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Topic # 43084 16-Oct-2009 13:54
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Well I have given up on the Soundblaster Audigy as being a lost cause.. Has now been sold on Trademe so now I am in the market for a soundcard that works.

What are people using that actually works? I can either connect via SPDIF, Coax or analogue. Soundcard must support 7.1. I do not want to spend a fortune (HDAV 1.3 anyone...). My amp does not support the HD sound formats and there are no plans to replace it.
Needs to be proven to work with Freeview|HD as that is the current sticking point with the onboard sound.







Media centre PC - Case Silverstone LC16M with 2 X 80mm AcoustiFan DustPROOF, MOBO Gigabyte MA785GT-UD3H, CPU AMD X2 240 under volted, RAM 4 Gig DDR3 1033, HDD 120Gig System/512Gig data, Tuners 2 X Hauppauge HVR-3000, 1 X HVR-2200, Video Palit GT 220, Sound Realtek 886A HD (onboard), Optical LiteOn DH-401S Blue-ray using TotalMedia Theatre Power Corsair VX Series, 450W ATX PSU OS Windows 7 x64

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  Reply # 264266 16-Oct-2009 14:10
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Is HDMI not an option?

Do you want bit accurate 44.1 playback?

My onboard works fine with freeview HD both outputting ac3 bitstream and also analog 5.1 when I needed that. HDMI would be my choice now if you can get 5.1 over it, the onboard ati will only do 2 channel or bitstream, and it wont do 44.1kHz so I cant send audio cd to the amp without mangling which is why I persevere with the onboard spdif out.




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  Reply # 264271 16-Oct-2009 14:19
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cant you just use any sound card with spdif and let your amp do the work?





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  Reply # 264273 16-Oct-2009 14:19
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Amp does not have HDMI so no is not an option. My Mobo is quite old (as per sig) and although as an indictment on Creative it works more reliably then the Audigy it is not a HD soundcard and does not handle Freeview|HD. It does do everything else OK.







Media centre PC - Case Silverstone LC16M with 2 X 80mm AcoustiFan DustPROOF, MOBO Gigabyte MA785GT-UD3H, CPU AMD X2 240 under volted, RAM 4 Gig DDR3 1033, HDD 120Gig System/512Gig data, Tuners 2 X Hauppauge HVR-3000, 1 X HVR-2200, Video Palit GT 220, Sound Realtek 886A HD (onboard), Optical LiteOn DH-401S Blue-ray using TotalMedia Theatre Power Corsair VX Series, 450W ATX PSU OS Windows 7 x64

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  Reply # 264277 16-Oct-2009 14:25
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spdif is not just HDMI - its what coax/optical uses - so why not just get a card with coax out (most do I suspect) and output everything over that - your amp will process any AC3 content as bitstream and anologue (stereo) as PCM.




When you live your life on Twitter and Facebook, and are only friends with like minded people on Twitter and Facebook, you are not living in the real world. You are living in a narcissistic echo chamber.

 


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  Reply # 264281 16-Oct-2009 14:37
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The problem is that even though you would think that just sending out a unmolested digital stream it is not that simple. I use the onboard soundcard now and TMT works correctly over coax so do DVD's via Media centre but when it comes to Freeview|HD via media centre it, and the creative when I tried it again, screw it up.

The HDMI comment was in replay to the post before yours.. you snuck in while I was posting ;-)







Media centre PC - Case Silverstone LC16M with 2 X 80mm AcoustiFan DustPROOF, MOBO Gigabyte MA785GT-UD3H, CPU AMD X2 240 under volted, RAM 4 Gig DDR3 1033, HDD 120Gig System/512Gig data, Tuners 2 X Hauppauge HVR-3000, 1 X HVR-2200, Video Palit GT 220, Sound Realtek 886A HD (onboard), Optical LiteOn DH-401S Blue-ray using TotalMedia Theatre Power Corsair VX Series, 450W ATX PSU OS Windows 7 x64

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  Reply # 264284 16-Oct-2009 14:59
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Could it be a codec issue? I havent used MCE but in mediaportal I never had issues with onboard spdif and freeviewHD. What problem are you having with Freeview sound?




When you live your life on Twitter and Facebook, and are only friends with like minded people on Twitter and Facebook, you are not living in the real world. You are living in a narcissistic echo chamber.

 


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  Reply # 264293 16-Oct-2009 15:34
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geekiegeek: Could it be a codec issue? I havent used MCE but in mediaportal I never had issues with onboard spdif and freeviewHD. What problem are you having with Freeview sound?


http://www.geekzone.co.nz/forums.asp?forumid=84&topicid=42746







Media centre PC - Case Silverstone LC16M with 2 X 80mm AcoustiFan DustPROOF, MOBO Gigabyte MA785GT-UD3H, CPU AMD X2 240 under volted, RAM 4 Gig DDR3 1033, HDD 120Gig System/512Gig data, Tuners 2 X Hauppauge HVR-3000, 1 X HVR-2200, Video Palit GT 220, Sound Realtek 886A HD (onboard), Optical LiteOn DH-401S Blue-ray using TotalMedia Theatre Power Corsair VX Series, 450W ATX PSU OS Windows 7 x64

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  Reply # 264303 16-Oct-2009 16:04
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did you end up trying it without TMT?

Its def a strange problem.

I would say get a Asus Xonar but they are $250+ and you said you were looking for cheap.




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  Reply # 264310 16-Oct-2009 16:14
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If you are going to buy a soundcard then I would recommend an Auzen X-Fi HomeTheater HD ( http://auzentech.com/site/products/x-fi_hometheater_hd.php )

Future proof but also capable of what you need. I have an older PCI Auzen X-Meridian with the extra addon board and the only reason I would get rid of it would be if I was ugrading to a homethreatre HD.

Simple drivers, easy to use, no hassle, it works and hasn't caused me any problems. Got the auzen after using a Creative X-Fi and having no end of troubles due to chipset (Nvidia nforce 4).

Anyway. hope you get it sorted.
cheers
db
p.s. Buy direct from auzen and it is cheaper than local retailers.




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  Reply # 264343 16-Oct-2009 18:53
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That indeed is a nice card although it concerns me that they are all using Creatives chips and their drivers however more important is the $280 (including delivery) USD pricing.. a little on the high side for me.







Media centre PC - Case Silverstone LC16M with 2 X 80mm AcoustiFan DustPROOF, MOBO Gigabyte MA785GT-UD3H, CPU AMD X2 240 under volted, RAM 4 Gig DDR3 1033, HDD 120Gig System/512Gig data, Tuners 2 X Hauppauge HVR-3000, 1 X HVR-2200, Video Palit GT 220, Sound Realtek 886A HD (onboard), Optical LiteOn DH-401S Blue-ray using TotalMedia Theatre Power Corsair VX Series, 450W ATX PSU OS Windows 7 x64

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  Reply # 264352 16-Oct-2009 19:41
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I have a two channel Onkyo soundcard in my HTPC and I'm more than happy with it. They do a 7.1 card as well, but at US$250 + shipping from Audiocubes, it may be out of your price range too. Worth a look though.

http://www.audiocubes2.com/category/Computer+Accessories/product/Onkyo_SE-200PCI_HD_PCI_Digital_Audio_Board.html

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  Reply # 264482 17-Oct-2009 09:28
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$280 US compared to $500+ NZ Retail is a bargin if you ask me.

Creative chips are ok and they only use them to get EAX 5, but also Auzen's hand was forced by Asus who purchased all of the Cmedia HD chips so no one else could use them (AFAIK). Example was the withdrawal of the x-meridian soundcard even though it was a top seller for them, no more chips to make the cards.

It is the Creative drivers and in the early days the Creative PCI bus implementation that caused major issues for Nforce4 users. So far nothing but great reviews and it is good to have some competition for Asus again. By the time Creative got around to making something wit HDMI on it, displayport2 would be mainstream and then there would be the drive issues to deal with.

Good sound is worth it if you ask me, at least until we get mainstream onboard LPCM and DolbyHD support with decent onboard graphics as well.

Cheers
db




Home Server: Mobo GA-990FXA-UD3, AMD FX-8370, 32GB RAM, 40TB HDD, 2 x HP Smart Array P410, 3 x Norco SS-500, 10GbE, ESXi 6u2, NextPVR, Emby Server, Plex Server, 2 x HDHomerun.
Lounge Media Center: NVIDIA Shield TV 16GB: Kodi17.4/SPMC17a11 with Titan, Emby, NextPVR, 250GB SSD.
Kids Media Center: NVIDIA Shield TV 16GB: Kodi17.4/SPMC16.7 with Titan, Emby, NextPVR, 120GB SSD
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Main PC: Ryzen 7, 24GB RAM, Nvidia GT730 + RX 470, 512GB ADATA SSD, 3 x 1TB HDD, 2 x 24" Panasonic LCD TV, Blu-ray drive, Windows 10, Kodi17.4, Emby, Titan.


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  Reply # 264498 17-Oct-2009 10:24
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I wouldn't invest in a soundcard right now.

Firstly - I've just pulled my Auzentech Xplosion 7.1 out of my machine to free up a slot to play around with DVBLink/TV source. The only useful thing it did for me was DTS decoding (my old Denon 3800 is DD only...).

Using DD there is no noticeable difference in sound between the motherboard and the Auzentech card. And thats on speakers worth more than $4k.

The only thing the new soundcards are doing with the new HD sound formats is preserving the HDCP path to allow it to be passed over HDMI - they add nothing in terms of sound, even in the HD formats. This is a ridiculous situation that highlights the stupity of DRM.

Seems ridiculous to be paying $500 bucks for a soundcard that will sound exactly the same as the next generation motherboards will for <$200, and they do alot more than sound.

So if you only want DD/DTS output, just get a new motherboard, it'll be alot cheaper, and you might even pick up a bunch of other features for the same money.

If you want the new format support - sit on it for a month or two, the next generation motherboards with HD audio support are due out any time soon.

The other thing to try is AC3 Decoder (1.63 I think) if you haven't already. It still sounds really strange that you can't get DD out of Media Center...



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  Reply # 264639 17-Oct-2009 18:33
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It is even stranger Rusty. I can get DD.. if playing DVD's. It is only Freeview|HD that I am missing DD on. I must say I am now leaning towards just living with it for now.. there should be some cheap HDAV's going now that ATI have got bit streaming working over their new video cards.







Media centre PC - Case Silverstone LC16M with 2 X 80mm AcoustiFan DustPROOF, MOBO Gigabyte MA785GT-UD3H, CPU AMD X2 240 under volted, RAM 4 Gig DDR3 1033, HDD 120Gig System/512Gig data, Tuners 2 X Hauppauge HVR-3000, 1 X HVR-2200, Video Palit GT 220, Sound Realtek 886A HD (onboard), Optical LiteOn DH-401S Blue-ray using TotalMedia Theatre Power Corsair VX Series, 450W ATX PSU OS Windows 7 x64

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  Reply # 265230 20-Oct-2009 09:55
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RustyGonad: I wouldn't invest in a soundcard right now.

Firstly - I've just pulled my Auzentech Xplosion 7.1 out of my machine to free up a slot to play around with DVBLink/TV source. The only useful thing it did for me was DTS decoding (my old Denon 3800 is DD only...).

Using DD there is no noticeable difference in sound between the motherboard and the Auzentech card. And thats on speakers worth more than $4k.

The only thing the new soundcards are doing with the new HD sound formats is preserving the HDCP path to allow it to be passed over HDMI - they add nothing in terms of sound, even in the HD formats. This is a ridiculous situation that highlights the stupity of DRM.

Seems ridiculous to be paying $500 bucks for a soundcard that will sound exactly the same as the next generation motherboards will for <$200, and they do alot more than sound.

So if you only want DD/DTS output, just get a new motherboard, it'll be alot cheaper, and you might even pick up a bunch of other features for the same money.

If you want the new format support - sit on it for a month or two, the next generation motherboards with HD audio support are due out any time soon.



I would disagree with your thoughts on this. I have moved from the stock AC97 5.1 mobo soundcard, to a Creative X-Fi 7.1 THX system, to the Auzentech X-Meridian THX and the difference with each move was substantial and noticable on my Creative Gigaworks 7.1 THX speakers.

Each card had it's benefits with Creative it was EAX 4 and 5 and in game enhancements. With Auzentech is was working with NForce4 Motherboards, and simplier easier drivers. Plus the upgradable parts in the card.

Anyway, I do agree the price is steep and unjustified, but then the latest and greatest graphics cards always seem to start around $1k these days and never come out in low spec silent editins for HTPC's. I also agree that if you can get LPCM or DD HD, DTS HD via a motherboard/graphics card then those are the best options if you have a TV/Receiver that supports it. Bang for the buck will dictate the end result and so far the prices of the HD soundcards are not doing the manufacturers of these any favours.

cheers
db




Home Server: Mobo GA-990FXA-UD3, AMD FX-8370, 32GB RAM, 40TB HDD, 2 x HP Smart Array P410, 3 x Norco SS-500, 10GbE, ESXi 6u2, NextPVR, Emby Server, Plex Server, 2 x HDHomerun.
Lounge Media Center: NVIDIA Shield TV 16GB: Kodi17.4/SPMC17a11 with Titan, Emby, NextPVR, 250GB SSD.
Kids Media Center: NVIDIA Shield TV 16GB: Kodi17.4/SPMC16.7 with Titan, Emby, NextPVR, 120GB SSD
Test Center: NVIDIA Shield TV Pro 500GB. Plex Media Server, Kodi17.4/SPMC17a11 with Titan, Emby, HDHomerun.
Main PC: Ryzen 7, 24GB RAM, Nvidia GT730 + RX 470, 512GB ADATA SSD, 3 x 1TB HDD, 2 x 24" Panasonic LCD TV, Blu-ray drive, Windows 10, Kodi17.4, Emby, Titan.


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