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Need a Soundcard with 5.1 Through Optical

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February 7, 2012 10:39:52 PM

Hey everyone. I have a question about soundcards.

As of right now I have a 5.1 surround sound system and the only way to connect my computer to the surround sound receiver is through a digital optical audio cable. A S/PDIF, I believe?

My current soundcard is an onboard Realtek alc892.

I read that I will only be able to get true 5.1 surround sound through an optical cable (for games or other audio sources that are not already in Dobly or DTS) if I have a soundcard that has Dolby Digital Live and/or DTS Connect. My current soundcard does not have these features, correct?

Is it true I won't be able to get 5.1 with my current card?

Is it necessary to get a soundcard that has both Dolby Digital Live and DTS Connect or is only one necessary?

I don't really know how to find soundcards based on features and you can't really select Dolby Digital Live or DTS Connect on the search at Newegg.

What do you believe is the cheapest card I can get that has one or both (whatever is necessary) of these features and will allow me to get true 5.1 sound in my pc gaming?

More about : soundcard optical

February 9, 2012 7:16:19 PM

I've done this.

DTS-connect is better than DDL.

For spdif, I'd go with a Creative Labs titanium (around $85). Don't buy a fancy version. You might need to download a driver from their website, it's free for the titanium, so don't accidentally pay extra for it (DTS and Dolby charge for the license)

Then you'll go into the sound card properties, select encoding, and use DTS Connect (or DDL as a last resort)

You can also use an Asus Xonar DX, but I don't think it's as good an option for spdif, as the optical out shares the same port as the mic.

There is also a free DTS-connect driver floating around (goggle for it, it's unlicensed) that will enable it for your onboard sound. I'd give that a shot first, though I think it depends on your motherboard.
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February 10, 2012 6:16:21 PM

Poked around a bit and couldn't find that driver.

Here is another question I have though.

Can HDMI carry unencoded 5.1?

If I were to get a new receiver that has an HDMI port, could the HDMI cable from my graphics card/computer to the receiver to the TV carry sound from gaming and have it be in 5.1?
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February 10, 2012 6:40:19 PM

Yes the HDMI port on your graphics card can do just that, but there's a catch.

HDMI needs to carry video and sound at the same time, because Hollywood designed it to keep you from stealing your movies. I think this means that card needs to do some (not a lot) extra video work to send audio via HDMI to your receiver.

If you have your monitor hooked up with DVI, it's like running a cloned screen. If you pass the HDMI video signal through your receiver and then to your monitor, you might get extra latency (depending on the receiver).

Anyway when I tried it, it worked great until I tried to use anti-aliasing in skyrim, then it crashed my video cards (2x nVidia GTX 580 in sli). It was very consistent, and as soon as I went back to the sound card everything was fine.

AMD cards may fair better. But just a warning that it may cause a small amount of random crashing.

My advice is try the hdmi port for sound, but also use it for video. If messes with the video in any way, go with the s/pdif. If you can't use the HDMI port for video, go with s/pdif.
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February 12, 2012 3:46:22 PM

Ok, I'll give it a try once I get the receiver.

Thank you.

That being said, if I do run the sound through s/pdif it will continue to not give me the true 5.1 surround that the HDMI would, correct?

Or is it possible for the receiver to translate the sound to 5.1 or is s/pdif not capable of handling unencoded 5.1 no matter what, even if the receiver it is carrying it to can?
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February 12, 2012 11:00:45 PM

To my knowledge both Dolby Digital Live and DTS Connect basically convert a stereo signal into 5.1 so as long as your receiver has that capability s/pdif from your sound card should be fine. For true 5.1 your video cards HDMI output would be the best choice.

If you buy a receiver with both HDMI and s/pdif inputs you can have the best of both worlds.

Here's a link to an article on the different types of Dolby. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dolby_Digital It talks about DTS Connect in the Dolby Digital Live section as well.

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February 13, 2012 11:04:06 AM

The ONLY way to get 5.1 out of SPDIF is to send either a Dolby or DTS stream out. SPDIF is INCAPBLE of sending uncompressed 5.1 audio. The reason you get 5.1 when using the speaker test is because it tests each speaker individually [IE: One audio stream at a time, instead of a 5.1 sample].

You have to use either Dolby Digital Live or DTS-Connect to convert a 5.1 PCM stream to a lower quality Dolby/DTS stream to get 5.1 over SPDIF. Thats why I avoid using SPDIF at all costs.
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February 13, 2012 2:13:19 PM

gamerk316 said:
The ONLY way to get 5.1 out of SPDIF is to send either a Dolby or DTS stream out. SPDIF is INCAPBLE of sending uncompressed 5.1 audio. The reason you get 5.1 when using the speaker test is because it tests each speaker individually [IE: One audio stream at a time, instead of a 5.1 sample].

You have to use either Dolby Digital Live or DTS-Connect to convert a 5.1 PCM stream to a lower quality Dolby/DTS stream to get 5.1 over SPDIF. Thats why I avoid using SPDIF at all costs.


Agreed. I also only use my sound cards analog outputs and that's also why I recommended the video cards HDMI output for the OP's surround sound receiver.
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February 13, 2012 2:28:27 PM

^^ True, HDMI gets around the downsampling issue, but you don't get the extra benefits a soundcard gives [IE: Better quality].
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February 13, 2012 3:14:53 PM

I don't see the benefits. Using the sound cards analog everything is digital until the card converts it to analog and there is that multichannel (more than 2) downsampling issue. Using the s/pdif for stereo audio and the HDMI for all video (and it's accompanying audio) everything is digital until the surround sound receiver converts it to analog. Besides the downsampling issue any benefits would be in direct correlation to the quality of the surround sound receiver/sound card depending on which is used.
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February 13, 2012 4:26:57 PM

^^ But again, if the soundcard has a higher end DAC then the receiver [which is often the case], then you want to use the soundcard to handle the conversion. If you have a soundcard, its kinda pointless to NOT use the DAC's on it...
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February 13, 2012 5:11:00 PM

S/pdif can do true 5.1 surround as long as it's encoded with DTS-Connect or DDL.

When I say true surround I mean sounds can be placed in any of the 5 speakers. Realtime encoded DTS isn't the best quality in the world, but give it a try. You should also try HDMI as it will sound far better (up until it corrupts your video driver and your computer crashes.)

tk423 said:

That being said, if I do run the sound through s/pdif it will continue to not give me the true 5.1 surround that the HDMI would, correct?

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February 14, 2012 1:48:00 PM

MagicPants said:
S/pdif can do true 5.1 surround as long as it's encoded with DTS-Connect or DDL.

When I say true surround I mean sounds can be placed in any of the 5 speakers. Realtime encoded DTS isn't the best quality in the world, but give it a try. You should also try HDMI as it will sound far better (up until it corrupts your video driver and your computer crashes.)


No, you were right in saying "true 5.1". On the other hand I used the phrase "true 5.1" and what I meant and should have said is better 5.1 :pt1cable: 

I guess to be as accurate as possible you could call DTS-Connect or DDL "emulated 5.1" either way it's still true 5.1 just not as good. One reason being it wasn't made that way in production. Hopefully everyone knows what we mean/meant.
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February 14, 2012 2:43:48 PM

^^ Wrong. Both DTS-C and DDL take a 5.1 PCM stream and convert to 5.1 DD/DTS signals. Dolby Virtual Speaker/Headphone (and whatever the DTS equivalent is) is used for virtualized 5.1.

...of course, for that to work, you have to be using very low quality audio to fit into DD/DTS spec (44.1/48KHz 16-bit audio samples). Depending on the soundcard drivers, the audio might not be automatically downsampled prior to going through the Dolby/DTS encoders...
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February 14, 2012 5:13:34 PM

Sounds to me your like just arguing semantics here. Personally I don't see the big difference between your use of "virtualized 5.1" and my use of "emulated 5.1".

As far as it being "real 5.1" or not if it's there and it's 5.1 it's real. It may not be as good as or original but it's still there, Really.
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May 1, 2012 7:30:28 PM

Have you bought a soundcard yeat...Myself when i buy a sound card it has to have DDLive & DTS to get a true surround sound effect so that leaves out Asus...Not one of there cards support DTS so a real good choice i picked was the HT Omega Claro Plus+..This card has a sweet feature no other soundcard has it can take any 2 channel signal & put it 5.1 surround..When i listen to music sometime i'll listen to guitar solo and the sound will go completely in a circle http://www.ncix.com/products/?sku=25316&vpn=CLARO%20plu... Check out this kick ass sound card and its classified as a audiophile sound card..
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May 1, 2012 7:58:08 PM

HT Omega eClaro can do the same. It has Dolby Digital Live, Dolby Virtual Speaker, Dolby Headphone, Dolby Pro Logic IIx, DTS Connect, DTS Interactive & DTS Neo PC same as the HT Omega Claro Plus+.
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May 1, 2012 8:12:33 PM

douglasw said:
Have you bought a soundcard yeat...Myself when i buy a sound card it has to have DDLive & DTS to get a true surround sound effect so that leaves out Asus...Not one of there cards support DTS


Uhh, wut? The ASUS Xonar DS, D2, D2X, HDAV 1.3, ST, and STX all support DTS encoding. [The DS is DTS only, the rest support both Dolby and DTS].

And again, whenever possible, avoid optical.
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May 1, 2012 9:58:11 PM

gamerk316 said:
Uhh, wut? The ASUS Xonar DS, D2, D2X, HDAV 1.3, ST, and STX all support DTS encoding. [The DS is DTS only, the rest support both Dolby and DTS].

And again, whenever possible, avoid optical.

Your full of beans buddy Xonar Essence stx does NOT support DTS....Here Read this http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/multimedia/display/asu... read the paragraph just under HP Advance settings and youll see that card dont support DTS....if it did id own that card
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May 1, 2012 10:11:50 PM

gamerk316 said:
Uhh, wut? The ASUS Xonar DS, D2, D2X, HDAV 1.3, ST, and STX all support DTS encoding. [The DS is DTS only, the rest support both Dolby and DTS].

And again, whenever possible, avoid optical.
http://www.asus.com/Multimedia/Audio_Cards/Xonar_Essenc... Heres more proof if this card supported DTS least they would say so in the specs...Like i said this card dont support DTS
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May 1, 2012 11:02:28 PM

douglasw said:
http://www.asus.com/Multimedia/Audio_Cards/Xonar_Essenc... Heres more proof if this card supported DTS least they would say so in the specs...Like i said this card dont support DTS

Yea, I don't see it in the specs either. It might be one of those things where you have to pay extra for the separate license. I've seen Creative do that before with other things.
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May 1, 2012 11:34:11 PM

gamerk316 said:
Uhh, wut? The ASUS Xonar DS, D2, D2X, HDAV 1.3, ST, and STX all support DTS encoding. [The DS is DTS only, the rest support both Dolby and DTS].

And again, whenever possible, avoid optical.


Why? Optical is no different than coax or HDMI outputs.

S/PDIF in coax and optical are both strictly two channels of uncompressed PCM audio, but can pass the compressed 5.1/7.1 formats as well. S/PDIF is used to transmit digital signals of a number of formats, including 48 kHz (used to be used in DAT, replaced by AES) and 44.1 kHz (used in Redbook CD's). The format has no strictly defined data rate, and instead uses a biphase code that has either one or two transitions for every bit, allowing the word clock (used for signal pulse timing) to be extracted from the signal itself. Some audiophile and professional equipment allows for an external word clock to be used to synchronize timing and eliminate jitter. Additionally, S/PDIF generally transmits a 20-bit audio data stream plus other related information, however with less than 20 bits, as in the case with Redbook CD's, the extra bits are set to 0. If the source is an SACD player, then S/PDIF can also transport 24-bit samples by way of four extra bits, but the extra may be ignored depending on the DAC used. Additionally, while S/PDIF supports 96/24 output, it makes no difference in practice as most source material is 44.1/16 in the case of MP3's or CD Audio, which makes up the bulk of source material.

As for HDMI, it is required to support S/PDIF, but unlike S/PDIF, HDMI allows 8 channels of uncompressed audio at 16, 20, and 24 bits with a sample range between 44.1 kHz and 192 kHz (used in Blue-Ray, SACD, and DVD-A), as well as the various compressed audio standards. However, due to the limitations of the human ear, it is debatable whether nor not humans can differentiate between 16 and 24 bit audio streams, as well as 48kHz vs 96kHz samples. The latest double blind study I read about found that out of 554 trials, there were 276 correct answers, which meant that there a 49.8% success rate. Given that it was a 50/50 chance to begin with, it shows that the difference, if any, is negligible, however audiophiles and audio equipment manufacturers (of course) contest this, saying there is a difference.
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May 2, 2012 12:12:51 AM

Idonno said:
Yea, I don't see it in the specs either. It might be one of those things where you have to pay extra for the separate license. I've seen Creative do that before with other things.
I know what you mean about buying a license for a features Creative is good for that like the Dolby Digital DTS Pack for old X-Fi sound card but i dont think this applies in this case if Asus would have put in DTS in this card they would have built it into the card as hardware...makes no sence to add DTS as a add on software not to a 200 dollar soundcard anyways....Like i said if this card had DTS also i would have this card..
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May 2, 2012 8:00:32 AM

sk1939 said:
Why? Optical is no different than coax or HDMI outputs.

First off, as evident in your own post, HDMI is quite a bit different. Secondly I've never heard any one who disapproved of optical argue for coax instead.

I use the analog outputs on my soundcard (only) for the quality limitations inherent in optical and coax as well as the reasons "gamerk316" posted earlier:
gamerk316 said:
^^ But again, if the soundcard has a higher end DAC then the receiver [which is often the case], then you want to use the soundcard to handle the conversion. If you have a soundcard, its kinda pointless to NOT use the DAC's on it...

I don't need to read the "The latest double blind study" to tell me what my ears hear. Results can be easily skewed to represent a negligible difference or a much greater difference depending on the desired outcome, double blind or not. The importance of that difference can only be judged by the owners of those ears.

For me PC sound quality is of equal importance to CPU quality (maybe more). Even my old dell Dimension 4700 P4 has $600 worth of audio equipment dedicated to it and unlike the 3.8GHz CPU, the audio portion has retained much of it's value.

Sure people like me are in the minority but, no where near the minority that your "latest double blind study" seems to suggest.
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May 2, 2012 12:16:54 PM

sk1939 said:
Why? Optical is no different than coax or HDMI outputs.


Yes it is, due to bandwidth limitations. Dolby/DTS are horrid audio formats because of how compressed they are, hence why I always recommend direct analog out whenever possible.
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May 2, 2012 4:42:39 PM

gamerk316 said:
Yes it is, due to bandwidth limitations. Dolby/DTS are horrid audio formats because of how compressed they are, hence why I always recommend direct analog out whenever possible.


For multichannel I can see that, for straight stereo audio it makes no difference. As far as recommending direct audio out, it depends on the grade of equipment. A true audiophile would have an external DAC, while a home theatre nut would have a surround sound processor, both of which would be better than the DAC on the onboard card. In the OP's case, it depends on what he is connecting to.
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May 2, 2012 4:49:03 PM

Idonno said:
First off, as evident in your own post, HDMI is quite a bit different. Secondly I've never heard any one who disapproved of optical argue for coax instead.

I use the analog outputs on my soundcard (only) for the quality limitations inherent in optical and coax as well as the reasons "gamerk316" posted earlier:
I don't need to read the "The latest double blind study" to tell me what my ears hear. Results can be easily skewed to represent a negligible difference or a much greater difference depending on the desired outcome, double blind or not. The importance of that difference can only be judged by the owners of those ears.

For me PC sound quality is of equal importance to CPU quality (maybe more). Even my old dell Dimension 4700 P4 has $600 worth of audio equipment dedicated to it and unlike the 3.8GHz CPU, the audio portion has retained much of it's value.

Sure people like me are in the minority but, no where near the minority that your "latest double blind study" seems to suggest.


Again, for multi-channel yes, for stereo no. Unfortunately I have; it's like the $500 power cord debate.

I use the optical connection on my soundcard simply because I cannot hear the difference between 44.1/16 and 96/24 with purchased from Amazon, or my CD collection, both of which are 44.1/16, you cannot get more out of less. To output 96/24, you have to upconvert the stream, which means adding 0's into the gaps, since you cannot get something out of nothing. If you can hear the difference, great, but I firmly believe it's psychosomatic (your ears "hear" what your mind wants to hear), since the same argument can be had with $500 cables. Equipment cost is meaningless; $600 in gear could mean anything.
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May 2, 2012 6:08:08 PM

sk1939 said:
For multichannel I can see that, for straight stereo audio it makes no difference.


*Some* difference. Jitter matters, and as you pointed out, the equipment at the other end of the chain matters as well. At the end of the day, whatever piece of equipment has the best DAC should be handling the analog conversion.
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May 2, 2012 6:31:42 PM

gamerk316 said:
*Some* difference. Jitter matters, and as you pointed out, the equipment at the other end of the chain matters as well. At the end of the day, whatever piece of equipment has the best DAC should be handling the analog conversion.


Indeed. Has the OP abandoned their thread? Has not posted in a while...
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May 2, 2012 6:47:50 PM

gamerk316 said:
Yes it is, due to bandwidth limitations. Dolby/DTS are horrid audio formats because of how compressed they are, hence why I always recommend direct analog out whenever possible.
...You were saying you'd recommend direct analog over Dolby & Dts but with my experience with Analog is a less quality sound iv read many times that dolby or DTS sends a cleaner signal and i can relate to that in analog i get alought of hissing sound then it clears right up in Dolby...Iv even read in my stereo Pamphlet that theres 3 ways to hook up to your Computer under Good better best & Analog was rated good while coaxial cable with Dolby was better and best was optical...No offence my system using analog use to sounded like crap..
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May 2, 2012 7:00:01 PM

sk1939 said:
Why? Optical is no different than coax or HDMI outputs.

S/PDIF in coax and optical are both strictly two channels of uncompressed PCM audio, but can pass the compressed 5.1/7.1 formats as well. S/PDIF is used to transmit digital signals of a number of formats, including 48 kHz (used to be used in DAT, replaced by AES) and 44.1 kHz (used in Redbook CD's). The format has no strictly defined data rate, and instead uses a biphase code that has either one or two transitions for every bit, allowing the word clock (used for signal pulse timing) to be extracted from the signal itself. Some audiophile and professional equipment allows for an external word clock to be used to synchronize timing and eliminate jitter. Additionally, S/PDIF generally transmits a 20-bit audio data stream plus other related information, however with less than 20 bits, as in the case with Redbook CD's, the extra bits are set to 0. If the source is an SACD player, then S/PDIF can also transport 24-bit samples by way of four extra bits, but the extra may be ignored depending on the DAC used. Additionally, while S/PDIF supports 96/24 output, it makes no difference in practice as most source material is 44.1/16 in the case of MP3's or CD Audio, which makes up the bulk of source material.

As for HDMI, it is required to support S/PDIF, but unlike S/PDIF, HDMI allows 8 channels of uncompressed audio at 16, 20, and 24 bits with a sample range between 44.1 kHz and 192 kHz (used in Blue-Ray, SACD, and DVD-A), as well as the various compressed audio standards. However, due to the limitations of the human ear, it is debatable whether nor not humans can differentiate between 16 and 24 bit audio streams, as well as 48kHz vs 96kHz samples. The latest double blind study I read about found that out of 554 trials, there were 276 correct answers, which meant that there a 49.8% success rate. Given that it was a 50/50 chance to begin with, it shows that the difference, if any, is negligible, however audiophiles and audio equipment manufacturers (of course) contest this, saying there is a difference.
Im guessing with what your saying that the market has hits its limites maybe thats why you dont see a new soundcard come out every year...I have the Ht Omega claro Plus+ and with music its totally amazing to the ear but i was shocked when i found out the card is almost 5 years old and here it is 2012 & i just bought it brand new..
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May 2, 2012 7:29:32 PM

douglasw said:
...You were saying you'd recommend direct analog over Dolby & Dts but with my experience with Analog is a less quality sound iv read many times that dolby or DTS sends a cleaner signal and i can relate to that in analog i get alought of hissing sound then it clears right up in Dolby...Iv even read in my stereo Pamphlet that theres 3 ways to hook up to your Computer under Good better best & Analog was rated good while coaxial cable with Dolby was better and best was optical...No offence my system using analog use to sounded like crap..


...sound is an analog waveform. Whether the soundcard, receiver, or speakers do it, at some point, the digital signal is going to be converted back to analog. Hence why you want the component with the best DAC to be the one that does the conversion.

In addition, Dolby and DTS are lossy audio formats. You lose some degree of audio quality just by using them. So you have a tradeoff the second you use either format. [this is the same reason why I want all h.264 based audio formats to die a horrid death. Wish more stuff was native FLAC these days...]
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May 2, 2012 7:49:27 PM

sk1939 said:
Again, for multi-channel yes, for stereo no.
You keep underestimating the importance of quality DAC's. And again, what "gamerk316" said.


sk1939 said:
I use the optical connection on my soundcard simply because I cannot hear the difference between 44.1/16 and 96/24 with purchased from Amazon, or my CD collection, both of which are 44.1/16, you cannot get more out of less. To output 96/24, you have to upconvert the stream, which means adding 0's into the gaps, since you cannot get something out of nothing.
Actually a good up-conversion is much more than that and while most of the time it is audible (for me), it is admittedly minimal and sometimes not even preferable. The source is the first step in a long line of factors and while I certainly do listen to regular CD's I also listen to SACD's as well as many other high quality sources. If you have a PC, an internet connection and a little knowledge the possibility's for high quality sources are almost limitless.

sk1939 said:
If you can hear the difference, great, but I firmly believe it's psychosomatic (your ears "hear" what your mind wants to hear)
Well, since you can't here the difference it makes perfect sense that you would believe that. However all hearing isn't created equal any more than the level of importance one puts on the quality of anything.

I do have a hard time understanding how an otherwise intelligent individual such as your self could think he has the best hearing in the world and anyone claiming better is just fooling themselves.

sk1939 said:
since the same argument can be had with $500 cables.
Now this comment I like unfortunately, it's completely wrong. People can here between 20-20,000Hz some a little better and many worse to various degrees and for various reasons. For a really decent quality frequency range the sound should be the same level (measured in decibels) throughout the entire 20-20,000Hz range with as little drop off as possible on either end. This is measurable as are other factors like total harmonic distortion (THD) or signal to noise ratio (SNR).

Your $500 cables also have measurable specifications and much cheaper cables with the same specs are no less worthy for sound quality. If the specifications are greater than the components it's connecting can use, that's equally pointless.

I don't know of one single true audiophile that uses Monster Cable (or similar price to performance ratio cable) those are for the uninformed.

Another important factor is that, while a small difference may not be noticed, lots of small differences often are.


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May 2, 2012 8:31:42 PM

douglasw said:
...You were saying you'd recommend direct analog over Dolby & Dts but with my experience with Analog is a less quality sound iv read many times that dolby or DTS sends a cleaner signal and i can relate to that in analog i get alought of hissing sound then it clears right up in Dolby...Iv even read in my stereo Pamphlet that theres 3 ways to hook up to your Computer under Good better best & Analog was rated good while coaxial cable with Dolby was better and best was optical...No offence my system using analog use to sounded like crap..
If the analog sounded worse that was probably due to the hum, hiss or other impurity's that low quality analog cables are prone to. If your just using stereo the SPDIF (optical/coaxial) outputs are (IMHO) a worthwhile trade off but that's up to your own individual tastes.

Another factor that I find that falsely influences people is the amp on most PC speakers seems to assign a higher gain to the SPDIF than what the analog has and many people mistake the louder SPDIF as better. For a better "quality test" adjust the volume to an equal sound level each time.

While SPDIF is not the best connection in many regards, it does have the advantage of not being very prone to outside interference like analog can be. For instance with SPDIF outside interference is not part of the digital information being processed so you won't hear it in your speakers whereas with analog it would probably come through as hum or hiss. This can be managed, it just isn't as trouble free as SPDIF.

So how do you like your "HT Omega Claro Plus+ " nice not having driver issues, isn't it.
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May 2, 2012 8:51:31 PM

Idonno said:

I do have a hard time understanding how an otherwise intelligent individual such as your self could think he has the best hearing in the world and anyone claiming better is just fooling themselves.

Fair enough.
Obsession with quantifiable data mostly. I don't have the best hearing (that's for sure) but I do hear over a large frequency range (TV's annoy me, even across the house).

Quote:
You keep underestimating the importance of quality DAC's. And again, what "gamerk316" said.


DAC's are important yes, but I've never found the best DAC's to be integrated as part of a sound card, there's just too much electrical noise in a PC. Also, most people aren't going to be able to tell the difference anyways since they're probably using Logitech 2.1's or some such.

Quote:
Actually a good up-conversion is much more than that and while most of the time it is audible (for me), it is admittedly minimal and sometimes not even preferable. The source is the first step in a long line of factors and while I certainly do listen to regular CD's I also listen to SACD's as well as many other high quality sources. If you have a PC, an internet connection and a little knowledge the possibility's for high quality sources are almost limitless.


Audible perhaps, but at your admittance, minimal. I generalized a bit, that was directed not necessarily towards those who know better, but towards those who strictly follow numbers (see that $20 Colby CD player can handle 96/24, so it must be better than that $100 44.1/16 Denon for example). True, .WAV and .FLAC, but the majority of digital songs are still in mp3, .mp4, or .aac format.

Quote:
Now this comment I like unfortunately, it's completely wrong. People can here between 20-20,000Hz some a little better and many worse to various degrees and for various reasons. For a really decent quality frequency range the sound should be the same level (measured in decibels) throughout the entire 20-20,000Hz range with as little drop off as possible on either end. This is measurable as are other factors like total harmonic distortion (THD) or signal to noise ratio (SNR).

Your $500 cables also have measurable specifications and much cheaper cables with the same specs are no less worthy for sound quality. If the specifications are greater than the components it's connecting can use, that's equally pointless.

I don't know of one single true audiophile that uses Monster Cable (or similar price to performance ratio cable) those are for the uninformed.

Another important factor is that, while a small difference may not be noticed, lots of small differences often are.



Perhaps, but they are minimal improvement at best. Unfortunately I know of far too many people who are self proclaimed "audiophiles" on audiophile forums, who invest $25k into their systems, and then purchase ridiculous things like the $500 power cable (PS Audio for example), $200 outlets (PS Audio), $1000 interconnects (MIT Cables), the ceramic cable risers, etc.

What do you have for components at the moment, out of curiosity?
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May 2, 2012 8:54:01 PM

douglasw said:
Im guessing with what your saying that the market has hits its limites maybe thats why you dont see a new soundcard come out every year...I have the Ht Omega claro Plus+ and with music its totally amazing to the ear but i was shocked when i found out the card is almost 5 years old and here it is 2012 & i just bought it brand new..


Yes, like everything there are limits.
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May 2, 2012 11:56:40 PM

sk1939 said:
What do you have for components at the moment, out of curiosity?
On this computer I have the HT | OMEGA eClaro Sound Card. A Klipsch ProMedia Ultra 5.1 Multimedia Speaker System W/Upgraded Amp and I replaced the 2 front right & left speakers with Infinity bookshelf speakers and the center speaker with a PSB center channel speaker.

All together including the sound card I have invested about $1200 into this PC's audio. My reasoning was I didn't want a large home entertainment receiver sitting on or near my computer desk in addition to everything that's already there. By audiophile standards it's certainly not top of the line.

I would much rather had the "Blue Sky Sky System One 5.1 System" http://www.sweetwater.com/store/search.php?s=Blue+Sky+5... I actually came very close to buying them but, @ $5,599 and after just finishing this fairly expensive build I decided to wait. And now that I've upgraded this sound system to suit my needs it might just be on permanent hold. We'll see.
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May 3, 2012 1:16:00 AM

Idonno said:
On this computer I have the HT | OMEGA eClaro Sound Card. A Klipsch ProMedia Ultra 5.1 Multimedia Speaker System W/Upgraded Amp and I replaced the 2 front right & left speakers with Infinity bookshelf speakers and the center speaker with a PSB center channel speaker.

All together including the sound card I have invested about $1200 into this PC's audio. My reasoning was I didn't want a large home entertainment receiver sitting on or near my computer desk in addition to everything that's already there. By audiophile standards it's certainly not top of the line.

I would much rather had the "Blue Sky Sky System One 5.1 System" http://www.sweetwater.com/store/search.php?s=Blue+Sky+5... I actually came very close to buying them but, @ $5,599 and after just finishing this fairly expensive build I decided to wait. And now that I've upgraded this sound system to suit my needs it might just be on permanent hold. We'll see.


I was looking at the eClaro, but have never gotten around to buying it (in addition to the fact that I have no open slots), so I'm still using the built in (cringe) SoundMAX with an external DAC (only have 2 channels anyways). Interesting combination you have there, why 5.1 channel though (for the games/movies?). I can see that, although I personally would not buy them online. Speakers are one of those things that are so subjective you have to really hear them in person to get a good feel for them I believe (much like monitors).
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May 3, 2012 5:27:42 PM

sk1939 said:
I was looking at the eClaro, but have never gotten around to buying it (in addition to the fact that I have no open slots), so I'm still using the built in (cringe) SoundMAX with an external DAC (only have 2 channels anyways). Interesting combination you have there, why 5.1 channel though (for the games/movies?)

Yes the eClaro is a decent card. I'm quite happy with it and HT Omega cards don't seem to have all the driver issues that plague many other manufacturers to varying degrees.

One trend in the sound card industry that I don't like is their tendency to categorize users into groups and produce cards accordingly. This didn't seem to be quite so much the case 10yrs ago when my x-Fi fatality Pro extreme gamer had everything the extreme music had with the addition of x-ram and it could still link to the large I/O console geared 100% towards the audiophile and not necessarily the gamer. At the time it was truly the best of both worlds.

Now it seems almost all the PCIe audiophile grade cards have only stereo analog outputs. I think it's wrong to assume that just because someone likes to listen to quality music they wouldn't also like to watch a movie or play a game in 5.1 surround.

A lot of home theater receiver manufacturers realize this simple concept so why is it that sound card manufacturers don't.
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May 3, 2012 5:51:57 PM

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Now it seems almost all the PCIe audiophile grade cards have only stereo analog outputs. I think it's wrong to assume that just because someone likes to listen to quality music they wouldn't also like to watch a movie or play a game in 5.1 surround.


Different markets. Cards like the STX and Titanium HD are focused directly at audiophiles. Cards like the Xense, the Titanium, and the like are geared more toward gamers.
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May 3, 2012 5:54:36 PM

Idonno said:
Yes the eClaro is a decent card. I'm quite happy with it and HT Omega cards don't seem to have all the driver issues that plague many other manufacturers to varying degrees.

One trend in the sound card industry that I don't like is their tendency to categorize users into groups and produce cards accordingly. This didn't seem to be quite so much the case 10yrs ago when my x-Fi fatality Pro extreme gamer had everything the extreme music had with the addition of x-ram and it could still link to the large I/O console geared 100% towards the audiophile and not necessarily the gamer. At the time it was truly the best of both worlds.

Now it seems almost all the PCIe audiophile grade cards have only stereo analog outputs. I think it's wrong to assume that just because someone likes to listen to quality music they wouldn't also like to watch a movie or play a game in 5.1 surround.

A lot of home theater receiver manufacturers realize this simple concept so why is it that sound card manufacturers don't.


Driver stability is nice, something sorely lacking with AMD at the moment.

Well they're trying to appeal to different markets. Most gamer's don't have a use for 2 channel audio (according to the manufactures anyways), and most audiophiles don't care for 5.1 channel audio (mostly true actually). I still have an Xtrememusic somewhere, but got the console for it. It also has to do with the phrase "jack of all trades, master of none" which is what happens to a lot of receivers until you move into the high end range.
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May 3, 2012 6:14:58 PM

sk1939 said:
most audiophiles don't care for 5.1 channel audio (mostly true actually).
While I agree with that statement if I take it at face value, I also think most audiophiles would prefer 5.1 for games or movies. Which was kind of the point of my last post.
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Driver stability is nice, something sorely lacking with AMD at the moment.

unfortunately, we are in total agreement here! CCC 12.4 has issues.
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