I'll make this easy on me... I'll post the same answer to you as I did in another post for someone with the same issue.
There is nothing wrong with the speakers.
There is nothing wrong with the sound card.
audio software has to support 5.1 playback. If you're using Winamp for
instance, you have to figure out how to get it to play music back in
Otherwise, your audio player software will only play back in 2.1.
If you want your music to play back in 5.1, you'll most likely have to install a plugin for it.
I myself don't recommend that kind of sound because it seems to ruin
the sound quality. Remember that the music is not recorded in 5.1. It's
recorded in stereo. It wasn't designed to play in a center speaker.
Your player software is doing exactly as it is designed to do.
digital plugin for your audio player software may convert it into a
streaming 5.1 signal, though. I'm sure that there are plenty for Winamp
and you'll find them on Winamp's website.
Otherwise, you might
find audio DVD's where they've remade the albums in 5.1. However,
that'd require a DVD player application that is capable of decoding 5.1.
If you have Logitech Z-5500's or other AWESOME speakers like them, you
can switch the speakers themselves to use a Dolby ProLogic mode. My
Z-5500's have a mode called "Dolby ProLogic II Music" where it does
exactly what you're talking about. It converts the 2.1 stream into 5.1.
(This is NOT true surround sound, mind you! It is EMULATED. The ONLY
time you have TRUE surround sound is when the source itself is done in
5.1 or better.)
Also, you can use the Soundblaster card's EAX
effects to produce a similar sound, but you may not like the results.
Environmental Audio isn't meant for music.
I'm not sure... I
can't recall, but the newer drivers for the Live! 5.1 may even have
CMSS which also uses the center channel. My first-gen Audigy Platinum
uses it. You can find out if the Live! 5.1 uses CMSS by finding the
"Creative Audio Console" in your Start > All Program > Creative
If you don't see it there, make sure that you have the most recent drivers for the 5.1 card.
that's not easy, either. Creative Labs has decided that it doesn't like
it's customers anymore and has cut ALL support for the Live! series
except for the 24-bit Live! card. They no longer list drivers on their
website for those cards. Here is what you get when you go to find
drivers for the Live! 5.1:
" You have selected Live! 5.1.
To receive support for a different product, click here
Please note that the product you have selected has been classified as "End of Service Life"
product you have selected has reached the end of its service life.
Support for this product is limited to materials available on the
Creative Customer Support website before its discontinuation. This may
include Knowledge Base solutions, drivers, application updates and
product documentation. Search archives now.
Customers are also
welcome to participate in our user-to-user discussion forums to obtain
further information about discontinued products.
information regarding Creative's End of Service Life Policy, please
review the list of frequently asked questions."
Yeah. Thanks a LOT, Creative Labs. Right?
if you pal around online for drivers, you might find them somewhere.
There are actually also alternate drivers NOT made by Creative Labs.
You can find them at the following link...
for my rant. I'm kind of anti-creative after the way they've treated
all of their customers - past and present - over the last few years.
you need more information, please let me know. I've taken lots of time
to help people with Sound Blaster products so that they don't have to
deal with all of the frustration I have with that company.
Hope this answers your question. :)