FAQ: Kernel Streaming and the REVO - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 210 Old 04-09-2003, 05:50 PM - Thread Starter
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We have had several threads recently where the subject of kernel streaming has come up. I thought I might assemble some of the info on this in this one thread for the benefit of all.

WHAT is kernel streaming?

Kernel Streaming (KS) is a broad term for the services that support kernel-mode processing of streamed data. KS enables efficient real-time streaming for multimedia devices such as sound cards and TV tuner cards. The Microsoft kernel streaming model is used in Microsoft® Windows® 2000 and later operating systems, and in Windows Me.

http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/hwdev/...ream/csa1.mspx

WHY do I need kernel streaming?

Kernel streaming is one method of avoiding the MS Windows kmixer which has the unfortune "feature" of resampling all sound. The resampling introduces errors that most people believe are audible. The resampling introduces the most errors when it results in changing the output rate from its native input rate. This is the case when the native audio source is at a higher rate than 48khz and is resampled down to 48khz or 44.1khz CD/MP3 music is resampled to 48khz to match a sound card device or driver that cannot support 44.1khz playback. Most believe that the SRC (sample rate converter) part of DirectSound is broken, being the main cause of the sound degradation during kmixer resampling. Also, if your soundcard (such as the REVO) supports 24-bit word depth KMixer opens the soundcard at that depth and then adds noise for the bits between 16 to 24. (There is some discussion as to if this is true for all versions of Windows OS.)

ASIO is also a driver model that allows one to bypass the kmixer (among other features).

Playback of DTS CD's or DD or DTS encoded wav files require that the bit stream be passed without resampling or "bit perfect" for proper playback by a DTS/DD decoder. ASIO or Kernel Streaming are methods for getting these DD/DTS encoded bit streams past kmixer.


HOW do I use kernel streaming?

You need a sound card with a driver that supports it (the REVO!), a soundcard that supports multiple sampling rates (44.1 and 48khz the most common), an application that supports it and windows 2000, XP or ME. Currently, the foobar2000 player and winamp 2.x (NOT winamp 3.x) with the out_ks.dll kernel streaming plugin supports it.

Try foobar2000:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...ghlight=foobar
http://foobar2000.hydrogenaudio.org/
http://www.foobar2000.org/
Under Foobar2000 select Preferences/Components library and foo_output_ks.dll should be listed as a loaded library. The plugins are in the same folder with the foobar2000.exe. In the output section, you will see kernel Streaming on the list and you should be able to select the Revo as the Device.

Or Install winamp 2.9:
http://classic.winamp.com/

Grab the winamp kernel streaming plugin:
http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/index.p...=ST&f=1&t=4569
http://www.cs.indiana.edu/~cshei/out_ks.zip
copy the out_ks.dll file to the winamp plugins directory. Go into the options/preferences menu and plugins/output section of winamp config screen, select "simple kernel streaming output" module. For best results you will also want the in_cdreader.dll plugin that supports direct digital audio extraction of your cd drive. You can find it here and instructions for installation:
http://www.url.ru/~copah/CDReader.htm

TEST that I am really kernel streaming?

Playback a DTS CD (this is NOT the same as a DTS DVD), outputing the bitstream out the SPDIF port and showing that music shows up on your external receiver. If you are not getting bitperfect playback you will get static or noise (turn your volume down so you dont damage your speakers!). Listed below are DD and DTS WAV files that can be downloaded and played as a "bit perfect" test. Download the files at the web sites below and play them. Make sure your REVO is set for "DIGITAL" (SPDIF out) and you are using foobar or winamp in kernel streaming mode to play these files. If they play then you are a streamin.....
http://www.5dot1.com/articles/ac-3_5...to_a_cd-r.html
http://www.modernrecording.com/artic...6kbps_3min.ZIP
A source for DTS wav files:
http://www.sr.se/multikanal/english/e_index.stm

BUGS? Why doesnt my kernel streaming REVO play 24 bit MP3's?
I don't know, but 24 bit MP3 files dont seem to play with the kernel streaming plugin and the Revolution. If you change the output plugin to directsound and have the winamp MAD plugin they will at least play.
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...hreadid=248364
http://www.mars.org/home/rob/proj/mp...lugin/#install
Foobar2000 has the similar problems with kernel streaming and 24 bit MP3's.

NEW SECTION: What about ASIO over Kernel Streaming for bit perfect playback?
Some media applications don't support kernel streaming. Or in the case of my favorite application, winamp, the kernel streaming plugin referenced in this thread is not being currently maintained and updated. There are far more applications that support ASIO. The current MAudio drivers do not support ASIO over SPDIF. For all of these reasons, I have started experimenting with ASIO over Kernel Streaming over SPDIF. This gives you the best of both worlds, ASIO support, ASIO over SPDIF support and use of the Revo's good kernel streaming drivers.

Here are some of the emerging ASIO over Kernel Streaming utilities:
http://www.asio2ks.de/
http://membres.lycos.fr/asiox/
http://michael.tippach.bei.t-online....all/index.html

I have all three of the above loaded on my machine. At least for me, they don't interfere with each other.

NEW SECTION: How do I configure Media Center 10 to use ASIO over Kernel Streaming?

I was not able to get winamp to work with the ASIO over KS utilities. I have since switched to using Media Center 10. The newest beta (10.0.75 as of this posting), has some fixes in it specifically to support some of these ASIO over kernel streaming utilities.

Media Center 10 beta links:
ftp://ftp.jriver.com/pub/downloads/m...enter10075.exe
http://yabb.jriver.com/interact/inde...threadid=19402
http://www.musicex.com/mediacenter/download.html
http://yabb.jriver.com/interact/inde...threadid=17336
http://yabb.jriver.com/interact/inde...threadid=10029
http://yabb.jriver.com/interact/index.php?board=3

See links above to download the latest beta of Media Center 10. Select for the "Tools" menu then "Options" menu item.

From the "Options" dialog box, select "Playback". I changed several of the "Playback" settings from the defaults. I found if I did not, I got bursts of whitenoise static when my DTS CD's changed tracks. In the "Playback" config screen, select the folowing:
Between Tracks = STANDARD
Seeking = STANDARD
Stop = IMMEDIATE
Output = ASIO

Near the Output = ASIO drop down box, click the "Settings..." button. From the "Settings..." dialog box, you can select any of the ASIO to Kernel Streaming drivers you have loaded. For me I find that the "ASIO kernel streaming driver" works best. Select Channel Offset = 0.

The "ASIO Kernel streaming driver" coorisponds to the asio2ks driver link above. You need to goto your windows control panel to configure the asio2ks settings.

My asio2ks control panel settings are as follows:
Device = MAudio Revolution (of course!)
Output = MAudio Revolution (of course!)
Format = 8 channel
Input = MAudio Revolution (of course!)
Format = 2 channel
Latency Samples = 14-86 ms
Blocks = 2 /1376

From the Advanced asio2ks control panel settings tab:
Channel Allocation = Activate Selected Audio Channels
Channel Mask = set mask (direct sound)

My Revolution control panel is set for "DIGITAL" for SPDIF output.

ASIO4ALL driver works too, if you set it to 16bit sample mode in its control panel.

The configuration above with Media Center 10 is my current preferred music playback solution.

What about ASIO by itself for bit perfect playback?
This is a Kernel Streaming FAQ. But use these links to the latest ASIO plugins to get you started. The author's site is in japanese, but you should be able to navigate to the links for the latest plugins without too much trouble.

Foobar2000 users:
http://www.aikis.or.jp/~otachan/foo_output_asio.html
Winamp users:
http://www.aikis.or.jp/~otachan/out_asio.html (broken link?)
http://www3.cypress.ne.jp/otachan/out_asio.html (broken link?)
http://www3.cypress.ne.jp/otachan/


comments and corrections are welcome.

EDITs:
Cliff's comments and corrections added.
sample DD 5.1 test wav file found.
sample DTS 5.1 test wav files found.
BUGS section about 24 bit MP3's added.
Added a ASIO link section.
Updated the foobar2000 install description section.
Added additional words about Why Kernel Streaming section about the issues of kmixer.
new asio plugin link added
several major new sections added regarding asio over kernel streaming added.
added sentence about ASIO4ALL and 16 bit sample mode.
media center forum link update
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post #2 of 210 Old 04-09-2003, 06:02 PM
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â€Kernel streaming is one method of avoiding the MS Windows kmixer which has the unfortune "feature" of resampling all sound to 48khz.â€

KMixer does not resample all sound to 48kHz. In the case of CD audio it resamples 44.1kHz to 44.1kHz.

â€Most CD's and many MP3's are natively 41khz.â€

It’s actually 44.1kHz
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post #3 of 210 Old 04-10-2003, 05:05 AM
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Well, I've done tests with a CMI8738 soundcard with M-Audio Dio 2448 WDM drivers in Windows XP pre-SP1, and the spdif output was bit-perfect both at 44.1 KHz and at 48 KHz, no traces of data mangling.

I verified this recording this output with my M-Audio Audiophile spdif input, the recorded data was identical 100% to played data.

The player used was Winamp 2.81 with both waveout and directsound output plugins, with no differences. The recorder was CoolEdit Pro 1.2a.
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post #4 of 210 Old 04-10-2003, 03:00 PM - Thread Starter
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KikeG:

Just tried winamp 2.90 and directsound/waveout output plugins and my REVO. DTS CD does NOT play properly. Bits are mangled and DTS bits stream is corrupted. With the kernel streaming plugin the same plays fine.

The REVO does not have SPDIF in and I do not have cooledit so I can not repeat your test. Can you play a DTS CD and verify that an external DTS receiver can decode the bit stream out your SPDIF?
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post #5 of 210 Old 04-10-2003, 03:06 PM
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KikeG,

KikeG, I find that a bit heard to believe unless you're using the VXD drivers under Win9x. The only way to get bit-perfect playback in Winamp 2 under 2k/XP is to use the ASIO or Kernel Streaming plugins, or use a USB soundcard such as the Sonica.
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post #6 of 210 Old 04-10-2003, 03:21 PM
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how did you manage to play a cd dts with the revo:confused:
I tried with winamp 2.9+ KSout.dll and it didn't work.
I had pbs anyway with winamp 2.9 on the analog outputs playing cds, I had lots of pops and clicks. Now I use media center 9, cd playback is great with asio driver.

sorry for my poor english but I'm french !!!!
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post #7 of 210 Old 04-10-2003, 03:37 PM
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The Kernel streaming plug for winamp is a pain if you have more than 1 soundcard installed (ie: onboard sound)- you can only use the first device.

Foobar allows you to pick the device you want to use.

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post #8 of 210 Old 04-10-2003, 04:26 PM
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KikeG and I are having this argument for a while :)

On this forum most people pretty much know that kmixer is mangling the bits but on hydrogen audio this is a highly debated topic.

I am interested to get to the bottom of this so it would be great if KikeG could share the source file of whatever it is he can play bit perfect. We can then repeat his experiment and see what we find. I will not dismiss the chance that a very specific input signal might survive the kmixer treatment unharmed but I am doubtful for the general case.

How does that sound?

Thomas
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post #9 of 210 Old 04-10-2003, 05:30 PM
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should i be able to play back dts files (from the sweedish radio station) with ks_out? i cannot for the life of me get this to work. i curretnly have winamp 2.81, in_wave.dll for input (configured to be used on .wav files) and ks_out selected for output. i use a revo with latest drivers. when i select the file information for the dts wav, it shows 2 channel, 44100, 16 bit pcm.

i validated that the ks_out is working. i can play a mp3 through it, and as explained elsewhere, it disabled the circle surround in the revo. when i switched back to directsound_out, csII was enabled again.

any chance the file is corrupted? i downloaded it several times, and have never had any luck playing it back. or is there something else totally that has to be done for harddrive playback of dts files?

thanks,
kevin
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post #10 of 210 Old 04-10-2003, 06:07 PM
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How did you manage to configure the ks output plugin to use the digital output. I am using a DIO24/96 and using ks result in output ony at the analog outputs.

What processor do you connect this to? Does your processor decode 44.1Khz DTS?

Cheers

Thomas
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Quote:
Originally posted by thomaspf
How did you manage to configure the ks output plugin to use the digital output. I am using a DIO24/96 and using ks result in output ony at the analog outputs.
Try selecting digital out in Sounds and Multimedia Properties->Audio->Sound Playback
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post #12 of 210 Old 04-10-2003, 07:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally posted by summit3907
should i be able to play back dts files (from the sweedish radio station) with ks_out? i cannot for the life of me get this to work.
can you provide a link? I would like to try this file or radio station.
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post #13 of 210 Old 04-10-2003, 07:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally posted by JKohn
KikeG, I find that a bit heard to believe unless you're using the VXD drivers under Win9x. The only way to get bit-perfect playback in Winamp 2 under 2k/XP is to use the ASIO or Kernel Streaming plugins, or use a USB soundcard such as the Sonica.
I've used these drivers, quoted from M-Audio driver search page:

Quote:
2001-11-21 1.0 DIO2448 DIO_WDM.exe 115 Kb
Release Notes: Windows XP Users please note:
...
I've checked it's bit-perfect at least 2 or 3 times now. More info in my next post. The result is the same using ASIO, waveout or directsound plugins.
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post #16 of 210 Old 04-11-2003, 03:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by thomaspf
KikeG and I are having this argument for a while :)
Yeah ;)

Quote:
I am interested to get to the bottom of this so it would be great if KikeG could share the source file of whatever it is he can play bit perfect. We can then repeat his experiment and see what we find. I will not dismiss the chance that a very specific input signal might survive the kmixer treatment unharmed but I am doubtful for the general case.
How does that sound?
Good, I'm interested too. Well, people here should know that I own no DTS decoder to make any decoding tests, so the only way I have to check bit-perfect accuracy is to record the output of my CMI8738 card (with Dio2448 WDM drivers) with the digital input of my M-Audio Audiophile.

As test signals I used first a 20 second clip of a pop song, and after that I have used RMAA test signals (noise, tones, etc).

Anyway, I'm going to download some DTS encoded 44.1 KHz files, to play and record them digitally, and see if the result is still bit-perfect.
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post #17 of 210 Old 04-11-2003, 03:46 AM
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Some notes over my tests: in order to get bit-perfect accuracy, I have to set all Dio playing levels at maximum: Winamp level, mixer wave level, etc.

I guess that in case of Delta cards you must also check that you are not routing the signal though the monitor mixer: you have to set wave spdif 1/2 to hardware spdif out, not monitor mixer. Maybe the audio/data stream settings on the spdif settings make some difference?
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post #18 of 210 Old 04-11-2003, 05:27 AM
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Isn't it true that the RME line of audio cards don't have this problem? Why doesn't everyone recommend them instead of the M-Audio line of cards? Is it only the money issue, or is there something else I don't know?

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post #19 of 210 Old 04-11-2003, 06:12 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally posted by summit3907
here is the link:

http://www.sr.se/multikanal/english/e_index.stm

kevin
downloaded one of the smaller of the sample files (history)
http://www.sr.se/laddahem/MultiKanal/dts/history.zip

Windows XP, SP1, winamp 2.9, M-Audio Revolution:

using the kernel streaming (out_ks.dll) I was successful in getting a valid DTS stream out my SPDIF to my external receiver/decoder.
using waveout/directsound plugins all I got was pink noise.
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post #20 of 210 Old 04-11-2003, 06:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by SammyRoss
Why doesn't everyone recommend them instead of the M-Audio line of cards?
Two words...

Bass management.

M-Audio drivers have it, RME don't.
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post #21 of 210 Old 04-11-2003, 10:58 AM
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dm said:

"using the kernel streaming (out_ks.dll) I was successful in getting a valid DTS stream out my SPDIF to my external receiver/decoder.
using waveout/directsound plugins all I got was pink noise."

since i got the revo (and use windvd audio through zp), i disconnected the spdif to the receiver. i suppose i was trying to decode the dts on board and pass through the analog outputs to the receiver.

first, can this be done? my receiver can't auto switch between spdif and analog, and there is no quick (i.e. keyboard shortcut) that can switch the revo control panel from one quicksetting (analog) to another (spdif). also, there is only one coax digital input on my receiver (outlaw 1050) which is currently being used by my cable. i will test the spdif connection tonight, but i dont want to have to get a splitter. windvd can decode dts from dvds onboard (pretty sure), so why is there an issue with dts files?

thanks,
kevin
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post #22 of 210 Old 04-11-2003, 02:36 PM
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well, the spdif works with the ks_out file. was not able to play the dts wave through windvd, even though i confirmed that dts sound plays from a dvd (decoded on board and passed through analog outputs). what is it about the dts wave that wont decode on board?

kevin
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post #23 of 210 Old 04-13-2003, 06:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Issues with 24 bit mp3's added to the top of the thread.
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post #24 of 210 Old 04-13-2003, 07:35 PM - Thread Starter
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post #25 of 210 Old 05-09-2003, 01:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by thomaspf
I am interested to get to the bottom of this so it would be great if KikeG could share the source file of whatever it is he can play bit perfect. We can then repeat his experiment and see what we find. I will not dismiss the chance that a very specific input signal might survive the kmixer treatment unharmed but I am doubtful for the general case.
Ok, I repeated the test playing DD encoded files, and it showed same results.

I had to reinstall WinXP due to some issues that caused HD data corruption, and reinstalled DIO 2448 WDM drivers too. I used those two available 384 kbps and 640 kbps DD and DTS 44.1 KHz files. I used both Winamp and Foobar2000 directsound output. CMI8738 TTL digital out was recorded with Audiophile coax digital in. The original and recorded data was substracted from each other, being the result all zeroes, what means that both files were 100% identical.

So, again, bit-perfect playback using those WDM drivers.

Still, one thing to know: DIO 2448 drivers apparently don't allow KS playback. DIO2448 shows in Foobar2000 KS drop-down list, but when playback starts, the player reports an impossibility to open device. In other modes it works fine.
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post #26 of 210 Old 05-09-2003, 08:48 AM
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â€Still, one thing to know: DIO 2448 drivers apparently don't allow KS playback. DIO2448 shows in Foobar2000 KS drop-down list, but when playback starts, the player reports an impossibility to open device. In other modes it works fine.â€

That means that the DIO2448 driver is not a true WDM driver just like the RME drivers. It is a VxD driver in a WDM wrapper.
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post #27 of 210 Old 05-09-2003, 09:39 AM
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Quote:
Still, one thing to know: DIO 2448 drivers apparently don't allow KS playback. DIO2448 shows in Foobar2000 KS drop-down list, but when playback starts, the player reports an impossibility to open device. In other modes it works fine.
The Foobar kernel plug-in is a little buggy. If you have more than one device and want to use k-streaming, switch on your "other" soundcard in multimedia settings, and then use foobar to pick the card that is not selected as your primary.

A little weird, but it works for me.

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post #28 of 210 Old 05-10-2003, 11:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by DaveFi
The Foobar kernel plug-in is a little buggy. If you have more than one device and want to use k-streaming, switch on your "other" soundcard in multimedia settings, and then use foobar to pick the card that is not selected as your primary.

A little weird, but it works for me.
I just tried this, but it still doesn't work. I also tried removing the other soundcard, and it doesn't work either, be it with Foobar or Winamp KS output.

This supports the idea that it is not a true WDM driver, but I guess only M-Audio could tell for sure.

I'm going to try to fix my CMI8738 digital input, so that I can record digitally the output of my M-Audio Audiophile.
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post #29 of 210 Old 07-21-2003, 06:15 AM
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Hey guys,

I was directed here from another thread.

Will both the DD and DTS files create the noise when they aren't bit-perfect or just the DTS ones, its a little unclear above.

Will this noise be replicated when using the analog outputs, or just with the digital?

Thanks,
Nathan
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post #30 of 210 Old 07-21-2003, 06:21 AM - Thread Starter
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Both DD and DTS bit streams will produce noise when they are sent out the SPDIF digital interface if they have been resampled by kmixer. This is because they are no longer "bit perfect" after the resample and your external DD/DTS decoder gets a bit stream that is corrupted.

In the analog case, I believe that the bit stream is presented "bit perfect" to your software DVD player on your HTPC, it is then decoded by that software and sent out to kmixer and then analog ports. So it is in fact resampled in the analog domain and the signal is degraded a little but not turned to noise. If we had a DVD software player that was ASIO or Kernel Streaming aware, we could bypass the resampling in the analog domain. But none exists yet.
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