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Souncard with SPDIF for HTPC - coax or optical?

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by zoolap, Jul 16, 2004.

  1. zoolap

    zoolap
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    I'm in the process of converting an old P3 to HTPC. The P3 uses an 815 motherboard with onboard sound (this has no spdif). The idea is to use this pc as a pc based DVD player (maybe some day having its radeon 9600 non pro to a projector). I have a first generation Soundblaster Live Soundcard (it is 4.0, but has a daughterboard with coax SPDIF) in my old machine.

    I've been considering getting a new sound card, but don't really want to spend over £50. In the long run I would output dvd sound to av amp (may upgrade my sony str db-940 to Yamaha AX 750) via spdif. Most of the sound cards now seem to use optical rather than coax. I've heard in the past that coax is better to use than optical. Terratec Aureon 5.1 Fun sounded really good, but the problem is it has optical out. The m-audio revolution 7.1 would be nice, but even Dolphins' http://www.dolphinmusic.co.uk/d2/pa.../category_id/b007153c5c7176f09b16180db6148194 , £85 is too much.

    Any advice would be appreciated.

    Thanks.

    Zoolap
     
  2. MikeTV

    MikeTV
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    I've heard the same - that coax is better than optical, although I am not sure I understand all the scientific ins and outs as to why this should be. On the whole, most average joe's wouldn't be able to discern a difference. The cost of optical cables could be a factor to consider.

    Perhaps another factor is whether the sound card will resample to 48khz (as the cheaper ones do, for CD material which is at 44khz) - this may have a discernable impact. Again though, the effect may be neglible, and it depends on an individual setup. This does not impact DVD playback (because the AC3 signal is just passed through to the AV amplifier).

    I personally have an irrational aversion to Creative products, and chose a Phillips Acoutic Edge myself. But it's not perfect either (and resamples).
     
  3. zoolap

    zoolap
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    Thanks Mike.

    Are you are using spdif passthrough to output dolby digital/dts to av amp?

    Does this work ok? I'm using powerdvd 5. I've got zoomplayer pro, so plan to use the two together.

    Also is the analogue line out output better or worse than the regular sb live as I woudn't mind using the card in analogue form until I get amp connected to the pc, which will be later on.

    I have had one other idea of ordering from states and having it delivered to company address in new york and brought over.

    Thanks again.

    Zoolap
     
  4. owain_thomas

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    If it sweetens it at all, www.kustompcs.co.uk do the MAudio Revo for £77 inc VAT. Still more than you wanted to spend, though. This soundcard is very good quality, has the coax output you are looking for as well as good quality analogue outs and also can do kernel streaming or ASIO output to avoid resampling audio CDs. I have streamed DD and DTS to my receiver as well as decoded both insoftware and used the analogue outs, so it'll certainly do what you're after.

    Definitely recommned these if your budget can stretch to them.

    HTH
    Owain
     
  5. zoolap

    zoolap
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    I should have said that I'm thinking of ordering m-audio from online vendor in the states and having it delivered to works' New York office.

    Know any good and cheap US vendors I can use?
     
  6. owain_thomas

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  7. Gazebo2

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    The M-audio site is showing that the RRP of the PCI Audiophile 24.96 has dropped to £69, you may find one for a bit less.

    IMO its analogue sound quality knocks spots of the Revo and has fewer bugs in the drivers It has co-ax digital out and like most "professional" sound cards it doesn't do silly things like resample to 48khz.

    Owain, ASIO and Kernel streaming music players will not not stop AC-97 compliant sound cards resampling their output to 48kHZ, this is usually done in hardware. They will bypass the Windows 2000/XP k-mixer sound distorting process, which is a different issue.
     
  8. zoolap

    zoolap
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    The 2496 has that weird connector doesn't it?

    I read in a thread somewhere else that this connector is not of very good quality.

    The funny thing is also that on newegg 2496 costs more than the Revo.

    What's their driver support like now?
     
  9. owain_thomas

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    Yeah, sure, fair point. It's what you need though to allow a soundcard like a Revo output a bit perfect sound, without it kmixer would do the damage even if the soundcard was a decent one.

    Owain
     
  10. surrey lad

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    Treat yourself, go for an Maudio 410. I've had one for 2-3 yrs. I've never had a problem with it.

    I tested the 410 against some decent dvd players, all connected via coax to my EAD processor and sunfire grand cinema sig. multi ch amp driving totems mani-IIs alround, I can't tell of a difference thats worth mentioning.

    surrey lad
     
  11. zoolap

    zoolap
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