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Subwoofer output from my creative card?? Answered

Hey guys, can someone help me with this??

I have one of these sound cards, as you can see in the picture. It's worked pretty good for me for the past couple of years, but usually the subwoofer output comes either straight from the normal 2 channel stereo output on the card, piggybacked onto the cable that goes to my stereo and then that goes to my sub amp. Either that or right now I have the subwoofer amp hooked up to the line-level subwoofer output on my surround reciever, but it's still 2 channel audio.

I've recently been fiddling around with my sound card, attempting to get the subwoofer output on it working. I've tried the black socket on the sound card with a 2 channel 3.5mm to RCA cord and apparently it's the rear channels as the subwoofer volume slider didn't do anything in my creative control panel, and according to a pdf I found online for my sound card, the S/PDIF socket also functions as the center/subwoofer outputs when not being used for S/PDIF. I've tried a 2 channel and also a "3 ring" 3.5mm cable I have for a camcorder (As I believe some of the cables that are SUPPOSED to go with this card, have 3 ring contacts on SOME of the cables).

Alas, all I've been able to do is get a loud humming sound out of the connections, doesn't matter what rca channel the subwoofer is plugged into, it hums VERY loudly and absolutely no sound what-so-ever. Does ANYONE have any clue as to what I do to get subwoofer output from the card?!?

Heres a link to the PDF describing what each port is for under "Creative Sound Blaster Live! Digital Entertainment 5.1 Creative Audio Software" and then the submenu "Installing sound blaster Live@ Player 5.1" and the next submenu "Connecting Related Peripherals" and that page describes what each port is for.

files2.europe.creative.com/manualdn/Manuals/TSD/790/English.pdf

Discussions

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HBDWMA

7 years ago

By the way, if you hadn't noticed, I'm a tad frustrated with the current industry standards for sound.

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HBDWMA

7 years ago

Well, I've had nearly every creative sound card ever made with the latest being the X-fi Xtreme Audio HD. I don't know why every motherboard I've had in the last 10-15 years has had better options than even my newest Creative X-fi sound card. Bizarre. Analog, multichannel output (even if only 2.1-left,right, and sub) should be available on every sound card by law. Creative doesn't think so and, while they like to put "HD 5.1 or 7.1 surround" on their boxes, I'd like to see somebody actually get even 2.1 out of these sound cards. Sure if you have speakers that take optical then you 'll get the surround sound, but you'll be bypassing the analog processing features which provides the (only thing I like about X-fi cards) clean, crisp signal to noise ratio, and various effects.

I already have like 500 bucks worth of powered speakers (5 M-Audio studio monitors and an infinity subwoofer) and if I want 5.1 surround to come out of them I either have to use on-board audio (and take a hit in game performance), or I must go buy a surround receiver capable of processing digital/optical signals. I mean, whats the point to having all those features on a sound card if they're bypassed when using the digital out?

Even for the 2.1 that I have now, I actually have to split the stereo output and feed half of the signal to the monitors, and half to the powered sub. Luckily they all have crossovers or it would sound awful. But I know that if I do not split the signal then it sounds much better coming out of the monitors, but I lose my sub.

If anybody out there knows something I don't then please reply in this thread. I'm aware of a sound card (not by creative) that offers 6 analog channels out, and it's like $300 dollars. I'm not an audiophile either, and I can't believe the lack of options in the computer system sound world.

In my opinion surround sound is a nice idea but even in the home theater arena the confusion around all the listening modes, effects features, remastering, virtual 3d stereo surround (what the hell does that mean anyway?) and like 20 different flavors of Dolby this and that makes it barely worth buying a capable system.

On top of ALL THAT; you have this bizarre problem with the audio in movies where you need to turn the volume waaaaay up when people are just talking in a normal voice, but then when the action happens it's so incredibly loud that you need to check for blood coming out of your eyes and ears! And the "night time compression" features don't really work well do they? Even then I can't decide if I enable the features in the bd/dvd player's menus, or the TV setup, or the sound system options (most of which I can't even understand, nor can I tell any difference between when they're enabled or not enabled...)

For the love of God. can't we just have good sound? I mean, my car doesnt have buttons for choosing between 6 cylinders or 8, or a set of dials to customize my air/fuel mixtures, exhaust back pressure and richness. Which is good because I figured the engineers knew what they were doing anyway.

I'd like to plug the cords into the computer, and the other ends into some speakers and have what they advertised which is "5.1 or 7.1 (or even 2.1!) surround sound. I could play online games, and know by listening if the footsteps behind me are to the right or left. Thats it... soo... ummm... anyone anyone anyone?

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NachoMahma

8 years ago

.  If you can provide links to some of the documentation, someone can probably help you out.
.
.  If you are getting little or no hum out of the sub-woofer when no audio cables are plugged in then I suspect a bad cable or a bad card.

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PunkguytaNachoMahma

Reply 8 years ago

 Just posted a link, can you check it out for me Nachomahma??

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NachoMahmaPunkguyta

Reply 8 years ago

.  Did you try "Enabling Bass Redirection" on page 3-5?

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PunkguytaNachoMahma

Reply 8 years ago

 Yes I have, that's the checkbox you have to select to use the crossover slider. It affected the output from the rear channel jack on the card, but lowering it should have increased the bass, but it did the reverse, another reason I know for sure it isn't the black (rear channel) jack on the card.

I don't think the card is faulty, and perhaps I just need to cross my fingers and try it again but I had tried a few different combinations of hooking it up with NO luck whatsoever.

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NachoMahmaPunkguyta

Reply 8 years ago

.  According to the side note on page 1-2 the S/PDIF connector (in analog mode) is used for the sub (and center).

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PunkguytaNachoMahma

Reply 8 years ago

 Hmm, I'm confused then, if I'm needing just a 2 ring headphone jack or a 3 ring.

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NachoMahmaPunkguyta

Reply 8 years ago

.  Are you from Canada or something? heehee
.  You need a stereo plug, just like you use on the other outputs.

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PunkguytaNachoMahma

Reply 8 years ago

 Ok I JUST tried it Nacho, using a standard 3.5mm to left/right RCA, and although I didn't get any buzzing this time, there was absolutely NO sound, no matter how I tweaked the sliders in that one control panel. I'm "Wondering" if maybe it has to do with not playing 5.1 audio? Which btw.. I have to switch it to 5.1ch audio before I can adjust the subwoofer sliders, even if the computer isn't receiving subwoofer channel information from, say, a multichannel dvd, it should still "emulate" the sound, through downmixing of the left and right channels.

I really want this to work because I know my card has far better control over the Freq. cutoff point than my 30 year old pyramid equalizer and a subwoofer coil wired in line.

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PunkguytaNachoMahma

Reply 8 years ago

 it probably is because the source of the audio only being 2 channel. Me thinks I should buy a new sound card with optical input/output.

Heres another thing I've always wondered about, is how one would go about making a circuit to convert optical to rca out. Although it doesn't make sense, it WOULD make sense in the face that you could eliminate the amount of copper wire you have to run to a matter of inches instead of along my floor side by side with all sorts of audio and power cables, picking up noise along the way.

I DO have the rca cable from my computer wrapped around a ferrite core, but it doesn't get rid of everything. Another thing too is, my sound card has a 2 pin jumper block on the card inside that according to the manual, is for an optical add-on board. 2 frickin pins, how hard can that be to actually convert to optical.

On a side note: I have a nice JVC stereo in the living room, but it has puzzled the HECK out of me as to why a FULL size stereo has an optical OUT, but not an input, you couldn't even use it to daisy chain another stereo of the same model. Doesn't make any sense to me and the manual only says it's an optical output, which is true as it has red light coming out of it when it's on, where as an optical input does not produce light.

I have several devices around the house all with optical OUT (including a really nice pioneer 25 disk cd changer I have), yet I have never been able to take advantage of optical audio, quite frankly it peeves me off that I have to go out and buy a high end surround sound just to use it.

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NachoMahmaPunkguyta

Reply 8 years ago

> it probably is because the source of the audio only being 2 channel.
.  Makes sense. Can your card/driver/software synthesize the sub-woofer signal?
 
> Me thinks I should buy a new sound card with optical input/output.
.  I sure wish I was as rich as you.
 
> how one would go about making a circuit to convert optical to rca out
.  If you just want some music, it shouldn't be that hard to do, but any conversion is going to be lossy. You may want to look into buying some high-quality cables. You should be able to find cables with enough shielding to reject almost all of the noise.
 
> it has puzzled the HECK out of me as to why a FULL size stereo has an optical OUT, but not an input
.  Doesn't sound right to me, either. Exactly what do you mean by "FULL size stereo"? A preamp? An integrated amp? A receiver? Four on the floor?

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PunkguytaNachoMahma

Reply 8 years ago

 Makes sense. Can your card/driver/software synthesize the sub-woofer signal?
> While it doesn't document it, it only seems right that it should be able to either through hardware or through software.


If you just want some music, it shouldn't be that hard to do, but any conversion is going to be lossy. You may want to look into buying some high-quality cables. You should be able to find cables with enough shielding to reject almost all of the noise.
>Fair enough, the cable I'm using now has considerably thick shielding, but I do get a little bit of faint noise when I have nothing playing and turn the amp all the way up.


 Doesn't sound right to me, either. Exactly what do you mean by "FULL size stereo"? A preamp? An integrated amp? A receiver? Four on the floor?
> It's one of these i.testfreaks.com/images/products/600x400/136/jvc-mx-gt80.337288.jpg

They consider it a "bookshelf" system but I'm not entirely sure who would posses a bookshelf sturdy enough, or big enough to hold that system, it's pretty huge, you should see the box it came in, wider than a washing machine crate.

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NachoMahmaPunkguyta

Reply 8 years ago

.  I'm sure there's a good reason it has S/PDIF out and not in, but I can't figure out what it would be.

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NachoMahmaNachoMahma

Reply 8 years ago

.  I'd verify that you need a stereo plug for the S/PDIF jack. There was something in the manual that made me think you needed a stereo plug, but I can't find it now. Maybe I dreamed it.

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killerjackalope

8 years ago

 You were saying it's got a  piggybacked splitter? That may mean that the sub you're using is setup to take standard audio and has a built in crossover circuit. 

The speakers (2.1) hooked to my computer are like that with a bass level control on the sub and an overall volume on the speaker, if thats the case there may be a certain mode your sub needs to be on to do presplit audio. 

If it's not that, check the settings for the card are set up alright, if a couple of sliders on the EQ are out of whack it can send some card's sub outputs in to a complete mess. 

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Punkguytakillerjackalope

Reply 8 years ago

 Ohhh sorry for the confusion. These aren't computer speakers I'm trying to hook up, but my actual stereo/surround sound.

I have a surround sound amp that my left/right audio goes to from the sound card, and usually I just ran my subwoofer amp (which is actually a sony surround sound receiver, but running in 2ch mode and powering my 1200 watt sub ~ and yes I understand this isn't how normal people power subs but it works).

The sony amp for my sub usually ran either piggybacking off the 2ch cable that goes to my first amp, as I have a set of piggybacking rca cables just for that, OR like I have it now, and the rca input of the sony is connected to the subwoofer output on the amplifier, which seems to do just as good of a job, AND I can control the volume of both amps from the first amp (it adjusts the line out volume along with the rest of my speakers).

Oh and just to prevent worry, I do have things "filtered", the rca out of my main stereo goes to an 30 band equalizer where I have everything -12db except for the 30 and 60hz bands which I have boosted. I also have a speaker-level crossover coil wired into the speaker wire for the sub, but it's rated only for 120hz cutoff (above 120hz everything is cut out) but that's why I need the equalizer also.

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lemonie

8 years ago

As far as I understand the sockets they're all dual, so you get 2 pairs of L&R (one front, one rear) and the front&sub.
The 3 ring video plugs aren't suitable, that might just be your problem?

L

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Punkguytalemonie

Reply 8 years ago

 I think so, I'll give it a whirl later with just a regular 3.5mm to rca cable.