Polska Brain Jelly

Media Center PC: Update

by on Aug.27, 2009, under TV

My WMC PC build was just about finished when my last post was written, I was just needing a mono 1/8th inch to rca adapter so I could use my Audigy card for surround sound audio.  Radio Shack conveniently had an adapter, and so I got home and connected my computer to my A/V reciever.  After around three hours of hunting and tweaking and some horrid digital static sound that will haunt me for years to come, I finally got the s/pdif out to work on that freaking Audigy card.  It worked well for about a week, then one day, for no other reason that I changed channels, that damned digital static sound came back.  I spent another three hours trying everything I could remember and everything I could think of to get rid of it.  Nothing except that damned horrific digital static.

I pulled out an old Sound Blaster Live! card because it also had digital out.  Too bad for me there aren’t any drivers or support for it since XP.  Strike two.

Fuck it.  I’m getting a card that I know will work with Windows 7.  Amazingly enough, there’s not a lot of information on cards known to work (much less work well) with Windows 7.  There were of course the X-Fi and Xonar fanboys extolling the virtues of their particular cards, but after all the crap that I have had using Creative’s cards recently, and not wanting to spend more on a Xonar card than I have on the entire rest of the build, I opted out of those options.  I decided on the Diamond Multimedia Xtreme Sound (oooh, it’s Xtreme!) XS71DDL.  This has onboard dolby digital decoding and optical out.  And from what I had read on the Inter-tubes it works with Windows 7 (or more specifically, the C-media chip the card is based on works with Windows 7).  Whip out the card and NewEgg makes more money.

Five days later (ordered it over a weekend) I get the card in.  Rip out the Audigy, and slap in the Xtreme Sound (it’s sooooo Xtreme!).  Windows Update doesn’t have any native drivers, so I grab the disk.  Only Win XP, 2000 and MCE are listed.  Great.  I take a chance and put the disk in anyway.  No go.

Head over to Diamond’s website and look for drivers there.  No Windows 7 drivers, but the driver framework is pretty much Vista anyway, so I grab the Vista drivers.  They install fine and I have analog sound.  There isn’t any custom sound app installed with those drivers, so using the built in sound manager in W7 I find there is no way to activate digital only.  It shows the digital out, but it’s not directing anything out of it, and there’s no way to force it.

Uhg!

Head over to C-media’s website.  Look for drivers.  Look on Google to identify which chip the Xtreme Sound (did I mention this card was Xtreme!) uses becuase Diamond doesn’t say (shh, it’s a secret), and then download the W7 beta drivers.  Uninstall the card, reinstall with new drivers.  Hey look, a custom sound manager was installed.  Hey look, it allows me to specify s/pdif.  Hey look, it works!  Holy crap!  It works!  It’s working correctly!

I cry tears of joy as I dance upon the Audigy card and speak of how if its lineage were shown as a tree, it would be all trunk.

Finally, I have surround sound that works.  Just a tip, if you have an Xtreme Sound (it’s really Xtreme!, you have to believe me), forgo the crap-tastic drivers that come from Diamond and go to C-Media’s site to download them. They are so much better.


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