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What is the Audio channel all about?

Discussion in 'Sound City' started by dmxdex2020, 12 Oct 2009.

  1. dmxdex2020

    Mobster

    Joined: 16 Nov 2008

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    Location: West Midlands

    I have my pc up and running with my asus xonar dx i have got it set to dolby digital with 5.1 set up that is what i speakers do. What is the audio channel option all about? i have it set to 8 what should it be set to?
     
  2. Uriel

    Sgarrista

    Joined: 15 Jan 2006

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    Set it to the number of channels your source material has. Generally - music is 2 channel. Movies are 6 channel. Games are 8 channel.

    The Xonar will upmix or downmix as required to what you set your listening setup (e.g Stereo, 5.1 or headphones etc).
     
  3. dmxdex2020

    Mobster

    Joined: 16 Nov 2008

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    Bit confusing how do i know what source uses what lol. PS sound card is awesome Uriel thank for the advice now all i need is a decent driver from asus so i can play fear with advanced HD :)

    Also i was told the asus xonar cannot do anything above eax 2.0 i.e eax 5.0 is this true?
     
    Last edited: 12 Oct 2009
  4. Uriel

    Sgarrista

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    Not quite true. The Xonar series originally launched as EAX 2.0 cards like every other non-Creative derived sound device out there.

    Asus incorporate something into their drivers called DS3D-GX. It was originally to get hardware accelleration working on Vista like it did on XP. From release 2.0 (now 2.5) Asus started to incorporate EAX Advance HD emulation (up to EAX 5) inot the drivers. To use it the GX button needs to be turned on in the Xonar Audio centre.

    When it works well it's very good. It doesn't sound exactly the same as a Creative card running EAX but it's pretty close.

    Contrary to some of Asus's statements, however, it's not a magic bullet. Some games just don't work with it and you need to turn it off for them to work at all. This is mostly when they need to detect a Creative card for EAX to work. Occasionally you get some strange behaviour.

    Asus have concentrated on getting newer games working to the neglect of older ones though. Thief: Deadly Shadows, Rome and Medieval II: Total War and FEAR are among the ones that don't work. They might one day but Asus haven't been particularly regular with the driver updates of late.
     
  5. dmxdex2020

    Mobster

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    I hope they get FEAR working how hard can it be to get it to use advanced HD just some tweaking. So there is hardly any loss in quality with EAX on a asus xonar then?
     
  6. Uriel

    Sgarrista

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    Well bear in mind until Asus had a crack - nobody but Creative ran EAX advanced HD.

    Edit: Another way of putting it is that EAX is to Creative what PhysX is currently to nVIDIA. There are other ways and means of running it but neither manufacturer is going to make it easy for their competitors to run their proprietary technology.
     
    Last edited: 12 Oct 2009
  7. dmxdex2020

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    Got few more questions what is PCM? i assume i should be going through dolby digital as i hooked up via optical? if i try PCM in 192kh no sound but PCM works if i lower this value. Also when i enable 7.1 virtual speaker shifter GAME MODE on DSP goes off? I am going through 5.1 so should i have 7.1 virtual speaker shifter enabled?
     
    Last edited: 12 Oct 2009
  8. Uriel

    Sgarrista

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    PCM is a means of sending stereo sound over SPDIF. The highest rate that you can use is dictated by your receiver and 192kHz rules out a lot of receivers. Ideally you want to match PCM with the source material so CDS are 44.1kHz. DVDs are 48 kHz etc.

    Game mode is just a preset selection of effects. For example, with headphones Game mode enables DH2. As soon as you change any settings it turns off. Same with Music and Movie mode. I chose to ignore them and just used what sounded best to me.
     
  9. dmxdex2020

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    So the DSP is just preset modes ok got ya. I do not understand what 7.1 virtual speaker shifter is? if i turn this on does it mean that my 5.1 set up will virtual do 7.1 now?
     
  10. Uriel

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    I wasn't keen on it to be honest. I just used to leave it off most of the time. It's to allow you to mess with 'virutual' speaker placement to compensate if you have a less than ideal room setup. There are a couple of useless gimmicky options with it, like getting the sound to spin round you etc.

    The only DSPs I ever used regularly were the Dolby Headphone options. Keeping it simple is usually the best way with audio.
     
  11. dmxdex2020

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    Ahh right ok i got ya. Is there anway for me to have my 5.1 set up do 7.1 virtually?
     
  12. Uriel

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    Dunno. I'm generally someone that thinks you should listen to stuff as it was intended. There's not much 7.1 material around, save for Blu-Ray. Games are whatever you set them to. If you set them to 6 channel (in game if necessary as well as Xonar) that should do fine for 5.1.

    Having said that, Dolby Headphone is pretty handy for music becuase it's mostly mastered for Stereo speakers, not headphones (binaural recordings excepted). So in a way Dolby headphone gets you closer to the intended sound than listening without a DSP.
     
  13. dmxdex2020

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    So if i have got it set to 8 channel for games it will run in 7.1?
     
  14. Uriel

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    Sort of. I'm not convinced that it will sound any better than 5.1 though (as you have 5.1 speakers).

    More does not always equal better.
     
  15. dmxdex2020

    Mobster

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    Ok so i should have the audio channel thing set to 6 then for gaming? its all so confusing mate. i have my analogue out set to 5.1 which should be correct, why they have audio channel when i have set it to 5.1 through analogue already.
     
  16. Uriel

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    OK, I'll give an example.

    If you set 8 channels and headphone out you hear the sound from all 8 channels in stereo through the headpones.

    You turn on Dolby Headphone and you still hear the sounds from all 8 speakers but rather than just getting piped in to your ears, it sounds more like it's coming from speakers all around you.

    I guess it's a feature so - no matter what you're listening to - channels don't go missing. For instance, if you set chanels and analogue both to 5.1 and then listened through stereo speakers or headphones you would only hear the front left and right content.

    So presumably with 8 channels and 5.1 analogue you still hear all the noises intended for the 7.1 mix. It's just piped to you through 5.1 speakers.

    Hope that's somewhat helpful?
     
  17. dmxdex2020

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    Yes that helped alot mate cheers.
     
  18. bledd

    Don

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    don't hold your breath for asus, they're cack at making drivers, as are Creative :(
     
  19. tindale

    Gangster

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    I have mine set to 5.1 all the time. That way, games will (hopefully) default to generate 6 channels of sound, which matches my speakers perfectly. Otherwise, you're asking a game to generate 8 channels, so that your Xonar can downmix this to 6 channels, and I can't see how this can happen without some kind of loss.