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Looking for a Dolby Digital Live Card

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by 1Kurgan1, May 13, 2013.

  1. 1Kurgan1

    1Kurgan1 The Knife in your Back

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    Looking to pick up a DDL card sometime soon, need one with a Optical Out, and thats about the only limitation. I'm going to be using this solely for it's DDL to send out to my Astro Mixamp, so the cheaper the card the better. The cheapest I can seem to find that support DDL with an Optical out is about $60 - $70, found some with Coaxial outs around $30 that do DDL, but sadly I need that Optical out.

    Only real preference is a PCI-E 1x card, but thats simply because it would keep the interior of my case cleaner, normal PCI cards will be just fine. So hopefully someone out there might know of a bit cheaper DDL card than I can find.
  2. Jetster

    Jetster

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    I dont understand the difference between DD and DDL but most motherboard with Realtek audio do DD and DDL

    "Dolby Digital Live is available in sound cards using various manufacturers' audio chipsets. The SoundStorm, used for the Xbox game console and certain nForce2 motherboards, used an early form of this technology. DDL is available on motherboards with codecs such as Realtek's ALC882D,[13] ALC888DD and ALC888H. Other examples include some C-Media PCI sound cards and Creative Labs' X-Fi sound cards whose drivers have enabled support for DDL."
  3. 1Kurgan1

    1Kurgan1 The Knife in your Back

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    DD is availible on most mobo's, DDL is not though, back in 2005 or so it was more common on mobo's, but the licencing fees were too high and the trends wasn't continued. My mobo does have DD, but not DDL (even using drivers that unlock all the goodies).

    Basically from my understanding DDL is just meant to transmit data to external devices that do the decoding. So it only sends out a 2 channel audio stream, but it is encoding so that once it is received it can be decoded into 5.1 and 7.1 audio. And if you are using a soundcard for DDL since it is basically just turned to a pass through device that only encodes, thats why the quality of the soundcard doesn't matter, since the soundcards not actually doing any of the other work.

    So basically my Astro Mixamp will be the decoder and whatever DDL card I get will be my encoder. I haven't ever really looked into soundcards much, but thats my basic understanding of it, if I am wrong someone please correct me :p
  4. OneMoar

    OneMoar New Member

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    this is matrix decoding ANY sound-card can do this I do this with my htpc using LAV-filters its nothing new and nothing special and has nothing really todo with Dolby
    most sound cards have a Option to enable Matrix decoding if they don't you can use the LAV-codecs todo it

    http://cl.ly/OuHO/Image 2013-05-12 at 11.31.19 PM.png
    http://f.cl.ly/items/1T0F0Q0E0q0S2k421K3l/Image 2013-05-12 at 11.32.41 PM.png
    https://code.google.com/p/lavfilters/
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  5. 1Kurgan1

    1Kurgan1 The Knife in your Back

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    As far as my understanding goes, this mixamp only takes DDL, and looking through the images you show, many options are available to mimic, but I do not see DDL. So I'm not sure that will help me much. But like I said, my knowledge on this subject is very limited. (googling dolby digital matrix decoding comes up with basically 0 good results, and not looking to experiment and risk losing money on something that doesn't work :p)

    Also another constraint here, even if I did use matrix decoding (if it would work for me), that sounds like the quality of the soundcard might actually come into play then, rather than it just being a pass through device.
  6. OneMoar

    OneMoar New Member

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    that mixamp will process pro logic and prologic II
    http://www.astrogaming.com/manuals/MixAmp_manual.pdf

    dolby digital is a UPMIX matrix `encode` nothing more it takes a stereo feed and upmixes it to 5.1(there is no such thing as a 5.1 `signa'[unless your audio source is 5.1 meaning individual tracks for each channel ) related note this isn't 1997 anymore there virtually no quality to be gain or lost by using onboard sound vrs a soundcard those days are long since gone (creative cards use Realtek or VIA made CHIPS now adays all that XFI bullshit is all software(driver level) processing

    ((quote from wiki Dolby Digital Live is available in sound cards using various manufacturers' audio chipsets. The SoundStorm, used for the Xbox game console and certain nForce2 motherboards, used an early form of this technology. DDL is available on motherboards with codecs such as Realtek's ALC882D,[13] ALC888DD and ALC888H. Other examples include some C-Media PCI sound cards and Creative Labs' X-Fi sound cards whose drivers have enabled support for DDL.))
    see this thread:http://www.techpowerup.com/forums/showthread.php?t=183809
    ^giving this drivers a go might enable that option provided your audio chip supports the proper functions to route the signal

    upmixing or downmixing a 2.0,2.1 or 5.1 7.1 feed involves taking a audio signal applying some-band filters and some clever math and processing and then splitting the chucks up into channels and the LFE(frankly this is why Dolby headphone sounds like garbage you can't cram all that data into two tiny drivers )

    it is entirely a software based operation there is no l33t or "special" hardware hacks involved that cheap `mixamp` that you payed way to much for

    probably has a lower quality DAC then the one in my car dash sadly (I know I am sounding like a dick but I hate it when people get suckered into buying shit because they don't understand what its really all about work perhaps we could back up and you could explain exactly what you want todo)
    anyway that rant aside.
    you can use the LAV filter(even tho your onboard audio driver should offer it) to setup Prologic OR Dobly digital and then output it over S/PDIF or optical and it should work fine and get a 5.1 or 7.1 signal to the AMP according to the tech papers on that device
    Last edited: May 13, 2013
  7. Mussels

    Mussels Moderprator Staff Member

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    DDL (dolby digital live) is real time encoding of dolby digital. meaning it takes your 5.1 analogue game and makes it dolby digital on the fly, vs it needing to be 'pre recorded' in dolby in the first place (which pretty much doesnt happen, ever)


    avoid using any kind of upmixing, if you do whats the point in 5.1? positional audio is what matters the most, not just splitting the signal to add more speakers into the mix for no reason.
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  8. OneMoar

    OneMoar New Member

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    not sure what mussels is saying but ill reiterate
    its not encoding anything its a UPMIX nothing more
    it takes a Stereo Stream Apply's some Clever processing and filtering to separate the sound into individual channels +LFE and then outputs the `processed` stream as a `dolby digital` 625KBit/s `digital` data stream witch is then piped to a amp or mixer converting a ANALOG signal to DIGITAL is nothing special and it provides no quality gain

    now if you are working with a TRUE 5.1 channel track to begin with then you don't need todo any up-converting OR converting it to 'digtial' unless you are running cable >20 foot and have at least a 2000.00USD pair of speakers
    if you output a 5.1 or a 7.1 over RCA or mini or SPIDiF using Matrix mode no quality is lost and the channel mapping is preserved that's how people did there 5.1 setups for YEARS
  9. CJCerny

    CJCerny

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    Mussels is correct. What DDL actually does is take 5.1 sound generated on your CPU and turns it into discrete 5.1 DD on the fly. It only does this for games and only when you've set the OS for 5.1 speakers. It doesn't do anything special with stereo or pre-recorded 5.1 soundtracks on DVD or Blu-ray.
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  10. OneMoar

    OneMoar New Member

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    Dolby Digital Live (DDL) is a real-time encoding technology for interactive media such as video games. It converts any audio signals on a PC or game console into a 5.1-channel 16-bit/48 kHz Dolby Digital format at 640 kbit/s and transports it via a single S/PDIF cable.[12] A similar technology known as DTS Connect is available from competitor DTS. An important benefit of this technology is that it enables the use of digital* meaning that it can output a Channel independent stream witch if your source is not already 5.1 it will upconvert it or dematrix it and and pipe it as a discreate channel

    Note the part where it says *ANY* Audio SIGNAL
    its a upmix upmixing is bad mmkay

    ... I said that the only time you would actually need digital audio out is that if you are running really long cables to some serious speakers and amps(no your ~200 dollar best buy amp/reciver combo doesn't count here)
    sigh

    further more I can not think of a single game that actually uses 5.1 tracks all of them are either Premixed or matrix encoded /w the '5.1 flag'
    lets assume that the source is analog 5.1 stream and your receiver is "Digital with pro-logic IIx support " and for whatever reason you wanna run a Optical or RCA out to your AMP

    the codecs and or sound card can be configured two different ways
    Case ONE using optical: you could simply pipe the digital stream right out the Optical (assuming the your source is 5.1 or higher)

    Case TWO using RCA or some other analog out: you enable matrix output and the audio driver sees that your source is already 5.1 and no mixing or processing is needed so it 'encodes' the audio-signal WITH a series of low power pulses and frequency's and that tells the amp what channels to map and how along with the audio data (think dial up modem) there is a SLIGHT loss of information here but not enough to be audible unless you have superman's ears and a serious set of speakers Positional-audio will suffer a bit if its not executed properly

    Case Three: the audio source is not Multi Channel so what you can do is break the audio up into parts do some processing and figure-out whats voice whats music whats gunfire use a LOT of math and understanding of how the human ear processes sound(so you can get the Positional audio ""close"") and then create a Multi channel stream and output it using one of the above methods
    Last edited: May 13, 2013
  11. CJCerny

    CJCerny

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    It may or may not be an "upmix". Many modern game engines, especially those for FPSes, support the creation of discrete 5.1 sound in the CPU. In those cases, DDL turns that into discrete 5.1 DD on the fly. If the game engine only supports stereo, then it is an upmix.
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  12. OneMoar

    OneMoar New Member

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    I know none of the call of duty games do this (not on consoles at least)
  13. NinkobEi

    NinkobEi

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    Dolby live is terrible anyway. not sure why you'd want it. "bit-matched" playback for best quality.
  14. 1Kurgan1

    1Kurgan1 The Knife in your Back

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    The mixamp decode into those formats, it doesn't accept them as a format.

    The game I want this the most for is BF3, and as far as I am aware, that does do true 5.1, so doing a stereo upmix will be absolute crap by comparison as far as directional cue's, so doesn't seem like it's a great idea for me to do this.

    Already running those, but my Optical Out seems dead on the mobo anyways. Also issues which I pointed out above)

    What "too much" is, is entirely your opinion. Don't think I didn't pick this specific setup for a reason. I record for my youtube channel with dxtory and run 3 audio tracks (game, mic, skype), that way my friends on skype aren't mixed into my game audio, and if them or I have any background noise I can remove it in Audacity without effecting my game audio). I plan on streaming soon (running a 2nd PC with a capture card), and want to maintain my YT quality (recording with main comp), while also having good stream quality. And any stream program only can record one audio track.

    So basically sound needs to be downmixed. And this mixamp has a Streamout port that downmixes all audio passed through it down into one channel. So I downmix all the audio out the stream port, attach it to my mic port, and set it to "listen" on my HDMI line (and I have the volume off on my monitor), thus giving my stream all the audio downmixed, while still allowing me to capture 3 audio tracks for my YT uploads. Now I could have also tried to run Virtual Audio Cable for this (though I don't like the program much), but I also wanted to have surround sound capabilities as well (VAC only does stereo), and thats where the mixamp comes in, it does everything I need. Also at the time of getting it I needed a headset with a better mic, and all the headsets I was interested in were $160 - $200 (A40 headset alone was $160), the mixamp solo is $130, so it made sense to just buy the whole A40 setup and save myself a lot of money. Asking what my intent was before carrying the condescending tone would go a long ways.

    All of your solutions seem to point to me getting a different headset, and as I said, this fits my needs exactly, I'm not going to be switching this. This Mixamp need a DDL signal, and as far as I know BF3 does do true 5.1, so upmixing isn't something I'm even remotely interested in. So as my thread originally asked, just looking to see if anyone else has seen a DDL soundcard for ab it cheaper than I have found them for.

    Who said anything about Call of Duty, or consoles for that matter, the though of each of those brought a little puke to my mouth and you had to mention them both at once.
  15. Dent1

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    Dolby Digital Live only upmixes if the source is stereo or mono. In the event it detects more than stereo it doesn't upmix it again it just encodes the existing channels into DD 5.1 bit streams.

    Pretty much all modern games are multi channel PCM so there will be enough channels for a straight 5.0 to DD 5.1 bitstream conversion (opposed to PCM 2.0 to DD 2.0 conversion with Prologic IIx layer to 5.1 on top)


    1Kurgan1:

    I don't know much about the Astro Mixamp, sorry. Does it have a built in decoder? because a decoder is needed. Also IMO Dolby Digital 5.1 on headphones defeats the purpose. I'm sure it will sound nice but it's hardly authentic is it?
    Last edited: May 13, 2013
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  16. cadaveca

    cadaveca My name is Dave

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    A good choice for audio card here would be an ASUS XONAR D2X. It offers real-time encoding into a multitude of formats, including DolbyDigital, Dolby Live!, ProLogicII, and DTS, as well as straight-up LPCM.

    When it comes to recording and encoding capabilities, I do not know of any card that matches what the ASUS XONAR D2X does.

    http://www.asus.com/Sound_Cards_and_DigitaltoAnalog_Converters/Xonar_D2X/


    Going by that list above, it's exactly what you are looking for, 1Kurgan1. ;)
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  17. 1Kurgan1

    1Kurgan1 The Knife in your Back

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    Yeah, the Mixamp is the decoder, hence the need for a soundcard with DDL. And it might not be perfect, but it's going to be better than flat out stereo, and thats fine by me. Like I said in my wall of test explaining why I chose it, recording for YT or Streaming with anymore than 2 channels is pretty much impossible, this seems to be the best method giving a decent price range and the sound quality from this headset + mic quality is what I was looking for.

    Yeah, I was looking at that, it is sexy. Sadly thats the Cadillac of soundcards, and quite expensive. Seems for what I need, since DDL just makes a card a pass through, the rest of those features aren't needed, if I was running it for anything besides DDL, it would probably be the clear choice. What I was leaning towards so far was this (based on price)

    Cheapest I have found that has DDL is this (but it lacks optical out which I need, so was hoping someone might know of a card around this price with optical, but thats looking slim)
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  18. Mussels

    Mussels Moderprator Staff Member

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    since people arent getting it:

    DDL exists for one reason. over coax or optical SPDIF you cant get more than stereo without it. so if thats what your receiver supports, thats what you need. the end.
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  19. Dent1

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    I wouldn't touch the DIAMOND XtremeSound XS71. It's a really old soundcard from 2006? I doubt it still has driver support. Their website only lists it with Windows 2000/XP support. https://www.diamondmm.com/xs71ddl-diamond-xtreme-sound-sound-card.html

    Look at the Xonar DS, it doesn't support DDL, but it supports the DTS equivalent DTS:connect. The soundcard is probably the cheapest branded encoder soundcard on the market @ $39.99. Does the Astro Mixamp support DTS?

    ASUS Xonar DS Audio Card - Newegg.com
    Last edited: May 14, 2013
  20. 1Kurgan1

    1Kurgan1 The Knife in your Back

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    I don't think it really matters on the age, except the driver support part you mentioned. But I can't use that card anyways, since no optical outs. And everything I am seeing, including from Astro says that DTS will not work, so seems like that Sound Blaster is probably my cheapest choice with an Optical Out.
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  21. TC-man

    TC-man

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    Well, the Diamond XtremeSound XS71 (CMI8768+) does support up to Windows 7 with the latest driver that can be downloaded via the same page for the card under the "Support & Download" tab (the non DDL version even has Windows 8 beta driver). Auzentech used the same CMI8768+ chipset for their X-Mystique (the same chipset on the Diamond XtremeSound X71).

    The cheapest solution would be the X-fi mod that OneMoar has posted several days ago which can modified certain Realtek onboard sound into a "X-fi soundcard" via modified drivers and the socalled X-fi MB2 software. X-fi MB2 supports DTS connect, the equivalent of Dolby Digital Live (well, kinda). On the other hand, my Norton Internet Security detected a part in the modified driver as a security threat (false positive:confused:?), so try it at your own risk.

    Edit:

    Sorry, didn't notice that OneMoar already mentioned the XFI mod in an earlier post.
    Last edited: May 14, 2013
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  22. Dent1

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    The Xonar DS has optical out, it comes with a small adaptor (as does most Xonar cards, Auzentech and Creative cards) which allows you to switch between digital coaxial and fibre optic.

    [​IMG]

    But if your headphones dont support DTS so we can't go down that route.

    If what TC-Man is saying is correct about the DIAMOND XtremeSound having Vista/Windows7/8 drivers it seems like a good choice. The Auentech X-Mystique was a good soundcard back in the day so if the Diamond uses the same chipset I would jump on it. I had it's big brother, the Auzentech Meridian and regret selling it.
    Last edited: May 14, 2013
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  23. 1Kurgan1

    1Kurgan1 The Knife in your Back

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    Yeah I already been running those drivers for a while now. But sadly I think my Optical Out is dead on my mobo anyways. Also don't think DTS will work, they may have similarities, but everything I'm seeing says that doesn't mean compatibility.

    I will have to look more into this tonight. If I could run the coaxial to optical adapters, then I most likely will pick up the Diamond.
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  24. Mussels

    Mussels Moderprator Staff Member

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    i own an X-mystique actually, just not using it cause my crossfire blocks the slot.
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  25. 1Kurgan1

    1Kurgan1 The Knife in your Back

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    Ended up hitting ebay in search of DIAMOND with actual optical outs on it. And found a few, one of which was only $19.99 with free shipping. So I snapped it up, since thats about 1/3 the cost of any other option I got on the market. Tacked on faster shipping for $5 after that, still not a bad deal as long as it works :p

    Picture just for reference
    [​IMG]

    I'll have to post back once I get it, hoping it works well, drivers are recent for it, despite it being so old :p
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