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How to connect HTPC to Amp?


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Hi guys, ive got an Onkyo TX-SR601 amp and a 6.1 setup. I'm just wondering what im going to need to do to connect my HTPC to this setup. My HTPC is currently without a soundcard (cept the pos onboard one), but i have an SB Live 5.1 in my other comp, but am basically wondering what soundcard i need to buy to connect to my amp.

Also, how am i going to do this, i know i have an S/PDIF socket (a 3.5mm headphone jack) on my SB Live, but how do i connect that to the Digital Coax input on my amp?

I only want to use the soundcard as a passthru to my amp.

Im using the comp atm for my HD-TV via my VP card, as well as DVD and some mp3s.

Basically, i really know very little about the audio side of things as far as integrating the HTPC with my existing sound setup goes, and i want to know how you guys do this.

I assume i need some sort of cable from teh SPDIF passthru on a soundcard like the SB Live, to the Digital Coax input on the amp, but what cable is that, and where do i get it?

Any help with this would be greatly appreciated.

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i've never heard of anyone using spdif RCA to 3.5mm headphone socket before for running digital audio. Sounds a bit dodgy.

I'd be getting a decent audio card like the SB audigy that has spdif RCA and digital optical outputs to hook up digital audio properly to your HT amp.

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Will a 3.5mm Mono (plugged into SPDIF) to RCA Mono into the Amp do the trick if i then set the SoundCard to Digital Output Only?

Yes it will Omega, it'll work quite nicely. I had that setup running off my old card for 18months. It's used quite a fair bit with older cards/setups. It's just a digital socket, it'll pass on the I's and O's no problems, just make sure you plug it into the right jack :blink:

Maybe try HTCentral.net in the HTPC section for more aussie related HTPC stuff.

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thanks nobby, i think ill use that setup for a while until i get another soundcard for that comp.

Ive found the ChaintechAV710 which has an optical digital output for $90, so im deciding between that and the M-Audio 7.1 with the coax digital output for $190. Just not sure if its worth getting the M-Audio when im going to be using the amp for processing anyway.

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Omega, do you know the brand and model of your motherboard on the computer? many new computer mothboards have header connection for optical and coax built on to the motherboard. If this is the case, you only need to buy a header cable ( about $15 ). if you can find the model number of the motherboard with the manual for the computer, or by pulling off the side cover of the computer and look for the brand and model number ( usually written in bold type) you can google for it and find out, or set us know the model here and we'll have a look for you...I the Nvidia boards usually have "soundstorm" built in and the sound from them is fantastic with optical... haven't tried coax from them...

cheers,

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Its an old Solktek SL-75DRV5, im pretty sure it doesnt have a header like that, cos generally Soltek dont add any bells and whistles. Thanks for the input though, cos it may be cheaper for me to just buy a whole new motherboard, than a soundcard (depending on which s/c i go for anyway).

Ive got a new problem now though, ive hooked up the amp via a Mono 3.5mm to Mono RCA lead into the Digital Coaxial Input. Then set the software to Digital Output only, but i only get PCM Stereo sound on the amp. Only my Front left and right speakers are working.

Ive tried setting the speaker settings to 2 speakers (as suggested by various places on teh net) and to 5.1, and a few more settings but the amp is only ever receiving stereo (or so it says), and my other speakers arnt working.

Anyone have an idea what coudl be causing this?

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I suggest you buy a $99 SB Audigy LS (series 1) as it has true DD & DTS pass thru via SPDIF. The SB Live! does not, as i found out much to my irritation (it put's out PCM only no matter what).

If you're into 3D gaming too, getting an nVidia motherboard that has Dolby encoding might be almost as cheap as the SB and have the added benefit of speeding up your system, while outputting true Dolby Digital 5.1 via S/PDIF for games like Doom 3: something which no soundcard can manage without analogue connections, at the moment.

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hmm, my problem with the Audigy, is that its only 3.5mm out. I want something either optical or RCA coaxial so i can just connect it straight to teh amp without adapters and crap. But if the Chaintech or M-Audio cant output true 5.1 etc, then i might have to.

Atm im trying to find an upgrade for PowerDVD that lets me choose a Passthru option, cos supposedly this can "unlock" so to speak the 5.1 on the Live series for DVD playback anyway....or so ive read.

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hmm, my problem with the Audigy, is that its only 3.5mm out. I want something either optical or RCA coaxial so i can just connect it straight to teh amp without adapters and crap. But if the Chaintech or M-Audio cant output true 5.1 etc, then i might have to.

Atm im trying to find an upgrade for PowerDVD that lets me choose a Passthru option, cos supposedly this can "unlock" so to speak the 5.1 on the Live series for DVD playback anyway....or so ive read.

just get a 3.5 to RCA adaptor, mines works fine with no issues at all.

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DON'T get any SB/Creative card.

While they are "OK" for passing DD or DTS............ for 2ch PCM they suck.

They resample all 44.1 to 48khz in hardware (this is bad mmmkay)

Even a cheapo onboard SPDIF would be better

Also a card that supports ASIO..... or at least can be used with ASIO4ALL (seems many onboard do not) will be fine.

The Chaintech and Revo you mentioned will allow this............ chaintech is the better $ option if ur just using digital

$25USD the thing is haha $90 here but :blink:

ASIO basicly allows apps that support it to "bypass" the windows sound mixer (kmixer) which does mangle PCM audio to an extent. It depends how picky one is about 2ch sound........ using ASIO/avoiding the kmixer is probably not a concern for many.

However the SB/Creative 48khz issue is much more profound and should be noticable even on a very average setup.

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DON'T get any SB/Creative card.

While they are "OK" for passing DD or DTS............ for 2ch PCM they suck.

They resample all 44.1 to 48khz in hardware (this is bad mmmkay)

Even a cheapo onboard SPDIF would be better

Also a card that supports ASIO..... or at least can be used with ASIO4ALL (seems many onboard do not) will be fine.

The Chaintech and Revo you mentioned will allow this............ chaintech is the better $ option if ur just using digital

$25USD the thing is haha $90 here but :blink:

ASIO basicly allows apps that support it to "bypass" the windows sound mixer (kmixer) which does mangle PCM audio to an extent.  It depends how picky one is about 2ch sound........ using ASIO/avoiding the kmixer is probably not a concern for many.

However the SB/Creative 48khz issue is much more profound and should be noticable even on a very average setup.

Basically i mainly just want the sound card to output all sound to my amp in whatever format it comes in (stereo or 5.1 or whatever) withouth messing with it, or restricting it to 2channels as it is atm. It seems that the Chaintech will do this, so i think ill get that soon, seeing as its much cheaper than the Revolution. Cos not having a centre channel is pissing me off, not to mention the rears.

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