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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Im a newbie, so forgive me if im asking some dumb questions here, but im trying to make some decisions in the audio area of my HTPC setup. I want to shoot for a 7.1 HT system. Heres where im not sure which direction to go. From a price/performance perspective, is it better to:


1. SPDIF out of my pc soundcard (not sure on the soundcard yet) to a good 7.1 surround receiver to speakers.

2. SPDIF out of my pc soundcard to some type of 7.1 surround sound processor box to amps to speakers

3. find a soundcard that allows me to do all the surround sound processing via the pc and output the channels directly to amps to speakers


id kind of just like some advice so i can start down the path of researching the products in my budget depending on what solution im going with.


thanks,

paul
 

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It really depends on your setup and how comfortable you are ditching your receiver and all the other stuff it does.


I know it is possible to do 6.1 analog out with M-Audio cards straight to amplifiers. I'm not sure if any of the DVD players include functionality to mix up to 7 channels (like Logic7 style.)
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Namlemez
It really depends on your setup and how comfortable you are ditching your receiver and all the other stuff it does.


I know it is possible to do 6.1 analog out with M-Audio cards straight to amplifiers. I'm not sure if any of the DVD players include functionality to mix up to 7 channels (like Logic7 style.)
WinDVD 4.0 can mix up to 8 channels with Dolby ProLogic II and Intervideo ICE.
 

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Do'oh nevermind.


I == the weakest link.


So to answer your question, if you went with WinDVD 4 you could eliminate your receiver while playing back DVDs and audio (MP3s, etc.)


For stuff like DirecTV, SACD or DVD-Audio, you might still need a receiver to get the full effect.
 

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Namlemez and (of course Cliff) are correct. I think it depends upon what level of performance you want and how large your allocation of cash is :).


From HTPC, the M-Audio products seem to be very good - SP/DIF to a rec or direct to amps. I would think direct to seperate amps would be better.


Separate amps for each freq/type of driver and custom xovers would be best, but probably prohibitively expensive - with a 7.1 system you would need alot of amps.
 

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Really depends upon which direction you are going - SP/DIF or to amps.


Looking (briefly) at the Maya 7.1, looks like SP/DIF is the only option.


I believe M-Audio (410, 1010) will best this card in either SP/DIF or seperate amps.
 

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why not the maya analog outs??
 

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I don't see or missed the analog outs for this card - would you post a link?
 

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The GTXP was upgraded to 6.1, not 7.1 I believe.


Cards for analog out (The M-Audio 410 and 1010 have both been used) are of course an option, albeit more complicated to implement. Cliff's special M-audio drivers go a long way towards helping this though.
 

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Paul:


I actually have a HTCP -> 7.1 setup.


Option (1) (Coax S/PDIF or Optical Toslink -> 7.1 Receiver) seems the most feasible and easy to live with to me. I recommend Denon 3802 or 4802 or 5803 receivers. 3802 is an excellent value. 4802 is physically deeper and has a higher end remote, but one of the bigger advantages IMO is the addition of the 40 Hz speaker / sub crossover frequency, and more digital audio ins / outs.


(2) if you really want to burn some cash, you can pick a high end 7.1 preamp and high end power amps and high end speakers. It would be IMHO a stagerringly silly and vain move unless you had a listening environment optimized so as to make a difference vs a receiver the caliber of these Denon's. We're talking a very quiet, acoustically treated room here and probably > $20K worth of disposable income in excess of what you would have spent on the (1) setup, to obtain an improvement that can be objectively confirmed. IMHO.


(3) is especially appealing if you like to tweak your audio setup back into operation each time you load a new DVD ;-)


Alec
 

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I also have a HTPC setup with 7.1 sound. I used to have a M-Audio 2496, but it died and I never replaced it. I'm using an older Sound Blaster 5.1 card at the moment connected to my Denon 3802 which works wonders. I currently use PowerDVD XP. The 7.1 works wonders.
 

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Am I not right in saying that with option 3 (i.e. HTPC processing, 7.1 channel output through (say) Delta 410 to power amps, we are yet to find software capable of decoding DTS ES / DD EX?
 

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Richard,


WinDVD4 will decode DD EX and DTS ES (matrix only) into 6.1 or 7.1 channels with the Delta 410.


NickB
 

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Thanks for that, Nick - I had understood from this thread that it wasn't so - but I lost the plot a bit towards the end, so forgive my confusion. HTPC as pre-amp/decoder here I come!
 

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Yeah, it's pretty damn confusing what's going on with the Delta 410 and the two software decoding dvd players. As of now the 410 will not function as a preamp for external sources if you want to apply any 5.1/7.1 processing to them, otherwise it's great for DVD's, MP3's and CD's from the internal devices.


Other challenges remain, such as how to enable the correct decoding modes of WinDVD to avoid compression of the DD stream, etc. but it looks like we are getting there.


NickB
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
wow, thanks guys. I looked early on and saw no responses to my thread.....things sure picked up!!! Ive got about $800 to spend on the

soundcard/receiver/amp setup.

So based on your recommendations, ive decided to do either:


1. Digital Out (probably a 2496 card) to Denon 3802 (or similar)


2. Sound card digital out to separate amps. Actually i think this might not be that expensive, but do amps have digital inputs? Aren't there high quality kick butt 4-channel amps for like $300. A denon 3802 is around $700. I started a new thread for this option:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...hreadid=145688



thanks all

-paul
 

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If you used sp/dif out on a soundcard, you're cheating. That's so 1999.


The truly dedicated here use a preamp/receiver with full decoding and wire the analoug outputs of a Delta 410 into the DVD-A/SACD inputs.


Right now you have get EX/ES-matrix and Pro Logic II. It should sound the same as a decent external processor.


T.
 
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