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Upgrade Question about sound cards.

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Is it worth it to upgrade from on board to a dedicated sound card when only using the spdif ports? Will I notice any sound quality difference?
post #2 of 9
What are you connecting it to from the onboard sound?

Truthfully, it probably would be a benefit to get a dedicated card. Will you notice a difference? Maybe.
post #3 of 9
If you will be connecting to the sound card through spdif, then no. Spdif is a digital output. Whether the signal is coming from a crappy onboard sound card, or an uber expensive PCI sound card, with ridiculously tasty sounding OPAMP's. Digital output will always be the same.

Whatever you are connecting that cable to, is interpreting the signal. The quality of that product, will determine the quality of your sound.
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post #4 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tehrawk View Post

If you will be connecting to the sound card through spdif, then no. Spdif is a digital output. Whether the signal is coming from a crappy onboard sound card, or an uber expensive PCI sound card, with ridiculously tasty sounding OPAMP's. Digital output will always be the same.

Whatever you are connecting that cable to, is interpreting the signal. The quality of that product, will determine the quality of your sound.

This is pretty much it (I don't know about tasty op amps though... I know that many are cheap, but the plastic packaging just doesn't look that appetizing).

But depending on the system, you could kind of make some kind of fringe argument that the digital S/PDIF signal is transmitting analog information as well. You're right that it's up to the receiver to handle the digital input, but in many cheaper practical systems the receiver more or less uses the clock timing of the incoming S/PDIF input to clock the DAC output. So if the timing of the S/PDIF signal is a bit irregular, that could be passed on to the output and thus modulate it in unintended ways. Can both devices somehow fail badly enough to make some kind of non-trivial difference? Unlikely, but possible I guess.

A lot of schemes completely circumvent this issue or mitigate it appropriately, and this is really not anything to lose sleep over.

So "Will I notice any sound quality difference?" -> No.
post #5 of 9
Yes,There will be a difference.
It depends on whether your ears will know the difference.
When listening to audio whether Music, TV, sound is subjective to each individual.
Quality in Quality out...
Spidf can carry two channels of PCM audio or a multi-channel compressed
surround sound format such as Dolby Digital or DTS.
I do not what speaker you are using but I would upgrade speaker first and
listen to different Genre...Jazz, Classical, Country, Rock, Blues and so forth...

Check out Wiki...Great Reference for you... band.gif
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S/PDIF
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post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by liquidzoo View Post

What are you connecting it to from the onboard sound?

Truthfully, it probably would be a benefit to get a dedicated card. Will you notice a difference? Maybe.
500w kenwood home receiver.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tehrawk View Post

If you will be connecting to the sound card through spdif, then no. Spdif is a digital output. Whether the signal is coming from a crappy onboard sound card, or an uber expensive PCI sound card, with ridiculously tasty sounding OPAMP's. Digital output will always be the same.

Whatever you are connecting that cable to, is interpreting the signal. The quality of that product, will determine the quality of your sound.
ok ty

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeaj View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tehrawk View Post

If you will be connecting to the sound card through spdif, then no. Spdif is a digital output. Whether the signal is coming from a crappy onboard sound card, or an uber expensive PCI sound card, with ridiculously tasty sounding OPAMP's. Digital output will always be the same.

Whatever you are connecting that cable to, is interpreting the signal. The quality of that product, will determine the quality of your sound.

This is pretty much it (I don't know about tasty op amps though... I know that many are cheap, but the plastic packaging just doesn't look that appetizing).

But depending on the system, you could kind of make some kind of fringe argument that the digital S/PDIF signal is transmitting analog information as well. You're right that it's up to the receiver to handle the digital input, but in many cheaper practical systems the receiver more or less uses the clock timing of the incoming S/PDIF input to clock the DAC output. So if the timing of the S/PDIF signal is a bit irregular, that could be passed on to the output and thus modulate it in unintended ways. Can both devices somehow fail badly enough to make some kind of non-trivial difference? Unlikely, but possible I guess.

A lot of schemes completely circumvent this issue or mitigate it appropriately, and this is really not anything to lose sleep over.

So "Will I notice any sound quality difference?" -> No.
ty again
Quote:
Originally Posted by hyperkite View Post

Yes,There will be a difference.
It depends on whether your ears will know the difference.
When listening to audio whether Music, TV, sound is subjective to each individual.
Quality in Quality out...
Spidf can carry two channels of PCM audio or a multi-channel compressed
surround sound format such as Dolby Digital or DTS.
I do not what speaker you are using but I would upgrade speaker first and
listen to different Genre...Jazz, Classical, Country, Rock, Blues and so forth...

Check out Wiki...Great Reference for you... band.gif
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S/PDIF
I have a home theatre system htib.
post #7 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by noobdown View Post

500w kenwood home receiver.

Fairly likely that the Receiver is doing all of the audio processing in that case, and changing the sound card won't make much, if any difference.
post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by liquidzoo View Post

Fairly likely that the Receiver is doing all of the audio processing in that case, and changing the sound card won't make much, if any difference.

Yes and no. Yes because the receiver is doing the heavy lifting, but no because if he has a home theater system that uses 5.1, he will need a sound card and more specifically, he will need a sound card that can encode in dolby digital live or DTS.

If the OP does not have surround sound, then getting a sound card can still be beneficial. Originally I thought that a sound card would do nothing for optical out since it was a digital signal, but then I learned that the on board audio and even sound cards can still impact the digital signal from another member. How or why they impact audio, I do not know. But I did end up testing out some sound cards and low and behold it did effect the audio. The asus DGX did a pretty good job of quieting the sound stage and it sounded a tad more forward.
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post #9 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by noobdown View Post

500w kenwood home receiver.
ok ty
ty again
I have a home theatre system htib.

Is this computer connected to the receiver for speaker 2.0 or 2.1 or 5.1?
If the motherboard's built in audio does not come with DDL (Dolby Digital Live) or DTS-Connect, then the S/PDIF (optical or coaxial) output will only carry 2-channel audio.
Which is fine if you only have a 2.0 or 2.1 speaker setup with the receiver (which model is it?)
And which model Kenwood receiver is it?
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