A new HTPC Source for my AV192R

GrahamMG

Well-known Member
Almost all DVD players use a PC based DVD-Rom drive.......... I've not seen one that doesn't use a 40 pin IDC ribbon....

Regarding jitter, as many know I sort of managed to get the TAG sync link to work with the soundcard but it wasn't worth the effort........
If you transfer a CD from the drive to the hard disk using something like ExactAudioCopy and set the various options in the software to "paraniod" mode you get a bit perfect copy (speed vs quality is the thing to bear in mind). Jitter more or less has no place to play after that. You don't get jitter off the hard disk....... Signal jitter introduced via the soundcard and cable etc. is also more or less banished with a good card such as the HDSP9632. I would conceed that a DVD32R with sync link sounds lovely, I personally think that with the work I have put in on the PC (making it electrically quiet) that it gives as good or better. It is certainly good enough for all but the most die hard TAG fanatic (of which I am one), I rarely use the DVD32R at all now.....
 

edward

Active Member
The plot thinkens!

Really useful explanation liam_b - I now know even more about the extent of my ignorance which is no bad thing.

Its always seemed to me that the data must be reliably transferring to disk so the notion of jitter was a puzzle. Now that I know its OK on the hard disk, why does it sound different from what comes from the FLR? Both are effectively just transports - the data is sent over digital interconnects to the AV192R from both and presumably therefore use the same D-A conversion. If it is coming off the DVD in digital form, presumably there is no D-A taking place in either the Uvem or the FLR. I don't kow what all the extra circuits in the FLR do.

OK - the difference is subtle but a few of us believe we heard it. Its not as subtle as the difference between a T2L link and no T2L link.

If the difference can be attributed to the fact that the FLR is using a silver and copper interconnect where the other is, I think, just OFC, there will be a lot of smiling faces among the fancy cable makers. (What if Graham is wrong - ho ho ho ho).
 

GrahamMG

Well-known Member
edward said:
The plot thinkens!

Really useful explanation liam_b - I now know even more about the extent of my ignorance which is no bad thing.


OK - the difference is subtle but a few of us believe we heard it. Its not as subtle as the difference between a T2L link and no T2L link.

If the difference can be attributed to the fact that the FLR is using a silver and copper interconnect where the other is, I think, just OFC, there will be a lot of smiling faces among the fancy cable makers. (What if Graham is wrong - ho ho ho ho).
Yep Liam's missive reads right to me.

I can tell when the T2L link is on or off, but the HTPC is a lot closer than that all things being equal.

Cables.......oh please........ Once set up and using a proper cable etc. the HTPC gives a better picture and equal or better sound especially with DVD's. CD's are a bit harder but lets face it any perceived difference in sound soon disapears once you get used to the added usability a PC gives. The thing is that no-one is saying it is not a dammed fine listen, of course there can always be better but that always means more money.....
 

edward

Active Member
Sorry Graham, I missed your post - useful as always.

I'd be the first to admit that my own preference for the FLR could be because I'm so used to the sound. That doesn't explain the mini-survey results though.

Is ExactAudioCopy that much better than DVD Decrypter? (Before anyone asks, I'm not advocating illegal activity in the forum, such as breaching copyright. I have bought the DVDs - but they're starting to take over a second bay of shelves so if I could haul them out of the Uvem and put the DVDs in the basement or something, that would be a step in the right direction).
 

GrahamMG

Well-known Member
ExactAudioCopy is for CD's mate.
DVD's should be ripped via your current method. A bit perfect copy on your hard disk is not subject to any DVD player influence's, if you can hear a sound difference between the FLR and the UVEM you might have to ask yourself which one is more accurate....... In isolation you would be over the moon with either.... :rotfl: Any "better" discussion is purely one of individual choice. Once you have had it a few months you simply won't care...... Electronic measurements aside, I find the HDSP9632 to be a better bet in my setup......and of course I can change it on a whim if and when I choose to, or anything better comes along, can't do that with the FLR..... The thing that is interesting is that you can genuinely want to compare them as the result is so close, given the RRP of each unit, the choice is a no brainer really.
Progress, I love it...
 

Stevesky

Active Member
How sensitive is the performance of the RME cards based on motherboard/PSU/Other cards/PCI Slot that is used? I know the card manufacturers specs are quite respectable, but I suspect it's quite hit and miss to ensure optimum performance when you have so many other third party bits in the box. Does Phil have the kit to measure the jitter and audio performance of the outputs, as it would interesting to work out where the error is potentially creeping in.

I know on my Midiman Audiophile 24/96 card the analog out measureable performance (using AP 2700 analyser) varies depending on the PCI slot that I shove it into.
 

GrahamMG

Well-known Member
hehhehehehehhehe.....

Why do you think it took me some time to get it looking and sounding good......

Seriously I tend to stick to the better MB's like Asus/Intel and I know Phil does as well, sticking the sound card in a slot that isn't sharing its interrupt with anything else. When I had access to the AP set, the RME showed little difference in slot choice, but then I was using the PCI-e slot motherboards so the graphics was separate anyway, frankly nothing else needs be in the PC as the motherboard supports everything you need in a HTPC. Bunging more stuff in means that there is more to configure/conflict/break......
It is interesting that you also had noticed performance differencies using the M-Audio cards, this is why the BBC went over to RME with VCS
 

babaroga

Active Member
stevsky, that is my argument as well. What is I suggest something like firewire or USB external sound card like MAudio SonicaTheater (or even professional ones)?
 

liam_b

Active Member
You can probably bet that the FLR+AV32+T2L produces less jitter than the HDSP9632 via SPDIF, mostly I'd say because TAG didn't use horrible $25 junk switchmode PSUs, they have REALLY nice clean clock generation and extraction, also the DACs and outputs in the AV32 operate in a much lower RF field than the PC.

Of course then we could have the discussion about what level of jitter is actually audible etc. But mostly the HTPC can do lots of other things too, which tips the balance if you want those things.
 

edward

Active Member
I agree wholeheartedly with you, Graham, its more about preference than “better” and I don’t think most would need to wait a few months to reach the “don’t care which” point either. It seems clear from the Uvem that this stuff has already come of age so I’d be very surprised if even someone who is accustomed to TAG league DVD sources was not delighted from day 1.

It could well be more accurate too – but it also has the control to let me fiddle. Whether that is a conducive to greater accuracy is debatable but it lets me adjust it to how I want it, which is probably more important really.

I use loose leaf rather than tea-bags and fresh-ground beans rather than instant coffee but loading CDs and DVDs by hand could well become one of those rituals that makes so little difference to the end product that I no longer bother, especially when both are so good. The next test is which source gets the most use over the next few months and then whether I still prefer the FLR. It wouldn’t shock me in the least to find I’m looking to sell my FLR – and that was just inconceivable a month ago.
 

iwf

Standard Member
Fascinating thread. Has answered all my HTPC and TAG questions in one go, apart from one.
What the maximum samply rate the AV32bp192 will handle?

I've a Av32bp192 which i always assumed might it has a 192Khz DAC. However whatever sample rate I play back from the PC the front says 48 khz. Not only that but for a digital signal you can only select which surround mode you want for 44,48 and 96khz.

That said, What I really like about the PC is what Graham says, If you want to change a componant you don't need to change the whole thing.

One final thought. Has anyone thought of placing the RME card outside the PC case? I know others, who've done it saying it reduces PC noice.

My only dilemma now is whether to get the 9632 or 9652!

regards
 

alexs2

Well-known Member
iwf said:
Fascinating thread. Has answered all my HTPC and TAG questions in one go, apart from one.
What the maximum samply rate the AV32bp192 will handle?

I've a Av32bp192 which i always assumed might it has a 192Khz DAC. However whatever sample rate I play back from the PC the front says 48 khz. Not only that but for a digital signal you can only select which surround mode you want for 44,48 and 96khz.


regards
Mine is run at 24bit/96kHz via an external upsampler,so i would imagine the problem you're describing is something relating to the PC itself,or the settings on the soundcard,perhaps also if you're routing signals via Windows Kmixer,which smaples all signals at 48kHz,rather than 44.1kHz for CD or higher rates.
 

iwf

Standard Member
Alex, Graham

Any views on the diferrent RME cards. I see the Digi series is less ££ to the HDSP yet claim the same sort of jitter fgures. If we're only using them to provide a spdif output to our TAGs does it matter?
 

GrahamMG

Well-known Member
alexs2 said:
Mine is run at 24bit/96kHz via an external upsampler,so i would imagine the problem you're describing is something relating to the PC itself,or the settings on the soundcard,perhaps also if you're routing signals via Windows Kmixer,which smaples all signals at 48kHz,rather than 44.1kHz for CD or higher rates.
What was the original source material? I'd expect a CD to still read 44.1 on the TAG display via the PC and DVD's @48Khz as that is what they are.
DTS 24/96 disks read 96Khz on the TAG. Upsampling a CD etc. above what nature intended brings no advantage..... You need a higher original source material sample rate to make any difference.....
 

GrahamMG

Well-known Member
iwf said:
Alex, Graham

Any views on the diferrent RME cards. I see the Digi series is less ££ to the HDSP yet claim the same sort of jitter fgures. If we're only using them to provide a spdif output to our TAGs does it matter?
The HDSP measured better than the Digi96/PAD in the same systems as I remember. Real world noise floor is lower too..... And yes as Liam says we are well into the realms of what the human ear can actually hear arguement. All I know is that the HDSP9632 is a dammed fine output card with my PC that I can't actually see or hear a disadvantage to using it over the DVD32R. I know my family prefer the PC interface as well now. My next challenge is geting the component output from the PC to talk to the 32" Sony CRT TV... A Kramer Component to RGBS convertor is being chucked in after the forthcoming shows are over. It will be interesting if the DVD32R via S-Video or the PC converted feed wins....
 

GrahamMG

Well-known Member
liam_b said:
You can probably bet that the FLR+AV32+T2L produces less jitter than the HDSP9632 via SPDIF, mostly I'd say because TAG didn't use horrible $25 junk switchmode PSUs, they have REALLY nice clean clock generation and extraction, also the DACs and outputs in the AV32 operate in a much lower RF field than the PC.

Of course then we could have the discussion about what level of jitter is actually audible etc. But mostly the HTPC can do lots of other things too, which tips the balance if you want those things.
:D :D :D
Of course that fact that almost all music and movie soundtracks are edited/finalised on a PC would make an interesting discussion :rotfl:
BTW, my HTPC PSU cost £150 and much use of Mu metal shielding plus the excellent RME noise rejection and signal sync paths equalled something I am quite happy to live with. My DVD32R is still a work of genius though but time has very certainly moved on now but to be fair the sound improvements (subjective) are very very much smaller than the new ease of use and ability HTPC's bring. Feed the signal into a DP or AV192R and a suitable display at native panel res (except the domestic Pioneer's of course as they scale everything regardless, which is crap) and enjoy....... Brave new world methinks.
 

iwf

Standard Member
Again great writing. A HDSP9632 it is then!

Regarding driving a CRT from a pc. should it be possible to drive componant equiped CRT tosh tv from either a DVI or VGA port.

I've spent all my £££ on hifi recently and though I can sneak a pc card past GCHQ she'd certainly notice a plasma! As such I'm stuck with the CRT for the time being. It's a great screen but I'm always having to burn DVDs from my nebula card for replay on my Pioneer DVD player. Always wanted to link the pc to Tv directly. svideo sucks.
 

GrahamMG

Well-known Member
A PC does not output a component signal from its VGA or DVI port (they are RGBHV)....... Some cards have an additional output dongel that carries component (NVidia cards!) this may go straight into a component equipped Toshiba etc. as long as the video settings on the card are adjusted to suit a CRT TV. As I said earlier, everything else needs a component to RGBS convertor box adn again some settings fiddling to get an image.
 

Stevesky

Active Member
A PC does not output a component signal from its VGA or DVI port (they are RGBHV).......
Some of the ATI cards can be configured to output RGBCs, rather than RGBHV, hence can be wangled into some progressive aware TV's.
 

GrahamMG

Well-known Member
Fair enough, I'll wager it is a pain to get to work though..... Thing is the Nvidia cards currently sit at the top of the pile for HTPC work, the ATi cards will have to play catch up......
 

GrahamMG

Well-known Member
Actually I think most CRT sets only accept porgressive via the component input? Certianly not plug and play...
 

iwf

Standard Member
Well I've the HDSP9632 in place.

Sounds very clean, but need some time to listen to how it compares with the Nvidia on the MB.

I've even got a ATI Radeon graphics card so might try a dongle. i've heard of them but have no idea what they do, where to get one and how to make it work.

Meanwhile I need to investigate which is the best format to hold my music on the harddisk. Up to now i've tried most things - WMA, APE, Wave without really being able to hear much difference.

I used exact copy to put Robbie Williams duet album "swing when you're Winning" and playing it back through J. River's Media Center. Very clean sound.

The tag recognises the sample rate unlike the Nvidia.

Took a while to understand the RME mixer and I haven't been able to play back a DTS DVD to the Tag, but that'll come i'm sure. My olnly other problem is my Shuttle PC only takes one PCI card, and I've had to take out the TV card. Trying to find a way to extend the PCI bus.

Otherwise I'm a very happy bunny

thanks for everything
 

GrahamMG

Well-known Member
If it doesn't outperform the motherboard sound something is very wrong.... :D

ATI cards, I believe you have to purchase the dongle to allow component output, Nvidia cards have it in the box....... Might be different now but I know ATI and Nvidia do it differently.....
Best format to hold CD music on disk is .wav, period. You can do what you like with it but you always have a bit perfect copied original to go back to. Hard disk space is cheap.....You will kick yourself forever if you limit the output to a compressed format.
The RME mixer is a learning curve certainly...... SPDIF out to the TAG is the way to get DTS!
I won't comment on the case size....... :rotfl:
 

iwf

Standard Member
Graham

I'll go looking for the ATI dongle. I remember reading about them some time ago.

I used exact copy to produce the wav files and Media Center to replay them. I know what you mean about kicking myself about conversations. I borrowed some Classical Music cds and without realising it used WMA to rip them. Too late now and I'm stuck with the damn things. Serves me right for copying I suppose.

Really struggling with DTS though. I set the players Media Center and Nero to use the Spdif but don't see anything in the RME mixer. More work to do, me thinks....

As for case size, looks like I'll have to drag my old huge case out. Damn shame as the shuttle is such a pretty thing :)
 

Neale

Standard Member
Gents have you any ideas re mac route
I have a G4 sitting upstairs with quality iTunes on which would be nice to play through the AV192R and also to play those videos of the daughter and DVDs
 

memmerson

Active Member
Apple now supply new software and remote control with their new imac G5s called Front Row. It has a simple ipod style user interface. Looks quite nice.

Not sure if Front Row is available separately though...?
 

edward

Active Member
Not sure whether this was a serious question or a wind-up of the Wintel crowd, Neale, but if you can find the cables, do report back on the results. Some of us will be astounded if the results from a commodity item like a Mac were up to the mark..

I thought long and hard about the famed problems and I talked to man who knew what he was talking about (well-used copy of book by Doug Self on bookshelf and a clever PC-based audio system as evidence). I thought too about the grief and cost Graham incurred in trying to tame these problems incurred even with the best components he could find – and he had access to far more sophisticated kit for solving these problems than I do. When I saw the price of the components I wanted to use I just knew I should get someone like Phil involved. Of course I’ll suffer for art – but not needlessly. While Apple have been making media systems over the years, trying to get phenomenal/TAG quality sound and images out of a commodity box, whether PC or Mac is, I suspect, in the "needless suffering" category.
 

iwf

Standard Member
Ok Chaps I give up.

Can anyone tell me how to get a DTS video playing through my brand new RME card. I've currently got Nero WinDVD and J River's Media Player.

Media Player and Nero allow you to select the spdif out but the sound doesn't appear in the RME mixer

I'd also like to try playing one of the dts wav files, everyone's taking about but all I hear is pink noice even when I play it back through the DVD player.

Help :eek:
 

Mike192

Active Member
Try this: Go to Windows Control Panel and select 'Sounds and Audio Devices'.
Select the 'Audio' tab and under 'Sound playback' select the default audio device as 'HDSP SPDIF'.
 

GrahamMG

Well-known Member
Sorry for the late response but I've been at the Manchester show and am now packing up for the Hammersmith show.
I'd also suggest looking in the RME configuration box (the one that sits in the task bar and looks like a Hammer), and make sure the right boxes are ticked for the SPDIF output you wish to use. You also might like to check the RME mixer panel and hit the default button just in case you have moved anything....
The fact that you get noise (pink or otherwise) out of the TAG processor sounds (sorry) like you are using the analogue output of the RME which naturally won't work with DD/DTS sources as the RME does not convert the bitstream (the AV does that) so you need to use the smaller adaptor on the back of the card (in the top d type hole) which has the 2 off RCA flying sockets (from memory the red one is output) which carry SPDIF and plug that into a digital input on the TAG or use the toslink connector (bottom one of the 2).
 

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