I have news
So, went and got an Optical cable yesterday... interesting couple of things I found out. Using the output from my computer to the speaker does seems to work fine, but a couple of things to note1.
using VLC to play HD content, by default the console on the speakers recognises the input as 2 channel, even if the file does have 5.1 channels. Because of this, the speakers go into "simulated surround sound". For content with only 2 channels, this works fine, but if you want real surround sound output, it's not gonna work. BUT
, I noticed in VLC, under audio channels, a new output option named "A/52 over S/PDIF" came up... so I click on it, and BOOOM...I’m getting DTS output. I know this because the "decode" light on the speaker console lights up, meaning it recognises the digitally encoded signal from the HD content, and is therefore able to decode it properly (that, and the fact that it sounds way
better!). Skipped trough Transformers, Avatar, Gamer and Starwars a bit and I'm hearing much clearer detail. Compared to analogue output, it's not more
detail, but clearer
detail. This is the most notable difference. Strange thing with it is once that is enabled, the only volume control I have is on the speakers, but I’m guessing this is a good thing
Windows media player does this audio encoding by default, so I hear the same quality from it. I tried with XBMC, but for some reason HD content in very choppy, but I’ll have another go at it,
So to wrap that up – digital output from onboard audio to optical input on speakers – DTS encoding with HD content working link a dream2.
When it came to music, I played around with Media Monkey, which I always use, and had a go with Foobar2000 (as you suggested Nethawk). Using a couple of FLAC files I had, I compared them between the two media players, as well as with 320kbps mp3 files. No noticible difference with that really. I went back to analogue output to hear if there is that much of a difference, but none really. With the digital output, I still get that weird thing I described earlier with the “simulated surround sound”, but this isn’t so much of an issue with music.
To wrap that up, no noticeable difference with FLAC files when using digital output, but I’ll still play around with that3.
When it comes to gaming, I have a bit of a problem. As I understand it, a game like Battlefield 3 has DTS audio. Due to the fact that my on-board audio cannot encode that signal through to my speakers, I’m not getting full surround sound when using the digital output. The speakers go into the simulated surround sound, so it’s not ideal at all. Now the only way around this problem, if I am not mistaken, would be to get a sound card that can get the correct audio signal through to the speakers. As it is now, when it comes to gaming, I’m better off with analogue…So, good things and bad things. what do you guys think?