The SPDIF Audio problems are biggest problems of teh desktop boards and hence it needs to be resolved as soona s possible.... Good job dude that you solved your problem by your own!!!
Ah yes, PC digital audio and surround sound, one of the most misunderstood topics in PC audio. I will attempt to explain this and how it relates to digital audio in the Home Theater/Home Audio equipment world, as the two (PC and Home audio) are connected and inseparable.
First I must mention that the situation and realities I will describe apply to ALL PC equipment manufactures, whether they are motherboard, sound card/chipset, or video card manufactures, not just Intel. Actually, Intel is one of the few that provides the real solution for the situation. I say situation rather than issue, because this is not so much a problem than a case of the realities involved not being addressed.
First, what is S/PDIF? The Sony/Philips Digital InterFace is the standard two channel digital data stream output format provided for CD audio. It was created when CDs were first invented, and is the method of providing a CD-format digital data stream output to the input of a separate Digital to Analog Convertor (DAC) unit. The S/PDIF data stream may be sent over a single coaxial cable, or via a TOSLINK fiber optic cable. Home CD players contain a DAC to convert the digital data on a CD into analog form for output to a receiver or preamp's standard analog input, and may also have an S/PDIF output via an RCA jack or TOSLINK fiber optic jack. In the High End audio world, and later in Home Theater audio, separate, outboard DAC units were sold that take as input the S/PDIF output signal from a CD player, and provide higher quality digital to analog conversion, with higher quality analog outputs. In Home Theater components, a DAC and other processing components are included in Receivers, but for another purpose that I shall describe later.
Second, what is Surround Sound? Surround sound is the use of additional loudspeakers besides the standard two for stereo, to provide an enhanced audio experience in the home, analogous to the multiple speakers arrays used in movie theaters. Home Surround Sound began in the 5.1 format, meaning five loudspeakers optimally positioned in a roughly circular fashion around a listening area, each being fed one of five channels of audio output. Each of those channels serves a specific purpose in the creation of the surround sound environment, with the addition of a Low Frequency Effects (LFE) channel (the .1) for use with a subwoofer. From there the audio industry has introduced 7.1 and even 9.1 surround sound capability, as well as ".2" extensions for multiple LFE channels and subwoofers.
In the PC audio world, we see chipsets, motherboards, sound cards, and even video cards touting there support of "5.1 Surround Sound", or even 7.1, and there is nothing wrong with that whatsoever. But something is missing in this discussion, where does the signal for all these extra channels and loudspeakers come from, whether with home theater equipment or with a PC, given that CD audio is a two channel format, and that standard S/PDIF output is also just two channel?
With the advent of the DVD for video, we also were given Surround Sound. Surround Sound did not exist on VHS VCRs, or on CDs. It is important to note that CDs and standard DVDs have completely different data formats on them, although we can copy CD data onto a burnable DVD, but that is unrelated to this discussion. Surround Sound audio is stored on DVDs in a completely different and incompatible format than CDs, it is not in S/PDIF format.
There are two different, incompatible, Surround Sound data storage technologies, Dolby Digital (DD) and Digital Theater Systems (DTS, although the exact translation of this acronym is ambiguous.) One or both can be found on the vast majority of DVD's sold today. DVD's also can be used in two channel or single channel mode, and that audio is provided by a separate, standard CD format data stream. Both of the Surround Sound formats encode the 5.1 (six channels) or more audio channels into a compressed and slightly lossy data format that is stored on DVDs. DD and DTS output data streams must be decoded with each formats proprietary decoder before it is sent to a 5.1 (six) channel DAC system, and then in analog form to amplifiers and speakers.
One of the main confusions with CDs and Surround Sound audio on DVDs is this: While DD and DTS digital data streams use the same mechanical interface that S/PDIF provides (coaxial on RCA jack or TOSLINK fiber optic) the data streams are different and incompatible! At some point in the design of DVDs and DVD players, the S/PDIF style interface was borrowed for use with DD and DTS data streams. Don't forget we are only talking about audio signals here, the video signal are completely separate. While having the same cable interface is convenient and makes sense, it can confuse users when they are not fully aware of the differences. Recently the HDMI interface, that can also transmit any of the digital data streams, is now popular, but is unrelated to this discussion.
The most important point to remember here is that the DD and DTS data streams must be decoded with each formats proprietary decoding software prior to being converted into an analog signal by the Digital to Analog Convertor (DAC.) Home Theater (HT) receivers and HT preamp/processors contain the necessary chips and decoding software to perform the decoding function, and some home DVD players also have this built into them. Otherwise, the DD or DTS data streams from a DVD player are sent to the HT Receivers digital input via coaxial or TOSLINK cable, decoded, converted to analog, and output to the amplifiers and then speakers. All manufactures of equipment that use DD or DTS technology must pay a licensing fee to those companies in order to use it. That's why you will see the DD or DTS logo's on equipment or DVDs that have this technology. If you don't see the logo's or DD and/or DTS is not mentioned, it is not there, plain and simple.
Finally back to PC audio and surround sound. What is the point of all of the above? Simple, while a chipset, motherboard or soundcard may have 5.1, 7.1, or whatever number of "surround sound" outputs, unless it states it also has DD or DTS decoding technology, it really does not provide surround sound! It will support surround sound, providing the necessary audio channels, and that's great, but the subtle point is unless DD or DTS decoding is available, you will not get true surround sound from DVDs on a PC, regardless of how many channels and speakers in your system.
But wait you may say, my PC game has very cool surround sound effects with my 5.1 speaker setup. Yes you do, but that is provided by the game itself, it is implemented to send the various sounds to different channels, and it works well, but is very likely not DD or DTS. Those effects will only happen within the game. Play a DVD on your PC DVD drive, and who knows what you will get (two channel stereo), but certainly not DD or DTS unless your PC's equipment specifically states it supports those formats, and it is installed, activated, and connected correctly. Believe me, if whatever hardware supports DD or DTS, that fact will be prominently displayed in the products literature. If all you can find is "Surround Sound", it's a given there is no DD or DTS capability.
A few high end, expensive sound cards, and some motherboards are DD or DTS capable. The Intel DG45ID motherboard is DD capable, if you install the appropriate software Intel provides, and your PC is configured correctly. The DVD drive should output the DD or DTS data stream, although I don't recall that ever being mentioned in DVD drive literature. Things begin to get nebulous when trying to determine how the motherboard will pass the encoded DD data to the decoding system, whether built in or on a separate sound card. A sound card that has DD or DTS decoding should explain how to connect things so it works. Windows 7 has a tab in the Sound settings function in the Control Panel, under the Properties for the audio hardware in your PC. Specifically, that is the Supported Formats tab, which includes DD and DTS, and allows you to test if your system will decode those formats. If you click the Test button after checking DD or DTS, and all you hear is noise, something is not right, which can include that no decoding of these formats is present.
Given all of the above, is it any wonder that surround sound capability on PCs is mysterious to many PC users. Things are much easier in the Home Theater world, but if you've ever read some of the questions on forums about Home Theater, you'll find many people are confused and unable to get their systems working correctly. On the other hand, many PC enthusiasts perform rather complex tasks, like creating RAID arrays, using non-Windows OS's, setting up multiple video cards and displays, or building their own PCs, so there really is no reason why they also cannot set up there PC's to decode true Surround Sound.
I have not even mentioned topics like sampling frequency (48kHz for DD or DTS) or Dolby Pro Logic processing. I am still in the process of getting DD decoding functioning on my DG45ID PC, whether stand alone or in conjunction with a Home Theater system. My HT system is in a different room than my PCs, but that will change soon.
I hope I have provided information that is useful, and if you feel any of it is incorrect, have any questions, or want to share your experiences with PC Surround Sound, please feel free to post comments here.
Hello friends this is Alpinto. Yes,audio is good for travelling but they have some less features. in audio we only listen, we can't see pictures so this is the problem behind audio.
I am still in the process of getting DD decoding functioning on my DG45ID PC, whether stand alone or in conjunction with a Home Theater system.
What a great explanation parsec - thanks! I too have recently gone down the Dolby Digital Surround Sound path with my DG45ID. Just before Christmas I bought a Turtle Beach X41 Ear Force headset and have been using it with my HD-DVDs and Blu-Ray movies. The sound quality is excellent but unfortunately it seems to have resulted in my normally very reliable PC experiencing problems with the sound software freezing (eg mixer freezes sometimes when clicking on a slider). Initially all was well for the first week but now it's a real issue. If I change back to using the ordinary green stereo socket (the headset has an analog input as well), the sound related problems stop - change back again to the TOSLINK cable and the problems return.
I'm not sure what the problem is but I've tried two fresh Windows 7 reinstalls and both the latest and second most recent driver packages with no change. I note that when installing the driver packages, although the package says the drivers have installed, it takes a long time and it appears to hang for a minute or so before that message is provided. Do you know if there's anything in terms of a signal which goes back down the optical fibre cable which could be causing these issues - any other ideas what's going on? How has your DG45ID been going in this regard?
Flying_Kiwi, thanks very much for your comment, I thought that my dissertation on Surround Sound had faded into the unread and un-replied realm of forum posts. I don't know if I have a quick fix for you, but I'll mention a few things and we'll see. You can skip to the last paragraph if you want to see my best suggestion.
To answer your question, the SPDIF interface is only one-way, there is no communication between the source and destination besides the data stream. Audio components are relatively dumb compared to PCs, the former don't have the processors and OSs that the later does. So that should not be an issue.
One basic thing about digital audio streams that may not be understood is how volume/level controls are implemented. Given that the SPDIF or DD/DTS data streams are digital, all differences in volume in a signal are encoded in the digital data. The overall voltage and amplitude level of the digital signal does not change at all. In an analog signal, while the differences in volume of sounds are part of the signal, the overall voltage and amplitude level varies depending on the settings of the volume/level controls. A digital signal of silence is all zero's at the constant voltage level of the SPDIF signal, while an analog signal varies in voltage from virtually zero for silence to several volts for very loud. Of course with a TOSLINK connection, which is not an electrical connection, the digital data is sent with light, but the signal is still digital and the end result at the receiving device is a digital signal.
Why am I mentioning this? You may be thinking that you do have a volume control on the digital/SPDIF signal, in your audio software and in Windows, and maybe others. Very true, but there is a issue with that. There are both digital and analog volume controls. Digital volume controls work by bit manipulation, the only way that a digital signal can change volume levels in the digital domain. They obviously work, but the issue is, due to the necessary bit manipulations, data is lost. For example, a simple right-shift of the bits in a data word reduces the resulting signal level when the digital signal is converted to analog, but in the shift process, bits were discarded. Those bits are (were) musical information, and were thrown away. The more the digital volume control is reduced, the more bits are discarded and the more the musical signal is degraded.
My point (finally) in this is in the PCs audio control software, when we make the SPDIF output the default device for connection to a device outside of the PC, such as your headphones, be sure to set the level controls at 100%, wide open, full up. You will likely need to do that in multiple places, such as the little speaker icon on the right in the Windows task bar. Otherwise, you are compromising your digital signal. Audio and Home Theater equipment usually don't have this issue, since the only volume control they have is an analog one on the receiver/amp. The only volume control you should use with digital PC audio is the one farthest from the PC, such as an amplifier or in your case if you have one on your headphones or headphone amp. If you are stuck using a digital volume control, only use one and again the one "closest" to your external audio device.
None of the above is related to your problem, BTW, so on to that. One thing that does occur with digital connections, either TOSLINK or a coaxial cable with RCA plugs (the DG45ID only has TOSLINK on the back panel, but some mother boards have both, and some mother boards have a header for the electrical digital signal, which you connect a cable to and run to a jack that mounts on the PCs case PCI slots) is that the receiving device of the digital signal must lock on to that signal. Audio equipment usually have a LED that comes on when it locks on to the incoming digital signal. Once that lock is acheived, it is rarely lost, but it can happen. Does your headphone system have a lock indicator of some kind? If it does, you can tell if you lost the lock, but if not you can't. The analog signal does not work like the digital one does, so it's not an issue. But, what I really think is the problem is the following.
I've read that many external PC audio devices have problems with Windows 7, seems to be driver issues, and I don't have any experience with them. I've been using the TOSLINK digital output on all my PCs, into a external Digital to Analog Convertor (DAC) and it works just fine for me. Is it possible for you to not use the Turtle Beach software, and just use the mother boards audio control software? The TOSLINK connection should be independent of the TB driver software. I would try uninstalling it and the TOSLINK connection should work just fine, and use Intel's audio driver and interface software, at least for a test. You should also go into the Windows Sound settings via the Control Panel and make sure that is all set up right. I am 99% sure that your headphones will function via the TOSLINK connection without the TB software, remove it and use the Intel and/or Windows audio controls. Let me know how it goes.
Message was edited by: parsec
Message was edited by: parsec
Thanks parsec for taking the time to send a comprehensive reply. I must admit I jumped to the potential quick fix paragraph first - you had my hopes up high.for a while there. Alas it's not as straight forward as not using any TB software/driver as the TB Headphones have no software at all for them. They're actually intended for the XBox 360 but can be used with TOSLINK equipped computers as well. The TB X41 transmitter does have a 'lock' LED which comes on reliably whenever the 'over the air' connection to the headphones is established (ie whenever I'm in range and the batteries aren't flat and the headphones are turned on. I'm therefore sure that part of the headphones is working well. Do you know if there's anything within the TOSLINK system which wears out or could be to blame? I actually have another DG45ID motherboard which has a defective CPU socket (a bent pin) but all the rest is fine so if, for example, the signalling LEDs have been known to fail (and this can cause the symptoms I've described??) then I could potentially get out my soldering iron (assuming it's not micro-precision stuff) and swap these parts over. Would any breakdown in the signal transmission (or reflection back) along the TOSLINK be cause for the reliability issues with my mixer software and or the issue with the Intel provided driver installation.or is it a totally one way communication system?
Did your IDT drivers appear to hang during install after clicking a button part way into it (the button appears to stay depressed/highlighted even after you release the mouse button and nothing comes back for a while until eventually theres a dialog box confirming the drivers were sucessfully installed. There's also no progress indicator. Does this match you experience with the latest IDT/Intel provided drivers? I already was using the headphones with the mixer turned to full volume (although I fiddled around briefly with intermediate settings). As you mentioned, I used the volume rotary slider knob on the headphones to adjust the volume.
Well Kiwi, I must say that I've never seen a TOSLINK "transmitter" fail, if you have lock as indicated by the LED, it should be fine. I suppose it is possible that your TOSLINK cable is not working well. Try this: with the TOSLINK cable connected to your PC, look at the other end, meaning unplug it from your headphone's receiving unit, and see it you can see light from the tip of the TOSLINK cable, it should be red and don;t worry it won't hurt your eyes. You should see it "glowing' or illuminated immediately, and actually should be doing that all the time, whether a signal is being transmitted or not. The fact you have lock, indicated by the LED means it is likely fine, unless maybe the TOSLINK cable does not fit well or is loose at the receiving end, but that is a stretch, if you have lock, it should be fine.
Then again, you mention the lock indicator seeming to be for use between the headphones and wireless transmitter, so those are two different locks, right?
I don't recall having any pauses or problems loading the IDT driver, although I've done that only twice I'd say, so my info about that is not the best, but I'd say no. The volume control thing simply keeps the signal untouched and should have nothing to do with your problem.
Sorry but I'm busy right now, more later...
Further to above, yesterday I took out the motherboard and cleaned most of the white film off the bottom with IPA and carefully inspected it. Other than the white staining (which was there from new and I've seen commented about here for other models of Intel board) all looked good. I put it all back together and reinstalled Windows 7 SP1 (RC) and relevant Intel drivers including the latest IDT Audio software driver. Alas the problem re-occurred fairly soon after I got it up and running so I removed the IDT software and just used the (updated) Microsoft drivers that were there in Win 7 SP1 (RC) and these seem to have done the trick. They are from 2010 (newer than the originally included Win 7 Intel HD Audio drivers) and do not have all the bells and whistles of the IDT software. Also normal things within Windows (TV Tuner and Windows Media Player) run in stereo (my X41 Receiver shows the light for Dolby Digital PL II) but the sound and more importantly, reliability, is excellent using the Toslink (optical) link from the rear motherboard port. When I start to play a Blu-ray or HD-DVD movie with Arcsoft TMT 5, the Dolby Digital light on the X41 box springs into life indicating full Dolby Digital surround sound is being processed and again if I click on/play around with any of the audio software while in this state, it doesn't lock up the audio software control panel or mixers any more.
My conclusion is that this appears to be due to 'fragile' Dolby Digital implementation within the latest IDT Drivers for the DG45ID - perhaps they need to internally decrease the audio hardware acceleration utilised by the driver (if this is possible) for the sake of greater reliability (even if it does mean greater CPU resouirces will be used for sound processing). I would like to know how you get on with using the optical out jack for DD audio with your PC parsec (if you will be doing so). If you (or any other owner of the DG45ID) could comment on their experiences with such a setup, I would appreciate it. I suspect that there's a reason Microsofts drivers don't have DD up and running by default or even selectable - that functionality must be called for by relevant software.
Flying_Kiwi, I'm so sorry that I did not reply sooner, I've been fighting with my DG45ID lately. Not that it's broken, I'm in the process of moving it to a much smaller case and things are just not working out and turning into a real pain. I still don't have it running so I can't try the IDT software, etc. Hopefully soon...
Anyway, while I'm glad you have your PC with Dolby Digital (DD) working, it's a shame you had to abandon the Intel IDT drivers, although IMO you aren't losing anything in doing that, which is the bottom line of course. Since you are using a HT receiver to control your surround sound, you actually have more flexibility and control than the PCs software will provide.
Just an FYI in case you are unaware of this, the Dolby Pro Logic (PL and PLII) is not the same as DD 5.1 Surround Sound. DD PL is a created or derived surround sound from a stereo source, it creates the signals for the center, rear channels, and subwoofer, whereas DD 5.1 (or 7.1, etc, or DTS) has signals for all the channels in the digital data stream that were created during the mix of the recordings soundtrack. Pro Logic works well but of course is not as good as true DD or DTS Surround Sound. One issue with PL that I have noticed is that it tends to put more into the center channel than DD 5.1 does, to much is focused into the center channel, IMO. With PL you may want to adjust the levels of the left and right front channels up somewhat, or reduce the level of the center channel. Then again, if you like the PL effect as it is, that's great, what is "correct" or preferred in surround sound is rather subjective, but experimentation might reveal a more pleasing result so is worth trying.
I don't recall if you've mentioned this before, but I noticed on the DG45ID Download Center page, that there is a "Dolby Control Center" user interface utility and the "IDT 92xx Audio Driver version 6224.7 v186 (?) and the IDT Audio Control Panel for Intel Desktop Boards". That seems like three things to me. Do you have all of this installed? I'm not sure what I have at this point, since my DG45ID PC hasn't been running for a month or more now. I've got to get that running again before I can figure out what's going on.
Still more downloads, did you ever try running this to get the appropriate .INF files installed:
As I'm sure you've seen, Window 7 in the Control Panels Sound settings, that Dobly Digital and DTS are supported. I noticed I could supposedly activate both of those on an ASUS mother board PC I have, that does not state any DD capability in it's features, although is does have the ICH10R chip, the same as in the DG45ID, which is where (at least) the HD Audio capabilities are. If Windows 7 can have a PC functioning basically as a DVD player with DD and DTS digital outputs by itself (ie, no Intel IDT/DD software), and seems to be in the signal path all the time (not certain about that) than I wonder if there is not some contention problem or setting that needs to be done, such as disabling the Windows 7 DD capability? Now I am confused! Plus, how would you even select DD or DTS on the PC as you can on your receiver, for example? Yikes, the more I think I know, the more I know I don't!!
Again, as long as you have the DD data stream from your PC over the TOSLINK connection, you're fine. I'm sure the PC Dolby software does not have more control or features than your receiver does, and the receiver likely has more. Or am I missing something that the PC can do for you?
BTW, how's that your PC HT system doing?
Message was edited by: parsec
BTW, how's that your PC HT system doing?
Thanks for the detailed reply parsec. As above, my PC is running with all the latest drivers from Intel other than the sound drivers for which I'm using Microsoft (Windows 7 SP1) drivers (Technet has its advantages). This is to counter the problems with the IDT software that I listed earlier (when Dolby Digital Live is enabled). When you eventually do get your DG45ID up and running (or anyone else with this motherboard), I would appreciate feedback on how reliable this feature is for other people. I also found that the latest IDT software gives a front SPDIF port as well as the rear (rather than a HDMI port) when used with the Intel Website Graphics driver but using the Windows Update Intel Graphics driver, theres the HDMI port shown.
Hi Kiwi, Ya know, I saw that driver (for G45, etc chipsets?) in the Windows Update list (dated August 2010?) and I ignored it since I had downloaded the driver from the DG45ID support page. I've never used the HDMI output on this board, since I don't have any audio equipment that has an HDMI input. Also, the HDMI spec has evolved over time, 1.2, 1.3, 1.3a, 1.4... etc, it's confusing and a mess. Then the HDMI cable also need to match the spec as well, and many of them are not marked regarding the version. Also, the devices such as TVs also have varying HDMI version support, such as some won't use the audio feed from the HDMI cable, so you must use standard RCA cables.
As I said in previous posts, it may be enough for you (us) to consider a DG45ID PC simply as a BD/DVD player that outputs video and the DD data stream to our HT systems. Standard HT BD/DVD players rarely provide any control options over the DD or DTS audio output streams, besides activating them. I doubt very highly that the IDT software provides anything that will not be found in a HT receiver, and more likely the IDT software will provide fewer options and controls.
I'm just saying that spending so much effort trying to get the IDT DD software working perfectly is just not worth it. You've obviously decided you're not going to let that software beat you, and I get it, but don't torture yourself over it!
That explains why the Microsoft Win 7 SP1 drivers don't adjust volume and allow selectable DD Live like the IDT software then. Personally I can live with that for the sake of reliability.
I would like to know how others get on with this IDT software because having tried the Microsoft drivers, it does look to be a case that Intel/IDT have dropped the ball on this one. Although the IDT software shows a picture of a front optical SPDIF port, the board is not equipped with one there (only header pins for an electrical SPDIF connection). The board does however have a HDMI connector so I figure any software configuration which gets the basics like that right, is more likely to work correctly