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> High-end sound card vs. onboard audio, HT Omega, Asus, Auzentech, Creative...
Posted: Jul 16 2010, 12:06 PM
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I have 2 computers I am working on. One is HTPC for my living room, and one is a desktop for my home office...

HTPC:
I have a 1080P 42" LCD HDTV connected to AVReceiver Marantz SR5004 via HDMI. My speakers are Swan Diva 4.2HT surround set. (Phenominal speakers by the way!)
I have the build ready, but should I just use the onboard HDMI out with audio enabled? (Motherboard is DFI 785G) Or will the audio output sound significantly better if I add a dedicated sound card? I was mainly looking at the HT Omega line, and seconding an Asus Xonar line sound card. Should I stick with onboard audio, or get one of those two? If dedicated sound card, specifically which model from each of these brands?

DPC:
I have a pair of Swan M200MKIII. (Phenominal speakers by the way!) They are 2.0 speakers, almost studio reference monitors, but have analog inputs only. Should I stick with the regular audio-outs on the motherboard? (Intel P55) Or will my audio output significantly improve with dedicated sound card? If dedicated, which sound card specifically for this setup? (Try to give me at least 2 or 3 choices to choose from)

Thanks guys.

Paul
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SsZERO
Posted: Jul 16 2010, 02:00 PM
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About the only time onboard audio is not total garbage is if you are using digital output. If your onboard sound does support DIGITAL audio, then you will not notice any improvement by going to a discrete sound card...with analog, on the other hand, you will definitely want a sound card.


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Posted: Jul 16 2010, 09:25 PM
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Is HDMI Audio considered digital output? If I use that, it will rival a high-end audio card?

Are you saying that I should connect my HTPC to the AV Receiver with HDMI Audio enabled, and that will be just as good as having a high-end sound card connected to the AV Receiver?
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SsZERO
Posted: Jul 16 2010, 11:18 PM
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Yes, if your computer supports digital audio over HDMI (not all of them do) then you should just use that. The only time you'll really notice a difference between a soundcard and onboard sound is with analog audio, in which case the soundcard is usually better.


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Posted: Jul 17 2010, 01:44 AM
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When you say that some computers do not support digital audio over HDMI, do you mean some computers do not have audio on HDMI? Or do you mean that not all HDMI audio is necessarily digital audio?

For example, I have a PCI-e Radeon 4870 1GB graphics card with DVI-HDMI outputting audio. I also have a AMD 785G motherboard with HDMI out, and I also enabled audio through HDMI. Will I gain significant improvements getting a high-end sound card? (Such as HT Omega Claro Halo)
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Posted: Jul 17 2010, 02:17 AM
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Also, other than the digital audio...

Are HT Omega Claro Halo with the RCA jacks far superior to the standard 3.5mm jacks on other sound cards in general?
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Iteseeali
Posted: Sep 10 2010, 06:48 AM
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Hi pcircle16,

Lets just clear up a few things:

"When you say that some computers do not support digital audio over HDMI, do you mean some computers do not have audio on HDMI? Or do you mean that not all HDMI audio is necessarily digital audio?"

Firstly, HDMI is digital. All signals over / through HDMI is digital.
Second, Yes some HDMI ports on a motherboard or graphics card might not support AUDIO as well as the VIDEO signal via the HDMI cable.

Unfortunatly SsZERO is partially incorrect here. If anything you will be able to prove what he is saying in his statement about onboard sound being ordinary. You will notice the difference via your fairly good Amp and speaker setup between onboard generated sound and through your said sound cards.
Read many reviews of your sound cards and you will see the reviewer raving on about how good the sound is over the onboard. Although chances are that the reviewer used music rather than a movie to review the sound quality.

If I were you I would read as many reviews on your chosen sound card as possible and see what they say about using in a HTPC setup.

Hope I have helped.

Check these out:

http://www.atomicmpc.com.au/Review/231426,...s-our-ears.aspx

Check out page 17 of the below:

http://viewer.zmags.com/publication/ad7aab78#/ad7aab78/16
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chardilalack
Posted: Dec 27 2010, 01:32 PM
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Uptill now i used to think ASUS makes the best sound cards. On newegg HTOmega has the best feedback.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList....eTabStoreType=1

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