Converting your SoundBlaster® Live Value (CT5830) to a SoundBlaster® Live 5.1 (SB0060) and getting S/PDIF I/O


I recently purchased a surround sound stereo system and wanted to connect my computer system to it. I knew there was a SoundBlaster® Live 5.1 with digital outputs and wondered if my SoundBlaster® Live Value was capable of producing digital output. My SoundBlaster® Live Value has a digital output connector on it but I was not sure what signals were on it, or for that matter, where I could get a mating connector for it. I noticed that in the User's Guide that there was an AUD_EXT connector on the card that had S/PDIF outputs and inputs. I decided to see if I could interface these to the outside world. I started searching the internet and came up with a lot of information on building an interface, and to my surprise, information on how to get Dolby® Digital out of my card as well. The following is what I did.


First, I converted my card to a SoundBlaster® Live 5.1 using information found here. The process was fairly easy for me since I am an electronic tech and I have all the equipment required, including a good soldering station which made the desoldering and soldering a breeze. I used the Realtek RTL8029x method for programming my chip, it was the easiest method for me since these cards are readily available used.


Below is the pinout for the AUD_EXT connector on the SoundBlaster® Live Value where the S/PDIF I/O is located, the schematic for the interface, and a parts list. Portions of the schematic were borrowed from drawings found elsewhere on the internet. The pins I used are 1 and 2 for +5 volts, 7 and 8 for a ground, 15 for S/PDIF in, 17 for S/PDIF out (Front) and 23 for enabling the S/PDIF in on the mixer volume control. Pulling pin 23 high through a 4.7k ohm resistor tells the SoundBlaster® Live cards that a LiveDrive® is connected (I think), enabling the S/PDIF input in the mixer volume controls. It may enable or change the other things in the cards software/drivers. I would show you how my interface looks, but I don't have a digital camera to take a picture of it. It is basically 2 RCA jacks on a card slot blanking plate, a circuit card mounted on the plate with all the components and a 40 pin header, and part of an IDE ribbon cable connecting the SoundBlaster® Live card to the interface.

AUD_EXT connector pin assignments
Pin NameDescription
1 VCC+5V power supply
2 VCC+5V power supply
3 GNDGround
4 AC97CLK24.5 MHz clock output
5 GNDGround
6 GP_SPDIFIN#2SPDIF input signal
7 GNDGround
8 GNDGround
9 SPDIFO#3SPDIF Out signal (Rear)
10 GPO1General Purpose Output #1
11 GPO2General Purpose Output #2
12 GNDGround
13 GPO0General Purpose Output #0
14 GNDGround
15 GP_SPDIFIN1SPDIF Input signal
16 GNDGround
17 SPDIFO#0SPDIF Out signal (Front)
18 GNDGround
19 SPDIFO#1SPDIF Out signal (Center/Sub)
20 GNDGround
21 GNDGround
22 SPDIFO#2SPDIF Out signal (Mix Front/Rear)
23 GPI0Digital Input, (GP Input 0; Reserved)
24 GPI1Digital Input, (GP Input 1; Reserved)
26 GNDGround
28 GNDGround
29 KEY
30 KEY
31 ADCSDO2I2S audio data input 2
32 GNDGround
33 ADCSDO1I2S audio data input 1
34 GNDGround
35 ADCSDO0I2S audio data input 0
36 GNDGround
37 I2SCLKI2S serial bit clock
38 GNDGround
39 I2SFSI2S Frame sync
40 GNDGround

Parts list
C1150 nf
C210 nf
C3100 nf
R191 ohm
R2360 ohm
R3100 ohm
R475 ohm
R510 Kohm
R64.7 Kohm
Misc Parts2 RCA connectors
1 40 Pin Header
40 Pin Ribbon Cable


No special software is required for this modification. Everything should be included with the drivers for the card. There are a few things to note though. If you want the Dolby® Digital 5.1 audio passed through to your external equipment, disable the AC-3 decoding in the AudioHQ control panel. Be sure to select 5.1 speakers in the AudioHQ mixer as well. UPDATE: If you use PowerDVD XP build 2417, all channels may be present on the output of the interface, not just the front channel. I don't know about other software DVD players.

Settings Mixer


This seemed to work well for me, I hope you have the same luck as I did. And please, don't fry your card, or yourself attempting this. If you find any blatant mistakes, please let me know. Good Luck.