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DTS-HD & Dolby TrueHD Cards on the horizon

Daveybryce

Prominent Member
With Auzentech's daughterboard and Asus's HDMI sound card on the horizon for release in July-ish.

I'm in a bit of a dilemna. My old amp blew up:(, so now i am looking to get a new one, however with these 2 cards coming soon to decode the lossless audio formats and Cyberlink working on new updates for their software, my question is...

Will the cards be similar to that of the PS3 profile 2.0 where even if you don't have an amp capable of decoding the lossless streams, you will still get lossless audio over LPCM/PCM in the amp providing you connect via HDMI due to the pre-processing of the cards, or will an amp capable of the DTS-HD or TrueHD formats be required?
 

LostCause

Established Member
PCs were already ahead of the PS3 in terms of power, outputs and flexibility and with Arcsoft's TMT now certified for profile 2 / BD Live / BonusView + Dts Master audio there is no need for the PS3 unless it’s a cost issue. With the arrival of HDMI audio cards it may well fill in the missing piece of audio output. However I wouldn't bet on Power Dvd solving the problem in a timely manner, their solution is proprietary and may well be delayed. They have already pulled HD without notice from version 8 and bloated the software significantly without any increase in functionality. Additionally the cost of the Auzentech is likely around 100 and the Asus may well be over 200. If I'm wrong we'll both be happy but I think the costs are likely to be quite steep. The Asus in particular is a speciality and therefore limited appeal card.
 

Daveybryce

Prominent Member
Thanks for the reply

I'm not looking to buy a ps3, i'm merely relating to it as it is able to stream lossless audio via hdmi 1.3 to any amp that copes with LPCM/PCM, using the firmware update and software inside the PS3.

I was wondering with these new cards is there scope to not have to buy a DTS-HD/TrueHD capable amp and still get the lossless audio due to the decoders in the cards doing all the work first.

Although it would be nice to have DTS-HD logo pop up on the amp if there is no requirement for it then why spend and extra £150 on an amp just to get it.

EDIT: I'm write in saying... I think.... PC's can already send HD audio via analogue ouputs to a receiver that has 7.1 analogue inputs on it. However that's alot of cables from the back of your pc to your amp.
 

LostCause

Established Member
With the demise of HD-Dvd a PS3 is a much cheaper route to the blue future and it is upgradeable, however it does come with it's own restrictions. Money buys more flexibility. DTS-HD and True HD lights on the amp however, are a problem that may not be solved by the arrival of the cards for sometime. Its all to do with the Protect Audio Path or rather the lack of and seemingly endless restrictions imposed upon us by suspisicious distributors wary of us theiving PC owners. This is why Cyberlink are known to be looking at their own solution, which may or may not arrive later this year. They won't be alone, Arcsoft and Windvd will probably have solutions too. The analogue solution does work but it too has limitations as does recoding with Live or Connect to cut down on the cables.

The Asus card is supposed to be 1.3a so can in theory pass the bitstream. If its not allowed to, by the content providers or the software, then it should still be able to output multi channel PCM via Hdmi and analogue via the daughter board. However this is obviously already possible for HDMI with G35 and soon to be released G45 motherboards. Analogue or recoding is available with and number of motherboards and soundcards. So unless the bitstream can be sent, it does rather make the cards a bit of a niche product. The nice part of the Asus is the more desirable RCAs connectors instead of minijacks for us without the hdmi amps.
 

Daveybryce

Prominent Member
An interesting point you've raised there, regarding Intel's G35 board, I have the AMD's version in the form of the 780g/HD3200 chip sets.

I am right in saying that a lossless audio is already achievable via these boards via analogue and HDMI to a receiver than can cope with LPCM/PCM. Or are we only talking about DD and DTS with DTS connect options available.

It's all very confusing as to what we are getting from these new HDMI cards. Guess we'll have to wait for the press releases.
 

LostCause

Established Member
It might depend upon how you regard the issue of downsampling in Power Dvd and its rivals (and whether they do or not). Either internally decoded True HD or Dts Master or Lpcm tracks ends up either at hdmi or analogue outputs at 48/16 as 5.1 or 7.1, so therefore yes, lossless is already achievable. If it was coded any higher would you hear the difference, is your equipment upto the job? The fact is most of the disc releases to date haven't exceed this. An 11Khz, 8bit mono pcm track is lossless, its really all about definitions. If it sounds good to you or if choosing one solution over another sounds better to you then that really should be your guide and you can ignore most of the hype and the technicals.

I choose to use analogue outs and recode to dts connect in my setup simply to save on the cabling and because my amp doesn't have hdmi. I can still hear the difference between normal dolby and true hd tracks, it doesn't mean its right, the only way, or even the best solution but it does mean I can play Cds, Dvds, Hd-dvds and Blu-rays with any format without having to alter my setup. In the future I may switch back to the analogues or if these cards pan out and I am able to get new amp maybe hdmi. But I don't expect to see night and day performance improvements, I'm not one of those people who proclaim dvds totally unwatchable simply because HD arrived.
 

Daveybryce

Prominent Member
What a great answer.

As my amp has blown up I'm on the tele speakers. Looking now to buy a new one. But waying up what onkyo amp i can get away with if all my sound is coming from the PC. The beauty of a pc is you can always upgrade.

Upconversion/upscaling is not really that important for me as the feed goes through the PC and is output at 720p which is what the amp will receive anyway.

I guess the onkyo 576 looks a good option and will give a good enough sound for me as i'm no audiophile.

Many Thanks for explaining all this too me. :thumbsup:
 

james.miller

Prominent Member
PCs were already ahead of the PS3 in terms of power, outputs and flexibility and with Arcsoft's TMT now certified for profile 2 / BD Live / BonusView + Dts Master audio there is no need for the PS3 unless it's a cost issue.

pc's still have a long way to go before they'll match the easy of use and compatibility of a ps3 for HD media, even considering the ps3's lack of HD bitstreaming.

is arcsoft TMT 64bit compatible yet?
 

LostCause

Established Member
No, as far as I am aware, Arcsoft is still not 64 compatible, even with the latest release .113, and it still has some acceleration problems with ATIs, I think in particular its the 2600s. Personally I favour Arcsoft, its worked perfectly for me since .109, but there are plenty of people who prefer Power Dvd, WinDvd or Nero as their HD player of choice. Power is still considered the market leader and is the app most people are likely to have a copy of, bundled as it is with a number of Blu and combi drives. Its lack of integration with VMC was its problem for me, in other respects I found it worked perfectly well. Arcsoft, however, is the only one of the four whose trial app allows HD playback so anyone with suitable hardware can try it and see if it suits them without forking out the cash first.

I agree, and as I pointed out, the PS3 is probably still the cheapest / simplist route to HD in the shape of Blu-rays. Its profile 2 ready, can be patched if or when they change the spec again, and its played every Blu I tested it with, unlike a fair few of the standalones. To build a similarly specced PC will undoubtably cost more. However its a locked system, no pulling the graphics or the sound card and swapping for an alternative and your choice of software is limited to the Sony approved list. Switching it to linux is not currently an option for HD playback, but it may come.
 

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