HD HTPC - Multi-Channel Analogue Audio Ballencing - How ? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 11-30-2007, 04:14 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi There,

I normaly use TheaterTek for SD-DVD's and the nvidia codec allows for muliti-channel audio out, it allows for channel delay and volume matching, much as you'd set-up on receiver for SPDIF.

Any multi-channel analogue DVD player i've also used has similar settings.

However i've not found them on PowerDVD - Am i missing something obvious, or am i restricted to using SPDIF or having unballenced sound ???

Ta,
Lee

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post #2 of 16 Old 12-07-2007, 10:53 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi There,

Am I the only one using Analogue outs for HD, or is everyone suffering in slience ???

Lee Edward Armstrong (now in maried form!)http://www.darkwave.org.uk/~lee
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post #3 of 16 Old 12-07-2007, 11:06 AM
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Nope, I'm in the same boat. Sound card is a Auzentech X-fi prelude, reknowned for its 'amazing' analog output. So far, I'm pretty underwhelmed with it.

1. No distance/delay settings at all. According to technical support, no plans to ever add them.
2. To get ANY bass redirection, you have to set it to 5.1/6.1/7.1.
3. In 5.1/6.1/7.1 modes, there is no option to route the center channel signal into the L/R channels (I have a 4.2 setup, no center channel).
4. In 5.1/6.1/7.1 channel mode, there crossover settings are global, ie all channels get the same crossover. Technical support will not comment on this, or even divulge info on the crossover slopes and whether the highpass/lowpass are symmetrical.
4. In 2.1/4.1 channel mode, there is no output to the subwoofer channel, it sends a fullrange signal to the 2/4 channels and expects you to use an external crossover to do the filtering. Technical support indicates that this is by design.

All of this leaves me more than a little pissed to have spend almost $200 for a 'top line HTPC sound card' on the promise of amazing analog outputs, only to find myself relegated to using the spdif output, which my onboard sound would have done just as well.

My read on this is that the soundcard manufacturers are not used to or prepared for people using proper HT gear. They are still of the mindset that their consumers will be using at best dinky 'high end' plastic PC speakers like promedias or edifiers.
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post #4 of 16 Old 12-08-2007, 01:33 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi There,

I'm not sure bass management and channel steering etc should be done by the sound card.....It makes better sense for it to be software driven, which then means its compatible with *ANY* soundcard.

Theatertek and the Nvidea DVD codecs certainly do provide these options and they work very well. PowerDVD seems somewhat devoid of them from what i've found so far, which suprises me as it should be in the basics of providing multichannel analogue outputs, so i thought i may have missed something.

BTW i'm use a RME HDSP card, of which the audio quality is awesome....

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post #5 of 16 Old 12-08-2007, 05:35 AM
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Alaric,

I also use analog-out only from my LynxTwo, and have been wondering the same things about PowerDVD Ultra. Scanned the big thread but seems most (all) use spdif out to their receivers/processors.

Nvidia codecs, as you said, works very well for analog out..but they seem to be the exception compared to other codecs. Unfortunately, they probably won't release any H264/VC1-codecs..

Anyone knows how Arcsoft handle this..?

Even though I want my HTPC to handle everything, seems like we're forced to buy a HDMI receiver/processor to listen to HD-audio without technical limitations.
And I don't like it.
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post #6 of 16 Old 12-09-2007, 09:36 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi There,

Its kinda odd, because powerdvd & winddvd have been used for analogue outputs for DVD's so i'd expect it to be there.

I think some of the post processing filters can do it, but i'm not sure if they can be used in the same way as for DVD ???

I have a Yamaha Z9 which is an awesome powerhouse of an Amp, I defintaly do not want to be changing it in the near future over this.....

Thanks,
Lee

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post #7 of 16 Old 12-09-2007, 03:41 PM
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I have a Lynx two B also hooked up to three krell amps. There is no audio control in PDVD Ultra. I installed the Japenese ver of Arc Soft and even though I cannot read the menus the menu structure is almost a duplicate of the PDVD software. I suspect there is no control in there either.

I have a 5.1 setup with Martin Logan all around. I have not worried about bass management because my speakers seem to be able to handle anything I throw at them. As fot the rest of the setup I wish the controls were there.

If you guys saw PDVD has another problem it downsamples from 192 to 48 on all HD tracks. Arcsoft does not.
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post #8 of 16 Old 12-10-2007, 12:58 PM
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Quote:


I'm not sure bass management and channel steering etc should be done by the sound card.....It makes better sense for it to be software driven, which then means its compatible with *ANY* soundcard.

I couldn't disagree more. This would mean that any piece of software that makes sound would have to have its own levels/delays/bass management/redirection setup. Every media player, music player, game, internet browser, etc etc etc, you see where I'm going with this. This would be akin to not having your preamp/reciever have any channel levels/bass management/delays, but rather setting it individually in each source, so you would have to worry about whether your cable box, cd player, dvd player, etc all had the right settings/options for this.

It makes most sense IMO to have this done in one spot, in standalone HT gear at the preamp/reciever level, in an HTPC at the soundcard/driver level, so you only have to set it in one place, and not have to worry about whether Winamp, Media Player Classic, and Call of Duty 4 are all handling bass redirection properly.
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post #9 of 16 Old 12-11-2007, 02:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi There,

Interesting argument...and i see your point....but i've never heard of *ANY* soundcard doing this while it certainly has been done in software.....I also son't know if other apps would use the same set-up ?

personaly at the moment i'm not too bothered if there is *SOME* way.

cya,
Lee

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post #10 of 16 Old 12-12-2007, 11:01 AM
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Quote:


I'm not sure bass management and channel steering etc should be done by the sound card.....It makes better sense for it to be software driven, which then means its compatible with *ANY* soundcard.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zapp Brannigan View Post

I couldn't disagree more. This would mean that any piece of software that makes sound would have to have its own levels/delays/bass management/redirection setup.

I'm with Zapp. For those of us that are using the analog outs of sound cards directly to power amps, these functions definitely need to be done in the soundcard, because these are system-dependent variables. Once it's set up for the particular power amps, speakers, speaker locations, etc., it can stay fixed. And doing it in the soundcard would be doing it in 'software' anyway, just the soundcard's software (driver).

And on topic: It would be OK for individual multichannel apps to have level tweaks for all channels. I'm having the same problem with Power DVD Ultra -- I have my levels and distances set in my sound card driver for my main movie playback app (Zoom Player with the AC3Filter decoder) but for some reason the surround level seems low in PDVD Ultra. I'd like to be able to turn it up a bit, but can't since there are no PDVD controls.

And Zapp: I share your lament about the lousy sound card makers. They just don't seem to get it, over and over again. They design these sound cards that are purported to have super sound quality and then ruin it by not providing proper multichannel driver functionality. There are two or three exceptions, though:

M-Audio Revo 5.1 and 7.1 - the drivers for these have excellent controls, but the sound quality is not top notch.

Creative X-Fi Elite Pro - the driver for this has simple level, distance and crossover frequency control. The sound quality, especially when modded, is excellent. This is what I use at the moment.

E-Mu 1616m - this one is reported to have a "patchmix" app that can be manually set up to do good bass management. I haven't tried it yet.

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post #11 of 16 Old 02-04-2008, 08:12 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi There,

With the Advent of the latest PowerDVD version 7.3.3730 (IIRC) that doesn't downsample audio, i'm all for looking at the analogue outs again

I gave up with my RME on HD-DVD and went for SPDIF off the motherboard, which due to using my amps settings for delay and chanel volume makes the movie far more engrosing than even the best quality analogue output could give.

I was pondering the Auzentech, but while there is volume, channel delay isn't there....So is it just the X-FI Elite that has this option ???


Arcsoft doesn't curently have anything over PowerDVD for chanel output, though another member, '8:13' did bring up some menus for the video and audio codec, though everything is not accesable/useful....although even if they were it looks more Cheap EQ and Effects - Why would anyone want a 'Music hall' psuedo effect
see:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...2#post12960012

Ta,
Lee

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post #12 of 16 Old 02-04-2008, 01:07 PM
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ac3 filter will do delays and other bass management... but I think it's limited to 5.1...


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post #13 of 16 Old 02-09-2008, 02:01 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi there,

I don't belive you can use AC3Filter with PowerDVD or Arc Soft ???

Ta,
Lee

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post #14 of 16 Old 02-15-2008, 08:09 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi There,

Any updates on this....I'm suprised there isn't more interestb in this thread !!!

Ta,
Lee

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post #15 of 16 Old 06-22-2008, 05:44 PM
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I was thinking about replacing my ancient Sony EP9ES with a HT OMEGA CLARO Plus until I took a look at the manual. It suffer from all but the first of the problems mentioned by Zapp in Post 3. It does support speaker delay.

I have a 4.1 set up that evolved from an audio only system. I have no interest in finding a center channel to compliment my Wilson Benesch Act I speakers. No one complains about the phantom center channel being off center when not seated in the sweet spot.

I currently have my HTPC feeding into the Sony EP9ES. The rears feed out of the EP9ES into a two channel amp; the sub out, into my sub. The front channels are fed into a passive preamp and then into a Llano Design hybrid amp. CD audio is fed into the preamp via a transport and a Bel Canto DAC.

While I am disappointed that there is no 4.1 support, I can't say that I am all that surprised. I don't think there are all that many of us that need it. I could live with a global LF crossover. I cannot live with having to choose between no sub output or completely losing the center channel.

Anyway, I watched Dream Girls on HD-DVD last night and the sound was just fine by me through the Sony EP9ES. As usual PowerDVD Ultra 7.3 used overlay and while watching the music video by Beyonce on disk 1, the machine did a spontaneous reboot.

I guess that if I want hardware DTS support, I am going to need to get a new external processor. (At the moment, I use my sound card's Dolby Digital Live to re-encode the decoded DTS into DD 5.1.) I can use AC3 in Zoom Player to get 4.1 analog support. And if PowerDVD supported 4.1, I might consider software decoding, but it doesn't.

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post #16 of 16 Old 06-23-2008, 06:02 AM
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I'm just starting to research using analog audio outputs from a sound card to feed my preamp/processor in order to take advantage of the HD audio available with Blu-Ray discs and HD-DVDs. I'm currently using the S/PDIF output from my motherboard to feed my B&K Reference 30 preamp/processor to process the 5.1 soundtracks. I'd like to be able to experience TrueHD but I haven't found much info on what hardware and software will provide the best solution. I'm using both PowerDVD 3319a and Nero Showtime 4 for playing back HD rips stored on an unRAID server. I have them ripped as folders and reduced to m2ts or evo files whenever possbile to conserve space so I need a playback codec that can handle these formats. I believe the latest versions of PDVD can't handle them.

Is ArcSoft a better solution for my situation? Which playback codecs and soundcards seem to be the best for HD playback using the analog outputs?
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