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Sound Card for Surround Home Theater

post #1 of 12
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I am interested in buying a sound card for my PC, to upgrade my quality of sound. Currently I am using my mobo onboard sound from a MSI G45, running optical cable into a home theater receiver and out though Klipsch speakers and sub. I would like something geared more towards surround home theather speakers verses headphones which I really never use. Any help is greatly appreciated!! thumb.gif
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post #2 of 12
Optical is digital, which means it's "perfect" quality for all practical purposes. Functionally, you reciever is a giant, high quality soundcard, if you want to think of it that way.

What you could/should do is use HDMI instead, as it has more bandwidth than optical meaning surround sound doesn't need to be encoded/compressed.
Edited by brucethemoose - 4/11/14 at 1:03pm
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post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the reply brucethemoose!! That is a good way to think of the receiver and I never really saw it that way, I guess was just trying to see if getting the sound from the comptuer to the receiver with better quality would actually give my speakers a better sound to work with. When I first built my PC I tried running a HDMI from my mobo to the back of my receiver but could not figure out how to get the sound to work. The only way I have gotten sound was through the optical cable.
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post #4 of 12
Here you go!

http://www.overclock.net/t/1028415/how-to-computer-hdmi-sound-to-receiver-ati-hdmi

Optical is fine, but it can be a little finicky with more than 2 channels. EDIT: If you can't get HDMI working, you might want to pick up a cheap soundcard that can encode surround sound over optical.
Edited by brucethemoose - 4/11/14 at 1:17pm
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post #5 of 12
Ok

Optical is a Digital Connection, it just pushes the digital audio to your Receiver where it does the DAC work. Now what Receiver are you using?


HDMI would be the way to go, as Optical can only support two audio channels uncompressed. And you would need a soundcard with DD-Live or DTS-Connect for 5.1 via Optical. HDMI all you need to do it plug your receiver into your sound card via hdmi or hdmi to dvi on a dvi port that supports audio. Then just pick the HDMI sound output in playback devices, might need to configure your speakers if you are running 5.1.
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post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by brucethemoose View Post

Here you go!

http://www.overclock.net/t/1028415/how-to-computer-hdmi-sound-to-receiver-ati-hdmi

Optical is fine, but it can be a little finicky with more than 2 channels. EDIT: If you can't get HDMI working, you might want to pick up a cheap soundcard that can encode surround sound over optical.

Thanks brucethemoose, I will read though this guide and try to figure out what my original problem was at the beginning!!


Quote:
Originally Posted by DzillaXx View Post

Ok

Optical is a Digital Connection, it just pushes the digital audio to your Receiver where it does the DAC work. Now what Receiver are you using?


HDMI would be the way to go, as Optical can only support two audio channels uncompressed. And you would need a soundcard with DD-Live or DTS-Connect for 5.1 via Optical. HDMI all you need to do it plug your receiver into your sound card via hdmi or hdmi to dvi on a dvi port that supports audio. Then just pick the HDMI sound output in playback devices, might need to configure your speakers if you are running 5.1.


Thanks for the reply DzillaXx! My current home receiver is a SONY STRDN840 7.2-Channel Receiver, I would definitely prefer to go HDMI from my mobo to receiver. Going that route would provide Dolby and a better sounding product I would assume? Or to get better sound quality would I need a high end sound card with HDMI port?
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post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrockinWV View Post

Thanks brucethemoose, I will read though this guide and try to figure out what my original problem was at the beginning!!
Thanks for the reply DzillaXx! My current home receiver is a SONY STRDN840 7.2-Channel Receiver, I would definitely prefer to go HDMI from my mobo to receiver. Going that route would provide Dolby and a better sounding product I would assume? Or to get better sound quality would I need a high end sound card with HDMI port?

The sound quality would be no different in stereo.

Personally can't really comment on the sound quality of your sony's built in DAC's, I know most of their older lower tier receivers tended to be feature packed but used low quality amps, dacs, powersupplies. For the most part the reviews about your receiver regarding audio quality was been pretty decent.

What speakers are you using, if you really want better sound quality starting there would be a good idea. As a Better receiver is gonna be a more costly route.


Going HDMI will give you PCM, Not Dolby or DTS.

PCM is a straight through channel, while Dolby D and DTS are compressed.
Edited by DzillaXx - 4/11/14 at 1:53pm
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post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DzillaXx View Post

The sound quality would be no different in stereo.

Personally can't really comment on the sound quality of your sony's built in DAC's, I know most of their older lower tier receivers tended to be feature packed but used low quality amps, dacs, powersupplies. For the most part the reviews about your receiver regarding audio quality was been pretty decent.

What speakers are you using, if you really want better sound quality starting there would be a good idea. As a Better receiver is gonna be a more costly route.


Going HDMI will give you PCM, Not Dolby or DTS.

PCM is a straight through channel, while Dolby D and DTS are compressed.

The receiver is less than a year old so I would believe it would have up to date parts and and features, but as far as speakers go I have Klipsch RF-42II Floorspeakers RC-42II center channel and some old crappy sony surround speakers waiting to be replaced and a Klipsch 12" 450 watt sub
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post #9 of 12
Wow you have some pretty nice speakers.

You would benefit for a more powerful and higher quality amp/receiver. A nice high end unit. One that is heavy, with a pretty large transformer.


I have Klipsch B-20's on my PC, and Not long ago picked up a nice high end amp from the mid 2000's. Thing is big and heavy, really brings out the bass and allows it to take a lot more watts cleanly.


What are you not liking or are you simply just trying to squeeze more quality out of it.
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post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks! I love them and really just want to get my money's worth out of them, I would really like a Denon bit they are $$$ as I'm sure you know. Really just trying to get the best out of what I have now, and want sure if I decent sound card would help me out or not. But yes mainly looking to get better quality if I can.
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