How do I get surround sound when I only see stereo jacks?

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Driveman-32
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How do I get surround sound when I only see stereo jacks?

Post by Driveman-32 » Wed Nov 26, 2008 9:50 pm

I'm building my first computer, using an Intel DG31PR mATX mobo. Like many others, this one says it has surround sound. The only this is, I don't see any connectors for it. So, how am I supposed to get the surround sound?

There are normal stereo minijack inputs and outputs on the back. (3 of them: line-in, line-out and microphone-in.) The board also has jacks that you connect to the audio jacks on the front of a case, which also look like regular minijacks, but they call it a "High Definition Audio" output. Am I missing something? Have they desgined a jack that looks like a stereo minijack, but also handles surround sound somehow?

The mobo also has a header on it for S/PDIF. There's a similar motherboard called the Gigabyte GA-G31M-ES2L, and Gigabyte sells an accessory cable that connects from the jack on the mobo to an S/PDIF jack that attaches to the case where one of the PCI cards would go. Does Intel sell a similar piece, or would the Gigabyte one work with mine? I don't know if even the Gigabyte one is really available, there only seem to be one or two places that carry it.

CA_Steve
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Post by CA_Steve » Thu Nov 27, 2008 8:14 am

Line out should connect to your external 5.1 amp/speaker system and be decoded there.

From your manual:

The audio subsystem supports the following features:
• A signal-to-noise (S/N) ratio of 95 dB
• Independent multi-streaming 5.1 audio (using the back panel audio connectors)
and stereo (using the Intel High Definition front panel audio header
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Devonavar
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Post by Devonavar » Thu Nov 27, 2008 1:07 pm

That's pretty poor surround support if true ... did Intel really build a Dolby Pro II encoder into their sound card?

Your S/PDIF connection should be able to output 5.1 Dolby Digital and or DTS with the appropriate software configuration ... but that requires an external receiver/decoder.

If you're trying to get 5.1 out of the mini-jacks, it's possible Intel might provide software that repurposes the IN and MIC jacks for the rear and centre/sub channels ... or it's possible that the board just doesn't support 5.1 out of the mini-jacks ... check your manual to be sure.

Often, 5.1 support is claimed because the audio processor is capable of doing that many channels, but the boards don't come with the appropriate outs ... let's hope that's not your situation here.

CA_Steve
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Post by CA_Steve » Thu Nov 27, 2008 8:21 pm

I looked at it -it's a pretty piss poor manual.
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Post by xan_user » Thu Nov 27, 2008 10:54 pm

"After installing the audio driver from the Intel Express Installer CD-ROM, the multichannel
audio feature can be enabled. Figure 22 shows the back panel audio
connectors. The default connector assignments are shown in the table."

ie software will allow changing the default connector assignments to accommodate 5.1. two chann per mini plug.
frnt-lft/rt
rear-lft/rt
frnt-center/sub

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