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Abit USB spdif interface unit

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by reefer, Jul 12, 2002.

  1. reefer

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  2. MAW

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    Fascinating! At £50, it had better sound at least reasonable, but a useful upgrade for notebook users. You can, of course, get a PCI card for less, even on the same dabs page. I'll go and compare the respective specs on the Abit site.
     
  3. ChrisAllenFiz

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    I`ve heard that these can cause lip sync problems. Try a search over at www.avsforum.com before you spend your hard earned

    Chris
     
  4. MAW

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    Checked this, it appears the prob. is not lipsynch but dvd software compatibility. It only works with Windvd 2.6, supplied, but not the best! Other software doesn't recognise it as a S/PDIF device, and it also appears that abit are not over helpful with support. Maybe they're still working on the drivers?
     
  5. reefer

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    Chris,

    Searched through the avs forum thanks... only found 2 references to lip sync which were just assumptions by 2 people, here`s one..

    "My biggest concern with a USB solution is there may be some noticable delay in the audio. But right now it is the only option for laptops, unless you have a Dell Inspiration with their proprietary solution"

    Both expressed as concerns as to the USB capabilities for processing data & slowing the pc down until they were correctly informed that USB can shift way more data (12mbps) than any compressed DD/DTS audio would take up (750kbps).

    Also, more recently posted, people over there have recently bought them & found them excellent in performance for both DD & DTS, who have high end audio systems. Funnily enough they have had to import them from the UK of all places!

    Since I`m using a fast pc and on the above basis, plus the relatively low cost compared to M/audio, I think I`m still going to try it out. I use a high end surround processor with monoblock bi-wired amps with a v.large sub, so I should notice any difference in sound quality should it appear.

    Cheers
     
  6. ChrisAllenFiz

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    I stand corrected. Hope it works out for you if you go for it. Still more exspensive than a sound card... if you have the room.

    Chris
     
  7. MAW

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    What DVD software do you use? what do you think about the possibility of having to revert to windvd 2.6? Though it says it ships with ver.3, our american friends seem to think it actually comes with 2.6 and only works with that. I'd be getting one too without that concern. My desktop sounds like a hoover, and this is way cheaper than quiet parts for it, not to mention the unobtrusiveness of a laptop!
     
  8. reefer

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    Yeah that seems to be the only major downer. I dunno if it comes with WinDvd ver 3 or 2.6.

    I just ordered stuff from ebuyer including a genuine ati built radeon 7500 video card so I reckon its best to use the ATI player from what I`ve heard for the best picture quality, though that`s not gonna recognise the UA11 spdif out? probably like you say. Grief....

    I`ve looked at pci sound cards, usb, motherboards with spdif etc just to get the best spdif output soundwise. Wish a manufacturer would do a dvd rom that sends the DD/DTS out the spdif socket on the back of the dvd rom player!

    Wonder which output & bus system causes the least amount of jitter in the spdif...?

    I also wonder if its worth bothering worrying about the jitter as my processor is quite high end and also inputs dolby digital through an RF socket from laser disc, so with that in mind and its build quality (its the euro version of the pioneer ELITE SP99D), I think that it may re-clock the spdif timing signal for the DAC`s anyway...
     
  9. ChrisAllenFiz

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    Theorectically a sound card should beat a usb solution because of the lower processing overhead required (usb is quite resource intensive). Personally I`m going for a philips rythhmic edge soundcard (philips did jointly create spdif after all), purely because it has a proper RCA spdif connector on it, and its only 33 quid. I think USB is only a sensible option for those without a free PCI slot (eg laptop) but YMMV as always,

    Chris

    ps of course it depends if you want to use 44.1Khz spdif out, something that they get very worked up about over at avsforums, but I couldn`t care less about. Each to thier own
     
  10. reefer

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    http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=40854&highlight=ebuyer


    In Gary Lightfoots post in the above thread I noticed this>

    "My OS is WinMe, and I use Zoom Player which uses the ATI player 5 video filters and WinDVD 2.8 audio. No other player beats the picture quality, and Zoom has more functionality than you can shack a DVD at."

    mmmm can you select different bits of players with the `zoom` player?

    Gary can you enlighten if you see this please?

    Thanks
     
  11. reefer

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    ah, were from? :)
     
  12. ChrisAllenFiz

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    Zoom player uses the filters from other DVD players, which are the "engines" if you like. You can plug in the filters into zoom and mix and match them to get the best picture and sound quality for you. (unfortunately you have to buy all the players you want to mix and match the filters from). It might allow you to just use the audio filters from windvd 2.6, and the video filters from somewhere else, and still use your usb solution, but I`m not sure if the compatability is at the filter level or above. Anyone else know about this?

    Chris
     
  13. ChrisAllenFiz

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    www.dabs.com . Sorry, forgot to add the vat :rolleyes:
     
  14. reefer

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    Well already got windvd free and can get whatever software I need from p2p file servers, including this windows xp pro hehe :p

    Yeah I wanna keep the signal at the correct Khz, I`m as bad as them...

    cheers
     
  15. MartinCo

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    wonder how this USB device compares to the one listed at Keene...

    http://www.keene.co.uk/system/keene.htm
    (on the new products page...link may not work).

    described as "USB DIGITAL AUDIO ADAPTOR"
    but definitely has an optical out and is only £29.99 inc vat.


    looks worth a punt for laptop users currently without a spdif out.
     
  16. MAW

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    Looks good, no digital in but then who cares? If indeed it's selectable as a preferred audio device, then it should be free of the compatibility probs that loom for the Abit device. At £30 it's worth the risk, I'll get one and try it. I presume as optical out is the only option, once you've selected it as your preferred device selecting digital out in your DVD software should not be an issue.
     
  17. ChrisAllenFiz

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    Yeah, but DD and DTS is already 48Khz, so surely it only matters for CD or MP3 output doesn`t it?

    Chris
     
  18. reefer

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    As long as the sound card says it passes the 3 different ones, I think one at 41. sommet, 2nd at 44.1 and then at 48khz it then means it can pass the DD/DTS signal at its preferred 48khz. If its only 44.1 then it downmixes the frequency somehow (just like the soundblaster cards do) which does affect the quality quite markedly. Thats why I particularly like the abit usb cos it uses all 3 bands and doesn`t mess about with the signal or have any other chips processing etc... the main reason why the guys in the usa said it sounded so good I think, like the m/audio cards.

    If I can use zoom player with the ati filters and the windvd audio only that comes with the abit then hopefully I`m onto a winner (fingers crossed).

    MAW

    Forgot to add that you might wanna check that the keene device actually will pass DD/DTS through it? and at 48khz
     
  19. MAW

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    Reefer, yeah, I'd thought about that, might email them for a complete spec. I'm iffy about the Abit cos of the DVD software, my wife needs to be able to use it, and she ain't got a computer science degree, and has got other things to do with her leisure time. (watch a movie perhaps?) Last post v. interesting also, hadn't really clocked why the SB card I use at the moment is not as good as it should be, have looked at getting a better card, but this kind of thing would just be so tidy.
     
  20. ChrisAllenFiz

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    Thanks for the clarification. Ideally I would like a card with just an spdif which passes straight through, but I`m not going to pay for an M-Audio, and I don`t really want a USB solution. Seems like AC97 is the culprit in all this though, as it restricts what the spdif can output and still be in spec (or so I heard) . I refuse to pay £100 quid plus for a card that effectively does as little as possible :)

    Chris

    ps oh , and I`d like a card that has a proper spdif connector (say no to minijacks!). Fussy aren`t I? :)
     
  21. reefer

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    MAW,

    Yeah it would be neat, I like the abit for that too, like you say its a bit of grief with the software, though once its installed in zoom it should run auto like any other player I assume.

    Chris,

    Definately with you on those points too... feel like its just way too much asking over £100 for an audio card when we only want the digital out, you can get a motherboard & processor for that! Coaxial spdif has always rendered a better performance in my experience too... its all very annoying to say the least isn`t it. :mad:

    If anyone finds a digital 48khz coaxial spdif audio card for a decent price... let us know!!!:confused:
     
  22. ChrisAllenFiz

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    By the way you guys, looks like Dabs have one of those ABit things in thier B grade stock, missing the optical cable but is only 26 quid, which is quite a saving. Might be good for someone on a tight budget.

    On the sound card front, I *think* from reading reviews that the rhythmic edge passes 48Khz without altering it, which should make it ok for my needs (even has a real spdif output connector). I`m going to give it a go, and I`ll let you know how I get on. (btw, I think that the edge card does not pass 44.1 through unaltered)

    Chris
     
  23. MAW

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    So the rythmic edge is ggod for DD/DTS but not for PCM then?
     
  24. MAW

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    Just to chuck a spanner in the works, and to show everyone's in on the notebook act, check http://www.soundblaster.com/products/extigy/
    Yes it's creative's USB sound solution. I have yet to check it's suitability for our purposes.
     
  25. ChrisAllenFiz

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    Thats the impression I have currently. Anything that complies to the AC97 standard apparently has spdif output locked at 48khz, so will not be able to play DTS cds for example (note, DTS cds are at 44.1Khz output via the spdif). This includes almost all cheaper cards these days, apart from possibly the CMedia 8738 cards, which can be manually set to 44.1. I have given up the chase for the perfect card and gone for the best option I could find

    Chris
     
  26. reefer

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    ok,

    Chris, thanks for the `b` grade tip but I ended up giving the abit a miss anyway, purely because of its incompatibility with software players & didn`t want it taking up processor power from the ati etc.

    I ended up going for this > http://www.secure-server-centre.com/eurotech/datasheet.php?partno=E3302

    I had to contend with the toslink optical out in the end but I will be able to do blind listening tests with the mrs pressing just one button on the processor to swich between the pc & a sony dvd player. I have 2 identical dvd discs as well.

    The card says it passes DTS/DD at 48khz unmolested which is good enough for me. Its only £29.99 too.

    cheers
    neil
     
  27. reefer

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    I`ve just realised I`ve ballsed up there... I need 2 spdif outputs cos I have seperate DTS & DD processors so each one needs a feed :rolleyes:

    Least I can return to maplin for a credit..

    ********!
     
  28. reefer

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  29. MAW

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    Late addition to this thread, walking through Guildford PC world, they stock the SB extigy, and had a reduced return on the shelf. The box felt light, and when we opened it (in the shop) the previous owner had nicked the power supply.... Short negotiations followed, and it was mine. Got it home, connected it with a 12v supply I keep handy, and, well, crash crash crash etc etc. Disabled it in device manager, and off to creative online support, and lo and behold new drivers and a firmware flash.

    Solved that, Now my digital minijack lead doesn't work with it, it says it's passing a DD signal, my decoder won't detect it. However, it detects a prologic signal, best sound I've heard from a PC. Analogue too is v.good. Off to get a Toslink to try.

    It offers manual selection of all relevant bitrates for movies and music, and seems good, it's probably my homemade lead's fault, I have to ram it home with force in the HCPC's spdif SB Live!

    My laptop give a good picture with the PJ, so if this is a runner, the background noise will be just the PJ fan, that'll please the missus!
     
  30. Epithet

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    MAW

    I assume you are attempting to use the 3.5 mm digital output socket. If so, then the problem may lie with your confiuration of the digital output. The extigy, like the audigy, is capable of outputing a decoded AC3 signal as 3 digital signals via this 4 pole 3.5 mm jack. Each pole outputs the PCM signal for two of the 5.1 channels (FL/FR, RR/RL, Cntre/S.woofer). This configuration is used on certain Creative speaker packages that incorporate DACs. On the audigy, this configuration is achieved by setting the speakers to 5.1 and the output to digital. In this confiuration a 2 pole plug will pass a 2 channel PCM signal to your decoder, the other 4 channels are lost. If you wish to pass the DD signal direct to an external decoder, then change the speaker setting to SPDIF. The 2-pole plug should then pass the unencoded DD signal to your external decoder.

    Good luck.

    Epithet.
     

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