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5.1 speakers only delivering stereo sound. Could this be part of a larger problem?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by St!nkf!nger, Dec 1, 2010.

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  1. St!nkf!nger

    St!nkf!nger Thread Starter

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    The big overarching problem is that I'm not hearing voices coming out of my center channel when there should be voices coming out of my center channel. For example, when playing DiRT 2 there is clearly an icon showing that someone is talking to me, but I can't hear them. This also happens during Left 4 Dead 2's intro movie, lots of ambient sound effects and music but no dialog. Odd.

    I think this is being caused by a larger problem though. My motherboard is a Gigabyte 790XTA-UD4 running Realtek audio drivers and a Logitech THX 5.1 surround system plugged into the line in jacks on said mobo. Here's what's happening:

    • The audio manager clearly indicates when I plug in the subwoofer/center channel, rear speakers etc, but when I do the audio test I only get sound from my left and right channels.
    • I tried hooking up my speakers to my SPDIF out, but I get no sound at all when conducting the speaker test. The cable is good, so that's not the problem. Unlike the line in inputs, there is no indication whatsoever that I have plugged in an optical device which seems odd to me. The red light is on in the SPDIF out port which means it should be working correct?
    • Same deal with the coax output. No sound or indication that anything has been plugged in.
    • Here's where it gets more odd. When I play my games the sound comes from all speakers. All 5.1, except for the utter lack of voices from the center channel even though I can hear other sound coming from the center channel.
    • DiRT 2 installed Rapture 3D audio alongside it which lets me configure my speaker setup. However whenenver I try to choose any configuration (5.1, stereo, mono) it kicks out an error message and tells me Windows cannot change my sound card settings which tells me this might be something more than a simple fix.
    • Other games, like Puzzle Agent that are dialog heavy have the dialog coming out of the center channel.
    • All appropriate devices are enabled in the BIOS.
    • Lastly, when I go into my playback devices there is a "Realtek Digital Output (Optical)" device, but the properties show only the coax output, no SPDIF icon.

    I've troubleshot all of these things to the fullest of my knowledge but am still left scratching my head. Anyone have any ideas?
     
  2. crjdriver

    crjdriver Moderator

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    This may seem like a silly question however you have configured them as 5.1 in windows correct?

    Next what ver of windows are you running ie win7 or what?

    FWIW I have almost the same mb [ud4p] and use the standard ms driver that win7 installs during setup. I get better sound with the standard ms driver and it gives the speaker fill option [which the realtek driver does not]
     
  3. St!nkf!nger

    St!nkf!nger Thread Starter

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    I should have mentioned that I am running windows 7 home 64 bit. When you ask if I have it set up as 5.1 the answer is yes. In device manager it is set up as 5.1, showing all 5 speakers, but even here the speaker test only yields sound from my left and right channels.
     
  4. crjdriver

    crjdriver Moderator

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    Have you tried the standard MS driver? You can remove the realtek driver and reboot; windows will install its native driver. You will then need to set 5.1 in sound properties.
     
  5. St!nkf!nger

    St!nkf!nger Thread Starter

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    I rolled back the Realtek driver to an older version because this problem started recently. It cleared up the no voices in the Left 4 Dead 2 intro, but there are still no voices in DiRT 2 which tells me this might be a problem with the game itself.

    However, before I figured out this is probably a problem with the game, I fully uninstalled the device and drivers, restarted with nothing but the Windows drivers and the Left 4 Dead problem came back.

    I should mention that neither of the above "solutions" fixed the problem of only my L/R channels working during the speaker test.

    I see that Realtek has update drivers as of 11/4/2010 that I'm going to try out.
     
  6. St!nkf!nger

    St!nkf!nger Thread Starter

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    Well the problem is fixed. Sort of. The new Realtek drivers did the trick (or did they? I have no idea at this point).

    After I installed the new drivers I went back into L4D2 and DiRT 2 and both problems persisted. So on a whim I decided to try the optical out once more for shits and giggles. And viola! now it works where it didn't work before. Now I get all the voices in L4D2 and DiRT, so it turns out it wasn't a problem with the game after all.

    What's still strange though is that when I speaker test now it still only registers the L/R channels, but my games seem to be working in 5.1 in that I'm getting discreet sound from each speaker, not just a mono channel pumped through 5 speakers. Any clue why that is?
     
  7. crjdriver

    crjdriver Moderator

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    No, not really. I did have some problems with the sound in older games like UT2004. If win7 detects comm capability, it reduces sound level by 80%. In old games that have communications capability, I had to set the sound communications tab to "do nothing"
     
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