General Mobo Question - Onboard Surround? Or do we still need discrete cards?

DarkSideA8

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I've been looking at mobos lately - and not seeing the back panel connectors for surround sound.
Example: https://www.newegg.com/msi-mpg-x570...NG EDGE-_-13-144-261-_-Product&quicklink=true

But the mobo I bought over a year ago has these connectors which I do associate with good on-board sound: https://www.newegg.com/p/2MG-001K-0...CFSIJxQod_I8JbA&gclsrc=ds&Item=9SIAPMXBKR7888

To compound this - I've seen boards with only one PCIe slot (presumably for the GPU) - and back panels lacking the surround support... what is a gamer to do then?

Seeing as this is really a 'what are the current best practices" wrt surround sound; are mobos coming equipped with good onboard surround or are discrete cards still the norm (if so... what's a good one?)?
 

doubletake

Gawd
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Did you link the wrong board or something? Because those two motherboards have the exact same audio outputs (5.1 analogue surround & mic-in + optical-out).
 

Aegir

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Depends on your budget.

Higher end desires means you need to spend higher end prices.

Either look for a motherboard that has what you need, or possibly look for more updated alternatives.

The highest quality MIDI sound card of the olden days is now beyond worthless today, just as "surround sound" connectors might be just as worthless if it's an obsolete standard.
However, if you need a certain connector, then you'll need to either install it yourself, or just pick out a motherboard that has it.

There's really not much else you can do.
 

DarkSideA8

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Did you link the wrong board or something? Because those two motherboards have the exact same audio outputs (5.1 analogue surround & mic-in + optical-out).
I don't think so. The MSI board doesn't have the colored connectors like the gigabyte - I admit I could be completely mistaken about what is there.
 

DarkSideA8

Limp Gawd
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Depends on your budget.

Higher end desires means you need to spend higher end prices.

Either look for a motherboard that has what you need, or possibly look for more updated alternatives.

The highest quality MIDI sound card of the olden days is now beyond worthless today, just as "surround sound" connectors might be just as worthless if it's an obsolete standard.
However, if you need a certain connector, then you'll need to either install it yourself, or just pick out a motherboard that has it.

There's really not much else you can do.

I've got a really old surround set up - and trying to advise a friend of what to get... And of course, current best practices with sound are not my strongest area
 

Denpepe

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I don't think so. The MSI board doesn't have the colored connectors like the gigabyte - I admit I could be completely mistaken about what is there.

Taken from the spec part of the website
Onboard Audio
Audio Chipset Realtek ALC1220
Audio Channels 7.1-Channel High Definition Audio
Supports S/PDIF output
 

pendragon1

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if they have optical onboard you can do DD/DTS/DDL for surround or use the discrete analog jacks, which are not always color coded.
 

DarkSideA8

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Taken from the spec part of the website
Onboard Audio
Audio ChipsetRealtek ALC1220
Audio Channels7.1-Channel High Definition Audio
Supports S/PDIF output
Huh. Completely missed it - thanks.

Does that mean he needs a s/PDIF compatible speaker setup?
 

doubletake

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I don't think so. The MSI board doesn't have the colored connectors like the gigabyte - I admit I could be completely mistaken about what is there.

lol really?

The lack of color-coded I/O means absolutely nothing. The outputs on the MSI board are simply all black to match the general board aesthetic. They are still the same fL/fR, C/Sub, sL/sR/Line-in, rL/rR, and Mic-in outputs. Come on man. You don't even have to guess. When in doubt about a motherboard feature (or lack thereof), you can always just look up the manual.
 

madmat

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Me, I run the SPDiF (optical) out from my board into a surround sound receiver (in my case Denon AVR3808) and let it do the heavy lifting. I had to resort to this setup due to a jerk in my neighborhood running a 400W linear on his CB and bleeding through my old analog PC speaker system.
 

madmat

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Only if you have a DTS/DD/etc source - most things don't encode to that anymore on the fly (DTS connect/DD Live are both dying technologies, sadly).
Um, you realize that a HTR worth its salt will happily decode PCM right?
 

lopoetve

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Um, you realize that a HTR worth its salt will happily decode PCM right?

SPDIF is only enough bandwidth for 2.0 - unless you're using HDMI, you don't have the bandwidth to send a 5.1/7.1 signal unless compressed with DD/DTS/etc. Now, the receiver can use various things to translate that into 5.1/7.1 (I'm using DTS Neo, I believe on mine at the moment), but it's not the actual signal. And HDMI has its own limitations right now (ghost screens or lack of VRR for most things).
 

madmat

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SPDIF is only enough bandwidth for 2.0 - unless you're using HDMI, you don't have the bandwidth to send a 5.1/7.1 signal unless compressed with DD/DTS/etc. Now, the receiver can use various things to translate that into 5.1/7.1 (I'm using DTS Neo, I believe on mine at the moment), but it's not the actual signal. And HDMI has its own limitations right now (ghost screens or lack of VRR for most things).
Heh, SPDiF is enough bandwidth for 7.1 not 2.0. You have to do HDMI for for atmos. Edit: Yes it has to be compressed via DD or DTS but pro logic or pro logic II extrapolates surround info from uncompressed 2.0 and gives you 5/6/7.1 quite well on PCM. The surround on my games works just fine despite it not encoding in DD or DTS.
 
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lopoetve

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Heh, SPDiF is enough bandwidth for 7.1 not 2.0. You have to do HDMI for for atmos.

Sadly no.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S/PDIF

Quote: S/PDIF is based on the AES3 interconnect standard.[3] S/PDIF can carry two channels of uncompressed PCM audio or compressed 5.1/7.1 surround sound (such as DTS audio codec); it cannot support lossless surround formats that require greater bandwidth.[4]

Been through that a few thousand times. Your receiver is using one of the dolby or DTS up-mixing protocols to take 2.0 and spin it to something higher. Which, don't get me wrong - they do a hell of a job at - but it's a 2.0 channel being sent by the system, even if windows claims it's higher.

sucks, but the protocol was designed a hell of a long time ago.
 

Dan_D

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I don't think so. The MSI board doesn't have the colored connectors like the gigabyte - I admit I could be completely mistaken about what is there.

The connections are the same. The MSI motherboard simply doesn't have them color coded. This is common on higher end motherboards that use gold plated connectors.
 

madmat

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Sadly no.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S/PDIF

Quote: S/PDIF is based on the AES3 interconnect standard.[3] S/PDIF can carry two channels of uncompressed PCM audio or compressed 5.1/7.1 surround sound (such as DTS audio codec); it cannot support lossless surround formats that require greater bandwidth.[4]

Been through that a few thousand times. Your receiver is using one of the dolby or DTS up-mixing protocols to take 2.0 and spin it to something higher. Which, don't get me wrong - they do a hell of a job at - but it's a 2.0 channel being sent by the system, even if windows claims it's higher.

sucks, but the protocol was designed a hell of a long time ago.
From: http://atlona.com/pdf/FAQ-AT-H2H-88M.pdf

"The SPDIF connection does not support uncompressed audio formats like Dolby True HD and DTS master. It supports the following formats: PCM 2Channel, LPCM 5.1, Dolby 2.0, Dolby Digital 5.1, and DTS 5.1"
 

lopoetve

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From: http://atlona.com/pdf/FAQ-AT-H2H-88M.pdf

"The SPDIF connection does not support uncompressed audio formats like Dolby True HD and DTS master. It supports the following formats: PCM 2Channel, LPCM 5.1, Dolby 2.0, Dolby Digital 5.1, and DTS 5.1"
Check your motherboard. It won’t support sending that; it’s not part of the spec. Never seen a single motherboard that does. That’s ultra high end equipment that is using the physical layer for things it wasn’t originally designed for (think FCoE or the like) as everything is really a transport protocol for another protocol.
Atlona sells kit for almost enterprise level solutions.
 

lopoetve

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Also, that’s an HDMI switcher that is stripping LPCM out of the HDMI link (which can handle the bandwidth) and doing unnatural things with it.
 

GotNoRice

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From: http://atlona.com/pdf/FAQ-AT-H2H-88M.pdf

"The SPDIF connection does not support uncompressed audio formats like Dolby True HD and DTS master. It supports the following formats: PCM 2Channel, LPCM 5.1, Dolby 2.0, Dolby Digital 5.1, and DTS 5.1"

Sorry dude, but there is Zero chance that you are going to get any form of uncompressed audio beyond 2.0 from your SPDIF port. SPDIF is a holdover from the compact disc era and it's limitations are well known. Using something like Dolby Pro-Logic or DTS Neo:6 to expand PCM 2.0 back into something resembling surround-sound is certainly better than nothing, but it will not even be in the same ballpark as discrete 5.1-7.1 audio.
 
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