Sound card recommendation?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by StephenL, Oct 29, 2002.

  1. StephenL

    StephenL Second Unit

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    I want to try using my computer as a HTPC. I'm looking for a soundcard for the following setup:

    Dell Dimension 8200 with Windows XP SP1
    Windows Media Player 9 for CD, WMA Lossless and MP3 playback
    DVD playback with Dolby Digital and DTS (I haven't decided on a player)
    Possible HDTV card
    Onkyo TX-DS898 receiver

    I'd prefer to use an optical connection between the computer and receiver to keep them electrically isolated as much as possible.

    I want a sound card that automatically switches between PCM and Dolby Digital or DTS (I've read that the Hercules Fortissimo cards must be reconfigured and the computer rebooted to switch audio).

    Is there a sound card for that will provide 44.1 KHz PCM output with my hardware and software?
    If not, will upsampling to 48 KHz make an audible difference?

    Are there any other issues I should consider?
     
  2. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    I think upsampling from 44.1 to 48 Khz PCM sounds terrible. Something the Soundblaster cards (ALL of them, including the Audigy 2) are guilty of. [​IMG]
    Virtually all of the soundcards with S/PDIF output support automatic AC-3 passthrough, without a reboot.
     
  3. John Parris

    John Parris Stunt Coordinator

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    If I'm not mistaken, you can set the digital output sampling rate to 44.1 kHz OR 48 kHz on the Audigy... at least so says the screen I'm staring at right now with my Audigy Platinum... Am I missing something?
     
  4. Kris McLaughlin

    Kris McLaughlin Stunt Coordinator

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    Stephen, you might want to check out the Zoltrix Nightengale Pro 6 sound card. It's very inexpensive, and gives both optical & coaxial inputs & outputs, as well as 5.1 analog minijack outputs (though it doesn't do hardware DD/DTS decoding). It also comes bundled with an optical cable, and a full version of WinDVD software.
    I've been using this card for almost a year now, and it's working great.
    Here's a thorough review of the card. Sound Card Review
    Here's the company I bought it from, I ordered by phone and had no problems getting it shipped to Canada. Inpax
    Cheers,
     
  5. Joe Hsu

    Joe Hsu Supporting Actor

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    Another suggestion is to look into Hercules' new line of boards, such as their Fortessimo...I'm running the Game Theater XP (love it!), and they're built on the same chip, as is the Turtle Beach.
     
  6. MikeH1

    MikeH1 Screenwriter

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    My Dell Dimension 8200 that I recently purchased came with a Turtle Beach Santa Cruz. Of course, it cost some extra than the "integrated audio" that comes stock or the SB live. For that $100.00 (approx) I must say its well worth it.
    I'm not using a digital connection (yet) but even in analog it does have a great sound. I have it hooked up to the Denon 2802 and Mirage Om-10 speakers and I honestly surprised myself when I heard it. Also, the big bonus is, there was no compatability problems whatsoever. A breeze to set up. I did some reading on various forums and not to many complaints about this particular card. However, it seems Soundblaster Audigy gets quite a few (I know this is a very popular card and will get some negative reviews regardless).
    The Turtle Beach Santa Cruz is quite a versatile card too. Heres the link.
    http://www.turtlebeach.com/site/prod...z/indetail.asp
     
  7. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    Hmm, doesn't the Audigy upsample the 44.1 Khz audio to 48 Khz (internally), than downsample them to 44.1Khz again when you use that option?
     
  8. John Parris

    John Parris Stunt Coordinator

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    Max: possible... probable... how can I check?
     
  9. Max Leung

    Max Leung Producer

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    That's a good question. I think the only way is to spend many hours scouring the hardware discussion forums! Probably not worth the effort. If it sounds good to you, then that's good enough! [​IMG]
     
  10. Jason Harbaugh

    Jason Harbaugh Cinematographer

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    I'll second the Zoltrix Nightengale Pro 6. I use it in my HTPC and have never had a single problem with it. I have run it on Win98 (1st ed), win2k and now winXP pro. No problems with any. XP even had the drivers preinstalled.
     
  11. JoelO

    JoelO Stunt Coordinator

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    For those using the Zoltrix Nightengale Pro 6 for the SPDI/F out, how is the AQ compared to standalone DVD player digital out? I don't really care about analog out, I just want a digital out from sound card w/ the same quality as standalone player. Or is that asking too much from PC sound card?
     
  12. Kris McLaughlin

    Kris McLaughlin Stunt Coordinator

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    Joel,
    So far I've only used the optical out for recording to minidisc, but it sounds great for that purpose. Once I move into a new place in the next few months I'll have my HT and CPU near enough to each other that I'll be able to use the S/PDIF to connect to my receiver.
    Many people over at the AVS HTPC forum use the Zoltrix card in a true HTPC setting, and comments are generally very positive, especially considering the price of the card.
     
  13. StephenL

    StephenL Second Unit

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