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View Full Version : Realtime DTS encoding, it rocks!!!


LordJuanlo
08-05-08, 02:04 AM
Yesterday I was reading about Dolby Digital Live, and how it could be possible to have the PC connected to speakers using one single optical cable. Well, almost by accident I found out that my motherboard could do Dolby Digital and DTS enconding in real time. I disabled onboard sound the very first day I got the motherboard, because I got the X-Fi before and was very happy with it, so I didn't pay attention to integrated audio, just disabled it.

But googling I found that the Realtek ALC888DD was capable of it, and that my motherboard got that chip. I looked for my motherboard box and saw that big DTS Logo on it, so I entered BIOS, activated it, downloaded latest drivers and tried. The first impressions are really fantastic, as soon as I enabled DTS Connect, I tried to play some 320 kb MP3 and played a bit of Half Life 2 Cinematic Mod. The music quality was excellent, on par with the X-Fi. Bass was deep and booming, and high sounds were crystal crisp.

As soon as audio started playing, the screen of the DTS decoder of my Logitech Z-5500 announced DTS content was playing through the optical input.

After adjusting volume to similar levels, I played the first sequence of episode 2 (when you exit the train) with both the X-Fi in analog mode and the onboard in DTS. And I couldn't tell the difference. In the next few days I will do more tests at high volume (girlfriend was sleeping yesterday), but I think that audio quality will be the same in games that don't use OpenAL or EAX 4/5 effects. I'm really shocked with the excellent audio quality of integrated audio, DTS Connect and Dolby Digital Live are fantastic, I can choose any of them, but I use DTS because AFAIK it has higher quality (up to 448 kbps on Dolby, up to 1.5 mbit on DTS).

I didn't notice any audio delay, realtime encoding to DTS uses some CPU power, but audio panned perfectly around me as I moved my character by 360 degrees, it was crisp and clear. Lip synch worked perfectly in Half Life 2, I couldn't see any delay because of the encoding, it worked just as great as the X-Fi.

BTW, the onboard sound can be configured as two different sound devices, so I can have the 5.1 speakers to play the game using DTS, and plug a headphones with microphone into the front panel to use Ventrilo or TeamSpeak, I'm really shocked. Here is a screenshot of the control panel, you can see how the front panel connectors are activated as soon as I plug the mic and headphones. There is an HD Audio 2nd Output and a Digital Output, one for voice chat and another for DTS 5.1 gaming. Awesome!!!

http://img244.imageshack.us/img244/7072/dtshs9.jpg

Redeemed
08-05-08, 02:32 AM
My mobo supports this as well, yet for some reason I can never get it to work. I can't even get a snazzy control panel like what you have in your screenshot. All I get is the regular Windows Sound Options... and no where does it list DTS Connect or Dolby Digital Live... yet both the board packaging and ASUS' website list it as a feature. :(

crainger
08-05-08, 02:36 AM
Awesome. ::D:

EciDemon
08-07-08, 04:49 AM
Im guessing this is not supported on the RealtekŪ AL888 right ?

LordJuanlo
08-07-08, 05:16 AM
I think it needs AL888DD

EciDemon
08-07-08, 05:59 AM
Darn it.
I did as you and dissabled it the first thing i did. I have no analoge surround imputs on my reciver so I need it to be either quax or optical to get real surround sound.

nekrosoft13
08-07-08, 06:15 AM
Darn it.

trust me you are not missing anything :afro:

LordJuanlo
08-07-08, 06:26 AM
I have no analoge surround imputs on my reciver so I need it to be either quax or optical to get real surround sound.

You can try this (http://www.driverheaven.net/general-discussion/90887-redocnexk-released-realtime-5-1-ac3-encoder.html) free realtime Dolby Digital encoder, it should work with any sound card

EciDemon
08-12-08, 04:17 AM
Thanks man, Im gonna give that a spin :) , it looks promising as long as there's not too much latancy

Revs
08-12-08, 04:46 AM
What's the best hardware at a reasonable price that'll realtime encode DD or DTS? Non Creative if poss :).

This (http://www.cclonline.com/product-info.asp?product_id=4908&category_id=130&manufacturer_id=0&tid=e3309) any good?

Or this (http://www.cclonline.com/product-info.asp?product_id=20012&category_id=130&manufacturer_id=0&tid=90-yaa021-1uan00+)?

LordJuanlo
08-12-08, 05:10 AM
I would take the Sonar D2 over the Terratec Aureon, because of its DTS capability. If your receiver if capable of DTS decoding, quality will be higher. Remember that both formats (Dolby Digital and DTS) are lossy audio codecs, just like MP3. But Dolby Digital is encoded at a lower bitrate, up to 448 kbps, and DTS can be 1.5 MBit (the Realtec AL888DD of my mobo encodes at full 1.5 Mbit).

A good question would be: will DTS encoding have more latency because of the higher quality encoding?. Would this latency be noticeable for users?.

After playing Episode 2 for some minutes in DTS I couldn't tell if there was any latency there, sound and lip-synch was perfect to me.

crainger
08-12-08, 06:16 AM
If you have a decent PC with decent FPS you want notice it, if you are playing a game that really taxes the CPU you will see it. Though few games max out modern CPUs, watch Crysis with a G15 with CPU monitoring, the usage barely passes 50% on all 4 cores for me.

EciDemon
08-13-08, 01:55 AM
You can try this (http://www.driverheaven.net/general-discussion/90887-redocnexk-released-realtime-5-1-ac3-encoder.html) free realtime Dolby Digital encoder, it should work with any sound card

Ok I tried the app yesterday and I must say it works very well :D
I could not notice any latancy problems with default settings while playing games.
With the app on a Xfi you controll volume with "what you hear" and wave. I always have Wave on max so I just lowerd what you hear untill there was no clipping.

I also tried playing some mp3s with upmixing set and it too works. While checking the taskmanager i noticed that Redocnexk uses between 1-3% cpu time on my system. Not bad at all :)

This is a great alternative for all of those who wanted DDL on the Xfi and could not get it working, like my self. I highly recommend!

However I think there must be some very low volume static noise in the signal.
My reciver decodes Dolby Digital, DTS, PCM and Mp3 too oddly enugh. And a corresponding icon lights up in the display on what type of signal it recives. If there's no background noise it wont display anything untill something makes noise and you hear a relay click sound as it switches surround mode. But with DD Encoding on, the Dolby digital logo lights up even when Im not playing any sounds in windows. This dont happen when the DD encoding is off (while im still using quax cable for sound input)

Ive only tested in XP thus far. Im gonna try in Vista today when I get home from work.

LordJuanlo
08-13-08, 02:54 AM
Glad to hear it worked!

About the Dolby Digital light always on... make sure you have mic-in and line-in disabled, maybe it catches a very subtle background noise and it "encodes" it too. You could try to start muting inputs until the light turns off

Revs
08-13-08, 03:07 AM
Also, AFAIK, most receivers will allow you to manually select the input type.

EciDemon
08-13-08, 04:22 AM
Last night i only dissabled Mic and Linein, ill try all the others as well when I get home.
It's a bit odd though, as normally there is no noticable background noise, as I sayd, if it were, then Id see "PCM" logo as imput signal in the reciver when the DD realtime encoder is not running. Normally the Xfi has rater low SNR (Sound to noise ratio). In normal cases low enugh for my reciver to think theres no signal inbound.

I think it's a mixed blessing, if I for example start up winamp, then the first second or so will be muted untill correct decoding is switched on. It's supposed to be this way, so you dont get a static burst when you switch mode or insert headphones (Xfi bay would really need this when you insert headphones to it.) Anyways, this lets me know if theres any noticable background static noise on what ever thing I connect digitaly to the reciver.

Revs> On my reciver I can not select imput type manually, it changes on the fly according to signal recived (DD, DTS or just simple PCM). I can switch between different surround modes however (Theatre and such things or upmixing stereo source).

Over all though, im quite impressed with the little app.
Some time ago I was thinking about buying Creatives hardware DTS encoder, it would have solved my problem, but in the few reviews I found of it, it sayd there was notisable sound latancy.

LordJuanlo
08-13-08, 04:48 AM
I don't think that DTS encoder from Creative is a great solution, audio quality must be degraded. The sound is digitally generated by the X-Fi, then it's converted to analog, then the DTS enconder transforms it into digital and finally your DTS receiver decodes it to analog again...

I'm sure you get lag and less sound quality

BTW what games with 3D sound did you try EciDemon?

EciDemon
08-13-08, 06:32 AM
Ive only tried Fear and Crysis thus far. I got stuck playing Fear again lol.
Im gonna dedicate more time after work today. Doing the creative speaker tests made noise in correct speaker so it seemd fine.

I was thinking of trying out Quake 4 aswell. Back when i got the Xfi I was really impressed by the sound image in that game.

I also red some more about the software on that forum, there's latancy and can never be below 32ms (thats the sample size the app converts at a time) so with my usual asio config that be around 50 or so ms latancy, I think it can be reduced a bit. However I didnt notice much of any sound lag while playing. If it had been my music app Id notice right away.

I also need to test this under vista.

EDIT:
LordJuanlo you should give it a spinn as well, compare it with the onboard DTS encoding you got. You might make out any latancy difference.

LordJuanlo
08-13-08, 07:02 AM
Yeah, that's on my to do list, I will be very busy with benchmarks in the next few days. BTW Quake 4 and Doom 3 expansion are one of the best examples of EAX 5 well implemented

EciDemon
08-13-08, 07:03 AM
I dont blame ya, thats fun too :D