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HTPC "out" solution for 5.1 sound - ugggh!

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April 3, 2011 8:48:53 AM

I need help please with the final piece of my HTPC puzzle...

Like many people, my HDMI carries video wonderfully and sound about as rarely as a nun in a strip joint. On a few rare occasions I have gotten the HDMI audio to actually show in the control panel as default device and play through my VISIO 42" TV. Usually, the hdmi just is grayed out and not available.

I'm done trying to make it work. It is obviously a design shortcoming and not worth the aggravation any more.

I "think" my best option is to use an optical cord to connect the PC to a Denon 5.1 Receiver.

My motherboard does not have an optical out so I would have to install a SPDIF Riser for this.

With shipping the riser will run about $20.00.

Then I got the big idea of maybe going with a sound card already configured for optical out and am considering this one: ASUS XONAR_DG 5 @ $32 with shipping - So,,,,

Is one of these a better option over the other one? Is the sound card overkill and a wasteful drain on the CPU and PSU?

Am I on the right track in wanting to carry the audio from the PC to the Receiver over optical cable?

Any advice from those of you who are WAY smarter than me on this stuff will be greatly appreciated.

My thanks in advance!


Mother Board:

GIGABYTE GA-880GM-D2H

CPU:

4X Deneb 2.8

Onboard Sound:

* Realtek ALC888B codec
* High Definition Audio
* 2/4/5.1/7.1-channel
* Support for S/PDIF In/Out
* Support for CD In

Onboard Video:

Integrated ATI Radeon HD 4250 graphics (DirectX10.1)

5.1 Receiver: (on order)

Denon AVR-391

Reply to dougf4
April 3, 2011 9:04:37 AM

If you're not playing BluRay and you wanna save cash do a 3.5mm out. I bought an optical out only to find my POS Philips receiver didn't have optical. But I only run a 5.1 system and the 3.5mm actually get's all 5.1.

But if you do watch BluRays and need that really fancy stuff, then I'd get the 5450 Gfx card for Bitstreaming off the HDMI on the card.

If neither of these sound good, then I'd go with the sound card. And don't worry about CPU/PSU use, the sound card should actually take a minute strain off of the CPU, and use like 5w maybe.

Those are my 3 perspectives.
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April 3, 2011 2:39:44 PM

Thanks for your reply.

I'm not sure the 3.5mm option will be all that high quality, but I guess according to Denon, it just might work. The thing is I really want this thing to provide the best audio I can squeeze out of it, per Denon's literature,

"To fully enjoy your favorite portable audio tracks, the AVR-391 features a convenient 3.5mm stereo audio jack on the front panel, allowing quick and easy connection to your portable audio device. And, the AVR-391 features Denon’s exclusive Compressed Audio Restorer function, which completely re-constructs the full audio frequency range, restoring lost high frequency detail for the most natural and believable tonal balance."

I had not considered the 3.5mm option until you suggested it. Like I say, I want really crisp, clear audio and somehow just can't quite wrap my arms around that skinny little wire giving me that. But, maybe it is worth a try as a starter...

Thanks again!
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April 3, 2011 7:01:36 PM

Don't get me wrong, if my crap receiver had Optical I'd be using it. Even bought the cable. It's not an option for me.

So if the highest quality is what you need, then yes I would probably spend the 32 bucks on the sound card.
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