz could be from the 120V power source if the "ground" is not the same on all involved devices.
    IF there is a mistake in the wiring in your walls the "ground" could be switched (reverse the plug and/or connect receiver an extigy to one extension cord)

    YOu might also try it without connecting your subwoofer. Just for testing to see if the buzz goes away.

    Another thing I can think of:
    Maybe your extigy is broken? I mean internally a wire touching something it shouldn't or missing isolation.
    Try buying another extigy, see if the problem persists and return it for store credit ;-)
    Then at least you know if it's the card or something else in your wires.

    All I can say, is that I don't have a buzz.

    if you had the buzz with your pc, then it won't be your extigy.
    Just try using the same 120V outlet extigy and speaker/receiver or PC and speaker/receiver

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