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HC PC Newbie

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by Gojira, Nov 5, 2003.

  1. Gojira

    Gojira
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    Hi all.

    I have recently upgraded my PC & so can now dedicate my old presario to movies.

    Please could you recommend a cheap(ish) 5.1 card with optical out? I bought a cheap one off the net (a "nicole"!) and it did no more than freeze up the dvd drive !

    Thanks.
     
  2. Kramer

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    Most only do co-axial out, but I'm sure someone will be along with a recommendation shortly ;)

    Froze DVD drive? Sounds like a driver/resource/IRQ issue(s).

    :smoke:
     
  3. tonyb

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    The cheapest card that I know with optical out is this the Trust SoundXpert which you can pick up for about £30

    Product Spec

    I had one running in my pc for a while, and I can confirm that it will output a 5.1 signal from powerdvd or similar, allowing your av amp to decode it. Worked fine, but I junked the card as it had no linux support when I decided to try out a linux distro on my pc.

    One other alternative would be to buy a card that has an spdif output, and then buy a convertor from maplin that will convert the electrical spdif signal into optical. Add an optical cable and you're sorted. I use this method with my kit and it works ok.

    The convertor (part qn17T) will cost you £15 including the psu, and I got a 5 metre optical cable (part VH71N) for £15, both at maplins.
     
  4. Bursar

    Bursar
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  5. Darren Blake

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    Just bought one of these babies. They do exactly what it says on the tin. A real bargain considering a decent optical cable that lenght costs £15 from my local Sevenoaks S&V.

    Only problem with it is that adding the spdif / optical sockets takes up a vacant card position.
     
  6. dek1965

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    the trust card's **** hot 4 the money
     
  7. Darren Blake

    Darren Blake
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    Just remembered another minor niggle with mine. Don't know if its the card of my PC:

    If I open a program (usually Nero Wave Editor) to record with optical in selected as the source, but without anything actually being fed into the optical in socket, then I get a warning saying that "Recording didn't work" and to check my connections - fair enough - but then my PC locks up. Sometimes for a few minutes, sometimes it needs a reboot.

    It's fine as long as I remember to switch on the optical output from my amp before I try to record anything from it.
     
  8. Bursar

    Bursar
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    Just got my Trust 514DX Optical card this morning :) I shall have a play with it over the weekend, but I suspect that for £30, it will prove to be a real bargain.
     
  9. Bursar

    Bursar
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    Just had a thought about this... I haven't used an audio lead from a CD/DVD drive for ages, as I let the IDE bus carry the data.

    Will I need an s/pdif cable between the DVD drive and the soundcard, or can I leave things as they are?
     
  10. GRees

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    Terratec do a range of cards with optical S/PDIF.
    You can find them here

    If you're looking for somewhere that sells them, then try Scan.
     
  11. johnkay

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    I bought one of these sound cards so I could have 5.1 s/pdif optical out and when I connected it to my amp the amp showed that only a stereo signal was being received. I spoke with Trust and they confirmed that the optical out can only give stereo not 5.1.
    I have had a refund from dabs ( though they have charged me £11 for this) but will let me dispose of the card myself. I have ordered a hercules sound card from ebuyer which is supposed to have 5.1 optical out (£11 ish) but they are out of stock at the moment.
     
  12. Bursar

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    Really? Hmm. Maybe I'll use optical from the DVD to the receiver, and coax from the sound card then.
     
  13. tonyb

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    johnkay,

    The problems you had with your card sound a little strange. I had one of these cards in a pc and had the optical out hooked up to my sony av amp. Admittedly, playback of music and game sound was only in stereo (amp display showed pcm stereo 48khz), but output from powerdvd/windvd was a dolby 5.1 stream decoded by my amp.

    Did you enable the 'use spdif' optin within your dvd player software? It's the only thing I can think of that you might have missed.

    It's also a bit strange that Trust say that the optical output won't support a dolby 5.1 output, especially as it says it does so on their website. Perhaps they mean that it can't decode dolby 5.1 on board.

    Anyway, it sounds like your problems will soon be solved by the hercules card from ebuyer. A shame that returning the trust card cost you £11.

    For anyone intrigued by the spec of John's new card, have look

    here

    Hope that you have better luck with this card.....

    Tony
     
  14. Bursar

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    Whilst we're talking about problems with the Trust card...

    I've just set mine up, installed the drivers and Audio Rack software on a fully patched Win2K Pro PC.

    I'm not getting any audio at all :(

    I've tried it with the supplied optical cable, and with the coax cable that's hooked up to my DVD player. Still nothing.

    I've played with the audio demonstartion, and with an MP3 file.

    I don't have any analogue connections coming out of the card, and I suspect I just need to find the setting that says 'use optical out' and tick it. Unfortunately I don't know where that setting is.

    As long as the card passes a full 5.1 stream from DVD software, then I'll be happy with it, as that's all I want. Stereo for music files is fine, and I can always fake surround sound by playing with the receiver.
     
  15. tonyb

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    Hi bursar,

    I think I had a similar problem when I put my card in, though I was running win 98se.

    From what i can remember, the enable spdif out put is somehwere in the mixer utility that gets installed, so just keep playing and you should find it!

    Tony
     
  16. Bursar

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    Right, sorted it. I got carried away and told the card that I had a 5.1 speaker setup.

    Whilst technically correct, this causes the card to disable the spdif outputs. Once I dropped it to 2 speakers, the outputs became available.

    I'm now using it to listen to Pink Floyds The Wall DVD in stunning DD EX :D
     
  17. johnkay

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    I thought it a bit strange too that I can only get stereo from the optical o/p but just to confirm I sent an email to Trust and they confirmed by email that you cannot get 5.1 from the optical o/p.
    I must admit I did not adjust anything on powerdvd 4 because I thought if the trust sound card is not 5.1 the powerdvd would not be able to change that.
    Can you tell me how to adust the powerdvd setting , I still have trust card in the htpc and could try it next time I use it.
     
  18. dek1965

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    i get 5.1 from the optical out on my card, so trust are wrong
     
  19. Bursar

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    I think what Trust are saying is that CDs, MP3 and so-on will only be output in stereo, and after fiddling with my card, this seems to be correct.

    The only way to get these output in surround is to use the analogue connectors (which I haven't tried as I don't have the cabling).

    If the card is set to 2 speakers and has SPDIF enabled, and you enable SPDIF output in the DVD software the card will pass the stream out for your receiver to decode. Hence watching a DVD from the PC in DD EX.

    To enable SPDIF in PowerDVD, fire it up, go into the Audio settings and change the output to SPDIF.
     
  20. tonyb

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    Johnkay,

    bursar has beaten me to it! You need to open the configuration box and select the Audio tab. In the drop down box, you should be able to select the spdif option.

    Interestingly, this link here would seem to suggest that some versions of powerdvd can only support 2 channel audio. The link shows you how to check the status of your player.


    bursar,

    Your card is running the same way mine was. The stereo output wasn't really a problem for me as I decided to have a play with some the dsp modes on my amp. I found that Stereo Movie was quite good, as it made the sub kick in and sent some of the sound to the rears, giving me a reasonable surround effect from a stereo source. Give it a go and see what you think....

    Tony
     
  21. Bursar

    Bursar
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    Tony, I will. The main reason for wanting this setup is because if I want to just listen to a music DVD (not DVD-A) then it's much easier to use the PC than switch the projector on so I can navigate the menus, then switch the projector off to save the bulb and so-on.
     
  22. Gojira

    Gojira
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    Ok, have restored the system, the dvd player works, the sound card is installed but it doesn't output on optical!

    I have attempted to disable the onboard sound chip in bios (won't allow it!) and in control panel (no difference).

    I have looked at the options on the mixer and it only allows sdif output on headphones!

    Does anyone have any experience in the least upgradable of machines that is compaq ?!?

    :mad:

    Cheers.
     

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