Realtek software for Optical Cable

William Dieu

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I recently went from the 3 3.5mm audio cables to an optical cable with my Z-5500. I was hoping audio would play from all 5 speakers by itself instead of relying on Dolby ProLogic II for converting it as it sounds horrible since I can barely hear the surround sound. But instead, I am still obligated to use Dolby ProLogic for surround sound. I saw a person that had an option to use Dolby Digital Live as a Default Format (Control Panel - Sound - Realtek Digital Output (Optical) - Advanced - Default Format). My one only goes up to 2 Channel, 24 bit, 192000 studio quality. Is there a driver I need to install? Should be noted that I am running Windows 8.1 Pro 64 bit and am using a Rampage IV Formula (no soundcard) This is an example of someone that has that option.

My one looks like this but without the Dolby Digital option.

If I am unable to use that format (i'm hoping that I can use it) then can anyone suggest me a piece of software that converts 2.1 audio to 5.1 on the go? Thanks.
 
well... heres another thing to think about

on optical only 2.0/2.1 can be uncompressed sound. for above this say for 5.1 it must be compressed so quality isnt going to be as good as running the short length of 3.5mm cables to your speakers most likely.

honestly i'd just stick with 3.5mm for your system seeing as how its so close and isnt a long run. if you have your speaker system set up far away then perhaps i could see the draw of optical and perhaps it would be an option to consider. unless this is the case though i wouldnt worry about it.

as far as the DD live option.... unless you know what motherboard/soundcard he is running and what version of software i cant really say too much about it.

i'm assuming you meant you were using the digital spdif output on the motherboard? do you have the most recent drivers?
 

William Dieu

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Yeah I'm using the spdif output on my motherboard. Should I get the latest drivers from Asus or Realtek? So basically, I should use the 3.5mm cables for the Z-5500 and save the optical cable for something else? I looked at the drivers at Asus and there is this program called SupremeFx X-Fi II but it doesn't support Windows 8.1. Should I go back to Windows 7 Ultimate and see if that is the program I am required to install for surround sound to work?
 
you should be using the latest drivers if you think you're missing a feature you should have.

generally i'd say you would be better off with 3.5mm with that speaker set. with a good sound card and 3.5mm thats the best you will get. now.... there are mixed feelings about asus's supremefx cards (basically rebranded creative/realtek card). some say its good and that may be true compared to other onboard cards however a decent pci slot card is going to be better.

the reasons i say to use optical over 3.5mm would be
-if you notice crackling, buzzing or other distortion when connected up to 3.5mm
-if the sound quality is really bad
-if the speakers are in another room
-if your 3.5mm connections are broken/dead

now... if its a problem with the 1,2 or 4 i'd just get a soundcard instead. if thats a budget problem and simply not a solution then i'd pick optical as a second choice.

as much as i hate windows 8/8.1 i wouldnt uninstall and reinstall windows 7 just to see if some clunky program from asus works or not. i'd pick a different solution. your choice though. likely the program just adds some sound modes and other features that you really dont need. the actual drivers are what you would need.

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TLDR: i'd probably just stick with 3.5mm

if you wanted an upgrade i'd probably get a slot card before going with optical. if thats not in budget and 3.5mm is giving you issues then i'd say go optical.
 

William Dieu

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Well some have said that if you have a motherboard with high-end sound integrated, you shouldn't need one. My motherboard has SupremeFx III onboard and I'm pretty sure that'd perform better than a cheap soundcard. Oh and with the Dolby Digital Live thing, it came from here : http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1708835 I'm pretty sure the guy doesn't have a soundcard.
 
i'm well aware of asus supremefx onboard sound i have a $330 asus rampage III extreme ROG which was pretty much the top of the line board you could buy in 2010 and it has one of those modules on it as well (they used to be an add on card now it appears they are integrated onto the board). while its certainly better than some onboard sound and perhaps even cheap $10-20 cards its no comparision to any of the half decent cards on the market.

however, if you have had no problem with the sound quality though, dont worry about it as i said before... generally i only advise upgrading if you noticed a problem and if you have none... its not worthwhile in most cases. i only mentioned it as an option since you seem like you want an "upgrade" of some sort (my guess as to why you went optical instead of staying with 3.5mm) and that would have been my suggested upgrade path. your choice.

anyways.... does your motherboard list dolby digital live support in the manual? not all soundcard/integrated soundcards have support. it would help if you listed which particular motherboard you are using. also what surround sound specs it uses (like dolby digital, DTS, DDL, etcetera). also note if you've tried games or movies which support that format.

 

William Dieu

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Well I have a Rampage IV Formula. I'm not sure if it supports dolby digital and dts though because it isn't listed in the manual. It could be why my motherboard doesn't allow me to select Dolby Digital Live. If this is the case, I will purchase a soundcard because why have an expensive 5.1 system if you can't enjoy the full experience. (sorry for the late response)

 
what i dont understand is why you are obsessed over using optical in the first place.

is the sound quality that bad coming out the back of the soundcard with the three 3.5mm connections?

no matter whether you use your onboard sound or a soundcard connnecting up direct with 3.5mm is still likely to give you better sound than going optical.

your choice... i just dont understand why you're going in that direction.
 

William Dieu

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I want to use a different type of connection as with both speaker fill and dolby prologic ii, they convert the sound to 5.1 but I can barely hear the rear speakers and the subwoofer isn't as strong if I just use 6 Ch Direct.
 
If there are no driver updates to enable 5.1 channel audio then you will need an soundcard that supports 5.1 Your setup seems to be oriented toward higher than CD resolution digital files which are mostly all 2 channel and are either 24 bit 96,000 or 192,000 khz.
Using spidf output will work fine. If you have the option use coax instead of optical. Don't forget you will need to set the level of each speaker with a test signal to get them at the correct volumes relative to each other at your chair. That doesn't mean that you will hear them like that unless the audio source wants you to. With Dolby Prologic (not being discrete surround sound) there is always something coming out of all the speakers so if you turn the rears up you will hear something. If you do that with Dolby Digital you are turning up zero signal which gives you zero signal no matter how high you turn it.
 

William Dieu

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I'm a novice at this, so basically how can I achieve 5.1 surround sound with my setup? And be able to play a 2.1 audio source and have sound come out of all 5 speakers? (my motherboard doesn't support coax)
 

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