Quality of surround sound decoding in software?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ken Woodrow, Feb 14, 2002.

  1. Ken Woodrow

    Ken Woodrow Stunt Coordinator

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    Several software DVD players, esp. PowerDVD XP 4.0, are capable of decoding DPL, DD5.1, DTS, and DPL2. I'm wondering whether the sound quality of software decoding is comparable to that done in a good receiver or pre/pro by dedicated DSP chips? Is there anything inherently bad about using software that would affect the sound quality?
    Thanks,
    Ken
     
  2. Hugh M

    Hugh M Second Unit

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    sorry, I was sidetracked at your website before.

    I'm eager to get a nice 8-channel pro soundcard and bring decoding inside of the HTPC, but I always hear of something missing with PDVD XP. Usually an LFE here or there missing or something. I believe the latest patches have made an attempt to fix this but I'm not sure their decoding is complete yet.
     
  3. Ken Woodrow

    Ken Woodrow Stunt Coordinator

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    Yeah -- I need to put up the "finished" pictures on the website! The plasma and speakers look really good. I guess we'll just have to wait and see for a real comparision of sound quality b/n software decoding in a HTPC and decoding done in a dedicated DSP chip. I believe the LFE output in PowerDVD is now fixed, but I haven't really used the analog outputs of my Delta 410 soundcard much b/c of the lack of bass management. I'm trying to be patient while I wait for Cliff and M-Audio's pre/pro software!

    - Ken
     
  4. Cliff Watson

    Cliff Watson Agent

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    ”I'm trying to be patient while I wait for Cliff and M-Audio's pre/pro software!”
    Ken,
    We are working hard on the new bass management enabled drivers. I should get the 4th beta build on Monday for testing. After each build I keep adding more requirements to the specs to make them the best possible.
    As I type this post I’m listening to Steely Dan’s “Gaucho” DTS CD decoded by PowerDVD XP Deluxe and it really sounds good, including the LFE channel.
     
  5. Hugh M

    Hugh M Second Unit

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    thats a good sign. the software being worked on sounds like the first of its kind. I think that would really make the delta cards stand above any competition. With those functions being talked about (delay, bass management, full level control) these cards become a very attractive alternative to upgrading the HT receiver/processor.

    Ken, that Klein looks nice as well, I wish I had more time to ride my Cannondale Super-V. Maybe if I lay off the home theater for a while, I'll get my heart back in shape.
     
  6. Glen_L

    Glen_L Stunt Coordinator

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    I just want to add that I've been following Ken's posts, and am in the exact same boat wrt the Delta 410. I've been using PowerDVD XP (just recently downloaded the $39 upgrade to the full version) and the sound blows me away. I'm running through the S/PDIF out to an Integra 6.2 receiver which is acting as a pre-pro. I sure hope I can dispense of it soon--it works great but is an eyesore on top of my rack. It was a bit too deep to fit inside.

    I have a concern though, as I've not yet tried the analog outs with software decoding. How much more overhead does this require on the CPU vs. digital pass-through? I'm using a Celeron 533 running at 800MHz. Will it be up to the task when the time comes, or should I invest in a ~1GHz P3? FWIW, I'm using a Radeon AIW with HW acceleration enabled.

    Also, Cliff, I hope you'll make a post here when 410 drivers suitable for downloading are ready. There's a lot less traffic here than over at AVS, and I check in here more frequently. Thanks.
     
  7. Cliff Watson

    Cliff Watson Agent

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    Glen,

    The overhead for 15 crossover filters and 9 gain controls is ~60 MHz. The total CPU usage for Star Wars with DD EX fully decoded was 465 MHz using HWMC on a Radeon 8500 card.

    I'll post here when they are ready to download.
     

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