Would there be any audio benefit to upgrading my HDMI video card? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 12-24-2013, 03:24 PM - Thread Starter
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I picked up this inexpensive Dell Inspiron 660s to function as a HTPC.

It's connected to my Denon AVR via HDMI.

My primary usage will be playing music files... 5.1 FLAC that are hi-res rips of DVD-A discs.

Would there be any benefit (i.e. sound improvement) by upgrading to a better audio or video card?
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post #2 of 6 Old 12-24-2013, 03:59 PM
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Check to see if the Dell is using an NVIDIA chipset, if so it may not pass audio sampled at 88.2 kHz, this is annoying if you have SACD converted tracks.

The other thing is to check your if AVR downsamples when the DSP is engaged (eg if Audyssey is on), my Onkyo 885 will not play anything higher than 96kHz sample rate if the DSP is on, if forced it will downsample
I have a couple of tracks from 2L@192 kHz that will not play with the DSP on.

There is a published report of of an AVR that will quietly downsample to 48kHz if the DSP is on.
http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/audio-calibration/audio-calibration-reviews/anthem-room-correction-arc-system-part-1/page-9-room-gain.html

I think it beats the point of putting the effort to get hirez tracks if this happens.
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post #3 of 6 Old 12-25-2013, 09:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tong Chia View Post

Check to see if the Dell is using an NVIDIA chipset, if so it may not pass audio sampled at 88.2 kHz, this is annoying if you have SACD converted tracks.

Intel HD Graphics and Intel Display Audio.
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post #4 of 6 Old 12-25-2013, 10:48 PM
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The attached image below shows how to check Control Panel->sound->playback->properties button


Look for the sampling rates that are important for your desired playback. Intel should be OK but confirm using the method described here.

Non HDMI alternatives to an AVR can get expensive for multichannel.

Expect to spend $2K+ and upwards for a decent multichannel USB implementation such as the ExaSound
http://www.exasound.com/e28DAC/e28DAC.aspx
http://yabb.jriver.com/interact/index.php?topic=73027.0

The volume control is actual hardware.

Software based volume control is best avoided as Windows has a very long history of messing it up.

As for players for multichannel playback, I use mainly JRiver and sometimes Foobar, both in WASAPI mode.
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post #5 of 6 Old 12-26-2013, 07:33 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you Tong. I do see 88.2 kHz as a supported format.

One other question... how can I know whether my HTPC is passing the audio signal "pure" to my AVR? That is, confirming that Windows is not applying bass management or any other sound enhancement to the signal that it sends to my AVR?

Thank you.
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post #6 of 6 Old 12-26-2013, 09:50 PM
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In the sound control applet, set the speakers to large, to test play a stereo signal into a minimum 2.1 setup, if bass management is enabled you should feel the sub vibrating.
Use material where you are sure there is LF content below 80Hz, or playback a 80Hz or lower test tone.

The AVR should be setup to treat the sub as LFE only, no bass management for this test.

If the player is using WASAPI, it should not matter, the common ones like JRiver and Foobar leave the signals alone unless you specifically enabled the bass management settings.
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