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Best soundcard for under $200 and under.

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by jaredudu, May 20, 2011.

  1. Velvet Wafer

    Velvet Wafer New Member

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    if the receiver can do it, it should be able to do it, if you change the equalizer of the receiver... try a few (dolby logic,entertainment... 5 channel stereo works for me)
    if it cant do that, you indeed you need to change the output of your card to DTS or Dolby live
     
  2. jaredudu

    jaredudu

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    Oops. I should have have specified that the audio cd was playing through the optical drive of the unit.
     
  3. Velvet Wafer

    Velvet Wafer New Member

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    thats doesnt matter, if the receiver itself can upcode... it should sound in 5.1 even if it would be bare stereo ;)
     
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  4. jaredudu

    jaredudu

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    Alright well thank you for your help. I will have to check it out a some more tomorrow :)
     
  5. Velvet Wafer

    Velvet Wafer New Member

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    no problem, i hope you can get the best quality for the lowest price, but if i see this receiver, im pretty sure...in the worst case you need to buy some cheap soundcard, that can do DTS connect or dolby digital live, for not even 100$;)
     
  6. theJesus

    theJesus

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    Or buy a receiver with HDMI and use HDMI audio from the video card. 7.1 LPCM :rockout:
     
  7. Velvet Wafer

    Velvet Wafer New Member

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    if he buys a digital receiver,which can upcode, it doesnt matter anymore much anyway;)
    digital is 1 and 0, as said
    (this model here he has shown already is pretty good, im interested if it CAN upcode in fact)
     
  8. theJesus

    theJesus

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    Well, I was thinking for surround sound, because S/PDIF can only do 2 channels of uncompressed audio. Any more needs to be encoded with Dolby or DTS. However, HDMI audio can stream 7.1 channels of uncompressed audio (LPCM), which is great for games, because games don't normally have Dolby or DTS encoding (at least none that I've played).
     
  9. Velvet Wafer

    Velvet Wafer New Member

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    untrue, my receiver (Yamaha RX-V357) does that "upcoding" all by itself, and i put only stereo 48khz digital into it, without any DTS or Dolby. the benefit is the same in the end... both the HDMI and the SPDIF uncompressed will sound absolutely fine and not distiguishable;)
     
  10. theJesus

    theJesus

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    Umm, stereo -> surround upmixing is not the same as native surround sound. What I mean is that if you want to send more than 2 separate channels of audio over S/PDIF, then they have to be encoded into Dolby or DTS.

    HDMI actually supports up to 8 (7.1) discrete channels of audio at a time, without DTS or Dolby or anything.

    edit: In fact there is already a sticky here which covers this.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2011
  11. Velvet Wafer

    Velvet Wafer New Member

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    my receiver does not upcode in DTS or dolby... its yamahas own technology... sounds way better. i never send more than 2 channels over the wire, but the reveiver knows how to make 5.1 channels out of them

    in the end,the quality,is still like HDMI, as i said. ;)
     
  12. theJesus

    theJesus

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    You're completely missing the point. I'm talking about positional audio. Please see this sticky and read the S/PDIF vs HDMI section.
     
  13. Velvet Wafer

    Velvet Wafer New Member

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    and you are missing my point...if he already has an SPDIF receiver, he doesnt need to buy one with HDMI :)

    also, a quote from said sticky:
    So, if he wants to safe cash, it may not be the best option...
     
  14. theJesus

    theJesus

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    I'm not talking about sound quality, I'm talking about positional audio. Upmixed stereo =/= positional audio. Do you think a receiver can tell whether a sound is supposed to be in front or behind you from just a stereo signal? No, so it plays it out front and back.
     
  15. Velvet Wafer

    Velvet Wafer New Member

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    yeah, thats what an upcoding technology does... it guesses the sound position, by the data it has, and plays it there.... what do you think how DTS and Dolby live work? The compression is just one part of the story:)
    I wont say, im perfect, but for me, it sounds pretty good, whether in games, or MP3 audio, or Films with Digital (of course, the audio is more directed in Films with Dolby.. buts its not too dramatic)
     
  16. theJesus

    theJesus

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    Alright, well as long as you're aware that it's not the same :laugh:

    Also, if by "DTS and Dolby live" you mean the real-time encoding used by soundcards (I really don't know that they're calling it now lol), that actually is positional audio. It takes the uncompressed audio and compresses it into a DTS or Dolby stream so all the channels can be carried over S/PDIF (since it has limited bandwidth).
     
  17. Velvet Wafer

    Velvet Wafer New Member

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    yeah, and my receiver does that with the audio data, once it has been transmitted in stereo (totally plain and simple). it does not need to be compressed, as the receiver will handle the data in uncompressed format, once they have arrived, and also upcode an uncompressed variant of it. Afaik, thats the most superior technology, when wanting 5.1 and Digital. (not 7.1, i havent informed me much about it, i just can imagine it to be even more difficult, than 5.1)
     
  18. Wile E

    Wile E Power User

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    Manufacturers lie about specs. You can't go by what they list. You need to go third party for specs. The Asus cards aren't any better, and Asus has just as many driver issues as Creative. Totally not an upgrade for him, just a cross grade. I know as I tried a D2X before grabbing the Forte. Not only are the number of bugs about the same, the SQ over analogs outs are the same, BUT the Forte blows the D2X away with headphones, and is cheaper.

    That said, I vote Auzentech Forte if you want to use a PCIe card, or HT Omega Claro Halo for a PCI card. Both are better than the Asus cards, and both sport pretty darn decent headphone amps.
    You are wrong, velvet. He is talking about playing a surround source on the computer, like a movie or game. Those surround sources have to be compressed into either DTS or Dolby Digital to run more than 2 channels across the spdif. This results in a loss of quality, and is limited to 5.1 channels of audio.

    What you are talking about is the same as Dolby Pro Logic, and is fake surround, not true surround.

    HDMI is far superior for surround tracks. Hell, a good soundcard using analog outputs to a receiver is better than using spdif.
     
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  19. Velvet Wafer

    Velvet Wafer New Member

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    Of course, every Digital sound, apart from HDMI,and direct passthru, is no true surround, even tho different methods also sound different.
    True Surround has much more Range and Reality to it, than faked one, but that does not matter too much, if youre not an audiophile per se.
    The loss, is minimal at best tho, when using Yamahas technology (dont ask me what its called, the receiver can also do Pro Logic I and II but they sound like shit, compared to it)... high quality, uncompressed audio sources sound like real, and if they sounds real already, i guess there is not much to be done anymore... and i have pretty good ears, according to several doctors, and a test, we made in high school class, in which i was able to hear the second highest frequency from about 20 people in my class.
    Maybe, HDMI is better...im even pretty sure, that it be, even if a new HDMI receiver would cost him more than just keeping the one he already has.
    But i dont think, that any analog technology, no matter how golden it may be, can beat my digital over SPDIF... as said, i dont use Dolby Logic,whether I or II, as i find, it sounds flat, liveless, and like crap... i guess you know what i mean;)
     
  20. Wile E

    Wile E Power User

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    No, the loss is not minimal. You do not need to be an audiophile at all. Discrete surround has nothing to do with the actual quality of the audio, it has to do with positioning. Upmixing does not have proper positioning, period. HDMI gives you proper discrete sound.

    The second point to this is, what if you are listening to something like my DVD Audio of NIN With Teeth, that has a uncompressed 24bit 96Khz 5.1 surround track? Over spdif, you lose quality because this signal has to be compressed into a 16bit 48Khz Dolby Digital or DTS stream. You lost your lossless quality. Analog over a good sound card has no need to compress, and there is no loss of quality. This I have tested this personally with my setup. Spdif loses.

    And analog can damn well beat spdif. Your spdif signal still needs to be decoded. The quality of output is only as good as the decoder and preamp/opamps before it hits the amps. High end sound cards trump many budget receivers in this regard. Most budget receivers use cheap DACs and preamp sections, which you bypass by using multichannel analog inputs.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2011
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  21. Velvet Wafer

    Velvet Wafer New Member

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    Depends on what you see as "proper". Of course, HDMI has better sound, and i didnt stated anything against that...its just,that In my Eyes, its just not worth the extra $.
    He already has a receiver, and if he would buy a HDMI receiver now, just to make as you say, i dont think that his gains would be so great, that he would grant you, for making him do that.
    Of course, that depends on what kind of audio quality he wants, and how much he could need the money for something more useful, than some hyped soundcard... ;)

    Also, its true. that in the case of your CD there would be a loss... this cant be overseen.
    Its a problem for a long time, but apparently, it hasnt bothered the audio industry, till they finally introduced the HDMI standard, a few years ago.
    I also used 192khz on analog,and even the worser sounding 96khz, and while it did sound better, than 48khz, it was not that big of a difference, as if i set my equalizer correctly... that made a much bigger difference:D (i admit tho, that i didnt had a dedicated analog soundcard, so my experience, of the sound might have been bogged)

    Also, you obviously dont take the time to read all of my posts... i stated, that i use an RX-V357, which can be hardly regarded as "Budget".... its a little old, but when it was new, the receiver, with all of the speakers and the sub, in a set, was about 1000€ here..... should be enough, regarding decoder and preamp/opamps,whether analog or digital, eh?:p
     
  22. Wile E

    Wile E Power User

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    Compared to the quality of some of today's DACs and opamps, yeah that's a budget receiver. Analog out from a good sound card will be far superior for multi channel sound compared to spdif, as long as you have the speakers to exploit it.

    You have 2 choices for no quality loss with an older receiver if you have a current gfx card. Either buy a sound card and use analog to the receiver, or buy an HDMI receiver and skip the sound card. Both have their pros and cons, but both are better than spdif, period.
     
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  23. Velvet Wafer

    Velvet Wafer New Member

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    have you some comparative charts, so one could get an overview of your statement?:)

    Yeah, i already know... have figured this out, when it came to upgrading my audio experience...
    i ditched the idea of a discrete souncard, or a new receiver, tho, when i found out, how to wire up my servo sub to the receiver, when in digital mode. After that, i was always fine with my sounds, and i tell you, normally, im a quite a critic!:D
     
  24. Wile E

    Wile E Power User

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    You don't need comparative charts. You only need to know the fact that multichannel over spdif is compressed, even if the original source is not.

    And, while it may be fine for you, many people can clearly hear the difference, especially with good speakers and amps. It's blatantly obvious on both my PC setup, and my home theater setup. Spdif is the inferior connection in terms of sound quality vs my Forte's analog outs with uncompressed or higher bitrate (like Dolby Digital Plus) over multichannel sources. No difference for 2.0 or standard DD/DTS.


    Just for reference, my test setups:

    PC - X-Fi Forte analogs > Onkyo TX-SR606 (busted HDMI, otherwise I'd use it, and just use the Forte for cans) > Polk TSi 200 fronts, Polk RM6750 surround set for center/side/rear/sub.

    HT - GTX580 > Onkyo HT-RC270 (currently in shop due to lightning strike :() > Polk Tsi 300 fronts, Tsi CS10 center, Tsi 200 rear, Infinity PS28 sub (this need upgraded badly).
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2011
  25. MadClown

    MadClown New Member

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    the HT Claro Omega+ is a great card, I own it, and it has done me well.
     

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