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Stealth3si

What is a good sound card for HTPC?

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Can someone help me locate a particular sound card that can do the following?

 

1.) can *decode* DD and DTS

2.) has a TOSLink optical digital input that accepts DD/DTS 5.1, not just stereo PCM

3.) has a TOSLink optical digital input that works with the analog output, meaning it will convert the digital 5.1 sound to analog 5.1 output

4.) has multi-channel analog output

5.) has PCI slot

 

Unfortunately, documentation for these is sparse.

 

So I would appreciate anyone who has experience with this to share their knowledge.

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Why do you need two topics for the same question? Keep it to one, the other isn't that old.

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Why do you need two topics for the same question? Keep it to one, the other isn't that old.

Sorry if this seems like a repost. There is another thread I created that is somewhat similar to this. I believe that one was more general in nature about sound cards, receivers or stand-alone decoders while this one seems to be more specific in nature, regarding sound cards.

 

But I totally understand if I should stick to the older one.

 

Thanks for the heads up.

Edited by Stealth3si

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After some deliberation, I decided to upgrade my mobo, Ram, and GPU so I can watch my desired videos from the PC in lieu of the WDTV Live, which would free it from my room to be viewed in other parts of the house by the family.

 

I also want to open up my options to other alternatives and I believe I can accomplish this task by creating a survey for anyone to voluntarily take. It will only take a few minutes of your time and this would really help me quantify my data so I can make an educated purchase.

 

Here goes.

 

I prepared a short survey for my OT because I wanted to re-evaluate my original question and better rephrase it in a different format that would make my decision-making process more accessible to all of us. I've provided much information as necessarily possible so please let me know if there's anything you need to know to make an informed suggestion.

 

Basically I was wondering if you can include a list of sound cards (PCI-E or PCI) by voting for the best sound card in different categories for me to tally and choose from so I can have an idea which one to buy. I think most likely the higher-end sound cards may be overkill for my "HTPC" system where digital speakers, amps and AVRs are nonexistent, so to gauge the budget, I'd say something that is a sustainable upgrade (from either onboard sound or an Audigy 2) at a "bang for the buck" range.

 

In a distant future far away I will upgrade to digital speakers and amp/receiver, by which time I shall return and seek the appropriate sound card.

 

But for now, here are my current HTPC audio sources.

 

·Speaker setup: Analog 5.1.

·Headphone: "foam-removed" Sennhesier HD-555.

·Audio movie source: lossy compressed DD and DTS encoded in AC3/DTS bitstreams, 640kpbs-1.5Mbps. They are not HD-Audio as in TrueHD, DTS-HD, etc. There are no external video hardware involved, just files downloaded via filehosting site.

·Audio music source: lossy compresed MP3s with optimally encoded variable to 320kbps high bitrates. (Both audio movie/music sources are from my personal backups globally stored in a remote clandestine server.)

·Audio videogame sources are PC titles.

 

The following categories are soundcard application objectives that I intend to do with the soundcard, ordered by significance:

 

Category 1: Analog playback via internal DAC

Category 2: Movies

Category 3: Music

Category 4: Games

 

Each category is divided by 3 tiers.

 

Tier 1 = The best soundcard for its category.

Tier 2 = An excellent soundcard for its category.

Tier 3 = A good soundcard for its category.

 

Examples of what I mean:

 

Category 1: Analog playback via internal DAC

Tier 1 = Creative X-Fi Elite Pro ----> the best soundcard for Analog playback via internal DAC.

Tier 2 = Turtle Beach ----> an excellent soundcard for Analog playback via internal DAC.

Tier 3 = Asus HDAV13 Deluxe ----> a good soundcard for Analog playback via internal DAC

 

Category 2: Movies

Tier 1 = Xplosion ----> the best soundcard for Movies

Tier 2 = Asus Xonar D2X ----> an excellent soundcard for Movies

Tier 3 = HT Omega Striker ----> a good soundcard for Movies

 

Category 3: Music

Tier 1 = Creative X-Fi Elite Pro ----> the best soundcard for Music

Tier 2 = Xplosion ----> an excellent soundcard for Music

Tier 3 = X-Fi XtremeMusic ----> a good soundcard for Music

 

Category 4: Games

Tier 1 = Creative Fatal1ty ----> the best soundcard for Games

Tier 2 = Xplosion ----> an excellent soundcard for Games

Tier 3 = HT Omega Claro ----> a good soundcard for Games

 

As you can see, I've placed soundcards that excel in particular areas than others, while also placing them again in different categories > tiers. These are just examples, which show I know next to nothing. Hence, I humbly seek your advice.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

So I would appreciate if someone could "vote" for their favorite or best sound card you think deserves their place and please completely fill out all 4 categories as you possibly can.

 

Can you please limit only one instance of a specific sound card model per category but there can also be multiple different models of the same company per category.

 

For instance, I would prefer the following:

 

Category 1: Analog playback via internal DAC

Tier 1 = Creative X-Fi Elite Pro

Tier 2 = Creative X-Fi Platinum

Tier 3 = Asus HDAV13 Deluxe

 

But not like this:

Category 1: Analog playback via internal DAC

Tier 1 = Creative X-Fi Elite Pro

Tier 2 = Creative X-Fi Elite Pro

Tier 3 = Creative X-Fi Elite Pro

 

Let me know if you have any questions and thanks again.

 

 

 

 

 

And here is the actual survey:

 

Category 1: Analog playback via internal DAC

Tier 1 = ____________

Tier 2 = ____________

Tier 3 = ____________

 

Category 2: Movies

Tier 1 = ____________

Tier 2 = ____________

Tier 3 = ____________

 

Category 3: Music

Tier 1 = ____________

Tier 2 = ____________

Tier 3 = ____________

 

Category 4: Games

Tier 1 = ____________

Tier 2 = ____________

Tier 3 = ____________

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Not sure on the documentation but...

 

Have you checked out the Xonar D1 and Xonar D2?

Or perhaps the HT Omega Claro (and the Omega Claro XT)

Also worth looking at some Auzentech stuff (X-meridian) though I believe that their PCI-E cards are the most well known of the brand.

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Not sure on the documentation but...

 

Have you checked out the Xonar D1 and Xonar D2?

Or perhaps the HT Omega Claro (and the Omega Claro XT)

Also worth looking at some Auzentech stuff (X-meridian) though I believe that their PCI-E cards are the most well known of the brand.

No.

 

What is a good low profile sound card that is comparable to the Asus Xonar D2?

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While the X-Meridian or Claro Plus would be a good choice, the OP asked for a low profile card. The Auzentech X-Fi Forte or HT Omega eClaro are both low profile sound cards that would work well, just they are a bit expensive.

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