Rock on NUC - RoonControl and Output on Windows10 with Soundblaster X3 - not making use of 5.1 setup - only using 2.0

Core Machine ()

Rock on NUC NUC8i5BEH / Version 1.7 (build 511) stable

Network Details (Including networking gear model/manufacturer and if on WiFi/Ethernet)

not relevant I guess

Audio Devices (Specify what device you’re using and its connection type - USB/HDMI/etc.)

Soundblaster X3 USB-Sounddevice

Description Of Issue

Using Rock with 3 devices:

NAD C388 via Chromecast - worked fine but will be replaced by ELAC DS-A101-G as NAD C338 does not allow tone-control. No issue when using Roon but I need a little tonecontrol to lower bass for CD and turntable as speakers are standing in corners near the wall. No way to place better.

  • Onkyo NCP-302 (wirless speaker with chomecast) - works fine.

PC with Soundblaster X3 USB-Soundcard on Windows10 1903. This on makes me unlucky.
I think I was configuring everything correctly when it comes to a 5.1-setup, but music only plays over FR and FL. Center, rears and what makes it unhearable the SUB is not used - no bass.

Playing local music on the Win10-PC 5.1 is no issue, SUB is getting triggered - music is enjoyable.

On this PC with Win10 1903 and latest Soundblaster drivers for X3 I did my first install of Roon 3 days ago for testing and see whether i wanna stay.

I decided I wanna stay :slight_smile: and bought above mentioned NUC for Rock.
All fine so far except Roon only using 2 speakers FL/FR when playing music to the PC.

!!!
I see the sub is getting triggered and switching on when starting to play music in Roon-Control - however no sound goes to Sub and Center/Rears.
!!!

I tried X3 ASIO and X3 WASAPI - both the same. WASAPI only working when using “exklusive mode”
I am doing business in IT but I feel somehow lost now with no clue where to look further.

A screenshot of my configuration of X3 WASAPI.

My Audio-section

System Outoput is not working at all - just for completeness.

Any hint appreciated - would love to use Roon also for playing to my PC.

Thanks in advance
Konstantin (from Germany)

Did some more fiddling around and from reading another post I added a Procedural EQ and mapped
Left to LFE and Right to LFE and Sub now is providing bass
Additionally I added rule Left and Right to Center and L/R to Left back/Right back - just for completeness and as this is how my system normally is setup.

This way system is playing as when playing local files just through windows with control of sound through Soundblaster Commander-SW.

Not sure if this is truely the expected way to play 2.0-MP3 on 5.1-PC-System - however what I hear is pretty the same as when playing files just through windows and.

Maybe someone from Roonlabs may confirm this is the intended way to play 2.0-files on 5.1 PC-system?

Best Regards
Konstantin

Might not be the issue, but, if I have an added sound card like a soundblaster (or EVGA NU), I always disable the onboard motherboard sound card.

The Realtek-onboard sound is disabled in BIOS - of course - makes sense.
What is shown as Realtek in the screenshot were some left-overs from a custom-driver for Realtek - still sitting somewhere in the system - from fiddling around before the X3 came.
I have removed them now via Devicemanager and “show hidden devices”, so it no longer shows up in this section.

Hi @Konstantin_Merikis,

I noticed in your first screenshot that you have send stereo/mono content as 5.1. If you disable this setting along with the Mix you have set up and try playing back 2ch, does that play back as expected?

From what I remember I have activated “send mono/stereo as 5.1” when I did not get anything from the Sub- but I need to check again when I am back home.
Will report then.
Thanks.

Had the chance now to try.

Disabling send stereo/mono content as 5.1. AND disabling Procedural EQ gives L and R without any Sub - the undesired result.
Disabling send stereo/mono content as 5.1. AND enable Procedural EQ gives L and R AND Sub is playing - desired result.

So 2 questions.
1: As it does not make a difference for me what is “send stereo/mono content as 5.1.” ment to do?
2: Is the use of Procedural EQ and use of Mix the intented way to send signal to Sub/Rears/Center or should it also work without?

Thanks.

Hi @Konstantin_Merikis,

Thanks for checking that setting. I haven’t worked extensively on 5.1 systems, so I will reach out to our hardware team to inquire if this is expected behavior. Once I hear back I will be sure to follow-up, thanks!

Hi @Konstantin_Merikis,

I spoke to the hardware team regarding this behavior. Here is the feedback I received:

Send stereo/mono content as 5.1 is meant to enable playback of stereo content on devices which only support 5.1/7.1 content. It does not fill the other channels with audio nor mix the stereo channels into multi-channel, but instead sets the other channels as “active” for devices which only accept multi-channel content.

Yes, using Procedural EQ to mix the channels into a multi-channel setup as you have done above is the correct way to do this. We would suggest to keep using the Mix function to remix the 2ch content into 5.1 as simply playing back content without the mix will result in just left/right content as you have noted.

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Okay, thanks for clarification - so Procedural EQ and MIX is the way to go.

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