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Audio Lag using Optical Audio

by Josepheroth / April 14, 2009 2:10 AM PDT

Hi all, I recently purchased a decent 5.1 surround sound system that uses a Denon A/V receiver ( and I have been experiencing some audio lag when using the optical audio connection.

I have had great success using the 5.1 with my PS3, XBox and cable (all connected through HDMI to the receiver), but I have had problems with video and audio syncing when I have my computer running through the receiver. I am currently using a Creative USB Sound Blaster X-Fi ( with the optical audio out as the way I am connecting to the receiver. Prior to using the new sound card, my audio worked fine. I got the new one to output to 5.1, which in itself is also giving me problems, but that's a question for another forum.

When I tried playing a game or watching a video there is a noticeable 500ms lag between the video and the audio. This also occurs when I play any music as well, so it's not just during video or games, and the lag is quite frustrating. I'm not sure if it's a combination of the optical audio connection or if it's the sound card.

I realize that this might not fall completely underneath the home audio & video forum, but I just wanted to see what people thought. Thanks and let me know if you need more info.

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I don't know solution ... but just to clarify ...
by Bill Osler / April 14, 2009 4:43 AM PDT

You are saying that you see something on the video and then hear the sound about 500 ms later?

I have not idea how to fix that. On my Onkyo system I can fix video lag up to about 100 ms, but I have not seen any provision for correcting audio lag.

I'm curious how you measured the amount of lag?

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by Josepheroth / April 14, 2009 6:53 AM PDT

Yeah, I know it sounds pretty messed up (literally), but that is what is going on and I couldn't find anyone else who had the problem.

I was able to mess around with VLC player to delay the video enough, just on that program, to get the audio and video to sync, so that is where I got the 500ms delay.

Unfortunately, I still get the delay on the entire system...too bad a program like VLC can't run my entire display or I wouldn't have a problem. Oh well...let me know if you have any other questions.

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A couple of thoughts ...
by Bill Osler / April 14, 2009 7:46 AM PDT
In reply to: Clarification

I don't know what hardware/OS you are running but it is never wrong to include that information when requesting support related to computer functions. From what I found on a quick search it appears that some people claim your card and Vista may not always live together very happily. Since I have neither Vista nor your card (and don't know what O/S you are running) I really can't say more.

A quick google of:
"X-Fi Surround 5.1" digital audio sync
found several pages mentioning a similar sounding problem. I'm not supposed to link to competing forums but I assume you can find them yourself easily enough if/when necessary. From what I saw it sounds like the suggestions are:
(1) Make sure you have the latest Creative drivers;
(2) There is reportedly a setting for the Creative's USB interface which allows you to specify 'Full' speed as opposed to some other speeds;
(3) One forum mentioned the availability of a beta driver from Creative, though there are risks to going that route (this shortcut might take you to the correct support page - look for the Beta Driver link) and
(4) Some of the solutions apparently do not include the ability to send out full 5.1 Dolby digital.

I hope this gets you started.

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