AC3/DTS out for Media Center FAQ - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 39 Old 01-16-2005, 07:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, I've seen a lot of people who have problems outputting digital audio from their computer if they are converting it to analog. The whole idea in using a HTPC for most is for two purposes. You'll want to preserve all the 3D audio features, and at the same time be able to use Dolby Digital and DTS. This simply cannot be achieved through the use of the digital out on your sound card with s/pdif passthrough. The AC-3 and DTS tracks are preserved that way, but you lose all 3d sound for games, via AC-3 and Directsound. This method makes us rely on Dolby Pro-logic for surround sound in games which doesn't cut it for most.

I know that there are a lot of people who want to have their HTPC as a gaming device as well. If this is the device you are going to want to be using a Creative Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS soundcard so that you'll be able to take advantage of all the current 3D sound engines. If you don't want to use this card and instead want to use a Turtle Beach Catalina/Santa Cruz, or a M-Audio 5.1/7.1 you will still probably want to have the use of all the features of the sound card for processing 3D audio.

As a result of this you are going to need to hook the sound card up using the Analog outputs of the sound card to the receivers multi-channel inputs. This will allow the computer to send the discrete audio channels to the receiver so that you can take advantage of all the different audio formats.

Now I know that most of you probably already knew what I stated above, but for those who didn't now this is where at the current time it gets complicated. If you want to run Microsoft Windows Media Center 2005 you have to have a DVD decoding program installed on the computer. I personally recommend NVIDIA's DVD Decoder which can be found at http://www.nvidia.com. Some other options are Cyberlink's PowerDVD and Intervideo's WinDVD. These latter too are great options for normal home theater use, but I've found that NVIDIA's option serves the most potential as it's intended for use with Windows Media Center 2005 or Windows Media Player which is most people's focus these days with HTPC's.

Most people's initial plans I've found are that they'll just use the NVIDIA decoder and set it to S/PDIF out to Creative's drivers and let the Audigy 2 ZS do the decoding of the digital audio. This is great in theory, but in practice there is a major flaw with it and it causes skipping and problems with playback. So here is the solution that I have found.

I've found it necessary to replace NVIDIA's audio engine with a program called AC3Filter http://ac3filter.sourceforge.net. Install this program and then configure it for 5.1 output. I've found that the program does a great jobe in my preliminary testing of deconding both AC3 and DTS. So don't use the S/PDIF passthrough.

Next you have to set Media Center to use AC3Filter as it's default audio decoder. This has to be done through the registry:

(DISCLAIMER: At this point I've probably lost most people who don't know what they are doing. If you have never worked with the Windows registry make sure to back it up incase you screw something up. This is the heart of a Windows computer and you should be careful)[list=1][*]Go to Start -> Run -> Regedit.exe[*]Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\\SOFTWARE\\Microsoft\\Windows\\CurrentVer sion\\Media Center\\Service\\Video[*]Change PreferredMPEG2AudioDecoder into {A753A1EC-973E-4718-AF8E-A3F554D45C44}[/list=1]

Now play a movie and you should be able to experience Dolby Digital or DTS audio. Now know that this method only supports DD and DTS (5.1 formats), not DD-EX or DTS-ES (6.1 and 7.1 formats).
--------------------------------------
Some other notes:

If you need a 5.1 analog cable go to Ram Electronics and if you need a 1/8" Mini-phono to RCA adapters go to this page on Ram Electronics.

Hopefully a lot of this info will not be needed once NVIDIA figures out how to implement Dolby Digital/DTS decoding into their DVD decoder.

PowerDVD and WinDVD are great for playing DVD's inside of their own interface, but if you use their decoder inside of MCE2005 they'll just do stereo output, and it may sound like surround sound, but your soundcard is just making a fake surround sound. Listen for the correct sounds coming out of the channels and you'll hear what I mean.

FFDshow is awesome but I couldn't get it to work as the default audio decoder correctly. Just set it's audio configuration for DTS and AC3 to disabled. Be aware though that while upgrading this it might try to take over the registry as the default MCE2005 audio decoder, so you might have to check that out. Not 100% sure about this.
---------------------------------------
I guess just lastly let me know if this was helpful to you. I spent a bunch of time trying to figure this out so I hope that this is of help to some people.

My last thing that I'm trying to figure out which would make my HTPC complete would be if I could figure out how to make my DVD decoder overscan the video to compensate for underscan due to the resolution being set exactly to my screen size of my 61" Samsung DLP. If anyone knows how to do this I'd appreciate a heads up. Thanks, and I hope this helps you guys. If it helps a ton of people I'd hope to get this stickied along with some other threads that talk about what kind of software is available for HTPC users.
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post #2 of 39 Old 01-16-2005, 08:59 PM
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What about using Soundstorm or Dolby digital live to get 5.1 encoding over the SPDIF?
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post #3 of 39 Old 01-16-2005, 09:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ozy666
What about using Soundstorm or Dolby digital live to get 5.1 encoding over the SPDIF?
Definitely the best option, but as of now there are no add-on SoundStorm sound cards. I have a sound storm running on one of my computers and it's my favorite set up, but I want to build more powerful computers now with Athlon 64 CPU's, but nForce4 doesn't have SoundStorm. There have been rumors though of NVIDIA at some point releasing PCI-Express SoundStorm cards. I think that this would be ridiculously cool, but until they do, i think that we need to start looking at Creative, M-Audio, and Turtle Beach.
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post #4 of 39 Old 01-16-2005, 09:34 PM
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I am using a SoundBlaster audigy2 zs for my HTPC. I have the Nvidia DVD decoder set to SPDIF and I use the spdif connection on the back of the audigy for viewing DVDs. I also have the analog connections from my sound card run to the multi-channel in of my receiver for game use.

In the Audigy control panel you have to turn off it's decoder to make this work. This can be accessed under the creative audioHQ. Click on Device controls and then go to the decoder tab. Check the box next the text “SPDIF pass though.â€

Once this is done you should be able to let your home theater receiver do the decoding for DTS and Dolby material. When you want to play games, just set your receiver to the multi-channel input.

I use the above method and it works flawlessly for both games and movies.
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post #5 of 39 Old 01-16-2005, 09:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally posted by nmyeti
I am using a SoundBlaster audigy2 zs for my HTPC. I have the Nvidia DVD decoder set to SPDIF and I use the spdif connection on the back of the audigy for viewing DVDs. I also have the analog connections from my sound card run to the multi-channel in of my receiver for game use.
The problem with this though is that I set up HTPC's for people other than myself. I also like to set up HTPC's to be used with Harmony Remote's There is no easy way for me to explain to people that they need to change the input on their receiver for the two different modes. I think that you need to keep it to one output from the computer to keep easy for usability.

Although the set up is complicated with the analog out to get AC3 decoding working correctly on the computer, it in the end is much easier for the user, and that is the most important part of an HTPC. If I was just intending to use it for myself I wouldn't even need the microsoft interface. I could just use PowerDVD and be done with it.

I'm an IT Consultant, and I do freelance work which as of late has been setting up quite a few HTPC's. I'm always looking for the best solution for my customers and in the end I find myself benefitting as well.
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post #6 of 39 Old 01-16-2005, 11:24 PM - Thread Starter
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Wow, so apparently I haven't been paying enough attention. I just thought that once NVIDIA supported Dolby Digital and DTS decoding they would add this functionality for people who had already purchased the player or at least offer an upgrade path. I just purchased the new platinum version. NVIDIA can now do DTS and AC3 decoding all in their DVD decoder. So I guess unless you are cheap and don't want to pay NVIDIA for their excellent product ignore what I wrote above.
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post #7 of 39 Old 01-17-2005, 10:51 AM
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Hey SpeedDemon- Does that mean that one wouldn't even need a sound card if the motherboard has got the analog outs? I mean, if the NVIDIA decoders are decoding the audio streams, then wouldn't the analog outs on the mobo into the reciever work just fine?

Thanks for the info.
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post #8 of 39 Old 01-17-2005, 01:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally posted by GrantMeThePower
Hey SpeedDemon- Does that mean that one wouldn't even need a sound card if the motherboard has got the analog outs? I mean, if the NVIDIA decoders are decoding the audio streams, then wouldn't the analog outs on the mobo into the reciever work just fine?

Thanks for the info.
They would to get the job done, but the sound quality might be terrible. I just put together a HTPC in a Antec Aria case yesterday for one of my customers and I used a DFI K8M800 motherboard and the onboard sound was just terrible. It was so bad in fact that I decided it was unfair to give them a computer with audio that bad since they also are going to be hooking it up to a 5.1 system, so I gave them an old SB Live! 5.1 card of mine for free.

Now this isn't the case for all on-board sound. I've heard some that sound pretty good and it's all just subjective I guess. NVDIA Soundstorm sounds great IMO, but you would be better off just doing DDLive, and then there are those new Intel motherboards with intel's new HD sound thing, but I have no idea how those sound since 95% of the computers I build are AMD's.
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post #9 of 39 Old 01-17-2005, 02:07 PM
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Regarding Soundstorm vs. Dolby Digital live...as far as I know, Soundstorm is done completely in hardware and has little impact on the CPU.

Dolby Live, I think, is a sotware encoding that will put a load on your CPU. I don't know how much it would slow down your games.

Ozy
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post #10 of 39 Old 01-17-2005, 05:10 PM
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I have the new Intel motherboard with HD Audio and DD Live. The sound is just great all around. Intel's toolkit is very nice as well. I have no complaints so far. The board is feature-packed and I really enjoyed putting it all together.

The only minor issue that I have found is that the MCE remote's mute (and volume control) has no effect. You have to use the receiver controls. I can understand the volume, but the mute should work. Also, I'd like the analog out to work concurrently with the digital so I can use the TVs internal speakers for basic SD broadcasts like the news (and keep the receiver off). I know the intel board lets you create two audio profiles (for multiroom) but I'm not sure that's the way I want to go.

Here's the system (a client to my media server):

Case: Arisetec HT-200
PSU: Silverstone SST-ST40F
Mobo: Intel 925XEC
Proc: Intel P4 Prescott 3.0 LGA 775
Memory: 512MB GEIL DDR2
HD: Seagate 120GB 7200 RPM 8MB Cache SATA
TV Tuner: Hauppage PVR-150 (soon to be ATI TVWonder Elite)
HDTV Tuner: ATI HDTV Wonder
Video Card: Leadtek 6600GT
DVD: Asus DVD-E616P2
CPU cooling: Zalman 7000 ALCU (with the 7700 mounting)
MCE Remote
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post #11 of 39 Old 01-17-2005, 05:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by SpeedDemon
The problem with this though is that I set up HTPC's for people other than myself. I also like to set up HTPC's to be used with Harmony Remote's There is no easy way for me to explain to people that they need to change the input on their receiver for the two different modes. I think that you need to keep it to one output from the computer to keep easy for usability.
I use the above setup with a harmony remote. You can setup a custom activity for gaming that switches on the multi-channel analog input.

One serious downside to doing things the way you are suggesting is that it bypasses many of the automatic calibration eq settings built into some of our receivers. My 1014 for instance doesn’t apply any of these auto eq and setup calibrations to the multi-channel input. If I decided to do things the way you suggest then I loose one of the major features that makes my receiver (and by extension my home theater system) so killer.

Setting up another custom activity is quite easy with the harmony units and worth the benefits if you have a receiver that does auto calibration.


-Nathan
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post #12 of 39 Old 01-17-2005, 06:17 PM
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Turtle Beach Santa Cruz. Have not been let down once by this card.

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post #13 of 39 Old 01-17-2005, 07:56 PM - Thread Starter
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That's a good point, but still just more than I see necessary. I don't see any downside to doing the AC3 processing on the computer side and then transferring to the receivers multi-channel inputs.
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post #14 of 39 Old 02-25-2005, 07:37 AM
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I was able to modify my registry to use the ATI MPEG Decoder that
the ATI program uses for it's DVD player, so the DVD player in MCE is passing through DD.

From what I have found, the MCE Television/DVR program uses an MPEG2 decoder/encoder for the video and an MPEG1 decoder/encoder for the audio which is resulting in the audio coming out in Stereo.

I searched my registry last night to try to figure out what CLSID the player is using so I can change it, but I had no luck.

Is it not possible to change this codec?

There's Good TV, Better TV and DirecTV, but nothing beats a calibrated TV!!
www.clearlyresolved.com
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post #15 of 39 Old 02-25-2005, 08:09 AM
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For all of you looking for a Dolby Digital Live encoding card, you may want to take a look at the HiTeC X-Mystique 5.1 DD Live card. I just bought one off of ebay and it works incredibly.

Does exactly what many of you are looking for, converts 2 Channel, 5.1 WMA and EAX encoded audio to Dolby Digital 5.1, 6.1 or 7.1. Best part is that it only takes a PCI slot.
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post #16 of 39 Old 03-14-2005, 03:23 AM
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Can somebody confirm to me whether the nvidia gold or platinum decoders, will decode DD, DTS and allow me to output it via analogue to my 5.1 speakers in MCE 2005.
I currently have the basic nvidia codecs that do stereo only or passthrough. The nvidia faq states that you need an external reciever for DD, DTS (http://www.nvidia.com/object/decoder_faq.html) but the feature comparison, implies that the gold and platinum versions support dd and dts. IS this the case in MCE2005?


thx

RD
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post #17 of 39 Old 05-07-2005, 09:37 AM
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Ok, first of all, I'm not a rookie having built my HTPC from the ground up, but I just can't get my system to do what I want. Maybe you can help me understand the solution, if any, to my dilemna.

This is where I'm at currently with my system:

- MCE 2005
- ATI HDTV Wonder PCI Card
- Nvidia Decoder version 67 (the Newest)
- Intel MB with Built-In SoundMax sound. The MB has both Coaxail and Optical outputs, I'm currently using optical out to my Receiver
- SoundMax Version 4
- Yamaha Receiver with both optical out from HTPC and analog output from HTPC

This is what I want to do and the problems I am encountering at this time:

- Use the DACs in my receiver to process MyMusic, ie, not analog and send to Zone 1. - This works great with my current setup.
- Use the DD decoding in my receiver to process the HDTV Wonder's 5.1 sound. - This works great with my current setup.
- Output Analog sound to my Zone 2 - This works great for MyMusic, but I get no audio from MyTV from the recorded HDTV signals, this is whether the show has 5.1 sound or not.
- FW/RW/PAUSE MyTV - This causes loss of audio from MyTV, until I hit the stop, then play button. I can live with this because I usually only do this when skipping commercials.

The problems with this setup is that I can't get audio in Zone 2, ie, no analog from MyTV from HDTV Recordings. Analog from Non-HDTV recordings works fine. Also, the FW/RW problem is annoying.

I tried upgrading the SoundMax driver to Version 5 and it fixed all problems, except I could not get DD5.1 sound from my HDTV recordings, so I went back to Version 4.

So what's next? Maybe the AC3 filter registry change with Version 5? Or maybe a new sound card will fix the problem. Looking from advice from those in the know.... HELP!!! :confused: :confused: :confused: :confused:

Thanks all for whatever advice you may offer!

------------------------------------------
HTPC - Okoro Media HTPC
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post #18 of 39 Old 05-07-2005, 01:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by RedDom
Can somebody confirm to me whether the nvidia gold or platinum decoders, will decode DD, DTS and allow me to output it via analogue to my 5.1 speakers in MCE 2005.
Platinum does output DD/DTS in analogue. I've never used gold version, but I believe it doesn't support DTS analogue.

The trial version listed on their website is a platinum version. You might want to try that out just to make sure.
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post #19 of 39 Old 05-14-2005, 08:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by RacerChris
Ok, first of all, I'm not a rookie having built my HTPC from the ground up, but I just can't get my system to do what I want. Maybe you can help me understand the solution, if any, to my dilemna.

This is where I'm at currently with my system:

- MCE 2005
- ATI HDTV Wonder PCI Card
- Nvidia Decoder version 67 (the Newest)
- Intel MB with Built-In SoundMax sound. The MB has both Coaxail and Optical outputs, I'm currently using optical out to my Receiver
- SoundMax Version 4
- Yamaha Receiver with both optical out from HTPC and analog output from HTPC

This is what I want to do and the problems I am encountering at this time:

- Use the DACs in my receiver to process MyMusic, ie, not analog and send to Zone 1. - This works great with my current setup.
- Use the DD decoding in my receiver to process the HDTV Wonder's 5.1 sound. - This works great with my current setup.
- Output Analog sound to my Zone 2 - This works great for MyMusic, but I get no audio from MyTV from the recorded HDTV signals, this is whether the show has 5.1 sound or not.
- FW/RW/PAUSE MyTV - This causes loss of audio from MyTV, until I hit the stop, then play button. I can live with this because I usually only do this when skipping commercials.

The problems with this setup is that I can't get audio in Zone 2, ie, no analog from MyTV from HDTV Recordings. Analog from Non-HDTV recordings works fine. Also, the FW/RW problem is annoying.

I tried upgrading the SoundMax driver to Version 5 and it fixed all problems, except I could not get DD5.1 sound from my HDTV recordings, so I went back to Version 4.

So what's next? Maybe the AC3 filter registry change with Version 5? Or maybe a new sound card will fix the problem. Looking from advice from those in the know.... HELP!!! :confused: :confused: :confused: :confused:

Thanks all for whatever advice you may offer!
Anybody?

------------------------------------------
HTPC - Okoro Media HTPC
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post #20 of 39 Old 05-15-2005, 07:30 AM
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Does your audio chipset allow simultaneous output of analog and digital? Meaning that when plugging in coax or opti audio, the analog may disable. There may also be a software setting to affect this result too. This is the case with some audio chipsets,onboard or not. My M-Audio Revo 7.1 is built this way. I am not real familiar with onboard audio anymore because I had so many issues when using it, and so few issues when using independent PCI audio cards. Let me know and I will try to help.

Regards, Jim
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post #21 of 39 Old 05-15-2005, 09:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by jimbighoss
Does your audio chipset allow simultaneous output of analog and digital? Meaning that when plugging in coax or opti audio, the analog may disable. There may also be a software setting to affect this result too. This is the case with some audio chipsets,onboard or not. My M-Audio Revo 7.1 is built this way. I am not real familiar with onboard audio anymore because I had so many issues when using it, and so few issues when using independent PCI audio cards. Let me know and I will try to help.

Regards, Jim
Thanks Jim for the Reply.

I am hopeful that I am not the only one trying to an MCE/HDTV system to output DD5.1 while still being able to have analog audio also. If so, then maybe someone can describe their system, ie, Audio Card, Drivers, etc. I suspect that the onboard audio is limiting things, but would like to get confirmation that a PCI Audio card would solve this problem before so I know which one to purchase.

In case it matters, it would seem that SoundMax can output both, since I am able to switch the Receiver from analog to PCM and get Music from both. Sounds like the M-Audio sound card does not do this....

------------------------------------------
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post #22 of 39 Old 05-25-2005, 12:00 PM
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I am using an Envy 24HT-S PCI audio card (Mad Dog Entertainer) for simulataneous analog and digital out, to drive two zones similar to what you are doing. The system "mostly" works - I use stereo analog to an old stereo receiver for the second zone, and s/pdif optical to my HT receiver for the primary zone. The only shortfall right now is listing to a 5.1 source in the second zone - I only get the right/left out, and without the center channel audio it isn't very useful. I use AC3Filter and the Via Vinyl drivers.

I'm leaning towards either:
1) giving up on trying to do this with a single card, and get a usb to optical adapter. I think this can be split to the optical input on the PCI card and remixed for the second zone, or
2) get a cheap used ht receiver for the second zone that can take 5.1 and output stereo, or
3) add a third "center" speaker for my second zone.

I wish there was a way to just make it work - it should be possible.
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post #23 of 39 Old 01-11-2006, 01:33 AM
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Hi,

I have recently installed Nvidia pure video decoder 1.02-185 then i installed AC3 filter on top of it, because I think AC3 filter do better decoding than nvidia, but when I go to DVD - Setting - sound on my MCE 2005, AC3 filter setting doesnt come up, as it was working fine before installing Nvidia 1.02-185. It is working fine with media player.

Anybody can help me out.

Thankx
Deep
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post #24 of 39 Old 01-24-2006, 12:19 PM
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I get great 5.1 audio (analog to my receiver) using Nvidia's PureVideo decoder for DVDs and Recorded TV, but I don't get any center channel dialogue from Live-TV! I found this note in one of Nvidia's FAQs. Can anyone help?

Quote:
Question: The NVIDIA Audio Decoder is not working for Microsoft Windows Media Center Edition Live TV. How can I make Windows Media Center use the NVIDIA audio decoder during Live TV?

Answer: This is expected behavior with Microsoft Windows Media Center 2005 Live TV function. Microsoft has chosen to use their MPEG-1 audio decoder and forego the more advanced NVIDIA audio decoder. Possibly in the future Microsoft will allow Media Center Live TV function to use the NVIDIA audio decoder.
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post #25 of 39 Old 02-20-2006, 09:28 AM
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. . . that after all these years of digital audio interconnects being around, it's really a sad state of affairs (and the industry) that we must still resort to hooking our PCs to our receivers via analog connections. :rolleyes: Does anyone know if our future is looking brighter? Are we going to finally evolve and crawl out of the 20th century primordial soup anytime soon? In short, when will we be able to hook up everything with one fiber/coax cable and just have it work?

That being said, I'm going to sum up what I understand about hooking up an MCE 2005 device to an external receiver using the latest - 1.02-185, released Nov. 4, 2005 - NVidia PureVideo decoder. Hopefully this will help others quickly figure out what to do, at least until everything changes again next month! ;)

1) By default in MCE2005 (i.e. no NVidia PureVideo installed), all audio goes out your S/PDIF connection to your receiver in stereo.

2) Once you install the Platinum PureVideo decoder, and you perform the following, procedure below, all of your audio produced from MCE can now go through your S/PDIF in stereo and/or DD/DTS, depending on the source. This is what some know as "S/PDIF passthrough". The key is that none of the decoding is done by your computer - the decoding is instead handled by your DD/DTS capable receiver.
>>>>
How do I turn on S/PDIF mode?
Browse to the NVIDIA PureVideo Decoder Properties and select the “Audio†properties page. Click on the “Speaker Setup†button and select “a receiver†and then check “via an S/PDIF cableâ€. After this is done, the NVIDIA PureVideo Decoder will be in bypass mode and output all audio to an external receiver or decoder, including Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS surround sound.

>>>>

3) If you play games, then you need to hook up your PC to your receiver using 3 or 4 analog cables to get 5.1/7.1 sound (because you're not playing games in MCE and therefore not using the PureVideo Decoder). Period. Your computer does the DD/DTS decoding in this case and your receiver just does the amplification and possibly some other sound processing (but no decoding) of the sound.


I believe this is all one needs to know. Please correct me if I'm wrong for the benefit of myself and others. I do have a nagging question left, however.

- DVD Audio
Does MCE 2005 handle DVD Audio? I don't have one to try this out. I assume that it should (isn't a DVD-A disc the same as a DVD Movie without the video, essentially), but I haven't had luck finding anything on the Net about this specifically.

BTW, I'm going to go make the changes to my MCE PC now. I just realized (after 6 months - Doh!) that I wasn't getting DD when watching movies on my PC after I used my Denon 2910 DVD player to watch the Eagles Farewell Tour the other night when my MCE PC was on the blink. What a difference. Now I have to rewatch all the movies I've seen since then. :D
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post #26 of 39 Old 02-20-2006, 10:41 AM
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For non-AC3 sounds like games outside of MCE, AC3Filter is supposed to encode to AC3 and output via SPDIF according to the V1.02a description.

Has anyone verfied that this works or does not work, especially in conjuction with the nVidia Pure Video Decoder installed as qwertynerd described?
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post #27 of 39 Old 02-23-2006, 11:39 AM
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Qwetynerd,
I appreciate your comments. I have an HDTV Wonder running through MCE 2005. After recording HD programs (on a hard disk) I watch them on my 34" Sony XBR widescreen HDTV and try to send the audio through the digital out (using a 3.5 inch miniplug to coax adapter cable) on my Audigy 2 (not the ZS version) sound card into my Toshiba receiver.

Since I bought my computer from Dell with an OEM Audigy 2 card [CF00] the software (including updates) doesn't have a decoder tab in the AudioHQ menu that would normally allow one to choose S/PDIF passthrough (most Audigy 2 cards do have this option). I use the "digital out" (miniplug to coax adapter) anyway and my receiver recieves a PCM stereo signal though I am playing back an HD movie capable of DD 5.1.

I am intrigued by your comments regarding Nvidia's Pure DVD recorder (right now I am using the ATI decoder that came with my X700 Pro video card). Do you think it is merely a software issue why I can't send a DD 5.1 signal through my Audigy 2 card's "digital out"? If that is the case, as you described, can I use Nvidia's Pure DVD recorder to pass the digital signal through to my receiver even though I am using MCE 2005 to play back the recording.

I appreciate any help you or others could provide!
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post #28 of 39 Old 02-23-2006, 01:11 PM
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I have an older Sony ES reciever that only has Dolby Pro logic (But not Dolby digital) And yet it has "Digital inputs" both optical and coax. What is the format that these inputs are capable of? (Ps I'm holding out for a new receiver that thats had HDMI 1.3 switching, and is affordable too).
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post #29 of 39 Old 03-14-2006, 12:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 88fingers
Qwetynerd,
I appreciate your comments. I have an HDTV Wonder running through MCE 2005. After recording HD programs (on a hard disk) I watch them on my 34" Sony XBR widescreen HDTV and try to send the audio through the digital out (using a 3.5 inch miniplug to coax adapter cable) on my Audigy 2 (not the ZS version) sound card into my Toshiba receiver.
I believe you mean a 3.5 mm miniplug above. I'm using the same setup as you are (there's no optical S/PDIF on the back of an Audigy card), although I have an Audigy 2ZS in my MCE machine. I'm pretty sure this doesn't matter, since my older 1st generation Audigy card in my gaming machine has the S/PDIF Passthrough option in the Decoder tab (see below).

Quote:
Originally Posted by 88fingers
Since I bought my computer from Dell with an OEM Audigy 2 card [CF00] the software (including updates) doesn't have a decoder tab in the AudioHQ menu that would normally allow one to choose S/PDIF passthrough (most Audigy 2 cards do have this option). I use the "digital out" (miniplug to coax adapter) anyway and my receiver recieves a PCM stereo signal though I am playing back an HD movie capable of DD 5.1.
I would install the regular Audigy 2 drivers from Creative's website (forget all the crappy applications, just do an AutoUpdate and get the latest drivers for Windows along with the Audio Console). You need to put your Audigy into S/PDIF Passthrough else you're stuck and nothing else really matters until you get your Decoder tab back. If all else fails, uninstall all of your Audigy drivers and apps and just get the drivers and the Audigy Audio Console and you should be fine. I never trust preinstalled software and drivers installed by Dell, HP, etc., which is why I always format and reinstall those machines from scratch, and also why I build my own computers, my MCE machine included.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 88fingers
I am intrigued by your comments regarding Nvidia's Pure DVD recorder (right now I am using the ATI decoder that came with my X700 Pro video card). Do you think it is merely a software issue why I can't send a DD 5.1 signal through my Audigy 2 card's "digital out"? If that is the case, as you described, can I use Nvidia's Pure DVD recorder to pass the digital signal through to my receiver even though I am using MCE 2005 to play back the recording.

I appreciate any help you or others could provide!
I don't think ATI has anything that helps with audio - just video- however I could be totally wrong since I haven't played with it. I have an ATI 9800 Pro vid card, however I just install the latest Catalyst drivers with CC and am fine on the video (although I can't wait to get a better card in there for video soon). I think you're just experiencing a software issue at this point. I believe that outside of MCE, the NVidia PureVideo Decoder software isn't used, and you have to go back to the multi-cable analog method of sending audio to your receiver. BTW, I'm not sure what you mean by Nvidia's Pure DVD recorder? If you meant PureVideo decoder, than the answer is yes, you need it to do that from MCE (and you'll need the latest paid version to pass DTS as well). This whole software thing is pretty much a mess today as many of us have painfully discovered.

BTW, my movies are playing great in 5.1 now from MCE. Yea! I also discovered that DVD-A discs play fine from MCE in 5.1, since they're basically regular DVD's without the video (although most have album art and song titles that are displayed along with the audio track playback).

Keep at it and good luck.
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post #30 of 39 Old 03-14-2006, 12:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chuckvb
I have an older Sony ES reciever that only has Dolby Pro logic (But not Dolby digital) And yet it has "Digital inputs" both optical and coax. What is the format that these inputs are capable of? (Ps I'm holding out for a new receiver that thats had HDMI 1.3 switching, and is affordable too).
The optical inputs are "capable" of receiving DD, DTS, and everything else, however since your receiver is only capable of decoding Dolby Pro Logic, that's all you'll ever get out of it.

The newer receivers (like my Denon 4806) have indicators on the front display that make it much easier to actually troubleshoot the issue I was having and to see what kind of signal you're receiving on your selected input. I wish I had paid attention to it earlier!
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