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sound card help

Discussion in 'Computer Components' started by aspect102, Oct 10, 2005.

  1. aspect102

    aspect102
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    whats the best way to connect my sound card to a good quality av reciver

    ive got an audigy 2 zs , but gonna get an xfi.

    do i use optical or analogue ?

    dont want to spoil any good work the xfi has done, by incorrectly connecting them
     
  2. Pbryanw

    Pbryanw
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    Ok I have the same card you're going to be getting, an X-fi, and this is how I've connected it to my amp - a Denon 2105.

    Now what I use from the back of my X-fi to my AV receiver are 3 x "3.5mm to 2 phono" connectors. One each for front right/left, rear right/left and center/subwoofer giving me 5.1 sound. The cables run from the analogue outputs on your X-Fi to the analogue inputs on your amp.

    The "3.5mm to 2 phono" cables are easy to obtain - you can find loads on ebay:

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/3-5MM-STEREO-TO-2-X-RCA-PHONO-AUDIO-LEAD-MALE-MALE-15M_W0QQitemZ5816319554QQcategoryZ295QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

    You can use more expensive ones but I find that three of them won't fit on the back of my X-Fi card. Once these cables are setup you can get 5.1 sound from games and use Cmss to upmix 2 channel music to 5 channels.

    Now for 5.1 sound from movies you need to use the digital output on your X-fi. X-Fi cards have an flexi-jack output which can be set to Digital out. This is the output next to the analogue outputs on the back of your X-fi card. What you need next is one of these from Maplins

    http://www.maplin.co.uk/Module.aspx?ModuleNo=1180&doy=12m10

    Then you can get a cheap phono-phono co-axial cable, or a decent one from Mark Grant on these forums:

    http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=101717

    Connect one end of this cable to the 3.5 Mono Plug to Phono adaptor (this then connects to your X-Fi card's flexi-jack) and the other to the co-axial input on your receiver. You should then be able to get the receiver to decode the digital stream from your computer and get 5.1 sound from your speakers when playing movies via Theatertek/WinDVD/PowerDVD etc. Remember to set the flexi-jack to digital out in the X-fi drivers and to set the decoder option to "Dolby Digital/DTS Bitstream out" in the X-fi Audio console (found in control panel). Also set your DVD software to output via SP/DIF.

    Hope this helps and if you don't understand something in this mini-guide feel free to ask me about it :thumbsup:

    Val
     
  3. rmask

    rmask
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    you should get 5.1 in movies using analogs
    just enable creatives dd/dts decoder in creatives control panel
     
  4. Pbryanw

    Pbryanw
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    Yeah, I don't know whether you get better sound letting your Receiver decode the 5.1 signal or by letting the soundcard handle it? Any Opinion?
     
  5. lisag

    lisag
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    I thought it was best to send the untouched digital signal from the soundcard into the amp (spdif passthru). Not sure which is better optical or coaxial, I have used both and couldn't tell the difference.

    Most amps should be able to emulate pro-logic from a stereo source, handy for video with only a 2 channel soundtrack, including tv, or leave it on stereo for listening to music.

    Then if an AC3/DTS or WMA 5.1 or any other 5.1 soundtrack is passed through to the amp, the amp detects it automatically and sends it to the appropriate speakers.

    That works for me anyway (finally) Creative SB Live 24bit USB soundcard to Cambridge Audio Azur 540R via coax digital connection.

    lisa
     
  6. Pbryanw

    Pbryanw
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    Yeah I use the amp do the decoding as well. I don't really want to try and compare using with and without receiver decoding. Too much swapping between DVDs and sources. To be honest I suppose the difference is not going to be that big. For the price of a good optical lead I'll stick with SP/DIF out for now...until I hear a good argument for letting the soundcard do the work.
     
  7. JiveTalker

    JiveTalker
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    Hi. I'm new to this forum but wondered if anyone can help me?

    I have an old Soundblaster Live card on my pc which has an SPDIF socket. Is this all that I would need in order to output the full range of digital soundtracks from PowerDVD to my Yamaha 730 receiver?

    The amp is already recieving digital audio from my cd player and my dvd player so is well up to the job.

    I read somewhere that SPDIF only allows 4 audio channels so I am wondering how it could transfer 5.1, 6.1 etc.or whether that info is just plain wrong?

    I would have assumed the content was irrelevent provided that the cable could cope with the transfer rateof data over the required distance but don't know whether SPDIF, optical and Toshlink all use the same data transmission standards? Could I just buy a lead for this card from Maplins?

    Any advice would be much appreciated.
     
  8. meansizzler

    meansizzler
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    WIth analogue output you can get full 96hz/24bit audio playback, so you get higher res audio with analogue not to mention 5.1 sound in games if your card supports it, audugy cards have a pretty good SNR so there is not much interference/distortion, I highly recommend analogue over digital for the ebst sound experience, if you want good quality 3.5mm to 2 X Phono cables then go to dixons and get the Monster Cable Ipod ones...
     
  9. JiveTalker

    JiveTalker
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    Thanks but that doesn't answer my question.

    Would any soundcard with a SPDIF socket be good enough to output all types of dvd soundtrack to an amp?
     
  10. lisag

    lisag
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    Yes it should work - what card is it?
     
  11. JiveTalker

    JiveTalker
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    A creative Soundblaster Live card.
     
  12. TopMeTom

    TopMeTom
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    Yes it will work that is what i used
     
  13. JiveTalker

    JiveTalker
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    Excellent! Would a fairly long lead be expensive? Any suggestions where to get one?

    There is a Maplins, a SevenOaks Hifi and Richer Sounds not too far from me if any of those places are liekly to stock them?
     
  14. TopMeTom

    TopMeTom
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    I got my lead from CPC a profiigold 5m one (i think) works fine.
    You will need a 3.5mm jack into phono,to plug the lead into.
     
  15. lisag

    lisag
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    Will you? I just use a cable like this
     
  16. TopMeTom

    TopMeTom
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    If you are using optical within 1m that is fine :)

    I was told that toshlink is not too hot for long runs.
     
  17. JiveTalker

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    Thanks to you both for the tips. :thumbsup:

    I think what I want is one of these
    http://www.tvcables.co.uk/cgi-bin/tvcables/108-100.html
    a 5m version wuld be better though as I want to connect my pc to a projector and an amp whihc are at opposite ends of a large room. It would be cheaper I think if the pc is nearer to the projector as DVI-HDMI leads seem to be very expensive.

    Perhaps one of these with an adaptor would be my cheapest and best option?
    http://www.tvcables.co.uk/cgi-bin/tvcables/PH403.html

    I guess I need to check how many of my amp inputs are Toshlink and how many are coaxial...
     
  18. lisag

    lisag
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    Oh ok, I didn't know about the long run thing... I don't know about this mini toslink thing either... pretty sure you would need an ordinarly full size toslink connection for both the soundcard and the amp.

    Actually.... I have just changed from onboard sound (full size toslink to toslink) to a Creative Live 5.1 24bit USB2 card and now I am using digital coaxial from soundcard to amp... maybe that would be better for a long run? It's just a cable like this although I would recommend going for as good a quality as you can afford.

    lisa
     
  19. lisag

    lisag
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    :D SNAP!
     
  20. JiveTalker

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    Thanks, you've been a great help. :thumbsup:

    I'm going ot go home now and check my amp... :hiya:
     
  21. rmask

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    no offence, but this bit probably came from fanatic audiophile :)


    yep, when the distance is more then 5 meters (see toslink specs) :)

    PS
    I have both 5 meters and 1 meter (came with some equipment) and I cant hear the difference (althou my signature equipment is faaaar from audiophile thingies from another galaxies :devil: )
     
  22. WSB

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    I just bought the denon 1906 and am going to be getting some Canton speakers- I was thinking the best was to connect my htpc is via an optical connection????

    if so- anyone recommend a card with one that wont break the bank? (as the speakers/amp have already done that!)
     
  23. lisag

    lisag
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    Well I have just bought a Creative Soundblaster Live 5.1 24bit USB2 card for £40 from, cough, PC World (shhhh!), but if you have a free PCI slot you can probably get one cheaper... works fine for me, using coaxial digital out.

    lisa
     
  24. WSB

    WSB
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    great- thanks lisa- I'll have a look into it.
     
  25. pmcdee

    pmcdee
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    I'd been playing sound from my PC through my AV receiver using the optical link for a year or so, when suddenly the sound went from surround to stereo.

    I'd never bothered trying to sort the problem out until my PC died last week, and I rebuilt it with a new motherboard. The onboard sound card comes with a configuration program that will play each of the speakers in sequence. I was disturbed to find that I was still only getting stereo. I suddenly realised that the surround to stereo switch over coincided with getting a CA 540R. It had never occurred to me that the problem might lie with the receiver. I also have a freeview box with optical output, and that too is only in stereo. (Actually it may also have the centre speaker working, but I will have to check on that.)

    Has anyone else had this problem? Can anyone advise me on how to configure the 540R to work with prologic? As much as I like the 540R, I'm not overly impressed by the manual, and somehow feel that the answer is more likely to be found in here.

    Cheers,

    Paul McD
     
  26. SiMoof

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    I recently changed my mind and now let the card do everything (xifi). That way there's no issue with changing set-ups for gaming/dvd. One of the benefits of this set-up is DVD-Audio which (definetly in the Audigy ZS series) is for some weird reason only output through the analouge ports.

    I guess the true answer is how good is the amp at decoding?
     

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