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Not much is unhackable these days, would it be possible to modify an Audigy2 in some way to pass DVD-A via SPDIF, rather than analog only?

This feature is still elusive in even high-end DVD-A players, so for a consumer soundcard to achieve it would be nice.


Anyone attempted this?
 

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Well even if you could do it what good is that?


You can only send PCM stereo over SPDIF so you would lose all multichannel goodness. Or you could manage to send the bitstream down SPDIF (much in the same way with AC-3 and DTS passthrough). But then what would you do with it???? There are not external decoders available so how could you play it back. Remember, DVD-A is both encrypted and compressed.
 

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All recent sound-blaster cards support multi-channel PCM output. The jack on the back of the card that is usually used just for plain 2-channel sp-diff or ac3/dts output is in fact a multi-pole jack with either 2, 3 or 4 sp-dif channels, for 4, 6 or 8 total digital channels. If you pick up one of those 3-pole mini-jack to 3-rca cables that are commonly used with video cameras (they use the three rca jacks for video and left/right stereo) you should be able to pop that in and get 5.1 PCM output from the card.


But then you have to have something that will decode 6 channels of PCM. The only consumer unit that I know of that will do that is the denon 5803 which can be configured to "gang" multiple sp-dif inputs to get 6 or even 8 channel PCM input. Or you could look at stacking standalone 2-channel DACs. With a street price of $2200-$2500 for the Denon it is probably a toss-up price-wise.


Oh, and then you gotta convince the card to output the PCM when playing a DVD-A disc. Right now, the card will mute the digital outputs for DVD-A playback. Part of the license that Creative signed in order to get DVD-A software playback.


My guess is that re-enabling digital output is a "simple matter" of setting the right bits in the right registers on the Audigy2 card. However, finding out what those bits are and then putting together a tool that will re-enable them each time the Creative drivers disable them is going to take a fair amount of work.


So you are either looking at a hobby project, or something for a smart hacker with no life to dedicate himself to for a couple of weeks solid.
 
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