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Discussion in 'Computers' started by Ken Burkstrum, Dec 19, 2005.
Can anybody help me out in finding one?
Surround don't matter as long as it's atleast 6.1.
I can't figure out what you mean -- 6.1 is surround sound in my book!
Do you want 6- or 7-channel analog outputs in addition to the digital outs? Do you want SPDIF ins or outs? I have to tell you, honestly, if you want 24/192 you may have to go for FireWire -- I don't recall seeing even pro cards with 24/192 over SPDIF, but plenty of them have 24/96; in fact my consumer-grade card [optical in, optical out, up to 8-channel analog out] handles 24/96.
I'm never going to use those analog outputs anyways so it doesn't matter to me. Chris I said it doesn't matter as long as it's atleast 6.1. Which means I have 6.1, so it being 7.1 or 8.1 isnt any kind of a necessity. Never did figure out what SPDIF is.
Chris can you tell me what Dolby Digital live is, I was reading an explanation of it on their site and it's hard to get past the bs. On some lines it seems just like pro logic II, on other lines it seems just like dolby digital.
Where are you going to connect the soundcard? If it's connected to a receiver (thru either optical or coax) all you need to be corcerned about is that it passes DD or DTS signals and let the receiver decode it for you. If it's connected to a computer speaker system (like what Logitech and Klipsch has), then you're going to need the analog outputs, since the sound card is doing all the decoding.
Well when does my reciever come into play and when does my sound card come into play? I was looking at this new card comming out in january that has dts connect. Apparently it'll turn any source into a matrixed 7.1 DTS. Would the sound card do that, would I really be listening to what it's supposed to do or does my reciever have the final say here. You know what now that I think about it my reciever isn't 24/192, it's not even 24/96 I dont think. It would have that label on the front most likely wouldnt it? So that would make it pointless wouldnt it, enivatebly it goes through my reciever before it gets to the speakers and my reciever says tells it to do what my reciever can do.
DTS is supposed to sound better then DD (by statistical opinion if nothing else). Would that give reason to believe that DTS Neo: 6 is preferable to Pro Logic II, excluding the fact it's got an extra channel.
OK, I think I'm beginning to see what you're talking about.
1. SPDIF stands for "Sony Philips Digital Interface Format", and it's the standard for consumer digital audio connexions: coaxial [RF] digital and TosLink optical are the two forms it normally takes. Sony and Philips are the cocreators of the Compact Disc.
2. The only way a multichannel audio signal -- more than 2.0, be it 4.0, 5.1, 7.1, whatever -- can be passed over an SPDIF connexion is in a special encoded form. This is normally either Dolby Digital AC-3 or dts Zeta. Almost any sound card with a SPDIF output connector will pass such an encoded bitstream out of the connector, as long as it's being generated somewhere else in the computer. 5.1, 6.1, 8.0, all those terms normally apply only to the analog inputs and outputs on the card -- if you are playing a 6.1 dts-ES DVD, that signal will be sent unaltered to your reciever.
3. Some soundcards are capable of encoding multichannel audio generated elsewhere in the computer. This is useful if, for instance, you are playing computer games in surround-sound, or doing multichannel audio mixing. So, for instance, you seem to have found a card which will send out system audio as 7.1 Zeta. I don't know if this particular card takes the source and "upconverts" it to 7.1 first, which is really just funneling it through the dts matrix-surround decoder [equivalent to Dolby Surround/Pro-Logic II], or just leaves the inactive channels dead. Since Zeta uses less compression than AC-3, such a card would be preferable to one which takes system audio and outputs it in Dolby Digital format, as long as your reciever handles all flavours of Zeta without a problem.
4. Matrix decoders such as "Dolby Pro-Logic II" and "dts Neo:6" are totally different from discrete coding systems such as AC-3 and Zeta. Their purpose is to take a signal, normally a two-channel signal, and squeeze all of the directional information out of it so that its sound can be steered to more than two speakers. This works particularly well with audio such as motion-picture soundtracks which has had special tweaking performed on it, but it has some effect with normal stereo recordings. Virtually every matrix decoder on the market today is based on the CBS/Willcocks Vario-Matrix SQ decoder, and the differences between them are mostly in terms of features.
First things first, are you planning to connect your pc to your home theater?
I picked up a HDA Digital X-Mystique 7.1 Gold PCI card for my HTPC and love it.
It comes with:
[*]8CH codec embedded PCI audio single chip [*]Full-duplex 8CH 24bit/96kHz DAC / 2CH 16bit/48kHz ADC [*]Integrated S/PDIF Input/Output supports 44.1kHz/48kHz/96kHz sample rate and 16/24bits resolution [*]Supports Dolby Digital Live Real-time Contents Encoder [*]Supports the latest DTS-ES, DD-EX sound (6.1/7.1) playback (also including Dolby Digital 5.1 & DTS 5.1 playback) with Software Decoding Applications like PowerDVD & WinDVD [*]Supports 44.1 kHz / 48 kHz / 96 kHz S/PDIF Output through both Coaxial RCA and Optical Toslink [*]Onboard COAXIAL RCA output connector, OPTICAL Toslink transmitter for high quality Digital Output
For me this card did it all with having both the Coax and Toslink outs as well as the 7.1 outs via analogue. And with it costing less that $100 it gives you a great bang for your buck.
I second the X-Mystique (which I have and love), but apparently in the next month or so, they're coming out with two more cards that are also capable of "DTS Interactive"! In addition, one of the cards will be using higher quality OPAMPs on the cards themselves.
The X-Mystique is what i've had lined up incase my 24/192 idea went sour.
I saw that and was wondering if I would wait for it but then it seemed liked those DTS options would be to much help for me if my reciever has it's way with that signal when it gets there, if it does that is, I still have no idea.
Havent got a chance to properly read your posts Chris, I'll catch them tomorrow, it's like reading scientific american, slow, and carefully!
Great to hear you like the Mystique. I find it really odd that Creative chose to not include any type of coax or fiber optic output on their new sound cards.
For those of us that want to use the decoders built into our preamp all that is really needed is a coax or fiber output. The rest on the card is something that is never used and not needed.
I was surprised that I can't just buy a card that has these outputs on it and nothing else. It would be cheap and still give you everything you need in an HTPC. I can see the need for a full out sound card for a PC setup but for HT the sound card really isn't needed. I saw that HDA has daughter board that you can plug into another sound card but I would like to see them make the same board available as a stand alone PCI card.
Chris you said, it doesnt have to be Dolby Digital or DTS to be in surround sound. When encountering a true discrete 5.1 mix on my computer that is niether, what will my reciever do? When it comes to surround sound, is there such thing as discrete when it comes to converting? Like Dolby Digital Live can convert DTS if you ask it to, yes? Is this a matrix technique and unfavorable or does it maintain true surround sound inwhich case it is still unfavorable because I'm a DTS guy. What about the opposite, using that new DTS connect to transform DD into DTS?
There's so many aspects to this I just want to be sure I get to the bottom of it and know exactly whats going on with what im listening to. But, would Dolby Digital Live and DTS connect be any help to me at all since my reciever strictly says "ok, this is dolby digital, this is dts, this is dts es, this is niether of these so it'll run through in the fallback dsp setting (which is always PLII: Movie).
Thanks for all the help.
Okay, your reciever can't see what's on your computer. It can only see what the computer sends it, over the one-way SPDIF connexion. Therefore, the only way to get it out of the computer and into your reciever as 5.1 is to send it as Dolby Digital AC-3 or dts Zeta -- unless you want to hook up all those stereo cords and run a 6-channel analog connexion.
If the signal in your computer is dts or DD, you want to send it out that connexion without converting it to anything else, because conversion [even to a better format] will mean a quality drop. A normal soundcard will do this, as long as you have the right media-player software.
"Dolby Digital Live" and "dts Connect" are for multichannel sound generated in your computer, such as game sound. They should not affect, for instance, the audio streams from DVDs you are playing back. These, basically, are real-time encoders which, if set up right, will send that multichannel audio out as a DD or dts stream, respectively, which your reciever will recognise and decode properly.
what is this non DD and DTS format called, or is it .ac3 as well?
What I'm trying to say is that there is sound which can be generated by programmes within your computer which is not in any format. It's being created on the spot by effects routines, probably stitched together out of clip files. It exists, if you want to think of it this way, as a set of instructions and streams on the PC bus -- not as a file. It is system audio, just as what you see on your monitor as you are reading this is system video, not a .MPEG or .WMV file.
It will be configured so that the number of channels created is some number less than or equal to the number your soundcard can handle. If, then, you have analog outputs on the card, it will be present at the analog outputs; and if you have Dolby Digital Live or dts Connect, it will be translated into a stream in the proper format and sent out the SPDIF connector.
Ok, these sounds...why would they be in surround sound in the first place? I thought real time sound effects in games we're still encoded and sent out as Dolby Digital?
By the way I thought all the sounds that are played on my computer are stored as wavs/wmas/mp3s on my comp before hand in a folder somewhere?
Computer sound effects are stored somwhere, mostly in the form of very short .WAV files, also as MIDI information [the computer equivalent of sheet music]. Long segments, except for background music and the like, are not ordinarily recorded. This is so that, for instance, if you're playing a game, the sound of things in from of you will come from the centre speaker, rather than having sound come out of a particular speaker no matter which way you turn. It's the same way that most of the video in the game is generated by on-the-fly CGI using images and models, rather than stored as movie files. Basically, your computer is acting as a real-time audio synthesizer [many synthesizers can use samples] and video rendering engine.
Obviously, there is no limit to the number of audio channels a synthesizer can generate, except for CPU power and the capabilites of your soundcard. If the game designer feels the urge, he can set up the "audio rendering engine" to produce twelve or fourteen channels, but when you are setting up the game you will have to select [or the programme will automatically select] the actual number of channels you can process.
This rendered audio will then appear at all your soundcard's outputs, along with whatever other sounds your computer is making. If all you have is a PCM digital output, it will be in stereo, either the 2 front channels or a matrix downmix. If your card supports on-the-fly DD or dts, it will be encoded to the format and sent out the digital output.
Thanks for all the help chris and guys. I ended up getting the X-Mostique card and I like it very much. Some questions now though. The control center lets me pick Digital 92Khz. Would having 44khz/48khz scaled to 92Khz be any kind of a desired improvement or is there no gain? Also, my reciever is reading EVERYTHING as Dolby Digital, it doesnt sound bad but it doesnt sound right. I realize Dolby Digital Live is doing this but I didnt think it would actually read Dolby Digital on my reciever from a Stereo source.
Most things aren't directional, especially vocals. If a guy is on the left, he will come out of the front left and rear left sounding like he's centered. That I can put up with, if it's a Stereo source I dont really care about this dolby digital live technique, however I'm not sure if it's reading my true 5.1 dolby digital files like my HD trailers properly. The way my reciever switched over used to be a good indication but now I got nothing to go on.
Anyway, surround sound on the comp is very cool, im having alot of fun with this thing and im glad I got it.
Dolby Digital Live is turning my DTS videos into Dolby Digital, any idea how to fix that?