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Does sound card choice matter if I just want digital output to my receiver?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I want to send Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound from my computer (playing a DVD in VLC, or an OTA HDTV broadcast in Microsoft Media Center) to my home theater receiver. Since I do not have an SPDIF out port on my motherboard, I plan to add a sound card with either Digital Optical or Digital Coax out. If that is all I need (in other words, I will not be connecting the analog ports of the card to any speakers), should I just get any cheap card that has a SPDIF port? Do all cards (cheap or expensive) spit out the same signal from their SPDIF ports? Are they just passing the Dolby Digital signal through untouched, to the receiver? Do bitrate and sampling of the card (16 bit 48 kHz, vs 24 bit 192 kHz) affect only the analog ports, or does it impact the SPDIF port as well?

For example, is there any functional difference between these cards, if just looking at the digital output?:

$9.99
PPA 1431v 6 Channels 16-bit PCI Interface Sound Card
NewEgg Item=N82E16829126005 (Forum will not let me post URLs until I have 3 posts )

$17.49
PPA 1424V 8 Channels 24-bit 96KHz PCI Interface Sound Card
NewEgg Item=N82E16829126006

$89.99
ASUS Xonar D1 7.1 Channels 24-bit 192KHz PCI Interface Sound Card
NewEgg Item=N82E16829132007
post #2 of 13
Just get the $10 PPA. S/PDIF is pretty much the same on every soundcard.

If your motherboard has the S/PDIF header on it, you could just buy a bracket for it.
post #3 of 13
and if you cant find a bracket you can make a lead yourself using those old cd drive audio connectors everybody seems to have in the bottom of a drawer (motherboards spidif wiring can differ and i couldnt find a bracket to suit my old board and did this instead - worked fine)

alot of motherboads would have the spdif header already so with any luck as mentioned maybe it just needs connecting
post #4 of 13
You can use this RCA connector and an empty expansion slot cover if you want to build a SPDIF bracket yourself.
post #5 of 13
Are you saying that if I am outputting through a SPDIF to my receiver the quality of the soundcards are no difference? My current MB audio has some issues with MyHD so was thinking of getting this card. I tried an old sound card and did not have the MyHD issue, but it had some other issues.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...=ATVPDKIKX0DER
post #6 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by rgathright View Post

Are you saying that if I am outputting through a SPDIF to my receiver the quality of the soundcards are no difference? My current MB audio has some issues with MyHD so was thinking of getting this card. I tried an old sound card and did not have the MyHD issue, but it had some other issues.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...=ATVPDKIKX0DER

Some may argue to the contrary but lossy digital is lossy digital. There will be no difference in sound quality regardless of the soundcard used to send the lossy digital signal to your decoder. A lossy digital signal from a mobo's on-board spdif output will sound no different than the lossy digital from an Asus HDAV Deluxe 1.3.
post #7 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by rgathright View Post

Are you saying that if I am outputting through a SPDIF to my receiver the quality of the soundcards are no difference?

Yup, that's what we're saying. Analog output is a different matter because of the quality of the DACs used.
post #8 of 13
What about the Dolby Digital Live audio features? Is this worth getting a card that does this vs a card that does not? This particular card does have analog outs, but they cannot be connected to my receiver. Are there receivers out there that can take these types of analog outs?
post #9 of 13
Dolby Digital Live is useful to get surround sounds from games. For video playback (with a DirectShow player), there are free real-time DD encoder (ffdshow, AC3Filter, ReClock).
post #10 of 13
My 5 year old HTIB receiver has a 5.1 multichannel input(6 RCA). You might be confused because sound cards have a 3.5mm(headphone jack) output. There are cables that will convert the 3.5mm jack to two rca jacks to be connected to a receiver. You would need 3 of these(or cables if you don't want an adapter).

#1 Front/Left
#2 Center/Sub
#3 Surround Left/Right
post #11 of 13
Does anybody know a snake cable like this with the other end 4 x 3.5mm stereo mini plug?

I can manually assemble 4 (for 8 channels) x stereo 3.5mm mini-plug to dual RCA cable, but...
LL
post #12 of 13
Use 4 of these?



Search for ebay item 220658746479
post #13 of 13
I just wanted a cable with color codes (similar to this). It looks like there does not exist such one.
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