Do I need an HTPC AUDIO CARD if the reciever does all the decoding? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 08-05-2007, 09:40 AM - Thread Starter
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I am putting together a 7.1 system around a HTPC with an HD DVD drive. I already have an Onkyo TX-SR875S 7.1-Channel THX Ultra 2 Home Theater Receiver. Do I really need to invest in an audio card if the the motherboard already has a SPDIF output? What would be the advantage of an extra audio card if the receiver does all the decoding anyway from a digital signal?
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post #2 of 19 Old 08-05-2007, 09:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AVSAR View Post

...What would be the advantage of an extra audio card if the receiver does all the decoding anyway from a digital signal?

No advantage.
You won't be able to send more than 5.1 over Toslink/SPDIF.
For 7.1 (digital) you would need HDMI.

Diogen.
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post #3 of 19 Old 08-06-2007, 06:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reply. Do any 7.1 audio cards have HDMI or is there another way to pass the 7.1 signal from a computer to a receiver?
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post #4 of 19 Old 08-06-2007, 06:21 PM
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There are some video cards that pass audio over HDMI I believe only 5.1 though. What motherboard are you using?
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post #5 of 19 Old 08-06-2007, 06:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AVSAR View Post

What would be the advantage of an extra audio card if the receiver does all the decoding anyway from a digital signal?

You could do oddball mapping like redirecting specific programs (winamp, media player classic, kmplayer) to different audio outs perhaps for different zones.
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post #6 of 19 Old 08-06-2007, 06:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AVSAR View Post

Thanks for the reply. Do any 7.1 audio cards have HDMI or is there another way to pass the 7.1 signal from a computer to a receiver?

Analog outputs. Does your receiver have an input that accepts 8 analog channels (L, R, Surr L & R, Side L & R, Center, Sub)? Patch cables that go from mini-plug to dual RCA jacks work for this application, and can be found at Radio Shack among other places.

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post #7 of 19 Old 08-06-2007, 06:57 PM
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Yeah, that's the trick - SPDIF is too low quality for HD-DVD's, if you want the best sound they can put out. For that you either need a receiver that can decode the new formats from HDMI, or analogue outs from the sound card to your receiver. If your sound card doesn't have analogue outs for all the speakers you want, that's when you'd want to get a new sound card.

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post #8 of 19 Old 08-07-2007, 06:03 AM
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Guys, Avsar has the coveted receiver with the most excellent video processing chip in it, he wants to go HDMI through his receiver.

As it has already been commented at this time there is no way to get the 7.1 bit streams of the HTPC and feed it into your amp and apply its processing power.

Several tings have to happen, HDMI 1.3a has to be on the HTPC, plus the hardware & software has to pass the HD Audio bitstreams through the HDMI connector.

Since no one does that a.t.m. the only option is have a motherboard or soundcard that decodes the HD Audio and run 8 analogue cables to the receiver PLUS at the same time run the SPDIF connector to one of the inputs. In this way you will have the receivers audio processing power for DD 5.1 (640k) & DTS (5.1 @ 1.5 Meg) that is all that SPDIF will pass. The analogue cables will pass the decoded HD Audio to the 8 channel input of the receiver and your amplifier will play it back but I believe without the fancy processing that the Onkyo has.

I am considering myself to get the SR875 because of its whole setup HDMI 1.3a inputs and the fantastic video & audio processing. How do you like it so far? Since there are no solutions to use this amps capabilities right now I am not in the hurry but would love to hear from owners.
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post #9 of 19 Old 08-07-2007, 07:33 AM - Thread Starter
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Wow. That's a bummer. So it is impossible to currently pass a 7.1 digital signal to a receiver from a HTPC?! It sounds difficult even pass a 7.1 analog signal. In my setup I don't know how I would even do that since I feed an HDMI directly to the receiver from my video card that has audio pass-through from a toslink. Are any audio card manufacturers working on this 7.1 issue? I really like my HTPC but this makes it more of novelty for watching HD content or anything encoded in better than 5.1 if you want the receiver to do the processing. Anyone have any suggestions on how I can get a 7.1 signal to my receiver for decoding with my setup below?:

My current setup includes:
ASUS P5W Deluxe Mobo
2GB RAM
E6600 Processor
ASUS 7600GT video card with HDMI output (it passes the audio from a Toslink cable from the mobo)
Pioneer BDC-202 5x BD ROM for Blu-Ray *on order
XBox 360 HD-DVD drive

Onyko TX-SR875 Receiver
KEF Ci380QT x 3 fronts
KEF Ci200.3QR x 4
HSU Research VTF-3 HO Subwoofer
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post #10 of 19 Old 08-07-2007, 08:09 AM
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That is a bummer. I would think someone would have to be working on those types of cards.

My Specs:

Sony KDF55WF655 HDTV | Pioneer VSX1015TX Receiver | JBL SCS180SC 6.1 Surround Speakers | DirecTV HR20 | HTPC | PlayStation3
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post #11 of 19 Old 08-07-2007, 10:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WinstonSmith View Post

That is a bummer. I would think someone would have to be working on those types of cards.

I believe the Auzentech Prelude will have a HDMI enabled card supporting 7.1 audio in a few months via HDMI 1.3 with the X-Tension board.

Check out the FAQ
http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/audio...elude-pic.html
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post #12 of 19 Old 08-07-2007, 11:36 AM
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This is just a thought please don't call me nuts , but the raw digital audio signal must get from the internal HD-DVD drive to the computer somehow. Anyone recall the old days of when CD-ROMs had a audio cable that went from the back of the CD-ROM to your sound card? I don't know anything about HD-DVD drives for PCs, but could there be something simliar? Or even anyone that knows the pinout structure of these drives and one could solder up a test cable?

-Chuck
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post #13 of 19 Old 08-07-2007, 11:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by one_2go View Post

Guys, Avsar has the coveted receiver with the most excellent video processing chip in it, he wants to go HDMI through his receiver.

As it has already been commented at this time there is no way to get the 7.1 bit streams of the HTPC and feed it into your amp and apply its processing power.

Several tings have to happen, HDMI 1.3a has to be on the HTPC, plus the hardware & software has to pass the HD Audio bitstreams through the HDMI connector

Actually, technically HDMI 1.1 is sufficient, as long as the player software can decode the Dolby TrueHD or DTS HD MA into LPCM. Which most standalones do.

Quote:


Since no one does that a.t.m. the only option is have a motherboard or soundcard that decodes the HD Audio and run 8 analogue cables to the receiver PLUS at the same time run the SPDIF connector to one of the inputs. In this way you will have the receivers audio processing power for DD 5.1 (640k) & DTS (5.1 @ 1.5 Meg) that is all that SPDIF will pass. The analogue cables will pass the decoded HD Audio to the 8 channel input of the receiver and your amplifier will play it back but I believe without the fancy processing that the Onkyo has.

I am considering myself to get the SR875 because of its whole setup HDMI 1.3a inputs and the fantastic video & audio processing. How do you like it so far? Since there are no solutions to use this amps capabilities right now I am not in the hurry but would love to hear from owners.

Actually, as of today there might be, but as far as I know no one's tried it.

A G965 motherboard with HD Audio Header +
Prolink 7315 HDMI ADD2 card +
latest patch of PowerDVD supporting G965

The Prolink card supports full bitrate 7.1 LPCM over HDMI, the missing question is whether the PowerDVD solution permits you to output it (there may be AACS/PAVP concerns).

I do not speak officially in any sense for
Intel Corp., Technology Manufacturing Group
but I do work there.
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post #14 of 19 Old 08-07-2007, 12:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by archibael View Post

Actually, as of today there might be, but as far as I know no one's tried it.

I would have thought there would be a lot of interest in getting a 7.1 digital signal from an HTPC to a receiver? Are most who are watching HD content on an HTPC going analog or using a 5.1 system? Am I missing something?

Thank you for Prolink reference. I did send an email to Prolink to see what their official position is on the matter.
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post #15 of 19 Old 08-07-2007, 12:41 PM
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Well, it wasn't until this past week that PowerDVD was patched to support G965, and yes, everyone to date using an HTPC is using either analog, downconverted SPDIF 5.1, or downconverted SPDIF 5.1 muxed into an HDMI connector.

Prolink's position is probably, "We have a card. It is up to the software whether it is supported or not. Please contact [Intel/Intervideo/Cyberlink]."

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post #16 of 19 Old 08-07-2007, 11:20 PM - Thread Starter
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It appears that a unified solution (ie., single piece of hardware) for carrying the digital 7.1 audio and video via HDMI from an HTPC to a receiver is really needed.

2 Questions:
1] What is so special about the G965 Intel Chipset with respect to 7.1? Does support for G965 Express chipset mean that 7.1 digital audio is possible via HDMI? It does not seem possible that a DVI-out video card would work at all (since it could not carry the audio). Even if the video card had HDMI, I guess you would still need some internal connection from an HD Audio Link Header for 7.1 audio pass-through. Is there a video card that does this?

2]How does the Prolink card mentioned above figure into that equation?
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post #17 of 19 Old 08-08-2007, 12:17 AM
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The Prolink card is a dumb terminal, of sorts. Without an integrated graphics chipset generating an SDVO signal it's useless. It's essentially a video passthrough as well as an audio passthrough (with the HD Audio link header) and the northbridge (graphics) and southbridge (sound) do all the heavy lifting.

It's not a popular solution as up to now it's been incapable of the most useful HDMI task: HD DVD/Blu-ray disks. We'll see if that changes, now. I think the availability of 7.1 LPCM could give it some market advantage in the HTPC niche, but as I mentioned it remains to be seen if that passes muster in terms of content protection in PowerDVD. If it doesn't have that, it has very little advantage over, say, an Nvidia 8600 passively cooled card.

Actually, the G33 and G35 should support it as well-- if not in this release, in one coming soon. The patch which enables it in PowerDVD mentions the older 945G chipset, too... but that seems a bit far-fetched to me and might be a typo. Would be impressive if it worked, though-- there are a lot of 945G machines out there.

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post #18 of 19 Old 01-20-2009, 08:03 AM
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Any updates on the availability of the 1.3a spec for use in the PC?

Justin
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post #19 of 19 Old 01-20-2009, 08:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justlnluck View Post

Any updates on the availability of the 1.3a spec for use in the PC?

Xonar HDAV 1.3 is the available and does bitstreaming.

please now burry this thread back where it belongs, about half of the current threads are on this topic.

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