Connecting Sound Blaster Live 5.1 Card to Receiver


Hi all,

Could use some help. I recently purchased a Kenwood 6070 and would like to connect my PC sound card, a Creative Labs SB Live 5.1. I used to have this card hooked up to Cambridge PC speakers thru something called a digital DIN, would set the output to digital and sounded great. Could I still use this connection, or would I have to use the speaker out connector on the SB Live instead? And How? Thanks so much for any help!


Hey Bill,

I had the exact same rig at my computer too. SB Live! Platinum connected to the Cambridge system quad system with subwoofer (which has now crapped out, so I do NOT recommend it...but that's a separate thread).

You mention the digital DIN connection which is used to connect the stereo mini connector on the back of the SB card to the cambridge system (which has a digital amp). My understanding was that the digital DIN connection was just a digital coax connection based on a stereo miniplug. I also think it somewhat "proprietary-izes the connection between the creative stuff and the cambridge gear.

In any event...unless your can jury-rig that DIN connector to coax of optical (in order to plug into your 6070), I think you're out of luck...since that's the only way to get the digital signal out of the SB.

Alternatively, if you have the break-out box that came with the platinum version of the Live! card, you can utilize the SPDIF output. This is what I do when connecting to my HK AVR525 which has M3 decoding capabilities. The soundcard outputs a straight bitstream signal which is decoded by the sounds great.

On the upside, any version of the creative live! card can be used with the breakout box...the problem will be finding one. Check ebay.

You could also just buy a decent sound card with either SPDIF of optical out (IF the 6070 decodes MP3...which I don't think it does...a rather hugely important part of this whole scenario!).

Otherwise, you have to connect analog output of the computer to the receiver. This generally results in crappy sound quality because of all the RF interference inside of a computer.

Good luck,


Phil Krewer

I have a soundblaster 5.1, I think Mp3 card. It should be similar to yours. You can buy a 1/8 inch mono plug that adapts to an RCA plug, about 7 bucks at Radio Shack. Connect the 1/8 to the digital out on the card and the RCA to a coax on your receiver and set the card to digital out only. This should give you a PCM signal to your receiver even when playing Mp3s. I tried this on my receiver and it worked fine.


Assuming the 6070 decodes MP3...which I believe it does not.

*good to know about the mini adapter though.

Phil Krewer
Hey H1,

I don't think my V1 decodes MP3 either, but you can use the sound card to decode it, I think. Although it would probably be better to have a receiver that does the decoding.


Hi Phil,

In your setup, can you play a DTS/Dolby Digital 5.1 on your computer and have the receiver decode it properly? I assume you can, just want to make sure.


Phil Krewer

All I was able to get was the two main channels. But in the manuel for the card there is a set of connections for 5.1 channels and there is probably another way to do it. When I get time I'll check into a way to do that.


The MP3 player does the decoding of the MP3s. The computer and sound card simply passes the PCM output to the receiver. DTS/DD typically require a "pass-through" option in the software DVD player (WinDVD, Power DVD). In that situation the computer does no decoding at all. The raw DD bitstream is sent to the S/PDIF and the receiver does all of the work. Go digital if you can. The output from digital sources will be much cleaner. I would take Phil's advice and get the cable from Radio Shack. I have been through this with the Philips Acoustic Edge and my Gigabyte GA-7VAX with /SP/DIF. No problems.

Phil Krewer

I tried the software pass-through and it didn't really change the output. Only got two channels. From looking at the SB live manual the signals from the digital out connector have the signals for the fronts, rears, and sub/center divided. They show a special 4 pole 1/8" minijack which has 3 stripes in order to obtain all the 5.1 channels. As of yet I have not been able to find one to check this out. I suspect that you could use a stereo mini jack but you would lose some info, but possible get the front and either sub/center or rears. If you could find the 4 pole minijack you would probably get all the 5.1.

I also have a Gigabyte MB with a SB 128 on board and both optical and coax out. For me this would work great, but not for the SB 5.1 card.


You know, I think you are right. I seem to remember that there were some problems with getting AC3 out of the live. One guy had a site that showed how to add a connector to some jumper on the card. I also seem to remember that he had to use Gateway 2000 OEM drivers and that was the only way to check some S/PDIF box. From there it worked.

I can't find the site but if I do, I'll forward it. Try this one though.

There is also a company called HOONTEH
They make a SB DB III that puts S/PDIF on the live. Also check has some articles that may help.

Phil Krewer
Hey Derek,

Interesting revalation. I checked out you sites and they said the mono mini to RCA should give you 5.1. I was using the ATI DVD player and just out of curiosity I decided to load PowerDVD and low a behold the 5.1 worked. So with PowerDVD and the 7 dollar radioshack cable you can get DD 5.1 out of the live. Nice and cheap.



Okay I have a Sound Blaster Live 5.1 Value (The OEM version) I want to hook it up to my home theater system which will take a SPDIF co-axial signal, however I'm not sure if my card is capable of outputting the signal... I've gone to Radio Shack and bought a "stereo" mini-RCA connector but that isn't working so far... I think I've done all of the configuring right "just set the AudioHQ mixer to digital out" right, I just want the output for PCM music listening. Anyone have any advice?

Phil Krewer
Hey Jeff,

If I remember reading right the OEM version doesn't have a digital output. If that is the case then you'll have to use something like Hoontooth that Derek mentioned. If you do have the digital jack then one thing to try is a "mono" to RCA connector, which is what I used.


Indeed it does have a digital output it is orange and says SPDIF and is exactly the same as the pictured version... (unless it is inactive which I could imagine is the case) But with this stereo minijack adapter I'm getting no sound... so what else did you have to do? As far as software... just check digital out in the surround mixer? Thanks for the help man! (Do you have a picture of your setup?)

Phil Krewer
Hey Jeff,

Ok that's the right connector and you clicked digital out only. I didn't use a stereo mini jack. I used a mono mini jack to RCA adapter. Mine only has one stripe. If you have an email I can send you a pic later today. But, if your 1/8" mini jack has two stripes you might try taking back to radio shack and getting a mono mini-jack. I was able to get both PCM and DD 5.1 from it.


Check it out man (and everyone else trying to do the same thing) A mono jack is completely critical, it will -NOT- work with a stereo adapter. After rigging up a mono jack setup it worked PERFECT with a Sound Blaster Live 5.1 OEM just by clicking the 'ENABLE DIGITAL OUT' box in the surround mixer and hooking the digital co-axial up to the right input on your receiver. I have not tested DD 5.1 because I don't have any sources, but this is a lot cheaper than buying a $1000 music server when you can get a 120GB HD for <$150. Thanks for your help all!

All versions of the SB Live card have coaxial digital output (even the OEM). You should be able to connect either a stereo or a mono mini-plug-to-RCA cable to the orange jack and get linear PCM signal to your receiver. When you play DVDs, enable SPDIF output from your DVD player and that will send the original DD5.1 or DTS sound track of the DVD to your receiver. It is crucial in this case NOT to have "AC3 decode" enabled in your Creative Surrround Mixer.

The problem is to get 5.1 channel output from regular programs - i.e. not DVDs. Creative has a CMSS system which up-mixes stereo signals to 5.1 channels but the digital output is in 3 discrete 2-channel SPDIF streams (i.e. they're not compressed into one SPDIF stream like they are with DTS for instance - and so you need a 4-pole mini-plug jack). I haven't been able to find such a jack, but even if I do, I won't be able to do anything with it... because my receiver only supports one SPDIF stream at a time. Does anyone know if there are any receivers that can actually take 3 separate SPDIF (uncompressed PCM) signals simultaneously and use them for the 6 channels?

I would like to connect my Sound Blaster live card to a Creek 4040 Integrated amplifier. This is to listen to MP3's with the best possible sound quality. I don't think the 4040 has a digital input connector, it just seems to have standard inputs like tuner, phono, CD, and maybe Aux.
What is the best way to connect this amp?


The Fatty
i just cant get 5.1 out of mine! using PDVD4 deluxe, but still no luck! normal 5.1 test works, but not from this program, all selecctions above 2 speakers are grayed out, anyone no how to fix????

i'm glad i found this place!

I was searching on the internet for this exact type of question and after about an hour stumbled onto this place. Glad to have found it.

I have a Audigy2 and am trying to figure out how to hook it up to a 5.1 digital/dts receiver to get 5.1 sound out of the home theatre. i read the cd manual and it looks like it had the same type of suggested cable hookup that Phil K described. I'll be off to Radio Shack tomorrow. thanks.

Hi there everyone,

I have a Sound Blaster Live! non 5.1 (I belive OEM) and am hooking it up to my sony reciever with a 1/8 inch minijack through the digital out. The problem I found was what Todor said, theres two streams that come out of that jack, one for front left/right and the other is for rear left/right. My reciever also only handles one SPDIF stream at a time, and you can't combine these ether (I tried =\).

When I do dvd, its 5.1 because the AC3 is passed through the card and into my reciever so thats no problem. Does anyone know how you can get both streams into one, or is that not possible?

Hi there!

The signal from the digital output on sb live is 5.0 V while the standard signal for receivers is 0.5 V. Som be ware! You may ruin your receiver if you use those methods mentioned here with mono->RCA-cables. Some equipment may be more tolerant and some may not, so be careful.
Thought you should know.

I'm attempting a similar thing.

I have a soundblaster live 5.1, and am trying to connect it up to my marantz sr4200. Which supports dolby digital and dts.

Living in the UK, I found it hard to get hold of one of these radioshack cables, however i've 'botched' a similar solution. I have a digital coax cable, with a gold 3.5 to phono convertor pic here on one end. However when this is connected to the amp, my amp just picks up on a STEREO PCM stream. I've tried the creative software and when trying to test other speakers; centre, back satellites etc. No luck. I've enabled digital output only, and in the creative mixer - i've disabled ac3 dolby digital decode (as i guess i want the sr4200 to do this)

Any help would be much appreciated.

Are you using PowerDVD or WinDVD? Regular audio will be PCM. Only DVD players can produce the AC-3 stream.

To everyone else: I just picked the ASUS A7N8X motherboard. This thing has nVidia's nForce-2 and is one of only three motherboards actually certified by Dolby labs. It does Dolby Digital ENCODING of all streams and DVD passthrough. I have been doing a lot of testing and so far, this thing works as advertised. I can run the speaker test from the remote of my Denon receiver or from software on the computer and I have bass management before its streamed to the receiver. It's a little expensive though. I paid $131 online.

Yeah, think i'm pretty much sorted now.

When playing a DVD i get full surround, well apart from centre, don't know whats wrong with that. I guess thats working cos i've disabled ac-3 decode so that amp's doing its job.

In the creative live! software, their mixer - in speakers, i've changed it to 5.1 and tried the test that has someone saying the name of the speaker just coming from that speaker - and that still only shows up stereo (front left and right).

Have i missed somehting i should be doing?

i'm using a cable mentioned above in this thread to link my soundcard to a marantz sr4200.

Thats good news to me derek; as I'm planning on useing the ASUS A7N8X Deluxe in my computer. Was it hard to connect from computer to reciever? I'm kinda a novice.

No. I use use four cables. One coax-digital from the back of the computer to the coax in of my receiver. The receiver is set to "auto" and when the computer boots, it shows up as "Dolby D" all the time. The other three cables are comming from my receiver into an ATI All-in-Wonder 8500DV that I use as a scaler to a Proscan big screen VGA input.

DVD Dolby Digital is simply passed through and bass management is a BIG plus. My old Philips Acoustic Edge was a little more subtle in the 5.1 encoding department though.

The Gigabyte GA-VAX and the Asus A7N8X both have digital-in though it's not mentioned on thier web pages. You drill a hole through one of the slot covers and install an RCA connector and stay toatally digital in and out.

Hope this helps.

I have a bit of a short termed memory, so forgive me if I repeat what others have said.

You can buy a four conductor 1/8" mini jack at an exorbitant price from some place like Best Buy. It's in their video section, and it is designed for hooking video recorders to a VCR or something (one video signal and two audio). It probably doesn't have the right impedance for digital audio, but then the Radio Shack mono plug probably doesn't either, and works fine.

I don't know what good this would do, however, since I haven't seen an amp that would take three PCM signals and send them to the right speakers.

I have a Live 5.1 platinum and am running win2k with service pack 3. I have spent the last week trying to get WinDVD 3 or 4 to pass through AC3, but even with the latest SB drivers I get silence. I have read many sites with patches and fixes for other software DVD players, but no one seems to have a fix for WinDVD.

When I enable the pass through it silences all PCM output (MP3 or WAV or whatever) but no AC3 signal reaches my decoder. Does anyone know of a fix for the AC3 pass through under WinDVD 3? I have all ready bought it, and don't want to spend money on PowerDVD or the like.

I don't know WinDVD but in addition to setting the soundblaster for SPDI there is a setting in PowerDVD where you tell the program how to decode the AC-3. The options are: 2-channel (and various fake surrounds), 4-channel, 5.1-channel and SPDI (which does nothing but pass the stream). Do you have that option in WinDVD?

Both must be set for this to work.

Yeah, Derek, I did not miss that one. I have heard of people who have the SPDIF output selection grayed out, but not me. I select that option and all sound ceases to come out of my computer. From what I understand there is some driver compatability issue with Win2k and WinDVD's method of bypassing the "normal" digital output stream (PCM) and simply passing through the non-decoded AC3 stream. Supposedly service pack two fixed this issue, but I have service pack three (should include all fixes in two, plus some)and still can't get it to work. PowerDVD uses a different method of passthrough which even had a work around before service pack two, and will now work with service pack two/three (no work around) but I don't really want to spend the money on a second software DVD player, especially now that I have a stand-alone player that works.

If anyone knows of a fix for WinDVD in Win2k I would greatly appreciate it.

Neil Patel
I just bought the logitech z-680s and they have a digital DTS decoder in the control pod. My sound card is a Soundblaster live platinum 5.1, I am running a Monster THX optical cable out of the live drive and into the 680's control pod. I am getting the same problem that many people have had before, when I do a speaker test it only does the left and right channels, and my sound card seems to think I only have 2 speakers based off the audio settings in WinDVD 5 platinum which is what I am using. I tried going to AudioHQ and looking for a spdif pass through option, but all i have is default and bypass, and bypass produces no sound at all. In Windvd there is a sound option that says pass through, and I tried that. I tried watching minority report which has a DTS strack and a dolby digital 5.1, the DTS track produices no sound when the pass through option is check, and the DD5.1 produces sound like it should( well i think unless the prologic on the 680's is decoding the signal). Can someone please help me, I would greatly appreciate it?

ok up date on what I have done since I got home, I called Creative support and they told me to turn off the ac-3 decoding, so i did, and when i try to set spdif pass through on in windvd, so much noise comes out of my speakers I feel like im under attack. Can someone please help me...?

Vik Ven
Hi everyone. I just bought a z680, the one that Patel has. I have Sound Blaster Live 5.1 Digital. I want to connect the speakers to a receiver and connect my sound card to the receiver as well. If the receiver supports DTS and is digital, What cables do i need to make this connection work? Also, which cables do I have to connect where? Does Sound Blaster Live 5.1 Digital have optical plugins or coaxial? Someone please help me.

Well, after I tried and tried to get the SPDIF output to work in WinDVD I gave up and bought an Audigy (SB0090). I uninstalled all creative drivers and programs, even cleaned out my registry and then installed the basic Audigy drivers. Then I put my Live platinum back in, installed its drivers and then the update for the live drive, then pulled the Live back out, and hooked the live drive up to the Audigy and then installed the latest Audigy drivers. I had to install the Live again because I had to update the live drive to the latest version, otherwise it wouldn't work with the Audigy, and to update the Live drive I needed the most up to date Live platinum drivers.

So with all that I finally have everything working. My Live drive, my Audigy with 5.1 digital or analog out, and my SPDIF output (in Win DVD). I think the only thing I haven't fixed is my game port, but I probably need to get some updated driver for that too.

Oh, and one other thing. I had to rev my bios to use the Audigy card. DELL obviously didn't make their bios compatible with the Audigy orriginally.

The only thing I can figure that was my problem (I did spend some time talking back and forth with Creative support) was that the method WinDVD used for the SPDIF output/bypass was not compatible with the drivers for either Win2k or the Live 5.1 series. If you are set on using WinDVD I would suggest an Audigy. I shelled out $60 for the OEM with connectors and drivers (hard to find though).

Vik, I don't know anything about the z680, but if you have the Live drive you can probably use the optical out, the SPDIF out or the digital out on the back of your sound card. If you only have the sound card then you will have to use the digital out on the back. If you want DTS then you have to set your DVD player to bypass, or output that signal, and then set your speakers to digital output only, and turn off the AC3 decode option under settings. If you have Power DVD you will probably have no problem (other than finding a good mono 1/8" plug to RCA for digital signals) but if you have WinDVD, good luck. I couldn't get it to work.

Ned Ragdnuos
Anyone here got AC/3 passthrough to work with the
Creative Sound Blaster Audigy 2 card under Linux?
I'd prefer not to have to use the analog outputs,
as it's quite a long distance from my computer to
my receiver.
I guess it would be possible to still use the analog
outputs if I could find a converter that used
balanced signalling, but perhaps that sort of thing
is still expensive? Anyone see that sort of thing for a reasonable price?Still, even analog output is fairly good, and
6-channel decoding in linux works pretty well
with mplayer (remembering to set the crossover
frequency for the LFE channel to 200Hz using
"-af sub=200:5 -channels 6").

I have a SB Live 5.1 SE Digital and Creative Inspire 5.1 speakers. It drove me crazy that I was getting center speaker sound only in the surround mixer test. I was going to mess with the cables and pulled out the orange cable that goes into the "center subwoofer" hole on the subwoofer and low and behold I got sound from the center speaker (and all the other speakers). I unplugged it from the orange hole on the card too, so now I only have two cables running into the card but all channels are working. The funny thing is that now when I do the surround mixer test I can't hear the "center" speaker. Good trade off. I hope this helps someone cuz this was driving me crazy.

I have a Harman Kardon A/V receiver. I wanted to be able to play MP3's on my home theatre system. I bought a 1/8" mono to 1/4" mono adaptor and a mono RCA cable from Radio Shack. I plugged the 1/8" side itno my SPDI/F output on my Creative Labs SoundBlaster Live! Value sound card and the other end into one of my digital coaxial inputs on my receiver. I get stereo sound and my receiver can decode MP3's. I can also use WinDVD to get 5.1 sound. I just set the audio setup in WinDVD to go to an external decoder and it works great. If someone has a "greyed out" digital output on the sound properties, it is probably the driver. But, I do not set this and my setup works fine.

Using soundblaster live 5.1 (hooked up to the Sony Theatre System) using PowerDVD4 (and 5) I can get sounds from 2,7,8 speakers but not with 6 speaker setting. With the 7 or 8 speaker setting I can hear the surrounding sounds but not the voice/dialogue. Any clues why PowerDVD won't allow 6 speaker setting?

Oh...i just worked it out. It was the EAX setting (from Soundblaster Util) that needed to be adjusted. When it was put to "no effects", 6 speaker setting on PowerDVD worked. I get proper 5.1 surround sound with

L to the H
Anyone with some linkage to the cables needed to do this?

I live over 2 hours away from the nearest radio shack :P

Hi !
I've just bought sb live 5.1 to connect my PC to Panasonic SC-AK600 theatre system and got some kind of problem : I use SPDIF (coax) output from SB, but it works fine only PCM (mp3s and so on) (i didn't have any hope to encode dolby via SB because PRO LOGIC works fine). But when i use AC3 bypass (in drivers : digital only checked, AC3 decode unchecked, in powerDVD 5 : audio output is set to SPDIF) i receive DolbyDigital sign on my theatre, but it shows that only 2 front channels has reached decoder. DVD sound is fine, but i suppose that it is PRO LOGIC working mapping digital stereo signal to 6 speakers but not true DOLBY DIGITAL. When i use surround mixer test, it shows only 2 front channels also.
Configuration is : sb live 5.1 with SPDIF output (4 pin hole), Panasonic SC-AK600 home theatre, MONOmini(3,5 mm)JACK -to- RCA coax. cable.
Can i get true 5.1 output from sb live in DOLBY DIGITAL mode or it is just a dream ??? or it is easer to change it to audigy or audigy 2 sound card ? and are they capable to output dolby in 1 spdif channel ?
Thanks a lot :)

Slick: The kenwood 6060 takes in six channels of rca input and plays them simultaneusly. I'm sure there are others.

I have that receiver and an SB 5.1 Live card. I plugged in 3 stereo miniplugs from the card to my receiver and am now able to get Front L/R, Rear L/R, but not center and subwoofer. I don't know about the sub because I don't have one, but the center channel definitely does not work. The only way it works is when I play DVD's and stick the card into digital output mode.

Does anyone know how to enable the center/subwoofer output on the card? Or what else is wrong with the setup?

I have a Sound Blaster Audigy Gamer card and Klipsch Promedia GMX 5.1 speakers. I had a lot of options for connecting the speakers -- they support a digital coax connector, toslink as well as RCA connectors. But I've had the same problem many others have reported here, with the 5.1 not working completely.

I spent a lot of time searching the Internet for a solution before coming here and finally gaining a real understanding of the proprietary Creative Labs minijack connector... I guess it is one way to get people to buy the Creative Labs speakers. One option I haven't seen mentioned here, for users of the Soundblaster Live and Audigy cards, is to shell out the extra cash for the Creative "Optical Digital I/O Card II" -- which solves the 5.1 problem for anyone with speakers that will support toslink or digital coax. Creative also offers upgrades to the Audigy cards that include these connectors... I realize all these options are expensive, so use your own judgement of course... in fact I'm not sure I'll use these suggestions myself, but I figured I should share given the valuable information I've read here.

Good luck to all.

There has to be a sound card that will let me take stereo sound from my computer to my stereo. My old SB16 connected to my old Yamaha stereo worked just fine. Sould have keep my win98 computer.

Omri Sadeh
i've been reading all these posts because i plan on buying the Creative SB live 5.1 (the simplest model that supports 5.1). from what i read i hope that connecting the card to my Pioneer vsx-d810s will work and give me 5.1 from the computer to the system. But, unlike most of you (from what i see) i don't connect them in order to hear DVDs played on my comp in my system, i plan on hearing movies downloaded from the net coded with AC3, has anyone here tried something like that? i'm afraid that i won't find a software that will support AC3 coded movie files or any other problems. if anyone tried this and it works i'd love to know.


Great msg board going here.... it helped me out alot..... though i am really really worried about something olley said in the middle of the msg board. He was mentioning about the voltages that came out of the sound card and the ones that recievers usually take. Now if he is right then we are supplying a voltage 10 times what we should be feeding into a reciever and this is oviously not good!!!!!!!!! I'm just wondering if anyone can confirm if this is true or not. ANY HELP WOULD BE GREATLY APPRECIATED!!!


Hey it's me again

I just answered my own question and I thought I would relay it on to you guys just in case you guys are curious...... OLLEY WAS RIGHT.... these voltages are different and using the mono-2-rca/coax setup will supply a voltage a lot greater than your receiver will be expecting.... However this method will still work indefinitely (basic transistor theory) but at the same time, for everyone that understand transistor theory, this will over saturate the transistors in your receiver and draw alto of current from your soundcard..... TO SUM IT UP if you use this method your life expectancy of your receiver and soundcard will diminish exponentially. I WOULD SUGGEST BUYING THE $60 EXPANSION BAY FEATURE OR WHATEVER THEY CALL IT WHICH SUPPLIES A PROPER COAX SPDIF AND NOT TO USE THE TTL SPDIF LOCATED ON THE BACK OF THE PHYSICAL CARD UNLESS YOUR RECIEVER IS EXPECTING THE TTL SPDIF SIGNAL.


Omri, I am not using a Creative Labs soundcard. Instead, I am using an ASUS A7N8X nForce-2 motherboard. It does AC-3 encoding in real time and is one of only two motherboards that is Dolby Certified. When a source that is already AC-3 is presented it, it simply passes it on. I only have two connections between the computer and my Denon receiver - a digital in and a digital out and my receiver always shows Dolby Digital although I see it switch back and forth yo PCM sometimes.

Hope this helps.

I connected "3.5mm to phono" adapter to the orange slot in audigy and connected a coaxial cable to adapter. The cable goes to my panasonic sa-he90 coaxial in. When i turn "digital output only" and test the speakers only front left and right is heard. Im wondering what cable or adaptor to use.

Omri Sadeh
i need help.
my earlier guess wasn't good. i bought the Creative SB live 5.1, connected the orange digital out on the board with the famous mono minijack to RCA 3.5mm coaxial digital input in my Pioneer vsx-d810s, checked "digital output only", unchecked "decode AC3", installed PowerDVD 5 trail ver.
First, stereo sources work good.
But, when i test "5.1 speakers" in the SB software i get only the 2 front speakers.
also, i tried a movie file (i don't have a dvd-rom in my comp) and an audio file coded with AC3, the movie worked only in stereo and the audio file didn't work at all (it made an awful noise)
i tried playing the movie file on PowerDVD while selecting "use SPDIF" in the audio section.
anyone has any idea what else i should do?

that MB that encodes DD is too expensive for me..

I have the same problem, i have SB Live 5.1 connected from the orange digital out to a input in my Pioneer VSX-D510.

And only the 2 front speakers work in the SB Live speaker test. And the AC3-sound in the movies doesn't work for me neither.

Omri, if you come up with a solution please write it here.. :)

Omri Sadeh
after hours of trying things i managed to hear movie files coded in AC3 in my Pioneer! basicly i haven't changed too much in the setup i had when i wrote the last message so make sure you do all those things (like, connecting a mono minijack from the card to the coax RCA in your amp, unchecking "decode ac3", selecting "digital output only").
from here i think you need to do the following:
1. install an AC3 codec (i thought i had one but i guess it wasn't good enough)
2. make sure that on whatever software you use to watch movie files or play DVDs you select an option to use SPDIF.

here's how i did it (try these).
1. downloaded the latest DIVX codec bundle from
2. downloaded a very useful software called AC3filter from which i think solved the problem. read about it's options, there are various configurations you can make there that might solve your problem. i set it on "use SPDIF" and "prefer ac3filter" (the last tells the software to handle ac3 instead of other softwares and codecs) in the settings.
3. also i can recommend a good media player called "AllPlayer" from
movies work good with win98's media player too but Allplayer can display subtitles too.

hope this helps,
by the way, on the SB's surround test it still plays only the two front channels but i don't cares as long as the card sends the Dolby Digital to my Pioneer.

Hi Omri,
Do you know where can I buy this "mono minijack from the card to the coax RCA" in Israel ?
There is no radio-shack stores.
I've checked in 3 electronics shops and non of them had this cable (they only have a stereo connector to dual RCA cable or a small converter plug from stereo to RCA/coax).
Thank you very much, and I'm happy for you !!!

Shahar Peretz
Hi Omri again !!!
Ignore my last message, I found a small connector that transfer from COAX/RCA to mono jack (in a local electronic store).
According to your instruction it worked !!!!
I'm so happy, that you cannot imagine to yourself.
Thank a lot - your'e my Guru !!!

Omri Sadeh
Glad i could help,
i know how these things can annoy you when really want them to work and have all these little problems.

i think that right about now there's enough info and tips on this thread for anyone who has problems in this topic.

I am new to all of this tech so I don't know what a lot of the terms are. I have a bose 10 series 3 acoustimass and a soundblaster live 5.1. I know much else about it all. I want to have 5.1 sound for dvd and mp3s from the computer. I know I have to buy some receiver or somthing but am overwhelmed by all of the forign terminology. Dose any one have any suggestions? has anyone heard of the yamaha rp-u200? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

I have managed to find 3.5mm to Tos-link cable.
Will this work without having this voltage problems, and not having to go through another convertor?


Hi all of you!

With my SB Live!Platinum I have the same problems with WinDVD (and any other player I've tested) and SPDIF output. Using creatives latest drivers you don't get any SPDIF pass through? Me neither. I've already tried every driver and fix I could get on the Internet but it wouldn't solve my problem. Creatives drivers seem not to work properly with Live! cards, when you want do get AC3 out. I have creatives INSPIRE 5500 digital that have an externel DD-Decoder. Dolby-Digital does not blink up on the reciever even if I select SPDIF output on WINDVD.

But I've found a (n interesting) solution!!

Use WindowsXP LIVE!-WDM drivers, that are included in winXP. I got SPDIF-out on WINDVD and any other player, and the Dolby-Digital blinked up on my receiver. I don't know why only the winxp'S wdm drivers are working with that, but finally it's a little sunshine...

Encountered another problem: With thoes drivers you can not use AudioHQ, SurroundMixer, CTPlayer etc. So I cannot load Soundfonts. Does anyone of you have an idea?

Instead of shelling out 60 bux for a breakout box or ruining your equipment with wrong voltages, go upgrade your old 5.1 sound card! Try the m-audio revolution 7.1 card, costs under $80 at compusa now and it's better than audigy 2's. Best of all, it has COAXIAL SPDIF OUT on that PCI card! So you get clean signal thoughout and everything will work like a dream :) I plan on waiting for dedicated sound cards that does DD5.1 or DTS hardware real time encoding for 3d games though hehehe

Boy, am I glad that I chanced upon this forum. I had just purchased a SB Live5.1 and was having problems getting DD/DTS from the SPDIF output. Here's my findings :

Things you will need :

1 A good 75ohm coax cable (I use Belden 1694a) with a 3.5mm mono jack on one end and a canare RCA crimp on the other (altho' any gd RCA plug will do)
2. SB Live card with a digital out socket
3. DVD-ROM drive
4. Windows XP (I haven't tried Win2K or Me yet)
5. PowerDVD or WINDVD

I was having a lot of problems using the Creative dirvers. It was already mentioned earlier in this post before but do not use the SBLive Drivers. If you have already installed it, uninstall fully everything. Do a "Add new Hardware" and specify yr own device driver. Search for Creative and choose the SB Live series (WDM) drivers. Go to the volume mixer (under Enterntainment), choose advanced options and specify digital out only. Under the setup options for PowerDVD/WindDVD, specific SPDIF/Digital output.

Plonk in a DVD and you are ready to rock. I can get both DD or DTS easy. The only set-back is :

a. You may not be able to enjoy the creative software suite (play centre, recorder etc)
b. Thre was some earlier post abt the voltage not being compatible and may overload yr Amp inputs (dunno whether this is true).


Very interesting thread !

When I got my audigy 2 card I knew that I would have to go with an adapter... But this 5V is news to me. I am personally very concerned about this. Should I be ? Did anyone find more information on this, perhaps on an other forum or website ?

Did anyone solve the problem that after connecting the receiver to audigy 2 you can hear only 2 speakers in the speakers test?
And about the 5V is it the output signal also
in the audigy 2?

I could be wrong but I think that you only hear 2 speakers when you use a *stereo* adapter... You need a mono adapter for it to work.

As far as the 5V... I'm still looking for more information, but I can't seem to get anything valuable.

My adapter is mono and even when i play ac3
movies the Denon 1803 receiver dose't light the
dolby digital signal light.

Shahar Peretz
Answer for Avi:

Please go back and look at Omri's comment from the -
Tuesday, August 26, 2003 - 02:35 pm

Do exactly what's written there. It worked for me !!!
I have a creative sound blaster live 5.1 but it should be similar.

can i use a normal RCA audio cable with both male ends and a female RCA to 3.5mm mono jack instead of a coaxial rca cable???
I have a audigy 2 ZS and a RCA DD receiver with a coaxial input

I used a RG59 cable with an F-Type To RCA and F-Type to mini adapters. The cable is approximately 10 feet long... works great !

Regarding the voltage issue, from what I was able to find it looks like it's only affecting older cards... so from the audigy on up it should be fine (maybe even older ?). Although I did not measure it...


Here is a quick and dirty way to protect your receiver from the SB 5.0V overdose -- convert it to optical. True, this will need another "adapter" (i.e Model POF-820 available here: -- price is $25 which is less than even a new SB card. I personally don't take chances like that with an expensive receiver.

You the consumer are foolish for thinking that Creative will re-imburse you for the detrimental reliance you have in their "digital SPDIF connector" that ruined your stereo. -- as evident on this board most assume that it "should" work -- but I do caution the potential damage you could be stuck with. The old "if your going to be dumb, you better be tough or have a lot of money" scenario is what I'm referring to.

As far as all of the problems people on this board have had with connectivity and decoding "NOT" working I would simply suggest NOT purchasing a SBLive. Its obvious that Creative is being corporate flakes and selling their own garbage. Make them adapt to you the consumer and purchase a competing product that does what YOU want it to (i.e talk to EVERY 5.1 reciever in the world ever made - natively), not what "proprietary-Creative" want's it to do (only talk to their speakers, etc). By the time one gets done purchasing adaptors, patch cables, countless hours of troubleshooting, and perhaps ruining hardware one can purchase a top of the line card that does MORE than the Creative line (actually work). -- In other words DON'T SELL OUT to the Creative or SB name.

Hi All

Interesting forum indeed for Creative users.

Anyone knows how to connect - if that is at all possible - the digital output from the SB Live 5.1 (Orange jack + mono 1/8" minijack) to a digital miniDin input e.g. on the Creative DTT3500 system.

I cannot find miniDin adapter for purchase (even creatibe do not sell them!) but can make one if I have the pinouts and if the signal levels are compatible.

Any help would be appreciated.

As a follow-on to my previous post, here is what I have been able to obtain a Dolby encoded digital signal from Power DVD with the minijack/RCA cable between the SB Live 5.1 card and the DTT3500. I used the Creative-supplied drivers and they worked fine.

My question is now : can a digital signal be obtained from the PC CD player - incidentally a DVD player?

I get a Wave signal all right through the SPDIF socket, but I would much prefer a digital signal decoded by the DTT3500.Also the CD Digital slider in the Windows Volume Control seems of no effect.

Any ideas on how this can be achieved?


I've faced the same "problem" that everyone else is facing here. After hunting around, this is the conclusion.

The reason why you're only receiving sound from the 2 channels is because the music that you play from your PC is really only 2 channels, unless of course its an AC3 file. To get your receiver to decode the AC3 signals, just turn off the "AC3 decoding" in your Audigy. This is for people using digital outputs. For those using the analog outputs, you'll have to turn this on (because your receiver won't have any AC3 data to decode, since you're outputing analog signals).

The main issue here is, Audigy does NOT support Dolby Digital encoding. As far as I know, the only chip that supports Dolby Digital encoding is the nForce2 Soundstorm.

This may be a pro, or a con, depending on how you look at it. Your usual MP3's are in Stereo format. The only reason why there is sound when you output in 5.1 analog format is because the soundcard "upmixes" the sound to the 5.1 channels. In true fact, the sound is only "supposed" to be coming out from the front left and right. If you use the Dolby Pro Logic algorithms on your music, your music will come out on all 5.1 speakers, albeit processed a little differently from your card.

The only con I can see at the moment is sound for gaming. Since games do actually make use of all the speakers in a different manner, you do actually need the data of all 5.1. The only way your AV receiver (or Z680) is going to interpret all this data, is if you ENCODE it into Dolby Digital format, which is where the nForce2 Soundstorm's Dolby Digital encoding comes into play.

I hope this helps. I only found out today, after much searching, and MUCH to my disappointment...since I had high hopes for my Z680's...guess its time to change the motherboard. =)

Steven Stansburg
I have a SB Live 5.1 Plat. I don't have a DVD drive on the comp any more so movie surround sound is not a issue. I do have a external DD decoder reciever(Pioneer VSX-D498). They are connected via the SPDIF coax connector on the Live Drive IR (have used the optical also)

On to the question...

People have been posting "Why cant i get 5.1 for non movies or non 5.1 encoded files/games/etc."? Of course if the source of the audio wasnt encoded that way it wouldnt be true 5.1 unique channels. But shouldnt the SB Live fake these channels(similar to how pro logic works) and send my reciever 5.1 channels of audio regardless of the audio format? At the bare minimum I should be able to to the "Audio test" in the creative control pannel and hear my Center and Surround L & R make some noise, right? From the posts i read it seems like nobody has been able to hear sound out of their center and surrounds from that test. This sound card though working fine has given me some headachs....I have changed all the settings and test about everything except that 4-pole mini-plug, which I cant get my hands on for free. Should I hit my pro logic button on the reciever while playing games and forget about it sinces its not 5 unique channles to begin with, which would give me smiliar results? Am I crazy to think a 5.1 sound card should send a 5.1 signal at all times and not just have a 5.1 decoder on board(meaning maybe I misunderstood the point of this sound card)?

Any comments will be interesting to read....

well...i think may be my experience will remedy some of your problems here...

first of all, i am connecting my audigy to my marantz receiver...the problem lie here is not any fault at all, because the spdif is just able to carry a stereo channel of sounds, or either a raw signal which is like dolby digital or dts for the process of the receiver...when you connecting digitally, although you set to 5 speaker in your surround mixer, of course the centre/rear right/rear left won't sound because spdif is just able to carry stereo channel or raw signal...

if you want to get 5.1 in gaming, u need to connect it as analog...that's all, no other solution you can make creative soundcard work in 5.1 gaming through digital mode, there is only one soundcard that can decode 5.1 sounds and send through digital, is the nvidia soundstorm

Hi guys,

I have had generally the same problem as most people on this board. I actually went today and upgraded from a Sound Blaster Audigy 2 to a Sound Blaster Augidgy 2 ZS Platinum, in the hopes that the optical out would cure my problems but it did not.

I now have DVD 5.1 working out of the optical, I think that started working after I downloaded that AC3 Filter that someone above stated.

However, when I try to run Halo PC through my computer and to my A/V receiver, the center, surround and sub channels are mysteriously missing... I only get front left and right. It wouldn't be so bad, but the sounds that are supposed to be in the center and surround speakers just don't exist, so when I shoot forward I don't hear anything, but I'll hear it if it is on the left or right in front of me.

There are no settings in Halo PC to output SPDIF but the game says it is 5.1 surround sound... but how do I get this surround sound data to my A/V receiver??

there is only one way to get 5.1 sound, either u have soundstorm which able to decode 5.1 gaming audio and send it through spdif...or u use the analog out from your audigy2 zs...because when creative design the audigy and live series, they only let 5.1 spdif out possible by using a 3.5mm to 4 pole minijack which only feature in their multimedia speakers which support digital in...

Okay Guys,

This is the solution for the sound problem with the Audigy 2 card, and I think also for Live 5.1 and Audigy 1.

If you get only stereo sound when connecting digital-out to receiver, there is a option to enable digital-out modus (almost hidden).

What you need is the following:
- a good 75ohm coax cable
- a 3.5mm mono jack to RCA

Connect this from your digital-out soundcard to your receiver (digital-in coax).
You can use every driver there is for your soundcard, that doesn't matter.

Go to Start/Settings/Control Panel/AudioHQ

If AudioHQ is not there. Install it from the original soundblaster cd.

In the AudioHQ menu, click on 'Device Controls', tab Decoder. Change this option to 'SPDIF Passthrough (Dolby Digital / DTS Digital Out)'.

Now you've got dolby digital or DTS signal to your receiver.

NOTE: Do not enable the sampling rate on the first tab, because this will enable only stereo-out modus on your audigy 2 card.


Scott J
I have had the same problem as all of you... 2 speakers only testing out using a mini plug and RCA. I tried a stereo plug and converted it back to a single RCA plug and only get a 'boffing sound'. I am skeptical about a 3 or 4 "ring" plug doing anything more here. I'm gonna try the AC-3 filter thing and re-post my results. So far though for AC-3 ripped movies even just getting the receiver to recognize 2 digital channels and my subwoofer recognizes the signal also.. anyway.. getting that to happen and being able to hit the pro logic button to make the center and rears work in pro logic mode is sweet for a "free movie" when you're talking about a divx ripped movie.

Scott J
After further trying and a tech support call to Creative I found out that from what I have tried and what they have told me it cannot be done unless you are using creative speaker sets. I tried another machine and loaded my stuff up from scratch... my card was a SB Live! 5.1 in case I didn't mention it. Anyway.. I loaded up the software, loaded up power DVD, and hooked it up via my mono mini plug to RCA style adapter. Same thing.. just 2 channels. I tried loading AC3 filter and the SPDIF setting on it definitely did not work.. a bunch of digital garbage. At this point I was using SPDIF settings in power DVD and in the AC3 filter. I noticed that selecting different modes for the AC3 filter program did different things... for example.. setting it to 5.1 surround gave both of the normal front channels, but guess what since there was no middle actually functioning I was missing 90% of the voice track because it was sending out true 5.1 and with no center there is no voice. I ended up just killing the project and selected 2 channel from the creative setup and 2 channel with a bunch of emulation and options on and just hit the pro logic button on my receiver.. it isn't true 5.1, but it's pretty good for watching ripped movies. In my talk with creative they said that you HAD to use a creative speaker setup because there isn't a plug that can convert all the channels. He mentioned possibly a 3 pole to RCA adapter?? Dunno why that would work.. I tried mono and stereo plugs and only the mono gave me the 2 I'm getting now. The rep also said that the audigy and audigy 2's are designed this way also.. I dunno if I believe that because one of the new ones have an optical out.. now if for some reason an optical out screws you over somehow then that would really suck.

Anyway.. that is my findings.. just easier to select 2 channel and boost up the treble, bass and turn on the pro logic from the 2 digital tracks you CAN get. It is cleaner and louder than the standard 2 front analog channels and the sub has way more punch.

I have a newly purchased Audigy 2 Platinum without a receiver, and am most interested in playing dvd-audio. My speakers are Altec Lansing powered 5.1's connected as analog to the sound card, and I am not using an audio cable to connect the sound card to the DVD drive. Is anyone familiar with which software is best to hear DTS and MLP coded discs? Or, do I need a receiver for this? My speakers work as advertised (true 5.1) with the current setup, and I have a dvd-audio player (creative mediasource) that will acknowledge some types of dvd-audio discs, but not all. Help!

Is it possible to solve the voltage problem by using a simple voltage divider?

For example get two resistors, say a 1k and a 9k (probably don't make a 9k but just go to the closest). Join the two resistors. then join the ground from the output of the card and the input of the receiver to the unattached leg of the 1k resistor. Then attach the line that carries the digital signal from the card to the unattched leg of the 9k resistor and the input to receiver to the middle of the two resistors.

Here is a simple diagram:

wire carrying the digital signal from the card
.............. *
.............. * 9k resistor
.............. *
.............. * wire carrying digital
.............. |------------------------------>
.............. * signal to the receiver
.............. *
.............. * 1k resistor
.............. *
Ground from the card to the receiver.

Sorry I know it is a bad diagram. BTW ignore the '.', I had to put them there for everthing to end up in the right place.

'-' and '|' are wires.

* is a resistor.

This will divide whatever voltage is sent from the card to the receiver by a factor of 10. The resistor values would have to be chosen carefully to ensure that there is only a small amount of current allowed to be drawn from the card.

I do not guarantee that this will work although I think it will.
I do not take responsibility if you stuff your components by trying it.

Could someone with electronics experience make comments on this.

Crap some stuff still didn't end up in the right place.


Try this out.

I can't believe that AC3 digital output is impossible on a soundblastter audigy, mainly because thats why I bought it. How am I supposed to send 2 PCM signals to my reciever, its digital, you can't just splice the signals together. Is the only way to get surround sound in games and stuff to use analog signals or creaive speakers?

Cid Highwind
This is what creative answer me.

You can buy a 1/8" minijack (4 pole) to RCA adapter and plug this to the
> Audigy 2 ZS Platinum's daughter board (Digital Out Jack). You can get
> this cable at any Radio Shack type store. Please note that 'Digital
> Output Only' has to be selected.
> To turn on Digital Output only so that your sound card works in digital
> mode, then you will need to go to Start, Programs, Creative, Audigy 2
> ZS, and then open the Surround Mixer. There will be a small red plus
> above the main volume bar. If you press on this, then a new screen will
> come up that will have the option for Digital Output Only with a check
> box. Make sure there is a check in that box and then hit the OK button.
> Test the speakers.
> For the above stated connection, you will be able to get 5.1 from games,
> provided the game itself supports that and the correct speaker settings
> are already made via the application 'Creative Speaker Settings'. As for
> music, please note that the commonplace multimedia files such as mp3,
> mid, wav, avi, or wma etc, are of stereo format: right and left only. It
> is common to hear only front right and front left channels from a
> multichannel capable receiver when it is connected to the Digital Out
> jack on a Sound Blaster card.
> Therefore, you will need to enable CMSS, as mentioned in the earlier
> mail, to allow 5.1 sound to be heard from music.

I have an audigy 2 platinium Zs and a Logitech Z-680
The 5 1/4 rack optical digital out and coaxial digital out, are both stereo.
So that's the only way, i don't have radioshacks around here so i'm fried.

I bought an LG Home Cinema System (FA-3000AWE) yesterday and it has DD, DTS and PLII decoders. I have an SB Live 5.1 and WinXP.

To use the decoder in my LG system for DVDs, I do the usual ie, set the software DVD player to SPDIF, and in the speaker setting I set it to digital output and the speaker selection to LiveSurround.

I can also get 5 channels in games by leaving everything as it is (still use the digital input on the receiver) cause LiveSurround in Analogue and PCM modes encodes the 5 channels in games to Dolby Surround and on my receiver I just turn on PLII. Then the stereo PCM signal (Dolby Surround Encoded) gets decoded by the PLII decoder.

The latest WinXP drivers remove support for LiveSurround so I had to go back to the original drivers that came on my CD.

This of course only works if your receiver can accept PCM signals as well as bitstream. And if you have a PL or PLII decoder.

Alwayse use LiveSurround because that output mode is designed for Home Theatre Systems (as opposed to the other modes which are for Multimedia Systems).

In this case you only need to use the digital output of the Sb Live for everything, Movies, Music, Games. It works fine for me.

Feel free to email me for more info.

Sound Blaster Live + Kenwood 6070 Solution

I have been checking out this forum (VERY HAPPY I FOUND IT) and I found out how to successfully get these two to work together, and I thought I would post exactly what I did to get it to work. I presume this should work for other receivers.

What you will need:
mini-plug to RCA converter (bought at RadioShack)
RCA Video Cable (also bought at RadioShack)

Note: I bought the gold plated ones as to get the best connection. Don't know if that is important, just thought I should mention it.

Connect the miniplug to the TOP connector on the SB Card labeled DIGITAL OUT. The other end should be connected to COAXIAL connection which is available for 6CHDVD or VIDEO2 only.

Now in SBlaster, I selected DIGITAL OUTPUT ONLY.
Turn off AC3 DECODE under settings.
I also went into my AC3 decoder software (which was in Control Panel) and put output to SPDIF.

With all of this I was able to get AC3 decode out of the SB Live. Now, one thing to mention, TEST features of SB LIVE will not work, you will only get Left Front and Right Front only. But when you put an AC3 movie in it will have 5 channel output. Hope this helps someone. It helped me.

Everybody ... please listen to Gan And Steven Stansburg if you are going to connect your Creative Sound Blaster soundcard (any SB 5.1 card) to your 5.1 Home Entertainment System (be it any brand)... becoz they've got some accurate research and testing.

To listen to music,MP3s and watch DVD movies, you guys can try the miniplug to RCA(coaxial)connection,with the appropriate settings mentioned. As for gaming, you really need to plug into all the analog output from the card in order to experience 5.1 surround. And the main problem is "Are there every input for every channel from your audio system??" (like 5.1 PC speakers)

if i am getting the HK 525(with MP3 support) do you recomend connecting the system up so the reciever does the decoding, or should i go the route of RCA cables

also, do you think i should buy a good DVD player for my computer, then connect my computer to my reciever?

or should i buy a separate DVD player for my system.

How does the DVD ability for the computer and then its ability to outsource to the reciever compair to a separate DVD player?


There's still one thing that isn't clear for me;
The coaxial-input of a receiver has only room for one RCA-plug, and if you connect a mini-plug/RCA wire (which has two plugs at the end of the RCA-end) between a soundblaster live and home theater, then you have one RCA plug left? Or do I need a special wire?

Solution ID # 4684

Note: The SB Live! card itself doesn't produce a Dolby Digital (AC3) output. It requires an AC3 source and an AC3 decoder.

The following are the three requirements to obtain a Dolby Digital (AC3) output with the SB Live! range of cards:

The SB Live! card has a Digital Out:
The SB Live! has an S/PDIF output on the daughter card - which connects with a 75 Ohm coaxial cable to an AC3 decoder.
The SB Live! Platinum and SB Live! Player 1024 have a digital out (yellow 3.5mm mini jack connector ) - connect with a standard cable which converts the 3.5mm stereo to left/right RCA. Connect the left (white) connector which carries the AC3 stream to the AC3 decoder.The right (red) cable carries no signal.
There is an upgrade card with digital out available for the SB Live! Value from the Creative Online Store. This is the Optical Digital I/O Card 2.

A Dolby Digital (AC3) source:
e.g. a DVD video with an AC3 track encoded with the MPEG stream and playing this DVD using a software DVD player that has an 'enable S/PDIF output' option. An example of such a software DVD player is WinDVD supplied with certain Creative products.

A Dolby Digital (AC3) decoder:
e.g. Desktop Theatre 5.1, Desktop Theatre 2500 Digital

Solution ID # 12605

Why do I only hear front left and front right speakers when I run the Speaker Test program on a 5.1 Sound Blaster card?

Keywords DTS, dolby, digital, multichannel, stereo, front, rear, center, subwoofer, speaker, test, volume
Applies to Creative Inspire 5500


Our Advice
The decoder box of Creative Inspire 5500 Digital speakers has 3 Audio Input connectors: Optical, Coaxial, or Analog Stereo. The speaker system will output discrete 5.1 audio only when it is used with a PC computer under the following conditions:

The speaker system is connected via its Digital input (Coaxial or Optical) to the Digital Out on a sound card, for example, the Sound Blaster Live! 5.1, Sound Blaster Audigy, Sound Blaster Audigy 2 or Sound Blaster Extigy
The source material is encoded with Dolby Digital, such as individual .AC3 files, most DVD movies, or DVD games.
A software DVD decoder/player is installed
The Digital Out Only option is enabled in the Sound Blaster mixer, and the AC-3 Decode option is disabled in the audio card's software.
It will only output stereo (front right or front left) when playing .Wav, .MID, .MP3, .WMA, CD audio or any other non-AC3 files. It will also output stereo audio only if it is connected to the Line-Out on a sound card via the Analog Stereo Input.

The test signal of the Speaker Test option in Creative Surround Mixer is a wave file only, not a .AC3 file. Consequently, when it is used to test the speaker setup when it is connected to the Digital Out, it will only output stereo audio.

To test the speaker setup and speaker positioning, you can use the TEST button on the wireless remote control shipped with the speaker system.

It is possible to connect directly from the Front-Out, Rear-Out, Center/Subwoofer Out of a multichannel audio card such as the Sound Blaster Audigy, to the Front-In, Rear-In, and Center/Subwoofer In, respectively, on the subwoofer, and connect the DIN cable from the subwoofer to decoder box. In this setup, you will hear sound from all speakers when you run the Speaker Test program, provided that the Digital Out option is not checked, and the Speaker setting is set to 5.1 in the Creative Mixer. However, the remote control and the decoder box will have limited functions only. You need to use the Creative Surround Mixer or Windows Volume control to adjust the volume.

Coax Digital standard --

Many companies utilize the Coax Digital I/O standard. The connectors for coax are RCA (phono, or Cinch) type jacks. The S/PDIF digital data is carried electrically on a coaxial cable (a cable with an active center conductor and an outer-grounded shield). Coaxial cable is the same as regular 75-ohm RCA or phono cable. Coax's electrical standards are +/-500mVp-p (milliVolts peak-to-peak). This means the digital ZEROES are represented as -500mV while the digital ONES are represented as +500mV.

TTL S/PDIF standard --

TTL stands for Transistor-Transistor Logic. TTL S/PDIF is most commonly found on computer CD-ROM drives that are equipped with a digital audio output. Some inexpensive PC soundcards also have a TTL S/PDIF input and output. The connector type used is most commonly a 2-pin header. It is similar to Coax in that the S/PDIF data is transmitted electrically, however, where it differs is in its voltage levels. TTL digital ZEROES are represented as 0V, while TTL digital ONES are represented as +5V.

Also, TTL is found on many sound cards like the Soundblaster Live!. Creative Labs sells add-on units that feature TTLcoax or TTLTOSLINK converters

that ttl spdif was info found on some web page
what i cant seem to find is proof of what he wrote. What i have read from creative was the live 5.1 could be hooked up to the DeskTop Theater 5.1 DTT3500 Digital and in the spec write up was

Digital Din: Yes
SPDIF-IN (Coaxial): Yes
Front Line-In: Yes
Rear Line-in: Yes

as you can see it says coaxial not ttl and the live 5.1 says it can connect to a home reciever and as far as i can see, home theaters like mine (rx-730)on the back of the reciever it says digital input cd/coaxial.

I would hope that they are saying coaxial and mean the coaxial standard - which is as i posted earlier +/- 500 mv

i hope this helps

BTW i have my computer hooked up to my reciever 3 differant ways
1- standard left/right only
2- 6 channel input front left/right rear left/right center and sub.
3- digital optical - what i did was added a rca splitter on 1 of the outputs from the 3.5 mm to rca convertor and directed a separate coax to the coax input. What happens is when i turn on the digital out my reciever auto switchs to the digital (indicator on front lights up)

all seems to work fine

i hope this helps out.

kalle kallesson
does anyone know if sb audigy has a TTL S/PDIF output or a regular S/PDIF output??

A very interesting thread...

Check these links out.

A cheap optical solution

Some other "home brew" solutions

The only conclusion I got from here is:
"Screw the bozos from Creative and buy something that worth the money!"

Something like "Aeron 7.1 Sky" from or "Revolution" from M-Audio -

I bouth Audigy 2ZS and I it obviosly sucks. If it was a good piece of hardware we do not need forums to put it to work.

New member
Username: Paulsaxton

Post Number: 1
Registered: 12-2003

I have had a Creative 5.1 player card for a long time now. I have had to reinstall my machine and now have a problem with Dolby and DVDs. The quality is not very good, it crackles every now and then. When I look at my speakers (Cambridge Soundworks), the Dolby Light sometimes flashes.

Has anyone had this problem. I have just noticed that someone has advised not using the SBLive drivers so will try the WDM ones



New member
Username: Paulsaxton

Post Number: 2
Registered: 12-2003

Some more information for you. I have now found out that this stuttering occurs not only with DVDs, but also when playing MP3 and WMA files with the input on my Cambridge Soundworks 3500 speakers being set to Dolby Digital/PCM Audio input, instead of the normal digital DIM input

To get Dolby, I need to be on the Dolby input mode.

I have tried both the WDM and the standard drivers, the problem exists with both drivers.

I have a VIA chipset and have installed the latest version of their 4 in 1 driver.

This is really getting annoying now! Has anyone got any ideas? I am not convinced it is a problem with my DVD drive now, as normal WMA and MP3 files are stuttering badly as well.

BTW the sound is more of a stutter, than the crackle I said earlier

Can anyone help asap please?



New member
Username: Greg_pease

Post Number: 1
Registered: 12-2003
Ok heres my problem I have a sound blaster pci512 sound card(i know its pretty old) and i just got a kenwood htb206 home theatre system as a gift the problem im having is one of a couple things actually just unsure i had to convert the rca to the minijacks of course which i did but when i play mp3s or watch dvds i dont get much sound from the right front speaker but when i hooked the right front speaker up to the left it worked fine and when i hooked it up to the rear it worked fine so im guessing either i need a new sound card or the reciever isnt putting enough sound out to the right front channel... any feedback would be greatly appreciated...Thx

Whooa there, Greg! Hey, could you check out the Shift button (makes CAPITALS) and the two buttons at the bottom left that do full stops and commas and retype that post!

Unregistered guest
Here's my problem...Just got a Logitech Z680 and i wanted to connect it to my SB Audigy Gamer digital output, but I haven't the least idea what type of cable I need to make this connection. I understand that I need a male RCA coax digital on one end to connect to the speakers, but what type of connection do i need on the end that connects to the digital out on my sound card. It appears to be a 1/8" stereo jack but I can't seem find any cables like that. Does NE1 know what cable I need and where I can find it. Any help would much appreciated.

Brian R
Unregistered guest
If you have a Soundblaster Audigy Platinum or older, you can simply hook up the fiber-optic out on the break-out box to a fiber-optic input on your receiver and let the receiver decode the DD or DTS.

Brian R
Unregistered guest
oops, older = newer sorry

Unregistered guest
Im having the same issues everyone else is having with the digital out,Im no longer using digi out,Im now using analog connection I get all channels but LFE/subwoofer sounds...:-(
Im thinking about jut getting an Nforce2 mobo...
any ideas?


Unregistered guest
A new mobo wouldn't help your sound issues because the Soundblaster has it's own APU and does all the audio work on it's own to save the CPU a any extra work during gaming etc...

The thing that I would try would be to get a Platinum version of this card because they have S/PDIF in RCA and Digital (in fiber-optic) outputs specifically made for connecting to hi-fi equipment for music editing, importing, and exporting audio. Worth the extra $$ to get this version!

Mike Harris
Unregistered guest
I tried the 1/8" stero plug from the digital out on my SB Live 5.1 to dual RCA connection to my Yamaha reciever and I got a huge pop, some smoke (yes smoke!) from my sound card and my computer's powerstrip went out. My computer restarted fine, no damage to reciever, but my computers' center channel is no longer working! Did I fry my digital out on the soundcard? Is this the voltage issue mentioned above?

Unregistered guest
whooaaa...that sux! I no longer use digital out... its crap! I've got the Analog working now..but my bass is LOW! :-(

I hear that the Platinum version is the SAME only left right speakers

I said jsut forget about digital out use analog if you can.


hi everyone,

i have an audigy2 zs platinum and i tried to hook it up to my 6.1 bose speakers system - the digital connections work fine when watching a DVD-Video.

however, if you want to listen to DVD-Audio or the EAX HD sound you ll need to connect your apm with the analog plugs on the audigy card (orange, black, green) with your amp's 5.1 / 6.1 rca input. therefore using "Minijack-to-RCA" cables will work fine with "front left"&"front right", "back left"&"back right". the third cable is special as it broadcasts 3 (!) chanels instead of the normal 2 --> "front center" & "back center" & "subwoofer", that cable is specially produced by creative and comes with your creative 6.1 (+) speakers set. so you need to find a "minijack" on the one end and THREE RCA connectors on the other...
i almost gave up when i found a cable originally sold for camcorders connecting stereo sound & video signals to your tv/and so on. here are two sites:

also another forum discussing similar problems:

good luck, nik

Unregistered guest
About voaltage problem...

Allgemeine SPDIF Daten:
Samplingfrequenz CD 44.1kHz (2.8224 Mbit/s), DAT 48kHz (3.072 Mbit/s)
Bandbreite: 100kHz - 6Mhz
Signal Bitrate: 2.8Mhz (Fs=44.1kHz), 2Mhz (Fs==32kHz) und 3.1Mhz (Fs=48kHz)
Pins: Digital-In, Digital-Out, VCC +5V, Gnd
Max. Auflosung: 20Bit (24Bit optional)

SPDIF elektrische Daten:
Stecker: RCA (Cinch)
Spannung: +/-0,5V bzw. 1VSS (Computer, insbesondere bei 2poligem Ausgang +/-2,5V bzw. 5Vss !!)
Kabel: 75Ohm Koax (max. 10-15 Meter je nach Kabelqualitat)

Die verfügbaren Samplingfrequenzen der SB Live! sind 44.1kHz, 48kHz und 32kHz. Die Audigy verfügt zusatzlich über eine Samplingfrequenz von 96kHz.

Das elektrische SPDIF Signal benotigt mindestens 2 Leitungen. Einmal Masse (Gnd) und Digital-Out oder Digital-In (SPDIF-In, SPDIF-Out). An diesen 2 Leitungen wird die Cinch Buchse für Digital angeschlossen. Der Voltbereich ist vorgegeben mit +/-0,5V (1Vss = Volt Spitze Spitze) elektrisch.

Doch im Computerbereich hat der SPDIF Digital-Out hier eine TTL Spannung von 2,5V (5Vss) welche eigentlich für optisch ist! Das Datenformat ist aber das selbe. Aufgrund dieser Tatsache kann ich es nicht empfehlen die Soundkarte per Koax ohne Anpassung mittels zusatzlicher Elektronik anzuschlieBen. Im Zweifelsfall sollte man den SPDIF Ausgang nachmessen"

It lloks like we shouldn't do the jack to RCA conversion trick...

I'm pretty sure if you own an Audigy 2 ZS SoundCard you can basically upgrade to an Audigy 2 ZS Platinum by buying the Audigy 2 I/O Drive, which are sold separately as far as I know. I could be wrong though. I guess you could also buy the Creative DDTS-100 Decoder, but if you don't have powered speakers you will need a standalone amp to, I don't think the DDTS-100 has a built in amp. I think you could probably use and SB Extigy to, also the SB Audigy 2 NX external sound card comes with a S/PDIF output and is only a little more expensive than the Audigy 2 ZS.

(I would not recommend using the "RCA-to-3.5"Miniplug adapter" Even if it dose not cause problems it will probably compromise the digital signal, unless Creative makes a 3.5"Miniplug to Digital Coax. Adpater, then that might work.)

If anyone has a 3.5inch Miniplug to Digital Coaxial adapter/converter this site would;

Upgrade your mobo to nForce2 and use the nForce 2 onboard APU "Soundstorm" that has S/PDIF output built in. And an onboard header that allows you to purchase a module that has S/PDIF input and output. (The extra header with input/output is for the Asus A7N8X-E Deluxe, I'm not sure of others nForce 2 Boards with this feature, I'm sure you could find some though)

I'm listening to Black Sabbath-Planet Caravan MP3 on winamp as we speak through an Onkyo TX-SR501 w/ Cerwin Vega AVS-5.1 Speaker setup. The AV Receiver/Amp is connected to my PC via the Soundstorms Default S/PDIF Output, and like I said you can get the module if you need an input as well, the module should only cost 20$ or so.
(It is well worth going through the trouble and expense to fix setup like this, the sound is amazing)

BTW Make sure you buy a good quality Digital Coax, Monster Datalink Interlink-100 is good but expensive, there are cables just as good or better for less $ I hear, the store I was at did not leave me with a choice really, luckily I only needed 4 ft. but it was 40$. That's not even the best cable I was told by the sales person, they had them that cost upwards of 150$ for 4-6ft.

I tried the cheaper THX Digital Coax for 20$ first but was getting white noise when no audio signal was playing and the volume was up it would stop once I started pushing an audio signal, with the new cable I can turn all the master volumes to max and get no noise when there is no audio signal playing.
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