HDMI vs Analogue.....Help !?

Discussion in 'Home Entertainment Computers' started by hickmeister, Feb 3, 2009.

  1. hickmeister

    hickmeister
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    I am looking for a bit of advice with regards to HDMI vs Analogue to Output sound from my HTPC......

    With AMPS now out with HDMI switching and HD Audio etc..... i have been tempted to upgrade my Denon AVR-1706.

    My question is when i watch a BluRay through my HTPC at the moment my PC handles the Hi-Def encoding and passes it through my Denon to my speakers...which sounds great...but reading a few posts around i wondered what would be better, leave my HTPC handling the Audio or by a new amp with HDMI input/output and make the AMP do the work ???

    What are peoples opinion on this ANALOGUE (PC) or HDMI (AMP) ?????

    I Realise as well i would have to buy a HDMI Audio card which are not cheap....lol
     
  2. peackshelb

    peackshelb
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    I'm not an expert, but if you buy an amp to process the digital audio signal, and the amp has an HDMI output to pass the video signal through to your display, then you shouldn't need to buy a special dedicated HDMI audio card. As long as you have an HDMI output from your HTPC (usually from the video card), then you should be able to choose to pass the digital audio signal out of your HTPC alongside the video signal via HDMI.

    HTH :)
     
  3. peackshelb

    peackshelb
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    Oh, I should add that I'm a big fan of sending a digital audio output from my HTPC, as extra analogue outputs and cables always add considerable noise for me.
     
  4. hickmeister

    hickmeister
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    In an ideal world yes...but i thought current video cards only pass 5.1 (Same data rate as SPDIF) hence the new batch of HDMI audio cards coming out....unless there is a video card out there that does support the High Def audio format passthrough.....?:confused:

    I have a ATI 4350HD card and that definatley only passes 5.1 sound.!
     
  5. peackshelb

    peackshelb
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    As I said, I'm no expert, but from a quick look around, I did find some suggestion that recent graphics cards do allow HDA output via HDMI.

    I know the following is a monster thread, and I certainly haven't read it all, but a post (#5504 by oldskool75 - just scroll down the page a little) here:
    Guide to Building a HD HTPC - Page 184 - AVS Forum [MOD Comment by graham.myers: please dont link to like forums

    does seem to suggest that HDA from BluRay over HDMI from a graphics card is possible:

    I don't know what the differences (if any) are between the 4550 and your 4350 regarding audio over HDMI. But perhaps you should look into it. If you are lucky it might just be a case of updating a driver for the sound chip on your graphics card :)

    Good luck!

    P.S. oldskool's problem seemed to be solved by a reinstall, see post #5520 at the bottom of the linked page.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 3, 2009
  6. jameson_uk

    jameson_uk
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    The 4350 is capable of passing DD/DTS as SPDIF but also HD audio as 8 channel LPCM. This is dependant on what player you are using. If you player can't decode the audio it might default to DD/DTS 5.1

    There are also plenty of motherboard chipsets which are now capable of 8 channel LPCM too.
     
  7. Stephen Neal

    Stephen Neal
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    The ATI 4xxx series video cards are a good choice for multichannel sound via HDMI - you don't need a Xonar HD 1.3 or Auzentech HDMI Sound card if you want to bitstream Dolby True HD or DTS HD for your amp to decode, rather than let your PC decoded the new audio codecs to multichannel. (This offers 96/192kHz and >16 bit sound tracks without resampling)

    So - if you use a 4xxx series you can run with 7.1 multichannel PCM output via HDMI (or 5.1 PCM) with your PC decoding from True HD, DTS HD, Dolby Digital Plus etc., as well as passing PCM 5.1/7.1 tracks on older BD releases. You have a choice of either bitstreaming Dolby 5.1 or DTS 5.1 to your amp for decoding, or you can also let your PC decode them as it is with the more advanced codecs. (Which you want is a function of the sound control panel and player software set-up - though as Windows doesn't have on-board DTS decoding, bitstreaming DTS is the easier option for the DVD player app in Vista Media Center in my experience)

    I run a 4550 on one machine with HDMI audio output to my 5.1 system and get True HD and DTS HD in good quality. I chose a passive 4550 as it is better at de-interlacing than the 4350 for SD and HD TV. If you mainly watch 1080p content - not 576i DVDs or 576i/1080i TV, then the 4350 is fine, the 4550 is better than the 4350 at de-interlacing - but 1080p native stuff doesn't need that.
     
  8. hickmeister

    hickmeister
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    Thanks for the feedback guys...seems like my card is capable.......

    I currently only use my HTPC for viewing DVD's and BluRay via Powerdvd 8 and MediaPortal. I currently use Powerdvd to decode the audio and output to my AMP via analogue.

    I am thinking of buying a New AMP with HDMI inputs, and let the AMP decode the audio rather than my PC...is this a good move? Will the AMP decode better than my PC? :confused: :confused:

    Thanks
     
  9. Dr Hu

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    I have a ATI3450 in my HTPC but with a DVI connector only.....

    If I buy an ATI HDMI dongle - will the LPCM pass thru work?

    I was under the impression that DVI did'nt carry audio - does the dongle fix that?
     
  10. jameson_uk

    jameson_uk
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    It doesn't but I some of the unused pins are connected up to the audio. I would imagine that DVI to HDMI cables do not have these pins connected.
    The dongle has the connections built in (hence why ATI and Nvidia dongles are different)
     
  11. hickmeister

    hickmeister
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    Looks like i will have to buy a dongle then........


    Any thoughts on the above guys ????:smashin:
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2009
  12. Blu4KHD

    Blu4KHD
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    i currently find that for standard legacy codecs dolby digital and DTS that passing bitstream via the HDMI and letting my Denon 3808 decode sounds far better than letting software do the decoding, Although this also means that there is no difference between HDMI and Optical/Coaxial on motherboards.

    As far as the HD audio goes Dolby TrueHD and DTSHD MA then at present you have 2 choices as stephen neal has pointed out software decode the HD audio and pas as LPCM through HDMI or buy the Asus HDAV 1.3 and pass HD audio Bitstream via HDMI.

    Now IMHO and i owned the HDAV (sent back for 24p problem) i found that passing HD audio bitstream and lettting My 3808 do the decoding sounded better than letting TMT do the decoding, As i say that is just my opinion.

    The Auzentech HDMI card is due for release shortly and comes with a bitstreaming version of PowerDVD so there is another option, Both in theory should sound identical but one uses PowerDVD and the other Arcsoft TMT.
     
  13. andyUK101

    andyUK101
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    Personally i decode everything in my PC and send it all via HDMI to my Onkyo amp

    I can tweak the audio settings to my hearts content in FFDshow

    Ive tried the same disc in my PS3 (LPCM via HDMI) HTPC (LPCM via HDMI) and borrowed a Sony BDPS500 to try Bitstream and LPCM output from that and on my modest system couldnt really tell any different once id got the volume levels the same

    The only reason i would consider upgrading or changing is to see the DTSMA/HD lights on my amp
     

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