Sound Cards with hardware DD/DTS encoding

F

Forbidden

Guest
Can anyone recommend a good card that will do DD or DTS encoding in hardware?

For the longest time, I used an nforce2 Soundstorm board. It had a hardware chip that encoded everything into Dolby Digital on the fly, both for normal audio and positional. (Obviously, content already encoded with ac3 was just passed through) I've moved onto a more powerful machine, and since nvidia is no longer allowed to do soundstorm anymore (I understand it's some sort of patent or creative eating the supplier or someother), I need to find something new.

I have no need for any analog outputs and my amp can decode both DD and DTS. My current motherboard's onboard sound is ADI 1988B, which has DTS Connect, which sounds wonderful, if only it didn't take up CPU resources and (more importantly) constantly crash the system. The DD-Live was really more for games and expanding stereo audio than anything else, but it was an awfully big difference in sound quality.

Has anything come along to take over where SoundStorm left off without breaking the budget?
 

Catsmeat

Active Member
I think the point of this is convenience - you only need one cable between pc and amp. Also if there are no spare analogue inputs on the amp then again it would make sense.

Anyway, one of these would do the trick:

http://www.auzentech.com/site/products/x-plosion.php

There seems to be a list of places to buy on their website.

It's worth pointing out that in pure sound quality terms it will make things worse (lossy compression to DD), especially if playing from another lossy compressed music format.

As far as games are concerned, I think you tend not to bother too much about sound quality in the heat of battle. After all the Xbox has been encoding to DD for years now (I think using Soundstorm) and I've not seen any complaints about sound in any game reviews, or in forum posts here for that matter.
 

xxxx

Active Member
I think the point of this is convenience - you only need one cable between pc and amp. Also if there are no spare analogue inputs on the amp then again it would make sense.
That can't be the reason: to do that you just need a SPDIF output which any card has these days. Most motherboards have them too.

He says he wants to encode in hardware and I can't see any point in this at all.
 

skillian97

Active Member
He says he wants to encode in hardware and I can't see any point in this at all.

For games, probably. There's no way to get 5.1 sound from games to an AV receiver without it.

For the OP, I use a X-Mystique which is the precursor to the X-Plosion - it's a great card, and does proper surround with most games I've tried (the odd sound bug, here and there, Serious Sam 2 for example).

I miss Soundstorm too :(
 
F

famasfilms

Guest
Wow, this is funniest thread I've seen in a long time, mainly thanks to xxx.

PC games don't come with DD/DTS 5.1 sound, hence you need a card with hardware encoding to turn the stereo sound into a 5.1 signal and send it to your receiver which then decodes the signal.

Get a clue before you tell people what they need and don't need.

I have the x-plosion and it works great, add me to the list of soundstorm mourners also.
 

jon_c0

Active Member
PC games don't come with DD/DTS 5.1 sound, hence you need a card with hardware encoding to turn the stereo sound into a 5.1 signal and send it to your receiver which then decodes the signal.

I've not come across this before - how does this work? Assuming stereo is input, won't the hardware encoding just be producing "psuedo" DD/DTS 5.1? Does this give a better result than using Dolby Pro-Logic/DTS equivalent from a suitable amp, for example?

Just curious really...
 

Synchro

Distinguished Member
I have the x-plosion and it works great...

Me too, its been on my MCE2K5 PC in my lounge outputting to my amp for ages. Today its going to get placed in my Vista PC, as they have now released Vista drivers for it :D
 

skillian97

Active Member
I've not come across this before - how does this work? Assuming stereo is input, won't the hardware encoding just be producing "psuedo" DD/DTS 5.1? Does this give a better result than using Dolby Pro-Logic/DTS equivalent from a suitable amp, for example?

Just curious really...

Yes, if the input is stereo the results will be pseudo 5.1 and sound less than impressive.

However most modern PC games support proper surround sound (5.1, 6.1 etc.). If you have a sound card that has DD Live encoding (like the X-Plosion, X-Mystique or the new Asus cards coming soon), you can then get proper 5.1 in games by connecting it to an AV receiver.
 

xxxx

Active Member
Wow, this is funniest thread I've seen in a long time, mainly thanks to xxx.
Nice to find someone so easily amused. :rotfl:

Get a clue before you tell people what they need and don't need.
I didn't tell anyone what they need. I asked several times what they wanted to do with it, as I could see no reason for it. I still can"t see a valid reason for that matter, though apparently some here think that games are important. They are welcome to do what they like, of course.
 

skillian97

Active Member
I didn't tell anyone what they need. I asked several times what they wanted to do with it, as I could see no reason for it. I still can"t see a valid reason for that matter, though apparently some here think that games are important. They are welcome to do what they like, of course.

You've been given reasons why someone might want this feature, yet they're not acceptable to you for some reason.

4 posts from you in this thread, none of them useful. Why not find something better to do?
 

satinder

Active Member
You should check the overclockers site for some options as the website is for gamers, i see that the Asus Crossfire motherboard comes with DTS + DD encoding on a daughterboard so this idea of sound encoding is a proven success.

Sat
 

skillian97

Active Member
i see that the Asus Crossfire motherboard comes with DTS + DD encoding on a daughterboard so this idea of sound encoding is a proven success.

Yes, it's cool that it's starting to become a viable option again.

Apparently Creative are licensing out the X-Fi chip to other manufacturers now, so you should soon be able to get Dolby Digital Live encoding on an X-Fi soundcard - best of both worlds:

Creative gets in the licensing game
 

xxxx

Active Member
You've been given reasons why someone might want this feature,
Yes, after I asked several times why this feature was needed.

yet they're not acceptable to you for some reason.
"Acceptable" has nothing to do with it. It still seems pointless to me but finally, after several requests, someone explained why the feature was needed.

4 posts from you in this thread, none of them useful.
If the original poster had explained what he wanted the feature for then sensible answers would have been more forthcoming. Only gamers would need or want this feature and most people are not gamers.
Besides which, the obvious answer is just to use 5 RCA cables. Problem solved for about £5.

Why not find something better to do?
:hiya:
 
F

Forbidden

Guest
Sorry for not replying sooner, I had to evacuate from flooding. Anyway, yes, the main point is the combination of convenience and gaming. Most games do positional sounds. In an FPS, that could be footsteps behind you, for instance, another is realistic echoes, but it applies to a wide variety of things and just really helps immersion. Technically speaking, the fidelity is less, but the positional sound more than makes up for it. And, for some reason, my old soundstorm and when I turn on software DTS, mp3 and games sound better. I don't entirely understand it. I'm reasonably certain it isn't a placebo effect. I remember there were some settings for how the Soundstorm would convert stereo to 5.1, like creating a slight delay in the rear speakers. I'll be the first to admit that I'm not a major audiophile, I don't have quite the ears for it. But the old soundstorm output just sounds better...

Normally, SPDIF out is purely stereo. That means that the amp decides which speakers to send it to, so the speakers are just outputing the same things.

A sound card can decide where to place things, but normally I'd have to use the annoying analog outputs, which can cause popping from the noisy computer chassis. The only option to get positional sound digitally to the reciever is for the sound card to encode DD or DTS by itself.

I bring this up because it is the one thing missing from most cards these days. Even my motherboard's builtin sound system can easily do passthrough and stereo.

Do you guys think there is a significant difference between the X-Mystique and the X-Plosion? One of the reasons I came here, rather than a gaming site, was that virtually every gamer site uses analog outs, whereas most people here are more into digital out.

I'm quite suprised no one stepped up and made a soundstorm PCI card when nVidia dropped it from the nForce...
 
F

Forbidden

Guest
Besides which, the obvious answer is just to use 5 RCA cables. Problem solved for about £5.
The inside of a PC case is a noisy mess that causes sound distortions, pops, and generally sucks when you use direct analog outs.
 

satinder

Active Member
One of the reasons I came here, rather than a gaming site, was that virtually every gamer site uses analog outs, whereas most people here are more into digital out.

I'm quite suprised no one stepped up and made a soundstorm PCI card when nVidia dropped it from the nForce...

As i mentioned above the Asus + other motherboards does this for you, i think that it makes sense as you have to buy less hardware (e.g. a separate soundcard) to get 5.1 audio from games into a external amp etc.

However there are other soundcards that do what you want on the overclockers site.
 

xxxx

Active Member
The inside of a PC case is a noisy mess that causes sound distortions, pops, and generally sucks when you use direct analog outs.
On your PC, maybe. I tried using 5 RCA cables once and noticed no obvious quality problems, apart from the fact that the signal was no longer digital.
 

xxxx

Active Member
From the OP:
Which still does not explain why the DD/DTS encoding feature was needed. The number of people wanting this feature must be tiny. The number of non-gamers wanting this feature must be zero. My DD amp expands stereo anyway, as do they all, so it's all back down to gaming use. You could just have simply explained that instead of launching into a pointless tirade.

Perhaps this thread should have had '"GAMES" in the title, in order to stop non-gamers like me and the rest of humanity from wondering what on earth it is all about.

So there's no need for you to waste your breath bitching just because I and 95% of the world's population aren't gamers and don't need or want hardware DTS encoders.
As you said yourself: if you can't be helpful, shut up.
 

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