How to hook up a Dolby Digital decoder to the Audigy?
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Ruahrc

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I have an Audigy sound card and am going to buy the Klipsch Dolby Digital 5.1 decoder unit (for my Promedia 5.1's). I am having some trouble figuring out how it will connect though:

My Audigy has SPDIF out on the card in the form of a mini connector. The Klipsch Decoder (hereafter DD5.1) has an SPDIF input in the form of RCA Coaxial cable.

So on the hardware side- I need to buy a Mini-RCA cable? I presume that I only need to buy a mono mini cable since it has the 2 wires necessary for the SPDIF whereas a stereo would have three wires.

On the software side I'm a little confused too. In order to get the DD5.1 to decode, I have to disable the Audigy's software-based decoding. That way the undecoded audio goes from the DVD to the sound card to the decoder, and out to the speakers. Easy enough. But what about other forms of audio? If you're not familiar with the Audigy's contol panel, there is an option to select "digital output only", which I believe will put out all audio through the SPDIF cable into the decoder (where it is converted to analog and out to the speakers) But since there is only 1 cable coming out of my sound card (the SPDIF cable), can it send multiple channels of audio in a digital form? For music, the 2 channels of audio is fine, but like for gaming, where it is often 4-channel, can the SPDIF send all of it?

There is also an option in my Audigy control panel to select which type of speakers I have, either headphones, 2.1, 4.1, or 5.1. This affects how many channels of audio are avaliable (with the speakers playing straight from the sound card), but if I use the "Digital output only" on 4.1 or 5.1 mode, will all the channels of audio get passed through to the decoder?

This is all really, really confusing to me, ANY info is appreciated!

Ruahrc

p.s. my friend has a very similar setup (Klipsch DD5.1, Promedia 5.1, SBLive! Value) except that his sound card is just the Live! Value. He has it wired up the way I described: 1 SPDIF coming out of the sound card (only cable plugged into the card) going into his decoder. The 5.1 speakers are then plugged into the decoder. He said he tried to use the digital output only option on 4.1 speakers but all he got was the front two channels, so he leaves it on 2.1. The problem with this is that now if he plays regular music it only comes out of the front two channels. If I play CD audio or mp3 from my Audigy (set in 5.1 mode) into my speakers (remember no decoder here) I only get sound out of the "main" 4 channels. The decoder has an option to use Dolby Prologic upmixing so you could in theory just use that all the time and get 6 channel sound no matter what you play, but the problem comes in gaming where the 4 satellites are all used individually. With the 2.1 setup you lose those two channels. There has to be a way to make this work right?
 
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Sol_Zhen

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If your audigy doesn't have an optical out like my external extigy card has, just use the mini-jack for the digital out. You'll need a mini -> RCA converter (about $1) and connect any 75 Ohm shielded video cable to that as your digital coax connection to the receiver.

You shouldn't have to make any software changes at all.

[edit] assuming your surround setup will be DD and DTS capable.
 
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Chastity

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The Audigy Digital Out using a standard mini to RCA converter will provide 2-ch stereo output for your gaming, and AC3 5.1 for DVD and AC3 playback.

You could use the ProLogic for polyphonic playback, but ProLogic is mono on the rears. If the game can output in Dolby Surround, your decoder should provide the multispeaker playback.

If you can aquire a DD decoder with front/rear or even front/rear/center/sub SPDIF connectors, the Audigy is capable of outputting 3 seperate SPDIF PCM streams (A 4-pole mini to 3 RCA plugs) Problem is that I don't know any HT amps with that kind of input.

Yeah, I know, annoying as heck.
 
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Ruahrc

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Yeah I got my decoder and see that I basically am stuck with 2-channel for everything except when I use ProLogic or am decoding a DD stream.

About the 3 SPDIF output- yeah I think that feature was pretty much made specifically for the digital speakers Creative makes. I think they have a Digital 5.1 speaker set that uses all 3 SPDIF connections.

My decoder has an optical SPDIF input- If I were to buy the Audigy Optical I/O card or the breakout box (which has optical outs), would an optical connection still only give me 2 channels or would it be able to do all 6 channels on one cable? (Talking about normal audio, not compressed DD content)
 
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Sol_Zhen

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"would an optical connection still only give me 2 channels or would it be able to do all 6 channels on one cable? (Talking about normal audio, not compressed DD content)"

Just what are you trying to get 6 channels out of? I don't get it.

Dolby Digital or DTS 5.1 can have up to 6 discrete channels. However, everything else will be 2 channel.

You can use a ProLogic decoder to get pseudo-surround or surround (if the source material has the matrixed effects).
 
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Ruahrc

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I guess I'm trying to copy what I get if I didn't have the decoder- with my 5.1 plugged straight into my Audigy, any stereo (2-channel) material comes out of the 4 corner satellites. Games that use 3D audio will utilize the 4 corner satellites as well for accurate positioning both front and behind.

With the decoder, any material that is not a 5.1 digital stream will come out in 2-channel, which I can upmix using my decoder's ProLogic feature, which is fine for music, but in games I lose my postional audio.

It also sort of sucks because I have a 5.1 system but most of the time it's like 2.1 or 3.1. I guess I'll get used to it though.

Ruahrc
 
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Sol_Zhen

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"I guess I'm trying to copy what I get if I didn't have the decoder- with my 5.1 plugged straight into my Audigy, any stereo (2-channel) material comes out of the 4 corner satellites. Games that use 3D audio will utilize the 4 corner satellites as well for accurate positioning both front and behind. "

Then you're just used to hearing the rears play the same noises as the fronts. That's not surround, that's just full circle stereo.
 
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