How to connect computer to home cinema amp

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by 666kenny, Mar 20, 2006.

  1. 666kenny

    666kenny
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    :hiya:
    I don't know if this is the right place for this question but here goes??
    I will be getting a new computer soon and will be running Windows media center.I want to be able to put all my music CD's onto the hard drive and then play them through my Denon receiver. Can i connect digitally and let the amp do the decoding.Will only use this connection for audio.
    Your help is much appreciated.:lease:
     
  2. DarKHorsE

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    Hi. Yes you can connect digitally, either with a coaxial or optical cable providing your new computer has these types of connections. When you order or buy it make sure it has one of these ( usually an coaxial connection):smashin:
     
  3. luke.a.jones

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    Your soundcard will only pass through sound that has already been encoded with DTS or DD such as DVD's, no other sound will be sent down the digital output(MP3, .AVI files etc.)

    If you want all your sound to go down the digital output then you will need a soundcard from HDA, called the x-mystique and x-plosion there priced around £50 and £90 respectively, the latter does real time DTS and DD encoding where as the former does just DD.

    I think there is another manufacturer that makes a similar card but i dont know which.
     
  4. Media-Man

    Media-Man
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    Using SPDIF passthough, it doesn't matter how it was encoded as long as your amp supports - so ssoemthing stereo encodedc will come out as stereo , somethign dd5.1 will come out dd5.1 etc.
     
  5. Renoir

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    Mp3s, .avi etc will be decoded by whichever software you use to play those files into raw pcm streams and then those will be passed through the digital output.
    E.g. a 44.1khz stereo mp3 will be decoded to 2 channels of 44.1khz pcm and then sent over the digital connection (some soundcards will resample it up to 48khz).
    The cards mentioned allow you to encode the raw multiple channels of pcm that a surround enabled game creates into a DD or DTS (X-plosion) bitstream which can then be passed down the digital connection just the same as if you were playing a dvd. The issue is that the digital connections on most sound cards do not support sending multiple channels of pcm to your receiver so using DD or DTS encoding allows you to get surround sound in games while still only using one connection. From your original post though it sounds like the whole gaming audio issue is irrelevant?
     
  6. FeiJi Fancier

    FeiJi Fancier
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    Sorry, that's a lot of crock. Any Creative Soundblaster Live! compatible soundcard with a digital out will output via S/PDIF Coax ALL sounds generated by your PC - it will even simulate the built in motherboard beeper speaker.

    If your amp automatically switches to Dolby Digital and/or DTS on presentation of a suitable signal, all the better - otherwise set it to Dolby Pro Logic. Mine will flip between Pro Logic and AC3/Dolby Digital automatically - but I have to manually select DTS on the Amp (and turn it back off again).

    I've seen compatible cards for a tenner.
     
  7. MI55ION

    MI55ION
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    Hello, dont mean to hijack this thread but rather than start a new one and whilst we are on this topic, I've got a Dell Dimension 5000 just over a year old and wanted to know if i could do the the same from mine. i.e. PC > AV Amp. Could someone please suggest a place where I could get a soundcard for this sole purpose but not spend a fortune.

    Thanks
     
  8. Rambles

    Rambles
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  9. patr1ck

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    Unless you have an older motherboard with one of the NVidia SoundStorm chips then games sound will only be output digitally in stereo.

    Most sound cards (including Creative X-Fi) will not do this.

    You have to use the analogue o/p's to get games surround sound into an external amplifier.

    A couple of games (HL2 I believe) do have a hack that will allow surround sound to be digitally ouput by linking into the drivers.

    The latest card that will output games in surround sound is the AuzenTech (HDA) X-Plosion card that will re-encode the seperate channels into DTS.

    A test of the card is here:

    http://www.elitebastards.com/cms/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=19&Itemid=28

    Also a discussion (including some tests) is also on the AVSforums:

    http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=605522&page=1&pp=30

    See also:

    http://www.auzentech.com/products_xplosion.html

    Overclockers have them for £74.95 + VAT

    Hope this helps

    Pat
     
  10. FeiJi Fancier

    FeiJi Fancier
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    Sorry, I just don't follow this line at all. My PC, which has a SoundBlaster Live! card has no trouble at all playing games in surround (AC3) sound.

    This seems to be a common theme I'm coming across here, and I'm not entirely sure why people think it is a problem.

    My feeling is that this may well be a problem for some computers with some on-board soundcards. The OP hasn't told us what soundcard he is using.
     
  11. patr1ck

    patr1ck
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    It's only a problem if you want to send the sound (for games) via a digital (co-ax or optical) link to an external amplifier/receiver.

    If you are connecting speakers directly to the sound card there is no problem.

    For most people a standard sound card will be ok.

    Pat
     
  12. FeiJi Fancier

    FeiJi Fancier
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    Not in my experience, I use a couple of externally connected digital amplifiers - a Creative SoundWorks 3500 and a Sherwood Newcastle R945RDS.

    What makes you think this is an issue?
     
  13. patr1ck

    patr1ck
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  14. Catsmeat

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    I think that the creative soundworks systems do allow some kind of digital connection (not standard SPDIF) to be made to creative soundcards for full surround. Creative cards can pass out the sound as six channel uncompressed digital signals I believe - most amps can't deal with this.

    As a general rule though the vast majority of soundcards will only pass system sounds (including games) as stereo PCM. Stuff such as movies where the soundtrack is already encoded to DD or DTS can be passed through unaltered via SPDIF.

    The only exceptions I know of are the already mentioned Soundstorm and HDA cards which will encode to DD on the fly. I seem to remember hearing that Intel are doing some kind of onboard encoding solution as well on some of their motherboards but I may be wrong.
     
  15. FeiJi Fancier

    FeiJi Fancier
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    My Creative DTS3500 allows Coax, Optical and a bespoke connection called Digital DIN (DDIN). I am actually using the DDIN, but the cable is simply a coax cable with a bespoke plug, and a converter is supplied to transpose from RCA Phono to DDIN if I wanted to use two coax sources.

    The DTS3500 is so flexible, it even allows the mixing of analogue and digital sources simultaneously, so that I can pipe sound from my computer and my TV through it, to the speakers. Obviously, it won't allow the mixing of two digital sound sources, and it only has one analogue (offering L/R and RL/RR) input.

    With regard to this games issue, I am going to have to do some testing, because I simply am not aware of any issues concerning cards not outputting games in Dolby Surround, if that option is offered within a game.

    I normally only expect to see the Dolby Digital indicator to illuminate when I'm playing a DVD, which it does - no problem. But you've raised an important issue with regard to computer games, and I'd like to confirm what you're saying for myself.

    My computer's sound card is the ORIGINAL (ie 1st design released in the UK) Creative Live! with the additional output backplate connected to the main card via a cable not unlike a standard flat IDE cable.
     
  16. Renoir

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    From all that I've read this is all completely correct. A bit of research on other forums will confirm this to be the case. Creative have released certain sound cards that when connected to certain creative/cambridge digital speaker systems support the digital transfer of multiple channels of pcm over a connection which does not use the standard spdif protocol and so cannot be handled by most receivers.
     
  17. Paul D

    Paul D
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    The original Soundstorm/Azalia motherboards and HDA cards offer the ideal solution for connecting to a home cinema amp/receiver.

    Most normal sound cards offer "Dolby Digital/DTS - PASSTHROUGH" via the S/PDIF connector.(optical or Coax)
    This means DVDs and some games already encoded to Doly Digital will be in genuine DD surround.
    Some cards in addition also output 2 channel digital sound via the PCM format.(via S/DIF)
    The amp/receiver can then convert this 2 channel format to a pro-logic type surround effect.

    The problems start when you play games or WMA-HD files which are not encoded in Dolby Digital.(including windows sounds)
    You have to connect your sound card (via phonos/3.5mm jacks) to the 5.1 channel input on your amp/receiver.

    It does work, but you are back to analogue 5.1 sound, and lots of cables.
    It is true that some cards sound better this way, and can give superior sound including SACD playback.

    Motherboards containing the Azalia Dolby Digital Live encoder chip and the new HDA cards convert "ALL" PC audio signals into a Dolby Digital signal.

    All the different surround formats in games are converted to Dolby Digital.
    WMA-HD 5.1 is also converted to DD making true 5.1 surround possible via the S/PDIF connector.

    It is open to debate how well this is done, but it really does simplify the whole surround sound process.
    :) :) :)
     
  18. FeiJi Fancier

    FeiJi Fancier
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    Ahh, by using the magic word "passthrough" I'm beginning (maybe even finished) to understand what you guys are trying to say.

    Yes, DD and even DTS signals originating from DVDs and cut scenes in certain games are processed by my amps correctly. They're all pre-recorded and simply shoved out the SPDIF port unaltered.

    If we're talking about the actual creation of new sound - mixing and other processing - created on the fly, based on positional information and the surrounding ambiance dependant upon a players position - then surround sounds need to be created and mixed from a variety of different original files and calculations and are new and possibly unique. This is a significant amount of computational work and would require a different kind of processing.

    I just never gave it much thought before. And accordingly, I don't see any Dolby Digital logos or anything like that on any of the PC Games I have.

    Now finally, that's a good reason to upgrade my old 2001 SB Live! card.

    So, what is the minimum priced card I need to process the game playing in, say, Doom3 into surround sound? Is lisag's suggestion suitable - it is EAX Advanced HD 3.0 compatible.
     
  19. dannyg81

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    Quite correct! And any other sounds are simply sent as stereo PCM.

    Again, this is true.... and most games are created with some form of 3D hardware positional sound system, that is able to process and calculate realistic surround sounds on the fly, depending on the characters movement, environment etc. These can be further enhanced/aided by Creatives own EAX HD effects and processing power. The only game I have that springs to mind with Dolby Digital sound is Theif 3. Which has Pro Logic 2 I think.

    This card certainly will give most games a significant boost in the sound department, along side your creative speakers. It really depends on your budget I guess.
     

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