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A solution to the age-old "surround sound from S/PDIF or coax" problem

- - - - - audio spdif dolby dts connect

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4 replies to this topic

#1
mashakos

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Do you have a surround sound speaker system hooked up to your PC via a digital S/PDIF? Tired of having to fiddle around with control panel windows before running a game just to get surround sound working? I have a solution!

A bit of background: I've been using a PC with a home theater sound system for years, and one thing really bugged me about how audio is set up in Windows. Why is it that when running a game on a PC which clearly has Dolby Digital Live or DTS Connect, does the audio system not switch to surround sound? The PS3 and xbox360 can do it, hell, even the old xbox can pull this off. Why can't our beefy 2012 machines/beasts manage what a lowly console from 2001 can?

Fed up with this, I decided to research a solution. Found a great console application developed by Dave Amaneta that uses undocumented windows API routines to magically switch audio outputs in the background. This was great, but it was half the solution. On my Asus Xonar and a few other sound cards with DDL/DTSc support, merely switching audio output is not enough. You have to open the soundcard's control panel (Xonar Audio Center in my case) and set the required "Dolby Digital Live" or "DTS Connect" setting. If you have previously enabled the setting, you still need to open up the control panel for the switch to properly take effect.

With this in mind, I have created the DDDC Auto.Switch shell application for Dave Amaneta's clever utility.
Check it out and let me know if it's worked with your X-Fi Titanium or onboard audio with Dolby Digital Live or DTS Connect support.
download here: http://www.mashakos....h_ver_0.001.zip

Here are some excerpts from the readme:

What is it?
-----------

The DDDC Auto.Switch application is a shell for the
EndPointController.exe console application developed by Dave Amenta.
The application, once configured, will allow your system to automatically
switch to a real-time encoding audio output source while launching an app
or game. The application will then switch back to the satndard audio
output source once you have closed the launched app/game.
This application provides a solution to the lack of automated detection
of uncompressed surround sound in games and applications in the audio
products of hardware vendors.

What is real-time encoding audio?
-----------

Before HDMI came along, the most popular digital audio output standards
were coaxial or optical S/PDIF digital output. While S/PDIF had many
advantages over analogue audio outputs including the doing away of
electrical interference entirely, it did have a limited bandwidth which
necessitated that any audio with more than 2.1 channels
(anything above stereo) was to be compressed using either the
Dolby Digital or DTS audio codecs.
This poses a problem for a lot of applications (mostly games) that do
have surround sound but not compressed in either format.
A common workaround is using RTA (real-time audio) encoding to one of
the two abovementioned codecs. The two main RTA encoding technologies
are Dolby Digital Live and DTS connect. Since these technologies have
to be licensed, support for them usually comes from the audio hardware
vendor, whether it's a motherboard manufacturer including built-in audio
into it's products or a discrete sound card manufacturer.


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#2
drashwas_8

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I'll try it on my xonar phoebus, but I never noticed any surround issues when running games. I have 5.1 surround connected by spdif to the soundcard (no amp)
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#3
mashakos

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View Postdrashwas_8, on 10 December 2012 - 11:50 AM, said:

I'll try it on my xonar phoebus, but I never noticed any surround issues when running games. I have 5.1 surround connected by spdif to the soundcard (no amp)
are you using logitech speakers or similiar? I think only amps support true 5.1 dolby surround, PC speakers and "surround" headphones usually have "fake" Dolby Prologic II - which simulates surround from stereo output.


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#4
drashwas_8

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yea im useing the logitech 5.1 z906
Cooler Master Sniper Black Edition:

i7-2600K @ 4.6 withcorsair H100 cooler|gigabyte ga-z68xp-ud3|1x256gb crucial m4 ssd|1x320gb WD|1x1tb Seagate|LG DVD rw|FSP 600 watt|LG 27" LED|Creative Labs Inspire 4400 4.1|Zotac GTX570|4x4gb Gskill Ripjaws X 7-7-7-21 (PSU soon)


Samsun Galaxy s2|Razer Mamba|Creative Zen W 30GB|Logitech diNovo Mini|Logitech Rumble Pad Cordless 2

#5
darthoz

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I'll try this out with my Razer Barracuda. I've connected it to my Jamo 5.1 surround system using an optical cable. I'm hoping it works!

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