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Sound Card recommendation

Discussion in 'Computer Components' started by nickb23, Oct 25, 2003.

  1. nickb23

    nickb23
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    Hi Guys,

    I have just found the wonders of ripping all my CD's onto my hard drive, and using it as a jukebox. I would like to now put the sound through my AV amp, and at the moment I have the most basic SB card. Is there a massive difference between my £15 3 year old sound card, and one of them fancy Audigy things? What would be the best way of connection it to my AV amp? The computer will have to be about 7 meters away, so will this have any effect on which cables to use? I dont really want to spend a ton of money - possible £50 ( i am expecting my first born any week now so cash is positivly strapped)


    Many Thanks


    NickB23
     
  2. KraGorn

    KraGorn
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    You really want to be looking to use a digital link, ie. SPD/IF, coax preferably but optical is fine. Doing that the quality of the soundcard is irrelevent as it's not contributing to making the noise. :D

    But to answer your question .. yes, a top-end soundcard like the Audigy makes a GREAT difference over a cheap S/B if you use it to send analog signals to an amp. :)
     
  3. Beastie Boy

    Beastie Boy
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    A sound card will only output a digital signal (optical or coax) in pass through mode ie. ac3 in via DVD, ac3 out via digital to receiver.
    In this case, nickB23 is playing audio CDs which will only output via the analogue outputs of the sound card. As the card is processing the data, then a better quality card will make a big difference. Look for some reviews on the web. Don't assume that the Creative cards will be the best.
    The only way to output a digital signal (AFAIK) is with the nForce MoBos which incorporate real time ac3 encoding, bur remember that ac3 is lossy compression.

    Cheers, Beastie.
     
  4. MuFu

    MuFu
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    That's not true. Most soundcards with S/PDIF output can pass LPCM for 2-channel playback. The only way to output a multichannel digital stream in realtime is with a Soundstorm, yes.

    MuFu.
     
  5. Steve1138

    Steve1138
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    MuFu

    am interested in what U just said....

    I have a TERRATEC Aureon 5.1 fun - on which I only use the optical in / outs:
    I take the optical in from Sky+ for video capture and passthrough to my LEXICON MC-1 surround processor
    and on the HCPC I want to eventually play DVD and other multi-channel source files from the HDD using whatevere software players..

    BUT, at the mo... I cannot get any AC3 audio to play
    eg playing a DVD in WinDVD or TheaterTek I can only get stereo / 48kHz PCM... as soon as I select SPDIF out in WinDVD... Silence.
    I have to switch back and restart the player.

    Sky+pass through WORKS FINE on both PCM and AC3 (Sky movie channels)...
    the problem is with multi channel sources from WITHIN the HCPC..

    is this bec of what U said ?
    (so far TERRATEC tech support haven't been much use and still haven't confrmed to me if it should work like this)

    Steve
     
  6. KraGorn

    KraGorn
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    Steve,

    I have no experience of the Aureon, I have a DMX Fire (or whatever it's called) in one PC but not an Aureon, but I had the same experience with my Audigy ... it was due to my having enabled AC3-decoding by the soundcard which meant there was no digital stream to send.

    Could it be something similar with the Aureon/WinDVD? Have you tried an alternative DVD player, just in case it's a WinDVD thing?
     
  7. Mark Grant

    Mark Grant
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    Steve,

    Never used that card, but have a look in Control panel, sounds and multimedia.

    Might just be some options to check/enable ?

    Mark.
     
  8. MuFu

    MuFu
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    Yep, the card should definitely be able to output multichannel AC3 from DVDs via S/PDIF if setup correctly. My earlier post was merely a counterpoint to the suggestion that digital CD audio output in the same manner is impossible.

    Now, back to the rugby... :D

    MuFu.
     
  9. MikeTV

    MikeTV
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    nickb23,

    As mentioned, the best way to connect to the amp is using the s/pdif (for both regular sound/mp3 playback, and DVD/AC3 passthru).

    For DVD/AC3 playback, there isn't much difference between the sound cards. The digital sound track is just being passed directly to the receiver.

    But for regular sound playback (mp3's, etc), the cheaper cards resample the sound to 48Khz. CD's and mpegs are usually 44khz, and so there is some loss of quality caused by the resampling. However, whether this is significant enough to warrant the purchase of an m-audio card, is another matter.

    Mike.
     
  10. Steve1138

    Steve1138
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    hooraah !!

    it now works, but frustratingly - I don't know why or what I did
    (don't you just hate that !)

    I'm using HyperOS with different partitions and copies of the Win XP OS and I began to setup a new installation on another partition using a earlier backup from my main one.
    I installed WinDVD 5 this time instead of the WinDVD 4 that I had on the original main partition, also installed DX9 & update and latest Windows Media Player. Then at some point WMP 'choked' on a MPEG2 file and decided to (I think) "switch off third party plugins..." (didn't know I had any... couldn't find any)
    after that it worked...
    SPD/IF out.. 48 kHz and AC3 both !! from WinDVD

    I then went back to my original partition OS and looked in the WinDVD 4 settings again but still couldn't find anything askew (that doesn't mean that there isn't smthg... just that I couldn't see anything !)

    I didn't think it was due to the WinDVD as it also wouldn't pass the AC3 from TheaterTek either and after the WMP plugins error I thought it might be smthg to do with that. Whatever was affecting WinDVD on my original partitions OS was also affecting TheaterTek.

    (I better make a backup of this new one - before I bu&&er it up !!)

    The other weird thing I had was intermittent audio when playing the PINNACLE PCTV Sat card thru to my LEXICON surround processor. It was hunting back n forth between 44 and 48 khz and switching the audio. TERRATEC suggested a full PCI buffer and to move the card to diff slot,and check MIDI & game port = OFF.
    But then I upgraded the LEXICON to newer model (DC-1 to MC-1) and now THAT's OK too... must be that the MC-1 has better "signal detection" ??

    THX for comments

    Steve
     

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