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Understanding how AV receivers work with PC audio

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Alright I am trying to get a receiver to run a 2.1 setup, and also act as my headphone DAC/amp. I don't ever want more than 2.1, but I do want the best simulated surround for headphones that I can get. The Harman Kardon 3490 is a stereo receiver that has optical input, dolby headphone, and dolby virtual speaker. Otherwise I could spend more and get a true AV surround receiver and run hdmi from my video card for audio. The hang-up is that I need it to play my bluray mkv files that have mostly DTS 5.1

The 3490 can only accept stereo PCM, so would it even work with these files or anything else that has multichannel audio? Am I better off getting an AVR with surround DSP chips and hdmi inputs? Am I correct in assuming my software player is doing the DTS decoding, and does that mean it would work fine with the 3490?
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post #2 of 20
Media Player Classic with AC3Filter can downsample your stuff into stereo.
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post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by astrallite View Post

Media Player Classic with AC3Filter can downsample your stuff into stereo.

What about stuff like game audio? I thought most current games output 5.1 or even 7.1, would that get automatically downmixed before it's sent to a stereo receiver? I'm just trying to make sure that if I bought the 3490 that I wouldn't end up having any compatibility problems.
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post #4 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrGroove View Post

What about stuff like game audio? I thought most current games output 5.1 or even 7.1, would that get automatically downmixed before it's sent to a stereo receiver? I'm just trying to make sure that if I bought the 3490 that I wouldn't end up having any compatibility problems.

Most current games will output up to 5.1/7.1 but they'll all use stereo if that's what you have the windows default set to (or you set stereo in the game). I'm just not so sure how much of the "virtual 3D" from a game you'll get with your headphones plugged into the 3490 connected to the PC with stereo PCM.
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post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Darren9 View Post

Most current games will output up to 5.1/7.1 but they'll all use stereo if that's what you have the windows default set to (or you set stereo in the game). I'm just not so sure how much of the "virtual 3D" from a game you'll get with your headphones plugged into the 3490 connected to the PC with stereo PCM.

Ok so the 3490 would at least work with all this stuff. I have been leaning towards this because it has powerful amps and good quality components, along with dolby headphone. Would I get better surround effects through headphones by having an hdmi multichannel mixed by yamaha's silent cinema, rather than stereo PCM mixed with dolby headphone?
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post #6 of 20
What is the best choice receiver for 5.1 speakers (sub is powered) and to be connected in optical output of X-Fi TiHD?

Almost all receivers that I had seen have video inputs/outputs, connections for BD players, etc. Things those I will not use for a 5.1 computer speaker system.
post #7 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by lb_felipe View Post

What is the best choice receiver for 5.1 speakers (sub is powered) and to be connected in optical output of X-Fi TiHD?
Almost all receivers that I had seen have video inputs/outputs, connections for BD players, etc. Things those I will not use for a 5.1 computer speaker system.

You need a power amplifier. Parasound makes some great ones, and Emotiva has great power amps for those on a budget.
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post #8 of 20
I also need a DAC for 5.1 channels. Due to this I want a receiver. A power amplifier will just power the channels and I want use the digital output of X-Fi TiHD.

Please, astrallite, recommend me a few of complete setups to be hooked up on X-Fi TiHD via digital optical output for 5.1 channels.
post #9 of 20
I find the easiest and best way is to just use digital. HDMI or Optical. It really doesn't matter, but HDMI would be preferred if you ever plan on 7.1 or want lossless audio playback on blu-ray discs.

With this setup you simply take a HDMI or Optical cable, hook it into a external receiver, and hook the other end into the back of your GPU. I'm not sure if the 5850 has a optical or HDMI port... but I assume it does. Make sure your external receive supports HDMI audio, just because it has HDMI ports on the back does not mean it supports HDMI audio. The main benefit to this setup is you do not need a sound card with digital, it's a 1:1 playback with no quality loss.

This is what i'm currently doing and I could never go back to anything else. Having an external receiver allows you to hook up much better speakers to your computer.
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post #10 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by lb_felipe View Post

I also need a DAC for 5.1 channels. Due to this I want a receiver. A power amplifier will just power the channels and I want use the digital output of X-Fi TiHD.
Please, astrallite, recommend me a few of complete setups to be hooked up on X-Fi TiHD via digital optical output for 5.1 channels.

What you are asking for is likely much more expensive than a receiver. Is that okay with you? Because your specific requirements basically amount to a boutique item.

You want a multichannel amplifier and a device that only operates as a DAC for a specific input. You have a couple thousand US dollars to blow on this?
Edited by astrallite - 3/6/12 at 3:11pm
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