1. Join Now

    AVForums.com uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

SPDIF Optical output on Soundcards

Discussion in 'Computer Components' started by pc99, Oct 13, 2004.

  1. pc99

    pc99
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2001
    Messages:
    255
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Location:
    Milton Keynes, United Kingdom
    Ratings:
    +3
    Hi,

    I have a Hercules Fortissimmo II sound card, with optical SPDIF out.
    It's control panel allows you to configure either the main outputs to come out of the optical output, or PowerDVD.

    When set to main outputs, MP3s and ordinary windows sounds come through, as well non AC3 audio in .avi files. But I get silence with AC3 streams.

    When set to PowerDVD and AC3 streams come through but nothing else.

    This means I have to have the analogue output connected as well as the optical output. The problem here is that my PC is already connected to an amp. in one room, and using a simple splitter reduces the output level considerably, meaning I have to turn up the volume alot when listening to analogue audio.

    What I wanted to know is whether my sound card is just not very flexible, and a better sound card would allow me to send everything through the optical output, or do all cards work in a similar way.

    Comments greatly appreciated.
     
  2. galthop

    galthop
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2002
    Messages:
    438
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Ratings:
    +9
  3. pc99

    pc99
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2001
    Messages:
    255
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Location:
    Milton Keynes, United Kingdom
    Ratings:
    +3
    Yes, I already have AC3Filter installed and it works fine when my soundcard settings are set as I describe above.

    I really want to know whether with other cards or onboard SPDIF options, they can be configured so that all sound comes out of the optical output at all times, without changing settings constantly.

    I'm happy to purchase a new sound card if this is the source of my problems.
     
  4. KraGorn

    KraGorn
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2003
    Messages:
    4,740
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    68
    Location:
    Warrington
    Ratings:
    +27
    Er, I'm not sure you do. The fact that you get AC3 sound from PowerDVD is more likely to be that PowerDVD is using its' own codec and not it using AC3Filter even if you've installed it. To prove the AC3 is working you need to run it with, say, ZoomPlayer.

    Can you explain what you mean here, especially the bit about 'or PowerDVD'. I don't see the connection between the optical output, which is a connector on your soundcard, and PowerDVD which is a software DVD player/decoder.

    Are you perhaps referring to the anolog outputs .. which you seem to be saying when you go on "other cards or onboard SPDIF options, they can be configured so that all sound comes out of the optical output at all times, without changing settings constantly."

    If so then I'm not sure, my Audigy 1 and also the nForce2 mobo using SoundStorm don't do this AFAIK, however since I use digital output exclusively I've not really tried fiddling too much.

    Or am I totally missing the point you're trying to make? :confused:
     
  5. pc99

    pc99
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2001
    Messages:
    255
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Location:
    Milton Keynes, United Kingdom
    Ratings:
    +3
    Ok, I guess I'm not explaining this particularly well.

    I have AC3Filter installed and running and outputting AC3 streams via the optical output in BSPlayer for an AVI file. Power DVD also outputs AC3 okay when configured to 'Use SPDIF'.

    However this is only true when the sound card control option for 'digital output configuration'is set to 'PowerDVD software player'. The other options on this control panel (a custom one for my card) are 'Main outputs' or 'Digital Audio Source'.

    In this mode MP3 audio, non AC3 streams in AVI files, and other windows sounds only come out of the analogue output.

    If I switch the setting to 'Main outputs' (which requires a restart) then all ordinary sounds come out of the optical output, but when playing an AC3 stream, I get nothing.

    In fact in this setting PowerDVD doesn't find an optical output device to use.

    Hope this makes things clearer.
     
  6. KraGorn

    KraGorn
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2003
    Messages:
    4,740
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    68
    Location:
    Warrington
    Ratings:
    +27
    I guess I'm confused as to why your sound card makes any mention of PowerDVD, after all PDVD is simply one of any DVD players, I really don't understand why the drivers for a soundcard would explicitly mention one specific DVD player.

    I take it the 'main outputs' are the anolog connections, yes? Clearly when you select that you're disabling SOME AC3 decoder, could it be like my Audigy that your soundcard has an AC3 decoder?

    However, you have obviously covered my point about AC3Filter by your using it with BSPlayer .. not sure I've ever seen an AVI with an AC3 stream.

    I'm not really helping am I? My bemusement over the PDVD issue clearly means there's something I'm not seeing. Sorry. Also, since I use an external sound system to decode DD and DTS then it's not something I've tried. My Audigy does contain a DD coder IIRC, certainly I can get MP3 out of both analog and digital connections while AC3 streams are also output still encoded.
     
  7. pc99

    pc99
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2001
    Messages:
    255
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Location:
    Milton Keynes, United Kingdom
    Ratings:
    +3
    Arrghh

    This is hard to explain.

    However I think you have indirectly answered my question, by saying that you use the digital output exclusively. I have no idea why my sound card has an option specifically saying 'Power DVD' either (other than because the card was shipped with a copy of PowerDVD).

    I think I just have an odd card.

    My exact setup is PC in upstairs room, DVI output to LCD monitor, analogue audio output to mini hifi in that room.
    VGA feed to projector downstairs, optical digital audio feed to AV amp downstairs.
    Wireless mouse and keyboard downstairs.

    The thing is that at the moment the only way to get AC3 streams working means non AC3 streams don't come through the optical output, hence the splitting of the analogue audio output to feed that downstairs as well.

    Just to clarify, the 'main outputs' option on the sound card control panel doesn't refer to the analogue output, it means that all normal sound comes out of he optical output. I would have expected AC3 streams to also come out in this situation, but obviously something funny is going on.

    Time for a new card I think.

    So any suggestions for a cheap card with an optical SPDIF output. Preferably under £30 otherwise I might as well buy a new motherboard with an optical SPDIF.
     
  8. KraGorn

    KraGorn
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2003
    Messages:
    4,740
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    68
    Location:
    Warrington
    Ratings:
    +27
    Sorry to have been a bit obtuse. :)

    Ah, okay, that explains it all :) .. they ship an OEM version of PowerDVD and so helpfully make their setup program refer to PDVD.

    Ah again, now I understand, not knowing your card I was working on generic terms, clearly they use 'main outputs' in a way specific to their card. In which case I fear that there's no 'fix' for your problem as the card is engineered that way, as you suspect.


    Not sure about any cards in that price range, I found this SB Live on DABS at £24, can't comment on it's features but it does has an SPD/IF output. however I don't know if per se it means it'll output non-AC3 stuff or whether the fact I get it with my Audigy means there's an on-board encoder .. I know that's what I have on my nForce2-based ASUS mobo in another PC which was an HTPC at one time.
     
  9. pc99

    pc99
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2001
    Messages:
    255
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Location:
    Milton Keynes, United Kingdom
    Ratings:
    +3
    Thanks for the info. But that card doesn't appear to have an optical SPDIF output, just a mini jack, which I assume means coaxial.

    I really want optical.

    Looks like a new motherboard may be the best option.
     
  10. KraGorn

    KraGorn
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2003
    Messages:
    4,740
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    68
    Location:
    Warrington
    Ratings:
    +27
    Any particular reason why you're after optical? It's generally considered that coax is preferred since it avoids yet another signal conversion with the inherent potential to introduce distortion and other effects.
     
  11. pc99

    pc99
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2001
    Messages:
    255
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Location:
    Milton Keynes, United Kingdom
    Ratings:
    +3
    I want optical mainly because I already have an optical cable running downnstairs behind my screen (embedded in the wall). I would be hard work to replace with a coaxial cable.

    Also my DVD player is coaxial, and I'm not sure if I have a spare coaxial input, although maybe I do with the new Denon amp.
     
  12. Messiah

    Messiah
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2002
    Messages:
    7,529
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Ratings:
    +339
    I had a Fortissimo II card and it did exactly as you describe. i.e. It would only output AC3 sound when set to that and would not upsample |Windows sounds hence would not play Windows sounds when set to output AC3. I changed it for an M-Audio Revolution which now outputs ALL sounds via the Coaxial Digital output.
     

Share This Page

Loading...