Oh, be like that then.

I am the unhappy owner of an Asus motherboard. A couple years ago I bought an AN8 Ultra Socket 939 nForce4 based motherboard.

Shortly afterwards, Asus discontinued it. Even more shortly afterwards, they discontinued supporting it. Now they no-longer even list it on their website although their list goes back to 1995.

Wishing to commence further messing around with my Triton keyboard, I bought an optical s/pdif cable. Who knew that 6 feet optical is about 4 feet normal. I thought I was hallucinating, then it dawned on me that – I’m 6ft 2 tall. The cable should reach my feet from around shoulder height. Instead I have to hold it around navel-to-chest height in order for it to graze the top of my foot. This was my first omen.

After moving my room around to try and get the synth 4 feet from the back of the computer, I finally get down on my hands and knees to plug in the cable, only to discuss this is where the cat has been going when the litter tray seemed passe. Judging by the soggy feeling around my knees, I’d say recently too. Second omen.

The ill temper and soggy knees caused omen #3 to take a while to sink in. Optical ports are rectangular. Which is why the connector wouldn’t fit into any of the many round jack holes on the back of my audigy 2. I dug up the instruction sheet from it, “S/PDIF”. Right. Back onto knees, back to fumbling, nope. No luck.

So I move the desk again so I can actually see the back panel. There, clearly marked, is a round, jack, “S/PDIF” port. Not optical. Oh! Look! I found the edge of the desk with the back of my head!

What I believe to be a few minutes later, I wiped the tears from my face and tried that agai more slowly, without the banging and the screaming and the spots and the waking up several minutes later. As I did, I noticed that I do have an optical port – part of my nforce4 connector panel!


Idiot. The bang on the head was its own catalog of omens.

After much faffing, trying to use the port as either an in or an out (took me a while to realize it can’t be an out since there is no light), I decided to check the nvidia website. It says nothing about nforce4 ultra optical, heck the last nforce4 ultra amd drivers are mid 2006.

I try google but all I find are a lot of pages saying “why doesn’t my optical port work”?

I’ve tried nearly 200 configuration combinations to try and get my PC to play to my synth or my synth to play to my PC. Nothing.

Then it occured to me. There’s no little black dummy-connector in the slot to keep dirt and dust out. Another 15 minutes of crawling and faffing and I got the machine around so I could get a good luck. Yep. Lots of dust and dirt in there. I really shouldn’t do this, but what the heck. I fetch my Dysan, use the wand attachment, and suck that old dust out (DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS AT HOME, it is very likely to introduce static into components that are highly sensitive to static).

I got lucky – my PC still works, but still no optical. Becoming very irritated, I waited a couple of minutes while the last of the diziness from the blow to the head wore off, and trundled downstairs to the TV/VCR/etc with my setup. I’d seen an optical port on one of my home entertainment units. Of course, being a smart fellow, I thought – oh, wait. No, I dragged everything downstairs only to find that its an “Optical Audio Out” on the back of my VCR.

In my late teens, I put together a little collection of cables, connectors, odds and ends. I had a bunch of audio cables – jack to mini jack, mini to mini, stereo, mono, midi cables, connectors, etc. Over the years, it got a bit heavy. I carried it around anyway, ’cause you never know when an audio cable will come in handy.

Final omen. As I scurried to my back room to get my cable bag (why hadn’t I thought of this sooner?) I failed to open a door and failed to pass thru it in the closed configuration.

I won’t need to plug my synth in to make my ears ring tonight. And I guess that was omen #4 (or #5, I’ve lost track). After a half hour of rumaging around for the bag of cables, it dawned on me that I’d stubbed my toe on it a couple of months ago and decided it was time to throw it out, but not before I had a final sift thru the junk inside it, which little trip down memory lane was what made me finally decide to go spend $1k on a new synth.

Ah yes.

The audio cables I do have are mini-jack to mini-jack or phono to mini jack. The ony mini to jack adapter I have is gold-plated, screw-in, and none of my mini-jacks succeed in making contact inside the screw-in area. Damn you Sennheiser.

I’m not even 100% sure that the synth is actually outputting to its S/PDIF port. The light is on, but nowhere is there an option to send signal to that port. There’s stuff all over the place for routing audio to various output busses, but none of them appears to be the S/PDIF port. So who knows.

The sad thing is, I came >< this close to buying a SoundBlaster X-Fi Platinum with the 5.25″ internal panel that provides optical in/out.

Rather than thinking “Oh, so I should buy a regular¬†audio cable”.


Fuck me. And we have you doing WHAT now with the servers?


And we have you doing WHAT now with the servers?


Being a hardware packrat that never throws away potentially useful interface-A-to-B stuff and has a basement in which to keep it all, I have a variety of stuff here that likely would help do your job. You’d be welcome to borrow selected bits, except that I’m in Michigan. Bummer.

Hey KFS,

If you plan to just do some simple recording but want an easy audio/MIDI interface, low latency, and high quality I recommend this: http://www.roland.com/products/en/_support/dld.cfm?ln=en&dsp=0&iCncd=526

I have one for my home PC, as I record and mix CD’s and do some of the work at home. Its only abot $200. It USB and has all the ins and outs you’d want including XLR, 1/8″, RCA, optical.

Mostly I just wanted to mix the sound from my synth and PC through the same output, with the bonus option of being able to record some of my playing.

Did you rub the cats face in it’s piss?

welcome to the club :o)

just as a little hint, check the jumper setting of the card, there is a nearly invisible one, where you turn the optical on and off. at least it was at my PC this way…

and yes i thought about a normal sound cable too.

even though i still hate KFSOne, he’s still the only rat who gives good information about his work. so leave him some private live too, during which he can fight with his computer as all of us do.

parasit – snail is an ex-rat, he’s just poking fun at Oli.

This has a familiar ring to it. I have a machine with a Chaintech vnf4 ultra 939 board, and it supposedly has an optical digital out. This appears to involve an adapter that converts the 3.5mm phono plug into an optical fiber connector that’s shown on a picture in the manual, which offers no info on how to get one. And it appears the developers of the audio control panel spent 90% of their effort in making it “look cool” rather than actually making it easy to find and use various functions. I couldn’t figure it out either, after a while I just said fuck it and plugged in a sound card.

The more I fiddle with hardware, the more I hate anything that’s integrated on the mb. Especially nvidias crap nforce4 where the ethernet drops your ssh connections and the ide driver crashes, not to mention that pos audio thing. And Realtek’s audio, that would reboot my machine. And Realtek’s ethernet, that gave me a constant 4% packet loss in BE. Conclusion can only be to get a motherboard with as little on it as possible, and then get dedicated hardware to do what you want. Too bad you can’t buy boards like that, they are so heavily laden with features they break under their own weight.

darkpatch is correct – the ua25 is an inexpensive yet qood quality and reliable music card.


Lighten up, Francis.


I hate integrated MB’s. I go through MB’s regularly and it’s always because some integrated peripheral goes out and makes the whole board useless. Biggest waste for me are the on board sound and video. USB and ethernet are next, USB tends to get fried easily. I’ve lost two boards to plugging in stuff to the USB. Guess it could just be static charge on the port from the device. Ethernet, well it’s not gigabyte ethernet

hmmm, looks like your as sarcastic as i am snail.

i really like sarcastic people, you the first rat i really like…
damn you’re an ex-rat, so no one in crs i like, puh ;o)


You meant “ironic”, in this context.


ok snail you’re surely right, but who cares i still like you

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