Surround sound not working

Ethan Winer wrote on 9/8/2007, 7:52 AM

I'm using Vegas 6.0d and DVDA 3 and I can't get sound out of the center or rear speakers. As far as I can tell I have done everything correctly in Vegas. My receiver displays DOLBY EX when I hit play, and the properties of the rendered AC3 file in DVDA's explorer say it's 3/2 as expected. But all I get are the front left and right channels. I believe the problem is in Vegas, not DVDA, because I have an older 5.1 file I rendered on my previous computer last year, and that one works in the same DVDA project. I also suspect Vegas because in Help .. About the Components tab says the ac3plug.dll Version is Not Loaded.

I remember going through a bunch of rigamarole last year when I made the previous AC3 file and had the same problem, and had to call Tech Support. But now it's the weekend. Shouldn't this just work right out of the box? I've wasted six DVD blanks and three hours so far because there seems to be no way to tell if a surround AC3 file is even valid in DVDA or how many channels there are.

Any help will be most appreciated. :->)



FTech wrote on 9/8/2007, 10:07 AM
Hi Ethan,

I had a somewhat similar problem so maybe this can help you. Many "moons" ago, for fun I wanted to experiment with 5.1 surround sound. I opened a Vegas veg file, change the audio properties to 5.1 and let the panning begin :) When trying to pan sound to my rear speakers, there was no sound at all. I was perplexed! Same thing happened when assigning a sound to my center speaker, no sound. I was scratching my head for a while, then a light bulb flashed. I went the "Sounds & Audio Devices" control panel then clicked "Advanced..." under Speaker settings. Low and behold my speaker configuration was changed! It was set to "Desktop Stereo Speakers". I changed it back to "5.1 surround sound speakers" and surround sound worked in Vegas once more.

I believe when playing games on your PC, they sometimes mess around with the speaker configuration. This always happens to me when playing GTA: Vice City on my PC.

Another thing, you should fill out your System Information in your profile. Fellow members on this forum have NO IDEA what sound card, motherboard, video card, driver versions, etc you have. This way we can narrow down problems to specific components.


- FTech

CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 3900x 12 Core @ 3.8Ghz (non-overclocked, PBO enabled) OS: Windows 10 Pro 64-bit (version 20H2) RAM: G.Skill TridentZ Neo 32GB DDR4 @ 3600Mhz (16-16-16-32) @ 1.35v (Tightened timings via DRAM Calculator) Graphics Card: Zotac GeForce GTX 1660 6GB GDDR5 (studio driver v456.71) Sound Card: Sound Blaster Z (driver v6.0.102.74 dated Nov 6, 2020) Storage: Samsung 970 EVO Plus M.2 1TB; Seagate Baracuda 6TB (System Managed Swap File) Mobo: ASUS ROG STRIX X570-F GAMING (bios 2608) PSU: Corsair RM850x Blu-Ray Burner: Asus BW-16D1HT 16x (firmware 3.10) Case: Fractal Design Define R6 w/USB-C

Windows configured to use the AMD Ryzen Balanced Power Plan

Ethan Winer wrote on 9/8/2007, 11:30 AM
> I changed it back to "5.1 surround sound speakers" and surround sound worked in Vegas once more. <

I tried that but Vegas Help .. About .. Components still shows ac3plug.dll as Not Loaded. I dragged out my old computer, and there Help .. About gives the correct version number instead of Not Loaded. This smells of paranoid copy protection getting in the way of legitimate users :-( but I'll wait to see what the Vegas support reps say if any chime in here.

I still have Vegas on my previous computer and just rendered the ac3 file there. I'll see what happens when I burn that ac3 file on my new computer and report back later or tomorrow.


Ethan Winer wrote on 9/8/2007, 12:01 PM
Okay, it gets even worse. After rendering the file on my older computer, which did not work either, I see that ac3plug.dll is now listed on that computer as Not Loaded in Help .. About. I tried setting Control Panel .. Sound .. Speakers to 5.1 as you suggested on that computer, and back to stereo, and even rebooted, but none of that made a difference and Vegas still says Not Loaded. Nor did setting Speakers to 5.1 on my current computer cause Vegas to load the DLL. So now that's two computers with a legal copy of Vegas installed and registered that do not work.

Listening to the rendered files they are plain stereo. That is, all of the music is present, but only in the left and right speakers. Instruments set to come from the center channel instead come equally from left and right. So apparently it's not even a 5.1 file even though Vegas and DVDA tell me it is. The Vegas project I'm rendering from has a 5.1 output buss, six individual source Wave files exported from Sonar, and those files plays as they should in Vegas when I go from my sound card directly to my receiver. So I'm sure I did everything correctly in Vegas. It's only when making the ac3 file and burning a DVD that the 5.1 is collapsed to stereo.

For the first time in my life I actually considered for a moment getting a Mac. :-(

TheHappyFriar wrote on 9/8/2007, 1:02 PM
vegas only loads the mpeg/ac3 files when they're first used.

i just made a new project,took a song & put it in a 5.1 project, panned with keyframes, changed DVDA to 5.1, put the audio in, rendered & played on my system.

My RCA system said it was getting digital audio & all the speakers worked no issues. Was able to mute the center channel as I see fit too.

here's my .veg file:
my dvda file:

download & check out any different settings.
Ethan Winer wrote on 9/8/2007, 1:23 PM
I downloaded your files (thanks), but Vegas reported it couldn't find the chienworks-drumcorps-1.mp3 file. Got a link for that? In the mean time, after loading your file Help .. About still shows ac3plug.dll as Not Loaded.

edit: Okay, I substituted one of my own audio files for yours, but then DVDA complained about a different missing video file. I'm pretty sure the problem is not something I did in Vegas, because even after loading your .veg file Help .. About continues to say ac3plug.dll is Not Loaded.
TheHappyFriar wrote on 9/8/2007, 1:47 PM
i didn't include any media. the media doesn't matter, just throw any mp3 in the veg file & throw the rendered output from vegas in to dvda.

the dll's won't show loaded until you use them.
Ethan Winer wrote on 9/9/2007, 11:03 AM
> the dll's won't show loaded until you use them. <

Gotcha, you are correct. The mpeg DLL loads when I load my project, but I see now that the ac3 plug does not load until after I do a surround render. Alas, the resulting ac3 file is still not 5.1. It reports itself as 5.1, but there's music only in the front left and right.

Is there any way to see the tracks in an ac3 file? When I load my previous (working) ac3 surround file into DVDA it shows only two track waveforms. Not that it will solve my problem, but at least I don't have to keep burning DVDs and running downstairs to my living room to see if all the channels are being used.

TGS wrote on 9/9/2007, 1:59 PM
I cannot actually help you, as I still haven't done a 5.1project yet.
Do you render your ac3 in Vegas or do you let DVD-A render it for you?
The one thing I noticed from the Happy Friar, is that he said he brought an ac3 project, panned with keyframes, CHANGED DVD-A TO 5.1, put the audio in and rendered and played on my system.
So, is DVD-A rendering the 5.1 or is Vegas rendering the 5.1?
When I do stereo tracks, I render completely within Vegas and drag the finished product to DVD-A. No more rendering.
So somewhere in Friars instructions, it seems as if it's only a "project" while in Vegas but DVD-A does the render. Is this right?
I will be doing 5.1 someday, so I'd like to know too.
TheHappyFriar wrote on 9/9/2007, 3:31 PM
not sure how DVDA down samples the waveforms.... or the audio! Never bothered to check until now, really. :) Hopefully someone with more experience can help.

TGS: you render a 5.1 AC3 file from Vegas & then put it in to a DVDA project that is setup for 5.1 audio. No more rendering required as you're still using AC3 files. DVDA defaults to 2 channel audio so you need to change the project properties. You CAN use stereo sound file in a 5.1 no problem, jsut the front left/right speakers are used (maybe some bleed to the center depending on the sound system: mine bleeds over unless it's in stereo-only mode). 5.1 in a stereo project just uses the front left/right speakers I believe.

To get used to 5.1 you could do what I did when I got Vegas 6. I took 6 mp3's, put each on it's own track, put it to a specific speaker alone & then messed with volume envelopes. Pretty cool. :) Throw up some animated generated media & it's a psychedelic fest!
TGS wrote on 9/10/2007, 1:07 AM
I see.
So if you don't change DVD-A to a 5.1 project, it could switch your 5.1 render, done in Vegas, back to Stereo? That almost sounds like his problem
But I understand what you're saying now. I could've easily made that mistake if I rendered in Vegas, I would just expect to import it as 5.1 without additional set-up in DVD-A.
Ethan Winer wrote on 9/10/2007, 8:51 AM
> So if you don't change DVD-A to a 5.1 project, it could switch your 5.1 render, done in Vegas, back to Stereo? That almost sounds like his problem <

Alas, the properties in DVDA are indeed set to 5.1. Between Vegas and DVDA there are a few places this needs to be set, and as far as I know I set them all correctly. I'll call Vegas support in a bit and report back what they tell me. Since I had this problem last year with my previous project, and I'm having it again now on two different computers, I'm surprised nobody else has heard of this and it's not in the knowledgebase.

Ethan Winer wrote on 9/10/2007, 2:17 PM

Surround is now working thanks to Caleb in Vegas Customer Service. I'll split the blame for this one, but it's not all my fault. :->)

It turns out that some of the options when rendering a 5.1 ac3 file shouldn't be used or the file won't work. It would have been nice if the Help said something about that in the descriptions for those options! After going back to the default template and changing only dialog normalization, and disabling Line Mode and RF mode, it's now working.

Here's something useful I figured out - there's no way in Vegas or DVDA to tell if an ac3 file actually has content in the center and surround channels. But in DVDA's Explorer window, if you ask for the Properties of an ac3 file it will say "5.1 Surround" in the text description if it's valid, or "3/2 multichannel" if it's not valid.

TGS wrote on 9/10/2007, 9:21 PM
So, in other words THE DEFAULT TEMPLATE MESSED YOU UP? Well, there's not many default templates you can trust besides wav and avi.
I still don't understand why that would hamper 5.1 Or why the answer wouldn't be in the basic instructions of doing 5.1. (Like, why does it even let you select the default template and then render it wrong?) Would they purposely design it this way? Jeeeez.
Thanks for the info.
TheHappyFriar wrote on 9/10/2007, 9:44 PM
i don't know what happened but I used a "default 5.1" render setup with vegas 6. It seems the install of vegas 8 deleted that preset????? I haven't made a custom 5.1 template... ever & I just re-installed vegas ~1 1/2 months ago & made no ac3 changes.

but I rendered the file I made with the default 5.1 template. No issues.
Ethan Winer wrote on 9/11/2007, 1:39 PM

No, but making changes to some of the defaults in that template messed me up. :->)

Kennymusicman wrote on 9/11/2007, 1:51 PM
You have to be within certain bitrates and all sorts of other settings for things to work properly. Took me a while a long time ago, to create a working AC3, but once I hit (just using this as an example) 384kbps - suddenly there was life.. The AC3 standard is very picky it seems.

An old test method and very useful program was/is Sonic Foundry soft encode - that will help with AC3 stuff when you need it. Not so bad these days as more companies use AC3 stuff better.
Ethan Winer wrote on 9/12/2007, 10:55 AM
> The AC3 standard is very picky it seems. <

Understood, Kenny. So why do they offer options that will make the file not work?