Sound Card Advice

Discussion in 'Computers' started by Mark Paquette, Nov 19, 2005.

  1. Mark Paquette

    Mark Paquette Supporting Actor

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    I would like to add a decent sound card to my PC in order to play .WAV files on my HT setup. I'm guessing I could just run a digital coax cable from the sound card to a digital input of my HT processor. What is the max distance for a run of digital coax? What is a respectable sound card these days?
     
  2. ChristopherDAC

    ChristopherDAC Producer

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    I tried a low-priced sound card with coax digital in and out, but it had such an unfriendly user interface that I returned it and got a "Voyetra Turtle Beach Catalina" instead. This uses TOSlink optical connexions; fortunately my setup is indifferent. It's a pretty cheap unit, and 24/96 capable -- my motive for buying it was to directly record the PCM audio tracks from my LaserDisc collection.
    How far is your CPU from your reciever? As long as the cable isn't under pressure [e.g. ceiling runs], you can use any 75 Ohm coax, and as much as hundred-foot run of RG-59 should probably deliver a usable signal at the far end. You can get a TOSlink-coax convertor box, I think, at RadioShack.
     
  3. Scott L

    Scott L Producer

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    I'd take a look at the new Creative X-Fi. A Creative card that can finally pass true 44/16 without upsampling.
     
  4. Parker Clack

    Parker Clack Schizophrenic Man
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    I have the Creative X-Fi and I am returning it as it was a major pain if you wanted to use the S/PDIF only. I never could get it to work with my HTPC using the mono cable to coax like I should have been able to. And I didn't want to have to go through Creative to get their special cable for output to my preamp inputs.

    I just picked up an HDA Digital Mystique 7.1 sound card that has Dolby Digital Live, full-duplex 8CH 24bit/96kHz DACs, supports the latest DTS-ES, DD-EX sound (6.1/7.1) playback (also including Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1 playback), supports 44.1 kHz / 48kHz / 96kHz S/PDIF Output through both Coaxial RCA and Optical Toslink, has an onboard COAXIAL RCA output connector, OPTICAL Toslink trasmitter for high quality Digital Output and more. And it costs less than the Sound Blaster card does.

    It is diffently worth a look and can be picked up on Amazon or J&Rs.

    Parker
     
  5. NickSo

    NickSo Producer

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    Chaintech AV710 might suit your needs for just 2ch audio? great 2ch high-rez (upsampled) output, and is also ASIO capable for bit-perfect digital output.

    there has been some discussion on the 710 on this forum, search for it.
     
  6. Mark Paquette

    Mark Paquette Supporting Actor

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    Thanks for the info. The AV710 looks intruiging, but I don't want to run a toslink cable from my PC to my HT processor; about 30 feet. I much prefer to use a simple coax cable. How can I easily identify whether or not a sound card is capable of bit perfect output?
     
  7. Scott L

    Scott L Producer

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    Easiest way is to ask us. [​IMG] Not many people care about this so it's not the first thing companies advertise. Several though, use the same chipset and as long as it's capable of ASIO or kernel streaming then you're good. The card Nick recommended is very popular, and it has essentially the same chipset found in the more expensive M-Audio Revolution and Audiotrak Prodigy 7.1.

    Check out this thread for more info.

    What I like about the Prodigy is that it supported ASIO right in the driver settings, no extra player or plugin needed. I think this is why many flashed their Chaintech 710 to act like a Prodigy. Nick can probably tell you more about this.

    The X-Mystique is an awesome card for gaming but apparentely there is no support for bit-perfect output.
     
  8. Mark Paquette

    Mark Paquette Supporting Actor

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    Scott L - How about the M-Audio Revolution line of cards? They specifically mention ASIO compatability in the specs and they have a coax digital out instead of Toslink. Would they be capable of bit perfect output with a digital coax connection?

    A bit of background on what I'm up to with this thread. Gaming is of no interest to me. I'm only interested in playback of music files from my PC to my HT. I currently have an Audiotron. 3 years ago when I purchased the Audiotron I converted all of my CD's to MP3's using EAC and Lame. I was never completely satisfied with the results and have always wished I could use a lossless format like Flac. It appears that Turtle Beach is no longer supporting the Audiotron so Flac support is never going to happen. So I'm trying to decide betweeen a replacement for the Audiotron such as the new Squeezebox or simply getting a new soundcard. A run of cable from my PC to the HT processor would be about 25 feet. So if I go the soundcard route I prefer to use coax over Toslink. At this point I'm not sure which route I'm going to go. The new Squeezebox looks pretty slick and it supports Flac natively. But on the other hand a decent soundcard a coax cable sounds like the cheaper route to go.
     
  9. Scott L

    Scott L Producer

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    sorry for the late reply, been busy this week.

    the revo cards support asio but not over s/pdif, however, it does support kernel streaming digitally (over s/pdif)) which also provides bit-perfect output.

    to take advantage you need to use a specialized player such as Foobar2k or Winamp with a kernel streaming plugin. sounds like extra work but it's worth it when you're able to tell the difference between pure 44.1khz and resampled to 48khz music.
     

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