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SoundBlaster Audigy 2 (6.1) - 6th channel does not seem to work

Posted on 2004-03-24
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Last Modified: 2010-08-05
Hello, I have a problem that I have already spent a serious amount of time (25 hours) trying to fix but can't seem to.  I just purchased the following gaming system: Dell Dimension 8250, P4, 2.6ghz, 512MB RAM, 120GB 7200RPM SATA HD, ATI Radeon 9800 Pro 128MB, and Soundblaster Audigy 2 sound card.  The OS is Windows XP Professional.  The Audigy 2 sound card is supposed to support full 6.1 surround sound.  It is hooked up to a Creative Inspire 6.1 Model 6600 system (6 speakers (3 front, 3 back), 1 sub/main unit).

The problem: When I go into the Creative Labs supplied Calibration settings application and test each channel with a test tone or white noise, all of the channels work perfectly, except for the rear center channel which is dead - no sound.  My first thought was that this was a hardware problem so I have now exhaustively replaced every component in the chain:

* replaced the Audigy 2 card
* replaced the cable from the card to the sub
* replaced the entire 6600 speaker system - bought a 2nd one - Also tried testing each channel with a known working speaker - they all worked except for the 6th channel, which was dead.

This eliminated everything outside of the PC box itself.  Next I worked on the software/drivers:

* Tried installing the supplied drivers and software 2 more times (and into different directories).
* Downloaded the very latest drivers from Creative Labs and tried them.
* Combed Creative Labs website from end-to-end to try and get more information on this - found nothing.

Then I called Creative.  The first tech I spoke with said that the 6th channel should work but could offer no more suggestions on what to try (useful).  Then I called again a few days ago and was told by another "senior" tech there that the 6th channel is not supported by the latest drivers yet, but that it didn't matter anyway since there are no 6.1 capable games out on the market yet.  This got me upset -> sell a 6.1 product but only support 5.1 sound?  Sounded fishy.  I also called Dell support but this was not a known issue - and they distribute the Audigy 2 in their new systems.

And that's where I am now.  Is there an expert that can give me a straight answer on what is going on here?  This is the most popular sound card on the market now.  Surely I am not the only person to actually want 6.1 sound when I buy the card?  Does anyone else have the 6th channel working properly?

Thanks so much in advance,

Mark
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Question by:mbeede
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Expert Comment

by:Callandor
ID: 10673737
If the source does not provide 6.1 channels, you are not going to get sound out of every speaker.  The analogy is trying to get discrete sound out of every speaker in a 5.1 system when the source is stereo.  There might be 6.1 sound in certain movies, but I don't know offhand.
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Expert Comment

by:kronostm
ID: 10675688
mbeede ..... you might want to take a look at this: http://www.techspot.com/tweaks/soundcard/sound15.shtml  It explains some of the options you need to tick.
second, check in controlpanel->sound-> you'll find a "speaker" section where you should click "advanced" and there you can choose what kind of speakers you have. since 6.1 is not available, you have to select 7.1 system.
besides this, Callandor is right , you need a 6.1 source. For a 6.1 source you'll need a 6.1 decoder . It'd be easier fort you to try a game that supports 6.1   Blood rayne does as I recall.

Anyway, I bet on the Enable Dolby Digital EX option to be your solution .... .you'll find more about that in the link I provided yu with.

Best wishes

Kronos
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Author Comment

by:mbeede
ID: 10678209
Callandor/Kronos - Thank you for the reply.  The Calibration/Settings app is designed to test all 6 channels of sound so I do not need a source (like a DVD or game) in this case right?.  The 6th channel should still produce white noise just like the other 5 did when they were tested.  Or am I missing something?

I will double-check tonight but I am 100% certain that I have "7.1" selected in Control Panel, since there is no 6.1 option.  I will also double check the volume setting on the rear center channel, but I am sure it is set to full.  I will look over the techspot information as soon as I can as well.

Thanks, Mark
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Expert Comment

by:Callandor
ID: 10678318
If there is a test calibration program, yes, it should generate noise in all channels, much like a receiver or preamp does.  If the driver doesn't support it, that might explain the absence of any sound, and you may be the victim of bleeding edge technology - sorry.  7.1 is a different setup than 6.1 - 6.1 is a 5.1 plus a rear center, 7.1 is a 5.1 plus two side channels.
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Author Comment

by:mbeede
ID: 10678431
Callandor - Do you personally know of ANYONE who as an Audigy 2 sound card with all 6 channels working?  I am starting to think that the 2nd tech that I spoke with at Creative is right and the driver does not support the 6th channel yet... although I would think they would take some SERIOUS heat by the media/customers on this since the box and manual say it is a 6.1 card, and that is the way they have marketed it.  I wish that someone at Creative would give me a definite/straight answer on this.  Maybe I will call them again and talk to someone MUCH higher up ;).

Thanks, Mark
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Callandor earned 500 total points
ID: 10678529
I can't say that I do - it's too new.  I would definitely take them to task if their own diagnostic program shows that it doesn't work.  Your approach to speak to a higher up manager is the way I would go.  If nothing gets resolved, get your money back and buy a card that is known to work.  I use M-Audio's Delta410 for my multichannel, and it is supported by Windows Media Player.
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Author Comment

by:mbeede
ID: 10678983
Callandor - THANK YOU so much for the quick response and suggestions.  I just looked at the Delta410 card - SWEET!  I might just put my Audigy 2 up on ebay and get this card.  I will look to see what other cards support 6.1 now as well.

Take Care, Mark

ISSUE CLOSED!
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by:Callandor
ID: 10679210
Glad to help!
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