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I've been reading a heck of a lot of post regarding soundcards in this forum.

As I am slowly building up my pc for HT use I finally reached the stage where I need to buy a soundcard.

Currently I am using a SB Live and Matrox Millenium G400 video.

The video playback is fairly good, but I recently noticed that the ATI 7500AIW cards have an SPDIF out to send a digital signal to my external Denon reciever.

What I would like to know is if the signal that this would deliver would be any better (or worse) than the SPDIF signal from a M-Audio 25/96 card? If jitter is an issue would it not be better to go with the other M-Audio card offering optical out?

If anyone has any direct experience with this your help would be greatly appreciated.

The ATI card is kind of nice because of the better DVD presentation (apparently!)

Thanx

Alun
 

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Hi Alun,


You've probably already seen them, but just in case, there's been detailed discussions on S/PDIF and jitter in the past here (see posts containing the term 'bits are bits'). As an aside, the topic always reminds me of 'Fiddler On The Roof' - the part that goes, "It was a horse!" "It was a mule!" ;) My opinion is that a quality card like MAudio is so inexpensive, especially compared to other components in a htpc, that unless one has an opinion that its not needed (or very tight budget) it makes sense to get one. That way one can concentrate on other things that indisputably impact audio quality like speakers etc ...


One thing to keep in mind about the ATI S/PDIF connector is that it only outputs when playing a DVD with the ATI dvd player - I mention this because sometimes people think it can also output other audio to their receiver as digital pcm; for instance, you can't play a cd on your computer and send the 2 ch stereo (or even windows sounds) to your receiver via the ATI S/PDIF connector. So in this respect it is not a replacement for a soundcard unless the only audio you are interested is from a DVD.


Back to your other question, jitter is time-domain based error - I'm guessing that the same time-domain based error would occur whether sending the digital signal via optical S/PDIF or coax S/PDIF.
 
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