sound card

Man, this shit should not be so hard.

The cheap SoundBlaster that everyone in the world stocks seems to be the SB0410, but the SB0100 is the one that has an RCA jack on it for coaxial S/PDIF. I ordered one of those online, and of course the fuckers shipped me the SB0410 instead, which has only 1/8" phono jacks.

But, the blue plug is labelled "[line-in-icon] [mic-icon] or digital_io". Does that mean that it will work as S/PDIF output if I stuff an 1/8" mono-to-RCA adapter in there? I can't RTFM because the only manual is on a CD in "Windows Help format" (on which "strings" does not work.)

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22 Responses:

  1. snitrocket says:

    Can't help on the actual question, but a there exists a CHM reader for Linux.

  2. ninjarat says:

    The 1/8" hybrid phono/digital out jacks are for optical connects (TOSLINK with an adapter), not coaxial

  3. sherm says:

    I doubt the FM will be useful even if you manage to open it.

    I have a slightly newer crappy soundblaster, and that trick works although the labeling is a bit different. I can't remember if I HAD to use a stereo mini < -> RCA or if that's just what I happened to have around and a mono one would work.

  4. iadams says:

    -- SPECIFICATIONs ------------------------------------
    INTERFACE/BUS- 32-bit PCI slot
    CONNECTORs - Line level out (Front/Side/Rear/Centre/Subwoofer) or
    Headphone out.
    Line In/Microphone In/*Digital I/O
    Aux Audio in
    * Supports SPDIF Out for Stereo Digital Speaker/connection
    with Creative Digital I/O Module (sold separately).

    According to the lazyweb.

    • cpratt says:

      That's worked perfectly for me with a couple of different Creative sound cards. Those cables are, like, $3 at Radio Shack, so if anything, you won't be out much money if it turns out not to work.

  5. drstein says:

    Since others have mentioned the Linux readers, I shall mention that ChmoX is a CHM reader for Mac OS X.

  6. fnoo says:

    Heh. I wasn't going to comment because I thought "Hmm, 14 comments. Somebody will have answered with a simple yes/no by now."

    So: Yes, it will work.

    I had a similar soundcard at home (SB Live Digital circa 2002) with 1/8" digital out, running to my Boston Acoustics receiver with a 1/8" in.

    This sound card broke, which left me with my AC97 onboard, which has (ta-da) RCA out. A simple RCA to 1/8" lead and everything is working again. I trust that it will work the other way (1/8" to RCA), too.

    Caveat: You may need to switch S/PDIF on at the driver level. It used to work automagically for me, but I was using OSS, not Alsa.

  7. davidmccabe says:

    I don't know which sound cards in particular are *not* crap, but soundblasters are. They will screw you with weird proprietary undocumented connectors on the inside headers. You only get ninety days of support. And so on.

  8. lars_larsen says:

    If you decide you don't want to order extra parts, I'd suggest returning it and getting an external USB soundcard. I've got the SB extigy with optical output. I'm sure you can find some type of external USB unit with coax output.

    I'm perfectly happy with optical output. I've been using this for years with no problems, and I cant detect any "timing errors" or whatever it was they said made optical suck so bad.

  9. telecart says:

    my sympathies

    for some reason only really old models of SB have coaxial
    pisses me the frig off too

  10. ewindisch says:

    I have that same crappy card.. The biggest problem I've had (from a Linux driver standpoint) is that the SB0410 does not have a functional microphone.

    It also lacks several hardware dsp functions such as mixing...

    • ewindisch says:

      Oh.. and if you ever do get the microphone/line-in working, know that it will never be possible to record AND use digital output. Beautiful.

  11. jwm says:


    The last time I did this on a vintage SBLive!, I took a mono headphone plug, RCA plug and about ten meters of otherwise useless coax network cable and soldered the lot together. This is probably The Wrong Thing To Do, bit it did work.

    Go for the 1/8" mono-to-RCA plug if you can find such an animal. The worst that will happen is that it won't work.


  12. wetzel says:

    my experience with a sound blaster "live!" was that by plugging in a 1/8" mono to RCA connector to the "digital out" jack, I had normal S/PDIF (although limited to 48 khz unless you want freaky-bad resampling).

    this was on windows, though. and it took some wacky driver fiddling to get it to work, i think i was using this: