Sound Card.. HT 4 pc...

Discussion in 'Speakers & Subwoofers' started by VictorS, Dec 12, 2004.

  1. VictorS

    VictorS Extra

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    I need some suggestion here... my home theater will be based on my computer, and i want the whole systeme sub + 5 speaker... i have a 50V500 50" 16:9 LCD HDTV MONITOR From Hitachi and i want to plug it on my computer.. so i wont need a dvd player since my pc can do the whole thing now im just wondering if it a possible thing to do..? and what would i need
     
  2. steve nn

    steve nn Cinematographer

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    im just wondering if it a possible thing to do..? and what would i need
    __________________________________________________ _____

    As long as you have a sound card (SPDIF) that will support, its very easy. If you do, all you need is your rig and the right cables. I suggest adding a DVD with remote to the mix down the road though. Having the remote is very handy.
     
  3. stephanX

    stephanX Stunt Coordinator

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    Personally? id rather havea an optical mouse/keybaord combo and a pc more than a DVD player with a remote. And with the visuals, im hoping youre not trying to acchieve this with onboard video.
     
  4. VictorS

    VictorS Extra

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    WEll, i could just buy one of thos high tech video card like the ATI x800 Platinum or Utra 6800 something from Nvidia.. if that what u mean by video onboard?!
    i have a wireless keyboard.. so no need for a remote.. but will see
     
  5. VictorS

    VictorS Extra

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    Hm and if forgot what an SPDIF digital audio in/out ? im doing some research on the internet right now but it the first time i hear about something like that for sound card
     
  6. ChadLB

    ChadLB Screenwriter

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    Lots of info around....
    www.htpcnews.com
    www.avsforum.com and hometheater computers forum.

    My PC functions as my music server, Live radio, DVD watching to my Front Projector using Zoomplayer software.

    All hooked up to my Projector and Receiver for complete HT experience.

    Chad
     
  7. VictorS

    VictorS Extra

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    Well thx alote.. that help!.. if anyone got other hint post it.. it may always help other people!
     
  8. James Phung

    James Phung Second Unit

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    I see no mention of a receiver, you would probably want a receiver.
     
  9. ChadLB

    ChadLB Screenwriter

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    The cheapest highly recommended card is the Chaintech av710 - it has a optical out though vs coaxial like some others do.
    Can be found online for under $30 I think.
     
  10. VictorS

    VictorS Extra

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    oh great thx.. hm a receiver yeah i would need that Lol
     
  11. Sean Mc

    Sean Mc Agent

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    I second the chaintech card, I have that too and love it.

    I hope you're not planning on getting a $500 video card just for quality of image for dvds. If it's to play Doom3 and HL2 then go ahead and spend spend spend, but it it's just for dvds and occational gaming, don't bother.

    I don't think picture quality really improves at all once you get into the newer directx9 line of video cards. I'm really happy with the s-video output on my radeon9800pro. I'm sure any newer video card would look good. Even a radeon 9600 pro or something would be a good option for a balance of price and performance.

    It's really not too hard to hook up a computer, it's just like any other input to a receiver, s-video and optical for vid and sound.

    Does your tv have a DVI input? That would be even better than s-video. All the newer radeons have a DVI output as well. I don't know much about that though since my tv is a 36" sony wega. I know there's some issues of overscan if you try to do DVI... or is that only if you convert DVI to HDMI? See, I have no idea. Check out AVSforum.
     
  12. VictorS

    VictorS Extra

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    yeah it has a DVI input.. its a lcd...
    somebody told me about SPDIF is that some kind of conection from my sound card to a sound system or what ever that is ?.. need some info about that
     
  13. Sean Mc

    Sean Mc Agent

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    SPDIF stands for sony phillips digital interface, it's for audio connections. The chaintech av-710 would take care of the audio connection for you with it's optical output. I think I heard that windows xp now has drivers for the card so you can just do a windows update and it should find the drivers for you (the drivers that come with the card are old and not the best).

    Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I think the optical cable (same as toslink) is one way you can get a SPDIF signal transmitted... digital coax is the other way?

    I'm not totally straight on all the terminology. I know that what I do works very nice though. When I have a stereo signal coming from my pc (like music and general sounds) the chaintech card outputs a digital stereo signal and then my receiver has options on how to map it to the speakers. I have an HK AVR-325 so I use logic 7. This gives a nice surround output from the stereo signal. When I have dolby digital media in my computer, the soundcard outputs a dolby signal that my receiver recognizes and correctly produces dolby digital ex sound. You need to download AC3 filter (free) to get that to work though.

    As long as you have an optical input (which they pretty much all have unless you go super low budget) on your new receiver it's going to be really easy to get the sound to work with this method I think. Are you comfortable installing a sound card? I think that's going to be the toughest part heh. (I assume that's no problem since you mentioned a vid card install).

    I'm not going to be much of an authority on the video though. I know a lot about video cards, but hometheater pcs are pretty new and I'm not sure about the conversion to tv type displays from video cards. How much are you looking to spend on a video card? If you go to Anandtech.com in their video section, they have various reviews about newer cards that are coming out and which are of good value. Do you already have a system built and you're adding to it, or are you building one from scratch? I've built about a dozen computers probably so I'm pretty knowledgable about it. If you're building new, the "Guides" tab has really good info about complete system recommendations that offer good performance and value. Make sure you add a video card that has DVI output to try to take advantage of that input on your tv.

    I think you should just be able to plug a DVI cable from the video card straight to the tv. This won't come with the card, but it shouldn't be too expensive depending on how long you want it. Do you know the resolution on the tv? If that resolution is supported by the card, you should be able to get a signal in native resolution to the tv which looks good. If this for some reason doesn't work, you'll still be able to just to a regular s-video output from the card to the tv. This won't look as good, and I don't know if it would stretch or whatever...

    I think heading over to the HTPC section of AVSforum is a good idea. I'm sure they've gone over all of this stuff over there... I haven't looked, I just kind of did it for myself since I knew what I needed for my own setup.
     
  14. VictorS

    VictorS Extra

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    Thx alote Sean MC... that really help, lol i build my own PC.. im just new in htpc and in conecting sound system lol
    i might buy a 300 - 500$ video card.. since i wont spend alote on sound card and i love video games.

    So that Chaintech does the work.. good i wasnt confotable in buying one of thos creative audigy 2 (300$)

    I just bought my new TV and it should be shipped this week so im just worried about what would i need.. to get the job done.. hehe it's a Hitachi 50V500 50" LCD Projection TV does have something like 1280 x 720 res.

    So there we go:
    There are my spec i own now
    some will change like video card. This i what
    i think i need.he
    -Cpu 2.6 P4 -512 ram -DVI Cable
    -mother board P4C800E -sb live 4.1 -Chaintech V70
    -GeForce4 4400 Ti -sound system
    ( still dont know
    what cnx it will n
    need)
    -cables ouf lol

    I was wondering the sound system.. hm im thinking about 5.1 well if any had good experience with 7.1 tell me about it , but i guess i'll just connect it straight to my
    chainV70 something like that.. but does all sound system have the right conection for that or.. should i check that if i buy one..? So there only thing that will be connected to my TV is DVI.. hmm so many imput i saw when i bought it lol cool i tought it will be harder lol

    But since almost all sound system u buy come with a dvd.. it's might be plugged to my tv and my pc hmm if it too compicated i'll just use the dvd in my pc and that it.

    I know this forum is for httv but the other website there is less people and u dont get any answer at all.

    thank you all!
     
  15. James Phung

    James Phung Second Unit

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    As long as you have a sound card with some sort of digital output (even the old SB Live card has one) you should be ok. I have my computer hooked up to my receiver through digital coax. I'm using the Creative Audigy and there is a digital output port where I plug in a mini to rca cable and have that connected to the digital coax input on my receiver.
     
  16. VictorS

    VictorS Extra

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    i guess it dosnt change the sound quality.. and what if my sound card if for 4.1 ? and im gonna have 5.1 sound system
     
  17. Jeff-0

    Jeff-0 Stunt Coordinator

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    creative audigy 2 ZS
     
  18. Sean Mc

    Sean Mc Agent

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    For audio, you only need a single sound card... I'm not sure if you were planning on having both your SB and the Chaintech card in at the same time from your previous posts.

    You can try the digital output of your SB if it has one, I'm not sure if it does. It might not be able to ouput a DD or DTS singal also... I'm not too familiar with the older SB cards.

    If you do try that, you're going to need to get some cables and an adapter for it.

    If I were you, I'd just get the chaintech card from newegg.com It even comes with an optical cable so you won't need to worry about that.

    If you get the chaintech card, there will only be a single optical(toslink) cable running from the sound card to the receiver.

    Any new receiver or home theater in a box should have an optical input. If you want to make sure, it will be called an optical input or a digital optical input or i guess they could call it a toslink input. Basically optical input is what you're looking for.

    For video, does your GeForce 4 have a DVI output already? You might want to try that before you dish out $300 to $500 for a video card to make sure you like it and it doesn't have issues. You should be able to plug in a DVI cable to the tv straight from the card and set the resolution to something close to the tv native resolution. I can get 1280x768 on my radeon 9800 pro. I'm not sure what happens when you send it a signal that isn't the exact resolution. I have a regular tube tv so it wasn't an issue for me.

    So, to hook up your computer you're only going to have 2 cables hooked up, a DVI cable to your tv and an optical cable to the receiver.

    If DVI doesn't work you could try the s-video output of the video card instead. I'm not sure how that works on a widescreen tv though.

    Are you planning on hooking anything else up to the system? If you're not, wiring should be really easy.

    The only other thing you'll need for sure if speaker wire to connect your speakers and an RCA cable for the subwoofer.

    If you get a home theater in a box (HTIB), those should already be included so you won't even have to worry about getting those. A HTIB is a good option if you're trying to keep costs really low. Onkyo makes some pretty decent ones for not to much (the 770 for example for under $500).

    If you can spend more, you can get better stuff of course and you'll have more options for what you want.

    If you're going to put a system together yourself you're going to need:
    -receiver
    -5, 6, or 7 speakers
    -a subwoofer
    -speaker wire
    -sub cable

    It's kinda hard to put together a system for under $1000 though, what are you thinking about spending? I hope you're willing to spend over $1000 if you just got that tv and you're thinking of buying a 6800 ultra or an x800 platinum hehe.
     
  19. VictorS

    VictorS Extra

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    "It's kinda hard to put together a system for under $1000 though, what are you thinking about spending? I hope you're willing to spend over $1000 if you just got that tv and you're thinking of buying a 6800 ultra or an x800 platinum hehe."

    Sadly Yeah.. loll [​IMG] by the way thx alote of your answere it help... im telling you and hmm just thinking if i should get a home theater 5.1 or 7.1 loll not a big issue lol for the reste i'll be fine I was confused at first because i tought the receiver could be my computer... so i couldnt figured the whole thing.. and for what i know now (thanx to you guyz).. its not possible or too expensive maybe...[​IMG]

    Do i have anything to say?.. lol no, i've been inform #1!
     
  20. Sean Mc

    Sean Mc Agent

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    Something you might want to consider is just getting a really good set of computer speakers if you don't want to buy a receiver.

    Maybe a set of klipsch promedia ultras, Creative Gigaworks or logitech z-5500s would be more what you were looking for. I think the drawbacks would be that
    1. I'm not sure if you'd get true DD or DTS from a soundcard in analog mode
    2. If you wanted to add more sources in the future it could get difficult to have them all routed through your computer

    If you go this route and just get some nice computer speakers it's going to sound good, it's going to be easy, and it's going to be pretty cheap to do.

    If your budget is below $500 and all of the sound is going to be coming from your computer, this could be a really good option for you.


    On the other side, you have the Home Theater with receiver option. The reason you need a receiver for this is
    1. The receiver is what supplies power to the speakers (this is what they're talking about when they advertise 100 watts x 5 or whatever they say it is)
    2. The receiver is where you plug in all the sources for sound (video too if you want to) and it selects between them
    3. The receiver decodes signals like DD and DTS and applies other surround effects to take the input and map it to 5.1 or 7.1 or whatever you're doing

    Computer speakers are powered (you need to plug them in) whereas a speaker in a Home Theater system (except for the sub generally) just has a place for 2 speaker wires to attach and these wires run to the receiver to power it.

    There's no way to power a Home Theater speaker from a computer directly. Something needs to be inbetween to power the speaker.

    So, is $400 or $500 about your price range? If it is, I would suggest either a set of the computer speakers I mentioned above along with a new soundcard (maybe an audigy 2 zs or an m-audio revolution or something). Or the other option would be a home theater in a box like the Onkyo 770 I mentioned too. There are other HTIB setups in theis price range too.

    edit:
    Oh, and for 5.1 or 6.1 or 7.1... it's not a big deal. The vast majority of the sound is going to be coming from the Front Left and Right,the Center, and the Sub. (In movies a whole ton comes from just the center) The surrounds are the least important and having 7.1 instead of 5.1 is not a big deal.
     

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