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New soundcard or receiver

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February 4, 2012 5:34:23 PM

hiya all i have a 2500k build with msi p67-g45 mainboard with realtek 892 chipset.
ive tried optical sound in movies fine,gaming is stereo only not dts encoding on my builtin card i guess.
right now i have 3 sets of 3.5mm to rca jacks going into reciever analog im not caring for the sound.
seems like in games it only halfway works :( 
so my question is should i buy a sound card to run my 5.1 through optical or i could do analog as long as it works right.
or buy a new reciever with Hdmi to get the sound from my GTX 560 ti card.

my reciever is still in good shape sounds good for the most part it has dts and pro logic 2 and cinema DSP
its a yamaha RX-V361 model has optical and digital in or multichannel which is how i have it set at the moment.

so is it just the encoding of DTS that keeps me from getting 5.1 in games. if it is just the encoding ill probably get soundcard unless hdmi is better i would luv to have hdmi switching for my stuff but if my old receiver is ok i don't see a reason to trash it.


Thx Brandon

More about : soundcard receiver

February 4, 2012 11:28:32 PM

anyone have anythoughts on this which way would you go im totally up for sound card
replacement and keep my receiver i just want surround from my pc for videogames and movies this is my main entertainement hub for shows/movies/torrents
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February 5, 2012 5:14:03 AM

I think analog 5.1 sounds way better than optical. Optical is too compressed and you lose a far bit of sound quality. That said, analog 5.1 is passed through most receivers without any kind of enhancement, so if you want to do any tweaking you'll need a sound card.

Hdmi from a video card also sounds really good. The best overall quality you'll get is with a sound card over 5.1 direct.

Anyway, if you want to use 5.1 optical, get a soundcard that support DTS-Connect and/or DolbyDigital Live encoding. The two that come to mind are the x-fi titanium, and the Xonar DX. Both are about $80.
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February 5, 2012 1:45:39 PM

I blame the onboard for the cruddy analog sound
If I use the hdmi out from my vid card 56O ti
Do I still need a sound card for 5.1 gaming to encode
DTS or does it encode on the vid card

Is the striker a good sound card or get a asus card?
Im running win7 64bit
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February 5, 2012 4:56:55 PM

If you use the hdmi on your video card 5.1 will work, but it's not encoded. Hdmi already has a channel for each audio channel so there's no need to encode. It's your receiver that shows up as an audio device in windows, not the graphics card.

The striker is fine, as long as you have regular pci slots. Personally, I'd spend as little money as possible to get what you want. I'm guessing a new receiver would cost a whole lot more than a sound card.
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February 6, 2012 3:01:21 AM

Frankly, there is no reason to buy a soundcard, then use the crappy SPDIF outputs. The audio is compressed to holy hell, and most receivers have worse Digital to Analog converters then the soundcards have.

As for HDMI from the GPU, you still go through the onboard chipset [it works by communicating with the onboard], and the receiver at the other end is typically lower quality DAC's then the soundcard, so again, you are loosing quality. The best possible output is analog out from the soundcard.
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February 6, 2012 3:06:58 AM

So in other words if I go buy a hdmi receiver that's not going
To fix my gaming sound for that I need a sound card right
And just keep using the multi channel input on my Yamaha
Is that what u mean? Gamer 316
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February 6, 2012 3:41:36 AM

Going to best buy in morning to look at a Sony
Dh520 with hdmi or buy a asus xonar ds pci
Card from amazon for fifty bucks I really
Think I need the card for the better sound
I think the receiver is not the problem it's that
My p67 board audio doesn't do DTS

Crap I'm just not sure which is right
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February 6, 2012 9:14:44 AM

whitebrandon77 said:
Going to best buy in morning to look at a Sony
Dh520 with hdmi or buy a asus xonar ds pci
Card from amazon for fifty bucks I really
Think I need the card for the better sound
I think the receiver is not the problem it's that
My p67 board audio doesn't do DTS

Crap I'm just not sure which is right

Do not waste your money on a sound card because it won't work either.

I have a Logitech Z-5500 which supports both optical & analog input & I have long confirmed that if I set the output to Digital during gaming, I only get Prologic sound & not 5.1 so I switch to 6 channel direct when I game & digital when watching movie.

6 channel direct Analog connection should work fine with your Yamaha. Make sure that you set the speaker mode in 5.1 in the Realtek Audio Manager & some games also need to be set to 5.1 ( or 7.1 as the case maybe ).
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February 6, 2012 11:17:58 AM

Analog is ALWAYS better then digital when it comes to audio. You want the device with the best digital to analog converter doing the conversion from digital to analog, and unless you have a highend > $1000 receiver, that will always be the soundcard.

That being said, when using analog inputs to the receiver, make sure that it is not converting back to digital, doing some audio upmixing/processing, then converting back to analog again, as that kills audio quality.
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February 6, 2012 4:53:43 PM

Spdif will do 5.1 You just need something that supports surround encoding, either DTS-connect or DDLive. My x-fi titanium does it. So do most Xonars.

Also (to the thread in general),

I don't buy that analog is always better than digital argument. We're talking about digital computers here, the signal always starts out digital. As long as you have even bandwidth, you should be fine. spdif doesn't have enough bandwidth to do a good job, but hdmi does.

randomkid said:
Do not waste your money on a sound card because it won't work either.
I have a Logitech Z-5500 which supports both optical & analog input & I have long confirmed that if I set the output to Digital during gaming, I only get Prologic sound & not 5.1 so I switch to 6 channel direct when I game & digital when watching movie.

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February 6, 2012 5:17:15 PM

Quote:
I don't buy that analog is always better than digital argument. We're talking about digital computers here, the signal always starts out digital. As long as you have even bandwidth, you should be fine. spdif doesn't have enough bandwidth to do a good job, but hdmi does.


Yes, but since most receivers have lower quality DACs then most decent [read: Non-Creative] soundcards, you still lose quality compared to using analog out directly from the soundcard.
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February 6, 2012 6:15:37 PM

I have an x-fi titanium, seems like a decent DAC to me. I also have a Harman Kardon AVR 1600.

The big thing is if I use 5.1 or 7.1 direct analog, I'm using a pre-amp input. I (never really liked the term pre-amp ). I think the same is true for most receivers. This means the receiver takes the signal without doing any enhancement and passes it straight onto the amp.

If you have a soundcard that does all the standard enhancements, you're fine (the x-fi works very well, thank you very much.) But if you don't, you might run into issues.

Standard enhancements include:
1) Redirecting sound to the subwoofer channel (that's a big one!)
2) Different surround sound modes (not really needed if you already have 7.1)
3) The same thing the x-fi crystalizer does. Which is to expand the range of sound volume for "sharper" hits. (Most commercial music squeezes the loud parts down so the overall volume of a song can be raised, using the mindset that louder is better.)

Using Hdmi, my receiver does it's processing and then sends the sound to the amp. Honestly I like the processing done on the sound card better, but if you don't have that option, multi-channel direct analog might not be the way to go.
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February 6, 2012 10:29:50 PM

^The OP knows his digital works in his 5.1 system for movies but he is concerned about his gaming. Thus I told him that surround sound gaming is not supported in spdif (optical or digital).

Hence my advice to not buy a soundcard as it will be a waste of his money because it wont work anyway for gaming.
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February 7, 2012 1:30:42 AM

Not so. If you get DTS-connect or DDL encoding, 5.1 will be supported by games. Only a handful of games do this in their own software (Bioshock is one.) But if your sound card supports it, you'll get 5.1 over s/pdif in ANY game that supports surround sound.

It's not really done on the sound card though. The card works as a hardware dongle for 5.1 encoding software the card manufacturers have licensed.

X-fi titaniums support both DTS-connect and DDL, though you need to download a new driver in most cases. Most Xonar cards do as well (I think everything over $80). Use DTS-connect if you can, it's slightly better than DDL.

I tried it myself a few months ago, and it works like a charm (did the speaker tests and everything.) But I went back to using 7.1 analog direct inputs, because I wanted 7.1 and because it sounds better.

randomkid said:
^The OP knows his digital works in his 5.1 system for movies but he is concerned about his gaming. Thus I told him that surround sound gaming is not supported in spdif (optical or digital).

Hence my advice to not buy a soundcard as it will be a waste of his money because it wont work anyway for gaming.
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February 7, 2012 2:21:41 AM

but i have multichannel in as well so i can use my reciever but us the asus ds to over anolog if it wont over optical already have the cables as well i think my sound was way better on my old 775 mboard the sound just plain isn't good sounding the reciever and speakers ive had with previous pc system so i blame the onboard. will found out in about a week i also bought new speaker wire at monoprice going to install card and new wire = hide it better :} and then try optical and analog from the ds whichever sounds best and gives me 5.1 sound in gaming again
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February 7, 2012 10:53:14 AM

Quote:
Not so. If you get DTS-connect or DDL encoding, 5.1 will be supported by games. Only a handful of games do this in their own software (Bioshock is one.) But if your sound card supports it, you'll get 5.1 over s/pdif in ANY game that supports surround sound.


Correct, but Dolby and DTS are VERY low quality audio standards, so audio quality goes to hell.
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February 7, 2012 4:55:36 PM

Imho DTS-Connect is better than analog output until you start to get above 90dB signal to noise.

It has 1.5 Mbit/s over 6 channels. That's roughly 250Kbit/s per channel which is about what you get out of a good mp3. I guess audiophiles might turn up their noses at that, but for most people it's not "hell".
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February 7, 2012 6:50:56 PM

Quote:
Imho DTS-Connect is better than analog output until you start to get above 90dB signal to noise.

It has 1.5 Mbit/s over 6 channels. That's roughly 250Kbit/s per channel which is about what you get out of a good mp3. I guess audiophiles might turn up their noses at that, but for most people it's not "hell".


Are you serious? Its a lossy audio format, just like MP3. Limited to 44.1/48KHz when using more then two channels. Not capable of carrying 24-bit audio with the basic DTS format. DTS, like MP3, are horrid audio formats.
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February 7, 2012 7:01:32 PM

so in your opinion gamerk316 im best to go with the 3.5 to rca analog right and use that with my asus ds thats coming and that will get me the best sound possible for my setup? and anyone know of a guide for setting up surround in a small mancave 10x12 apx right now have the center up at the ceiling and left and right at the corner facing me and the rear surrounds on a stand about 5 feet behaind me on stands
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February 9, 2012 12:02:04 AM

I agree that a good 7.1 analog is the best solution (It's what I use). But uncompressed analog isn't always better than compressed digital.

If it was, video from a vhs tape (uncompressed analog) would be better than a blueray (compressed digital).

Analog is by definition lossy due to physical degradation. The vinyl "warmth" that many audiophiles revere is harmonic distortion from the material. You don't get that with digital. MP3s tend to give a flange effect under 120 kbits/sec, but you only really hear that if you train your ear to hear it.

CDs use 44.1KHz 16 bit sound. Most people are okay with those. Practically all game audio is at most that quality anyway.

Anway, I can tell you firsthand that noise distortion from average onboard audio is worse than digital distortion from compression.

In any event avoid hdmi if you are using nvidia cards. It works, and it works well, but it can cause video corruption. So getting a sound card makes the most sense here.


gamerk316 said:

Are you serious? Its a lossy audio format, just like MP3. Limited to 44.1/48KHz when using more then two channels. Not capable of carrying 24-bit audio with the basic DTS format. DTS, like MP3, are horrid audio formats.

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February 9, 2012 11:27:02 AM

Quote:
Analog is by definition lossy due to physical degradation. The vinyl "warmth" that many audiophiles revere is harmonic distortion from the material. You don't get that with digital. MP3s tend to give a flange effect under 120 kbits/sec, but you only really hear that if you train your ear to hear it.


But remember, sound is by nature a waveform, and at some point, that audio stream WILL be converted to analog, be it by the soundcard, receiver, or within the speakers themselves. As teh signal is going to be converted to analog no matter what, better to have the best Digital to Analog converter doing the conversion.

Video is different, since you don't have to convert to analog at any point; you can display a video signal as a purly digital image without an analog conversion at any part of the chain. Regardless of the actual image format though, you are still limited to the color depth of the chosen format. [IE: The maximum range of colors that is capable of being shown].

Also, be careful comparing technology from two different areas; analog video in some respects is more precisie then digital video [specifically subtle color changes, which analog is better able to reproduce], but storage/reproduction becomes a MAJOR issue.
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February 9, 2012 1:19:12 PM

Best answer selected by whitebrandon77.
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April 25, 2012 3:49:34 PM

MagicPants said:
I agree that a good 7.1 analog is the best solution (It's what I use). But uncompressed analog isn't always better than compressed digital.

If it was, video from a vhs tape (uncompressed analog) would be better than a blueray (compressed digital).

Analog is by definition lossy due to physical degradation. The vinyl "warmth" that many audiophiles revere is harmonic distortion from the material. You don't get that with digital. MP3s tend to give a flange effect under 120 kbits/sec, but you only really hear that if you train your ear to hear it.

CDs use 44.1KHz 16 bit sound. Most people are okay with those. Practically all game audio is at most that quality anyway.

Anway, I can tell you firsthand that noise distortion from average onboard audio is worse than digital distortion from compression.

In any event avoid hdmi if you are using nvidia cards. It works, and it works well, but it can cause video corruption. So getting a sound card makes the most sense here.




I have a question for you. You know much more than I about computer sound. All I am interested in is recording my vast collection of vinyl LP records to computer. I have onboard sound from SoundMAX Integrated Digital audio. My question is do you recommend to add a better soundcard versus the onboard integrated sound that I already have?
I like the Creative Soundblaster X- fatal-something professional soundcard, but it is in 64 bit, recommended using windows 7. I have 32-bit Windows XP. So I don't know if a compatibility issue will arise.
Thank you for any input you may have.
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