Dolby Digital Live (1 Viewer)

Stéphane Lenclud

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  • April 29, 2013
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    Since I recently upgraded from a stereo sound system to surround I had to experiment quite a bit with system and MediaPortal settings to use my surround to its full potential.

    Here is the hardware I'm dealing with:
    • Sound card: Creative Sound Blaster ZxR or Creative Sound Blaster Z SB1502
    • Surround sound system: SONOS PLAYBAR + SUB + 2x PLAY:1
    • Connection: S/PDIF optical
    Now it looks like I have eventually found a proper setup using Dolby Digital Live through my Creative Sound Blaster ZxR.
    Basically you can keep most of your stereo settings in MediaPortal but you need to tell your sound card to encode all sounds output using Dolby Digital Live.

    It's not exactly clear how to get this done so here are some notes about it:
    • In Sound Blaster Pro Studio go to 'Cinematic' and select Dolby Digital Live
      upload_2014-12-1_12-10-4.png
    • In Windows Playback devices make the Speakers of your Sound Blaster the default one. Yes, you need to do that even though you are actually using Digital Audio and S/PDIF. Sound Blaster ZxR will encode the Speakers output as Dolby Digital 5.1 and redirect it to your S/PDIF Digital Audio device. This is what Dolby Digital Live is all about.
      upload_2014-12-1_12-12-3.png
    • Configure that Speakers device for 5.1 surround
      upload_2014-12-1_12-15-19.png
    Enable upmixing using SBX Pro Studio
    Now any sound played on Windows should be mixed into Dolby Digital 5.1. however the surround channels will remain silent when playing stereo sources unless you enable upmixing using SBX Pro Studio as shown below:
    upload_2015-2-3_21-37-43.png


    That worked nicely for me with Sky Deutschland for which most audio is Dolby Digital 2.0.
    Blu-rays AC3 rip are playing very nicely too. PowerDVD 14 works great too, I tested it with a DTS HD 6.1 track which is remixed on the fly by that Sound Blaster ZxR into Dolby Digital 5.1.

    Most my codecs and renderer in MediaPortal are the default ones, mostly BASS and LAV.
    Now even when using SBX Pro Studio upmix with surround level set to max I found that while playing stereo music the surround speakers were still too quite. Thankfully using BASS upmix provided a more enjoyable music experience.

    upload_2014-11-30_22-51-54.png


    Dolby Digtial Live works brilliantly with games like Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor and The Witcher 2.

    I actually felt the sound quality went up a notch in AC3 movies when using Dolby Digital Live.
    In fact the overall sound quality was improved. Possibly because my ZxR and that SONOS are talking the same language :)

    I'm guessing you could get similar results using DTS Connect but that one is not supported by my Sound System.
     
    Last edited:

    Haikubandit

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    March 20, 2015
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    I have the same setup as far as an htpc and sonos playbar, 2 play 1s, and the sub. I'm trying to get all sound from my PC to play in dolby digital 5.1. My question is, can I do this without a sound card? Is there software that I can download to achieve this?
     

    Stéphane Lenclud

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    Unlikely, you could still try and check if your onboard sound system supports Dolby Digital Live.
     

    Stéphane Lenclud

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    It's just your sound blaster driver. No sound card, no Dolby Digital Live.

    It does not mean you can't use your SONOS, it is just that it won't be as smooth. Especially when you have DTS sources.
     
    Last edited:

    Stéphane Lenclud

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    The issue described in this post appears to be fixed in Windows 10 update "Threshold 2" (v1511).

    Unfortunately I'm having trouble with the Sound Blaster drivers on Windows 10.
    There is a glitch in the Dolby Digital Live encoder causing audio interruptions after a while.
    One needs to turn Dolby Digital Live off and back on again to fix it until next time.
    It can reoccur multiple times during the course of a day.
    See:
    https://forum.team-mediaportal.com/threads/windows-10-audio-interruptions.132080/

    Here the post from someone have that same problem on Creative's forums:
    http://forums.creative.com/showthread.php?t=724660&p=596137&viewfull=1#post596137
     
    Last edited:

    Stéphane Lenclud

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    The issue mentioned above appears to be fixed in Windows 10 update "Threshold 2" (v1511) November 2015.
    Looks like my Sound Blaster Z is back in business :)
     

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