Advice on connecting 5.1 Logitech Z-5500 to a laptop

Discussion in 'Computer Audio' started by peppergomez, Jul 10, 2019.

  1. peppergomez

    peppergomez Gawd

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    My desktop died and I have a replacement Alienware M15 laptop. I used to connect the Logitech Z-5500 speakers using the S/PDIF digital connector to my desktop, and note that the Alienware M15 just has a single headphone jack.

    On the back of the lLogitech receiver there are 3 1/4" RCA inputs, for rear, center/sub, and front., but the Alienware laptop just has a single 1/4" headphone input.
     
  2. IdiotInCharge

    IdiotInCharge [H]ardForum Junkie

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    You need something that can either a) offer the necessary six discrete audio channels (a 5.1 USB sound card, essentially), or something that can output a DD / DTS 5.1 signal over S/PDIF.

    36-121-120-31.jpg

    From what I can tell, it has three stereo minijack connectors for analog 5.1 input as well as both forms of S/PDIF for stereo PCM and encoded / compressed 5.1 digital. There are numerous options available around ~US$15 that can do the analog output, but be warned that these include very cheap digital to analog converters. May be fine, may not be.

    To do S/PDIF for more than stereo, you're going to need something that can encode 5.1, which is not easy to do (there's licensing involved). Creative likely has the products you'd want and they won't be cheap.

    Now, if you just want stereo output from Windows and can live with 5.1 only coming from pre-encoded sources, i.e. movies from discs or streams, a regular S/PDIF output would work fine.
     
  3. peppergomez

    peppergomez Gawd

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    Thanks. That's right, it has the 3 stereo minijack connectors (bass/center, front, back). The M51 laptop doesn't have S/PDIF, just the single headphone stereo minijack, so I won't be able to do S/PDIF I am thinking, unless there is a convertor or some such. I'll search Amazon for that.
     
  4. IdiotInCharge

    IdiotInCharge [H]ardForum Junkie

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    There are plenty that do USB to S/PDIF, however you have to go with something less generic if you're going to want to do 5.1 in Windows. S/PDIF is only natively stereo.
     
  5. Criticalhitkoala

    Criticalhitkoala [H]ard|Gawd

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    pendragon1 likes this.
  6. DoubleTap

    DoubleTap 2[H]4U

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    If you want 5.1, get a Sound Blaster Omni 5.1 or one of the Asus Xonar USB sound cards. They will connect through USB and give you discrete 5.1
     
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  7. IdiotInCharge

    IdiotInCharge [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I added a link- The 'Dolby Digital Live' functionality is what peppergomez is going to need to use S/PDIF and get 5.1 all the time out to their speakers. Otherwise there are stacks of these generic USB 5.1 sound cards that can do the analog breakouts as well as do stereo over S/PDIF and pass pre-encoded 5.1 from discs or streams.
     
  8. peppergomez

    peppergomez Gawd

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    Hey folks. Thanks for the replies. So I bought the Sound Blaster Omni 5.1 and installed the drivers. My computer recognized it but there was no audio coming out. I also updated the firmware and installed the Sound Blaster Omni Control Panel, then rebooted. When I launch the Omni Control Panel, it tells me "The current selected audio device is disabled, not present,not supported by the application, or has unplugged jacks."

    Also, I now notice that the Omni 5.1 is no longer appearing in Windows Sound Settings as an option. I've rebooted but it's still this way. I have the device plugged into my laptop, and my Logitechs plugged into the Omni via the SPIF cable.

    Can anyone assist with this? Thanks.
     
  9. mvmiller12

    mvmiller12 Gawd

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    Wish I had seen this earlier. I would have recommended the Asus Xonar U3 - it does Dolby Digital Live encoding over SPD/IF for USB and is pretty affordable at ~$40 or so. It also works with all versions of Windows 10 very well.

    Unfortunately, a lot of older Creative Labs stuff does NOT work with Windows 10 1903 very well. They have been rolling out updated drivers to correct this for some stuff (notably PCI and PCIe X-Fi based cards) but not others. I'd check their website for newer drivers and also check out their Reddit page. Creative Ryan lurks there...
     
  10. peppergomez

    peppergomez Gawd

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    I ran the Creative Labs updater and it updated the drivers, but still it isn't being recognized by Windows. It's weird that it was recognized BEFORE I installed Creative's drivers and the Omni Control Panel, but not after that. (Even though I wasn't getting any audio).
    Could it be that it's not able to output sound based on the SPIF connection alone? (which would make it useless for me)
     
  11. mvmiller12

    mvmiller12 Gawd

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    It sounds exactly like the Creative/Windows 10 1903 bug.
     
  12. peppergomez

    peppergomez Gawd

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    Great. I'll just return the thing back to the seller then for a refund. I appreciate the heads up, saving me from wasting my time trying to troubleshoot it.