Audio Quality of New Motherboard - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 05-29-2011, 07:49 AM - Thread Starter
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Hey guys. I need a little help real quick, and I would appreciate any opinions you could offer. I'll try to make this as simple as possible.

Current old setup:
Video --> VGA (6800GT) --> Projector
Audio --> Optical (Asus Xonar) --> Amplifier

Preliminary new setup:
Video AND Audio --> HDMI --> Amplifier

Basically, the new motherboard I am thinking of getting has onboard HDMI, which at first I thought would be really nice as I could simply output everything via one cable to the amp, which would really simplify things. But then I started wondering about the audio quality of the onboard sound as compared to my $200 Asus Xonar card. Has onboard gotten better the past few years to where the Xonar isn't worth using for audio? Does HDMI just pass the raw data to the amp such that a good audio card isn't even necessary? I'm simply not very knowledgeable about such things and have no idea what kind of setup I should be looking into. I really want good sound, and I am enough of an audio-geek that I noticed a PHENOMENAL difference several years ago when I upgraded to this Xonar

Thanks in advance for any help you might be able to offer!

The audio on my potential new motherboard is (according to one online site):
Quote:


Providing the 8-Channel HD Audio support is another Realtek chip, this time the ALC889 has been used, which supports 16/20/24-bit SPDIF input and output with up to 192kHz sample rate. This is one of the more impressive Realtek HD Codecs and it is an excellent addition to the P7H55-M Pro.

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post #2 of 8 Old 05-29-2011, 08:44 AM
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If possible, send the video via hdmi directly to the projector and audio via hdmi directly from Xonar to pre/pro.
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post #3 of 8 Old 05-29-2011, 11:57 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by audit13 View Post

If possible, send the video via hdmi directly to the projector and audio via hdmi directly from Xonar to pre/pro.

The Xonar does not have HDMI out. It has an optical out option. HDMI video from my computer will have to pass through the amplifier as I have other devices such as a PS3 that connect to the projector.

So, are you hinting that I should use an audio card if I want good quality sound then? I wasn't sure how audio worked, but if HDMI just passes the raw data for the amplifier to decode, would it even matter? I just want someone to explain to me how it works and what would be a good option.
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post #4 of 8 Old 05-29-2011, 12:45 PM
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The audio quality through the mobo or Xonar should be the same if you're just going to digitally send lossy audio (DD, DTS) to your amp via coaxial or spdif. If you go this route, just make sure to use a playback software that doesn't apply any equalization to the digital output. I like Foobar2000 with WASPI for playing MP3s, wav, flac.

If you're getting a new motherboard, will it be for an amd or intel cpu?
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post #5 of 8 Old 05-29-2011, 01:17 PM - Thread Starter
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So then if I play BluRay or DVD that has that sort of audio, passing it through HDMI shouldn't matter since the amp will do all the decoding and that is where any audio quality would be affected?

I linked to the mobo in my original post, but here are the major components to what I am planning atm:

Mobo: Asus P7H55-M Pro
http://m.newegg.com/Product/Product....82E16813131623

CPU: Intel i5-650 Clarkdale

RAM: 4GB DDR3 1366

HDD: 64 GB Crucial SSD, 2 TB Western Digital x2

Case: Antec Black Fusion Case (good choice?)
http://m.newegg.com/Product/Product....82E16811129054
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post #6 of 8 Old 05-29-2011, 01:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stang70Fastback View Post

So then if I play BluRay or DVD that has that sort of audio, passing it through HDMI shouldn't matter since the amp will do all the decoding and that is where any audio quality would be affected?

I linked to the mobo in my original post, but here are the major components to what I am planning atm:

Mobo: Asus P7H55-M Pro
http://m.newegg.com/Product/Product....82E16813131623

CPU: Intel i5-650 Clarkdale

RAM: 4GB DDR3 1366

HDD: 64 GB Crucial SSD, 2 TB Western Digital x2

Case: Antec Black Fusion Case (good choice?)
http://m.newegg.com/Product/Product....82E16811129054

Why not go with a Sandy bridge setup? Socket 1156 is a dead format. Either setup will allow you to bistream HD audio via hdmi to your amp that will crush lossy audio in sound quality.
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post #7 of 8 Old 05-29-2011, 01:36 PM
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The Antec case build quality is pretty good (the stock fans are not the quietest even when run on the lowest speed - I swapped them out for Noctuas), but the iMon LCD or VFD displays are pretty poor. The IR receiver isn't fully MC compatible IME (though in the US the limitations may be less of an issue as they mainly relate to the coloured buttons we have on our remotes in Europe, though Triple Tap alphanumeric entry has also been an issue), and the quality of the LCD display is pretty dire. (I've started engineering my own OLED replacement)

The case also has a large volume control, which is effectively useless when you are bitstreaming (as the PC has no control over volume when bitstreaming)

Silverstonetek, Wasena and Moneaul are all worth looking at (not sure if Wasena are available in the US), as are Lian-Li and Zalman.
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post #8 of 8 Old 05-30-2011, 06:54 AM - Thread Starter
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Ok, thanks for the input. It's nice to know I can simply do everything via HDMI which makes for a much neater setup.

I haven't built a computer in several years and wasn't caught up on the tech, and somehow (I have no idea how) Sandy Bridge simply managed to squeak around all my research. I have replaced the previous setup with this board and an i5-2500K.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813131710

The case selection is still up in the air. If the volume knob is going to be useless, I'd rather not have it, even if it does "look the part." I am, at heart, a Lian-Li guy (I have owned their cases in the past and I love them) but nothing they had available seemed to be quite the right size. They were all too large or too small. Then again, now that you guys have confirmed that I won't need my Xonar card, the only card I will need to put in this thing is a TV tuner, and I can always get a low-profile one, so I guess I'll probably end up going with this:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16811112186

I was hoping to get some sort of aftermarket cooler for the CPU even though I don't plan to do any overclocking, however considering as I'm already going to be trying to fit an SSD into the case ALONG with two HDDs, I'll hold off on getting one until I know there is room, lol.

I appreciate everyone's help. Thank god you pointed out Sandy Bridge, or I would have been seriously pissed when I inevitably happened across it a week after my computer was put together.
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