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View Full Version : X-Fi Fatality Optical out/Surround


Xion X2
08-18-06, 09:22 AM
I just purchased this card on newegg because it looks like the front panel that comes with it has the optical out that I need to run to my stereo receiver for 5.1 surround, and the card also has Digital EX/DTS built in. Have any of you guys attempted to hook this card up to your stereos? Does a standard optical cable fit? Because I tried hooking a monster-cable up to the X-Fi platinum one time and couldn't get it to fit.

I want surround sound bad. I went with the Auzentech because it has an optical out on the back of the card itself, but after last night I think it's lost me as a compadre forever. Halo online kept crashing on me, and I must have my daily dose of crack. :)

Thanks for any help.

crainger
08-18-06, 09:44 AM
I just purchased this card on newegg because it looks like the front panel that comes with it has the optical out that I need to run to my stereo receiver for 5.1 surround, and the card also has Digital EX/DTS built in. Have any of you guys attempted to hook this card up to your stereos? Does a standard optical cable fit? Because I tried hooking a monster-cable up to the X-Fi platinum one time and couldn't get it to fit.

I want surround sound bad. I went with the Auzentech because it has an optical out on the back of the card itself, but after last night I think it's lost me as a compadre forever. Halo online kept crashing on me, and I must have my daily dose of crack. :)

Thanks for any help.

I'm pretty sure with all of Creative's cards. They will only output digital via optical and co-ax as stereo. IT wont do DDL or DTS encoding. It will decode DDL and DTS.

For 5.1 output you'll need to use the analogues. If you want 5.1 gaming via digital, you should try and stay with your card that does DDL.

sharangad
08-18-06, 10:31 AM
I just purchased this card on newegg because it looks like the front panel that comes with it has the optical out that I need to run to my stereo receiver for 5.1 surround, and the card also has Digital EX/DTS built in. Have any of you guys attempted to hook this card up to your stereos? Does a standard optical cable fit? Because I tried hooking a monster-cable up to the X-Fi platinum one time and couldn't get it to fit.



You could connet your X-Fi to one of these via analogue:

http://www.soundblaster.com/products/product.asp?category=1&subcategory=16&product=14191

Xion X2
08-18-06, 10:50 AM
S of a B. This is driving me crazy.

IT wont do DDL or DTS encoding. It will decode DDL and DTS.

For 5.1 output you'll need to use the analogues. If you want 5.1 gaming via digital, you should try and stay with your card that does DDL.

You'll have to excuse my ignorance, but what does all of this mean, exactly? Does it mean that when I run the optical cable from the front panel on the Fatality to my stereo receiver that it won't run 5.1? If so, what's the flippin use of the optical hookup in the first place?

Is the DTS Home connect device necessary to do this?

Rakeesh
08-18-06, 11:18 AM
You could connet your X-Fi to one of these via analogue:

http://www.soundblaster.com/products/product.asp?category=1&subcategory=16&product=14191

I would stay away from that, you'll quickly find out how much of a POS it is shortly after buying it.

You'll have to excuse my ignorance, but what does all of this mean, exactly? Does it mean that when I run the optical cable from the front panel on the Fatality to my stereo receiver that it won't run 5.1? If so, what's the flippin use of the optical hookup in the first place?

Is the DTS Home connect device necessary to do this?

Yes it is, but that device essentially creates a digital > analog > digital > analog conversion process. Not only do you lose sound quality but you add latency as well. Creative cards simply do not support digital surround, period. You are limited strictly to analog surround unless you switch to another brand.

Smokey
08-18-06, 11:20 AM
Optical out can be used for stereo eg music or 5.1 DD/DTS encoded content, eg movies. Also keep in mind, that if you connect your card up with digital out, you will bypass the soundcards dd/dts decoder!

*edit* in response to AlphaWolf's post

Its not so much that Creative cards do not support digital sound, but rather that only 2 channels can be transmitted over digital cable. So any surround sound source needs to be encoded to 2 channels before being sent to a decoder. So Creative cards do not support digital surround "gaming" as they do not have a DD and or DTS encoder.

Rakeesh
08-18-06, 11:21 AM
Optical out can be used for stereo eg music or 5.1 DD/DTS encoded content, eg movies. Also keep in mind, that if you connect your card up with digital out, you will bypass the soundcards dd/dts decoder!

Which is a good thing BTW. Most HT processors do a much better job than any PC sound card will ever do.

BrianG
08-18-06, 11:33 AM
That is correct. You do not have ENcoding ability with the X-Fi. I have a speaker system that does not have discrete analog inputs for surround.

You can read my X-Mystique review here (http://www.nvnews.net/reviews/x-mystique/) or my X-Plosion review at the other place (http://www.rage3d.com/reviews/sound/auzentechxplosion/).

You can also try the beta drivers available at the Auzentech site (http://www.auzentech.com/downloads.html). The beta2 even mentions HALO specifically.

If you stick with the X-Fi, you'll need the external encoder.

Xion X2
08-18-06, 12:10 PM
Thanks for the responses, guys. What a crock of BS this has turned out to be. I just can't believe that Creative, the most popular PC soundcard distributor on the planet, refuses to add this feature into their cards.

Luckily enough, newegg was kind enough to cancel my order, so I'll hang onto the Auzentech and see if I can work things out. I'll take a look at the drivers again, Brian--thanks. I did download the latest driver last night and Halo still kept crashing, but maybe I'll try it again.

It's kind of strange, because even after taking my Xplosion out and putting my Audigy 4 back in last night, Halo was still crashing every time I played it. It was only after running System Works that it stopped--I then figured maybe there was some kind of bug with the Auzentech drivers that needed to be corrected after the uninstall, because my CPU is normally very, very stable. And recently Halo, Oblivion, and BF2 have all given me problems.

Anyway, I'll take another look at the drivers and see if that fixes things *crosses fingers*. I pray that it does.

Xion X2
08-18-06, 12:13 PM
After taking a look at the driver list, I can see that I never installed the Beta 2 driver that specifically mentions HALO. That would make perfect sense, because Halo has never played in surround; my sound on Halo has been screwed up ever since I installed the Auzen, and it was driving me crazy.

Hopefully this fixes it. I'll report back when I've tried it. Thanks again, guys. :)

ynnek
08-18-06, 12:14 PM
IMO, for gaming, just stick with the X-Fi analog out.. Actually, what annoys me is I dn't know of a good way to do more than 5.1 analog out on the X-Fi.. doesn't it support up to 7.1 analog out supposidly? but nobody knows of the actual cabling connections required..

the other cards won't be able to support the latest ver of eax and openal.. which make a world of a difference in the latest games that use it.

BrianG
08-18-06, 12:17 PM
Also, C-Media has a link on their suppoert page to a generic driver for the DDL/DTS chipsets. Go here: http://www.cmedia.com/?q=en/driver

I have not tried this driver yet, but it is worth a shot.

Xion X2
08-18-06, 12:19 PM
^ I just hate having to run analog. I tried doing that with my Audigy 4 and ended up buying 4 separate cables that convert from miniplug to RCA to run from front/rear/center/sub and even after that I still was missing some channels. It's just such a headache compared to a single fiber-optic hookup. In fact, headache isn't the word. A rush of words made up of four letters come to mind.

BrianG
08-18-06, 12:20 PM
IMO, for gaming, just stick with the X-Fi analog out.. Actually, what annoys me is I dn't know of a good way to do more than 5.1 analog out on the X-Fi.. doesn't it support up to 7.1 analog out supposidly? but nobody knows of the actual cabling connections required..

the other cards won't be able to support the latest ver of eax and openal.. which make a world of a difference in the latest games that use it.
Great if you have the analog inputs for 5.1 or 7.1, but many HTiaBs do not. I miss Soundstorm.

Rakeesh
08-20-06, 12:47 PM
IMO, for gaming, just stick with the X-Fi analog out.. Actually, what annoys me is I dn't know of a good way to do more than 5.1 analog out on the X-Fi.. doesn't it support up to 7.1 analog out supposidly? but nobody knows of the actual cabling connections required..

X-fi doesn't support more than 5.1 for games? Hmm...thats the first time I heard that.

the other cards won't be able to support the latest ver of eax and openal.. which make a world of a difference in the latest games that use it.

EAX is a non issue. I don't know about openal as I haven't used it nor heard it. But IMO digital is better than analog for many reasons. Not only is it easier to connect but there is absolutely zero interference from other devices inside of the PC (e.g. hearing little buzzing sounds everytime you access the hard drive) which you get with analog no matter what and is unavoidable. Some people can't hear it, but I've been able to hear it on setups where other people claim they don't hear it. (I guess it may be one of those things where you don't notice it unless you know what it is first? *shrug*) Either way it is a non-issue.

Some people claim that EAX 5 is supposed to somehow make it easier to pinpoint the location of where sounds come from in games, but I have heard EAX 5 and I don't notice a difference. And on my setup, when I play CS:S I hear the sounds coming exactly from the direction they are in game. I don't know why somebody would claim EAX 5 is any better than EAX 2. What probably makes them think this is the surround virtualization being added by the x-fi's DSP that is possibly enhancing their existing speakers. But if you have a properly configured and properly calibrated surround setup, there is zero need for sound virtualization whatsoever. I have heard a few say that eax 5 makes their surround "louder" as well, but it isn't supposed to actually, that is in fact a DSP feature, which again isn't needed if your speakers are done right.

sharangad
08-20-06, 02:07 PM
IMO, for gaming, just stick with the X-Fi analog out.. Actually, what annoys me is I dn't know of a good way to do more than 5.1 analog out on the X-Fi.. doesn't it support up to 7.1 analog out supposidly? but nobody knows of the actual cabling connections required..


http://uk.europe.creative.com/shop/product.asp?category=14&subcategory=0&product=1076& is what you're looking for.

Rakeesh
08-20-06, 03:05 PM
http://uk.europe.creative.com/shop/product.asp?category=14&subcategory=0&product=1076& is what you're looking for.

Eww thats a terrible price for three miniplug > rca adapters. I could buy all of those from radio shack for $5 USD.

sharangad
08-20-06, 04:25 PM
Eww thats a terrible price for three miniplug > rca adapters. I could buy all of those from radio shack for $5 USD.


Well two of the three mini-plugs are four pole. 3 mini-plugs to 8 phono. So you can actually get 7.1 off it. The wiring for the four pole is specified in the X-Fi user manual so you'd proly be better off building it yourself.

knghtwhosaysni
08-20-06, 05:58 PM
3 mini-jack to RCA Y connectors work well for me with my X-Fi and 5.1 Sony surround sound receiver...

Rakeesh
08-20-06, 06:18 PM
Well two of the three mini-plugs are four pole. 3 mini-plugs to 8 phono. So you can actually get 7.1 off it. The wiring for the four pole is specified in the X-Fi user manual so you'd proly be better off building it yourself.

Ah. Yeah you can buy a four pole connector for about .50 each, a pair of rca connectors for the same price, and a spool of that wire for about .10 per foot. Just needs a little soldering which is easy enough to do.

Xion X2
08-20-06, 11:09 PM
The beta 2 worked! Halo is coming through in surround sound and I was able to make it through 5 multiplayer maps without it crashing!

Ahhhh. Life is good! :D

One thing that did concern me a little is that I got a message after installing the driver to "replug" my device back in. ???

I never did, but it seems to work just fine. It looks like I'm running the Mystique drivers, though? When I was installing the driver it listed it was for the Mystique but not the Xplosion. I lost the helicopter surround test that I had before, too.

*shrugs* Think I'm good to go, regardless. Halo and Oblivion are both sounding great.

ynnek
08-22-06, 07:41 PM
Oh nice. Creative finally did update their home theater cable to support 7.1, and actually have it in stock. Sweet.

BTW, I looked at the manual and it shows a diagram, doesn't exactly tell you exactly how the poles are wired up.. so you'd have to do some trial and error... unless theres a better diagram.

I'll have to order one of these before they go out of stock again.