How to get full surround sound

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Hi everyone. I have recently upgraded from my stereo amp to a 5.1 av receiver. The problem i have is on my 7.1 sound card there is plugs for front, centre, side and rear. My amp receiver will only take one input at a time so i have to connect it to the front plug on the sound card.

Question is how do i get it to work proper 5.1?
 
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That's a very ancient receiver, it will only do surround from stereo tracks encoded with Dolby Stereo or Surround. So you'd connect the stereo output to your receiver and press the Pro Logic button. Most software lets you use this and will convert 5.1 tracks into Dolby Surround encoded stereo tracks - there's be an audio output option that you can set to Dolby Prologic/Stereo (Prologic is the name for the decoding and not the encoding). Most stereo tracks on DVD's that also have a 5.1 track will already be encoded for this.
 
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The main problem is when watching HD movies in Powerdvd form my 360 HD player the voice is very quiet and everything else is very loud. How do i get around it?
 
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Thanks for all the advice guys. Just a couple more questions. In the Creative sound menu do i set the speakers to 5.1 even tho its just through the front output or 2?
 
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Ok well just looking in to a replacement for my receiver and have found the CAMBRIDGE AUDIO AZUR 540R V2 which has optical inputs and outputs. Could i use an optical cable from my sound card and set up 5.1 through there?
 
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No, set it to 2 speakers.

And yes to your second question, the DD or DTS track will be sent to the receiver over S/PDIF (digital out optical or coax) and decoded there.
 
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Sorry to bring this back up but it looks like im going to go with the CA 540R AVR. I was thinking about connecting it via the optical but have seen connecting it through the analogue will enable me to play HD sound via powerdvd. Question is my sound card has the output jack centre/sub. Hows does it know which is which?
 
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You'd be better off with optical. The only thing analogue will do is let you play the lossless tracks and I can near assure you, that you won't be able to tell the difference. With optical you'll get the DD and DTS tracks which are practically transparent from source. I'm also sure that the DACS in your amp will be a lot better than those on the X-Fi and one cable > many. You wouldn't get high resolution audio as that requires hardware that support the protected audio path, though it's a gimmick anyway.

But as to your question it's a 3.5mm jack/cable just like the regualr stereo output. How do you think you can get stereo from one jack? Same thing, the jack has rings for each channel, you must have noticed that if one isn't inserted properly you don't get sound from both channels.
 
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Yeah i noticed that but when you connect say the front its on for R and L but the centre/sub is for two totally different types of speakers
 
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There's no difference at all, it's the same as any other output. A subwoofer is just a speaker with only woofers. You could connect you front left to the sub and vice versa if you wanted. Obviously you wouldn't get as much bass but you see what I mean.
 
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