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Does a Sound Card matter for HTPC?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Hi,

I'm thinking about building this gaming HTPC. Key components: Asus Maximus IV Micro-ATX Mobo, Msi 560 Ti VGA. Anyway, I have an Onkyo 605 receiver connected to my home theater that I'll most likely connect the HTPC to. The Msi 560 Ti has Dolby True HD Audio out of it's HDMI, so I think for blu ray movies, my receiver will be doing all the work. however, when it comes to things like WMA, MP4s, MKV, Hulu, YouTube, etc....will I actually benefit by using a sound card to process the sound prior to it going to my receiver? does it not really matter?

I'm very new at the HTPC building, so yeah any help is appreciated, thanks.

Gavin
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post #2 of 9
There is a specific HTPC version of the Xonar, which may well do what you want. Remember, Nvidia is known for graphics, not sound...

Whether that extra investment is worth it is your decision, you have a nice receiver, if you have good speakers too, then it may be worth it. That Onkyo can only deal with the signal it gets, which may well be cleaner coming from a decent sound card than from the GPU.
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post #3 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by allikat View Post

There is a specific HTPC version of the Xonar, which may well do what you want. Remember, Nvidia is known for graphics, not sound...
Whether that extra investment is worth it is your decision, you have a nice receiver, if you have good speakers too, then it may be worth it. That Onkyo can only deal with the signal it gets, which may well be cleaner coming from a decent sound card than from the GPU.

This is not correct. The receiver will receive a digital signal from HDMI (a stream of data only), then the receiver will do all the DSP your sound card would have done but better. In the above particular setup (with a receiver handling the sound) a sound card would do absolutely nothing to improve the SQ.
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post #4 of 9
Yeah. If you have a receiver, there is no need for a sound card.
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post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
So sound from applications like windows media player, mkv player, or even online through Hulu, Youtube, will also automatically go through my HDMI cable?
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post #6 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by gspin2k1 View Post

So sound from applications like windows media player, mkv player, or even online through Hulu, Youtube, will also automatically go through my HDMI cable?

Yes, you'll have to set HDMI as the default playback device in Windows and you're set from there. thumb.gif
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post #7 of 9
If you want TrueHD you will need a sound card that can bitstream it, like the Asus Xonar HDAV1.3. Basically what happens is you run a hdmi cable from your video card to your sound card, and then sound card to the receiver via another hdmi cable. The sound card will usually have the DRM rights to bitstream TrueHD via Total Arcsoft Theater or some other bundled software.
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post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by astrallite View Post

If you want TrueHD you will need a sound card that can bitstream it, like the Asus Xonar HDAV1.3. Basically what happens is you run a hdmi cable from your video card to your sound card, and then sound card to the receiver via another hdmi cable. The sound card will usually have the DRM rights to bitstream TrueHD via Total Arcsoft Theater or some other bundled software.

This is only true if your receiver does not possess the TrueHD decoding technology (most receivers now a day do where most sound cards don't).

EDIT: Wiki
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post #9 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by tr8rjohnk View Post

This is only true if your receiver does not possess the TrueHD decoding technology (most receivers now a day do where most sound cards don't).
EDIT: Wiki

Short version: If your receiver can decode Dolby TrueHD, then you don't need the Asus Xonar HDAV (or any other soundcard in fact) , if it cannot, then you do.
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