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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm looking for more information on the nforce2 APU soundstorm for HTPC application, specifically for lossless compressed audio.


Here's a quote from another forum about the soundstorm APU:


" All the boards that have come out that use Soundstorm use a codec chip, such as the realtek. The codec chip simply converts the digital signals from the MCP-T southbridge to analog signals and directs them to the analog jacks on the motherboard(the MCP is non-soundstorm, the MCP-T is soundstorm). So, the codec will affect things such as the signal to noise ratio when using analog, but the Realtek 650 codec is a pretty decent one in terms of that, and the NVIDIA MCP-T southbridge does the actual processing of sound. The Asus and the Leadtek use the Realtek 650 codec. When you use the digital out, it doesn't matter which codec the board is using, as the digital comes straight from the southbridge instead of being converted by a codec, since it's a digital signal. "


I understand that all my games should sound a lot better, since this is the same chip used on xbox and people seem really happy with xbox real time 5.1 DD.


But what about stereo music? What about sound quality? I usually listen to stereo music through a Sony ES receiver (STR-DA5ES). I use DPLII on all stereo music and I like the results. What will give me better results, DPLII through my receiver or 5.1 encoded DD by Soundstorm APU decoded by the same receiver?


Does anyone have experiences with this? I couldn't find specific information ....
 

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Just keep the same digital connection.


I have a Sony ES series receiver as well, and it has great D/A converters. Your digital connection from the mainboard will pass the stereo music as a PCM stream to the receiver. This is actually preferable to any analog connection, because there is zero loss and you won't have to worry about high-quality interconnets and cable routing liek you do with analog connections.


The only difference is you won't get that pretty blue multichannel light when listenening to your music.


Hope this helped.
 

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You know what? I'm crazy.


I don't think I answered your question at all, and I apologize. Your question was "What will give me better results, DPLII through my receiver or 5.1 encoded DD by Soundstorm APU decoded by the same receiver? "


The answer is DLPII through your receiver. I'm a fan of that as well. My point is that your connection doesn't have to change. Just use whatever audio program to play your mp3's or cd's and the signal will pass to your receiver just like it does from your component-based cd-player, just in all-digital form. I wouldn't use any pc-based effects, just the raw pcm stream.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for your reply.


Yes, I know you can use a single spdif cable to get sound from my HTPC.


What I don't know and I can't find info, is how this APU/Soundstorm perform when enconding DD.


If I play regular stereo music, will the APU encode in DD5.1 or in DD2.0? Can I choose between DD5.1, DD2.0 and PCM?


If it's DD2.0, DPLII on my receiver will kick in and I should have similar results to outputing PCM stereo, right? But here's point, do I lose quality during the encoding process?


If its DD5.1, my receiver will just decode it, amplify and distribute the sound. Will I have better surround sound distribution than with DPLII? Don't get me wrong, I love DPLII, but there's room for improvement! And maybe this DD5.1 encoding is the answer!


But I agree with you, Leland. I'm guessing that DPLII should sound better. But I would like to have some nforce2 owners confirming this. It just amazes me that we finally have a very FAST chipset for Ahtlon that is not from VIA (which means more stability) and still very little information on its HTPC capabilities! If you go to different forums, everybody was so excited about nforce2, but here, you hardly find anything .... Strange! : )
 

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When presented with a stereo source signal, the MCP can create a center channel (I'm not sure which process it uses to do this) and will mirror the front two channels to the rear channels. So, DPLII is definately preferable. I actually turn off the DD encoding if I am listening to a pure stereo source. Where the MCP really shines is when it can take a multichannel signal and convert it to DD on the fly. It is a great way to listen to multichannel WM9 audio, for example. Also, if your audio application has the ability to do its own ambience enhancement to create a multichannel signal this may be an option. IMO though, stick with DPLII.
 

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Are you sure it only mirrors the front channels? I could've sworn it's doing at least basic DPL encoding for stereo sources.
 

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Quote:
Are you sure it only mirrors the front channels? I could've sworn it's doing at least basic DPL encoding for stereo sources.
You can set it to do DPL encoding which can be output as DPL encoded analog stereo, or as DPL encoded PCM. I don't know why anyone would want to do either if they had a DPL2 capable receiver/pre-pro. I've tried it just for jollies, and it doesn't sound good (but it does work).


mcorbo is right about the mirroring of the front L&R to the rears. You can also set it to put the rears out of phase. In addition to the ability to create a center from a stereo source, you can tell it to create an LFE (at an adjustable crossover) and to do L-C-R panning. However, in my setup, the sound quality of the DD encode is _way_ inferior (in terms of both raw audio quality and steering) to just passing the stereo PCM via SPDIF to my DPL2 capable pre-pro (Outlaw 950) and having it do the multi-channelization.


FYI, I have an nForce1 board (Asus A7N266-C), but the audio section of the chipset, and the drivers, are identical to nForce2, so my results should be indicative of what you'd get with an nForce2/SS setup.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks! That's exactly what I wanted to hear! So when I get an nforce2 mobo, I'll use PCM stereo plus DPLII on my receiver.


Last question: Can you set up Soundstorm in a way that outputs PCM whenever I feed stereo sound and DD when I feed multichannel sound (like games)? I wouldn't like to keep changing settings everytime I change from game to stereo music or vice-versa.


Thanks for the replies!
 

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Originally posted by Waters_10
Thanks! That's exactly what I wanted to hear! So when I get an nforce2 mobo, I'll use PCM stereo plus DPLII on my receiver.


Last question: Can you set up Soundstorm in a way that outputs PCM whenever I feed stereo sound and DD when I feed multichannel sound (like games)? I wouldn't like to keep changing settings everytime I change from game to stereo music or vice-versa.


Thanks for the replies!
Nope. But, it's not as bad as you might think. There is a tray icon that you double-click on, select the "speaker setup" tab in the control panel that pops up and check (or uncheck) a check box.


It would be a nice feature to have, though. Maybe in a future driver revision?
 

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Just an FYI. The reason DD is inferior to PCM is because it is MPEG Layer 2 Audio which is lossy.
I think there's more to it than that. There's quite a bit of speculation on an nForce forum that I'm on regarding the way encoding is done and the DD bit rate. Nevertheless, its fine for games.
 
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