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Old 28th December 2006, 08:37 AM   #1
cotdt is offline cotdt  United States
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Default Surround sound from PC possible?

I'm looking for a sound card that can output multiple distinct digital signals so I can get 4.1 or 5.1 surround sound from my external DACs.

I know any modern sound card has analogue outputs for surround sound, but all internal sound cards have terrible sound and high noise floors that anyone can notice, not just audiophiles. And I'm talking about expensive highly respected sound cards, too. So later I moved to external DACs and wow what a difference both in sound quality and lower noise (inaudible!). But the problem is, I don't know of any sound card that can support surround sound and in addition has at least 2 digital outputs so that you can connect two DACs for 4-channel sound. I don't really care about the center channel, just want the 2 extra channels in the back.

It's for watching movies and also using a Dolby PrologicII Surround processing software (it's open source i think) for music. It's really very nice, but I need your help in my crusade.
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Old 28th December 2006, 02:36 PM   #2
kevinkr is offline kevinkr  United States
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Most prosumer sound cards like the m-audio audiophile 2496 support dts and dolby digital through their spdif outputs. I use one (in stereo only for spdif) and have had no problems.

You can install up to 4 audiophile 2496 in any pc with sufficient slots and each one has a dedicated spdif output that can be configured as needed to do what you want to do.

I use only one card, but have it configured so that I can route different media to the analog out and spdif simultaneously. It works great..

The analog outputs are reasonably quiet on this sound card, although I use them for non critical video listening, and only as fixed level outputs. (Volume control elsewhere)

Edit: hopefully completely answer question

Comment: Unless you mix the center channel back into the left and right channels in dolby 5.1 there may be a lot of instances where things don't pan smoothly across the screen and some dialog may also be nearly inaudible. You actually do need the center channel at least for video..
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Old 28th December 2006, 08:09 PM   #3
cotdt is offline cotdt  United States
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Quote:
Originally posted by kevinkr
Most prosumer sound cards like the m-audio audiophile 2496 support dts and dolby digital through their spdif outputs. I use one (in stereo only for spdif) and have had no problems.

You can install up to 4 audiophile 2496 in any pc with sufficient slots and each one has a dedicated spdif output that can be configured as needed to do what you want to do.

I use only one card, but have it configured so that I can route different media to the analog out and spdif simultaneously. It works great..

The analog outputs are reasonably quiet on this sound card, although I use them for non critical video listening, and only as fixed level outputs. (Volume control elsewhere)

Edit: hopefully completely answer question

Comment: Unless you mix the center channel back into the left and right channels in dolby 5.1 there may be a lot of instances where things don't pan smoothly across the screen and some dialog may also be nearly inaudible. You actually do need the center channel at least for video..

I'm currently using the M-Audio Revolution 7.1, would that also work? I can get a bunch of them, but it seems the drivers only let you do simple things so I guess I might need the Audiophile 2496 after all. My sound card is noisy though much better than the Creative sound cards. How would I route surround sound both to the analog and digital (coaxial) simultaneously?
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Old 28th December 2006, 11:52 PM   #4
phn is offline phn  Sweden
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Since nobody has answered.

It will work. You basically have a surround processor/preamp. You now need the amplifiers, 5-7 of them.

I don't know what the digital is here. But you use either digital or analogue.
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Old 29th December 2006, 01:02 AM   #5
cotdt is offline cotdt  United States
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Quote:
Originally posted by phn
Since nobody has answered.

It will work. You basically have a surround processor/preamp. You now need the amplifiers, 5-7 of them.

I don't know what the digital is here. But you use either digital or analogue.
But my surround processor is in software, so I don't have a preamp. I'm trying to output surround sound from 3 digital outputs, but it would require 3 separate sound cards it seems. And even then, I don't know how to set it up to do that. I do have a dozen amps, though.
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Old 29th December 2006, 09:58 AM   #6
seoman is offline seoman  Netherlands
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Default Re: Surround sound from PC possible?

Quote:
Originally posted by cotdt
I'm looking for a sound card that can output multiple distinct digital signals so I can get 4.1 or 5.1 surround sound from my external DACs.

I know any modern sound card has analogue outputs for surround sound, but all internal sound cards have terrible sound and high noise floors that anyone can notice, not just audiophiles. And I'm talking about expensive highly respected sound cards, too. So later I moved to external DACs and wow what a difference both in sound quality and lower noise (inaudible!). But the problem is, I don't know of any sound card that can support surround sound and in addition has at least 2 digital outputs so that you can connect two DACs for 4-channel sound. I don't really care about the center channel, just want the 2 extra channels in the back.

It's for watching movies and also using a Dolby PrologicII Surround processing software (it's open source i think) for music. It's really very nice, but I need your help in my crusade.
You need software that decodes the DD/prologic/dts stream into several audio streams.
From there you can use any multi ouput card.

But I don't know of any software what is capables to do so.
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Old 29th December 2006, 10:08 AM   #7
phn is offline phn  Sweden
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Default Re: Re: Surround sound from PC possible?

Quote:
Originally posted by seoman


You need software that decodes the DD/prologic/dts stream into several audio streams.
From there you can use any multi ouput card.

But I don't know of any software what is capables to do so.
Doesn't the sound card do that with analogue out(s)?

If I'm wrong, there's the Creative Labs DDTS-100 surround decoder. But you will then need a preamp.
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Old 29th December 2006, 11:26 AM   #8
seoman is offline seoman  Netherlands
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Default Re: Re: Re: Surround sound from PC possible?

Quote:
Originally posted by phn


Doesn't the sound card do that with analogue out(s)?

If I'm wrong, there's the Creative Labs DDTS-100 surround decoder. But you will then need a preamp.
Yes it does. But that is out of reach from windows or other soundcards.

With a lot of luck you have 3 seperate dac's on the card.
So you can intercept the i2s signals and feed them into an SPDIF transmitter.
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