The X-Meridian 7.1 Thread - Page 7 - AVS Forum
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post #181 of 2138 Old 02-28-2007, 08:14 PM
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Originally Posted by AVOpus View Post

These is where other OpAmps and cards fell short that I compred it to, and the X-Fi Elite Pro was completely dominated in this area. Even my Outlaw 990 Preamp fell short compared to the level of detail my card revealed. Bad tracks are ruthlessly revealed for what they are. They became hard to listen to because the harshness in the recordings.

I am not following you on the comparison to the X-FI, was ti too harsh because of detail?

What about the XM do you prefer?

I am worried about the high voltages. What do you think of the Bluegears card?

And lastly, does replacing the OpAmps help the overvoltage issue?

Thanks,

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post #182 of 2138 Old 03-01-2007, 04:26 AM
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Originally Posted by RichB View Post

I am not following you on the comparison to the X-FI, was ti too harsh because of detail?

What about the XM do you prefer?

I am worried about the high voltages. What do you think of the Bluegears card?

And lastly, does replacing the OpAmps help the overvoltage issue?

Thanks,

Rich

Ok, first of all I don't mean to bash the X-Fi. It is the ONLY card to get if you are concerned with gaming. It's simply in a different league with regards to that. As far as pure analog output was concerned, the X-Fi came off sounding muddy compared to the X-Meridian. This was comparing a stock X-Merdian to a stock X-Fi Elite Pro. I suspect this could be due to the OpAmps in the X-Fi because it has a very good DAC. The X-Fi always had a good clean sound anywhere in it's volume range and I liked its feature set, but I could hear details from the X-Meridian that I just could not hear with the X-Fi. I suppose you probably need some pretty high end gear to hear these differences though.

The Bluegears card (I think) was designed without the issue with overdriving the analog output. I'm not positive on this , but have heard it from a couple of people. The only downside is that you cannot replace the OpAmps easily. This is a BIG deal. Replacing the OpAmps for $20 really makes the XM shine and places it a tier above the stock BlueGears card.

Replacing the OpAmps does NOT help the overvoltage issue. Frankly after having the cards for quite a while now. I never notice the voltage issue. My volume stays fixed at a "safe" spot on my PC and I adjust the volume with my PreAmp. I never give it a thought. Even if you turn the volume all the way up, you are not going to damage your equipment. You will just hear some distortion in the peaks of the music. Especially in high frequencies.
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post #183 of 2138 Old 03-01-2007, 04:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AVOpus View Post

Ok, first of all I don't mean to bash the X-Fi. It is the ONLY card to get if you are concerned with gaming. It's simply in a different league with regards to that. As far as pure analog output was concerned, the X-Fi came off sounding muddy compared to the X-Meridian. This was comparing a stock X-Merdian to a stock X-Fi Elite Pro. I suspect this could be due to the OpAmps in the X-Fi because it has a very good DAC. The X-Fi always had a good clean sound anywhere in it's volume range and I liked its feature set, but I could hear details from the X-Meridian that I just could not hear with the X-Fi. I suppose you probably need some pretty high end gear to hear these differences though.

The Bluegears card (I think) was designed without the issue with overdriving the analog output. I'm not positive on this , but have heard it from a couple of people. The only downside is that you cannot replace the OpAmps easily. This is a BIG deal. Replacing the OpAmps for $20 really makes the XM shine and places it a tier above the stock BlueGears card.

Replacing the OpAmps does NOT help the overvoltage issue. Frankly after having the cards for quite a while now. I never notice the voltage issue. My volume stays fixed at a "safe" spot on my PC and I adjust the volume with my PreAmp. I never give it a thought. Even if you turn the volume all the way up, you are not going to damage your equipment. You will just hear some distortion in the peaks of the music. Especially in high frequencies.

Thanks, I appreciate that. I went ahead and bought the X-FI, I just could not deal with the overdrive issue. My gear I have a Integra 7 Preamp, Sunfire Signature amp, and Revel Salons, Studios, and Voice. So if it is harsh I will here it.

I begin to wonder about this since my Panasonic rp82 sounds great with DVD-Audio and it is HD audio that I am interested in. All your components contribute to the sound, so I will post my results. I also figured that there was better driver support moving forward.

Thanks all for your input.

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post #184 of 2138 Old 03-01-2007, 09:27 AM - Thread Starter
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Having hot output is not a bad thing. I have yet to find any proof they will damage inputs.
It doesn't work that way. Also you know not to crank it to 100% It has been said time and again the X-Meridian sounds better then any X-fi. It is your gear though and your choice. I imagine your gonna be in for some great audio with your rig. I am on the hunt right now for a new receiver and surround speakers. You really need decent gear to make the most of this card. The card also sounds awsome on any system though. Enjoy your new card.
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post #185 of 2138 Old 03-01-2007, 09:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBSCIX View Post

Having hot output is not a bad thing. I have yet to find any proof they will damage inputs.
It doesn't work that way. Also you know not to crank it to 100% It has been said time and again the X-Meridian sounds better then any X-fi. It is your gear though and your choice. I imagine your gonna be in for some great audio with your rig. I am on the hunt right now for a new receiver and surround speakers. You really need decent gear to make the most of this card. The card also sounds awsome on any system though. Enjoy your new card.

Honestly, the ALC850 running Blu-Ray LPCM sound sounds pretty good already. Much better than anything I have heard with DD or DTS so I think I cannot help but be pleased.

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post #186 of 2138 Old 03-01-2007, 09:59 AM
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I'm a n00b to this card and have not yet received mine. Please don't flame me for asking this but:

1) Could someone give me a little back story on the OP AMP swaps everyone seems to be doing (even in the form of links...diagrams as to what is being replaced on the board...how it is being done)?

2) Is there something "wrong" with the OP AMPS it comes with?

3) I want to use analog outs to my HK AVR525. BEing as I don't have an ultra high-end receiver, should I bother with an OP AMP swapout?

4) I bought the XBOX 360 HD-DVD drive to attach to my yet-built HTPC. I also paid for a copy of PowerDVD for playback. Suppoosedly this should be able to playback any of the possible audio formats (TrueHD, DD Live, etc) through the analog inputs?

5) How well does this work in a true remote-driven HTPC environment? Are there commandline options in the software to switch settings or maybe commandline options for swithcing "profiles".

Thanks and sorry if it seems that I am hijacking the thread or am off-topic.

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post #187 of 2138 Old 03-01-2007, 10:16 AM
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There is nothing wrong with the stock OPAMPs but people change them to get a better sound. The stock OPAMPs are already good but the new OPAMPs are not expensive and it is very easy to change them so many people change them to get a better sound. Changing the OPAMPs is not hard, it is just like playing LEGO lol, you can go to Auzentech's website to see how the OPAMPs look like and there is also an instruction on how to change them in the FAQ section.
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post #188 of 2138 Old 03-01-2007, 10:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBSCIX View Post

Having hot output is not a bad thing. I have yet to find any proof they will damage inputs.
It doesn't work that way. Also you know not to crank it to 100% It has been said time and again the X-Meridian sounds better then any X-fi. It is your gear though and your choice. I imagine your gonna be in for some great audio with your rig. I am on the hunt right now for a new receiver and surround speakers. You really need decent gear to make the most of this card. The card also sounds awsome on any system though. Enjoy your new card.

The Emotiva rig reviewed on www.audioholics.com recently would be an EXCELLENT buy for the money.
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post #189 of 2138 Old 03-01-2007, 10:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by debennett2 View Post

I'm a n00b to this card and have not yet received mine. Please don't flame me for asking this but:

1) Could someone give me a little back story on the OP AMP swaps everyone seems to be doing (even in the form of links...diagrams as to what is being replaced on the board...how it is being done)?

2) Is there something "wrong" with the OP AMPS it comes with?

3) I want to use analog outs to my HK AVR525. BEing as I don't have an ultra high-end receiver, should I bother with an OP AMP swapout?

4) I bought the XBOX 360 HD-DVD drive to attach to my yet-built HTPC. I also paid for a copy of PowerDVD for playback. Suppoosedly this should be able to playback any of the possible audio formats (TrueHD, DD Live, etc) through the analog inputs?

5) How well does this work in a true remote-driven HTPC environment? Are there commandline options in the software to switch settings or maybe commandline options for swithcing "profiles".

Thanks and sorry if it seems that I am hijacking the thread or am off-topic.

1. Its very easy. Literally just unplug one chip and plug another one in. You can see pictures of the OpAmp sockets if you go to www.auzentech.com and look at the pictures of the X-Meridian.

2. No. They are pretty good. It's just there is better out there. Each OpAmp has it's own character so its nice to be able to change the output of your sound card to suit your preferences.

3. You dont need a high end receiver, just one that has good multichannel inputs and a "direct" mode that doesnt reprocess the inputs.

4. Correct. The card doesnt "care" about what decoded multichannel info it receivers. PowerDVD decodes the message and delivers it to the card for output. I run PowerDVD ultra.

5. This is easy. There is a program that allows you to specify which codecs Windows Media Player will use for Audio and Video decoding. I cant remember the name exactly. I can post when I get home, but its basically vmcd.exe or somehting. After changing both audio and video codecs to PowerDVD you can run Media Center Edition for XP or Vista and playing movies using PowerDVD and its decoding will be transparent.
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post #190 of 2138 Old 03-01-2007, 02:55 PM
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I bought this card hoping to use it to decode Dolby Digital from external sources via SPDIF-in. Unfortunately, the SPDIF-in only does PCM 2-channel. I wanted to avoid getting a sound card with drive bay inputs, as I have no spare drive bays on my PC.

Is there a way to get the X-Meridian to decode AC-3/dts fed from the SPDIF-in? Auzentech has not yet answered my ticket.
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post #191 of 2138 Old 03-01-2007, 03:05 PM
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I feel sorry for you. The fact that this card support DD/DTS encoding shows that the card is designed to be used with an external decoder in the first place. I also would like to know if someone knows any software decoder than can be use to decode a DD/DTS signal from the S/PDIF input.
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post #192 of 2138 Old 03-01-2007, 04:31 PM
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This is easy. There is a program that allows you to specify which codecs Windows Media Player will use for Audio and Video decoding. I cant remember the name exactly. I can post when I get home, but its basically vmcd.exe or somehting. After changing both audio and video codecs to PowerDVD you can run Media Center Edition for XP or Vista and playing movies using PowerDVD and its decoding will be transparent.

what if I am not using Media Center though?

So does this card just decode whatever is coming into it and break it down into analog streams for me? (i.e. if a video file has dd or dts audio, it will come out as that via analog in discrete channels or if I am playing an HD-dvd will it also know to use truehd or whatever in the same way? What if I want all outputs to stay in their origianl format but want to process stereo audio in some way? Sorry for the questiosn but I am coming from onboard audio using spdif out and ac3filter....I am hoping it is much easier than this now....and better sounding.

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post #193 of 2138 Old 03-01-2007, 07:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by debennett2 View Post

what if I am not using Media Center though?

So does this card just decode whatever is coming into it and break it down into analog streams for me? (i.e. if a video file has dd or dts audio, it will come out as that via analog in discrete channels or if I am playing an HD-dvd will it also know to use truehd or whatever in the same way? What if I want all outputs to stay in their origianl format but want to process stereo audio in some way? Sorry for the questiosn but I am coming from onboard audio using spdif out and ac3filter....I am hoping it is much easier than this now....and better sounding.

Ok, the software program does the decoding (PowerDVD). The X-Meridian only decodes 2 channel sources in hardware. This is typical as even the Creative labs cards offload the decoding to the processor. The processing is minimal and there is no difference between sound quality of hardware and software encoding methods. PowerDVD using Windows Media player will allow you to play either Blu-Ray or HD-DVD with video AND the new lossless audio formats. Just the card will not do this and no consumer PC card will do this either. But it will do what you want with the software program.
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post #194 of 2138 Old 03-02-2007, 02:16 PM
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so to use power dvd ultra to play hd-dvd, must one use the analog outputs? Will the meridian card take the decoded audio and remix it to dolby or dts so it can be sent to a preamp?
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post #195 of 2138 Old 03-02-2007, 03:45 PM
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Originally Posted by karos View Post

so to use power dvd ultra to play hd-dvd, must one use the analog outputs? Will the meridian card take the decoded audio and remix it to dolby or dts so it can be sent to a preamp?


Err.. even if you could. WHY?

The whole point of the new HD-DVD and Blu-RAY audio formats are the lossless multichannel formats. Converting those back to DTS or DD would eliminate all the benifits of those formats. Just run the 5 or 7 channels of analog audio from the XM to your receiver or preamp. I don't even recommend buying the XM if you are not going to use its analog playback. IMO - encoding stuff into DTS and DD is useless except for gaming. I think you can still output plain ole DTS and DD from most of the HD-DVD and Blu-Ray disks as a lesser option. If you chose this you should be able to pass that straight though over the digtal line. No encoding is necessary. It would be better to do this than chose DTS-HD and re-encode to DTS. I think this would not make much sense (if it can be done).
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post #196 of 2138 Old 03-02-2007, 04:37 PM
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Just made the jump to x-meridian, card arrived today, 4562's arrived yesterday. Of course, stupid me, I ordered everything before reading the website carefully. No Vista64 drivers out yet
As their site has no forums, how does a person find out if and when the drivers will be available?
I so want to plug the card in and start playing.....


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post #197 of 2138 Old 03-02-2007, 05:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Only Vista 32Bit drivers and XP...Auzentech is at the mercy of C-Media for their drivers. Alot of people have been bugging for them, I don't think it should be too much longer.
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post #198 of 2138 Old 03-02-2007, 06:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AVOpus View Post

Err.. even if you could. WHY?

The whole point of the new HD-DVD and Blu-RAY audio formats are the lossless multichannel formats. Converting those back to DTS or DD would eliminate all the benifits of those formats. Just run the 5 or 7 channels of analog audio from the XM to your receiver or preamp. I don't even recommend buying the XM if you are not going to use its analog playback. IMO - encoding stuff into DTS and DD is useless except for gaming. I think you can still output plain ole DTS and DD from most of the HD-DVD and Blu-Ray disks as a lesser option. If you chose this you should be able to pass that straight though over the digtal line. No encoding is necessary. It would be better to do this than chose DTS-HD and re-encode to DTS. I think this would not make much sense (if it can be done).

the problem is that the pc is 40 feet away from the preamp which also happens NOT to have analog inputs (mclaren av32r). So i have a long run of canare coaxial. Currently am using an rme card. Now for those of you who say digital is digital and there is no difference, i beg to differ. The sound out of the rme is just plain smoother and cleaner. Anway, if i am to benefit from those wonderful lossless formats of hd-dvd, i need a way to get them to the prepro. so the question is:

can the benefits of dts-hd or DD+ from an HD-DVD be output by spdif?
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post #199 of 2138 Old 03-03-2007, 03:08 AM
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no

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post #200 of 2138 Old 03-03-2007, 03:10 AM
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look at it this way.... if you bought an SACD or DVD-Audio player box and located it where your computer is, the answer for full-fidelity multichannel audio would be the same


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post #201 of 2138 Old 03-03-2007, 06:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karos View Post

the problem is that the pc is 40 feet away from the preamp which also happens NOT to have analog inputs (mclaren av32r). So i have a long run of canare coaxial. Currently am using an rme card. Now for those of you who say digital is digital and there is no difference, i beg to differ. The sound out of the rme is just plain smoother and cleaner. Anway, if i am to benefit from those wonderful lossless formats of hd-dvd, i need a way to get them to the prepro. so the question is:

can the benefits of dts-hd or DD+ from an HD-DVD be output by spdif?

In your case you really don't have a good option, but you do have A option. You can still run the DD/DTS formats from the HD-DVD and Blu-ray. You will not be able to realize the benifits of the lossless formats with your setup though. Keep in mind that the DD/DTS are lossy formats so having the X-Merdian convert the lossless to lossy kind of defeats the point. Might as well just output the DD/DTS in the first place.
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post #202 of 2138 Old 03-03-2007, 06:03 AM
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Originally Posted by dreamhost View Post

Just made the jump to x-meridian, card arrived today, 4562's arrived yesterday. Of course, stupid me, I ordered everything before reading the website carefully. No Vista64 drivers out yet
As their site has no forums, how does a person find out if and when the drivers will be available?
I so want to plug the card in and start playing.....

I fortunately get all the Microsoft Apps and OSs free so I tried Vista 64. I was blown away by the programs and drivers that are not supported by the OS. Much more so than Vista 32. I suspect that you are going to have issues even after Auzentech releases the Vista64 drivers. It's just too early for that OS. If you have the ability to switch somehow, I would.
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post #203 of 2138 Old 03-03-2007, 11:59 AM - Thread Starter
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Your right, It is a shame really. Considering all the poeple who are using 64 bit CPU's and you have to be stuck using a 32 bit OS becasue you cannot get drivers for your favorite devices. What is even worse is Auzentech is stuck at the mercy of C-Media.
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post #204 of 2138 Old 03-03-2007, 12:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alg7_munif View Post

I feel sorry for you. The fact that this card support DD/DTS encoding shows that the card is designed to be used with an external decoder in the first place. I also would like to know if someone knows any software decoder than can be use to decode a DD/DTS signal from the S/PDIF input.

The Dynex 7.1-Channel PCI Sound Card has SPDIF in also. I called tech support to see if it will decode DD/dts from SPDIF and they said yes. The card doesn't look as fancy as the X-Meridian and has been discontinued and I'm not sure if they understood the question, but maybe I'll grab one from Best Buy and give it a shot.
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post #205 of 2138 Old 03-03-2007, 12:39 PM
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Originally Posted by ChuckKahn View Post

The Dynex 7.1-Channel PCI Sound Card has SPDIF in also. I called tech support to see if it will decode DD/dts from SPDIF and they said yes. The card doesn't look as fancy as the X-Meridian and has been discontinued and I'm not sure if they understood the question, but maybe I'll grab one from Best Buy and give it a shot.

That's pretty interesting. I didnt think any card other than the X-Fi did this.
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post #206 of 2138 Old 03-03-2007, 01:33 PM - Thread Starter
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I would test it out for myself before I would trust tech support, seriously. I called CL tech support asking them the same question about the A2 Value, and you know how many different answers I got? First I got:
No, this card doesn't even have SPDIF input.
Yes, This card does decode DD/DTS on the SPDIF input if card is setup properly.
No, The card only decodes DD, DTS is not avalable on this card.

I am just saying, I used to work tech support and not everybody who answeres the phone knows what they are talking about. Maybe it does, but this would be a major feature to advertise you would think. It would be easy enough to test. Sorry guys, not trying to get off topic.
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post #207 of 2138 Old 03-03-2007, 02:45 PM
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Rob, you mentioned about making a new driver for the card before right? Maybe this is a good place to start, I found it on another thread, it has the driver for X-Mystique.
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post #208 of 2138 Old 03-03-2007, 04:11 PM - Thread Starter
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I will contact the project manager and see what he has to say about our 8788 cards. Nice find ALG.

Note: He wasn't much help, explained C-Media keeps there documents under wraps. Without the development documants about the 8788 chipset, the only way is backwards through the driver. If you know what I mean. Who knows possibly newer versions may have what people have been asking for with respects to setting up HT properly. Oh well.
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post #209 of 2138 Old 03-04-2007, 04:25 PM
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Arrghhh just went to the xmeridian site and see that vista64 isn't due out until mid april... well that just plain sucks, oh well... Wonder why they build 32bit vista before 64 anyhow. I mean what's the point of going to vista if your staying 32?

Anyhow since I cant use my new card, might as well ask,

I have zero loyalty to any soundcard company. Purchased the x-meridian and opamps after reading this thread, heck only 300 frankly who cares if I don't like it.

I've been digging around forum after forum the past few days and just can't seem to find a place that deals with 'ultra' high end computer audio setups. Is there such a place? If anywhere I would have thought it would be avs, def my fav website out there. Where does a person go to research 'money is no option' computer based diy audio systems? I'm guessing there is a whole leage of gear out there that I'm not aware of when it comes to sound cards. Guess I should also try posting in the 20k+ forum just for kicks.


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e6600 oc'd to 3.6
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x-meridian (modded opamps, cap bypass)
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post #210 of 2138 Old 03-04-2007, 05:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AVOpus View Post

That's pretty interesting. I didnt think any card other than the X-Fi did this.

I tried it and discovered that the Dynex 7.1-Channel (which comes with C-Media 8768 drivers) does not decode DD/dts from SPDIF in. I called tech support back. They had no record of my previous call. At first they were suggesting that I take it back and exchange it, but when pressed to state whether SPDIF DD/dts decoding was an actual feature of the card they put me on hold and came back with the answer "no".

What a waste of time -- calling tech support, being lied to, buying the card, installing the card, calling tech support again, returning the card. During my first call to tech support, they forwarded me to some other department (sales, billing?) who told me to call tech support at 1 866 585 4542 for answers, and that number turned out to be the Realmedia support line. Dynex must be having a fun weekend pulling pranks on callers!

Sound Blaster tech support tells me that it works on the Sound Blaster Audigy 4 with the Digital I/O Module. Here I go again.

I'm also wondering if there's a module for my motherboard (ASUS A7N8X deluxe) that will do optical in and whether the built-in Nvidia SoundStorm does DD/dts decoding from it.

Back to the topic -- I guess I'll be selling an X-Meridian on ebay.
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