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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just wondering what most are doing. With an HTPC for video and sound, can you (or should you) run just an amp between the PC and speakers? Would the amp need any special processing capabilities (THX, DD, etc) or "just an amp" with front r&l, rear r&l, center and sub (out or powered out)?


I have a Kenwood with Dolby Pro-Logic now, and I'm wondering if running my HTPC through it the sounds and processing will be skewed because of the internal processing of the amp/tuner unit. I assume the sound card on the PC acts like a pre-amp and does all the sound tweaking.


Thanks!
 

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You'll want those six channels out of the computer and into the amp, thus you'll need:

- a sound card with analog 5.1 outputs and an amp with discrete 5.1 inputs ,that might be your case already, or

- the same sound card and five power amps (or one with five channels), audiophiles might like this if the card is high quality as there's no pre-amp other than the sound card messing with sound, or

- a sound card with S/PDIF output and a DD (&DTS) amp, this would allow full 5.1 sound via a single S/PDIF cable but only for DVD:s (stereo for MP3, CD of course too), for games you'll need 5.1 analog outputs and inputs and three more cables too, or

- an NForce(2) motherboard with S/PDIF out, those can also encode game sounds to DD, also a DD amp needed of course.


So, DD is needed if you want a digital path (only a single cable needed for 5.1, less messing with the sound unless you got just power amps, no high sound card quality demands as you won't use analog parts), THX isn't useful as such but nice to show to friends and sounds better if you believe in that. DTS is useful for movies with DTS sound, it's less compressed than DD.


I myself went to the NForce path as my old sound card couldn't do analog 5.1, I didn't want four audio cables between my PC and amp and didn't like swapping audio sources between analog for games and digital for others.


/T
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
My motherboard has an SPDIF out header. The manual states:


"You can purchase an optional 24-bit digital audio extension bracket from a third-party vendor. You can use the audio RCA jacks to connect to digital audio devices. If your CD-ROM/DVD drive has digital audio output, you can connect it to the input pins of the SPDIF connector."


Now, mind you I am a techny (more software than hardware) and an old audiophile, but, SPDIF is new to me.


What this tells me is that I would need to purchase the digital audio extension bracket (what that is, I am not sure yet), connect my DVD to this device but from there I'm lost. Does "RCA jacks" refer to the headphone like jacks on the onboard sound device, or is the SPDIF "bracket" basically just a sound card with RCA outputs that I plug into a standalone DD AMP (or receiver).


What happens if I plug it into a non-DD amp/receiver?


Is there somewhere I can go to read about this.. Sounds like I have what's is needed, but not quite sure how it all fits together.
 

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bvstone-


thheikki sums it up very nicely. However, I'm in the same spot as you are and, am very interested in what folks are using for sound card/amp combinations.


It seems to me that the great sound that these cards can produce is the best way to process the signal. Then, you need to choose how to amplify it: separate 5.1+ amplifier or a 5.1+ receiver that can do the amplification with pre-amp inputs AND can also do the decoding with a digital input AND can do the switching of your other components (a thing that a stand alone amp lacks). I was leaning towards the separate amp with sound card but, think I want to go with a good receiver/amp combo so I can easily switch between other sources besides the HTPC (VHS, Games, etc.) Anyone with real world opinions on what is best??


There are some good threads on various components in the Audio/Amps, Receiver, Processor section of the forum like this one for 7.1 receivers under $1K:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...0&pagenumber=1


Cards like the new M-Audio Revolution are capable of processing all types of sounds including games, Dolby Digital, DTS, etc. See this thread:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...ht=maudio+revo


I'd like to hear from those that have some real world experience.


I'm not a big audiophile but, want to hear ALL those different sound effects that Lucas intended us to hear. Thanks for all your feedback.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Never mind the question about connecting SPDIF. Once I saw what this bracket was, it makes sense. I assume (but didn't see) a digital input to run to the DVD exists on the card inside the box.


Now, the true question is, where to get this SPDIF bracket. Seems they are hard to come by searching google. They are only about $15 from the ones I found (for asus, my MB is ECS) and I wonder if they are as good a quality as a soundcard with SPDIF built in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Ahh.. hold the phone.


My onboard sound doesn't support 5.1 (so it seems), so I assume using the SPDIF on the MB won't do any good anyhow for what I am attempting. Am I assuming correctly?


So, in the option described above, when you say "for games", your talking PS2, XBox, etc... not PC games, correct?
 
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