I still don't understand Sound card(X-Fi) vs HDMI(3870) Please explain! - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 28 Old 05-08-2012, 06:25 AM - Thread Starter
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Hopefully someone can help me understand this. For what seems like forever, discrete sound cards have always been the preferred way of outputting sounds and music from a PC but it seems that you all removed your sound cards in favor of on board audio and the sound chip in your HDMI video card. I have PC with a X-Fi Xtreme Music card and a Radeon HD3870 video card. The video card has no sound enhancement settings in it while the sound card has enhancement settings and well as Dolby Digital Live. Yeah I know my 3870 is old and doesn't have HD audio capabilities but would a Radeon 7000 series be better overall than my sound card? I admit that this has been bothering me for a while. I keep feeling I'm missing something.
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post #2 of 28 Old 05-08-2012, 07:12 AM
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All depend on your equipment. (edit: just saw another post of yours. more info added at the bottom)

Are you connecting straight to a flat panel tv with HDMI? If so, player software can decode audio and send it to the tv. The tv or software player would have to be used to tweak your audio preferences.

If connecting through a receiver with surround sound using HDMI, then you can still have the player software decode the audio, or better yet, bitstream to the receiver to decode and use the receivers audio preferences to suit your taste.

Either way you dont need a sound card. I go through a denon receiver with polk speakers now with HDMI so I removed my x-fi and disabled on-board audio.

Only reason a soundcard is needed would be analog connections. I needed that when i was using 5.1 PC speakers which only had 3.5mm jacks. Video would to go the tv through HDMI, and sound would go to the speakers though the 3.5mm cables.

If you are analog, the quality of on-board audio nowadays is very good. Worth the extra money for x-fi or discrete sound card? Thats up to the user and their ears. The x-fi software may have a little more options for audio preferences. If I already had one, I would use it, but wouldnt buy one over an on-board option.

I went from a 3850 to a 6670. (although 6450 would have been just fine). HD Audio was a nice benefit, but i actually really just wanted a gpu with HDMI out, and not through the dvi-hdmi adapter.


edit: saw you just updated to a denon 1912. I have the 1612. You dont need any soundcard, discrete or on-board. Use the GPU's hdmi device as your default audio. Setup the players for bitstreaming. I use the "Advanced MPC-HC Setup Guide" sticky thread on here. I am sure the Denon receiver audio preferences would be better then even x-fi's options.

note: the post above is my opinion. as such, when reading any recommendations from me, please do you research and seek out other recommendations and make up your own mind on your next course of action. i mean, most reasonable adults should know that, but it seems this should be stated anyways.
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post #3 of 28 Old 05-08-2012, 07:32 AM
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it mostly has to do with the transition from analog equipment to digital equipment.

a good sound card was used to turn digital audio into an analog signal that could be sent to traditional analog speaker systems. the sound card would decode a single 5.1 audio track into 6 discrete analog channels, and would send those to a speaker system.

now most receivers can accept the digital audio, and do the decoding themselves. thats why the preferable way to send audio is over hdmi now.

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post #4 of 28 Old 05-08-2012, 01:59 PM
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Another benefit of HDMI is being able to send all raw PCM audio channels over HDMI to your receiver which is needed for games since no PC games support digital audio. The only way to get surround sound in games to your receiver on that sound card is to buy some Dolby pack that converts the game audio into Dolby Digital that can be sent over optical, it does an ok job of it with games but you have to manually change it in the settings everytime you switch to normal Dolby encoded video since it will try to reconvert and severely mess up the quality, Creative is apparently too stupid to figure out how to detect and bitstream normal Dolby signals when the Dolby Digital Live option is enabled.

If your receiver takes HDMI audio then by god use it.
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post #5 of 28 Old 05-08-2012, 04:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aliaskary77 View Post

All depend on your equipment. (edit: just saw another post of yours. more info added at the bottom)

If connecting through a receiver with surround sound using HDMI, then you can still have the player software decode the audio, or better yet, bitstream to the receiver to decode and use the receivers audio preferences to suit your taste.

Either way you dont need a sound card. I go through a denon receiver with polk speakers now with HDMI so I removed my x-fi and disabled on-board audio.

Only reason a soundcard is needed would be analog connections. I needed that when i was using 5.1 PC speakers which only had 3.5mm jacks. Video would to go the tv through HDMI, and sound would go to the speakers though the 3.5mm cables.

If you are analog, the quality of on-board audio nowadays is very good. Worth the extra money for x-fi or discrete sound card? Thats up to the user and their ears. The x-fi software may have a little more options for audio preferences. If I already had one, I would use it, but wouldnt buy one over an on-board option.

I went from a 3850 to a 6670. (although 6450 would have been just fine). HD Audio was a nice benefit, but i actually really just wanted a gpu with HDMI out, and not through the dvi-hdmi adapter.


edit: saw you just updated to a denon 1912. I have the 1612. You dont need any soundcard, discrete or on-board. Use the GPU's hdmi device as your default audio. Setup the players for bitstreaming. I use the "Advanced MPC-HC Setup Guide" sticky thread on here. I am sure the Denon receiver audio preferences would be better then even x-fi's options.

Thanks for noticing the 1912 postings! That's partly why I'm asking the question. My previous receiver was a Pioneer circa 1998 with Dolby Digital only. It doesn't do DTS at all. With the X-Fi and DDLive and I could send Dolby and DTS as digital to the receiver. Couldn't do that with the 3870 thru the tv and out to the receiver. Now I got the 1912 with 6 HDMI ports to use and wondered if I should be using the PC that way. At first I thought video cards just created some kinda passthrough from the sound card to the HDMI port but now I know different.

If what you all say is true, why do they still make sound cards??

OAN: Yesterday I came home with a Pioneer VSX-1021k as I'm not totally sold on the Denon. Haven't tried it out yet. Feel free to leave any opinions.
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post #6 of 28 Old 05-08-2012, 04:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Afroteddy View Post

If what you all say is true, why do they still make sound cards??

Some people still use old receivers. But mostly it's because most computers are hooked up to amplified speakers through the analog outs. Remember that HTPC's are a vast minority of computers out there, and what is good for an HTPC is different from what's good for your average computer user. Honestly I wouldn't be surprised if the average computer had only stereo speakers hooked up to it, as it's only video game and movie enthusiasts that really push for 5.1/7.1 surround sound.

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post #7 of 28 Old 05-08-2012, 04:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by idividebyzero View Post

Another benefit of HDMI is being able to send all raw PCM audio channels over HDMI to your receiver which is needed for games since no PC games support digital audio. The only way to get surround sound in games to your receiver on that sound card is to buy some Dolby pack that converts the game audio into Dolby Digital that can be sent over optical, it does an ok job of it with games but you have to manually change it in the settings everytime you switch to normal Dolby encoded video since it will try to reconvert and severely mess up the quality, Creative is apparently too stupid to figure out how to detect and bitstream normal Dolby signals when the Dolby Digital Live option is enabled.

If your receiver takes HDMI audio then by god use it.

I'm still having a hard time taking this in. No sound card huh? Ok, I'll bite. I'll remove the X-Fi.
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post #8 of 28 Old 05-08-2012, 04:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Afroteddy View Post

I'm still having a hard time taking this in. No sound card huh? Ok, I'll bite. I'll remove the X-Fi.

Think of it this way, modern Video Cards with HDMI Audio actually have a digital only sound card built into the Video Card, making the Video Card an all-in-one solution if you have a proper receiver to hook it up to.

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post #9 of 28 Old 05-08-2012, 04:24 PM
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This is a unique forum where a lot of people have dedicated home theater setups. Your typical PC user does not connect their machine to a home theater receiver and thus could make use of a discreet sound card which they can connect directly to speakers. Gamers are a group that typically want good audio but don't usually connect their PCs to receivers and thus can benefit from a good sound card. It's all about the intended use of the PC. Want to watch movies on a home theater? then just pass the digital audio to the receiver and let it do the decoding (it was designed to do that).
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post #10 of 28 Old 05-08-2012, 06:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Afroteddy View Post

I'm still having a hard time taking this in. No sound card huh? Ok, I'll bite. I'll remove the X-Fi.

yeah i know, its a strange thing the first time, but its great if you have a recent receiver.

my 1612 is the first time buying receiver and nice speakers. its all entry level to me. i was looking at the pio 521, but in this price range, the denon was recommended.

the 1021 may be better. i dont have any experience with audio equipment so not able to give any valuable opinions. the threads you are in should be good.

as for descrete sound card...gamers often use headsets, mainly analog. great for positional sound. i myself have a plantronics usb headset fo gaming on the laptop. the htpc is dedicated for movies, so hdmi passthrough to the receiver was sufficient.

btw, you can test it without removing the x-fi. in the windows 7 sound panel, make the ATI HDMI your default playback sound. its probably set to the x-fi right now.

if you do decide to remove it, make sure to remove all x-fi related drivers and software too. i prefer have clean systems. did a fresh install setting up the htpc with the hardware i wanted only. a little over the top maybe, but its quick and painless with clean backup images.

note: the post above is my opinion. as such, when reading any recommendations from me, please do you research and seek out other recommendations and make up your own mind on your next course of action. i mean, most reasonable adults should know that, but it seems this should be stated anyways.
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post #11 of 28 Old 05-08-2012, 08:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Already removed the X-Fi. I removed it because I get jittery sound from windows media center when I set default sound to HDMI. Figured it was some kinda protection scheme. DVDs sound great but everything else shows up as stereo(2.0) on the receiver. This must be a limitation of the 3870 as it only shows 2 channels in properties. I have a 4830 in another computer and I may switch them.
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post #12 of 28 Old 05-08-2012, 11:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Afroteddy View Post

Already removed the X-Fi. I removed it because I get jittery sound from windows media center when I set default sound to HDMI. Figured it was some kinda protection scheme. DVDs sound great but everything else shows up as stereo(2.0) on the receiver. This must be a limitation of the 3870 as it only shows 2 channels in properties. I have a 4830 in another computer and I may switch them.

I believe the 3xxx series is limited to Stereo PCM, yes (and Dolby/DTS for 5.1 encoded sources like DVDs). The 4xxx series card should support Multi-Channel LPCM allowing non-Dolby/DTS sources to send 5.1/7.1 to your receiver. I've got a 4550 in my HTPC and use it to pass through LPCM of Blu-Rays since my Receiver doesn't support HD audio.



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post #13 of 28 Old 05-09-2012, 03:24 AM
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My 3850 could do dolby digital and DTS no problem. the only thing i was missing was HD formats.

I had the same problem of stereo only, then figured out that the player makes the difference. some players will not bitstream. you have to know if the player will do it auto, or you have to set it up itself. the 2 channel property for the ati hdmi device can be ignored if you are bitstreaming, at least in my case i did. after upgrading to 6670 and clean install, i had it say 5.1. with the 3850, between the ATI hdmi driver and suggested 3rd party (realtek i think) hdmi drivers, i could get it to say 5.1, but it didnt stick and would change after reboots. confused me which drivers i should use.

the mpc-hc guide i mentioned shows you how to bitstream. XBMC will also bitstream, just check settings. once bitstreaming, you should see incoming signal to the receiver as the correct format. you can then switch your output on the receiver to match the signal. on the denon i use the "movie" to switch between stereo, mutltchanel steroe, dts (if dts input signal), dts neo, etc). the denon remembers what output/processing mode you want for a specific incoming signal.

so, check the player settings. i never use windows media player so i am not sure how you get bitstreaming or at least 5.1 output.

note: the post above is my opinion. as such, when reading any recommendations from me, please do you research and seek out other recommendations and make up your own mind on your next course of action. i mean, most reasonable adults should know that, but it seems this should be stated anyways.
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post #14 of 28 Old 05-09-2012, 08:13 AM
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I'm having a horrible time with HDMI if I leave my PC on and switch inputs say to XBOX or Tivo.

The error is "You have disabled a display that supports audio playback."

This is completely ruining my attempts to reliably use an HD HomeRun Prime as a DVR because I have to reboot to get the error to go away and regain my sound.

For awhile, I would get crashes and odd errors. The newest version of ATI Catalyst, 12.4 , at least provides a decent error message with no crashes but doesn't really solve my problem.

Is the issue my GA-MA785GMT-UD2H motherboard or is it my Pioneer VSX-1020?
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post #15 of 28 Old 05-09-2012, 10:50 AM
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@twinpeaks

not the solution, but do you have "force display detect", or something similar, checked in catalyst?

i used to have a similar issue with a cheap hdmi switcher, but not with a receiver.

note: the post above is my opinion. as such, when reading any recommendations from me, please do you research and seek out other recommendations and make up your own mind on your next course of action. i mean, most reasonable adults should know that, but it seems this should be stated anyways.
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post #16 of 28 Old 05-09-2012, 04:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aliaskary77 View Post

@twinpeaks

not the solution, but do you have "force display detect", or something similar, checked in catalyst?

i used to have a similar issue with a cheap hdmi switcher, but not with a receiver.

Thanks for your response - it does list my VSX-1020 as my 'display' and it says "your displays do not support audio." I'm now actually hearing audio, though. If I toggle over to something else, it will eventually give me a different box and stop presenting audio.

I don't see an option quite like that in 12.4, I'll keep looking..
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post #17 of 28 Old 05-09-2012, 06:19 PM
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I switched from an audio card to using my video card's HDMI capability. Flawless sound!

Your equipment configuration really depends on what you want out of your system. I can only speak to higher end audio as that is what I wanted out of my system. I have upgraded away from a sound card to my video card HDMI output. Then I upgraded my video card. My old audio card got noisy and really gave me inferior sound output (in my opinion). I have not seen much in the way of advancements in audio cards as Video card HDMI seems to have solved the problem for most consumers.

My setup:
-- HTPC stores on my hard drives BluRay movies, ripped stereo CDs, downloaded multichannel HiRez audio files (typically, FLAC, WAV and WMA, all of which are 5.1 channel, 96Khz and 24 bit).
-- Foobar player
-- Sapphire Tech Vapor-X 6870 Video card (supports all BD formats and audio multichannel up to 192 Khz).
-- AMD catalyst Ver 12.3
-- HiSpeed HDMI cable to my preamp

Select HDMI and setup in windows for multichannel hi-rez.

PreAmp is set for multi channel in for music. The preamp automatically reconfigures for Dolby and DTS hirez BD formats.

This was my solution to getting great sound off my HTPC and in to my surround sound system.

Good luck!

marcus

Our Personal Website with movie and music catalog pages.

Marcus & LaMona Home Theater
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post #18 of 28 Old 05-09-2012, 08:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twinpeaks View Post

I'm having a horrible time with HDMI if I leave my PC on and switch inputs say to XBOX or Tivo.

The error is "You have disabled a display that supports audio playback."

This is completely ruining my attempts to reliably use an HD HomeRun Prime as a DVR because I have to reboot to get the error to go away and regain my sound.

For awhile, I would get crashes and odd errors. The newest version of ATI Catalyst, 12.4 , at least provides a decent error message with no crashes but doesn't really solve my problem.

Is the issue my GA-MA785GMT-UD2H motherboard or is it my Pioneer VSX-1020?

It's an EDID problem. Switch to an nVidia card and that probably won't happen - or buy a Gefen HDMI detective which makes your graphics card think it is always connected to an active device
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post #19 of 28 Old 05-09-2012, 08:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Afroteddy View Post

Hopefully someone can help me understand this. For what seems like forever, discrete sound cards have always been the preferred way of outputting sounds and music from a PC but it seems that you all removed your sound cards in favor of on board audio and the sound chip in your HDMI video card. I have PC with a X-Fi Xtreme Music card and a Radeon HD3870 video card. The video card has no sound enhancement settings in it while the sound card has enhancement settings and well as Dolby Digital Live. Yeah I know my 3870 is old and doesn't have HD audio capabilities but would a Radeon 7000 series be better overall than my sound card? I admit that this has been bothering me for a while. I keep feeling I'm missing something.

DO you game? Or require the performance of a 3870 ?

It's a powerful card in it's day so a cheap video card might not be an viable replacement for you.

But- if you have a new Denon receiver with HDMI getting a modern video card and running a single HDMI would be best option.

You get maximum sound quality- including HD audio and DTS-MA.

It's really the best solution for maximum sound quality, picture quality and simplicity.

But your 3870 and a soundblaster could work together to satisfy you.

I would look into a 6870 Radeon. You can grab them for $129. I have one.

It might be a good replacement for your 3870. You obviously have the PSU and power cables to run such a card.

If not - the 7750 is a great card that does not require extra PSU cabling. It's not as powerful- but more energy efficient.

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post #20 of 28 Old 05-09-2012, 09:09 PM
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Originally Posted by almostinsane View Post

It's an EDID problem. Switch to an nVidia card and that probably won't happen - or buy a Gefen HDMI detective which makes your graphics card think it is always connected to an active device

Thanks, but why am I the only one on the planet earth with this problem? The gigabyte port on the motherboard is blown and I have an external ethernet card attached. I don't mind another excuse the replace the motherboard. But I'd like to know I was getting a replacement that didn't have this problem.
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post #21 of 28 Old 05-09-2012, 09:24 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

DO you game? Or require the performance of a 3870 ?

It's a powerful card in it's day so a cheap video card might not be an viable replacement for you.

But- if you have a new Denon receiver with HDMI getting a modern video card and running a single HDMI would be best option.

You get maximum sound quality- including HD audio and DTS-MA.

It's really the best solution for maximum sound quality, picture quality and simplicity.

But your 3870 and a soundblaster could work together to satisfy you.

I would look into a 6870 Radeon. You can grab them for $129. I have one.

It might be a good replacement for your 3870. You obviously have the PSU and power cables to run such a card.

If not - the 7750 is a great card that does not require extra PSU cabling. It's not as powerful- but more energy efficient.

I was just thinking all of this. MaximumPC magazine used the 7750 in one of its budget builds and was impressed by it. I was thinking of trying it out for casual gaming as well as higher end audio.


I think I've figued it out. It's about who gets to use the raw sound data, the sound card or the receiver. I replaced the 3870 with a 4830 from another computer and now I got 7.1 PCM. I can tell the crispness of even the dvd trailers in Pro Logic II over the DDLive malnipulations of the X-Fi which sounded muffled by comparison.

Do I have to tweak the receiver for non-dvd audio in order to get the best sound?
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post #22 of 28 Old 05-09-2012, 10:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Afroteddy View Post

I was just thinking all of this. MaximumPC magazine used the 7750 in one of its budget builds and was impressed by it. I was thinking of trying it out for casual gaming as well as higher end audio.


I think I've figued it out. It's about who gets to use the raw sound data, the sound card or the receiver. I replaced the 3870 with a 4830 from another computer and now I got 7.1 PCM. I can tell the crispness of even the dvd trailers in Pro Logic II over the DDLive malnipulations of the X-Fi which sounded muffled by comparison.

Do I have to tweak the receiver for non-dvd audio in order to get the best sound?

Your best bet is to install the SHARK007 Codecs for Mediaplayer, and bitstream out to your receiver 7.1 or 5.1 full audio digitally.

Or use something like Jriver for music collections- or really any other media player that will bitstream audio for you.

If your codecs or player is not set right- it wont send the right signal to the receiver.

You should be able to play back DTS and DTS-MA as well as Dolby True HD

http://www.demo-world.eu/trailers/hi...n-trailers.php

download a test file and see if your can get the full HD audio to play on your receiver over HDMI.

If not- PM me or start another thread asking for help.

Assassin Guides show you how to set up for best results BTW...

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post #23 of 28 Old 05-10-2012, 07:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twinpeaks View Post

Thanks, but why am I the only one on the planet earth with this problem? The gigabyte port on the motherboard is blown and I have an external ethernet card attached. I don't mind another excuse the replace the motherboard. But I'd like to know I was getting a replacement that didn't have this problem.

unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, you are not the only one. fortunately because others may have more information for you if it is the EDID issue.

Check out this thread http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1227161

note: the post above is my opinion. as such, when reading any recommendations from me, please do you research and seek out other recommendations and make up your own mind on your next course of action. i mean, most reasonable adults should know that, but it seems this should be stated anyways.
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post #24 of 28 Old 05-10-2012, 07:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twinpeaks View Post

I'm having a horrible time with HDMI if I leave my PC on and switch inputs say to XBOX or Tivo.

The error is "You have disabled a display that supports audio playback."

This is completely ruining my attempts to reliably use an HD HomeRun Prime as a DVR because I have to reboot to get the error to go away and regain my sound.

For awhile, I would get crashes and odd errors. The newest version of ATI Catalyst, 12.4 , at least provides a decent error message with no crashes but doesn't really solve my problem.

Is the issue my GA-MA785GMT-UD2H motherboard or is it my Pioneer VSX-1020?

One thing I don't understand about this, but it may impact your issue, is why in some people's systems the htpc sees "through" the AVR to identify the HDTV as the display, and in others (including both of mine) the htpc sees the AVR itself as the display. For example, my i3-2100 system is hooked to a Sony 4400ES AVR and then to an LG HDTV. My htpc reports as the display "Digital Television Sony AVAMP". The TV never shows up. And I have never had any EDID or HDCP problem. Doesn't matter what I turn on or switch to in what order, it just works, for both video and audio.

Just a theory, but I wonder whether you have your AVR set to "HDMI Passthrough" or something similar (so that the signal goes to your TV even when the AVR is turned off) and if that results in your HDCP chain to the TV being broken when you switch to another input. If the connection is seen as only between the htpc and AVR, then that connection is likely never broken even if you switch inputs. As I said, just a theory. And maybe someone can explain the first part, about why some systems see the TV through the AVR and some just see the AVR as the display.
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post #25 of 28 Old 05-10-2012, 08:11 AM
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I did find that setting on the receiver and set it to THROUGH - I rebooted the HTPC and the TV and the receiver -this Pioneer literally passes the sound THROUGH and does not play sound through the speakers hooked up to it. I thought you were on to something!
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post #26 of 28 Old 05-10-2012, 11:47 AM
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i have never had problems either. i have pass through for the cable box. madvr shows the denon receiver as the connected device. cant remember what ati shows.

"through" as you explain it looks to be working as it should. "pass through" is for when the receiver is turned off, defaults the input from one of your hdmi devices to send audio and video through as if the receiver was an extension cable. "through" would mean you dont want audio to be handled by the receiver for that input when set on. (you may have known this but was just checking. )

note: the post above is my opinion. as such, when reading any recommendations from me, please do you research and seek out other recommendations and make up your own mind on your next course of action. i mean, most reasonable adults should know that, but it seems this should be stated anyways.
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post #27 of 28 Old 10-11-2012, 04:58 PM
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The difference between the X-Fi DTS/DDL and HDMI is (If you hook it up to an AV receiver via optical cable/HDMI) that when you turn on the DDL/DTS on your X-Fi, it's always on, whether the content is stereo, mono or muti-channel. If' you are playing stereo content, DDL/DTS in the X-Fi will up-mix the content and create an ambient surround effect that is not present in the original stereo content, and this effect is very different to the sound stage width, depth and imaging you get from a proper stereo set-up. If the content is multi channel, it will play proper multi channel (up to 5.1 via Optical Digital) with a bit of post processing (depending on your choice between DDL or DTS).

This doesn't happen via the HDMI port unless you get software to enhance it (eg :realtec or X-Fi MB software solution). Stereo content will be true to the original stereo content, and if you are playing DTS, DD, DTSMA/HD, etc the HDMI port will pass this signal directly to your receiver to figure out what to do. And depending on your taste, you can either have your receiver in Direct mode to bypass any post processing to enjoy the content as is, or apply EQ settings (In your case Audyssey), surround sound post processing to create the desired effect.

Sound coming from the X-Fi card can be applied with creative's own sound processing (eg: X-Fi Crystaliser : which is like turning on the "Loudness" button in some older Stereo integrated amps + you can apply the EQ and other effects. This is bypassed via HDMI, unless as I mentioned earlier, you have a software solution to work via the HDMI port.

Another important point is, audio resolution. The max audio resolution via the X-Fi's optical port is only 5.1 96KHz/24bit. HDMI will allow true 7.1 192KHz/24Bit. It is very difficult for a person with normal hearing to tell the difference between these two resolutions, unless you have the equipment to deliver/reproduce the extra resolution (receiver, Speakers, cables, etc). If it's just audio quality you are concerned with, best way to compare between the two is to turn off all processing in the X-Fi software and play your favorite content and then compare it to the content played via the HDMI port and decide for yourself what sounds best for you.

But if your requirement goes beyond that (5.1 vs 7.1) then HDMI is your best bet because Optical cable wont carry 7.1. Alternatively, if your receiver has 7.1 RCA inputs, you can use 3.5mm to RCA from the X-Fi Analog outputs to get 7.1 smile.gif
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post #28 of 28 Old 10-12-2012, 05:29 AM
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A laptop connected to one of my systems primarily uses the NVIDIA HDMI output for 1080p video and HD lossless audio, but I also have an external USB X-Fi device for 5.1 analog output to the AVR for when I play EAX surround sound games.
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