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Sound Card Vs Graphics Card.. Let the debate begin

thedude

Distinguished Member
im thinking of making a decent HTPC for the living room. ideally one that does bluray 3d etc.
Now as you can see from my sig i have a fairly decent amp and speakers and want the best sound i can get.

Is it worth while going dedicated on the sound card like the Asus Xonar HDAV (deluxe) opposed to using the graphics card out via HDMI which still passes the signal.

Thoughts and opinions please
 

paulktreg

Active Member
It's a personal thing is it not?

Try the sound via the graphics card and if you aren't happy install a sound card.
 

stevelup

Distinguished Member
I'd be very surprised if -any- PC sound card - no matter what the purported quality is, would give you better results than passing a bitstream or multi-channel PCM signal to your amplifier over HDMI.
 

Trollslayer

Distinguished Member
Since HDMI has a mechanism for lip sync you need to show how a separate sound card deals with this.
 

Rock Danger

Distinguished Member
Is it worth while going dedicated on the sound card like the Asus Xonar HDAV (deluxe) opposed to using the graphics card out via HDMI which still passes the signal.

Thoughts and opinions please

No, it's not worth it at all. The amp does all the decoding and as mentioned the HDMI controller does all the locking on and lipsync.

Even if you were coming at it from using a sound card for 2.0 with a dac for analogue, I'd still say that it was an expense you wouldn't really benefit from.
 

WheresMyArtisan

Active Member
If you believe that different digital output sound cards sound anything but identical to each other then you're a mug. If you believe this then you probably also believe in fairies at the bottom of the garden, father christmas and the tooth fairy. You probably also read What Hi-Fi and buy audio cables that look like a garden hose.

Does a posh sound card send posher 1's and 0's. Are they sent with greater presence and soundstage?

Is this a clear enough answer?!
 
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Rock Danger

Distinguished Member
You need a posh sound card for Cubase and Pro Tools for recording studios, not home theatre or gaming. It comes down to that at the end of the day.

Don't listen to him up there ^ you get better mids with Jesus, and the top end is a bit more airy with santa. :)
 

stevos

Distinguished Member
The time to consider a decent sound card is when your running analog out

If you have speakers or poweramp plugged directly into the computer than you will notice the quality, assuming your speakers are upto the job.

However, if you have decent speakers, a dedected dac/amp would be far better.
 

Gavtech

Administrator
If you believe that different digital output sound cards sound anything but identical to each other then you're a mug. If you believe this then you probably also believe in fairies at the bottom of the garden, father christmas and jesus (mod edit awaited!). You probably also read What Hi-Fi and buy audio cables that look like a garden hose.

Does a posh sound card send posher 1's and 0's. Are they sent with greater presence and soundstage?

Is this a clear enough answer?!

If you believed that what you were posting was probably worthy of a moderator edit then you most certainly should not have posted it.

The fact that you did, has now brought you to my attention.

Please post with greater care and consideration with due respect for others.

Thank You.
 

jameson_uk

Well-known Member
Depends on your connection and usage. At some point you need to convert the digital signal to analogue. Some sound cards have very good DACs but PCs have a lot of electrical noise so can be subject to interference, you need decent interconnects...

If your amp has a relatively decent DAC then onboard is fine (and using WASAPI can improve things too).

If you do want better music then you might want to consider a USB DAC ;)
 

jameson_uk

Well-known Member
If you believe that different digital output sound cards sound anything but identical to each other then you're a mug.

Not totally true.... Some sound cards (creative ones used to be terrible for this) mess around with the audio before outputting digitally so you did not get the same output as with a card that just passed this through (obviously not an issue with bitstreams).
 

stevos

Distinguished Member
Less of an issue these days but additionally you generally have reliance on the CPU with motherboard sound cards than dedicted ones. If you push your computer, sometimes the sound will change, as the CPU gives other things higher priorty.

Your unlikely to ever top out your CPU on a HTPC, so a non-issue but its there.
 

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