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Help with 5.1 to Receiver over S/PDIF w. ALC 888/1200

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#1
Hi Folks!
I got me an optical S/PDIF cable, for connecting my rigs onboard Realtek ALC 888/1200 (suhould support dolby digital life and dts connect) my RX-V357 today,on Kiex´s suggestion (thanks for that, Dan ;))
The sound is much more defined and clear now, the midtone bass is also more swelling and powerful, and the general appearance of the sound is more rich.

I only have two severe problems now:

1. The 5.1, and also my yamaha sub doesnt thats active but kinda was delivered with the receiver and has its own channel which seems to be connected to the 5.1 doesnt work anymore for standard audio content like MP3´s, Youtube, non dolby content and games... only stereo works there, and is also shown in windows and on the connected receiver :(

2. when i try to play dolby content, like a ripped DVD episode of Stargate for example, i get extremely chopped and distorted content. :ohwell:

i know there are software based ways to solve this, or at least they are supposed to ;)
i appreciate any help on the topic, to solve this.... i would hate to go analog again, digital sounds simply so much better! :)
 
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#2
I only have two severe problems now:

1. The 5.1, and also my yamaha sub doesnt thats active but kinda was delivered with the receiver and has its own channel which seems to be connected to the 5.1 doesnt work anymore for standard audio content like MP3´s, Youtube, non dolby content and games... only stereo works there, and is also shown in windows and on the connected receiver :(
Maybe your onboard soundcard is capable only of 2 channels over SPDIF? When I bought Audigy 2 ZS, there was optical out too, but I found out the hard way that it was only stereo over SPDIF, so I ended up buying X-FI platinum. About your active sub - If stereo is in receiver's digital input, then you probably can't do anything, because when digital input is connected, it completely takes over receiver's mode of operation. (my kenwood behaves the same way):ohwell:
 
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#3
1. The 5.1, and also my yamaha sub doesnt thats active but kinda was delivered with the receiver and has its own channel which seems to be connected to the 5.1 doesnt work anymore for standard audio content like MP3´s, Youtube, non dolby content and games... only stereo works there, and is also shown in windows and on the connected receiver :(
Did you configure Windows to output 5.1? You can do that and test/configure each speaker/channel and also adjust your output sample-rate. If you don't tell Windows you're using 5.1 it'll probably default to stereo (as it does for me on my Home Theater setup).

2. when i try to play dolby content, like a ripped DVD episode of Stargate for example, i get extremely chopped and distorted content. :ohwell:
Sounds like a decoder/output issue. I don't know how to configure VLC but I know that using ffdshow (and MPC-HC) you can configure your output, in this case multi-channel SPDIF, in the decoder settings. If ffdshow doesn't detect a compatible output it will insert an additional decoder which is a great way of revealing that something is wrong.
 
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#4
Maybe your onboard soundcard is capable only of 2 channels over SPDIF? When I bought Audigy 2 ZS, there was optical out too, but I found out the hard way that it was only stereo over SPDIF, so I ended up buying X-FI platinum. About your active sub - If stereo is in receiver's digital input, then you probably can't do anything, because when digital input is connected, it completely takes over receiver's mode of operation. (my kenwood behaves the same way):ohwell:
the alc 888h and alc 888dd should have Dolby Digital Live and DTS connect already integrated, but i dont know if its active all the time, and when not, how to activate it...:eek:

Did you configure Windows to output 5.1? You can do that and test/configure each speaker/channel and also adjust your output sample-rate. If you don't tell Windows you're using 5.1 it'll probably default to stereo (as it does for me on my Home Theater setup).


Sounds like a decoder/output issue. I don't know how to configure VLC but I know that using ffdshow (and MPC-HC) you can configure your output, in this case multi-channel SPDIF, in the decoder settings. If ffdshow doesn't detect a compatible output it will insert an additional decoder which is a great way of revealing that something is wrong.
i cant even change from stereo when trying to configure the digital output... that only works on analogue somehow! thanks for the tip tho! :)
i will also try out ffdshow to see what happens! will keep you posted on what happens! :)
 
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#5
i cant even change from stereo when trying to configure the digital output... that only works on analogue somehow!
That could mean what I said- that your soundcard has 5.1, Dolby Digital Live and DTS connect, but it works only when analog outputs are connected. When digital- it switches to stereo only.
But I don't really know much about alc 888h, only it seems like problem similar to what I had;).
 
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#6
It sound's like it's not decoding the DTS properly. Choppy sound or static over DTS usually means that its trying to stream through PCM. This needs to be adjusted to "bitstream" it should clear up that choppy noise.

You might need a few audio codecs to get this to work properly. Also might have to convert your DTS to AC3...there are a few issues with how those ripped movies are encoded, and if they don't support DTS then you'll get some weird effects.

If the sound card supports DTS then your going to have to play around with some control setting options.

Also check your windows options...that could be why your sub is not activating. If those are OK, then check your receiver for some options.
 

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#7
mine does the same thing it doesn't upconvert stereo to 5.1 or 7.1 in my case
 

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#8
mine does the same thing it doesn't upconvert stereo to 5.1 or 7.1 in my case
That's the problem. The soundcard does Dolby and DTS DECODING, but few cards offer ENCODING to send those signals over SPDIF.

That's why I use an ASUS Xonar.
 
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#9
By default windows Vista and 7 only export audio streams that match the source. So a 2 channel mp3 will only be exported in 2 channel, not using the sub or other surround speakers. XP requires software to upmix it to 5.1 but it will do it depending on hardware.

Using third part software Vista and 7 will allow the upmix to occur, however it must also be hardware supported and I haven't found one that exports it well. The easiest way to force the upmix is to use the receiver to do it, some do not support this however.
 
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#10
Best thing to do is to set your amp to Dolby PL II Music or Movie mode if the amp has these features. The will re-sample the 2 channel audio and simulate surround sound thus filling all speaker channels in your receiver.
 

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#11
Best thing to do is to set your amp to Dolby PL II Music or Movie mode if the amp has these features. The will re-sample the 2 channel audio and simulate surround sound thus filling all speaker channels in your receiver.
Most recievers won't do that with digital sources...
 
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#12
hmmm, all of the receivers I have will do that. As long as I output PCM my 2 receivers (one being 5 years old and the other brand new) are able to matrix the 2ch audio into D-PLX II or any other simulated surround method they support.
 
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#13
My Harman kardon does.


The only other alternative is to purchase software or try and find drivers and hack them a bit to make it work, and even that is iffy.
 

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#14
What motherboard are you using? Windows will only output the default source. So a 2 channel mp3 will only output 2 channels even with DDL or DTS connect (which only work over a digital connection). In order to get sound to the other channels It has to be done via software before the audio signal is sent out. I use foobar2000 and foo_channel_mixer. Works great and is free. As for your DVD playback problem. What DVD decoder are you using?
 
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#15
Velvet Wafer,

Are you using the onboard Realtek ALC 888 or ACL 1200?

The ACL 888 supports Dolby Digital Live and DTS connect. However the ACL 1200 does NOT.

If you've got the ACL 1200, your only solution is to buy a DDL and DTS connect capable soundcard.
 
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#16
That could mean what I said- that your soundcard has 5.1, Dolby Digital Live and DTS connect, but it works only when analog outputs are connected. When digital- it switches to stereo only.
But I don't really know much about alc 888h, only it seems like problem similar to what I had;).
these technologies are supposed to encode the audio, so you still have 5.1 via S/PDIF, but thanks for trying to help! :)
It sound's like it's not decoding the DTS properly. Choppy sound or static over DTS usually means that its trying to stream through PCM. This needs to be adjusted to "bitstream" it should clear up that choppy noise.

You might need a few audio codecs to get this to work properly. Also might have to convert your DTS to AC3...there are a few issues with how those ripped movies are encoded, and if they don't support DTS then you'll get some weird effects.

If the sound card supports DTS then your going to have to play around with some control setting options.

Also check your windows options...that could be why your sub is not activating. If those are OK, then check your receiver for some options.
i got 5.1 to work with vlc, once i installed ffdshow... but the videos now play about 15%faster, the sound too, and its awfully silent, so i have to turn the volume up quite a bit to be able to hear the 5.1 sounds. after uninstall of ffdshow, and a reboot, the problem still is there... strange? im a little bit helpless right now i guess :laugh:


Best thing to do is to set your amp to Dolby PL II Music or Movie mode if the amp has these features. The will re-sample the 2 channel audio and simulate surround sound thus filling all speaker channels in your receiver.
i can do that, in analogue mode, or when i use vlc with a52 thru spdif, but otherwise there is an unchangeable stereo on the digital channels :(

What motherboard are you using? Windows will only output the default source. So a 2 channel mp3 will only output 2 channels even with DDL or DTS connect (which only work over a digital connection). In order to get sound to the other channels It has to be done via software before the audio signal is sent out. I use foobar2000 and foo_channel_mixer. Works great and is free. As for your DVD playback problem. What DVD decoder are you using?
I use a Foxconn A7DA-S 3.0 790GX.
Before i was using digital, with analogue, i was able to hear the music on the surround speakers too, even with an MP3... of course it was only stereo, but the left and right surround speakers seem to be added to the left and right channel then.
Both the surround speakers, and the Sub wont run, that is on its seperate channel of course. tried your suggestion and it does WORK! but i still cant get no sound out of the sub!
As DVD decoder? i guess you mean VLC in that case,eh? :)

Velvet Wafer,

Are you using the onboard Realtek ALC 888 or ACL 1200?

The ACL 888 supports Dolby Digital Live and DTS connect. However the ACL 1200 does NOT.

If you've got the ACL 1200, your only solution is to buy a DDL and DTS connect capable soundcard.
There are 2 codec id´s:

High Definition Audio
Codec Name Realtek ALC888/1200
Codec ID 10EC0888h / 105B0E1Dh
Codec Revision 00100001h
Codec Typ Audio

do you think they may have put 2 different codecs on one board?:wtf:
 
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#17
In ffdshow audio decoder configuration did you go to the Output tab (left column) then under "Pass Through (SPDIF, HDMI)" check off:
-Dolby Digital (AC3)
-DTS
-Dolby Digital Plus (if you're receiver supports it)
-Connect as PCM first (I'm not sure whether this should be checked or not. Start with it checked then uncheck it if you have problems)

Under output formats select "16 bit integer", you can try switching it to "24 bit integer" later (assuming your receiver supports it).

Give that configuration a try but make absolutely sure that the media player you're using is actually using the ffdshow decoders for audio!

If all else fails uncheck "Connect as PCM first" and check "AC3 (S/PDIF encode mode)" then enable the "Resample" filter and "Resample always" with the "Resample to" set to 48kHz.

I don't know a lot about a lot, but I've been working with ffdshow for a while now. :)

Also when you installed ffdshow I'm assuming you installed one of these versions (newer the better usually):
http://sourceforge.net/projects/ffdshow-tryout/files/SVN builds by clsid/generic builds/
 
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#18
I use a Foxconn A7DA-S 3.0 790GX.

High Definition Audio
Codec Name Realtek ALC888/1200
Codec ID 10EC0888h / 105B0E1Dh
Codec Revision 00100001h
Codec Typ Audio

do you think they may have put 2 different codecs on one board?:wtf:

The Foxconn A7DA-S uses the ALC888GR. The ALC888GR does not support Dolby Digital Live or DTS connect according to their spec sheet, Foxconns website doesn't mention support either.


If your soundcard supported these features it would be within the driver's software panel and there would be no need to fiddle with third party software. I've got the Auzentech X-fi Forte and DDL and DTS connect is a selectable option within Creative's panel itself.
 

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#19
I believe that Dent1 is correct.

The datasheet: http://realtek.info/pdf/ALC888_1-0.pdf

However I don't necessarily agree with his appraisal of the software side. When browsing through the datasheet it is clear that there is a format override and an ability to directly manipulate the S/PDIF port from software so, in theory, it should be possible to send AC3 data through the S/PDIF port using the proper software. Not having access to options for DTS and/or DD in the driver control panel only indicates that there is no driver level support for those formats, not that software would be incapable of doing the DSP.
 
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#20
To clarify Velvet would only be able to get DD and DTS in DVD videos or in downloaded DVDrips that are specifically pre-encoded in either DD or DTS, this will be done using the "SPDIF" or "digital out" feature using third party software such as FFDShow Power DVD, Media Player Classic etc.

However, for MP3s and stereo materials he will need a encoding soundcard, which we believe his onboard doesnt support.
 
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#21
To clarify Velvet would only be able to get DD and DTS in DVD videos or in downloaded DVDrips that are specifically pre-encoded in either DD or DTS
Isn't that a bit like saying that if you're going to eat an apple you have to have an apple to eat?

. . . this will be done using the "SPDIF" or "digital out" feature using third party software such as FFDShow Power DVD, Media Player Classic etc.
I concur.

However, for MP3s and stereo materials he will need a encoding soundcard, which we believe his onboard doesnt support.
I'm not clear on this. Since ffdshow is capable of encoding the stream in software there is no reason that hardware support is explicit for those formats.
 

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#22
there is a bit of misunderstanding here.


without DD/DTS encoding you can still get 5.1 audio - but only from a pre-encoded source (such as a DVD/bluray)

summary: its stereo, pre-encoded or a card with DD/DTS encoding. those are your only options.


there are various software solutions that claim to be able to add DD/DTS encoding via software, but they all suck or have extremely limited compatibility.

the realtek encoding settings look like this:



or like this:
 
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#23
Isn't that a bit like saying that if you're going to eat an apple you have to have an apple to eat?.
Yes, that's exactly what it is. To run DD or DTS via SPDIF/Digital out passthrough, you need material that's already encoded in DD or DTs i.e. DVD movie, Bluray disc, or a DVDRip with AC3 intact.

The only way around this is to have a encoding card.

Since ffdshow is capable of encoding the stream in software there is no reason that hardware support is explicit for those formats.
FFDShow is only capable of encoding stereo into Dolby Digital if it's a video file, such as an .AVI file. The limitation of FFDShow is that it can not encode stereo into DTS. Another limitation is that FFDShow can not encode non-video files into Dolby Digital i.e. MP3 and Wav files etc, nor with games.

Because of FFDShow's limitations, a soundcard with both hardware + software support is needed. i.e. Asus Xonar, Auzentech X-fi, Creative Titanium etc.
 
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#24
FFDShow is only capable of encoding stereo into Dolby Digital if it's a video file, such as an .AVI file. The limitation of FFDShow is that it can not encode stereo into DTS. Another limitation is that FFDShow can not encode non-video files into Dolby Digital i.e. MP3 and Wav files etc, nor with games.

Because of FFDShow's limitations, a soundcard with both hardware + software support is needed. i.e. Asus Xonar, Auzentech X-fi, Creative Titanium etc.
You don't need to encode stereo in Dolby Digital to transmit it through SPDIF. The base SPDIF specification is 2 channel PCM audio. (source)

Also I don't understand your reference to video vs. non-video files. The splitter(s) in ffdshow (and most codecs) completely separate the streams so they can be sent to the respective filters/decoders.
 

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#25
You don't need to encode stereo in Dolby Digital to transmit it through SPDIF. The base SPDIF specification is 2 channel PCM audio. (source)

Also I don't understand your reference to video vs. non-video files. The splitter(s) in ffdshow (and most codecs) completely separate the streams so they can be sent to the respective filters/decoders.
his point is that without an encoding card, games are stuck at stereo.