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Please help with Soundcard to use with HTPC connect to AV amp

S

s-bravia

Guest
Already posted this in Entertainment Computers & Components forum, but I guess I would have more joy posting in this forum.

I'm currently runing HTPC connects to LCD TV (mainly for playing Hi-Def Moives that I have downloaded) with logictech 5.1 speakers.

My question is, I planned to get a properly AV amplifier in near future but still wanna watch HD sources from my HTPC. How can I get the sound from the PC to AV Amp (i'm thinking of getting any soundcard with Optical out which allows me to connect the sound to the AV amp via optical port) so that I can use a proper home cinema speakers rather than using the logitech one.

And also I planned to use HTPC as a DVD player as well. My understanding is that if I use HTPC to play DVD and set video card output to 720p it would automatically upscale the picture quality from DVD (as it sends out 720p signal) ?? correct me if I'm wrong please. Hence I guess the ideal sound card for me is any sound card that by pass the sound signal from DVD source to the AV Amp (for wathcing DVD) or create a true 5.1 signal to feed AV Amp (for watching downloaded HD movies )

Could anyone please advice me the solution or any good sound card to serve my desire.

Thank you
 

misae

Established Member
When building your HTPC make sure you get a good quality video card that has either Purevideo (NVIDIA) or AVIVO (ATI).

Soundcard wise I would recommend a Soundblaster Audigy 2 or above with Digital Out, either the bracket that comes with the Platinum version or getting a 3.5mm to Coax cable (almost impossible to find though).
Reason why I recommend an Audigy 2 or better is that they have a way to clean up MP3 feeds and make them sound clearer and better.

Hope this helps.
 

PeteD64

Established Member
If you just want to pass a digital signal from the PC to the amp for it to decode then I'm not sure the sound card is that important. Like you said you just need one that gives you an optical output.

The sound card quality becomes more important if you want to play music via analogue outputs & I'm not sure the creative cards have a good reputation in that area. Something like the M-Audio Audiophile 2496 perhaps.

Rather than getting your HTPC to ouput DVDs at 720p it's probably better if you can output the native res of your display to avoid the TV scaling the picture a 2nd time. If your Bravia has a VGA port then it's worth sending it 1360x768.
 
S

s-bravia

Guest
Thanks a lot Misae,Pete

I'm currently using X1600 ATI as VGA card so I got AVIVO as you mentioned. (but now it's annoying me cause everytime I use my PC and then someone turn on the TV, ATI will clone the picture from PC to TV (say i'm playing game, the picture from my game will appear on TV and that makes my game jerky straight away. Eventhough I set my VGA card as DO NOT auto detect display but it still keep detecting arggghhh..))

The soundcard you recommended is the one from some that I'm interested as well. But what you mentioned is related to the Music usage term. What about for the movie ?? any good ?


Pete, my stupid bravia(s serie) cant map 1:1 via VGA input (seriously what's the point of having it if it cant take 1:1) it takes max of 1280x768 So the picture via HDMI is a lot better . But then when it comes to HDMI, it can only take 1280x720 (720p) or 1920x1080 (down scale of course 1080i) So you saying that I should set the resolution to what max of whatever output I use? say if I use HDMI as 1280x720 then I should set it as that resolution rite?(actually that's my setting now).

Thanks :D
 

PeteD64

Established Member
OK if you don't have VGA native res then stick with what works best over HDMI. 1280x720 sounds like a sensible option.
 

Knyght_byte

Distinguished Member
if you only plan on using the digital output (in other words for movies) on the soundcard then any soundcard with a digital output will do, some have optical, some have 3.5mm coaxial, some have both...

if you plan on wanting 5.1 sound from your games then you need a PC that has 5.1 output via 3.5mm analogue cables, Creative are the only real choice in this regard.....M-Audio last time i looked dont run EAX or anything as good......(oh, you also need to make sure your AV amp has 6 channel analogue input, otherwise this wont work..lol)

however for pure stereo use the M-Audio's do get a better rap than the Audigy range from Creative, however i dont know how they measure up to the new X-Fi range.....

of course you could always run both if you can be bothered to fiddle around and avoid conflictions...lol

personally i'd say go with the Audigy2 or 4, or the X-Fi......it gives you more options overall....
 
S

s-bravia

Guest
Thanks Knyght_byte. Your comment is really useful. So according to your comment, if I only use PC for movies then any soundcard with digital output would do ya.

PS: I try to find "Thank you" button but cant find it ? how come some time I can just click "Thank you" sometime it just doesnt appear lol .
 

Knyght_byte

Distinguished Member
just make sure that the card does specify Dolby Digital (and if you want it DTS) passthrough....if it doesnt state this then dont buy it!

sorry, i knew i forgot to mention something..lol
 

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