Question How to get digital sound from old laptop?

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Buying & Building' started by emil1369, Nov 26, 2017.


    1. emil1369

      emil1369
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      Hello all,

      I have an old HP laptop connected permanently to my Yamaha receiver, via the headphone jack.
      I've recently realized that I'm not really getting the full benefits of my 5.1 system, if all I'm getting from the laptop is an analog stereo signal.

      Correct?

      If so, how do I get the best sound out of that old dog? It has a display port - can I extract sound from that?
      Another route would be an external sound card of some sort, in which case, and this is my main question -
      Do i need to spend a lot of money if all I want is a digital out to my receiver?Optical SPDIF, or something?

      I mean, do I care about SNR and bitrates and whatnot, when I'm not converting anything from digital to analog?

      Thanks
      Emil
       
    2. Joe Fernand

      Joe Fernand
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      Would be good to confirm if your Laptop DP Output supports DP Audio and also which model of AVR you have.

      Joe
       
    3. citywalker

      citywalker
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      Yes, your signal is analog stereo.
      Displayport to HDMI cable may or may not work. This is the cheapest solution.
      I used DP to HDMI cable and it worked, but to get it working was hard trial and error, also finding correct settings in laptop too.
       
    4. emil1369

      emil1369
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      My AVR is a Yamaha HTR 6140, like 10 yrs old. Has optical input and HDMI input.
      The laptop is an HP Elitebook 2560p, has USB, headphone jack, eSata, and Displayport++.

      So what about the optical output solution? Is SNR relevant when talking about digital pass through, without actual conversion to analog for headphones and the like?
       
    5. grahamlthompson

      grahamlthompson
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    6. emil1369

      emil1369
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      Last edited: Nov 26, 2017
    7. mossym

      mossym
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      the 114db refers to analog outputs on the card which you won't be using.

      the card listed will be fine, you don't need to be spending any more on that.
       
    8. grahamlthompson

      grahamlthompson
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      Without knowing the quality of the audio source and the speakers it's hard to say. Toslink is limited to DTS/Dolby Digital+ at best. The lossless HD formats require HDMI connections. In the end before the audio goes to your speakers it has to be analogue (Who wants to listen to a stream of zeros and ones output from a loudspeaker :)). A loudspeaker is technically a transducer, it converts a complex analogue waveforn to sound by moving a loudspeaker cone to convert electrical energy to sound energy. Until we get a DAC in our ears we are stuck with analogue audio. :rotfl:

      A microphone is a transducer, the opposite of a loudspeaker. It converts sound to a electrical waveform.

      Most everything you hear from a recording or live TV starts off from a microphone (except purely electronic music generated from a say electronic synthesiser or electronic organ).

      Just because you are converting to analogue before your amp doesn't mean you are losing quality just the spatial information if the source is encoded in 5.1 rather than 2.0.

      For a stereo 2.0 source it's down to the quality of the digital analogue converter that you use. In one case you use a dac to deliver analogue audio to your amplifier. In the other you leave the conversion to your amplifier. It's worth noting that high end CD players with top end DACs normally give the best sound using the analogue outputs. Some of these use are capable of using Super Audio CD discs (SACD). These add surround sound to CD.
       
      Last edited: Nov 26, 2017
    9. mossym

      mossym
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      the amp he has doesn't support hd formats. no offence to teh OP but it is a lower end amp that's not going to benefit from a high end external DAC.

      the usb soundcard won't limit the performance in anyway, and is the simplest solution
       
    10. emil1369

      emil1369
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      Thanks to all for answering, I went ahead and bought the soundcard that was suggested by grahamthompson.
      I appreciate all your guys' input, and no worries, no offense taken.
      I know that I don't exactly have high end gear. I'm now in the process of upgrading my experience.

      Haven't gotten to the receiver yet, as all I do is watch Netflix and listen to Spotify and Pandora, so no reason to get a high end receiver, I reckon.

      In the meantime, I hope this soundcard will give me proper 5.1 sound for movies, and the Klipsch RP150Ms will upgrade my music experience.

      So thanks again,
      Emil
       
    11. emil1369

      emil1369
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      Hello all, again
      hope this bumps the thread back up - I went ahead and bought the startech 7.1 USB sound adapter, as suggested, only to find out that it does not output a 5.1 signal from the SPDIF.
      From a conversation with STARTECH support (very hellpful) I understood that only the analog outputs on the card can be configured for 5.1.

      So, back to square 1 I guess - is there a way to get digital audio from an old laptop, via USB or otherwise?
       

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