PC Firewire to i.link capable receiver as "multichannel audio card" - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 77 Old 11-22-2005, 10:01 AM - Thread Starter
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*** Moderators please read - I have cross-posted this here & on HTPC as I feel it are 2 very different forums which can possibly hold a solution for this ***

Has anyone information about this?

I.link receivers are actually integrated "sound cards" with amps - are there drivers available for Windows systems that present the receivers to the computer system as 5.1 or 7.1 capable "soundcards" ?

This would be nice for HTPC - instead of going analog & digital again, straight directsound output to your receiver.

Did anyone try to hook up i.link audio stuff to a PC and see what gets discovered?

Only link I found that even slightly hints in this direction is this one...

Quote:

Quote:
ASIO/WDM Driver for Professional Audio Devices with IEEE 1394 Interface

Thesycon designed and implemented a generic device driver that is used for a set of professional audio devices with IEEE 1394 interface. The driver provides an interface to ASIO, WDM and GSIF. The driver implements isochronous audio streaming according to the following standards: IEC 61883-1, IEC 61883-6, IEC 60958-1, IEC 60958-3, IEC 61937-5.

Furthermore, the driver implements AV/C connection management and an AV/C controller according to 1394 TA specifications.

The work was done under contract to a client company.


Thanks for all info on this subject.

PS. Seems that the latest OS X versions have a firewire audio core driver that might have this capability.

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post #2 of 77 Old 11-22-2005, 11:39 AM
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i think the Acoustic-Reality eAR Master One is one such product?

http://www.acoustic-reality.com/products.htm

Boo!
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post #3 of 77 Old 11-22-2005, 06:20 PM
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i.Link is just a wire. To connect to a receiver, your sound card will need to output the A&M (audio and music) protocol. As far as I know, none do.

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post #4 of 77 Old 11-23-2005, 12:48 AM - Thread Starter
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There is no need for a "sound card" - the receiver *is* the soundcard... You only need a firewire connection on your PC.

It's already being done with USB in the higher Pioneer models, but as a "stereo" soundcard only (except the flagship)

Since the first pioneer 757 DVD player, i.link is based on A&M protocol:

Quote:


i.Link sets new standard

CO-OPERATION IS THE NAME OF THE GAME AS ALVIN GOLD SAMPLES THE SYNERGY BETWEEN PIONEER'S FIRST EVER I.LINK COMPATIBLE DVD AND AMPLIFIER

Not for the first time, Pioneer sets the agenda with components representing a new paradigm shift in the fast-evolving home cinema hardware market. The two products we're looking at here are the first to employ the newly-ratified A&M protocol for high-resolution multichannel digital data transmission using the i.Link (AKA Firewire AKA IEEE1394) interface. A mouthful for sure, but the benefits are straightforward. A&M allows all digital processing, time alignment and bass management from DVD-Audio and SACD to be performed by the amplifier, just prior to the D/A, volume control and power amplifiers, which is where it belongs. With one caveat we'll come to shortly, the results are vital operational and sound quality advantages.


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post #5 of 77 Old 11-23-2005, 05:10 PM
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Quote:


There is no need for a "sound card" - the receiver *is* the soundcard... You only need a firewire connection on your PC.

Sorry, brain f*rt. However what I said is still true in principle. The only protocol the i.Link recievers understand is A&M with its copy protection and all that good stuff courtesy of the RIAA. PCs don't do A&M so they can't talk to the receivers. Same wire, different audio formats.

Dennis H
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post #6 of 77 Old 01-13-2006, 06:51 AM
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I've just had contact w/ Pioneer, concerning inoperabililty between my soundcard & Pioneer VSX-74TXVi (I-Link compatible device)... Here's there response:


Thank you for contacting Pioneer Electronics, Inc.

Pioneer: The I-link was not designed to work with computer sound boards, only DVD players with the i-link.

With I-link corresponds to the A&M protocol.



So,guys, I guess we are stuck.... Unless we can find a soundcard that has the A&M protocol.

Anyone got any suggestions? Souindcards w/A&M... Bios to download... Or go back to either optical (yuk.. latency isssues), USB or simply multi-channel?
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post #7 of 77 Old 01-13-2006, 07:01 AM
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Again, as others have said. It isn't the sound card for the PC that has to support A&M. Your PC would just need a audio device driver that speaks the A&M protocol over IEEE1394. You wouldn't even need a soundcard in the computer if there was such a driver.

Also has others have said, such a driver does not seem to exist. A&M is a bi-directional protocol. If a PC did understand A&M over IEEE1394, then it could "record" anything the DVD-Audio or SACD player was sending. This would upset the music industry.

All of that said, if the specs to the protocol are available someone might be able to write a driver for Linux. That is of course the IEEE1394 chipset doesn't have to be put into a non-standard state to speak A&M. Additionally if a person did write one of these theoretical drivers, it would probably be a good idea to never set foot in the US again, in fear of being arrested under the DMCA.
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post #8 of 77 Old 01-13-2006, 08:38 AM
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http://www.thesycon.de/eng/ref_firewiredriver.shtml

Truth, like gold, is to be obtained not by its growth, but by washing away from it all that is not gold. Lev Tolstoy
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post #9 of 77 Old 01-13-2006, 08:48 AM
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That driver does seem to implement IEC 61883-6, which is the A&M protocol. So it can be done with a standard chip. But they don't seem to have a drop-in solution that would allow a receiver to function as a sound card. They just sell a software development kit that could allow someone to write such a thing. Am I correct in this?
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post #10 of 77 Old 01-13-2006, 11:27 AM
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I've been doing some reading. It actually may be very possible to use a receiver with an i.Link input as a playback device for the computer. As long as that receiver does not require DTCP (Digital Transmission Copy Protection). Obviously any receiver designed to play back copy restricted works will understand DTCP. But as long as it will still handle un-protected streams it would work.

Still needed is a virtual sound card device driver for the operating system that would encode the audio into the format specified in the IEC 61883-6 standard (they actually refer to it as A/M not A&M).

I'd love to read more about the IEC 61883-6 standard, but the specs are not free. 61883-6 and -1 (which contains the general information for all multimedia over IEEE1394) together cost about $350.
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post #11 of 77 Old 01-14-2006, 07:41 AM - Thread Starter
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Macs with OS X 10.4 should already have this kind of functionality - someone might try to connect the mac firewire port to the receiver?

Injector is correct, all that is needed is the "virtual soundcard driver" - it should be out there somewhere.

I wonder if the driver that some guys here use to connect a computer to a firewire equipped TV (digital VCR driver) could work? It'll only be 2 channels probably... and its the reverse thing (recording from, instead of sending to)

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post #12 of 77 Old 01-14-2006, 07:58 AM
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I have a Mac Mini sitting at home that I could test this with my VSX74, except:

1. I'm not sure I have the right kind of firewire cable
2. It's running 10.3.9 at the moment

I can probably rectify both those issues within a few days. Other than plugging it in, what should I be looking for?
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post #13 of 77 Old 01-14-2006, 08:37 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm not sure if it will work with 10.3, but you might give it a try.

As for the cable, I think you need firewire 400 6 pin to firewire 400 4 pin (same that is used to connect DV cams to pc/macs if I am not mistaken)

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post #14 of 77 Old 01-14-2006, 09:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Injector View Post

That driver does seem to implement IEC 61883-6, which is the A&M protocol. So it can be done with a standard chip. But they don't seem to have a drop-in solution that would allow a receiver to function as a sound card. They just sell a software development kit that could allow someone to write such a thing. Am I correct in this?

The driver implements isochronous audio streaming according to the following standards: IEC 61883-1, IEC 61883-6, IEC 60958-1, IEC 60958-3, IEC 61937-5.

Truth, like gold, is to be obtained not by its growth, but by washing away from it all that is not gold. Lev Tolstoy
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post #15 of 77 Old 01-14-2006, 09:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mars Rocket View Post

I have a Mac Mini sitting at home that I could test this with my VSX74

I can probably rectify both those issues within a few days. Other than plugging it in, what should I be looking for?

There is no reason to use an i-link interface between PC or MAC and 74TXi, the last one supports jitterless transmission only for DVD-A and SACD signals, all other signals are going as SPDIF (encoded in the receiver using IceLynx chip) to the DIR/DIT chip AK4114 without any sync, except of the encoded in the SPDIF signal, it means the clock restoration uses PLL; therefore we just have a regular SPDIF interface (with all it's jitter problems) through i-link . Why? It is a question to Pioneer engineers. It was not so difficult to implements something like Word Clock (used in professional devices to avoid the jitter through SPDIF or AES/EBU connections), at least as it had been done in 59TXi.

This information is from 74TXi's Service manual, it means anyone (who can read schematic) could prove it, unfortunately.

You need to use 59TXi or other reasonable device to get the jitterless connection to PC or MAC with any driver.

Truth, like gold, is to be obtained not by its growth, but by washing away from it all that is not gold. Lev Tolstoy
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post #16 of 77 Old 01-19-2006, 07:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gordon McGregor View Post

There is no reason to use an i-link interface between PC or MAC and 74TXi, the last one supports jitterless transmission only for DVD-A and SACD signals, all other signals are going as SPDIF (encoded in the receiver using IceLynx chip) to the DIR/DIT chip AK4114 without any sync, except of the encoded in the SPDIF signal, it means the clock restoration uses PLL; therefore we just have a regular SPDIF interface (with all it's jitter problems) through i-link . Why? It is a question to Pioneer engineers. It was not so difficult to implements something like Word Clock (used in professional devices to avoid the jitter through SPDIF or AES/EBU connections), at least as it had been done in 59TXi.

This information is from 74TXi's Service manual, it means anyone (who can read schematic) could prove it, unfortunately.

You need to use 59TXi or other reasonable device to get the jitterless connection to PC or MAC with any driver.


Gordon,

Would it be possible to perform some sort of after market mod (chip replacement) to implement something like Word Clock for both the SPDIF and ilink connections?
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post #17 of 77 Old 01-19-2006, 08:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigdwest View Post

Gordon,

Would it be possible to perform some sort of after market mod (chip replacement) to implement something like Word Clock for both the SPDIF and ilink connections?

In theory - yes, as for example 59TXi has it (it is some kind of Word clock, implemented in the i-link connection - it means the additional sync from IceLynx chip to DIR/DIT chip is present). For SPDIF it is necessary to add an additional link, and actually it requires more work, but could be done.
Practically speaking - I doubt it, because I don't know who will develop and offer such kind of modification, period.

Actually I had an intention offering to Pioneer or Denon to design a good sounding AV processor, inexpensive and based on 59TXi or 5805 processing design (it means a very low level of investments), with a lot of useful for us (audiophiles) features such as balanced input/outputs, word clock, very good op amps (DACs are already good there), real jitterless i-link and SPDIF (as it will use the word clock), 96 kHz DSP processing, etc. With jheoaustin's help in DSP programming and some special digital filtering algorithms it might be a darn good device ...
But I am very busy now with other business

Truth, like gold, is to be obtained not by its growth, but by washing away from it all that is not gold. Lev Tolstoy
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post #18 of 77 Old 01-20-2006, 09:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gordon McGregor View Post

There is no reason to use an i-link interface between PC or MAC and 74TXi, the last one supports jitterless transmission only for DVD-A and SACD signals, all other signals are going as SPDIF (encoded in the receiver using IceLynx chip) to the DIR/DIT chip AK4114 without any sync, except of the encoded in the SPDIF signal, it means the clock restoration uses PLL; therefore we just have a regular SPDIF interface (with all it's jitter problems) through i-link . Why? It is a question to Pioneer engineers. It was not so difficult to implements something like Word Clock (used in professional devices to avoid the jitter through SPDIF or AES/EBU connections), at least as it had been done in 59TXi.

This information is from 74TXi's Service manual, it means anyone (who can read schematic) could prove it, unfortunately.

You need to use 59TXi or other reasonable device to get the jitterless connection to PC or MAC with any driver.

Gordon,

I thought normal stereo CD was supported with flow control mode. Am I wrong?
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post #19 of 77 Old 01-20-2006, 09:30 AM
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I might be missing the point but I thought "PQLS" worked by the Reciever monitoring the buffer and sending commands to the I-Link source to fractionally slow down or speed up the Source clock.

It would be nice to be able to digitally transfer DVD-A (Since sloppy Intervideo programming allowed unencrypted digital transfer).
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post #20 of 77 Old 01-20-2006, 11:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jheoaustin View Post

Gordon,

I thought normal stereo CD was supported with flow control mode. Am I wrong?

jheoaustin,

No, you are right. The IceLynx chip works correctly.

The problem is that from the IceLynx chip CD signal as SPDIF is going to DIR/DIT chip AK4114 (not directly to DSP through I2S bus as DVD-A PCM due to unknown fo me reasons), and there is no additional sync from IceLynx chip, which goes to AK4114; it means it works in the regular SPDIF (PLL clock restoration) mode , except of 49TXi, where we have a strange divider for AK4114 clocking, which might reduce the jitter (but still no sync) and mentioned above 59TXi, where we have that additional sync (like Word Clock in pro devices) coming to AK4114 from IceLynx chip. Why?
It is a question to Pioneer hardware engineers. We've explored schematics of 55TXi, 56TXi, 74TXi and 49TXi/59TXi ... we had a serious discussion regarding this matter in one of the Russian forums.

I has found another problem with i-link in Pioneer receivers also, but that is another story ... let's talk about it a bit later.

Truth, like gold, is to be obtained not by its growth, but by washing away from it all that is not gold. Lev Tolstoy
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post #21 of 77 Old 01-21-2006, 10:21 PM
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Gordon,

Thank you for your information. I think the low-jitter clock which is the reference to the flow control is almost synchronous to the clock recovered from the DIR following the 1394 chip. The average of instantaneous frequency of the recovered clock should be converging to that of the reference clock used for the flow control. Probably small FIFO can easily absorb minor instantaneous deviation caused by the S/PDIF PLL.

I'd still prefer the 1394 devices to support I2S output of stereo PCM/DTS stream from CD.
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post #22 of 77 Old 01-21-2006, 10:43 PM
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jheoaustin,

There is no sync between DIR/DIT chip and the low-jiter clock, used for IceLynx chip, unfortunately, it means DIR/DIT chip recovers the encoded in SPDIF stream clock using it's own PLL, which is not so good, plus as we know the limits of a regular SPDIF conncection for jitter are too high. It means I doubt that there is any difference regarding jitter between this connection and a regular SPDIF connection between the same DVD player and receiver.
I might be wrong though, we need some measurements here.

Thanks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jheoaustin View Post

Gordon,

Thank you for your information. I think the low-jitter clock which is the reference to the flow control is almost synchronous to the clock recovered from the DIR following the 1394 chip. The average of instantaneous frequency of the recovered clock should be converging to that of the reference clock used for the flow control. Probably small FIFO can easily absorb minor instantaneous deviation caused by the S/PDIF PLL.

I'd still prefer the 1394 devices to support I2S output of stereo PCM/DTS stream from CD.


Truth, like gold, is to be obtained not by its growth, but by washing away from it all that is not gold. Lev Tolstoy
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post #23 of 77 Old 01-22-2006, 04:54 AM - Thread Starter
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OK, here's a sidenote, it's not about 1394 but Silicon image now has a HDMI 1.1 transmitter for PC, that besides video, also will transfer multi-channel audio (with Intel HD AUDIO as a source)

http://www.siimage.com/products/prod...x?id=53&ptid=1

Sapphire already announced a video card with HDMI & sound support.

8 channels of digital 192/24 to your receiver anyone?

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post #24 of 77 Old 01-22-2006, 06:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gordon McGregor View Post

jheoaustin,

There is no sync between DIR/DIT chip and the low-jiter clock, used for IceLynx chip, unfortunately, it means DIR/DIT chip recovers the encoded in SPDIF stream clock using it's own PLL, which is not so good, plus as we know the limits of a regular SPDIF conncection for jitter are too high. It means I doubt that there is any difference regarding jitter between this connection and a regular SPDIF connection between the same DVD player and receiver.
I might be wrong though, we need some measurements here.

Thanks.

Gordon,

I still hope/think that the low-jitter master clock from the 1394 chip can be used as the DAC master clock instead of the one from the DIR, as it is "sort of" synchronous to the clock recovered by S/PDIF.
As you would like, I wish 1394 chips would support CD audio stream with I2S output...
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post #25 of 77 Old 01-22-2006, 06:55 PM
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Several months back...
TI showed some reference designs using their DSPs (7xx), and Lynxchips with a common clock.. But with 1394 fading fast and being replaced by HDMI as the HD protocol interface for CE products these were pulled back..
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post #26 of 77 Old 09-11-2006, 10:20 AM
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Am not quite sure was this one resolved?

I'd really like to be able to transmit Multi Channel across to the i.Link.

Is there a hack or workaround to get my Pioneer VSX-AX4ASi-S (us model 84 I believe) to take Multichannel on the USB port ?

Cheers for your comments

SJ
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post #27 of 77 Old 09-11-2006, 03:36 PM
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I-Link hardware in the standard TI PCI Firewire cards could output to an I-Link reciever if a driver was available. Closed project drivers have done just that using ASIO and Directsound.

I emailed some guys who were working on a sort of A&M Midi type driver for Linux and they said it was not that different to their own work and in fact the streaming part was nearly identical but device detection and interrogation would take some time, time they did not have spare.

The Pioneer would likely prevent USB being a possbility since it is unlikely to be able to handle HI Res audio through the USB port. All we need is appropriate software which unfortunately does not exist in the public domain (Yet).
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post #28 of 77 Old 09-11-2006, 05:43 PM
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I'm waiting for Vista and a HDMI I/O card

Boo!
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post #29 of 77 Old 09-12-2006, 03:58 PM
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cheers for the response guys... frustrating huh !?


SJ
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post #30 of 77 Old 09-14-2006, 12:37 PM
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http://centrance.com/store/cart.php?...ategory_id=251

Has anyone tried these? Isn't this what the thread was about? Virtual sound drivers to talk to your Receiver/Amp over i.Link?

I haven't tried these myself, but the manufacturer claims they are stable and have low latency.

I plan on purchasing a Denon Receiver with i.Link inputs and I would very much like to use these drivers to get the best possible audio transfer to the DSP in the Denon.

-James
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