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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am plotting strategy on how to configure sound on my new HTPC and have no idea what I am doing. I have an Asus P5GD2 Deluxe motherboard which has onboard Intel HD audio. This has digital optical, coax, and multi-channel outputs. I also own a Sony STR-DE335 tuner that has no digital inputs but does have multi-channel inputs as well as a 5.1 decoder.


I would like to have 5.1 channel sound for over the air HDTV as well as DVD playback from either my progressive scan DVD player or the HTPC DVD drive. I have so many questions I hardly know where to start, but here goes:


1) Is it possible to do that with my current hardware? It appears that I would have to plug the DVD player into one of the TV tuner cards, decode the 5.1, and then pass it out through the multi-channel outputs on the motherboard. Is this possible? Is it possible to simply plug the DVD into the tuner’s non-digital DVD input and have the tuner decode the 5.1 internally?


2) Is the analog multi-channel comparable in quality to using a digital optical or coax connection and having the tuner decode the 5.1 stream? In other words, should I simply bite the bullet and buy a new tuner that has digital inputs?


3) Sony recommends digital coax over optical. Why? Is digital perfect regardless? Would you recommend coax over optical as well?


4) If it were possible, would it better to pass all 5.1 signals on to the tuner, or decode them on the motherboard and pass the decoded multi-channel on to the tuner?


5) Finally, I am no audiophile and figure that anything will be better than the 1†speaker on my 19†TV circa 1983. That being said, I would like to have the best possible solution at a reasonable price. What would you recommend if you were in my shoes? New tuner or not?


Thanks!


Steve
 

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Ratso,


There are a lot of possibilities given your setup and requirements. I'm not sure what kind of video card is in your PC, as well as what kind of TV (and inputs) are available.

Also, what kind of speakers are currently hooked up to your receiver?


Keep things simple, and if you have a limited budget, spend it where you get the most bang for the buck. For example, you wrote that you are not an audiophile, so you will probably be safe keeping the receiver and upgrading other things.


1) DVD - if you can output video from your PC to your TV, I would suggest software decoding of video and audio. No need to run DVD through your TV tuner card that way.


2) For now, try using the 1/8" 5.1 channel outputs from your motherboard to RCA inputs of your receiver - just try inexpensive interconnect first. If you like the sound, then you won't need to upgrade the receiver :)


3) I looked at the manual for your receiver, and it doesn't have SPDIF input - don't worry about this with your current receiver.


4) Try out the HD-audio capabilities of your motherboard, and send the 5.1 to the receiver for amplification. There are plenty of tweaks and adjustments you can try on both ends (HD-audio settings & receiver soundfield/delay, etc)


5) If you have extra money to spend, you will probably benefit most from a good pair of front L/R speakers, and a new TV/display device, not a new receiver.


Good luck with your A/V setup!


- Steve O.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Steve-o


Thanks for your very sound advice (no pun intended...)

Quote:
I'm not sure what kind of video card is in your PC, as well as what kind of TV (and inputs) are available. Also, what kind of speakers are currently hooked up to your receiver?
I have an Nvidia 6600GT, and AverMedia 1500 NTSC tuner and Avermedia 180 HDTV tuner. They both have audio and video in. I have Intel high definition audion on an Asus motherboard with 5.1 analog outputs.


I like the idea of trying the simple analog connection first. I think that it should work out fine sound-quality wise. I guess I am not sure how all the decoding will take place with all the different audio signals going out the same audio outputs.


I plan to use some old Bose Acoustimass satellites with a subwoofer for the speakers. That should be fine for my purposes.


Thanks again for the advice.


Steve
 
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