HDD Killers

The Great Rewiring

Posted on Tuesday 20 March 2007

So I finally got pissed off at having 5.1 speakers and an awesome sound card, but only getting stereo sound. It’s quite retarded really that the S/PDIF output on my sound card only supports stereo sound, although it can quite happily output AC3 audio from DVD’s … which is surround sound. It’s something to do with Creative refusing to pay license fees for Dolby Digital audio and instead pushing their own EAX audio … or something.

My sound card has a lot of outputs though, including another S/PDIF output at the front, an opitcal output (optical link for audio, anyone else find this ironic?), midi output, headphone output and … those three stereo leads green, orange and black for analog output of surround sound.

The S/PDIF and opitcal outputs are digital, and are therefore limited to stereo (unless outputting AC3 audio of course), which means that if I want surround sound out of this card I have to use those three coloured leads. There’s just one slight problem with that … the decoder for my speakers doesn’t accept input from three analog audio leads. It has an S/PDIF input, an optical input and one analog stereo input.

There was only one solution then, bypass the decoder, run the three analog audio leads straight into the sub. Unfortunately this then means that my VCR can’t connect to the stereo input on the decoder and my DVD player can’t connect to the decoder via optical link. However, my sound card also has a lot of inputs, so my sound card is effectively functioning as a decoder now. Ordinarily I wouldn’t be too fond of this setup, however the X-Fi cards have such a STUPIDLY high signal to noise ratio (109dBA) that it can probably do the job better than my decoder can.

So, for a few hours yesterday I unplugged everything and carefully put it back together again, piece by piece, cable by cable. Before I had a pretty sweet setup, now I’ve got a pretty awesome setup. One thing I didn’t put back though was the TV, instead I connected the VHS and DVD player to my computer (and also to my monitor just for kicks because I can), so now all the AV equipment in my room runs through the PC. 😀

Oh, and yes, I know, the VHS and DVD players are completely superfluous. I don’t watch any VHS tapes and my PC can play DVD’s just fine, but it all comes back to that “because I can” thing again. 😉

Only one thing remains, a diagram of the whole wiring scheme. Making the damn diagram actually took far longer than the re-wiring did. Working with SVG is sooo slow, fucking everything has to be given co-ordinates. It’s like REALLY inflexible CSS, where everything has to absolute positioned. I should have just made it in Paint Shop Pro.

So yeah, here’s the SVG diagram (you need a good browser to see this, so basically anything but IE). Or if you prefer (or have no choice), here is the PNG image.

    Paul Jr
    Tuesday 20th March 2007 | 5:38 pm
    Paul Jr's Globally Recognised Avatar

    Mmmm… SVG…

    Wednesday 21st March 2007 | 1:04 am
    James's Globally Recognised Avatar

    Sounds like fun. I like wiring stuff. I do it often… just because. 😛

    Wednesday 21st March 2007 | 10:40 am
    David's Globally Recognised Avatar

    I wouldn’t exactly describe it as fun, but once everything was all setup again, it was quite satisfying.

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