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Using Digital Out or SPDIF Audio

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Introduction

This document pertains to HP or Compaq PCs that come with a digital audio out Sony/Philips digital interface format S/PDIF sound port. The PC has Digital Audio Out connectors for digital sound devices such as a DVD recorder or a digital AV receiver or amplifier.
The PC supports digital audio output for:
  • TV and music: two-channel stereo. (Your AV receiver may separate the audio signal into multiple channels.)
  • DVD playback: the multiple channel Dolby Digital 5.1 or DTS Digital encoded audio signal passes to your AV receiver for decoding.

Connecting digital audio

The PC may have two Digital Audio Out connections (SPDIF) that are coaxial and optical. You can connect either the coaxial or the optical digital audio cable, depending on your system. If you have both cables, connect only one cable. Do not connect analog multichannel speaker outputs if you connect the digital output. Use analog audio or Digital Audio Out connectors, but not both.
Insert optical cords straight in until they click into place. Do not bend or tie optical cords.
1 - Digital audio in (coaxial and optical)
2 - Choose one
3 - Digital audio out (coaxial and optical)

Connecting digital audio from your PC to an AV receiver

Some AV receivers can generate (upmix) the 7.1 audio with 5.1 channels. A digital home theater audio installation requires a digital input on an AV Receiver. Refer to your AV receiver product documentation.
To connect digital audio from your PC to an AV receiver:
  1. Connect the Digital Out connector on the back panel of your PC, to the Digital Input (SPDIF) on your AV receiver or digital audio system. Use only one Digital Audio Out connector at a time.
  2. Select the AV receiver input.
  3. Use the AV receiver to adjust the volume.

Connecting digital powered speakers

You can install a digital audio system with up to two front speakers, two surround speakers, two surround back speakers, a center speaker, and a subwoofer to your PC. Installation requires a digital input on a powered speaker.
To connect six-channel (5.1 speaker) digital output to a powered speaker digital input:
  1. Connect a digital audio coaxial or optical cable to a Digital Audio Out connector on the back of your PC.
  2. Connect the digital audio coaxial or optical cable to the speakers.
  3. Plug in the speaker system power. Refer to the speaker documentation.
  4. Turn on the speaker system.
NOTE:Both Media Center speaker settings and DVD audio settings must be changed for proper audio setup. Note your speaker configuration choice for later software setup steps.

Configuring software for digital audio

If the application does not have a "Digital Out" or "S/PDIF" option, then the digital amplifier will only playback in stereo.

Games

To play a game with surround sound capabilities, access the sound setup of the game and select one of the following output methods:
  • Digital Out - Full 5.1 sound out of Digital output - No Sound out of analog outputs.
  • Analog 5.1 Out - Full 5.1 sound from analog speakers. A digital AV receiver or amplifier only detects and plays in stereo (Front Left and Right speakers).
  • Select Analog 2.1 Out - Stereo sound from analog speakers. A digital AV receiver or amplifier plays stereo also.
    If the game DVD has a DTS option, IVT does not decode DTS for analog output. Digital audio must be selected for gaming or any application that supports surround sound. If the application does not have a specific "digital" or "SPDIF" option, then surround sound only works using the analog speaker outputs. Digital audio can only be heard in stereo.

InterVideo Home Theater

To play a DVD with 5.1 sound in InterVideo Home Theater, access the sound setup and select one of the following output methods:
  • Digital Out - Full 5.1 sound out of digital output - No sound out of analog.
  • Analog 5.1 Out - Full 5.1 sound from analog speakers. A digital receiver/amplifier will only detect and playback in stereo (Front Left and Right speakers).
  • Analog 2.1 Out - Stereo sound from analog speakers. A digital receiver/amplifier will playback in stereo also.

Media Center

If you are using a 5.1 (six-channel), 7.1 (eight-channel), or digital audio system with Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005, you must configure the speaker settings and DVD player settings in the Media Center program after you connect the audio equipment.

Configuring speaker settings

To configure Media Center for multichannel audio output:
  1. Press Media Center on the remote control. You can also click Start on the taskbar, and select Media Center.
  2. Click Settings, General, Media Center Setup, and then Set Up Your Speakers. The Speaker Setup screen displays.
  3. Click Next.
  4. Under Specify how many speakers you have, select the speaker number that matches your system. For example, select 5.1. Click Next.
    NOTE:If your speaker configuration does not appear in the list, click the Sound Effect speaker icon in the desktop system tray.
  5. Select Test. If you hear tones from all your speakers, click Next. If you do not hear tones from all your speakers, follow the onscreen instructions to resolve the issue.
  6. Click Finish.

Media Center digital audio for DVD playback

To configure Media Center for multichannel audio output for a DVD player.
  1. Press Media Center on the remote control. You can also click Start on the taskbar, and select Media Center.
  2. Click Settings, DVD, Audio, and then Speaker Configuration.
  3. Set sound output to match your speaker system. For example, select 5.1. If you have digital audio, select S/PDIF.
  4. Click Save.

SoundBlaster Audigy 2 ZS

PCs that support digital audio output and have surround speakers (5.1, 6.1, or 7.1 system) connected using the front or rear S/PDIF sound ports, may not play sound from the center speaker.
To enable the center channel through the S/PDIF pass through in the Creative software:
  1. Click Start, All Programs, SoundBlaster Audigy 2 ZS, and then Creative Audigy HQ.
  2. Double-click the Device Controls icon. Click the Decoder tab.
  3. Select SPDIF Pass through. Click OK to save and exit. The center channel is now enabled in S/PDIF and the center speaker should work.
    If it does not, make sure that you have the appropriate sound setting to match your speakers in the audio software. For example, if you have a 5.1 speaker system and you are using AC97 audio, set the speaker configuration to 5.1 in the multi-channel sound manager software.
    NOTE:If the steps in this document failed to resolve the issue, the sound card or speaker may have failed. If your computer was purchased after 2001, it probably contains a software program called PC Doctor. Use PC Doctor to help verify audio failures before calling support or repairing the computer. Use the HP support document HP and Compaq Desktop PCs - Using PC Doctor to learn more about testing for audio failures. If you receive an error code after running a test, you need to contact support for further assistance. Write the error code number down so that you can provide it to a support agent.

Sound Effect Manager or Realtek HD Sound Effect Manager

After you install and connect a speaker system to your PC , and if your PC has the following 6 audio connectors, you can use the Sound Effect Manager software to set up and adjust the audio.

Configuring speakers using the Sound Effect Manager

If you do not see the device for your configuration, change the speaker selection in the Speaker Configuration window.
To configure speakers using the Sound Effect Manager:
  1. Click Start on the taskbar, Control Panel.
  2. Select one of the following:
    • Sounds, Speech, and Audio Devicesand Sound Effect Manager
    • Sound Effect Manager (for HD Audio)
    • Multichannel Audio Control Panel (for AC'97)
  3. Click the Speaker Configuration button.
  4. Select the number of speakers in your system, for example, 5.1 speakers. A connector with no descriptive text in the Connection Guide indicates that the connector is not used for the selected speaker configuration.
  5. Click OK.
    NOTE: To test the speakers (multi-channel speakers only), click the Speaker Test button. The WinDVD control panel shows the speaker number being used. Click Stop.
  6. Enable or disable digital audio output with Sound Effect Manager. See the next section. (optional)
NOTE:If you want to play a stereo DVD, change the audio properties of WinDVD to match the recorded DVD audio output.
Digital audio button
When you click the Digital Audio button, a window opens that allows you to select the digital audio output and digital audio frequency for the digital audio connectors on the PC.
To enable digital audio output:
  1. Configure Audio Output with Sound Effect Manager.
  2. Click the Digital Audio button. Select Output digital only (you can also select Digital-in to Digital-out pass through mode).
  3. Close the window. If you select Enable digital audio output, the microphone volume setting becomes not muted, the recording source is fixed in Stereo Mix, and if you place the microphone too close to the speakers, feedback can occur.
Disabling digital audio output with Sound Effect Manager (optional)
To disable digital audio output:
  1. Click the Digital Audio button. Select Digital output off (you can also select Digital-in to Digital-out pass through mode).
  2. Close the window.
If you select Enable digital audio output, the microphone volume setting becomes not muted, the recording source is fixed in Stereo Mix, and if you place the microphone too close to the speakers, feedback can occur.

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