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Do any AMD GPUs pass thorough 5.1 via HDMI?

Discussion in 'Audio, Video & Home Theater' started by Frag Maniac, Sep 27, 2012.

  1. Frag Maniac

    Frag Maniac

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    Do any AMD GPUs do 5.1 encoding via HDMI?

    (Title and first post edited)

    Do any AMD GPUs do 5.1 encoding via HDMI?

    It seems I'm reaching a dead end regarding Nvidia based cards being able to do a true 5.1 encode via HDMI, so I'm now looking to see if any AMD GPUs do.

    In a digital audio pass through, I've read the hardware has to have 5.1 encoding firmware such as Dolby Digital LIVE, and DTS Connect to get true 5.1 surround from games.

    My ASUS P6X58D-E does not support DDL or DTSC, and it's too soon for me to upgrade to another MB. I'd also prefer not having to get a sound card if I can avoid it.

    So, the question is, do any AMD GPUs do 5.1 encoding via HDMI?
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2012
  2. exodusprime1337

    exodusprime1337

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    I'm not sure if it does do the passthrough. I've been dealing with an issue regarding my sound card not outputting 5.1 in games via an optical cable, i finally just bit the bullet and put analog 5.1 cables back on, sounds awesome now
  3. Jetster

    Jetster

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    Anything 400 Nvidia and 5000 AMD or higher will bit stream DTS-HD and Dolby Digital HD Audio. And actually the 200 Nividia will bit stream 5.1 just not HD

    Some AMD cards require a Realtek HD driver for ATI installed on the motherboard. The sound does it via the HDMI cable from the sound card its self. You have to select the sound device in the sound manager. It may also help to have CCCP codex pack installed

    http://www.realtek.com.tw/downloads...=24&Level=4&Conn=3&DownTypeID=3&GetDown=false
    http://cccp-project.net/

    What are you trying to bit stream too?
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2012
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  4. Mussels

    Mussels Moderprator Staff Member

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    that only applies to coax/SPDIF, where it had to be compressed. HDMI can do true 5.1 easily, so long as you have a HDMI receiver.
  5. FordGT90Concept

    FordGT90Concept "I go fast!1!11!1!"

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    AMD GPUs have an audio device built in that drives the HDMI audio:
    [​IMG]

    You select that as the output device and that's where the audio goes. I'm pretty sure it supports 7.1.
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  6. Frag Maniac

    Frag Maniac

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    Sorry to say guys, but I can't be too optimistic about this since EVGA, the largest Nvidia partner, has their pre sales techs saying their video cards do not in fact pass through 5.1 from games via the HDMI connection. The device it's sent from, be it GPU, MB or sound card, has to encode it into the signal first.

    Backing up, I realized I did not make it clear I was talking specifically about game audio, in case you were thinking otherwise. The problem is, game audio always comes in the form of PCM, which has to be encoded into DD or DTS to get true 5.1. Otherwise your receiver will only convert it to Pro Logic II at best.

    This is why you see a handful of MBs and several sound cards incorporating Dolby Digital LIVE or DTS Connect, which is firmware that encodes the PCM signal with DD or DTS, then your receiver decodes it. Gigabyte made some MBs that supported this type of encoding, not sure they still do.

    The cheapest fix I've found so far is the ASUS Xonar DS for $33 after MIR, which has DTS Connect. I've always wanted to play games in DTS, and as far as I know this would allow you to play any game in DTS. ASUS Xonar DS 7.1 Channels 24-bit 192KHz PCI Inter...
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2012
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  7. TRWOV

    TRWOV

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    Well, you asked about "pass through" not DDL encoding, that's different. The GPUs won't encode the game audio to 5.1, they'll just pass through the PCM signal.
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  8. Frag Maniac

    Frag Maniac

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    Yeah sorry, that's my bad for not writing the title and first post clearly enough, I've edited it.

    That said, ARE there any AMD GPUs with HDMI that DO encode the PCM signal, or am I stuck having to get a sound card?

    OR, does anyone for any reason think the Nvidia 700 series might support this?
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2012
  9. Jetster

    Jetster

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    Why dont you list all your hardware. And explain what your trying to do
  10. Frag Maniac

    Frag Maniac

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    This is all the hardware that need be mentioned for this application, because it's the only type that ever has DD/DTS encoding.

    No sound card
    ASUS P6X58D-E MB
    Palit GTS 250 1GB (being updated to MSI 660 Ti PE OC)
    Yamaha RX-V371 receiver capable of DD and DTS decoding

    I simply want to use a digital optical pass through and get DD or preferably DTS sound from games out of my receiver. Ideally I'd prefer a GPU with HDMI output that encodes the PCM signal with Dolby Digital or DTS, but it's looking like no Nvidia based cards do, and I'm not sure I want to switch back to ATI even if any of their's do, though I'd like to know which if any do anyway.

    Thus the cheapest get me by solution seems to be a cheap sound card that supports Dolby Digital LIVE or DTS Connect. ASUS sound cords use DTS Connect, which I'd prefer over Creative sound cards, which use Dolby Digital LIVE.
  11. FordGT90Concept

    FordGT90Concept "I go fast!1!11!1!"

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    PCM can be "true 5.1" if it has 6 channels. PCM is the raw audio stream which games do their own spacial processing on (e.g. a noise to the left rear of the player will predominently sent to the left rear channel). In other words, you don't need and you shouldn't want DD/DTS or other signal processing on gaming audio. DD and DTS are mostly for stereo in surround speaker systems. Add to it the fact that signal processing is going to add latency (albeit minute) and it's an all-round bad idea.

    Again, any digital-capable receiver should be able to handle a 6 channel PCM signal which doesn't require decoding. All versions of HDMI (1.0-1.4) support 8 channel LPCM (192 kHz, 24-bit) so all HDMI receivers should too.


    No AMD GPUs will encode a PCM signal to Dolby Digital. Only sound cards will do that.
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2012
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  12. Frag Maniac

    Frag Maniac

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    From what I'm reading and most that I've talked to or read chat of are saying, Pro Logic II is merely simulated surround by creating 6 channels from stereo, whereas Dolby Digital starts out as 6 discrete channels. DTS is even better.

    While I DO get decent stereo separation in the front channels, dialog separation in the center channel, and a separate sub channel using Pro Logic II in games, the rear channels, positional audio and overall sense of ambient surround I get in Dolby Digital TV broadcasts far surpasses it in depth and realism, so I beg to differ.

    So yeah, my receiver (and most any) will "handle" a PCM signal by playing it as Pro Logic II, but Dolby Digital has much more fullness and presence. There's a reason ASUS goes with DTS Connect instead though. DTS IS a bit better sound than DD.

    I would not be surprised that you are right about the AMD GPUs not supporting DD encoding though. Seems a waste of a perfectly good HDMI port to use it for mere Pro Logic II. I'm hoping future GPUs will support DD or DTS encoding via their HDMI port.
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2012
  13. FordGT90Concept

    FordGT90Concept "I go fast!1!11!1!"

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    The chances of that happening are none. Dolby wants money and most people buy video cards for graphics, not sound. AMD and NVIDIA would have a tough time justifying the expense of paying fees to Dolby to license their technology.
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  14. Jetster

    Jetster

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    Do not use Optical its an old standard. It will not do HD audio. The GPU and HDMI will pass digital HD audio just fine to your receiver. You source has to be DTS or DD to end up with it. Nothing will "encode" the audio and change the format to DTS from PCM that I'm aware of. It has to start as DTS. Just like to cant make a standard movie to HD. If will end up being Prolgic which your correct is simulated 5.1.

    Talk to Bumblebee I think thats his name. He know more than I do
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2012
  15. erixx

    erixx

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    Hi Frag,
    You don't want to change the mobo, i know, but there are mobos that have onboard audio with digital output. Sorry if I am being mr. obvious.

    And... How would you redirect the audio from the AMD HDMI VIDEO cable to your amplifier anyway? First to the monitor and then using "Audio out" from monitor to receiver? Isn't that too complex or non functional? Sorry but I am totally disconnected from TV tech (and usage).
  16. cadaveca

    cadaveca My name is Dave

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    My ASUS Xonar D2X does. It will take in almost any source, and live decode and then encode to almost any format.


    I went down this road, with DVD playback, then BluRay...blah, blah, blah blah blah...

    Unfortunately, even though the D2X is technically capable of doing DTS-HD and DolbyHD audio, it doesn't actually support it. Then I gave up. :p

    Oh, and software support is required, too.


    Unfortunately, for PC audio, and games, really, the best bet is to use analogue outputs, and that requires an amp that has the proper inputs. Fortuantely, I got all that, but I still jsut use Stereo. :p

    Usually, yes.

    Oh, and the reason why..isn't becuase of liscensing..it's because of how the HDCP stuff works. That's why ASUS has a specific card for adding audio to the HDMI signal...and guess what...that card has some killer analogue outputs, too. Same reason why it's a problem on the PC, too.
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  17. TRWOV

    TRWOV

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    you'll likely need an Asus Xonar to achieve what you want.
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  18. Frag Maniac

    Frag Maniac

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    @FordGT,
    No doubt correct. I don't know what Dolby and DTS are charging for their codec licensing, but when GPU chip vendors compete within $5-$10 dollar amounts like a Wal-mart on steroids, you know they want to go as cheap as they can on price points.

    My argument is they could at least offer ONE model in their line that does. When you figure that HDMI offers superior audio signal throughput to optical, and DD and DTS being better than sim surround, it would be quite a bit better actually. And what about HTPC needs?

    They tested the waters with a funky GTX 260 that accepts S/PDIF pass through via a very strange little cable, yet they won't try so much as ONE HTPC/gaming card that has audio encoding via HDMI?

    @Jet,
    Don't you think I'd use something better than optical if I could? I kinda made it apparent already that I'm shooting for A) better and simpler audio/video connectivity, and B) better surround sound.

    Yes HDMI will pass digital audio, but regarding games, mere PCM that can only be decoded to Pro Logic II. The "HD" part regarding games is kinda an oxymoron though, because no game uses HD audio. It's all compressed.

    @erixx,
    It would not be mere "digital" audio I'd be looking for on a MB, were I even to be needing/wanting such an upgrade at the moment. It would be one that might encode DD or better yet DTS. A MB's optical or digital coaxial output will always use PCM, which is merely a "digital" audio storage format using Pulse Code Modulation. Thus not all things digital are created equal.

    Now there WERE some MBs made that encoded DD and even DTS via Dolby Digital LIVE and DTS Connect, but they are pretty rare and maybe even non existent anymore. Gigabyte seems to have made most of them in the more recent years, and dubbed the feature Dolby Home Theater in the latter models.

    @TRW,
    Yes, that's the conclusion I'm coming to, specifically the Xonar DS mentioned, which can be had for $33 after rebate. I have reservations due to the infamous sound card driver debacle, doubts about how long PCI slots will be used, and even whether there will be as much sound difference as I'm hoping for.

    However a quick check showed even Z77 MBs still commonly sporting up to 3 PCI slots though, and feedback on the Xonar DS indicates with proper install of drivers there's much less chance of problems.
  19. VipZUK New Member

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    @ Frag Maniac

    There is no need to do any encoding as this just brings in compression artifacts and more cpu cycles.

    AMD GPU's can do full PCM 7.1 output via HDMI to receivers, for PCM if memory serves HD 2xxx and above can do and for HD Audio, the HD 5xxxx and above support this. In my case I set this as 5.1 and this acts as if a sound card with analogue outputs was set to 5.1 and no need for rubbish like DD/DTS encoding.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Take a look at the above images and it should give you an idea what your receiver is negotiated to support and then setup as required.
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2012
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  20. Frag Maniac

    Frag Maniac

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    In my findings it's not so much what the receiver supports as what the audio codec doing the pass through supports, in this case, a Realtek HD ALC889 on my ASUS P6X58D-E MB. However when I look in the properties of the Realtek Optical Output in Advanced settings I only get 2-channel options.

    In searching for answers I found this interesting thread. The 2nd post on this page shows the settings page where I only get 2-channel options. If you scroll about a third way down the page, scorrpio's post explains why that may be. http://www.eggxpert.com/forums/thread/759896.aspx

    As for a 5.1 or 7.1 PCM output option, I've never seen such a thing. After all, PCM IS a stereo signal that merely contains surround encoding IF it's encoded at all. Show me any sound setting option for your sound device that states 5.1 or 7.1 "PCM" and I'll eat my hat.

    Honestly, I'd settle for 5.1 PCM if there were such an option, but I (and I'm sure pretty much everyone) only ever get a 2.1 result at best on the receiver end when using straight PCM. Keep in mind I'm not comparing DD and DTS to PCM here either, I'm comparing them to Pro Logic II.

    I'm fully aware PCM is a loss-less signal converted to digital, but the primary reason it exists and was created was to carry surround encoding. It's being loss-less in the application of gaming also has no significant value, since game audio is compressed to begin with.

    Typically the only time you see PCM used in it's raw, loss-less form is on DVD's that have it as one of the playback options, primarily concert DVDs that offer PCM stereo. Even some Blu-ray concert discs still have PCM stereo as an option.

    The "Encoded Formats" list at the bottom of your first pic likely contains one of the formats your system is outputting, not PCM. PCM is only a stereo carrier signal, much like AVI is a container, not an actual video codec. Loss-less audio is not a reality in gaming.
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2012
  21. Jetster

    Jetster

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  22. VipZUK New Member

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    Your question now is very different to your original post, on-board audio is inherently basic and poor vs any add-on solution. Yes as the SPDIF is limited to a max of a 1.5mbit stream, it can do stereo PCM or DD/DTS bitstreams at best you cant expect more from it.

    Regards to PCM being stereo in nature and just containing surround encoding IS NOT true, PCM fully supports 7.1 @ 24/192 with ease over HDMI. PCM is to WAV as DD/DTS is to MP3 in simple terms.

    PCM is the best output you could want via any digital output outside bitstreaming the audio from DVD/Bluray etc directly to the AVR, in my case its 5.1 @ 24bit/96kHz to my AVR for games and music etc and bitstreaming for media playback.

    So to the basic question for AMD GPU's supporting this, disable onboard sound use the sound card on the AMD GPU and set as required to use HDMI to the receiver and you will have the best and simplest option. The exception would be if you have a AVR with poor DAC's and a sound card that focuses on high quality DAC's then going analogue to AVR would be a better option.

    EDIT: as towards your Bluray PCM statement, this was mostly done on early disk's to be done cheaply and quickly. Any new well mastered disk should be using DTA-MA now and not LPCM. I have a number of disk's that use 5.1 LPCM tracks.

    Over this, last edit: SPDIF =! PCM. You asked about HDMI now focusing on SPDIF so think you are confusing yourself. ALL formats come from PCM as such as this is the raw audio which then gets encoded to formats such as MP3/DD/DTS and etc. SPDIF is simply an inferior and obsolete tech which cant deal with the bandwidth requirements of multichannel PCM whereby HDMI has no such limitations and fully supports native multichannel PCM. Dolby Pro Logic II or similar have nothing to do with PCM, its simply a technology for channel expansion.
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2012
  23. Frag Maniac

    Frag Maniac

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    If that's true, it would be tempting to try an AMD GPU just for that alone, but then if that were true, what some are saying about Nvidia HD audio outputting 5.1 would be as well, yet EVGA's pre sale's techs say otherwise. Then again I was asking the EVGA specifically about gaming.

    A bit of more searching revealed talk of 5.1 PCM, so I won't doubt you on that. We are talking GAME PCM here though, which is always stereo. So while AMD, and perhaps Nvidia cards, may very well output PCM 5.1, they won't with games because games don't come with anything more than PCM stereo.

    I know where you're coming from when you imply PCM stereo is old school. God knows I conveyed the same thing along with no gaming GPUs encoding 5.1 keeping us in the stone ages to the EVGA guy today.

    DD and DTS may not be loss-less like PCM, but since A) game audio is compressed to begin with, and B) it's carried via a stereo PCM signal, they're still a MUCH better option than Pro Logic II if you want surround sound.

    So, bottom line, while PCM may exist in forms other than stereo, in the application I'm referring to, it only ever exists in stereo, so 5.1 or 7.1 PCM is kinda moot to the conversation unfortunately.
  24. VipZUK New Member

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    I AM using 5.1 from my AMD GPU (7970) over HDMI to my Yamaha receiver for games, there is no debate to be had.

    Games for most part output their audio where it be stereo or 5.1 to the windows mixer, this then takes your audio drivers/setup and outputs as appropriate which will be 5.1 on a properly configured system with HDMI and receiver.

    Any recent Nvidia card is the same or recent intel integrated graphics, only the 1st nvidia ones to support HDMI audio but simply used a SPDIF header from motherboard would not apply here which is what I think you may have.
  25. Frag Maniac

    Frag Maniac

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    That's great news if true, but hard to believe at this point after what I've read and heard. It still doesn't explain why none of the settings pages you showed had any PCM 5.1, only the aforementioned other formats and a few others.

    So when you play games, does your receiver display show PCM as the decoded audio format and all 6 channel icons? Can you post a pic of your advanced page of the sound options as shown in scorrpio's post on the thread I linked to? I'd be interested in what it says.

    I'll have to try and ask an Nvidia tech about this if I can get a hold of one. Ideally I want just an HDMI cable from my video card and that's it. HDMI is so much better for audio than optical it's ridiculous. The sound still won't be loss-less even if it IS PCM, since it's compressed on the game end, but at least the loss ends there.

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