VGA HDMI audio vs Soundcard audio

Discussion in 'Computer Audio' started by damole, Feb 14, 2018.

  1. damole

    damole n00bie

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    I know there are some similar threads on here but mine is a general question about game sound quality.

    I have my gaming PC connected to my TV in my living room. I have a 5.1 surround sound system using an Onkyo TX-SR706 receiver with multi channel inputs.

    For a long time I used my Creative X-Fi XtremeMusic sound card anolog outputs to the multi channel inputs of the Onkyo.

    Recently I have been using the HDMI of my GTX 760 card for both audio and video through the Onkyo.

    My question is about whether there is anything special about dedicated sound card technology that would better be able to produce the sound effects in a game than the HDMI audio decoded by the receiver? Is it the game programming itself that decides the positioning of sounds? I never use headphones.
     
  2. pendragon1

    pendragon1 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    if both are 5.1 only an "audiophile" would tell the difference(hdmi has a bit of compression?! maybe thats optical) and positioning is down to the game. if your sound panel is set to 5.1 and the amp is showing the DD/DTS logos then the games with DD/DTS sound should pick it up and have it availible in the options.
     
  3. B00nie

    B00nie [H]ardness Supreme

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    HDMI produces uncompressed audio. It's the prime method of delivering digital multichannel audio.
     
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  4. pendragon1

    pendragon1 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    there ya go. i wasnt sure cause i use optical on my avr, thought it might be a digital thing too.
     
  5. B00nie

    B00nie [H]ardness Supreme

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    The optical 5.1 is compressed actually, hdmi is not.
     
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  6. pendragon1

    pendragon1 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    i knew the optical part as that has been a losing fight of mine since one of the original win10 fall updates removed DD/DTS from onboard realtek audio. :( but lets not start down that road... :)
     
  7. damole

    damole n00bie

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    I'm only talking about games because I have a proper HiFi stereo amp driving the front stereo speakers directly from a Cambridge Audio DacMagic. TV/Films are played on a Minix U9-H Android box via the Onkyo.

    My reason for asking is because I just bought a new Gigabye Aorus GTX1060, yet to be installed, and whilst shopping online saw that Creative had new Soundblaster cards and wondered whether they would improve the sound and therefore be a worthwhile purchase.

    I also have ongoing intermittent problems with HDCP/HDMI handshaking which means that sometimes I end up connecting the VGA card directly to the TV and then have to use the X-Fi card for audio.
     
  8. pendragon1

    pendragon1 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    i doubt you would notice any difference between the hdmi(if it works right) and the SB card. if you already have an analog 5.1 card and analog 5.1 in on your amp using that will work without having to worry about hdcp.
     
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  9. damole

    damole n00bie

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    I connected the DVI to the TV and HDMI to the receiver and when playing videos in VLC with Dolby Digital or DTS-Master HD the receiver indicates the correct format. For anything else including the games I've tried so far it shows multichannel.
     
  10. pendragon1

    pendragon1 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    were any games DD or DTS? if nt then that sounds right. did it still give "5.1"? my onkyo doesnt have hdmi audio through put, hence my use of optical.
     
  11. IdiotInCharge

    IdiotInCharge Not the Idiot YOU are Looking for

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    This is working as designed and intended.

    The video card HDMI audio device is a sound device for Windows, and should output an uncompressed stream with up to eight channels (7.1) as configured from any sound-generating Windows application, except when a compressed stream such as DD or DTS is present, during which the compressed stream would be sent to the receiver which would then decode it.

    Typically DD/DTS in games (though not always) is pertinent to sound processing, not output compression. Think of them like the Dolby Headphones plugin available on W10.
     
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  12. djoye

    djoye 2[H]4U

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    Ugh, HDMI handshake issues, the reason I'll probably never buy another Onkyo.

    Games now days do all their processing with built-in software, if you mostly use speakers and have an AV receiver, HDMI is the way to go; as long as the receiver says that it's receiving a 5.1 multi-channel signal from Windows, you're set for games. The only reason I can think of for using a sound card with speakers is if you play online games and that sound card supports noise cancelling on the mic input.
     
  13. damole

    damole n00bie

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    Thanks for all the replies. I have two of these X-Fi cards so I will try to offload them somewhere.

    On the subject of Dolby in games, the Dolby website only shows Dolby Atmos games.

    https://www.dolby.com/us/en/categories/games.html

    I can't find any list of Dolby Digital Live games which I guess was the precursor to Atmos.

    I found a website that said Watchdogs has Dolby and I found images of the DVD cover which had Dolby DTS on them so I installed UPlay amd downloaded it but it just shows multichannel during the opening cut scenes. I guess this is where the Dolby parts would be.
     
  14. IdiotInCharge

    IdiotInCharge Not the Idiot YOU are Looking for

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    There shouldn't have ever been 'Dolby Digital Live' games- DDL is an encoding technology used to build a 5.1 DD stream on the fly, typically used by sound cards but also on the original Xbox with its Nvidia chipset (that was later ported for desktop use).

    You can still get it, but it's really only good for pushing 5.1 over an SPDIF interface, compressed, as SPDIF can only support 2.0 uncompressed. HDMI can do 7.1 uncompressed in release form.
     
  15. damole

    damole n00bie

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    FYI, I already owned the game, it came free with my laptop because it has a nVidia GTX860m. I was only interested from a techincal standpoint to see if games could produce a Dolby/DTS encoded stream.
     
  16. IdiotInCharge

    IdiotInCharge Not the Idiot YOU are Looking for

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    There's no technical reason that they couldn't- the DDL encoders are all just software, which is one of the reasons that they added audio latency on desktops. However, this is typically not a function that PC games should be doing; if they did, they should be treated just like PowerDVD or other software capable of producing/reproducing a compressed surround-sound stream would be by the system audio, which would either be to decode it locally or transmit it over SPDIF or HDMI to a receiver.