Anyone have a receiver hooked up to PC for HT audio???

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Salvador, Dec 7, 2001.

  1. Salvador

    Salvador Second Unit

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    I just wanted to get some feedback on people using a receiver with their PC for their audio solution. That's what i'm planning to do during the christmas break and I just want to hear some feedback on people who have already done this.

    These are the options that i've come up with:

    Receiver = Denon 1802, Onkyo 595, Marantz 5200

    Fronts = atoms or mini-monitors

    Rears = atoms or mini-monitors

    Center = cc70,170, or 270

    *my soundcard is Audigy Platinum

    I'm not to clear on how you're suppose to connect the receiver to your soundcard. Someone told me to connect the corresponding front,rear, center/sub outs of the soundcard to the 5.1 inputs of the receiver. He said it will allow EAX to be available when playing games but do you lose quality with this setup?? It should be the best configuration for games but what about for music? 80% of the time i'll probably be listening to music so should i use the optical or spdif connections for thaT??

    thanks.
     
  2. Thomas_Berg

    Thomas_Berg Screenwriter

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    i do this for my HT. i use the dvd player in the computer and the 19" monitor to playback movies. to connect the sound, i use a digital coax cable from my SoundBlaster Live!+ sound card's digital out to a coax-in on the receiver. check out my website for more info.
     
  3. Salvador

    Salvador Second Unit

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    how does it sound??? Is there a noticeable degradation in quality??? and how about dts or pro logic, is it enabled when you watch dvd's on your computer?
     
  4. Todd K

    Todd K Second Unit

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    I have the same setup, though it's not my primary home theater. If you use the digital output of your soundcard to a receiver that has a Dolby/DTS 5.1 decoder, you should get the 5.1 sound. At least that's what I do, since I don't have separate outputs for each channel. I have the digital output, and the other other output is a standard stereo plug automatically downmixed to 2.0 sound.
     
  5. DaveLenhert

    DaveLenhert Stunt Coordinator

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    I also hook my PC up via the reciever. I have a SoundBlaster Live! and use the digital output to a coax digital input. I mainly use it for games and sometimes for MP3s...neither are know for their sound quality. But it sounds a heck of alot better then those crummy PC speakers, so it's worth it in my book!

    -dbl
     
  6. Salvador

    Salvador Second Unit

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    Todd, soundcard do you have???

    and Dave, so you only get sound from the 2 fronts then if you are using the digital output to a coax digital input connection?

    Any noticeable sound degredation??
     
  7. Todd K

    Todd K Second Unit

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    The card I use is a DVD-out card, and it is separate from my soundcard proper. I was having trouble with it and even after calling Dell, no one could tell me who manufactured it. When I use the analog output, there is no sound loss, but the volume is very quiet and I can't control it. So if I want to use that, I simply have a splitter cable coming out of my speaker out jack. For the digital connection, which I actually just used for the first time the other day, the sound is normal, and I would assume there is no loss, but I did have to extend the digital coaxial cable quite a ways to get it to the receiver. The only reason I used it was because I just got a new receiver and I wanted to test the digital connection. It's got an s-video out as well, and the picture quality is top notch.
    I think this model on ebay is very similar:
    http://cgi.ebay.com/aw-cgi/eBayISAPI...tem=1303263053
     
  8. ScottK

    ScottK Extra

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    My goal was always to integrate the PC with the

    home theater, and its coming together really nice..

    There should be no audio degradation, your PC is

    a great source for audio and video! I have a

    Soundblaster Audigy, which does have a 5.1 decoder

    built into it, however you can also use the digital

    output and let a reciever do your decoding. This

    should be as good as a source as anything else,

    Even if you use the analog outs, the card uses 24-bit

    dacs and boasts a 100dB signal/noise ratio...The Audigy

    is an excellent card. I'm also running an ATI Radeon

    VE (dual display) video card, which has S-video out

    ran to the reciever. Now anything I can see or hear on

    the PC, can be seen and heard on the TV/speakers..

    This includes watching DVDs, listening to MP3's,

    playing MPG4 video files, ect. I have over 40 full

    length movies on my harddrive(s) I can just pull up on

    the fly.. any good movie I pop in the DVD tho. and

    about 17 gigs of MP3's (endless jukebox), and great

    games (nothing like FEELING the afterburners on that

    F/A18 hit your chest in 5.1!)

    Couple this with a wireless keyboard with hotkeys and

    you have a giant remote control on the coffee table.

    (and they call Howard Stern the king of all media! Hmf!)

    I'll post some pics sometime if anyones interested,

    however I'm out of town for a few weeks right now, and

    waiting for new speakers to arrive when i get back so

    I'll be changing some things around...
     
  9. Thomas_Berg

    Thomas_Berg Screenwriter

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    yeah i have ~30 gigs of mp3s and i told myself that i had to get them to play thru my system.

    well Salvador, i get Pro-Logic, DD, and DTS decoding lights on my Onkyo 595, and i hear stuff in clear, clean 5.1, and there appears to be no sound degradation. (its a digital signal, so there cant be that much loss of 1's and 0's.) i'm happy with it!
     
  10. Salvador

    Salvador Second Unit

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    thanks for the feedback guys,

    ScottK, it would be excellent if you could post some pics of your system. I really interested on pics on the actual connections you made from your soundcard to the receiver.
     
  11. peter_anderson

    peter_anderson Stunt Coordinator

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    if you are really cheap or don't yet have a DD/DTS capable receiver, I have found the best way to get clean sound to the receiver is through an external DAC. Check out:
    http://www.minidisco.com/minispecs/xitelmdportan1.html
    it is pretty cheap at $40 and sounds better than most sound cards' DACs (also helps that it is OUTSIDE the computer case). The device is really small and has the standard stereo 1/8 minijack output. The quality of an external DAC really shines when you use WinAMP and the CD direct digital player plugin (pushes digital over the PCI bus instead of those silly internal analog patch cables).
     
  12. ScottK

    ScottK Extra

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    Salvador,

    Connecting the digital connection is described in the

    manual for the soundcard. It's simply a mono 1/8" mini

    jack to RCA cable, the soundcard accepts the mini jack,

    and your recievers digital input accepts the RCA jack.

    There are also some software settings you need to be aware

    of, such as enabling the SPDIF output of the card in audio properties, disabling 'ac3 decode', 'enable digital output only' using the surround mixer program that they gave you.

    This will bypass the cards onboard decoding and send the digital signal directly to your reciever so it may handle

    the decoding. Now this will kill your EAX processing, but

    that should be no big deal if you listen to music 80% of

    the time, and you'd probably rather use Dolby Prologic II

    for music anyways..

    Your other option as your friend suggested,

    is to use the analog outputs (all 6 of them) and send

    them to an amplifier (or your reciever with decoding turned off) and use your card for processing the audio,

    letting you use EAX... there are plenty of processing options available, the cool thing with the spdif output

    is that its digital, its only 1 cable, using your reciever lets you control the processing without going through the

    computer letting you process in Dolby prologic II if your

    reciever supports it. (The Onkyo does..) Also the Audigy

    card does not have an optical output, so you don't even

    have to worry about that option!

    Hope I've helped and not confused!

    ScoTTK
     
  13. Bergan Peters

    Bergan Peters Stunt Coordinator

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    Won't the audio output be limited to what your soundcard can understand though? My reciever decodes DTS, but the Audigy won't understand to what to do with that signal, right?
     
  14. Salvador

    Salvador Second Unit

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    ScottK, i got the audigy platinum so i have the live drive which has spdif in/out and also optical in/out. which would be better to use??? or are they both just the same in terms of quality?

    BTW, thanks for the explanation!! cleared things up for me.
     
  15. ScottK

    ScottK Extra

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    Berger, the digital output of the soundcard is encoded as DTS or DD, and fed to the reciever for decoding and amplification, and sent to the speakers. The soundcard isn't being used to decode anything configured like this, just a digital audio source...

    Salvador... Optical vs. Coax... I think there is a thread somewhere on here all about that. I haven't researched it, but I believe I've heard coax is better? anyone care to add a brief comment??

    I've seen your original message in another forum on here, and someone replied that you only get 2 channel sound out of the S/PDIF port of the soundcard, that is incorrect as I'm sure you've learned by now.. just to let you know! I dont know how he came up with that idea...

    LateR!
     
  16. Paul Chalk

    Paul Chalk Stunt Coordinator

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    Vactican3? If the means nothing to you, then please ignore.

    I have my system hooked up to my computer. I have a Soundblaster Live 5.1. It's connected to my Denon 2802 receiver in both analog 5.1, and digital coaxial. I'm going to be upgrading to the Hercules Game Theater soon. I use Klipsch Quintet speakers (1 center and 5 satellites) along with a Sony SAW-305. POS, I know, that's why I'm upgrading to a SVS 25-31 soon. Also, I'm going to be adding an ATI Radeon 8500DV soon. With the ATI, I'll then have TV on my computer, and I'll also be able to hook up a VCR.

    It's a nice setup too. Because of my receiver, I'm able to watch DVD's encoded in both DD and DTS 6.1. The sound quality is quite good, a lot better than my previous Labtec speakers.

    Anyway, I find that the Quintets lack in the music playback area. So I'm shopping around for some decent bookshelf speakers as well.

    ScottK, regarding coaxial vs. optical, I think they both have their pros and cons. Coaxial has a higher bandwidth than optical. However optical sends a clean signal, no ground sound. But if you have a well shielded coaxial cable, you shouldn't have this problem. Also coaxial cables a lot cheaper than optical, and they aren't as fragile either. Overall, I think coaxial is better.
     
  17. Eric Gan

    Eric Gan Agent

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    I've been doing this for a long time. Unless you are one of those who can hear jitter, you probably won't notice it. I've done A/B comparisons using optical inputs from my computers sound card, with my Pioneer DV 525, and cannot notice any difference, once volume is adjusted.

    A few things to note....

    CD's played through your PC's sound card will be upsampled to 48 Khz with most sound cards. You may notice a difference because of the conversion....I haven't, but I don't usually listen to CDs through the PC. MP3s sound fantastic at 192kbps and above. There will be no conversion of any kind for DD and DTS.

    Be careful about SB Live. I haven't kept up with this isssue in a while, but I remember the card sending a non-standard voltage through its SPDIF connection. There was a hoontech adapter to correct this problem.

    In regards to your questions about connection...I would do the following:

    - Get a sound card with either optical or coax spdif out and connect that to your receiver.

    - If available, connect the 4 channel analog out on your sound card to the 5.1 inputs (LF,RF,LR,RR) on your receiver. That will give you 4 channel gaming sound.

    In case you're wondering, I'm using Aopen AW744 soundcard ($20), Sony DB930, Infinity RS3's, and SVS 25-31CS. Pics are on my website.

    Good luck,

    Eric
     
  18. errol

    errol Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi ya folks,

    I'm on my 2nd htpc now using the Nightingale Pro 6 card (DD/DTS capable). Works great with DVDs and music CDs.

    My other htpc has the Soundblaster Live card and it also was a winner.

    Thanks,

    Errol
     
  19. Salvador

    Salvador Second Unit

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    hey paul C, how did you know about Vatican3? checking out the other forums? yeah that's me in the other forums. This forum didn't allow me to use that name here even without the number three!!!

    well anyway thanks for your input. I just wanted to get as much feedback from people as possible. Before hooking up the receiver to my soundcard, i want to know of the possible kinks and roadblocks ahead. I learned my lesson with those infernal klipsch promedias. I only checked the reviews on websites but never their forum. What a big mistake!!! Numerous people have been getting lemons even before i purchased it (june 01) and even their new 5.1 line has been barfing out lemons. That's what they get for sending those things to be manufactured in china!!!

    Those speakers sounded good for games but for music it was so so.

    Eric, do you know if the soundblaster audigy platinum sends correct voltage through its SPDIF connection? I don't want to connect my sound card and then see my receiver go up in smokes!
     
  20. Sebastien David

    Sebastien David Second Unit

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    as paul suggested, why not use both digital and analog outputs from the sound card?

    you'd get the best of both worlds, wouldn't you? use analog outputs for games, and digital for everything else.
     

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