How to Use the SPDIF Output from Sound Blaster X-Fi Sound Cards
By Gabriel Torres on July 30, 2008


Creative Labs has always been one of the most popular manufacturers of sound cards and Sound Blaster X-Fi is their current series of add-on sound cards. Due to the massive amount of readers asking us how to use the digital audio (SPDIF) output from their Sound Blaster X-Fi sound cards in order to connect them to their home theater receivers or digital speakers, we decided to compile this short tutorial listing all Sound Blaster X-Fi models released to date and the available options for SPDIF connection.

On Sound Blaster X-Fi sound cards SPDIF connectors are provided with at least one of these five ways:

We compiled the table below showing the compatibility of each sound card with the three Creative Labs products describe above; "yes" and "no" inform if the sound card accepts or not the installation of the product in question. 

Sound Card

On-Board Optical SPDIF

Digital I/O Module

X-Fi I/O Drive

X-Fi I/O Console

X-Fi Elite Pro

No

Yes

No

Yes (Comes with the Product)

X-Fi Platinum Fatal1ty Champion Series

No

Yes

Yes (Comes with the Product)

Yes

X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Professional Series

Yes

Yes

No

No

X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Champion Series

Yes

No

Yes ("Gamer" model)

No

X-Fi Titanium Professional

Yes

Yes

No

No

X-Fi Xtreme Audio

No

Yes

No

No

X-Fi Xtreme Audio PCI Express

Yes

Yes

No

No

X-Fi XtremeGamer

No

No

No

No

X-Fi XtremeGamer Fatal1ty Pro Series

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

X-Fi XtremeMusic

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Now that you know how to have a digital connection available on your sound card, you still need to buy a digital cable to connect your sound card to your home theater receiver or digital speakers, if you don’t have one yet. Here you have two options, to buy an inexpensive coaxial SPDIF cable (a.k.a. RCA mono cable) or an optical Toslink cable (i.e. optic fiber), which is more expensive but is the best way to connect your equipment. Keep in mind that X-Fi Titanium, X-Fi Xreme Audio PCI Express and X-Fi XtremeGamer only support optical connection.

The simply connect your sound card to your home theater receiver or digital speakers. You can learn how this is done through our How To Connect Your PC to Your Home Stereo or Home Theater tutorial.

After connecting your sound card to your home theater receiver or digital speakers (and selecting the correct input on your home theater) you need to configure your PC to send audio through the sound card SPDIF out connector, if you are using the FlexiJack connector (i.e., you are using the Digital I/O module or have an X-Fi XtremeGamer).

This is done through your sound card’s control panel, depending on the mode you are currently running your sound card under:

Originally at http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/How-to-Use-the-SPDIF-Output-from-Sound-Blaster-X-Fi-Sound-Cards/546


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