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Info: HD audio from PC — Page 2

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Oh good, DreadPirateJosh seems to be on top of what I was going to contribute, that being the subwoofer is the biggest factor of whether you can just drop in a proper receiver. With a passive subwoofer like you get on budget home-theater-in-a-box setups, you really can’t just reuse them, as good receivers send signals to the subwoofer through a preamp, which means you’d need a powered subwoofer. And budget home-theater-in-a-box setups, as he said, also have different impedance for the speakers than is optimally supported by good receivers. A friend of mine with lots of time on his hands used to pick up these kinds of systems for cheap on ebay (these cheapo sets usually have sub par chips that overload, and he’d solder in new ones), fix them up and cheaply sell to friends or give them away… Only real problem was that they didn’t sound anywhere near as good as he felt they were; very muddled, lots of distortion, and really no EQ control in the crappy all-in-one “receivers”. I have 3 proper receivers and surround setups in various rooms of my house, and the clarity is night and day compared to the various home-theater-in-a-box setups I’ve experienced from him and others.

I’ve even turned down accepting free speakers of this kind of quality for those very reasons, it wouldn’t be worth the hassle. It might be for the best to just sell off this set and put some money into a better all around setup. It’d likely be less headache in the end, and the sound quality would likely yield a noticeable improvement.

The speakers and everything look nice on the outside, but they’re really not up to par with what they’re pretending to be…

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If you feel it’d be easiest to get something all together, Onkyo tends to package proper speakers and subwoofers with their various receiver / surround speaker offerings, as they usually consist of models they also sell separately.

Whatever receiver brand you decide works best for you, though (I’ve had some issues with Onkyo receivers here and there, and all Yamahas annoy me by choosing to not indicate the decoding method on its display), you’ll need decent speakers and I HAVE had good luck at reasonable prices with Onkyo surround speakers / subwoofer offerings. You can free yourself up to shop around on the receiver, if you grab some affordable speakers like this: http://www.amazon.co.uk/ONKYO-SKS-HT528B-5-1-Speaker-Package/dp/B002LVU95W/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1455649941&sr=1-1&keywords=onkyo+speakers

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raschi said:

I would recommend a videocard capable of outputting proper 1080p24 through HDMI.
Because you want a judder free output right?
I don’t think nVidia has good enough clocks in their cards to do this reliably yet.
Go for a good HTPC videocard from AMD.

I don’t recall ever seeing any judder problems with the output of my NVidia cards. I have read that there may be issues with AMD cards in full RGB mode, though. And you need full RGB mode if you want to avoid colourspace round-trips.

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yoda-sama said:
It might be for the best to just sell off this set and put some money into a better all around setup. It’d likely be less headache in the end, and the sound quality would likely yield a noticeable improvement.

This is a legitimate consideration, and if you are going to sell off the old system, it’s always better to sell the whole thing as a full set now than to decide you aren’t happy with the speakers down the road and try to sell them after you’ve ditched the main unit and the sub (especially after you’ve chopped of their proprietary connectors).

I think it’s best to put in the forethought now, and if you do ever imagine you’ll sell it sometime in the future, you may as well do it now, since you’ll be able to recoup the biggest percentage of what you paid for it if you sell the whole thing together.

Of course, you could always try your current speakers with a new AVR and then if you decide you don’t like them, you can splice the old connectors back on and hope no prospective buyers will mind.

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Like I said, I need to keep the player from that set for 3D playback and stuff, so there seems little point to getting rid of just the speakers. And as I also said, I’m perfectly happy with the sound quality I get from the current setup when playing BD directly through the HT system. It actually packs almost too much punch for my tiny living room and thin walls.

Plus the entire HT setup ran me about $200, so I don’t imagine I could get a very good price for it if I wanted to sell it.

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Harmy said:

Like I said, I need to keep the player from that set for 3D playback and stuff, so there seems little point to getting rid of just the speakers. And as I also said, I’m perfectly happy with the sound quality I get from the current setup when playing BD directly through the HT system. It actually packs almost too much punch for my tiny living room and thin walls.

Plus the entire HT setup ran me about $200, so I don’t imagine I could get a very good price for it if I wanted to sell it.

If it only ran $200 originally - that is scary! You really need to upgrade that thing. It’s disturbing to know your listening to the classics on that. 😉

However, if you are dead set up keeping the player (and not just upgrading that too to a dedicated player only), then you will only want to upgrade the subwoofer as others have said. I did that once before too. Mine was a speaker system from Cambridge SoundWorks that came with a passive sub woofer. Once I upgraded the AVR to one with a dedicated sub out - there was no looking back. Nothing like a good thump!

I do think the recommendation for the new Denon AVRs is a good one. But don’t overlook the buying a refurbed AVR from the main companies to save $. Denon’s own site has a link and I bought my first real AVR via the Harman Audio store on Ebay.

I love the warmth in the sound from the Harman Kardon AVRs but for some reason they always have technical issues with connectivity (at least they did years back when I was active on the AVSforums). Denon has been very good to me though.

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Again, I don’t mean that you just get extra thump (actually, it is a little easier to limit, as the powered sub will probably have a dial on it to control its output independently), you’ll get richer, clearer, more proper sound with a better setup, and possibly better speakers… At the very least, you’d need a new subwoofer and a new AVR, you can wait on the speakers if you must as long as you get an AVR that supports the impedance (though, many subs will run you as much as the full Onkyo set I linked to earlier). If you’re not getting rid of the system, I think you already know you can just plug the current player/receiver into the new receiver, it should passthrough over HDMI just fine.

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BTW, I know where you’re coming from, I did this myself once, too, though not as bad. I had (well, still have) an older Onkyo theater in a box (audio receiver mostly, no HDMI) which actually had some pretty nice speakers (6 or 8 ohm, not sure which), but had a passive sub, when I got a new receiver for the living room I ordered a full 7.1 surround Onkyo speaker set just to get the sub and have spare speakers in case I blow out any… but then ended up using the new surround speakers with the old Onkyo receiver and its passive sub in another room as my 3rd surround setup (simpler needs in that room). Anyway, I had less I needed to replace, but was still faced with a dilemma when I figured out I got screwed on the passive subwoofer.

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_Shorty said:

raschi said:

I would recommend a videocard capable of outputting proper 1080p24 through HDMI.
Because you want a judder free output right?
I don’t think nVidia has good enough clocks in their cards to do this reliably yet.
Go for a good HTPC videocard from AMD.

I don’t recall ever seeing any judder problems with the output of my NVidia cards. I have read that there may be issues with AMD cards in full RGB mode, though. And you need full RGB mode if you want to avoid colourspace round-trips.

If your nVidia cards can output perfect 23.976Hz, or a multiple of this, then disregard my comment.
All other refresh rates will produce judder and/or dropped/repeated frames for film content.
I have had no personal issues with full RGB mode though.

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raschi said:

If your nVidia cards can output perfect 23.976Hz, or a multiple of this, then disregard my comment.
All other refresh rates will produce judder and/or dropped/repeated frames for film content.
I have had no personal issues with full RGB mode though.

If we’re going to cram video card discussions into the scope of this topic, then specific claims like these should be supported with relevant links. Harmy’s PC setup is one thing I think he has put some effort into making fit his needs for the projects he works on. It would take some irrefutable proof that one vendor’s cards or models of cards is better for what he wants to do, before he’d start changing things up in it.

If I thought Harmy had a mid to low end PC (which I really doubt, though I’d maybe ask this if he was considering using his old laptop for a dedicated HTPC instead of pulling double duty with his desktop), then arguments could also be made about what model cards allow HD audio passthrough (like nvidia cards below the 600 line [various exceptions, though] don’t support it, though AMD has for longer and Intel has been good about it, too…).

What WOULD be in scope, regardless of video card opinions, would be which audio output device/API in Windows will allow for HD audio passthrough. From what I’ve come across, WASAPI allows HD audio passthrough where DirectSound (a middle layer which resamples audio) does not: http://kodi.wiki/view/Audio_quickstart_guide and http://kodi.wiki/view/Windows_audio (Which actually is similar to ALSA vs PulseAudio in Linux.)

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 (Edited)

If you want to, then you can run it all from your computer and get excellent sound, mapped fully to your room by using a miniDSP setup. You can setup fully active crossovers and fully EQ the sub.
https://www.minidsp.com/applications/digital-crossovers/subwoofer-integration-with-minidsp
https://www.minidsp.com/applications/digital-crossovers/digital-crossover-basics
https://www.minidsp.com/
You get astoundingly good audio, tailored to your room precisely, for much less than ‘high end’ systems that don’t let you tailor the sound.

Donations welcome: paypal.me/poit
bitcoin:13QDjXjt7w7BFiQc4Q7wpRGPtYKYchnm8x
Help get The Original Trilogy preserved!

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 (Edited)

I didn’t mean to offend anyone. I just thought that choice of videocard was relevant when talking about HD audio passthrough. Getting perfect 23,976Hz output is important to me personally, since judder/stuttering drives me insane.

Link discussing the issue:
http://forum.kodi.tv/showthread.php?tid=137481

I don’t know if this is relevant to the GeForce GTX 970, but it’s important to be aware of these things when choosing videocard for AV playback.
I wasn’t aware of the AMD RGB flickering issue, or what cards are affected by it. This is also important to consider when shopping for a new videocard.

I was just trying to contribute. Sorry for the derail if this doesn’t apply to you Harmy.

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Meh, I’d say more of a grey area than a derail, as he already has his PC setup as he likes it, but it is relevant to playback quality in general. I will say, I didn’t realize how prevalent that nvidia 23.976 issue is; I’m increasingly glad I’ve gone with a minimalist approach to my HTPCs with efficient Intel powered setups like the ECS LIVA for the short run, and will probably only upgrade later on to something similar that can support HEVC when that becomes more common.

Still, the most important thing right now would probably be the sound system he’ll connect his A/V sources to, as the computer and other inputs would hopefully change more often than his sound system.

Harmy, I may be in a similar boat right now (ignoring speakers) as an Onkyo receiver I’ve had for over half a decade has been slowly starting to crap out, if soldering in new capacitors doesn’t fix it (and it’ll be my first solder job, so I won’t say I’m confident with the fix) I’ll need to start seriously considering a receiver purchase (but definitely staying with the quality AVR route, I’m never going back to “normal” speaker setups). But I do stand to get 3D BD support and a few other features which I’ve had to do without for a while if I upgrade/replace…

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Harmy, it has been pretty quiet in this thread, just wondering if you ever made any decisions on your setup.

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No. I’m keeping the current setup for now. I’ve had some unexpected car expenses.