DVI + Audio to A/V Receiver

wowolaf

Weaksauce
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Apr 26, 2006
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68
So I assembled an old gaming PC (which you guys helped me build a few years ago!) into an HTPC; the video card is an 8800 GTS (640 MB if it matters). I have an issue with handling the audio here. The 8800 GTS has only DVI, no HDMI. Ideally, I would like the pass the audio and video from the HTPC to an A/V receiver, which is in turn connected to my TV and audio setups. The problem here is input - it seems like most A/V receivers are going to expect both audio and video from a given HDMI input. A DVI -> HDMI adapter handles the video portion just fine, but do A/V receivers exist that would let me (for example) pass 3.5mm (for audio) + HDMI (converted from DVI, for video) simultaneously to the receiver as input sources? I'm also fine with getting a soundcard (such as for S/PDIF) if another audio source works better than 3.5mm from the onboard for this, but I'd like to keep the 8800 GTS if possible - I use the HTPC as a part-time couch gaming machine. If there are cards with HDMI out that would perform up the level of an 8800GTS for ~<$50, I'd consider that option too (but it'd be great if I could just take care of it all via the A/V receiver since I'm getting that no matter what).

If anyone could give me any guidance in this regard, that would be great and tremendously appreciated. I've searched around but haven't found too much in the way of this particular situation.
 

NoTrigger

Limp Gawd
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A DVI -> HDMI adapter handles the video portion just fine, but do A/V receivers exist that would let me (for example) pass 3.5mm (for audio) + HDMI (converted from DVI, for video) simultaneously to the receiver as input sources?

I don't really recommend doing that since the way a 3.5 mm plug is constructed is for Stereo audio.

6965473021_f888bde977_z.jpg


I'm also fine with getting a soundcard (such as for S/PDIF) if another audio source works better than 3.5mm from the onboard for this, but I'd like to keep the 8800 GTS if possible - I use the HTPC as a part-time couch gaming machine. If there are cards with HDMI out that would perform up the level of an 8800GTS for ~<$50, I'd consider that option too (but it'd be great if I could just take care of it all via the A/V receiver since I'm getting that no matter what).

An S/PDIF isn't really ideal when using more than 2 channels (Stereo/Headphones). It will overly compress the audio which would result in a lossy audio signal (Here is a more detailed explanation).

I would just recommend getting a new graphics card. In regards to which graphics card to get, nearly every current low/mid-range card should suite your needs. I will let other chime in on recommendations (Since I haven't looked into HTPC specific graphics cards).
 

bloodypulp

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you can't hear a difference between lossy/lossless unless you are using higher-end speakers.

a cheap $10 sound card with SPDIF-optical will work fine to passthrough DD/DTS material.
 

Adidas4275

Supreme [H]ardness
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But a cheap 5550 GPU can be bought for like $25 and it will save on power use, heat and noise

I would recommend a low end 6xxx or 5xxx series card rather than an adapter or sound card
 

tesfaye

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you can't hear a difference between lossy/lossless unless you are using higher-end speakers.
Agreed (probably in conflict with some earlier posts I've made, but shit changes). These days, and IMHO, it's hard to tell with most pop music, or anything engineered with genpop in mind, even on a really good sound system, if said sound system has balanced and near flat response at the listening position. After I calibrated my Denon receiver (acts as the pre/pro), MP3's sound much better through it. Using EQ to any extremes brings out the harshness of most compressed recordings(understand what MP3 is meant to do and it should make sense). My hearing is great at 37 years old and I still hear >18.5khz. In my opinion you don't hear a difference these days unless you have a recording that has wide dynamics, and I find that even then the sound isn't bad at all.

I used to run 5.1 audio to my home theater system over coaxial RCA cable back in the day using DTS(or was it DD5.1) when NVidia nForce chipsets had the option. It sounded great first of all, and no one even knew it was compressed audio. I was the only person who even cared about the differences when you could find them. Even then, it wasn't a big deal, so whatever Nvidia was doing, it didn't sound nearly as bad as the standard MP3 compression in use at the time.

In case you wondering if I'm forming these opinions using a HTIB:

My current man cave system consists of:
Front speakers: Magnepan MMGs
Rear speakers: Magnepan MMGW
Center: None at this time.
Sub: Polk PSW350 ( -6db@19hz, -3db@20hz and -/+2db@25hz-60hz after calibration at the listening position)
PrePro: Denon AVR988
Front amplification: Emotiva XPA-2
Rear amplification: Arcam Alpha 8P
HTPC1: Intel NUC (Core i3 with GigE and dual HDMI) over HDMI (24bit-192khz audio out) for music, movies, and everything else that doesn't require a gaming class GPU.
HTPC2: Gaming machine. (lives in a nice Silverstone GD05 case)
Display: Panasonic GT35 50" plasma
Tactile: Buttkicker wireless mounted directly to couch frame.
 

450

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My current man cave system consists of:
Front speakers: Magnepan MMGs
Rear speakers: Magnepan MMGW
Center: None at this time.

1. You should try out the 1.6's at some point.
2. Have you looked into the Magnepan center channels?
 

tesfaye

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1. You should try out the 1.6's at some point.
2. Have you looked into the Magnepan center channels?
1. I've had my eyes on them before the MMGs found a home in my livingroom over a decade ago. You had to hear the improvement going from the Arcam amp which sounded fansastic to the Emotiva XPA-2 which took the MMGs up a couple of levels at least in sound quality. It was a pretty drastic change. I swapped amps right away and was floored. So the MMGs get to hang out a little longer until I get some dough together to buy the 1.7s. I've read that the 1.7s are a noticeably better than the 1.6s. Also, I just burned close to another $1000 on a Drobo 5N and Intel NUC with 4GB of RAM and a 64GB m-SATA SSD, so when you throw in the Emotiva amp upgrade along with that, it's hard for me to justify new speakers when my wife is asking for kitchen and back yard upgrades.

2. I most certainly have! But I'm holding out on that. I have to get an XP-3 when I get the center, because that one will need MOAR POWAH and I want the fronts to match sonically and the rears as well. You can hear a difference between the fronts and the rear speakers due to the different amplification characteristics between the two amps.

What did you settle on for your system. I remember exchanging msgs with you a year or so ago about Maggies. I don't think that worked out for you and you decided to take a different route.
 

wowolaf

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Thanks for the replies, everyone. I am fine with the idea of getting a new GPU (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...eo+Cards+-+AMD/ATI-_-Sapphire+Tech-_-14102933 comes to mind), but I am also using this machine as a Steambox, so some gaming performance is very important to me (I don't need more than what's provided by the 8800GTS, but anything that didn't perform at least that well would give me pause). I'm hoping to spend $50 or less to handle this problem. Benchmarks seem to indicate the 6450 is not as good as the 8800 GTS.

I did find a converter box which will convert DVI and R/L audio to HDMI, but reviews of this product are somewhat scarce. Do you guys think something like this would work?

3.5mm -> RCA using converter cable, then RCA + DVI into this:
http://www.monoprice.com/products/p...d=1011405&p_id=8124&seq=1&format=1#largeimage

Then HDMI --> receiver (or TV). I haven't really seen much discussion of that Monoprice converter, however, so I'm a little worried about quality loss.
 

doug_7506

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I would stay away from converters. They are usually no good and expensive.

I see two options really.

1) Buy an cheap sound card that will output the signal

2) Buy a newer graphics card that will handle both. Dont buy that 6450. I bought a similar card and it is really really terrible. I mean 6fps on Heaven and 3 fps on company of heroes.
I'd recommend something used. Only problem you run into is that lots of people have 8800gts for 30-40 on ebay. So it might be hard to get anything better for under 50.
 

wowolaf

Weaksauce
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Messages
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I also like the idea of buying a sound card, but I'm not sure what sound card can help me out here - the problem is that either a TV or AV Receiver are going to be looking for both audio and video from a given HDMI input. Do soundcards exist such that I could output some audio signal alongside a DVI->HDMI video signal and have each properly recognized by a receiver? From what I've found, AV receivers with DVI input (which would solve the problem) are pretty hard to come by.
 

450

Fully [H]
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What receiver do you have? You could always use analog 5.1 or 7.1 out to the receiver.
 

doug_7506

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I also like the idea of buying a sound card, but I'm not sure what sound card can help me out here - the problem is that either a TV or AV Receiver are going to be looking for both audio and video from a given HDMI input. Do soundcards exist such that I could output some audio signal alongside a DVI->HDMI video signal and have each properly recognized by a receiver? From what I've found, AV receivers with DVI input (which would solve the problem) are pretty hard to come by.

dvi to hdmi cable to receiver and soundcard via optical to receiver. done

Almost all a/v receiver will have at least 1 or 2 assignable optical in ports. Just assign the optical port to the same input as the hdmi in cable.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007TMZ1BK?tag=intercept-kb-20

Also do you have these cables already or do you need to buy?
 

wowolaf

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Messages
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dvi to hdmi cable to receiver and soundcard via optical to receiver. done

Almost all a/v receiver will have at least 1 or 2 assignable optical in ports. Just assign the optical port to the same input as the hdmi in cable.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007TMZ1BK?tag=intercept-kb-20

Also do you have these cables already or do you need to buy?

Awesome, thanks Doug. I already have the DVI->HDMI cable, but no audio cables or receiver yet.

Also, 450, thanks for your reply too - This setup is really just starting to come together. Now that I moved into a place with a proper living room and TV, I transplanted an old gaming PC into an HTPC case. I've got that up and running, but have done basically nothing with the audio yet. I can always start another thread for this, but, since we're here, do you guys have any recommendations for entry-level AV receivers and 5.1ch audio systems? :D

if not a "like new" gtx640 might be an all around better deal. http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listi...condition=used

This is tempting just for its simplicity - How would the sound quality here stack up against something piped out of a sound card? Forgive my ignorance on these matters, my hardware knowledge (especially when it comes to audio) is subpar. Thanks so much for your help, everybody. You guys rock :)
 

450

Fully [H]
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Messages
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What's your budget?

You'll need...
Receiver
Speaker Wire
Speakers

Are you looking for a 5.1 or 7.1 setup?

How big is your room?

What are all of the components you have? Include model numbers if possible.
 

Skripka

[H]F Junkie
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Feb 5, 2012
Messages
10,792
So I assembled an old gaming PC (which you guys helped me build a few years ago!) into an HTPC; the video card is an 8800 GTS (640 MB if it matters). I have an issue with handling the audio here. The 8800 GTS has only DVI, no HDMI. Ideally, I would like the pass the audio and video from the HTPC to an A/V receiver, which is in turn connected to my TV and audio setups. The problem here is input - it seems like most A/V receivers are going to expect both audio and video from a given HDMI input. A DVI -> HDMI adapter handles the video portion just fine, but do A/V receivers exist that would let me (for example) pass 3.5mm (for audio) + HDMI (converted from DVI, for video) simultaneously to the receiver as input sources? I'm also fine with getting a soundcard (such as for S/PDIF) if another audio source works better than 3.5mm from the onboard for this, but I'd like to keep the 8800 GTS if possible - I use the HTPC as a part-time couch gaming machine. If there are cards with HDMI out that would perform up the level of an 8800GTS for ~<$50, I'd consider that option too (but it'd be great if I could just take care of it all via the A/V receiver since I'm getting that no matter what).

If anyone could give me any guidance in this regard, that would be great and tremendously appreciated. I've searched around but haven't found too much in the way of this particular situation.

You're best served IMHO by getting a videocard with HDMI. Sure you can get an audio card-but then your life is complicated by Dolby DTS or DDL codecs and what your receiver supports...when HDMI is plug and play.

Coaxial and optical SPDIF should have been deprecated a decade ago.

Agreed (probably in conflict with some earlier posts I've made, but shit changes). These days, and IMHO, it's hard to tell with most pop music, or anything engineered with genpop in mind, even on a really good sound system, if said sound system has balanced and near flat response at the listening position. .

It is hard to tell in pop music...because there's SO much audio engineering done that not even someone who plays guitar really knows what a rock guitarist on stage hears and therefore knows what it is "supposed" to sound like. "Supposed" as in replicating in your living room what the performer was hearing of himself on stage.

With any acoustic music, if you play the instrument you can hear if it sounds wrong on your own system easily.

Most bands bring at least 1 or 2 fully-loaded 53' trailers worth of just audio gear in addition to the musician's instruments, and in addition to all the speakers....with enough cabling and audio racks to wire Air Force 1. I took this photo at work of the audio world of a major national award-winning rock-musical that is currently touring... these racks would fill most American living rooms with no room to spare, and most of the cabling is hidden. This is how much audio equipment and processing power it takes hidden backstage (not including the audio pit in Front of House) for a *small* rock group to go from what the performer hears to "that sound" that you actually hear:

index.php
 

IdiotInCharge

NVIDIA SHILL
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Messages
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This is tempting just for its simplicity - How would the sound quality here stack up against something piped out of a sound card? Forgive my ignorance on these matters, my hardware knowledge (especially when it comes to audio) is subpar. Thanks so much for your help, everybody. You guys rock :)

HDMI for video and up to 7.1 audio is the only way to go for surround sound, if you can. HDMI provides for lossless 7.1 PCM, meaning that everything, from music (when expanded) to movies to games can output in 7.1.

And it's easy. Once you select 'HDMI' as your audio output (instead of Realtek or Sound Blaster or Xonar etc.), you can tell Windows what to output according to your speaker setup- usually 5.1 or 7.1. Then it's just up to the applications to make use of it. Video/movie apps have settings for handling the decoding, and games may have to be set in their control panel.

Also, HDMI is superior to Dolby Digital Live! and DTS Connect, which encode 5.1 on the fly and are found on X-Fi, Xonar, and some Realtek products. These solutions are limited to 5.1 and compress the audio signal, whereas HDMI is uncompressed. HDMI is literally just hooking up the software audio stack in Windows to the DACs (digital to analog converters) in a receiver.
 

doug_7506

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Messages
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This is tempting just for its simplicity - How would the sound quality here stack up against something piped out of a sound card?

HDMI for video and up to 7.1 audio is the only way to go for surround sound, if you can. HDMI provides for lossless 7.1 PCM, meaning that everything, from music (when expanded) to movies to games can output in 7.1.

And it's easy. Once you select 'HDMI' as your audio output (instead of Realtek or Sound Blaster or Xonar etc.), you can tell Windows what to output according to your speaker setup- usually 5.1 or 7.1. Then it's just up to the applications to make use of it. Video/movie apps have settings for handling the decoding, and games may have to be set in their control panel.

Also, HDMI is superior to Dolby Digital Live! and DTS Connect, which encode 5.1 on the fly and are found on X-Fi, Xonar, and some Realtek products. These solutions are limited to 5.1 and compress the audio signal, whereas HDMI is uncompressed. HDMI is literally just hooking up the software audio stack in Windows to the DACs (digital to analog converters) in a receiver.

+1 HDMI really is the better choice.
 

doug_7506

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I can always start another thread for this, but, since we're here, do you guys have any recommendations for entry-level AV receivers and 5.1ch audio systems? :D

hard to do without a budget. But two ~200 ones that i personally like: Onkyo 509 EDIT (NM 1513 doesnt have audyessy.)

I find Onkyo has the best features for the $.

EDIT 2: Onkyo 515 for 260. Again "Like New" You wont find anything with comparable features to the 515 within ~$100 to 200.

I'm slightly biased though as I love my onkyo avr
 
Last edited:

wowolaf

Weaksauce
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Apr 26, 2006
Messages
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What's your budget?

You'll need...
Receiver
Speaker Wire
Speakers

Are you looking for a 5.1 or 7.1 setup?

How big is your room?

What are all of the components you have? Include model numbers if possible.

If possible, I'd kinda like to keep the audio setup under $600. I know that's on the lower end of what these setups can cost, but I've seen some Onkyo receivers in the $200 - $300 range that seem to have garnered some praise. Given my budget and the fact that this is my first real foray into home theater audio, I'm really just looking for a 5.1 setup for the moment.

The room is in the neighborhood of 18' x 15', but I can provide exact measurements when I'm home later today.

As far as components go, I have basically zero audio components for this setup. I'm currently driving the audio on the HTPC using the onboard sound from a Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3R, which is obviously not great. That means I'm going to be buying an AVR, speakers, and all the wiring (minus the HDMI cables, which I have plenty of).

+1 HDMI really is the better choice.

That's legit. I think that part of it is settled - I'm just gonna grab a new GPU with HDMI. That seems like the easiest option in the long run. Thanks again!

hard to do without a budget. But two ~200 ones that i personally like: Onkyo 509 EDIT (NM 1513 doesnt have audyessy.)

I find Onkyo has the best features for the $.

EDIT 2: Onkyo 515 for 260. Again "Like New" You wont find anything with comparable features to the 515 within ~$100 to 200.

I'm slightly biased though as I love my onkyo avr

This post showed up as I was writing my first reply! :p Thanks for the recommendations, I was looking at Onkyo as well.
 

IdiotInCharge

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That Onkyo 515 looks as good as any, at least until we get HDMI 2.0 for 4k/60Hz passthrough. Good deal for something with a ton of HDMI inputs, 7.1, and Onkyo's automatic level adjustment.
 

doug_7506

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EDIT:

Or go with the quintet system new for $75 more and hold off on the sub. http://www.amazon.com/Klipsch-QUINT...e=UTF8&qid=1366126306&sr=8-1&keywords=quintet

Really don't skimp on your AVR system. A good one will last a decade. A bad one will make you wanting to upgrade in year.

The quintet system and the Onkyo 515 is a great base. For under $600 you are off to a great start.

Then once you save up some money you can add a real nice sub like above for $200.

Then save some more and you can add two floor speakers and make your system into a 7.1
 
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450

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I'd just get 2 speakers, a sub, and a cheap used non-HDMI receiver. Additional speakers would come in as more money was available. I've always worked with limited budgets and having less high quality components always beats out a lot of crap components.

http://www.accessories4less.com/mak...C330-5.1-CHANNEL-HOME-THEATER-RECEIVER/1.html

http://www.accessories4less.com/mak...50-Watt-A-Series-Subwoofer-Black/1.html#!more

http://slickdeals.net/f/5965310-Infinity-P363-Floorspeaker-117-234-Free-Shipping-at-Frys-com
Call for the price of $234 shipped

2.1 setup, but add more speakers as budget allows. This is the way to go.
 

Skripka

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General note about HDMI Onkyos, keep them cool and well ventilated...they can overheat and die fairly easily. Lots of reports about it across various units on the internet. They sound good, but they can be smoked by overheating if you don't put them somewhere where they can breathe.

OP if you need a receiver look on Craigslist in your area. For the same coin, a used AVR that is $200 will far out-do any $200 brand new entry-level AVR. People are unloading AVRs all the time, only trick is finding one that does HDMI.
 

450

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General note about HDMI Onkyos, keep them cool and well ventilated...they can overheat and die fairly easily. Lots of reports about it across various units on the internet. They sound good, but they can be smoked by overheating if you don't put them somewhere where they can breathe.

OP if you need a receiver look on Craigslist in your area. For the same coin, a used AVR that is $200 will far out-do any $200 brand new entry-level AVR. People are unloading AVRs all the time, only trick is finding one that does HDMI.

I don't even think HDMI is critical. His TV should have optical or coaxial audio out. He can go HDMI to the TV and then optical or coax to the receiver. Done.
 

doug_7506

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I don't even think HDMI is critical. His TV should have optical or coaxial audio out. He can go HDMI to the TV and then optical or coax to the receiver. Done.

HDMI avr is really not necessary, but they do make life easier. Especially if he has a lot of components. Also makes cable management cleaner and lets not forget all the OSD extras. Necessary no, but it is very nice.

I'd just get 2 speakers, a sub, and a cheap used non-HDMI receiver. Additional speakers would come in as more money was available. I've always worked with limited budgets and having less high quality components always beats out a lot of crap components.

http://www.accessories4less.com/mak...C330-5.1-CHANNEL-HOME-THEATER-RECEIVER/1.html

http://www.accessories4less.com/mak...50-Watt-A-Series-Subwoofer-Black/1.html#!more

http://slickdeals.net/f/5965310-Infinity-P363-Floorspeaker-117-234-Free-Shipping-at-Frys-com
Call for the price of $234 shipped

2.1 setup, but add more speakers as budget allows. This is the way to go.

That is a great sub and some good floor standing speakers. I just don't like the AVR very much.

A 2.1 setup would definitely do, but that setup run with a sub-par amp with no calibration like audyssey.

As 450 said, make a system you can build on. Amazing deals on A/V equipment pops up all the time. I just think the easiest thing to build around is a great avr receiver. The 515 is only ~130 more once you factor in shipping, but you are getting a lot more for your $$.

After the 515 you still have 340 left in your budget. a great 5.0 system like the quintet or 2 nice floor standing speakers like the infinity's at frys (a good deal) will give you a great foundation to build from.

btw, my friend just spent $1k on quintets and a yamaha avr from bestbuy. The sound is amazing and the 515 is just as good if nto better than the amp he went with. IMO, with really good speakers like the quintets you're really not missing a whole lot without the bass from a sub until you can afford to add it in. But if you want more of a full sound, you might be better starting with the two floor standing speakers and adding the rest later.
 

450

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I've had a few receivers with Audyssey. Honestly, it wasn't that big of a deal if you take time to calibrate it yourself.
 
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