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Sound Card Digital Outputs

Discussion in 'Computer Components' started by chuckalicious, Sep 19, 2005.

  1. chuckalicious

    chuckalicious
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    Okay, trying to make a decision on sound cards, but need to check something first....

    From some of the most basic cards, up to the highest spec Sound Blasters, they all have spdif outputs of some description, some coax, some optical, some 3.5mm (I only just discovered the 3.5mm to Coax converter!!).

    Now, on the Sound Blaster website, it shows a comparison of their cards, and they sound formats they can deal with, such as DTS EX, DTS Neo etc, and only the high end ones can do that.

    Now I'm a little confused. My intention is to pass all sound from my PC (running MCE 2005) to my AV amp via digital coax, with no processing done on the PC (just using the SPDIF option in all available settings). Because this should only be passing an AC3 data stream (is that correct?), should it matter what the sound card is capable of decoding? I.E. if I put a DTS DVD in and play it, should I get a DTS signal to my amp whether I'm using a £25 or a £95 card?

    I have an HDA X-Mystique card which although is a stunning card, I'm having terrible driver problems with it, so was wondering if an el-cheapo card would do the same job for a fraction of the price or hair loss.

    Cheers all
     
  2. DaveP

    DaveP
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    You are quite correct.

    Before I had my current motherboard with on-board s/pdif output I used an old SB Live! 1024. It was excellent. I sold it for £8!

    I see no point whatsover in spending a small fortune on expensive sound cards if all you are doing is passing the digital stream through to your amp. I'm sure all those who have spent this money will be along to convince you otherwise, but I'm happy with what I have.
     
  3. chuckalicious

    chuckalicious
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    That's what I thought. I'm still tempted to keep the Mystique until they release new drivers, because I know it's a very good card, but damn it, why did I bin my old SB 1024??!?!!!!!??

    Up until last night I thought Sound Blasters "spdif" connection was in fact a proprietary one only to be used with their own kit. I had no idea you could just get a converter to get it to a full RCA sized connection.....
     
  4. Ray

    Ray
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    I was just about to get one of these. What are the driver problems you are having ?

    Ray
     
  5. chuckalicious

    chuckalicious
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    It's probably my bad luck, or a system config issue, but I've tried everything!!

    Basically outside of MCE pretty much everything is great. I've only have a few random reboots when trying to play any dolby digital encoded streams.

    However when I go into MCE and try and watch a DVD or recorded file, the sound stutters and jumps, causing the video to do the same.

    Works fine with the onboard sound though....
     
  6. Ray

    Ray
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    Hmmm - definiteley sounds like a driver issue as you say. Perhaps some other owners out there can help.

    As regards your earlier question about cheap vs expensive cards can I assume you are not playing games in multi channel ? Otherwise you need to keep your Mystique.

    Ray
     

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