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Help with computer media server

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I posted this in another area earlier today, and was directed to this area for potential help.

Hello I'm new here, but have been lurking for years on the Klipsch website. I've got an idea that I cannot seem to find any technology to get me there and was advised to ask here.

Here's where I'm at, way back in 2003, I purchased my first computer, a Dell 8300, pentium 4, I've since upgraded to 2 G ram, and 500 G hard drive. I spent a ton on this thing, as it was my desire to connect it to my Sunfire TGP II processor and use the computer as a media server.

I discovered that the supplied Soundblaster G Force 5200 card contains simple mini jacks for connecting small computer speakers and thi is the only way to utilize the software to decode the media installed, as the only way to connect the computer was via the green mini plug (front left and right speakers) and tell the computer that I'm only using a 2.1 configuration, then input the signal into the Sunfire to decode the media. That was fine then, but now the Sunfire is so dated, it's cumbersome to use effectively. No HDMI, no 7.1, etc. not to mention the processing is about ten generations behind the times.

Sunfire no longer even makes a processor any more, other makers that utilize XLR outs, are really expensive, and in a short time, I'll be right back where I am now.

My solution, I want to completely eliminate the need for an expensive processor that will just be obsolete shortly anyway. So what I've figured out is to install a 8 channel DAC converter with XLR outs, right in front of my amp, then find a soundcard that has 8 discrete digital outs, and software that will decode the media digitally instead of after the soundcard converts it to analog. I know it can be done, because I've already found a Lynx AE16 card that has up to 32 discrete digital out put channels, and a Lynx 8 or 16 channel DAC converter, the nice thing about the 16 channel version is it contains trim settings to prevent the computer from sending full power to the amp inadvertently.

My problem is, finding software that will be compatible for the intended application.

Does anyone make a software package that does what I want?

Thanks in advance.
post #2 of 16
Please be more clear as to what you are exactly trying to accomplish.
post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 
Not sure how I can be too much more clear, other then to say that I don't want to use my computer as any more than an accessory, not much different than a DVD player or a cassette deck. But rather, the computer will be a true pre amp, the hub, so to speak, of a HT. It will utilize the internal hard drive as stored media, will use the internal DVD drive or blue ray as the player, and the Internal CPU as the actual decoder, as since technology changes, I can replace a sound or video card as opposed to purchasing a way overpriced processor that will be obsolete within a year or two just to get one small Change in technology.

Problem is the sound cards I've researched actually decode the signal after it is transformed into a analog signal to unbalanced mini jacks in analog, so that signal is not compatible with a true HT, especially with one that uses XLR cables, for noise floor control.

Seems stupid to have programming like Audigy HD and not be able to use it, but instead having to use the pre amp to decode the signal, because the I only input is a simple two channel, rather than the multi channel that the computer is capable of doing. Deep inside the CPU is tremendous ability, but there's no way to get it out.
post #4 of 16
post #5 of 16
check out JRiver Media center. It integrates well with DACs supporting both ASIO and WASAPI, it's music library is fantastic and it support unencrypted DVD/BD playback as well as some support for TV.
post #6 of 16
...Sounds like you want audio over hdmi aka 8 discrete digital output 7.1.

Buy a receiver with pre-outs. Buy a modern htpc with hdmi output. Connect everything together. Enjoy!

Am I missing something this seems really simple and obvious to me?
post #7 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by theplummer View Post

Deep inside the CPU is tremendous ability, but there's no way to get it out.

Not a 10 year old Pentium 4. HD video is basically out of the question.
post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdcrox View Post

A search quickly found this thread: http://www.avsforum.com/t/1447789/htpc-experts-is-it-feasible-to-replace-a-pre-pro-with-a-htpc
Thanks, a cursory read on this is probably just what I'm after.
post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by macks View Post

...Sounds like you want audio over hdmi aka 8 discrete digital output 7.1.

Buy a receiver with pre-outs. Buy a modern htpc with hdmi output. Connect everything together. Enjoy!

Am I missing something this seems really simple and obvious to me?
Yes, I'm not going to fall for the trap of having to buy a new processor every time technology changes. Once I've got a plan, I can stay current by just changing the outdated card as I improve my HT, without having to break the bank to make it all work right. As far as HDMI that's really not an issue right now, as I'm satisfied with my older Sony XBR 36" tube television. The best input it has is component video, but when I decide to get a new LED monitor, all I have to do is replace the sound card.

As far as the penguin goes, it works fine as I've beefed up the RAM and it handles Nvidia dual screen, and Netflix HD, and other operations at once. Now once I go Hi def, I will have to replace the PC with a faster one with a blue ray.

My goal is to eventually have a complete audio video media server, operated wifi to each monitor in my house at once. This is just the first step.

Software that will decode and separate into 8 channels digitally, then a multi channel (8) DAC to the amp. I'll figure the rest out later.
post #10 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by theplummer View Post

Yes, I'm not going to fall for the trap of having to buy a new processor every time technology changes. Once I've got a plan, I can stay current by just changing the outdated card as I improve my HT, without having to break the bank to make it all work right. As far as HDMI that's really not an issue right now, as I'm satisfied with my older Sony XBR 36" tube television. The best input it has is component video, but when I decide to get a new LED monitor, all I have to do is replace the sound card.

As far as the penguin goes, it works fine as I've beefed up the RAM and it handles Nvidia dual screen, and Netflix HD, and other operations at once. Now once I go Hi def, I will have to replace the PC with a faster one with a blue ray.

My goal is to eventually have a complete audio video media server, operated wifi to each monitor in my house at once. This is just the first step.

Software that will decode and separate into 8 channels digitally, then a multi channel (8) DAC to the amp. I'll figure the rest out later.

As long as you can decode the audio and send it as lpcm you don't ever have to upgrade your receiver if you don't want to. You can decode everything on your htpc if you desire. No sound card to buy just buy a video card to start and be happy.
post #11 of 16
Yeah, sound cards are almost obsolete these days. With the advent of HDMI, current video cards do it all.. They have to.

They should really be re-named AV Cards because that is what they really are now.
post #12 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by macks View Post

As long as you can decode the audio and send it as lpcm you don't ever have to upgrade your receiver if you don't want to. You can decode everything on your htpc if you desire. No sound card to buy just buy a video card to start and be happy.
Not sure what you mean by LCPM. As far as the word penguin I meant to type pentium (darn iPhone auto correct).

As far as video card instead of sound card, never really thought about that. Is there a HDMI video card that has 8 or more discrete digital outs on it, and if so what kind of connector can I expect, the lynx AE 16 uses a 25 pin as well as their DAC's.

And one more thing is the JRiver software compatible?
post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by theplummer View Post

Not sure what you mean by LCPM. As far as the word penguin I meant to type pentium (darn iPhone auto correct).

As far as video card instead of sound card, never really thought about that. Is there a HDMI video card that has 8 or more discrete digital outs on it, and if so what kind of connector can I expect, the lynx AE 16 uses a 25 pin as well as their DAC's.

And one more thing is the JRiver software compatible?

Video cards use hdmi for 8 discrete channels.
post #14 of 16
Oh. You want analog out. I haven't messed with that in a while. IDK of hand if there is such a card.

LPCM is linear pulse code modulation. This can be passed via HDMI to your AVR along with the video.
post #15 of 16
Thread Starter 
Good news!!!

Jriver's forum verified that it's possible to use a Lynx AE16 sound card and does support multichannel digital outs, sending the signal to a stand alone multi channel pro DAC.

Now since I've determined that there is software and hardware that are compatible, I'd like to research options that are a little more cost conscious. The Lynx sound card is $538 at the cheapest, and about $1700 and up for 8 or more XLR out capable DAC's.

I'd like several different price points so I can direct my customers to other options. I'm a plumber by trade, but my passion is building HT's for customers and friends. Most people won't spend $2000+ to venture into this Rhelm.

I believe this is the next step in HT, and if more people were aware of this technology, it would naturally get more affordable.
post #16 of 16
Thread Starter 
Here I am breaking the cardinal rule of not double posting, but I forgot to ask if anyone has any suggestions on cheaper hardware to use in this application?
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