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HT Omega Claro Plus+

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February 14, 2011 10:08:40 AM

I just installed an HT Omega Claro Plus+ in my system. It sounds worlds better than the sound output from my mobo (striker II formula), but I have a few questions.

First, two new playback devices showed up when I installed the card, one just called "HTO Claro Speakers" and one called "HTO Clora S/PDIF Pass-through Device." I use the optical output from the card to run to my AV receiver, is left "Speakers" as the default playback device as that is what was chosen by default. Is that correct, or should I be using the pass-through device? What is the difference?

Second, and far more importantly, sometimes when sound first starts to play, a song starting or a video gaming launching, a terrible crackly sound comes over the speakers for half a second before whatever sound starts. Anybody have a clue why that happens, and how to fix it?

I already downloaded the latest drivers from HT Omega, it didn't make a difference as far as the bad noise goes. Thanks for the help.

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February 14, 2011 11:35:06 AM

Quote:
First, two new playback devices showed up when I installed the card, one just called "HTO Claro Speakers" and one called "HTO Clora S/PDIF Pass-through Device." I use the optical output from the card to run to my AV receiver, is left "Speakers" as the default playback device as that is what was chosen by default. Is that correct, or should I be using the pass-through device? What is the difference?


SPDIF passthrough is used only when you want to take the input from the SPDIF in port, and output it via the SPDIF output port. This is sometimes used in a HTPC setup, where the card may pass through audio from another device [say, a PS3, for instance].

So aside from passing through audio from the SPDIF input port, Speakers would be the correct output selection.

Quote:
Second, and far more importantly, sometimes when sound first starts to play, a song starting or a video gaming launching, a terrible crackly sound comes over the speakers for half a second before whatever sound starts. Anybody have a clue why that happens, and how to fix it?


Odd...I assume you are using the analog outputs? I guess the first thing to try would be another set of speakers, just to ensure its a soundcard problem...
February 14, 2011 3:31:02 PM

gamerk316 said:
Odd...I assume you are using the analog outputs? I guess the first thing to try would be another set of speakers, just to ensure its a soundcard problem...

The AV receiver and the speakers aren't new, just the sound card is. I'm not using the analog output, I run the optical spdif from the sound card to my receiver. Same receiver and speakers that I used before, didn't happen until I installed this card.

The Striker II Formula (my mobo) has onboard optical spdif (what I was using before), but only works if you install the little pci-express x1 sound card that comes with it. I still have that card installed, could it interfere?
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February 14, 2011 4:20:31 PM

Quote:
The AV receiver and the speakers aren't new, just the sound card is. I'm not using the analog output, I run the optical spdif from the sound card to my receiver. Same receiver and speakers that I used before, didn't happen until I installed this card.


I *think* what might be happening is this: The SPDIF port typically is disabled when no audio is comming through it, so when it detects an audio stream going over the port, there is a brief instance where it has a half-second or so of static/crackling/noise when an audio stream first comes over the port. My ASUS D2 did that as well, and I suspect its a C-Media design issue [ASUS and HT Omega both use C-media chipsets]. I assume that after that half second or so, the audio plays without issue?

You could disable the *click* playback within windows, which should help a bit [sanity wise if nothing else].

You might also want to query HT Omega and see what they have to say on the issue.

Quote:
The Striker II Formula (my mobo) has onboard optical spdif (what I was using before), but only works if you install the little pci-express x1 sound card that comes with it. I still have that card installed, could it interfere?


Probably not; I've had several sound devices installed at the same time without issue. It simply depends on whether the drivers are coded on the assumption there could be a second audio device installed at the same time...
February 14, 2011 4:38:42 PM

gamerk316 said:
I *think* what might be happening is this: The SPDIF port typically is disabled when no audio is comming through it, so when it detects an audio stream going over the port, there is a brief instance where it has a half-second or so of static/crackling/noise when an audio stream first comes over the port. My ASUS D2 did that as well, and I suspect its a C-Media design issue [ASUS and HT Omega both use C-media chipsets]. I assume that after that half second or so, the audio plays without issue?


Yes, after the very short (very horrible, typically very loud) sound, it goes to normal playback. According to your explanation, it seems like it should happen each time I begin sound, which isn't the case. For example I don't believe it has ever happened on the Windows click sounds, music playing via VLC has been the most constant culprit.
February 14, 2011 6:39:03 PM

Huh, might be a different issue then I had on my D2 then...Not really sure then...I assume you are outputing 2.0 PCM and not doing encoding to Dolby/DTS?
February 14, 2011 6:54:03 PM

gamerk316 said:
Huh, might be a different issue then I had on my D2 then...Not really sure then...I assume you are outputing 2.0 PCM and not doing encoding to Dolby/DTS?


I have played with some of the options in the software that comes with the card. I know I messed with Dolby/DTS for a while, not sure if I left that on or not, and I'm not currently at home to check. Is there a reason I shouldn't have it set to use one of those encoding methods?

As is probably evident at this point, I am a novice when it comes to sound devices.
February 14, 2011 8:16:23 PM

I looked at the sound settings, I had my SPDIF output set to DTS, when I change it to PCM I get no sound at all.....no idea why. I tried "Dolby Digital Live" next, I get sound AND the problem seems to have gone away. I have no explanation for why this is the case, but it seems to be.

Also, I have a "system input" variable that I can use to choose between 2, 4 , 6 or 8 channel. What the heck does this do? It has suggestions that include 2 ch for most music formats, and 8 ch for 3D games. Do I really have to come in and change the input when I go between music and games? That seems ridiculous.
February 15, 2011 11:14:18 AM

Quote:
I looked at the sound settings, I had my SPDIF output set to DTS, when I change it to PCM I get no sound at all.....no idea why. I tried "Dolby Digital Live" next, I get sound AND the problem seems to have gone away. I have no explanation for why this is the case, but it seems to be.


Odd, since PCM *should* be the one that guranteed to work...

Essentially, SPDIF can carry one of three formats:
2.0 uncompressed [standard PC audio streams]
5.1 Dolby Digital
5.1 DTS

As all PC audio is uncompressed by default, to get either 5.1 format, you need to encode audio in real time to that format; thats what Dolby Digital Live and DTS-Connect [or DTS:NeoPC] does: Convert an audio stream to either Dolby Digital or DTS formats.

EG: Using Dolby Digital Live or DTS Connect allows you to output 5.1 audio over SPDIF.

No idea why thats solving the issue though, but hey, if it works...

Quote:

Also, I have a "system input" variable that I can use to choose between 2, 4 , 6 or 8 channel. What the heck does this do? It has suggestions that include 2 ch for most music formats, and 8 ch for 3D games. Do I really have to come in and change the input when I go between music and games? That seems ridiculous.


This is a bit complicated, but I'll try and explain the best I can:

There are different environmental options are avalible depending on how many audio channels [speakers] are used in the setup [which you can select yourself in the Windows Control Panel or Driver panel], and how many channels the source audio is outputting.

For instance, if I have a 5.1 setup, and am playing a 2 channel source audio [music, for instance], I might want to use Dolby Pro Logic to upmix the audio to 5.1 so I get sound in all the speakers.

Alternativly, if I have only 2 speakers, and am playing a 6 channel source audio [a game, for instance], I might want to virtualize that sound field onto that 2 speaker set, creating a virtualized surround environment via Dolby Virtual Speaker/Headphone.

Because of the specific options that can be enabled depending on the setup, its left to the user to select the number of source channels, and the specific options they want enabled. This is particularlly annoying when going between games [5.1/7.1] and music [2.0] when you want different options enabled.

Complicated, isn't it? Hope I explained that good enough. If you have specifc questions on this topic, I can answer to the best of my ability.
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