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Hi


Can you estimate which sound card has the best SPDIF output ?

I just got a Revo but I find it is so cheap compared to the Audiophile 2496 and I wondered maybe the SPDIF section is not as neat ...


Any insights ?


Cedric
 

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According to well informed sources, they both share same circuit.


And as long as you have a decent receiver and the spdif stream has no data errors, it doesn't matter where it came from. Bits are bits, and jitter must be taken care of at the receiver side.
 

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I was wondering the same thing about spdif quality.

I still use the old SB Live teamed with a Hoontech Digital I/O bracket, and send everything via coax to my receiver.

I do wonder if there is any point upgrading the sblive, if "bits are bits".


I know other cards have much better analog, but I hardly use analog.
 

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Quote:
I do wonder if there is any point upgrading the sblive, if "bits are bits".
The thing is, in case of most Creative cards, including the Live! series, the "bits are bits" is not true anymore, since they resample all the 44.1 KHz data they play, changing the bits, even if you use the spdif output.


IME, the difference is subtle on regular music, and not noticeable unless you use good speakers or headphones. Even in this case it's quite subtle.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by KikeG
According to well informed sources, they both share same circuit.


And as long as you have a decent receiver and the spdif stream has no data errors, it doesn't matter where it came from. Bits are bits, and jitter must be taken care of at the receiver side.
KikeG,


That isn't necessarily so. Under S/PDIF, the data clock is imbedded in the S/PDIF signal.


The receiver locks to the source's S/PDIF clock, not the other way around.


It is a rare receiver/processor that reclocks the S/PDIF stream - they do exist. EAD's "digital flywheel" components

come to mind.
 

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All Creative cards from the Live and up resample PCM data at 48kHz way before it gets to the SPDIF interface. It's up to debate if you can hear a big difference, but one thing for sure it's not bit accurate. Good luck playing a DTS CD for example.
 

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I think if you are "ranking" SPDIF output, you've got to look at the whole picture surrounding the card. I've recently finished a long battle between my onboard C-Media and SB Live! 5.1, and I investigated other options only to find that almost every card has drawbacks.


In the end, my CMedia won out, but only after discovering that all but some of the oldest drivers cause crashes with AC3 AVI to SPDIF-out using Cineplayer1.5 and Intervideo audio filters. In the end, the freeware AC3filter by that Russian fellow solved that C-Media issue so I can use the newest, and apparently most stable, drivers.


My SB Live! could never overcome signal quality issues. AC3 streams would often drop out and fast forwarding into an AVI would result in the signal not getting re-established for up to a minute. Forum searches on that topic suggested almost every single configurable setting in an HTPC. Ultimately, I believe the problem may have been the Live!'s out of spec voltage, which I verified via a multimeter. I tried making my own digital I/O bracket as I couldn't find a Hoontech, but it turned out that while the pins 17 and 18 (on my SB0100 version) are SPDIF out, they appear to be as out of spec (if not more) than the SPDIF jack. Does the Hoontech recondition the signal somehow? I do have a long run coax cable so likely that degraded the signal enough to make my Hoontech-less SB Live! unworkable.


At one point I considered the Philips Acoustic Edge since Doom9's AC3/Media faq suggested that card as being the most stable with VIA chipsets. I had already won an eBay auction for one when forum searches revealed that the year and a half old drivers could not automatically switch between PCM and DD/DTS passthrough. It'd be way crappy for an HTPC to require you go into driver settings to switch between digital movies and MP3's. I was lucky enough that the kind eBay seller let me cancel my winning bid before he sent it.


I had even considered a Revo 7.1 eventhough I was well aware that my exclusive usage of SPDIF out would make the expensive features of the card useless. I suppose the SPDIF out on the Revo might be less jiddery, but I hold on to the belief that a painting being hung crooked in my livingroom would have a far greater impact on perceived sound quality than any sort of jidder. Luckily I happened upon another forum where a user mentioned trying C-Media with AC3filter before shelling out the extra dough.


Anyway, sorry for the crazy long message, but those are my personal rankings of SPDIF soundcard options. I am hoping that someone going through what I did will have an easier time if a search of this forum reveals what I've experienced and opined.


Tom
 

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I use the Turtle Beach Santa Cruz-great SPDIF output, easy setup, stable drivers, no problems. Can't address the more technical issues, but do don't see the need as long as it sounds great and is trouble free.
 

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As far as I'm concerned Creative cards are the Devil and should be avoided whenever possible.


Just my opinion though. ;)
 

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Sounds like my excitment about discovering that my measly SB 128 could output SPDIF digital DD AC3 is not all its cracked up to be.


Case in point. AC3 DD works...but no DTS....I'm going to forget the HTPC for now and try an iscan. If I don't like it, I'm going to try a cheap audio card with SPDIF. Probably, I'll get one anyways, and compare the video and sound between the two setups :)
 

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The number of units that reclock the S/PDIF input has gone up dramatically over the last 12 month (not unexpected :))and is by no means rare anymore. With these DACs you will get same audio quality from any transport including your PC as long as you send the same bits. Don't let yourself get talked into a DAC that requires a 200 pound transport to sound good. Really high end designs like the Meridian 800 or the Camelot Roundtable use a CD/ROM drive like your PC anyway.


2channel:

Benchmark Media DAC1

Bryston BP25DA

Bel Canto DAC2

Chord DAC64

Weiss Medea DAC

All Anagram technology derived DACS (Camelot, AudioMeca, Audio Aero, Orpheus Labs, ...)

...


Surround Sound:

Meridian 568, 861

Mark Levinson Media Console 40

Proceed AVP2

JVC RX-DP10VBK,RX-DP9VBK, ...

TAG MacLaren AVR32 with reclock option

Integra RDC-7

Linn AV 5103

...


Cheers


Thomas
 

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I upgraded from a SB Live and Hoontech combo to a Revo 7.1 about a month ago. On my system, it was like the winter blankets fell off the speakers. Everything opened up, soundstage got deeper, better dynamics, vastly improved clarity, etc.


In my system, I knew the HTPC was the weak link since the other audio sources sounded far superior. I think it safe to say it was clealry the highest bang for buck purchase over many years and more $$ spent than I would ever tell my wife.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Morbius
That isn't necessarily so. Under S/PDIF, the data clock is imbedded in the S/PDIF signal.


The receiver locks to the source's S/PDIF clock, not the other way around.
I know, I didn't intend to say otherwise.

Quote:
It is a rare receiver/processor that reclocks the S/PDIF stream - they do exist.



It maybe still quite uncommon the absolute decoupling of the playing clock from the incoming clock, what you call "reclocking". Still, any decent receiver or external DAC will use jitter reduction schemes (low-freq. PLL's for example) when recovering the clock from the spdif stream, in order to have a stable, low-jitter clock for the DAC.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Alex Duran
I use the Turtle Beach Santa Cruz-great SPDIF output, easy setup, stable drivers, no problems. Can't address the more technical issues, but do don't see the need as long as it sounds great and is trouble free.
The TBSC also resamples everything (including spdif output) to 48 KHz, same as the Live cards. However, in this case the resampling process is of substantially better quality than in case of the Live cards.
 

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windtrader - Thats some serious improvement your describing - very tempting!. If only the Revo also had the spdif input (coax) which I use.
 

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@kikeG


except for the JVC models where I don't know, all the boxes I list have a completely independent clock that drives the DACs. Obviously you need to do some sample rate adaption or very closely control the speed of that clock to match the incoming symbol rate but to my knowledge none of these devces slave their clock via a PLL from the incoming signal.


The Chord DAC64 works with a 4s second dejitter buffer. The Bel Canto, Benchmark Media DAC1, and the Anagram DACs use an Analog Devices asynchronous resampler. Bryston uses resamplng as well but I don't know the chips yet.


Cheers


Thomas
 

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hi

i do have 2 receivers HK 310 has optical+coax input the other reciever is FISHER analog only RCA.

on HTPC XP OS . i have 5.1 platinum w\\ front panel has optical out and SPDIF out.

for long time i have both receivers connected via RCA.

all setting in SB was for 4 speakers, DVD`s player windvd+pdvd was set to 2speakers+2speakers wave out. the HK display scree shows pro logic+L\\R speakers only.

on stand alone DVD player TOSHIBA connected to HK via optical i `m able to get 5.1 DD with all speakers L,R,C.SRL,SRR all working,

that when i set DVD on bite stream in audio menu.



now back to 5.1

i connected optical out +SPDIF out to HK

i set HK to optical 1 to get toslink to work. in SB menu i set it to digital only and 5.1 speakers setting . DVD players is set to SPDIF

i only get L,r speakers on pro logic only no DD.

that when i play mp3 files,


now i tried starwars 1, i was able to get DD with full 5.1 speakers setting on HK dispaly,

not all the movies can do 5.1. :confused:

so i un checked the digital only in SB setting to get both receivers to work

also in windvd i set to 2 speakers.

HK now show its prologic -optical input and fisher getting the analog.



can i ever find the sound card that puts out digital signal in full 5.1.

with now error.

i`m up for it,

is Philip's sound card do better than SB?
 

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thomaspf, Where did you read that the JVC receivers have reclocking/jitter reducing circuitry? I would not expect it in a receiver at this price point.


Andy K.
 
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