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post #31 of 971 Old 08-20-2006, 04:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by KenLand View Post

Will Vista have native support for DVD-Audio? SACD?

No there is not. As you may know, Sony does not let you license SACD for PC use. Apparently, they were worried people would pirate the content, lowering the adoption rate of SACD by the studios! DVD-A does license it but it takes a lot of work to implement because you have to grok the new menu/system layer which given the state of that format right now, it is not worth it. The future in this area belongs to digital downloads from likes of MusicGiants.

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post #32 of 971 Old 08-20-2006, 04:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by KenLand View Post

And will the new mixer have the ability to *not* resample the audio?

Yes. There are policies for the new user mode audio engine where a user can set the default sample rate including an exclusive mode which provides access directly to the card.

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And lastly will there be support for multi-zone audio?

No there is not. We are trying to get the primary zone right in this release .

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My questions sort of focus on Vista replacing my current hardware/media, but does MS see new delivery options that make some of this obsolete? Say, online Hi-Rez versions of iTunes?

Per my pervious reponse, yes, digital downloads are the way to go for high-end music. These guys have trouble finding shelf space at retailers, especially now. The internet provides an excellent medium here as their customers don't mind paying for quality over pirated music.

For the last 3 years, we have shipped the technology for this in the form of WMA Lossless and WMA Pro which provides for up to 8 channels of lossless/lossy, 24-bit/96khz audio. MusicGiants is proving WMA Lossless now (CD quality) and surround later. See http://www.musicgiants.com/. In Japan, Onkyo I believe is providing lossless music.

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post #33 of 971 Old 08-20-2006, 04:45 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben_Tech View Post

One suggestion.... would it be possible for Microsoft to offer a complete audio codec (for an additional fee, naturally, due to licensing costs) that is tightly integrated with these features and can decode DD, DTS, DD+, TrueHD et al, instead of relying on the often spotty support offered by third party codecs.

With Vista we are offering the basics for DVD to OEMs for the precise reason you mention. You should see improved quality and performance with these new codecs (which includes video). They will not ship in box due to royalty cost except for the highest end version of Vista (Ultimum).

In the future, we may do the same for advanced codecs for new formats.

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post #34 of 971 Old 08-20-2006, 04:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by John Nelson View Post

1 Sub Eqing - If have a BFD to eq my sub(s), will Vista have have parametric, shelf, LR filters so I can replace my BFD??

No it does not.

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2. 7.1 - Will Vista be able to synthesize the 2 rear channels from 5.1 sources like "Logic 7" on my Lexicon??

Yes it does. The speaker fill effect can fill from any n to m channels where n
Quote:


3. Any hope we'll get better sound cards that don't send clicks and pops to my amps when the PC boots?

We have been pushing for this pretty hard but could not make it a requirement. So you should still search for reviews and find cards that keep their output shunted to ground during reboots.

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4. Any chance that the horribly loud wave that plays when the OS boots will go away?

This was already answered. I set my MCE PCs to "None" audio.

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post #35 of 971 Old 08-20-2006, 05:03 PM
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Amir-

This sounds great. I'd love to just use one PC for HD-DVD/Cable/DVD/CD playback etc. Kind of an off topic question but... Any idea if we'll see support for HD radio on MCE?

Thanks,
Chris
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post #36 of 971 Old 08-20-2006, 06:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amirm View Post

Indeed, there are companies building PCs with built-in amps which should put this technology to good use.

We are building a product that combines a soundcard with amplifier modules. Hopefully, we'll be able to take advantage of all of these features mentioned in your post. I'm assuming from your post, that your bass management feature will also work well for even stereo playback with systems that may have 5 or 7 bookshelf (small) loudspeakers and a subwoofer. Even if you only want to play music out of the two front speakers, you will still be able to route low frequencies to the sub, giving you a 2.1 system for stereo playback.

Other functionality that we would like to support includes digital crossovers. For digital crossovers, you would need the ability to define low/high crossovers for a 2-way system (4 channels) and a low/mid-range/high crossovers for a 3-way system (6 channels), etc.

We are still in the development stage, so we have a lot more work ahead, but this is something we will be pursuing. For more info, please take a look at our blog. I will also be linking back to this thread.

Thanks for the info Amir.

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post #37 of 971 Old 08-21-2006, 07:02 AM
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Amir,

The Vista bass management, missing speaker & headphone virtualization, room eq, phantom center channel are all great OS features! But please be sure to (a) allow for user-adjustable subwoofer crossover frequency and (b) give the user the ability to turn off unwanted functions (like probably for me, loudness equalization).

I already connect the multichannel analog output of my sound card directly to power amps in my HTPC setup. I eagerly await these improvements in Vista!

John

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post #38 of 971 Old 08-21-2006, 08:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amirm View Post

Yes. There are policies for the new user mode audio engine where a user can set the default sample rate including an exclusive mode which provides access directly to the card.

I was convinced ASIO wouldn't be necessary any longer, but this got me worried! I don't want to set the default sample rate! I want the mixer to leave the stream untouched. Meaning, it'll output 44.1 when you're listening to ripped cd's and 48 when you're listening to mp3's, dd, etc. Please, clarify a bit on this. Is that what this exclusive mode is intended for?
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post #39 of 971 Old 08-21-2006, 09:31 AM
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Do you know if any professional audio cards are supported in Vista with these features? I know the Delta 1010 is not supported yet.
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post #40 of 971 Old 08-21-2006, 10:44 AM
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Does this mean that a Creative Audigy class card won't have these system effects? Does HD-Audio apply to Intel's HD audio thingy?

Mark

Quote:
Originally Posted by amirm View Post

...
All these audio system effects (also referred to as SysFx DSPs) are available on any HD-Audio and USB Audio-equipped computer that uses in-box class drivers.

...

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post #41 of 971 Old 08-21-2006, 11:14 AM - Thread Starter
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On support for other cards, I asked my folks and here is what they said. So I suggest pushing your favorite vendor to update their drivers with this functionality .

------

The new DSP effects described here are all combined into a System Effect (SysFX) component which is part of the new user mode audio engine infrastructure. The in-box System Effect component is tied to the in-box audio class driver. So any audio solution like HD-Audio or USB audio which uses in-box class driver will get to use these new DSP's. 3rd party drivers typically replace the in-box SysFX component with their own SysFX audio effects in which case the DSP's described here may not be available if the IHV's do not provide similar effects of their own. However we have a white paper for IHV's like Creative, Echo Layla, M-audio etc describing how to reuse the in-box audio effects even if they replace the in-box SysFX component. Starting June 2007 such re-use of in-box SysFx DSP effects is being made part of the logo driver program to prevent deprecation of any in-box functionality if the IHV's do not already provide similar effects.

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post #42 of 971 Old 08-21-2006, 11:17 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Radiophile View Post

Amir,

The Vista bass management, missing speaker & headphone virtualization, room eq, phantom center channel are all great OS features! But please be sure to (a) allow for user-adjustable subwoofer crossover frequency and (b) give the user the ability to turn off unwanted functions (like probably for me, loudness equalization).

Oh, you can definitely turn each on and off using the control panel I talked about. And the cross over point is also programmable (I pushed for this feature myself ).

Quote:
I already connect the multichannel analog output of my sound card directly to power amps in my HTPC setup. I eagerly await these improvements in Vista!

John

Wow, so you are all set for Vista then .

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post #43 of 971 Old 08-21-2006, 11:38 AM
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Wow, I applaud you guys for venturing into this territory. I have some room correction in my current MCE setup (Convolver, sound card plug-in's and the like, no megabuck Tact stuff). It has been quite an adventure so far and it will be very exciting to see this part of Vista, and presumably a few orders of magnitude easier to setup than the roll-your-own approach.

How many listening spots can we optimize for?

Do you expect that the multi-channel digital audio path in HDMI 1.3 will be utilized by sound card vendors (along with a complementary video card that allows pass-through) to get single-cable hookup to a receiver? Seems to me that if this does not happen I run out of 8-channel amp inputs in a hurry!
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post #44 of 971 Old 08-21-2006, 11:55 AM
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And on a related note, any chance you can get the guys from Orangeware motivated to release a driver so I can hook up these great new features to my current receiver with firewire/i-link?
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post #45 of 971 Old 08-21-2006, 12:41 PM
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I wonder if Elvis (incognito) is listening ????


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post #46 of 971 Old 08-21-2006, 12:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tlaverty View Post

Wow, I applaud you guys for venturing into this territory.

Thanks. It all started with me getting the TacT room correction machine a few years ago and I got convinced that we could use the MIPS in the PC for such things "for free." I must admit, that device had a dozen DSPs so being able to do all of this with almost no hit on the CPU has been a remarkable achievement.

Quote:
How many listening spots can we optimize for?

We went for a more diffused setting of 3-feet for the sweet spot.

Do you expect that the multi-channel digital audio path in HDMI 1.3 will be utilized by sound card vendors (along with a complementary video card that allows pass-through) to get single-cable hookup to a receiver? Seems to me that if this does not happen I run out of 8-channel amp inputs in a hurry![/quote]
Unfortunately, native HDMI audio didn't make it in there. Yes, I know it is bad and I hope that we can remedy this soon post Vista. So for now, multi-channel analog is the way to go.

Other companies may be able to make HDMI audio work though by emulating an audio device that way.

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post #47 of 971 Old 08-21-2006, 01:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amirm View Post

.....the cross over point is also programmable (I pushed for this feature myself ).

That is a huge step in the right direction. Thank you, Amir.

It could be taken further by having a separate bass crossover setting for each loudspeaker. Several higher-end component pre/pro's offer this feature.

Essentially, the frequencies below the independent crossover points for each channel are all summed into the LFE channel. This allows for utilizing the natural bass response of mismatched multichannel loudspeaker systems.

Something to consider!

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post #48 of 971 Old 08-21-2006, 02:05 PM
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Amir-

I've read in Larry Osterman's blog that the volume control feature in Vista will also change so that each player application can have it's own volume control. So now when you adjust the volume using the control panel, you no longer adjust it for every player application running.

Currently, the WDM volume control lowers the volume by taking away bits, or reducing the resolution. Playing back music at low volumes using software volume control will not sound as good as it would if you were to leave the data alone (and not decrease the resolution) and attenuate the analog signal using high quality potentiometers or volume chips like the Cirrus Logic 3310 or 3318 or the TI/Burr Brown PGA2310 or PGA4311.

Is this still the case with Vista? Or is there a more advanced DSP for volume control that retains the original resolution? Or are we better off using hardware solutions?

Since more people now have an incentive to connect from their soundcard directly to amplifiers and many of these amplifers do not include volume control, volume control will become more of an issue.

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post #49 of 971 Old 08-21-2006, 02:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amirm View Post

No there is not. As you may know, Sony does not let you license SACD for PC use. Apparently, they were worried people would pirate the content, lowering the adoption rate of SACD by the studios! DVD-A does license it but it takes a lot of work to implement because you have to grok the new menu/system layer which given the state of that format right now, it is not worth it. The future in this area belongs to digital downloads from likes of MusicGiants.

Amir,

Thanks. It looks like MG is just CD quality.

If Vista is going to cater to the true Audiophile you'll need to work a deal with Sony or some other avenue for true hirez audio. (at least 24/96)

It seems that SACD (although an overall commercial failure) has sort of become the niche Audiophile format.

For more of the Audiophile view hang out over at AudioAsylum.

Still I look forward to the day when I can load managed copies of my HD-DVD's (and even BD's if that works out) onto my CableCard enabled Vista HTPC!

Ken
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post #50 of 971 Old 08-21-2006, 03:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KenLand View Post

Amir,

Thanks. It looks like MG is just CD quality.

Actually, they are moving beyond that. I believe Fall is their schedule for surround and higher resolution.

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post #51 of 971 Old 08-21-2006, 04:26 PM
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If your PC is using an HDMI video output, is it possible to send the audio singal to an analog amplifier via a sound card?

If not, how do you hook up surround sound speakers; only with an HDMI reciever?
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post #52 of 971 Old 08-21-2006, 04:54 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ohdash96 View Post

If your PC is using an HDMI video output, is it possible to send the audio singal to an analog amplifier via a sound card?

Of course you can. That is the normal way to hook things up.

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post #53 of 971 Old 08-21-2006, 05:14 PM
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Amir-

When you say a "high quality" mic, what is "high" quality? Just curious.

Also, any time line on when a complete Vista Ultimate MCE box would be hitting the streets?

Thanks,
CHris
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post #54 of 971 Old 08-21-2006, 05:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Schlotkins View Post

Amir-

When you say a "high quality" mic, what is "high" quality? Just curious.

The definition we use for standard mic is the $1 jobs that come with sound cards for voice applicatioins. And high quality means $10-$20 half decent mike. I can gt the specifics on this if you like.

Quote:


Also, any time line on when a complete Vista Ultimate MCE box would be hitting the streets?

Thanks,
CHris

I think we have said Q1, next year.

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post #55 of 971 Old 08-21-2006, 05:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amirm View Post

The definition we use for standard mic is the $1 jobs that come with sound cards for voice applicatioins. And high quality means $10-$20 half decent mike. I can gt the specifics on this if you like.

No, that's not necessary - thanks. I was just wondering how "high priced" high quality was.

Looking forward to tossing out my cable box, CD player, DVD player and receiver for one of these new boxes and an amp.

Chris
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post #56 of 971 Old 08-21-2006, 06:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greggplummer View Post

Amir-

I've read in Larry Osterman's blog that the volume control feature in Vista will also change so that each player application can have it's own volume control. So now when you adjust the volume using the control panel, you no longer adjust it for every player application running.

True. No more will you have a system sound blow your ears out as you listen to music at high levels.

Quote:


Currently, the WDM volume control lowers the volume by taking away bits, or reducing the resolution. Playing back music at low volumes using software volume control will not sound as good as it would if you were to leave the data alone (and not decrease the resolution) and attenuate the analog signal using high quality potentiometers or volume chips like the Cirrus Logic 3310 or 3318 or the TI/Burr Brown PGA2310 or PGA4311.

Is this still the case with Vista? Or is there a more advanced DSP for volume control that retains the original resolution? Or are we better off using hardware solutions?

Vista will adjust the volume using internal floating point values rather than integer. So it does not reduce resolution as XP did.

Quote:


Since more people now have an incentive to connect from their soundcard directly to amplifiers and many of these amplifers do not include volume control, volume control will become more of an issue.

To the extent you want to be pure here, you can set the volume to 100% in the application and then just adjust the sound card volume. So you can choose between convenience and that last bit of audio quality.

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post #57 of 971 Old 08-21-2006, 06:44 PM
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I own a Creative X-Fi and after watching the Channel9 HighDef Audio in Vista i became anxious to what Creative will do to step up to the plate with audio in vista.

I got the impression from the video and what Amirm has said in this thread that all the cool vista audio features are bound to HD-Audio and on-board audio chips. Also no hardware acceleration for DSP effects like EAXHD and hardware decoding of DTS/Dolby so Creative will have to re-write all their drivers to do that in vista.

If my X-fi's DACs were'nt miles better than my on-board HDAudio chip then i might consider chucking it and going back to on-board sound!

Matt.
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post #58 of 971 Old 08-21-2006, 08:31 PM
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Amir,

I have a question about Vista and sound quality when ripping CDs. I've tried ripping CDs with MCE 2005 via WMA lossless and playback from the hardrive never sounded as good as the source CD via the PC's CDROM drive. I was wondering if this was a false perception on my part but I spoke with a Microsoft Vista engineer at the last CES (I forget his name) and he said it wasn't. He said MCE does not provide strong error correction when ripping and that was what I was hearing. He also said that Microsoft planned to address this with Vista via something like Exact Audio Copy from a function perspective. Is this the case? I really want to transfer my entire CD collection to PC for the long term, but playback from its drive has to sound at least as good as the source CD for me to do this.

Thanks
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post #59 of 971 Old 08-22-2006, 12:14 AM
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Kudos to you for coming into a forum to address your users directly. I don't have nearly the technical knowledge that most people have here in terms of HTPC's. I'm sure a lot of work has gone in to what you've done and it sounds like a big improvement.

What will keep me from adopting Vista however is the use of proprietary codecs and DRM (secure audio channel) built in. Perhaps you can give some input on how the DRM changes in Vista benefit the end user and not just the monopolists (both RIAA and Microsoft ). What are your thoughts on the subject?
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post #60 of 971 Old 08-22-2006, 12:32 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zgeneral View Post

Kudos to you for coming into a forum to address your users directly.

Thanks. If you look at my post count and signature, you see that I am no stranger to AVS Forum and our users here.

Quote:
What will keep me from adopting Vista however is the use of proprietary codecs and DRM (secure audio channel) built in. Perhaps you can give some input on how the DRM changes in Vista benefit the end user and not just the monopolists (both RIAA and Microsoft ). What are your thoughts on the subject?

Actually, none of that is "built-in" in the way you are worried about it. You can simply ignore all of those capabilities and use the system as you do XP today. The new services around protected media path and such, require explicit support from applications. To the extent an application does not use those services, the system works as it always has.

Of course, if an application does choose to use the new services, it will be more immune to attacks. Depending your perspective, that can be a good thing or a bad thing I am sure. It is good because without it, new HD optical formats such as HD DVD and BD may require that the application be revoked (not play future content). Whereas using the new services, would make them more resilient, allowing them to keep operating as designed. But per above, these players can choose to ignore the new services and work as they do on XP.

Note that in many ways, these security provisions simply get us closer to where the traditional closed consumer architectures. For example, a lot has been said about us enabling HDCP protection on the video output (again, another optional feature). But such a capability has existed on current CE equipment for 2+ years and is fully utilized in something as simples as upscaling DVD player. And this is a required feature for playing HD DVD/BD optical formats.

Anyway, I hope the above eases your fears and lets you give Vista a try. Happy to answer any specific questions you might have.

Amir
Founder, Madrona Digital
"Insist on Quality Engineering"

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