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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I might jump on the PC bandwagon, and I wasn't sure exactly how the PC handled sound. I remember back in the day, I would have to get a Creative Labs sound card or whatever, but don't know whats going on as far as PC sound right now.


Will I notice a drop in sound quality?
 

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No, no drop. The only reason to get a sound card now is if you are using optical out to an AVR. If you have can use multi channel analogs, then the onboard audio will do quite well.
 

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Yeah unless you're really an audiophile...you won't notice a difference with on-board sound. If you really want good sound a dedicated graphics card is the way to go.


I would argue a properly setup pc blows away the consoles on sound. With a console you are limited to the hardware they put in it....with a pc it's up to you and your budget.


Gotta remember...the consoles are essentially PC's at their heart. The graphics are a result of PC industry advances...without the PC industry the consoles wouldn't be where they are at now.
 

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The actual sound quality is just fine. I use an HDMI card for 5.1/7.1 output to an AVR, and am quite content with the results. Game developers often heavily compress their audio samples regardless of the platform they develop for. But, with so many sounds being combined at any given time and our engagement with the games, fidelity of these samples is not of paramount importance.



As for selection, you certainly have your options. Tony touched up on these, but I'll reiterate a bit.


For multichannel analog, anything from an onboard solution to a high-end sound card will work fine. Of course, there are varying degrees of quality that depend on the actual sound solution's analog section and post-processing abilities for things like bass management.


For SPDIF multichannel output to an AVR, you want a sound card that has Dolby Digital Live and/or DTS Interactive support.


For uncompressed multichannel PCM output over HDMI (like the PS3 can do), you currently need either an ATI 5000 series graphics card (or one of the 4000 series cards), an Auzentech X-Fi HomeTheater HD, or an ASUS Xonar.



The Creative-based solutions (from Auzentech or Creative) are very good options if you play a lot of old games that use DirectSound3D, and if you have a liking for genuine EAX audio effects with these games. For newer games, branding is not really a concern.
 

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Yeah, you don't even really need a sound card anymore. ATI's card's support PCM/Bitstreaming output and Nvidia's Fermi might support PCM output as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by MSmith83 /forum/post/18243564



For uncompressed multichannel PCM output over HDMI (like the PS3 can do), you currently need either an ATI 5000 series graphics card (or one of the 4000 series cards), an Auzentech X-Fi HomeTheater HD, or an ASUS Xonar.

Wow, so the video card actually handles the sound output too? Sweet. I'm interested in the ATI Radeon 5770, so I guess that one would be able to handle the multichannel PCM. Cool.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony1 /forum/post/18246469


Wow, so the video card actually handles the sound output too? Sweet. I'm interested in the ATI Radeon 5770, so I guess that one would be able to handle the multichannel PCM. Cool.

Just check the HTPC forum. Long thread about it there.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony1 /forum/post/18246469


Wow, so the video card actually handles the sound output too? Sweet. I'm interested in the ATI Radeon 5770, so I guess that one would be able to handle the multichannel PCM. Cool.

Yup, that card will output multichannel PCM for games/movies as well as bit-stream the new Blu-ray audio codecs when using a compatible software player.


Hardly anything is "perfect" in the PC universe, so check this thread if you happen to run into any issues with your configuration.
 

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I'm a month late, but to add two cents to the original question there definitely is a difference in quality between the PS3 and a low end sound card. I am in the process of switching to the audio abilities built into my new Ati 5770 video card because my cheap Audigy SE soundcard sounds underwhelming compared to my PS3 (both setups route through the same receiver and speakers).


Sound FX and music are a lot crisper and fuller on my console, and I am now getting an additional HDMI cable for my vid card to try and at least match it. If you go with a sound card for your solution, make sure it is a high quality one if audio is that important to you.
 

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It is a big reason as to why I'm done with analog output (I'm assuming you used analog with the Audigy). I've heard my share of cheap sound cards via analog, and many of them had "muddy" qualities.


With digital, you will get consistent results since the AVR acts as the DAC and provides the benefit of advanced room correction.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony1 /forum/post/18246469


Wow, so the video card actually handles the sound output too? Sweet. I'm interested in the ATI Radeon 5770, so I guess that one would be able to handle the multichannel PCM. Cool.

That's the card I have and it works like a champ. No issues whatsoever.
 

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I know this is an older thread, but just thought i'd chime in with my thoughts..


Using a 4870, WIN7x64, to an onkyo 805 over hdmi, I actually notice a pretty hefty quality increase OVER consoles. Which is exactly the opposite of what I was expecting. Switching back and forth between borderlands on the ps3 and the htpc and the difference is very apparent. Tried arkham asylum as well, same thing, except with the 360 not ps3. All over HDMI.
 
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