5.1/7.1 Gaming Audio via Sound Blaster Z

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luci5r

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Guys,

I'm hoping someone who actually has experience setting up 5.1 / 7.1 audio with Creative Sound Blaster Z (SB1500) sound card can help me out. I'm having a somewhat strange issue.

I have a PC, Windows 8.1, with the Creative Sound Blaster Z PCI-Express card. I run a TOSLink Optical cable from the Optical Out jack to my Yamaha RX-A2000 Receiver which has a 7.1 speaker setup and decodes all known audio formats.

I don't have any problem with media playback! I typically use either MPC-HC or TotalMedia on my PC to play media; and my Yamaha receiver is able to receive and playback whatever format is playing in full multi-channel surround. DTS, Dolby DIgital, DTS-HD MA, Dolby TrueHD; all multi-channel formats are being passed through the Sound Blaster Z from my PC to my receiver and the relevant format pops up on my receiver along with the channels that are being used. So for example, if I play a movie with DTS 5.1 audio in MPC-HC, on my PC, I can see "DTS" on my receiver along with "L", "R", "SL", "SR", "C", "S" for left, right, surround left, surround right, center & sub-woofer light up on the receiver.

If I play a regular sound on my PC, like youtube audio, etc, I'll see "PCM" along with "L" and "R" pop on my receiver.

The problem I'm having is with Games. I have quite a few PC games that output 5.1 and even 7.1 audio. Titles like Dead Island Riptide, StarCraft, Dishonored, etc ... all have 5.1 audio available. Some games like Company of Heroes (New Steam Version) have 7.1 discrete audio available as well. For all these games, I obviously select surround format available, 5.1 or 7.1. However, on my receiver, although I'm receiving the audio, it's always showing "PCM" and "L" & "R", just like any other stereo audio. Somehow, it's not receiving or playing back multi-channel surround for Games.

I realize that games don't actually have DTS or Dolby Digital, just discrete multi-channels, so I would expect my receiver to do "PCM" but also receive all the channels - L, R, C, SR, SL, Sub in case of 5.1; but that's not happening.

I don't understand why the Receiver is not receiving & playing back multi-channel surround when I play a game on my PC; but it's receiving multi-channel audio when I play media on my PC.

What do I have to do to get games to playback multi-channel surround sound on my Receiver?

Thanks!
 

luci5r

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This is resolved.

If anyone else stumbles across this; you have to use a Decoder (Dolby or DTS) under the "Cinematic" tab in Sound Studio Pro (software that comes with Sound Blaster Z) and switch the default device to "Speakers" as opposed to "SPDIF", which is very counter-intuitive since I'm actually using SPDIF and not Speakers. However, it works. Multi-channel audio passes through SPDIF to the receiver for everything from Games, Media to PC Sounds.
 

luci5r

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This is resolved.

If anyone else stumbles across this; you have to use a Decoder (Dolby or DTS) under the "Cinematic" tab in Sound Studio Pro (software that comes with Sound Blaster Z) and switch the default device to "Speakers" as opposed to "SPDIF", which is very counter-intuitive since I'm actually using SPDIF and not Speakers. However, it works. Multi-channel audio passes through SPDIF to the receiver for everything from Games, Media to PC Sounds.
 

Blogui

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Thanks Luci5r,
I just got a new Yamaha RX-V577, and I was struggling to get an answer on that... I have seen so many confusing videos, or forum posts, that I was wondering if I could play 5.1 through the Optical Out...
Thanks ;)
 

inquisitor03

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Awesome thank you! :D

Just picked up a Logitech Z906 for my PC and was struggling a little. Like you I just assumed I should default the output to optical in control panel and never even considered switching it back!
 

luci5r

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You're very welcome :)

 

Vitaliy_2

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Thanks Luci5r
 

snthegrt

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Ok so i believe after days looking for a solution to this issue (software seemingly confusing the position of the audio and playing the sound on the wrong speaker over the optical out port then randomly cycling active speakers) i found a post that actually solved it for me. The post was about hyper threading and how windows 10 has its own software version of what the bios does on its own confusing the software and creating latency so on a whim i turned off my pc rebooted into the bios and disabled HTEP rebooteed and watched transformers 4 times to test the speakers (judge me if you want you cant deny transformers is a great sound check for bass and surround sound), im still in day one and i havent had another issue but i will update if it comes back with a picture of me sending back the cursed sound blaster z. hope this help you all.
 
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