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Old 03-15-10, 10:44 AM   #1
jalyst
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Default Best card/s + sware for HDMI-in & decode of A/V (inc. HD ) formats?

Best card/s + sware for S/PDIF or HDMI-Audio input & decode of DD/DTS (inc. HD ) formats?

I'm just curious as to what people believe to be the best card nowadays for digital-in of the various surround formats created by DD & DTS.
[they're responsible for 99% of SS encoded content right?]

Initially it'd only be for taking encoded content from my Xbox360 & Wi...
But soon it'd also be for a PS3 which for BD content I believe uses newer DD & DTS formats, namely: TrueHD, & HD MA.

Ideally it'd be happy to take any DTS/DD content thrown at it, & pass it to the appropriate (licensed) software for decoding.
[or hardware if there's a card that can do this]

Mostly I'd like to decode and run it through a stereo surround simulation scheme like; DH, CMSS, or DTS-SS.
But occasionally I'll decode/convert & do multi-channel analogue-out via my Essence ST + H6 (7.1 daughter-board).

I was investigating X-Fi cards but they seem to have regressed in this area recently, I hope it's not a conscious trend influenced by big content!
I'm yet to check out Auzentech and Xonar cards for this use....

Then I got to thinking, maybe HDMI-audio capable devices are better suited for this sort of thing than S/PDIF?
Perhaps there's sound-cards that can take HDMI-in, or if not graphics cards?

I know that currently "bit-stream in" for graphics cards acts only as a pass-through to AVR's etc.
The big question mark is if there's dvrs/software that can recognise this incoming bit-stream, & instead decompress it.
Then we have raw digital PCM ready for decoding...

I'm guessing this step is something deliberately kept in the realm of AVR's, but if there's a way, perhaps it's a better path than via S/PDIF?

Assuming a way is found...
Then it's a matter of redirecting the PCM stream to software or hardware (assuming there's cards) decoder/s.
And then (in my situation) have this decoded signal pass through the analogue output circuitry of an Essence ST + H6.

Utopia/profit!
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Old 03-15-10, 02:02 PM   #2
frenchy2k1
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Default Re: best card/s + sware for S/PDIF or HDMI-Audio input & decode of DD/DTS (other) for

Some computers/sound cards have SPDIF in, but I dont know of any with HDMI in.
This would rather defeat the purpose of HDMI+HDCP, as this would let you record or use the stream as prefered, against the protection scheme.

Basically, you'll easily find HW and SW to gran SPDIF sound, but nothing to get HDMI+HDCP.
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Old 03-16-10, 03:14 AM   #3
jalyst
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Default Re: best card/s + sware for S/PDIF or HDMI-Audio input & decode of DD/DTS (other) for

Quote:
Originally Posted by frenchy2k1 View Post
Some computers/sound cards have SPDIF in, but I dont know of any with HDMI in.
What about Xonar HDAV1.3 and Auzentech Hometheatre HD, both do HDMI-in.
Prolly the best solutions I've come across so far are: HDAV1.3 or Hometheatre HD

Quote: A main feature of the HTHD 7.1 is offering HDMI 1.3a I/O to the end user which allows full resolution, high definition audio with no down sampling. A very interesting feature of the HTHD 7.1 is the use of an external receiver is NOT required to have support for these high definition standards.
While the use of an external receiver is an option, the card allows any speaker system connected to the card to output Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby True HD and DTS-HDMA in full resolution.


What's not certain to me yet is whether these cards can decode & do dac to DTS/DD content (HD or non-HD) coming via HDMI, instead of locally.

Even more ideal would be to use my existing Core i3-530 + motherboard w/HDMI-in...
But I'm not sure if Intel HD Graphics is able to receive A/V via HDMI, let alone decode w/approp. s'ware & redirect to 3rd party DAC.
I doubt it's able to, nor do I expect it'd be possible with sw updates & right mobo/adapters, but TBH I'm not 100% certain!

The main reasons I want something like this is to;
1) Send digi-Audio (HD or non-HD) to my PC to create virtual surround in stereo (CMSS, DH etc)...
2) Have a PAP* compliant solution so I can receive & play or locally play HD A/V, for the times I'm too lazy to rip/transcode.

It's a shame that I prolly won't be able to redirect decoded DD & DTS formats to my Essence ST + H6 for superior analogue output.
I suspect that'd break the PAP/xxx....
So for analogue-out of received or locally played HD DD & DTS, I'll be forced to use the same card.
Unless I've gone to the effort of ripping & transcoding beforehand...

*forgotten what the video equivalent is called
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Old 03-16-10, 12:32 PM   #4
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Default Re: best card/s + sware for S/PDIF or HDMI-Audio input & decode of DD/DTS (other) for

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Old 03-17-10, 01:15 AM   #5
jalyst
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Default Re: best card/s + sware for S/PDIF or HDMI-Audio input & decode of DD/DTS (other) for

Quote:
Originally Posted by frenchy2k1 View Post
Some computers/sound cards have SPDIF in, but I dont know of any with HDMI in.
This would rather defeat the purpose of HDMI+HDCP, as this would let you record or use the stream as prefered, against the protection scheme.
But there's HDCP compliant HDMI capture cards people can now buy, how is this any worse?

Plus the stream could still be encrypted & protected by dvr/software lock-in...
Just as occurs when one plays BD content locally, instead of via HDMI; so what's the big deal?

Quote:
Basically, you'll easily find HW and SW to gran SPDIF sound, but nothing to get HDMI+HDCP.
What decent hw + sw combos have you found for S/PDIF-in of non-HD DD/STS 5.1?
Thank-you.
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Old 03-18-10, 03:34 AM   #6
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Default Re: best card/s + sware for S/PDIF or HDMI-Audio input & decode of DD/DTS (other) for

...

Last edited by jalyst; 03-20-10 at 03:24 AM.
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Old 03-20-10, 03:21 AM   #7
jalyst
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Default Re: best card/s + sware for S/PDIF or HDMI-Audio input & decode of DD/DTS (other) for

Okay investigated further....

I've learned that there simply isn't any hardware in existence that does HDMI-in.
Primarily because the HDCP patent license forbids HDMI devices that allow access to decrypted data.

So the best I can hope to pass to my PC (via S/PDIF) is DD or DTS 5.1.
Not a big loss as I suspect many PS3 Games don't actually use HD audio*, and even more Xbox games won't.

But it is a fairly big loss for BD Movies as they always use HD audio, so LT I may get PAP capable card.
That's if I can't find a way to get my Essence ST to become PAP compliant (it's very similar to the HDAV1.3, which is).

There is a handful of XFi-based cards from creative and auzentech that do support S/PDIF-in (coax, optical, or both).
But I've found none that support PAP & decode on S/PDIF-in...

And aside from that I've since learned that all consumer level cards with S/PDIF-in...
Aren't designed to overcome de-synchronisation between audio and video that can occur.
They do not have an internal clock that syncs with the clock of the source...

DH adapters however like the Mixamp and SU-DH1 do not suffer from this issue.
And as I'm mainly interested converting surround sound formats to stereo...
It doesn't matter that they can't do multi-channel analogue-out.....

So for the time being I'm prolly just going to make do with the SU-DH1...
It's clear that LT I'll need to get an AVR (or some "separates"), a PAP-compliant card, or both if I want HD audio muxed to stereo.

*HD audio = newish DD/DTS formats like: TrueHD & DTS-MA
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Old 03-20-10, 05:49 AM   #8
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Default Re: best card/s + sware for S/PDIF or HDMI-Audio input & decode of DD/DTS (other) for

I have the HDAV1.3 DeLuxe, which has HDMI in and out. But there's a lot of text there and I'm not sure exactly what you're wanting to do. If you can sum it up in one sentence I'll let you know if it can do it .
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Old 03-20-10, 06:07 AM   #9
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Default Re: best card/s + sware for S/PDIF or HDMI-Audio input & decode of DD/DTS (other) for

It sounds like you want to take the 5.1 output from the console, downmix it to stereo, then upmix it again using CMSS3D?


Quote:
Originally Posted by jalyst
Initially it'd only be for taking encoded content from my Xbox360 & Wi...
But soon it'd also be for a PS3 which for BD content I believe uses newer DD & DTS formats, namely: TrueHD, & HD MA.
So you want a sound card to take the output of your console, preferably in a 5.1+ HD format using HDMI.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jalyst
Mostly I'd like to decode and run it through a stereo surround simulation scheme like; DH, CMSS, or DTS-SS.
These "stereo surround simulations" are only used with a stereo source. There is no point in simulating surround sound when the source is already surround sound.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jalyst
Ideally it'd be happy to take any DTS/DD content thrown at it, & pass it to the appropriate (licensed) software for decoding.
[or hardware if there's a card that can do this]
So after the 5.1 sound is downmixed to stereo, then re-upmixed to fake 5.1+ via CMSS (or something similar) then decode it again using a hardware or software decoder?

Well, I can tell you that the X-Fi can do DTS and AC3 hardware decoding and encoding - plus the platinum and better versions have an SPDIF input (optical). But, so far we've hit the stage of pointless.



Why dont you just buy a home theater reciever and buy a capture card?
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Old 03-20-10, 07:03 AM   #10
jalyst
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Default Re: best card/s + sware for S/PDIF or HDMI-Audio input & decode of DD/DTS (other) for

Quote:
Originally Posted by Revs View Post
I have the HDAV1.3 DeLuxe, which has HDMI in and out. But there's a lot of text there and I'm not sure exactly what you're wanting to do. If you can sum it up in one sentence I'll let you know if it can do it .
It has HDMI-in for the purposes of muxing your local video with audio, at no point does it become decrypted.
It can't receive a/v from an external source (e.g. PS3) for the purposes of processing locally.

I originally wanted to capture A/V via HDMI for processing locally (mainly 8ch LPCM audio in TrueHD & DTS-MA formats)
But I've since learned that because of the HDCP patent license, devices that can capture BD A/V via HDMI will never be made.*

As this is not possible the best I can hope for via S/PDIF is 5.1 DTS or DD...
If I want "HD" audio I'm going to have to either:

-Output directly from the PS3/Xbox to speakers (I've only got a 5.1 set-up atm, & a very ordinary one at that)
-Bit-stream or multi-LPCM to an AVR which hopefully has DH or similar (Xbox can't do either to an external source, can only do DD/DTS 5.1 via S/PDIF)
-Play on a Windows PC (only BD Movies), the player software may have DH or similar.
-Play on Linux PC (only BD Movies): decryprt, transcode... run through hrtf filter

*there is a few HDMI capture devices, but not for encrypted content like BD's.

Last edited by jalyst; 03-21-10 at 04:16 PM.
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Old 03-20-10, 07:11 AM   #11
jalyst
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Default Re: best card/s + sware for S/PDIF or HDMI-Audio input & decode of DD/DTS (other) for

Quote:
These "stereo surround simulations" are only used with a stereo source. There is no point in simulating surround sound when the source is already surround sound.
No they're for mixing what is typically a 6ch or more surround format, into a stereo (2ch) format.
And through HRTF algorithms, they make the resultant stereo output seem like it's coming from more than two sources.


Quote:
Well, I can tell you that the X-Fi can do DTS and AC3 hardware decoding and encoding - plus the platinum and better versions have an SPDIF input (optical).
You're referring to older versions though, they've removed hw AC3/DTS decode from all their recent revisions.
Plus I've found none that officially do PAP + decode on SPDIF-in...

The only two I've found so far that do PAP are HDAV1.3 & Hometheater HD, but neither has S/PDIF.
Which as I explained before is not a "biggy" because of A/V desynch issues consumer sound-cards with S/PDIF can have.

Which is why something like SU-DH1 is ideal because any device that plays back it's digital input is designed to
support syncing it's local clock with the remote source. Sound cards (consumer level) usually don't because the digital input
is meant to be captured instead.
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Old 03-20-10, 09:58 PM   #12
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Default Re: best card/s + sware for S/PDIF or HDMI-Audio input & decode of DD/DTS (other) for

I have my 360/ps3 running audio through the optical connector while video is going through vga/hdmi. If you just want the audio, you can set both consoles to use the optical connector.

This might work
http://www.turtlebeach.com/products/mtgoddl/home.aspx
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