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New sound card for ps3/PC

5631 Views 17 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  burning-skies
Hey guys looking for something for my 3.5mm 5.1 surround sound system (3 inputs) and my ps3 via optical input.

Optical input would be best for ps3, no?

anyway looking for something sub $100 because i honestly cant hear (or am not anal enough to hear) the difference between my current audigy 2 zs and high end cards.
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I think I know what you want... You want to be able to output your PS3 audio via the TOSLINK connection on your PS3 and have it come out of some analogue speakers that you presumably already own?

I don't actually own a PS3 but I do have a 360 and this is how I got my 5.1 audio via the PC until Creative was good enough to break the feature under Vista. (Until recently anyway...)
If I've done my research correctly, your PS3 outputs audio via an optical connection (Or HDMI if you should choose to do so) but we're gonna go with the optical solution for now.
I'm not sure if your PS3 outputs a 5.1 Dolby Digital signal or a standard 2 channel PCM jobby but it shouldn't matter.
Now I forget if the SB Audigy 2 zs was ever able to decode 5.1 audio over a s/pdif input. I believe it did have a hardware decoder for Dolby and DTS signals as I used to own one several years ago, but as you don't have the separate I/O module, it doesn't matter anyway as you have no way of connecting the PS3 to the PC.

My older X-Fi Platinum (I've literally had it since they hit the market) has the separate I/O module which has an optical in/output on the front of the pc. I simply run the optical cable from the 360 to the PC and the PC will decode the audio fed to it from the 360. Works a treat and everything is positioned correctly from the 6 speakers. I know the original X-Fi cards had a hardware Dolby/DTS decoder on board, which meant they could decode the audio from your DVDs and other digital sources, in hardware. The perks of this were you didn't have to fork out for an expensive 5.1 receiver.

With regards to the newer cards, I don't believe the newer cards have this hardware decoder on board, and as a result they will only decode and output 2 channel audio that is sent to it via the optical cable.
The Auzentech variant of the X-Fi will also NOT decode Dolby/DTS signals in hardware, but it can encode... (not that you need this feature) so in all fairness I can't recommend that piece of hardware to you.
There was a page on the creative site that actually stated which models of each card had the decoder in them, but for whatever reason I cannot seem to access the Creative site, so as soon as I can, I shall get back to you.

Sorry if this is confusing at all, I'm tired and typed it in a rush...
I'll tidy it up when I wake up tomorrow.


Edit : The other alternative is you can track down a device that can convert an optical signal into a coax signal and then you might be able to decode your PS3 audio in hardware via your current sound card, as I remember the Audigy 2zs did have a digital-in on the back of it. (I think)

I'd look for said item for you, but I'm based in the UK and I get this feeling most people here are from the US and I have no idea where you guys buy your ****.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by msremmert View Post
I think I know what you want... You want to be able to output your PS3 audio via the TOSLINK connection on your PS3 and have it come out of some analogue speakers that you presumably already own?

I don't actually own a PS3 but I do have a 360 and this is how I got my 5.1 audio via the PC until Creative was good enough to break the feature under Vista. (Until recently anyway...)
If I've done my research correctly, your PS3 outputs audio via an optical connection (Or HDMI if you should choose to do so) but we're gonna go with the optical solution for now.
I'm not sure if your PS3 outputs a 5.1 Dolby Digital signal or a standard 2 channel PCM jobby but it shouldn't matter.
Now I forget if the SB Audigy 2 zs was ever able to decode 5.1 audio over a s/pdif input. I believe it did have a hardware decoder for Dolby and DTS signals as I used to own one several years ago, but as you don't have the separate I/O module, it doesn't matter anyway as you have no way of connecting the PS3 to the PC.

My older X-Fi Platinum (I've literally had it since they hit the market) has the separate I/O module which has an optical in/output on the front of the pc. I simply run the optical cable from the 360 to the PC and the PC will decode the audio fed to it from the 360. Works a treat and everything is positioned correctly from the 6 speakers. I know the original X-Fi cards had a hardware Dolby/DTS decoder on board, which meant they could decode the audio from your DVDs and other digital sources, in hardware. The perks of this were you didn't have to fork out for an expensive 5.1 receiver.

With regards to the newer cards, I don't believe the newer cards have this hardware decoder on board, and as a result they will only decode and output 2 channel audio that is sent to it via the optical cable.
The Auzentech variant of the X-Fi will also NOT decode Dolby/DTS signals in hardware, but it can encode... (not that you need this feature) so in all fairness I can't recommend that piece of hardware to you.
There was a page on the creative site that actually stated which models of each card had the decoder in them, but for whatever reason I cannot seem to access the Creative site, so as soon as I can, I shall get back to you.

Sorry if this is confusing at all, I'm tired and typed it in a rush...
I'll tidy it up when I wake up tomorrow.


Edit : The other alternative is you can track down a device that can convert an optical signal into a coax signal and then you might be able to decode your PS3 audio in hardware via your current sound card, as I remember the Audigy 2zs did have a digital-in on the back of it. (I think)

I'd look for said item for you, but I'm based in the UK and I get this feeling most people here are from the US and I have no idea where you guys buy your ****.

sounds like you know what i'm looking for. My ZS2 has 3.5mm slots and a firewire slot but i dont see any digital-in's (unless its one of the 3.5mms) but yea I was thinking of using optical in for my ps3 since my HDMI will be hooked onto my speakerless monitor. Are you saying the new xi-fis with optical-in dont support 5.1 surround? If so, which models do support it?
 

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Yeah, you want to use the set up I used on my 360 back when I was using XP.
Run a cable to the PC and have it output your PS3's audio over your 5.1 set up.

I had to dig up a few images of your Audigy 2 zs online and I can see from the back plate that it has a Line-In, though I cannot remember if that can be converted into a coax input in the control panel. It's been a long time since I've used one of these cards. I can't seem to find anything online that suggests it can do this though.
If it can (and that's IF, you're gonna need to dig around in your control panel to find this one out I'm afraid) then you'll need one of these things :

http://www.partsexpress.com/pe/showd...number=180-961
I have no idea where you guys buy your stuff but I did find the item you require on a US site.
If one of those 3.5mm jacks on the back of your card can be used as a coax input, then just use a standard 3.5mm to RCA cable (cable with the plugs with the red/white cables) and the audio should come from one of the RCA plugs as it will only be a "mono" input on your PC for the digital in anyway. Should you choose to spend more money on your cables, then that's up to you.

With regards to the X-Fi's ability to decode Dolby Digital/DTS via a S/PDIF input, I still cannot for the love of me get on Creative's site, (and I've tried with 2 PCs and my phone now) but from what I remember, all of the original X-Fi cards have the decoder. So the cards that definitely do:

X-Fi Extreme Music (original one)
X-Fi Platinum (one I use and has internal I/O bay, some of the newer cards have the optical in/out put on the back plate of the card these days)
X-Fi Platinum Fatal1ty (same as the Platinum but has 64mb X-Ram is endorsed by a man who's mouth is smaller than the hole on the end of my dick)
X-Fi Elite (original incarnation)

There are a list of model numbers of all the cards that do and don't include the decoder and it's on their site, but without access I cannot tell you I'm afraid, so you'll have to do that bit yourself if you can get on their site. Some of the newer cards do, some of them don't, so it'll be a bit hit/miss I'm afraid.
If you can't get the 5.1 decoding, then just un-mute the digital input, set it to output 2 channel PCM on your PS3 (it can do that right?...) and just use the CMSS feature on the card to upmix it into 5.1. It won't be true 5.1 but it's better than a kick in the teeth.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by msremmert View Post
Yeah, you want to use the set up I used on my 360 back when I was using XP.
Run a cable to the PC and have it output your PS3's audio over your 5.1 set up.

I had to dig up a few images of your Audigy 2 zs online and I can see from the back plate that it has a Line-In, though I cannot remember if that can be converted into a coax input in the control panel. It's been a long time since I've used one of these cards. I can't seem to find anything online that suggests it can do this though.
If it can (and that's IF, you're gonna need to dig around in your control panel to find this one out I'm afraid) then you'll need one of these things :

http://www.partsexpress.com/pe/showd...number=180-961
I have no idea where you guys buy your stuff but I did find the item you require on a US site.
If one of those 3.5mm jacks on the back of your card can be used as a coax input, then just use a standard 3.5mm to RCA cable (cable with the plugs with the red/white cables) and the audio should come from one of the RCA plugs as it will only be a "mono" input on your PC for the digital in anyway. Should you choose to spend more money on your cables, then that's up to you.

With regards to the X-Fi's ability to decode Dolby Digital/DTS via a S/PDIF input, I still cannot for the love of me get on Creative's site, (and I've tried with 2 PCs and my phone now) but from what I remember, all of the original X-Fi cards have the decoder. So the cards that definitely do:

X-Fi Extreme Music (original one)
X-Fi Platinum (one I use and has internal I/O bay, some of the newer cards have the optical in/out put on the back plate of the card these days)
X-Fi Platinum Fatal1ty (same as the Platinum but has 64mb X-Ram is endorsed by a man who's mouth is smaller than the hole on the end of my dick)
X-Fi Elite (original incarnation)

There are a list of model numbers of all the cards that do and don't include the decoder and it's on their site, but without access I cannot tell you I'm afraid, so you'll have to do that bit yourself if you can get on their site. Some of the newer cards do, some of them don't, so it'll be a bit hit/miss I'm afraid.
If you can't get the 5.1 decoding, then just un-mute the digital input, set it to output 2 channel PCM on your PS3 (it can do that right?...) and just use the CMSS feature on the card to upmix it into 5.1. It won't be true 5.1 but it's better than a kick in the teeth.
alright thanks a lot mate. I care more about 5.1 from my PC than my ps3 anyway, 2.0/1 is enough for me my ps3. I'll probably end up picking a cheap xi-fi
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
alright so i was looking up my current cards specs and if i dont have to buy a new sound card that would be ideal. Anyway my current card on the creative site says

"24-bit Digital-to-Analog conversion during playback with sampling rates of 8, 11.025, 16, 22.05, 24, 32, 44.1, 48 and 96kHz in 7.1 mode and up to 192kHz in stereo mode"

Does that mean it can convert my ps3's digital signal and send out the analog signal to my speakers? If so what cables should i use? The ps3 seems to only have either the optical input or the RCA input.

Alternatively, can i hook up a toslink-to-3.5mm from my ps3 to my sound cards "line-in"?
 

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Xonar D2X

A very detailed review:

http://techreport.com/articles.x/14500/21

Gets the editors choice.

However i see you have XP, so you would be better with a creative. However if you plan to upgrade to vista, Xonar is the better card.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Quote:


Originally Posted by stevebaz
View Post

Xonar D2X

A very detailed review:

http://techreport.com/articles.x/14500/21

Gets the editors choice.

However i see you have XP, so you would be better with a creative. However if you plan to upgrade to vista, Xonar is the better card.

well my question was basically "can i get sound from PC and PS3 using my audigy 2 zs" I'd prefer not to buy a new card.
 
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