The X-Meridian 7.1 Thread - Page 3 - AVS Forum
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post #61 of 2138 Old 02-08-2007, 12:51 PM - Thread Starter
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I guess differnt people hear differnt things when listening to certain devices. I have heard the term warming up although it's usually a term associated with Tube audio equipment. Although speakers and headphones do seem to break-in and warm up. I think that is in relation to moving parts though.
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post #62 of 2138 Old 02-08-2007, 01:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBSCIX View Post

I posted in the other thread regarding his comparison of the Gina G3 to the X-Meridian. COnsidering he state the Gina G3 sound alot better then the X-Meridian. the G3 is a 24/96 card @110db and the XM is a 24/192 card @115db. It is very easy to get used to a certain sound and think other just don't sound as good. I was interested in how he came to the conclusion. what he tested with -Media used. etc. I still don't understand why people keep comparing recording cards to HTPC cards.

The components used in a "recording" card and an "HTPC" card are very similar. Until recently, none of the consumer cards came very close to matching the components used in proaudio products. So, many people used the proaudio soundcards (or audio interfaces) in their HTPCs. And that's why they are compared to each other today. Creative Labs was the dominant soundcard company, but a lot of HTPC enthusiasts hated their products because they always resampled the audio to 16bit/48KHz. To avoid resampling, you had to buy an alternative, like the M-Audio Audiophile 24/96 and use their ASIO drivers. The M-Audio Audiophile 24/96 was an affordable "proaudio" soundcard. The M-Audio Revo cards were probably the first generation of consumer cards that had relatively good quality. However, it still didn't quite compare to the sound quality of RME and Lynx proaudio solutions. Now the X-Fi Elite and the X-Meridian appear to be a step up. The proaudio cards still use more advanced analog circuitry and higher quality connectors. But HTPC users are paying extra for the recording features they don't really use. There's also the argument that you shouldn't place a soundcard inside the chassis of a computer because of all the electrical noise generated by other components (power supply, hard drives, etc.) will interfere or distort the analog signal. I think most of the good proaudio manufacturers do a pretty good job of shielding their cards to keep the noise levels extremely low, but I don't know if that is the case with the cheap consumer cards. A lot of the latest proaudio products avoid the problem completely by housing their components in an external enclosure and connecting to the PC with either a FireWire or USB connection.

Even if a DAC is rated for 24bit/192KHz, it isn't necessarily going to sound better than a 24bit/96KHz DAC with 16bit/44.1KHz material. So unless he is listening to high def 192KHz material he isn't really going to notice any difference. Besides it is probably impossible to hear the difference between 96KHz and 192KHz. (I'd like to try A/B'ing this myself, it would be interesting to see if I could tell the difference).

And as for dynamic range or signal to noise ratio, they are not the only parameters used to judge sound quality. Besides, I think he responded that the Gina's actual spec is 114dB. Again, I doubt you could hear much difference between 114dB and 115dB. Not only that, you really need to look at the whole audio chain.

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post #63 of 2138 Old 02-08-2007, 02:00 PM - Thread Starter
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LOL, I changed my post becasue it was similar to the one in the other thread I guess you were responding to it at the same time.
People do get used to a certian type of sound and compare all other devices to it even if they are unaware of it. So a new device can still sound very good but becasue it sounds different then that reference sound, it doesn't sound right or something just sounds off.
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post #64 of 2138 Old 02-10-2007, 04:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Is anybody runing Vista yet and using a X-Meridian?
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post #65 of 2138 Old 02-10-2007, 07:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBSCIX View Post

Is anybody runing Vista yet and using a X-Meridian?

Me.

I dont have any issues with it. The one thing that I actually like is that when I set the speakers to 6 speakers and play a 2 channel source. I get two channels. When I play a source with 6 channels. I get 6 channels. This was not the case when running the XP drivers. If I had 6 channels selected, EVERYTHING was mixed to go out all 6 channels even if it was a 2 channel source. This was not ideal for me.

Sound quality is very good. I have no complaints.
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post #66 of 2138 Old 02-11-2007, 02:45 AM
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Are you using Vista 32 or 64? I can't get my X-Meridian to work in Vista 64, I only can get stereo.
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post #67 of 2138 Old 02-11-2007, 06:48 AM
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X-Meridian is fine with Vista 32. IMHO running Vista 64 today is simply asking for a bigger headache.

Vern
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post #68 of 2138 Old 02-11-2007, 07:03 AM
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IMHO running Vista 64 today is simply asking for a bigger headache

an even bigger headache than those stubborn individuals faced who tried to build HTPC's on Windows2000 machines.... it's not suitable because it wasn't meant to be!


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post #69 of 2138 Old 02-11-2007, 11:41 AM
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Those of you running this card in Vista, when DTS connect is turned on, what happens when playing a movie with native DD or DTS? Does the card pass those through correctly, or does the audio get decoded and then reconverted to DTS?

My current audio solution, the Nforce2 Soundstorm (still), does NOT perform the passthrough correctly when DD Live is enabled, so I'm looking to (finally) upgrade it.

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post #70 of 2138 Old 02-11-2007, 01:29 PM - Thread Starter
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@AVOpus, when you say it wasn't ideal, you mean the way XP upmixed everything? or the way Vista doesn't upmix? There was supopsed to be improvements to the Mixer aswell. Something about XP's mixer not being the best design for optimal quality and now Vista mixer fixed the issue so sound quality under Vista is supposed to be better then Xp in this way.
Can you comment on that? Does it sound better then XP?
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post #71 of 2138 Old 02-11-2007, 01:33 PM
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Personally, I prefer the method that AVOpus is describing. Anything that is 2.0 should stay 2.0. If anything, the receiver you own should have a 5-Stereo type mode that will duplicate the signal in this way, or at least you can use Dolby Pro Logic. Material that is native 5.1 though, should also stay that way.

Anyone know about the DD/DTS passthrough on this card in Vista though?

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post #72 of 2138 Old 02-11-2007, 02:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhoff80 View Post

Personally, I prefer the method that AVOpus is describing. Anything that is 2.0 should stay 2.0. If anything, the receiver you own should have a 5-Stereo type mode that will duplicate the signal in this way, or at least you can use Dolby Pro Logic. Material that is native 5.1 though, should also stay that way.

Anyone know about the DD/DTS passthrough on this card in Vista though?

DD/DTS passthrough appears to work. I have used both the digital and analog out for movies using the nVidia PureVideo /Audio codecs for both audio and video. They allow setting passthough and I got 5.1 DTS when in this mode. I have not tested the encoding features under Vista.

When I mentioned upmixing I was just referring to the fact that under Windows XP, 2 channel sources were converted to 6 channels if that is what I had set in the X-Meridian control panel. I like only listening to two channels if it is recorded that way. The Vista drivers do this correctly.

I don't know if they plan on "fixing" this or not. I sure hope not.
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post #73 of 2138 Old 02-11-2007, 05:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vern Dias View Post

X-Meridian is fine with Vista 32. IMHO running Vista 64 today is simply asking for a bigger headache.

Vern

IMO, Vista 64 will be the next mainstream OS not Vista 32 because all new CPUs now are already 64Bit CPU. Vista is the OS for the next few years, it means that the OS will be used on new hardwares. Supports for the 64bit version might be a little slower now but I think that in a year, 64bit version will be used more widely than 32bit.
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post #74 of 2138 Old 02-12-2007, 02:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AVOpus View Post

DD/DTS passthrough appears to work. I have used both the digital and analog out for movies using the nVidia PureVideo /Audio codecs for both audio and video. They allow setting passthough and I got 5.1 DTS when in this mode. I have not tested the encoding features under Vista.

When I mentioned upmixing I was just referring to the fact that under Windows XP, 2 channel sources were converted to 6 channels if that is what I had set in the X-Meridian control panel. I like only listening to two channels if it is recorded that way. The Vista drivers do this correctly.

I don't know if they plan on "fixing" this or not. I sure hope not.

Do the bass redirection works properly?
I mean, if you set 6 channels with appropriate bass redirection, stereo content is played in 2.1 and surround content is played in 5.1.

And the final question, what is the difference between setting small and large speakers once you have set a particular crossover (80hz)?

Thanks!
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post #75 of 2138 Old 02-12-2007, 05:24 AM
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Originally Posted by taranu View Post

I've been using the Echo Gina 3G for a while .

Hey taranu,

so you've been using the Gina 3G for a while? I just bought one because I want to compose music in 5.1 DTS surround using my home theater's Toslink optical input.

I tried using Adobe Audition's Surround Encoder, but it only allows me to assign two digital channels. Another problem is that the Gina will not transmit the audio signal in Dolby Digital, only in PCM Stereo.

Have you ever tried using the optical output on the Gina in a 5.1 home theater, or do you know if it's possible?

At this point I think I'm going to have to sell the Gina 3G due to Echo's tech supports arrogant attitude toward my questions. Their responses are incredibly vague & most answers end with "It will cost a lot more money", yet I've never even hinted at the fact that I have a dollar limit on what I'm trying to accomplish musically.

They mentioned that I need an S/PDIF input, but didn't mention a single piece of hardware that features this type of input. Is a Toslink Optical input the same as an S/PDIF input or do they just use the same transmission format? I would guess that these are not the same because Echo support didn't validate (or invalidate) my question about being able to use my 5.1 home theater's optical input.

Thanks for your help & please let me know!
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post #76 of 2138 Old 02-12-2007, 07:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tateros View Post

Hey taranu,

so you've been using the Gina 3G for a while? I just bought one because I want to compose music in 5.1 DTS surround using my home theater's Toslink optical input.

I tried using Adobe Audition's Surround Encoder, but it only allows me to assign two digital channels. Another problem is that the Gina will not transmit the audio signal in Dolby Digital, only in PCM Stereo.

Have you ever tried using the optical output on the Gina in a 5.1 home theater, or do you know if it's possible?

At this point I think I'm going to have to sell the Gina 3G due to Echo's tech supports arrogant attitude toward my questions. Their responses are incredibly vague & most answers end with "It will cost a lot more money", yet I've never even hinted at the fact that I have a dollar limit on what I'm trying to accomplish musically.

They mentioned that I need an S/PDIF input, but didn't mention a single piece of hardware that features this type of input. Is a Toslink Optical input the same as an S/PDIF input or do they just use the same transmission format? I would guess that these are not the same because Echo support didn't validate (or invalidate) my question about being able to use my 5.1 home theater's optical input.

Thanks for your help & please let me know!

The toslink optical connection is a S/PDIF connection. There are basically two types of S/PDIF connections - toslink (optical) and coax, usually with an RCA connector. Using a S/PDIF connection you can send or receive digital audio as either 2 channel PCM or multichannel DD or DTS. If you try to receive multichannel DD or DTS, then typically, the soundcard has to have a built-in DD or DTS decoder. I don't think the Gina has a built-in decoder.

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post #77 of 2138 Old 02-12-2007, 07:49 AM
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The Vista driver does seem to do bass direction correctly, unlike in XP.

I have the control panel set to 6 ch input and 6 ch output, with Flexbass enabled and set to a crossover of 100Hz. When i play DVD / HD-DVD I get full 5.1 output. if I play an MP3 or CD I get 2.1.

I think that if you set a crossover and set full range speakers, then the low freqs will go the sub and the main speakers. If you set small speakers then the low freqs all go to the sub.

I do have a problem with the driver/control panel however. If I click to disable/enable the spdif output then I lose sound completely and media player throws up an error when I try to play MP3s, I then have to reinstall the driver. Luckily I only use analogue output so I don't need to mess with the spdif setting.
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post #78 of 2138 Old 02-12-2007, 09:30 AM - Thread Starter
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@Tateros, the X-Meridian has a real-time 5.1 Dolby Digital and DTS encoder is this what your looking for? I have Adobe audition mayeb I can check it out for you. Can you explain a little more what your trying to accomplish.
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post #79 of 2138 Old 02-12-2007, 09:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dazzlercee View Post

The Vista driver does seem to do bass direction correctly, unlike in XP.

In which way do you think XP does not manage bass correctly?

I have read in another forum that is possible to use driver sets from other c-media based sound cards (b-enspirer, inferno, theater dts and even razer) without problems. Some of them are newer than other or offer a different gui. Maybe they also behave differently. Does anyone have tried this possibility?
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post #80 of 2138 Old 02-12-2007, 10:13 AM
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Sorry, bass managmemt was handled correctly in XP, I just couldn't get 2.1 for music. The Meridian always outputted to all channels. If I selected 2 ch output in XP I would get no sub. In Vista, if I put 2 ch in I get 2.1 out as expected.
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post #81 of 2138 Old 02-12-2007, 10:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBSCIX View Post

I have Adobe audition mayeb I can check it out for you. Can you explain a little more what your trying to accomplish.

Hey there!

It would be nice to know if the X-Meridian will do the job or not, since I've had my eye on it for quite some time now.

What I'd like to do is compose music strictly in 5.1 surround sound. So I'd like to record all of the parts within Adobe Audition's multitracker, then pan them wherever I want in the 5.1 audio spectrum in real time using Audition's Surround Encoder. The problem I'm having is that when I open the "Audio Driver" window within Surround Encoder, I am only capable of setting 2 digital outputs using the Gina 3G, even though I need a total of 6 digital outputs to complete a 5.1 surround field.

When you open the "Audio Driver" setting, how many digital channels are available to you with the X-Meridian? Do you have enough to set them to all 5.1 channels? Or does it set up automatically?

When I pan a sound using the Surround Encoder's circular soundfield display, all I can do is pan the sound between a maximum of two channels because I only have two digital channels available to me.

My plan was to hook up the Gina 3G into my Pioneer Home Theater via a single Optical Toslink cable & start composing in 5.1. The problem is, as greggplummer stated, it seems as if the Gina 3G doens't have a built-in 5.1 decoder, even though it says right on the box that the Gina 3G is 5.1 - 7.1 compatible. It states that it's even capable of surround delay management. I think it is 5.1, but only using the 1/4 outputs (analog), not the digital optical toslink output.

I definitely wouldn't be able to use the X-Meridian alone because it is not GSIF (GigaSampler) compatible , according to the Auzentech website. Do you know off hand if it is compatible with GigaSampler or not? I know they are coming out with a break-out box for the X-Meridian, which will include a MIDI input. It would be perfect if the break-out box would include GSIF compatibility. Yea, that's not gonna happen.

If I could somehow sync the X-Meridian with the Gina 3G in order to accomplish what I want, I would definitely buy an X-Meridian & use them both together. The problem is that no one seems to know for sure, which is fair enough. A professional 5.1 Surround Sound songsmith would not use an end-user type home theater system to compose his songs anyway. This is just the way I'd like to do it.

When I go to music stores, they quickly lose interest in me because they know I will not be buying Pro-Tools just to write a couple of cheesy songs for my girl.

I've already bought a Creative X-Fi, which turned out to be a huge mistake since it is not even Dolby Digital compatible. It uses a proprietary decoder called "DTS-ES", which is compatible with about two games & just about nothing else. Sickening. I was able to pawn it off on ebay, but this kind of trial & error is going to end up costing a lot more money than necessary, is a huge waste of time & most importantly - Frustration is beginning to outweigh my inspiration.

Thanks for your help!
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post #82 of 2138 Old 02-12-2007, 10:31 AM
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I will probably end up not using Adobe Audition because it will not record MIDI, which means it is incompatible with Gigasampler. But still, I'd like to know if the X-Meridian is more 5.1 friendly than the Gina 3G is.

If you guys could lead me to a software & hardware setup that will allow me to accomplish 5.1 surround composing, that would be great!
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post #83 of 2138 Old 02-12-2007, 12:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tateros View Post

Hey taranu,

so you've been using the Gina 3G for a while? I just bought one because I want to compose music in 5.1 DTS surround using my home theater's Toslink optical input.

I tried using Adobe Audition's Surround Encoder, but it only allows me to assign two digital channels. Another problem is that the Gina will not transmit the audio signal in Dolby Digital, only in PCM Stereo.

Have you ever tried using the optical output on the Gina in a 5.1 home theater, or do you know if it's possible?

Thanks for your help & please let me know!

Hi Tateros, I only use Gina 3G for playback in analog stereo so I can't really help you here. I would definitely suggest you find a forum specific to music recording where you'll probably find more answers than here.

I just looked at the documentation for the card and here's what it says, I don't know if this helps:

"Surround Sound over S/PDIF
The WDM drivers support transmitting surround sound-encoded data in either
Windows Media Audio or Dolby Digital formats via Layla3G and Gina3G's
S/PDIF outputs. The stream will bypass the kernel mixer and will be transmitted
with bit-for-bit accuracy. In order to use this feature, follow these steps:
Select S/PDIF (RCA or Optical) digital mode in the Echo console.
Select the digital output of your Echo product in the Windows Sounds and
Audio Devices control panel, under the Audio tab.
In your Dolby Digital playback software, enable digital streaming.
For example, in WinDVD select Properties and under the audio tab select
Enable S/PDIF output. If it is grayed out, double-check the control panel
settings, then quit and restart WinDVD. "

So it appears that it can transmit Dolby Digital through an optical Toslink cable.

BTW, version 7 of the drivers were just released today (XP32,XP64,Vista32).
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post #84 of 2138 Old 02-12-2007, 06:54 PM
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BTW - -I finally got around to DC coupling my X-Merdian as shown in this post:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...&&#post9538227

Needless to say, another layer of quality has been revealed. My card is now nothing like the stock XM. I have bypassed the caps for all the channels and have LM4562s for the OpAmps. The sound is simply awe inspiring. Just as the original poster of this mod was stating, the detail is better than any other analog playback unit I have tried. Check out what he was comparing it against as well. Incredibly realistic instruments and breathy vocals are now trademarks of the sound. I love this sound!
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post #85 of 2138 Old 02-13-2007, 12:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AVOpus View Post

BTW - -I finally got around to DC coupling my X-Merdian as shown in this post:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...&&#post9538227

Needless to say, another layer of quality has been revealed. My card is now nothing like the stock XM. I have bypassed the caps for all the channels and have LM4562s for the OpAmps. The sound is simply awe inspiring. Just as the original poster of this mod was stating, the detail is better than any other analog playback unit I have tried. Check out what he was comparing it against as well. Incredibly realistic instruments and breathy vocals are now trademarks of the sound. I love this sound!

Do you have jumpered all the capacitors or only those for the opamps output? Any problems with residual DC for any channel?

A general question for hardware modders: have any one considered the possibility of adding resistors to the analog output in order to bring down the high output level from 5vrms to the more standard 2vrms?
I think this can be an interesting mod as many of us are using a very low mixer master volume to avoid distortion. In consequence, digital sound distortion is introduced without taking proffit from the full DACs dynamic range. Maybe this can address limitations in dynamics metioned by markk02474.
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post #86 of 2138 Old 02-13-2007, 01:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by janderclander14 View Post

Do you have jumpered all the capacitors or only those for the opamps output? Any problems with residual DC for any channel?

A general question for hardware modders: have any one considered the possibility of adding resistors to the analog output in order to bring down the high output level from 5vrms to the more standard 2vrms?
I think this can be an interesting mod as many of us are using a very low mixer master volume to avoid distortion. In consequence, digital sound distortion is introduced without taking proffit from the full DACs dynamic range. Maybe this can address limitations in dynamics metioned by markk02474.

I basically copied markk02474 layout except I did it for all channels (jumpered 6 caps per OpAmp). It was fairly time consuming (for the novice).

A resistor might help if placed at the right point. The problem is where in the chain does it need to be? I think if it were just on the output that you would have the same level of distortion.. just not as loud.
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post #87 of 2138 Old 02-13-2007, 08:37 PM
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Originally Posted by alg7_munif View Post

IMO, Vista 64 will be the next mainstream OS not Vista 32 because all new CPUs now are already 64Bit CPU. Vista is the OS for the next few years, it means that the OS will be used on new hardwares. Supports for the 64bit version might be a little slower now but I think that in a year, 64bit version will be used more widely than 32bit.

I have my copy of vista ready to go, but auzentech hasn't released the 64bit drivers yet, so I'm holding off for now. They only say it's coming soon... It's the only part of my system without total 64bit support yet. I'd rather not stick to 32bit since I'll end up moving to 64 bit anyway. The only issue with widespread 64 bit adoption as you predict is that only the ultimate version ships with 64bit versions. Every other version requires you to go to the website and pay up another 10 bucks or so for them to ship you the 64bit version. Now that's a serious deterent in my opinion to widespread adoption of any product for the average user who really has no idea. I'm not sure what the new systems from oems are shipping with, but from my guess, it would probably be the 32 bit version to maintain better driver support from the start.

Microsoft 64bit request page for purchasers of vista.

http://www.microsoft.com/windows/pro...ons/64bit.mspx

Link to auzentech driver download page, in case you want to check up occasionally for the 64bit drivers, or want to update your current drivers.

http://www.auzentech.com/site/download/updates.php
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post #88 of 2138 Old 02-14-2007, 11:34 AM - Thread Starter
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@Tateros, I tried looking through AA 1.5 I don't believe it will do exactly what you want.
I can select the differnt formats the card can accept for ouput of the 5.1 stream. I cannot select different output pairs if this is what you mean. The audio is spot on. It projects from the proper speaker this is to be expected with most cards though. So I am really unsure if it would be good for what your trying to accomplish.
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post #89 of 2138 Old 02-15-2007, 12:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dazzlercee View Post

Sorry, bass managmemt was handled correctly in XP, I just couldn't get 2.1 for music. The Meridian always outputted to all channels. If I selected 2 ch output in XP I would get no sub. In Vista, if I put 2 ch in I get 2.1 out as expected.

I've run into the same issue with XP and find it incredibly frustrating. It looks like there's no way to get 2.1 output with this card short of upgrading to Vista -- which I'd rather not do for the time being. The XP driver will either upmix everything to 5.1 (in 6-speaker mode), or disregard the subwoofer altogether (in 2-speaker mode).

If anyone has found a solution to this problem in XP please let us know. Perhaps there are compatible drivers out there from C-Media that support proper 2.1 output?
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post #90 of 2138 Old 02-15-2007, 01:45 PM - Thread Starter
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That is strange what your saying, now are you talking about a integrated 2.1 set where there is one connection the the sound card? or are you talking about using two connection so you hav a dedicated subwoofer?-I think this is what your refering to becasue this is the reason you would lose the sub under stereo. You can always sugest the fix to Auzen or C-Media.

AVOpus, Speaking of Vista are the digital encoders blocked on the XM 7.1 under Vista DRM? for instance the DD/DTS decoders on the X-fi are blocked by DRM. I understand this to prevent copying the input. This is why I am asking about the realtime encoder output on the XM. I understand your using analog though have you heard anything from the XM community?
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