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Realtek ALC665 HD Audio + 2.1 stereo speaker = no sound!, How to connect using Digital S/PDIF?
burnett_s
post Dec 26 2010, 07:19
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Hello,

I bought a Dell XPS L701X (Windows 7, 64-bit) with a Realtek ALC665 High Definition Audio (Driver 6.0.1.6240 x64 aka R2.55) and I'm trying to connect my 2.1 stereo speaker system Cambridge SoundWorks® MegaWorks® THX® 2.1 250D using a digital cable to the Realtek Digital Output (S/PDIF) connector #6 (see pic below) but I have no sound. The only way to get sound is connecting an analogue cable to connector #5. (see pic below)

Notebook S/PDIF connector:




2.1 stereo speaker system inputs:

•2 x Analogue Audio (3.5mm stereo mini-jack)
•1 x Digital SPDIF (RCA)




Mixing audio through Digital and Analog inputs:




The Realtek ALC665 has 1 digital S/PDIF, my 2.1 stereo speakers system has 1 digital S/PDIF too, so I thought I could have sound using this option:






Could anybody please help me with this problem?

Thank you very much,
Gonzalo

This post has been edited by burnett_s: Dec 26 2010, 07:44


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kraut
post Dec 26 2010, 11:14
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Do you run windows 7? If so, go to "control panel", "hardware and sound" and see under "sound - playback" if your speaker is recognized and enabled.
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probedb
post Dec 26 2010, 13:26
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If you want to keep it digital you need an optical to coax s/pdif convertor (pretty cheap) then you go from the s/pdif output on the laptop to the convertor then convertor to coax input on the speakers.

If you want analogue just use a standard 3.5mm - 3.5mm lead to go from connector #5 or #6 into input 1 or 2 on the speakers.

You can't go optical into analogue.
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burnett_s
post Dec 26 2010, 15:58
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@kraut:

Yes, it's recognized.


@probedb:

If this is an "optical to coax s/pdif convertor", then yes, I'm using it, it came with my speakers.






Thank you.
Gonzalo


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burnett_s
post Dec 26 2010, 16:02
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QUOTE (probedb @ Dec 26 2010, 09:26) *
If you want to keep it digital you need an optical to coax s/pdif convertor (pretty cheap) then you go from the s/pdif output on the laptop to the convertor then convertor to coax input on the speakers.

If you want analogue just use a standard 3.5mm - 3.5mm lead to go from connector #5 or #6 into input 1 or 2 on the speakers.

You can't go optical into analogue.


Thank you for your reply.

Is this an optical to coax s/pdif converter or it is just a simple adapter?



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kraut
post Dec 26 2010, 18:37
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Hi again,

I assume both the spdif out on the laptop and the spdif in on the speaker is an rca connector? From the pic of the speaker that is what it looks like. But is the computer outlet an rca jack too?

In any case, both outputs are definitely coax and not optical. Toslink looks quite different and there is no easy plug in conversion available, as the optical signal would have to be converted into an electrical signal.


If it is recognized in the sound device list, click on that speaker, right click and select test below configure speakers.

This post has been edited by kraut: Dec 26 2010, 18:41
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burnett_s
post Dec 26 2010, 20:10
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QUOTE (kraut @ Dec 26 2010, 14:37) *
Hi again,

I assume both the spdif out on the laptop and the spdif in on the speaker is an rca connector? From the pic of the speaker that is what it looks like. But is the computer outlet an rca jack too?

In any case, both outputs are definitely coax and not optical. Toslink looks quite different and there is no easy plug in conversion available, as the optical signal would have to be converted into an electrical signal.


If it is recognized in the sound device list, click on that speaker, right click and select test below configure speakers.


Nope, the computer outlet is not an rca jack, I have to use the adapter below (rca to 3.5mm mini-jack) to connect the digital cable to the computer.



When I connect the cable to my computer, a popup window appears asking "what device did you connect". I choose S/PDIF output, but when I want to test the speakers, I have no sound.

So, what I need is an optical to coax s/pdif convertor? If this is too much trouble, I'll go through analogue.

I wonder why I have sound when these speakers were connected on another PC with a Creative Sound Blaster Audigy card.

Thank you again,
Gonzalo


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andy o
post Dec 26 2010, 20:52
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That doesn't look like a Toslink-coaxial SPDIF adapter at all, just a regular 3.5mm to RCA adapter. From what I've seen, optical to coax is a little box, and it needs a power source. You can double check easily at the 3.5mm tip of the adapter, it should have a little hole or translucent tip cause it's supposed to be taking in light if it's an optical input.

Also, have you checked the optical input of your speakers with another device, like a DVD player? When you had sound with the Audigy card, were you using the same adapter and cable?

This post has been edited by andy o: Dec 26 2010, 20:55
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Apesbrain
post Dec 26 2010, 22:00
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I believe you need these three components to connect the optical digital output of your laptop to the coax digital input of your speakers:

1. 1/8 to Toslink adaptor/cable
2. Optical to Coax Converter
3. The coax RCA cable you already have.

All in all, a lot easier to connect via analog and I really doubt you'd hear any difference into 2.1-channel. For 5.1 surround sound you'd have to be connected via S/PDIF.
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kraut
post Dec 26 2010, 22:20
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QUOTE
I believe you need these three components to connect the optical digital output of your laptop to the coax digital input of your speakers:


Why do you believe that when the labeled output is clearly a coax spdif out and not a toslink out? Your response makes no sense.
You just add another component by introducing a toslink/coax converter - the question is why?

As to the speakers - do they have a switch from spdif in to analogue in. Is the xover at the sub or at the satellites?

I have a bit of experience with setting up converting amps/speakers. My main speakers - kef 104/2 are powered by hypex AS2.100 converting amps and are fed from my media server via spdif and USB for the control and filter set up, my computer station feed Edirol MA 15 D active speaker also via USB?Spdif converter.
Some switches are small and easily overlooked.

This post has been edited by kraut: Dec 26 2010, 22:31
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burnett_s
post Dec 27 2010, 01:02
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QUOTE (andy o @ Dec 26 2010, 16:52) *
That doesn't look like a Toslink-coaxial SPDIF adapter at all, just a regular 3.5mm to RCA adapter. From what I've seen, optical to coax is a little box, and it needs a power source. You can double check easily at the 3.5mm tip of the adapter, it should have a little hole or translucent tip cause it's supposed to be taking in light if it's an optical input.

Also, have you checked the optical input of your speakers with another device, like a DVD player? When you had sound with the Audigy card, were you using the same adapter and cable?


Seeing the image of the Toslink Coaxial SPDIF adapter, I can tell you that what I have is just a regular 3.5mm to RCA adapter. I wonder why my adapter does not work with my notebook. I though that S/PDIF carries digital audio signals between devices and components over either optical or electrical cable. I definitely have a 75 Ω coaxial cable using RCA jacks. Since my notebook does not have an RCA input, I thought that using the RCA adapter would work. I don't have an optical cable since my speaker system is not optical.


QUOTE (Apesbrain @ Dec 26 2010, 18:00) *
I believe you need these three components to connect the optical digital output of your laptop to the coax digital input of your speakers:

1. 1/8 to Toslink adaptor/cable
2. Optical to Coax Converter
3. The coax RCA cable you already have.

All in all, a lot easier to connect via analog and I really doubt you'd hear any difference into 2.1-channel. For 5.1 surround sound you'd have to be connected via S/PDIF.


Are you sure? I don't have any optical input/output. My speaker system uses a coaxial cable with RCA jacks (not optical).


QUOTE (kraut @ Dec 26 2010, 18:20) *
QUOTE
I believe you need these three components to connect the optical digital output of your laptop to the coax digital input of your speakers:


Why do you believe that when the labeled output is clearly a coax spdif out and not a toslink out? Your response makes no sense.
You just add another component by introducing a toslink/coax converter - the question is why?

As to the speakers - do they have a switch from spdif in to analogue in. Is the xover at the sub or at the satellites?

I have a bit of experience with setting up converting amps/speakers. My main speakers - kef 104/2 are powered by hypex AS2.100 converting amps and are fed from my media server via spdif and USB for the control and filter set up, my computer station feed Edirol MA 15 D active speaker also via USB?Spdif converter.
Some switches are small and easily overlooked.


- The speakers don't have a switch from S/PDIF in to Analogue in.
- The crossover is at the subwoofer.

This is what the manual says:

About the built-in Digital-to-Analog Convertors:
MegaWorks THX 2.1 250D features high performance true 24-bit Digital-to-Analog Convertors and supports sampling frequencies from 44.1 kHz to 96 khz, via an RCA SPDIF digital connection.


Thank you everybody for your help,
Gonzalo

This post has been edited by burnett_s: Dec 27 2010, 01:03


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andy o
post Dec 27 2010, 01:34
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If your laptop is outputting optical, which I think it is, the adapter has to convert light pulses to electrical ones. Take a good look at your adapter and you'll see why it doesn't work for that.
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dreamliner77
post Dec 27 2010, 03:37
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I'm fairly certain that the spdif output on the laptop is a 3.5mm coax digital output that doubles as a headphone output. I had an old soundblaster that had this config. I had to physically switch the card between headphone and spdif in the control panel.


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andy o
post Dec 27 2010, 03:41
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QUOTE (dreamliner77 @ Dec 26 2010, 18:37) *
I'm fairly certain that the spdif output on the laptop is a 3.5mm coax digital output that doubles as a headphone output. I had an old soundblaster that had this config. I had to physically switch the card between headphone and spdif in the control panel.

Are you sure it's like that? I've never seen this, I've always seen that they combine optical with analog, which makes more sense. You also have to switch between analog and optical in the control panel. Which soundblaster model was that?

In any case, it's easy to check. Just set your output to SPDIF and see if you got a red light coming from the hole.
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greynol
post Dec 27 2010, 04:01
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QUOTE (andy o @ Dec 26 2010, 18:41) *
I've always seen that they combine optical with analog, which makes more sense.

Why would that make more sense? To me it seems to make more sense the other way, despite the fact that I know that there are devices which combine optical and analog. FWIW, all the SB soundcards I've had with S/PDIF outputs had these outputs as electrical, not optical.

Are we sure the digital out on the laptop is providing proper S/PDIF and not TTL?

This post has been edited by greynol: Dec 27 2010, 06:53


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kraut
post Dec 27 2010, 04:06
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QUOTE
If your laptop is outputting optical, which I think it is, the adapter has to convert light pulses to electrical ones


why do you keep harping on that when a coax output is available? No need for conversion. You are just confusing the issue why a coax spdif signal is either not recognized or no signal is transmitted via the coax.

Check in your control panel: "sound - adjust volume" if the volume slider is all the way up. The device - your spdif speakers - should also show up there. The panel shows: "Device", "Speakers".
Click on "speakers" and you should be able to see which device is enabled.

This post has been edited by kraut: Dec 27 2010, 04:09
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greynol
post Dec 27 2010, 04:17
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QUOTE (kraut @ Dec 26 2010, 19:06) *
why do you keep harping on that when a coax output is available?

Why do you say a coax output is available when what is shown is a 1/8" phone jack?


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dreamliner77
post Dec 27 2010, 04:24
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QUOTE (greynol @ Dec 26 2010, 23:17) *
QUOTE (kraut @ Dec 26 2010, 19:06) *
why do you keep harping on that when a coax output is available?

Why do you say a coax output is available when what is shown is a 1/8" phone jack?


I would guess that it's because the two most common spdif connections are toslink and coax. Undoubtedly, the 1/8" jack would be connected to a coax cable with a 1/8" adapter.


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greynol
post Dec 27 2010, 04:25
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QUOTE (dreamliner77 @ Dec 26 2010, 19:24) *
Undoubtedly, the 1/8" jack would be connected to a coax cable with a 1/8" adapter.

Clearly, though the actual device which is supposed to be sending out a digital signal is simply providing a 1/8" jack which doesn't necessary imply a connection to a coax cable.

Note well that the coax cable came with the speakers, not the laptop.

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dreamliner77
post Dec 27 2010, 04:28
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QUOTE (andy o @ Dec 26 2010, 22:41) *
QUOTE (dreamliner77 @ Dec 26 2010, 18:37) *
I'm fairly certain that the spdif output on the laptop is a 3.5mm coax digital output that doubles as a headphone output. I had an old soundblaster that had this config. I had to physically switch the card between headphone and spdif in the control panel.

Are you sure it's like that? I've never seen this, I've always seen that they combine optical with analog, which makes more sense. You also have to switch between analog and optical in the control panel. Which soundblaster model was that?

In any case, it's easy to check. Just set your output to SPDIF and see if you got a red light coming from the hole.


Yes, it was an HP OEM SoundBlaster 16 PCI. I would also think it would make more sense to use it as an electrical spdif out as you wouldn't need to build an optical transmitter into the 1/8" jack. From a manufacturing standpoint it would probably be cheaper to include a toslink connector.


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burnett_s
post Dec 27 2010, 04:36
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QUOTE (dreamliner77 @ Dec 26 2010, 18:37) *
I'm fairly certain that the spdif output on the laptop is a 3.5mm coax digital output that doubles as a headphone output. I had an old soundblaster that had this config. I had to physically switch the card between headphone and spdif in the control panel.


I think that too. This is what the manual says:

5 jack audio output / headphones, connected to a pair of headphones or send audio to a speaker or sound system.

6 Connector combination headphone / digital S / PDIF: connect amplifiers, speakers or TV output for digital audio. It can also be used to connect a pair headphones.

7 audio input connector / microphone or connect a microphone input signal for audio programs.

NOTE: You can set 5.1 channel speakers using the three audio connectors (5, 6 and 7) or using the S / PDIF (6).





When I connect a 3.5mm cable, a window appears asking what device did I connect:




Thank you,
Gonzalo


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kraut
post Dec 27 2010, 05:43
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QUOTE
Why do you say a coax output is available when what is shown is a 1/8" phone jack?


because the coax refers to the cable, and it is still a coax connector no matter if you use a friggin phone plug or or a rca plug.
It is still a balanced connection if you use a xlr or a standard 1/4" phone plug.

To burnett_s:

again - check in your computer control panel. I remember the heck of a time I had to get my M audio card to work in windows XP.
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greynol
post Dec 27 2010, 05:51
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Yes and the cable came with the speakers, not the laptop.

The last time I looked at the construction of a TRS or mono phone jack it wasn't coaxial regardless of the friggin cable plugged into it (which could even be optical!). wink.gif

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kraut
post Dec 27 2010, 06:31
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QUOTE
The last time I looked at the construction of a TRS or mono phone jack it wasn't coaxial regardless of the friggin cable plugged into it


Funny, isn't it. My spdif cables are all coaxial 75 ohm cables. If it ain't you might not get transmission because of impedance mismatch.

QUOTE
S/PDIF was developed at the same time as the main standard, AES/EBU, used to interconnect professional audio equipment in the professional audio field. This resulted from the desire of the various standards committees to have at least sufficient similarities between the two interfaces to allow the use of the same, or very similar, designs for interfacing ICs.[2] S/PDIF remained almost identical at the protocol level (consumer S/PDIF provides for copy protection, whereas professional interfaces do not), but changed the physical connectors from XLR to either electrical coaxial cable (with RCA connectors) or optical fibre (TOSLINK; i.e., F05 or EIAJ Optical), both of which cost less. The RCA connectors are typically color-coded orange to differentiate from other RCA connector uses such as composite video. The cable was also changed from 110 Ω balanced twisted pair to the already far more common (and therefore compatible and inexpensive) 75 Ω coaxial cable, using RCA jacks instead of the BNC connector, which is more common in commercial applications. S/PDIF is, for all intents and purposes, a consumer version of the AES/EBU format.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S/PDIF

QUOTE
TRS or mono phone jack it wasn't coaxial


Why don't you have the decency to at least read what I was writing. You might have caught on to the fact that I referred to the cable, no matter what the jack at either end.

I have the distinct impression with super moderators like you the atmosphere gets rather too dense for me, and it is time to take my leave from this illustrious forum.


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greynol
post Dec 27 2010, 06:35
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QUOTE (kraut @ Dec 26 2010, 21:31) *
at least read what I was writing

Yes and if you had read what I was writing you would have seen that this cable to which you're attaching so much importance came with the speakers.

QUOTE (kraut @ Dec 26 2010, 13:20) *
Why do you believe that when the labeled output is clearly a coax spdif out and not a toslink out?

Let us be perfectly clear, all that is labeled is "S/PDIF". This does not mean that it must require a coaxial cable.

In case you didn't catch it earlier, kraut, I take issue with the way in which you jumped on other members when it seems pretty clear that you weren't armed with all the facts either. This might explain why my tone with you probably can't be described as loving.

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