Sound card blunders


Sep 29, 2004
I just bought myself a set of Logitech Z680 5.1 speakers, and mounted them on my wall. I then used an optical cable to go from my onboard sound (Realtek) to my Logitech box. Music sounds ok, but this system is mainly for games. So now I have run in to a few problems...

1) A lot of white noise. I then learned that this was probably due to the onboard sound card. I borrowed a friends Hercules Fortissmo sound card, and had better results. Minimal white noise. So I assume my onboard is to blame... which brings me to the second problem...

2) My rear speakers are very very quiet. Whisper quiet. However this was a problem with both the onboard and the Hercules card.

So now I am at a loss. I was thinking of going to a Creative card, however after reading that there is no optical (toslink) out (which isn't a huge problem) and that Creative's sound cards are ment to work best with Creative's speakers. Here is a snip from a comment....

But don't buy them thinking you can use the digital connection for a Creative Labs Audigy 2, or Audigy 2 NX card to hook up to them. Audigy 2 cards do have digital output, but it is intended ONLY to work with Creative Labs Speakers. So if you try the digital out connection to the Z680's, you will be disappointed.

If you use a mono 1/8" minijack to RCA connection, all of the digital signal from the Audigy is getting to the speaker decoder, but the signals from the different channels all have different amplitudes. Creative is the only company to employ this technique. But what it means, is that the Z680's will only pick out the signal from the largest aplitude signal, which is the front channels. So you won't get digital surround sound. The rear speakers will be silent, very low, or mimic the front speakers.

Optical output from Creative Labs give the same result. Creative has chosen to support only their products this this regard as well.

Both Creative and Logitech are aware of this issue, but seem to choose not to make it public.


So now I'm at a loss what to do. Any suggestions on a sound card that will give me better 5.1? Or perhaps I have something configued wrong?

Any suggestions would be appreciated!


Feb 18, 2003
You can look up the M-Audio Revolution 7.1. It's a real nice card. However, it sounds like there might be a problem with the speakers. Try hooking them up to an actual surround sound device, like a DVD player or home theatre receiver, and make sure it's not the Logitech unit that's at fault. I'm not familiar with the speakers, but make sure there isn't any gain you can adjust on them. Also try swapping your front input and rear inputs, to test if it's the Logitech unit or simply the signal input (ie: hook up the front 1/8" jacks to the rear input on the Logitech unit and vice versa).

umheint0's phat setup --> <A HREF="" target="_new"></A><--


Oct 24, 2004
basic question: is the polarity of the speaker wires on all of your speakers correct? i couldn't tell you exactly what problems you would have with improper speaker wiring, but its a start.

if all else fails, i would hesitate in recommending the M-Audio Revolution 7.1, and opt for the latest Creative cards for the sole fact that you said that the primary use was for gaming. if youre that serious about gaming, you'll want to use a soundcard that can use the latest standards in gaming, and in this case that standard is EAX 4.0 Advanced HD...unless the standards dont really matter to you. then in that case, the fact that the M-Audio has a digital coaxial connector (and many other things) makes it one of the better choices out there.

<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by cookingfrags on 11/26/04 11:16 PM.</EM></FONT></P>


Dec 31, 2007
All 5.1 sound cards offer the same thing, that is full 5.1 via analog connection, 5.1 audio passthru for sources like DVD (and other 5.1 pre-encoded sources) using digital connection but only 2 channel (stereo) on the same digital connection for all other sounds (games, music, etc).

The reason for this is no souncards have 5.1 on-the-fly encoders. They can only pass on pre-encoded Dolby Digital (AC3) streams (and DTS in some cases I think).

Motherboards have the same limitations except for nForce (w/ MCP) and nForce2 (w/ Soundstorm) motherboards. The APU on these motherboard can encode Dolby Digital on-the-fly (which means 5.1 in games).

<b>A mind is a terrible thing</b>


Apr 8, 2003
I have those speakers and they are very nice with an Audigy2 ZS. I had a similar problem but I fixed it by using Creatives software to configure the speakers. You can adjust how loud each speaker. I also had to up to volume on the rear speakers.

This is ofcourse assuming that there isn't a defect in your speaker system.