I'm getting ready to build an HTPC for my multimedia needs. I currently have an 7.1 surround system with receiver. I know I need to keep the receiver to power the speakers, but I'm wondering about the sound card for the HTPC. Can I run the sound off the card built into the motherboard and let the receiver do the bulk of the work or do I need to get a card that will run the 7.1 out to the receiver. I would think the receiver can handle it, i just want to make sure so my audio isn't horrible.
Ideally, you'll want to bitstream your audio over HDMI from your HTPC to your receiver and let the receiver do the decoding. The built in motherboard audio is all you need as long as you get a current motherboard that bitstreams HD audio over HDMI.
ok let me complicate things a bit. My receiver is old enough it doesn't have any HDMI ports, component is the best it offers. I want to use HMDI to my 50" tv, but could use component if that is what i have to do. I would get rid of the receiver, but the speakers I have won't run of a PC card, at least I think they wont. so is there anyway I can run the HDMI to the tv and use that audio when i want and use the receiver audio when I want, or can i only have it one way?
That's my current setup:
HDMI to TV (video only- no audio!)
Optical to recevier for 5.1 DD/DTS
Whether or not you can get 7.1 will depend on your receiver. It won't be HD audio though... HDMI is required for that (though you may be able to decode on the HTPC and send it to the analog ports on the receiver).
Yes it has an optical. I'm not to concerned with it being HD audio so that solution will work well. I'll have to look into sending it via the analog, but the optical seems the easiest and most logical. Thanks for the help
optical works when the audio signal is encoded with the surround sound format.
if your soundcard is 5.1 ... you wont get 7.1
i dont think you need HDMI for 7.1 .. but you need it if you want to run the newer surround sound formats, because of the new sample rates and bit depths.
most receivers that do not have an HDMI input only go up to 96khz
whether the receiver supports 24bit or 16bit only is questionable.
to connect the television with an HDMI cord, you will need some type of adaptor.
usually this adaptor needs to be 'active' to process and translate the video information.
not all video cards on a computer will allow you to use a simple cord without a processor.
if your motherboard's integrated soundcard doesnt support 7.1 .. dont expect it to transfer anything higher than 5.1
and if your other soundcard doesnt support dolby digital live or dts connect .. dont expect PC sounds or video games to play from the rear speakers.
dolby digital live and dts connect are 5.1 encoders .. not 7.1
the digital to analog convertor inside the receiver probably sounds a lot better than the onboard soundcard.
that means you would want to avoid using the analog connection.
by try it for yourself before you get rid of the other soundcard.
because maybe one soundcard sounds better than the other with analog output.
most people get stuck with stereo output from the computer, unless they are watching a movie with dolby digital or dts surround sound.
it is horrible for video games that have surround sound (especially first person shooters that rely on the rear audio to help the person score points)
what motherboard do you have for the onboard soundcard?
i havent seen a whole lot of new motherboards with 7.1 output because i havent been shopping for new motherboards.
i'm sure you could do it yourself.. i am only curious about some of the new onboard soundcards and what they offer.
Yeah to be honest I don't have a sound card/new motherboard right now. I'm shopping for the parts, but want to do my research before I buy. The motherboard I am currently looking at is: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... which has a realtek ALC886 driver with 8 channel support. From what research I've done it looks like it supports Dolby Digital and DTS. Other than some issues with the driver it seems to be a really good on-board audio. I'm hoping it will work for me. I would hate to have to up date my stereo receiver while building the HTPC. From what I keep reading as far as audio is concerned it seems like unless I'm looking for absolute perfect sound (I'm not that anal) the on-board sound will be more than enough, just have to configure everything correctly. Thanks for the information. Gives me a lot to think about.