Question Logitech Z906, GIGABYTE Z370 Aorus Gaming 7 5.1 Audio Issues

Apr 18, 2022
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Hi,

I am trying to setup a new Logitech Z906 5.1 audio system to a PC with a GIGABYTE Z370 Aorus Gaming 7 motherboard. I am experienced in the world of PC hardware, and dealing with PC software issues, however I am very new to the audio world.
The two are connected via the "6 channel direct input cable," and not the optical system. I have tested, and all speakers function properly from the control console supplied with the Logitech system. The console is set to 3D, and is on input 1.
When running the "speaker setup" and selecting the "5.1 Surround" option, during the test only the FR, and FL speakers output sound.
I have done a full wipe and reset of my OS to no avail.
Playing videos, sound comes out of all speakers evenly.

I have read many forums and found nothing of use.

Thanks
 

dwd999

Honorable
Hi,

I am trying to setup a new Logitech Z906 5.1 audio system to a PC with a GIGABYTE Z370 Aorus Gaming 7 motherboard. I am experienced in the world of PC hardware, and dealing with PC software issues, however I am very new to the audio world.
The two are connected via the "6 channel direct input cable," and not the optical system. I have tested, and all speakers function properly from the control console supplied with the Logitech system. The console is set to 3D, and is on input 1.
When running the "speaker setup" and selecting the "5.1 Surround" option, during the test only the FR, and FL speakers output sound.
I have done a full wipe and reset of my OS to no avail.
Playing videos, sound comes out of all speakers evenly.

I have read many forums and found nothing of use.

Thanks
I am not sure if you understand the nature of the product. You would need to use the Optical inputs 3 or 4 or the Digital input 5 to get decoding of surround sound from Dolby or DTS sources on your computer. This would cause the Decode light on the front of the Control Center to light up. The way you have it connected now implies that surround decoding has already been performed on the computer by your Windows software and that all 5.1 channel signals are already present and being sent to the Control Center from the computer. Otherwise you're just getting simulated Stereo sound which is why your computer only sees the 2 front channels during the test sequence. Try setting up a digital connection and see if your computer sees the Control Center as a proper Dolby and DTS decoding device.
 
Apr 18, 2022
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I almost certainly do not understand the nature of the product. I was lead to believe that all I had to do was connect the 6 channel cable. So, you are saying that I have to send "decoded sound" over the 6 channel connection for that to work? How do I do this? I ordered a Creative Sound Blaster Z SE internal sound card to test, however I just canceled the order as I don't believe that will work. I cant stress enough that I seriously know absolutely nothing here.
 

dwd999

Honorable
I almost certainly do not understand the nature of the product. I was lead to believe that all I had to do was connect the 6 channel cable. So, you are saying that I have to send "decoded sound" over the 6 channel connection for that to work? How do I do this? I ordered a Creative Sound Blaster Z SE internal sound card to test, however I just canceled the order as I don't believe that will work. I cant stress enough that I seriously know absolutely nothing here.
How do the games you play output their sound? Are there settings in the game itself that send 6 separate channels of sound to the computer's audio output? Or do they send Dolby or DTS encoded multichannel sound to the computer's output? Basically what you have is a single product that's designed to take the place of 6 powered speakers. Instead of having multiple power sources that have to be plugged in to your outlet strip, you have 1 power source built into the subwoofer and then 5 conventional passive speakers powered by the amplifier inside the subwoofer. The subwoofer and the Control Center act like a mini-audio receiver. Based on how the sound is created in your computer a different type of connection to the Control Center would be appropriate. If your game already outputs 6 separate channels of sound, most likely in PCM format, then the 6 channel connecting cable would be appropriate since it just passes along the 6 existing channels from the computer's output jacks to the Control Center. If you look at page 8 of the setup guide, you will see that option 4 "No effect" refers to this type of sound distribution and you're all set up for that. Below that on the page you will see reference to using Dolby or DTS sound sources from either your game or another program e.g. the Netflix app. If you are planning on that, then you would need a digital connection e.g. a toslink cable from your computer toslink output.
 
Apr 18, 2022
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Setting the controller to "no effect" worked for the 6 channel output! Thank you! Not sure how I missed that.
I play many different games, and I am not sure how each one outputs sound. The system is not just for gaming, I also used it for movies and general entertainment. I have not yet tested any games.
So, if I wish to use the surround sound with Netflix, or any other program using DTS, I will have to setup a digital connection and switch between the two when needed?
I am using this to test currently, and all are working properly. Using the Netflix test pattern does not seem to work.
 
A few things about surround sound and optical audio:
  • Optical audio only has enough bandwidth to support uncompressed PCM 2.1 audio. Anything more requires a compression codec.
  • Most games (it's safe to assume practically all of them) don't use Dolby or DTS encoders. It's just more licensing fees they you have to pay and surround sound mixing has been a staple feature in modern game engines.
  • Most high profile TV shows and movies that use some sort of surround sound made in the past 12 or so years use either Dolby Digital Plus or DTS-HD Master Audio. Neither of these are supported by optical audio
  • If a streaming service has media with surround sound, it's likely going to use Dolby Digital Plus or DTS-HD Master Audio.
Basically, optical audio is dead and it's a vegistal feature of the Z906. The speaker system was released in 2011 and it's a huge disservice that Logitech didn't update it.
 

dwd999

Honorable
Setting the controller to "no effect" worked for the 6 channel output! Thank you! Not sure how I missed that.
I play many different games, and I am not sure how each one outputs sound. The system is not just for gaming, I also used it for movies and general entertainment. I have not yet tested any games.
So, if I wish to use the surround sound with Netflix, or any other program using DTS, I will have to setup a digital connection and switch between the two when needed?
I am using this to test currently, and all are working properly. Using the Netflix test pattern does not seem to work.
A digital connection is easiest since you're just dealing with 1 setting in your playback software. For example, using the Netflix app you just select the 5.1 output and it sends all the channels out in a Dolby format, through your toslink digital cable to the Control center, the decode light comes on and the speaker lights come on and you're done. For movies its easy to do something similar using Media Player Classic Home Cinema or VLC. You just set the software for passthrough and use the optical connection. Passthrough is always easier plus using the optical connection means there's no metal connection and a lower chance of hum or other electrical effects lowering the quality of the sound.
 
If it helps though, I've been able to watch movies encoded with Dolby Digital Plus or DTS-HD Master Audio out through my Z906 via analog over my Creative AE-5. I'm pretty sure the SoundBlaster Z supports decoding these as well. However, it's also possible that whatever software I'm using (MPC-HC or MPC-BE) also is able to decode it.

Either way, I've had no issues piping surround sound through analog out.
 

dwd999

Honorable
If it helps though, I've been able to watch movies encoded with Dolby Digital Plus or DTS-HD Master Audio out through my Z906 via analog over my Creative AE-5. I'm pretty sure the SoundBlaster Z supports decoding these as well. However, it's also possible that whatever software I'm using (MPC-HC or MPC-BE) also is able to decode it.

Either way, I've had no issues piping surround sound through analog out.
The whole point is that he doesn't need a Creative AE-5 or anything else other than an inexpensive cable. Everything he needs to decode Netflix and Dolby or DTS movies is already included in the hardware he already has.
 
The whole point is that he doesn't need a Creative AE-5 or anything else other than an inexpensive cable. Everything he needs to decode Netflix and Dolby or DTS movies is already included in the hardware he already has.
Except OP doesn't, so let me repeat myself:

A few things about surround sound and optical audio:
  • Optical audio only has enough bandwidth to support uncompressed PCM 2.1 audio. Anything more requires a compression codec.
  • Most games (it's safe to assume practically all of them) don't use Dolby or DTS encoders. It's just more licensing fees they you have to pay and surround sound mixing has been a staple feature in modern game engines.
  • Most high profile TV shows and movies that use some sort of surround sound made in the past 12 or so years use either Dolby Digital Plus or DTS-HD Master Audio. Neither of these are supported by optical audio
  • If a streaming service has media with surround sound, it's likely going to use Dolby Digital Plus or DTS-HD Master Audio.
Basically, optical audio is dead and it's a vegistal feature of the Z906. The speaker system was released in 2011 and it's a huge disservice that Logitech didn't update it.
As a side note, I've been ripping my Blu-Ray collection for archival. If it had surround sound, it used Dolby Digital Plus or DTS-HD MA.

EDIT: The spec sheet on the Z906 says it only supports Dolby Digital and DTS Digital Surround.

These are not the same or compatible with Dolby Digital Plus or DTS-HD MA.
 
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Apr 18, 2022
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So,

Using the analog connection, and "no effect" is working, however not for DTS (or similar?). I ordered an optical cable and connected it up, however the "decode" light is still not coming on.
Using this website, all sounds are working for both optical and analog - https://www2.iis.fraunhofer.de/AAC/multichannel.html
Using Netflix Test Patterns to test DTS (I assume?) it does not seem to be working for either. I assume using this the audio is supposed to rotate around me, however it does not. - https://www.netflix.com/watch/80018585?trackId=14277281&tctx=-97,-97,,,,,,
The decode light does not come on for any of these, only the "3D" light ever comes on while using optical.

EDIT: The spec sheet on the Z906 says it only supports Dolby Digital and DTS Digital Surround.

These are not the same or compatible with Dolby Digital Plus or DTS-HD MA.
So my only options would be to install a sound card? And possibly set up MPC-HC or MPC-BE if needed?
 
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dwd999

Honorable
So,

Using the analog connection, and "no effect" is working, however not for DTS (or similar?). I ordered an optical cable and connected it up, however the "decode" light is still not coming on.
Using this website, all sounds are working for both optical and analog - https://www2.iis.fraunhofer.de/AAC/multichannel.html
Using Netflix Test Patterns to test DTS (I assume?) it does not seem to be working for either. I assume using this the audio is supposed to rotate around me, however it does not. - https://www.netflix.com/watch/80018585?trackId=14277281&tctx=-97,-97,,,,,,
The decode light does not come on for any of these, only the "3D" light ever comes on while using optical.
So my only options would be to install a sound card? And possibly set up MPC-HC or MPC-BE if needed?
The Fraunhofer site only tests AAC encoding so you would not expect the Decode light to come on since its not Dolby or DTS. I am not sure what the purpose of the Netflix test patterns is supposed to be since the sound check only works with the Netflix app. To watch Netflix with Dolby 5.1 multichannel sound you download the free Netflix app from the Microsoft Store, select a recent vintage movie or TV show and then click the little box that opens the Dialogue selection box. You then just select a 5.1 soundtrack and you get Dolby 5.1 surround sound.

If you want to use MPC-HC or MPC-BE you open the View, Options menu, select Internal Filters, then Audio Decoder. You check the boxes for Dolby and DTS and click Apply. If you have any unsupported formats you use the Mixing tab, click the Enable Mixing box, set it for 5.1 channels and click the Dolby Prologic box. You should then get 5.1 sound in either Dolby or DTS, or 5.1 channel PCM which would be covered by your 6 channel cable.
 
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So after a little digging around on the codecs some more and doing some testing:
  • Media that has Dolby Digital Plus or DTS-HD MA typically also comes with an AC3 core (AKA "Dolby Digital") or DTS Digital core, this is so that older equipment can still play back media encoded in either of those two. AC3 and DTS Digital are supported by the Z906
  • If you have an improperly encoded video file (say a Blu-Ray rip encoded with Handbrake), it may drop the audio cores, in which case the Z906 cannot play surround sound from these files
  • MPC-HC by default comes with an audio filter that can use the audio cores over analog, but it can also send it directly to a digital audio output
  • Netflix also uses an audio core for surround sound, if you use their app
  • For fun, Amazon Video does not support surround sound, even through the app.
It's basically safe to assume from this that unless you're playing back a video file that dropped the audio core, then it'll work over optical due to the audio cores. The only thing you're missing by not using Dolby Digital Plus or DTS-HD MA is both of these codecs are lossless.

However for gaming, you're stuck with stereo because nobody uses Dolby or DTS.
 
Any updates from the OP? Also using aZ906 speaker setup. I had it combined with both Z370 then later Z390 on board audio prior to current configuration. As folks have mention, using same 3-Analog cable setup would only provide stereo output outside of games. Still the "sound test" would play through all speakers using motherboard software, ASUS in my case. I've since added an Creative AE-7 in my Z690 build. Audio quality is much improved plus simulated surround for desktop work among other features/enhancements from the soundcard are well worth it. This is using 3 Analog cables as before. I hadn't used a soundcard since X99 launched in 2014 and I went with no discrete card when I was hearing how onboard audio had gotten better over the years. This wasn't the case. The AE-7 is far better audio experience than I had gotten from X99 ->Z370 -> Z390.
 

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