Blue Disc, the 780G, and HDA...

19 posts / 0 new
Last post
Offline
Joined: 2 Oct 2006
Blue Disc, the 780G, and HDA...

I'm the guy who has always thought 5.1 digital audio via S/PDIF (and having my little receiver decode it) was more than good enough!!  Crap!  Wrong again!   :Smile

I got my second Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H 780G motherboard for My HTPC.  I love the one we used in Mrs' Sheen's HTPC...  For mine I paired it with a new Phenom 9550 (2.2GHz, quad core - I'll list the full specs below).

I have it's ALC889a connected to my modest 5.1 receiver with optical S/PDIF and 6-channel analog outputs.  As soon as I reloaded Vista and various Blue Disc player softwares, I set out to see how the audio sounded using every mode I could.

I found that the HD-DVD "Aeon Flux" has BOTH DD+ and DTS HD audio tracks (at 1.5mbps) - SO - I fired it up still using S/PDIF in Vista and PowerDVD.  Sounded real nice.  So, I switched to 6-channel analog in Vista, and set PDVD for 6 speaker audio and restarted Aeon Flux using the DD+ track.  OH MY GOSH!  Notice the difference???  It was amazing!

THEN I switched to the DTS audio track and restarted the movie!  (DTS HD is EVEN MORE amazing!)  Do you realize how well you can hear the fly buzzing around during the opening credits - even before you see Aeon catch it with her eylashes?  OK, the action scenes were one thing, BUT - here's what floored me:  During the marketplace scene with Aeon and her Sister - you can actually HEAR the background conversations - clearly!  It's not just muddy, general crowd noise - the speaker seperation and clarity is awesome!  And, I didn't have to crank up the volume so I could distinguish it...

Dude...  Now I'm wondering how this stuff would sound if I had a GOOD receiver...  This is the coolest thing since HDTV!  Seriously...

edit:

The new-and-improved "His HTPC":

* Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H AM2+ 780G motherboard
--- Onboard ATi Radeon HD3200 IGP video (D-sub, DVI, & HDMI connectors)
--- Onboard Realtek ALC889a audio (optical S/PDIF and 8-channel analog outputs)
==== using both S/PDIF and 6-channel analog to receiver
--- Onboard 1394a (2 ports via T.I. TSB43AB23 chip)
--- 12 available USB 2.0/1.1 ports
--- 6 available SATA ports (5 SATA, 1 eSATA)
--- Onboard Realtek RTL8111c gigabit LAN

* AMD Phenom 9550 AM2+ CPU
* 2GB Kingston HyperX DDR2 PC6400 dual channel RAM
* 320GB Maxtor SATA hard drive
* 500GB Maxtor SATA hard drive
* LG GGC-H20L Blu-ray / HD-DVD, DVD+-RW, LightScribe optical drive
* DViCO FusionHDTV3-T PCI ATSC tuner
* DViCO FusionHDTV5 USB ATSC tuner
* Hauppauge PVR-150 PCI NTSC tuner

- Vista Ultimate x64
- Cyberlink PowerDVD Ultra versions 7 & 8
- Corel WinDVD 9 plus Blu-ray
- Nero 8 Ultra Edition

"Her HTPC" is much the same only with an A64 X2 4200+, single 320GB HD, Vista Home Prem x64, FusionHDTV5 PCI & USB ATSC tuners, and a PowerColor ATi Theater Pro 550 analog tuner.

"Franken HTPC" got the Gigabyte 690G MB from "old Her HTPC", an A64 X2 5600+, 300GB HD, Vista Home Prem x64, Avermedia M780 ATSC/NTSC tuner card (had to put the PVR-250 out to pasture - no 64-bit drivers), and a $30 KWorld ATSC PCI tuner (for S&G...)

Dude...  How old IS this FusionHDTV3 ???

Offline
Joined: 30 Sep 2006

I would think the Realtek ALC889A has more to do with the quality of the sound you are getting.  Nice to know that gigabyte mobo is a keeper, it is on my list for a fall build.  also do you really NEED a quad core? does it add more heat?

switched to a PS3-BD Remote, and now IT is missing!!!

Offline
Joined: 2 Oct 2006

WAIcool wrote:

I would think the Realtek ALC889A has more to do with the quality of the sound you are getting.

Ya, I think so too...  Although our 690G MB and Mrs. Sheen's 780G are both equiped with the ALC889a, this is the first time I've used it with HDA and 6-channel analog output.

Quote:
also do you really NEED a quad core? does it add more heat?

I have to admit I don't need a Phenom quad core - but it's fun...  Mrs. Sheen's 780G runs nicely with an X2 4200+.  MY X2 4200+ was taxed when using HDA analog - but my old MB used an ALC880, so I'm sure that was part of it as well... 

The Phenom:  Playing Aeon Flux (AC1 at ~18-20mbps and DD+ or DTS HD at 1.5mbps, 6-channel analog) 3 cores were generally running at minimum speed (1100MHz) and voltage (1.05v) and one at maximum speed (2200MHz) and voltage (1.2v) (in a random rolling fashion) and usage was generally 25-40%.  Playing the same movie with my old MB, the 4200+, and the ALC880 (with 6-ch analog) it would have had the CPU (both cores) at full speed/voltage and using 85-100%.  It was never taxed like that using S/PDIF, but HDA 6-channel analog killed it.

Heat?  I was a little concerned about going back to a 95W CPU, but heat really isn't a problem.  I'm using a Cooler Master Vortex 752 CPU cooler and I mount it backwards so it hangs over (and blows upon) the IGP heatsink.  That sort of "kills 2 birds"...  You need to know that my previous setup was a cool-running A64 X2 4200+ with a Gigabyte fanless 8600GTS - with a MONSTER heatsink.  So, I've really just swapped for a warmer CPU and a cooler GPU - I really doubt this IGP puts out the BTU's the 8600GTS did...  Even so the Phenom is running in the 40's.  I use the same heatsink on Mrs. Sheen's 780G and her AM2 X2 4200+ only runs a few degrees cooler than the Phenom.

The other super-nice thing about the 780G is the system fan connector is very well thermally controlled by the BIOS!  My 120mm case fan has never been quieter.  (I was going to replace it with a SilenX like I put in Her HTPC, but I don't need to!)  All in all, I'm loving this upgrade!

Dude...  How old IS this FusionHDTV3 ???

Offline
Joined: 30 Sep 2006

WAIcool, since cgsheen is also a big OTA HDTV fan, the Phenom will do him good because the 780G (and all AMD integrated chipsets like the GeForce 8200) need the increased bandwidth that the HT 3.0 link of the Phenom family offers to properly deinterlace 1080i sources. So it isn't the 4 cores per-say, but the increased bandwidth the Phenom family offers to the IGP. This is because the bandwidth the IGP has available is directly effected by the CPU since all Athlon 64's and Phenoms have an on-die memory controller.

Offline
Joined: 2 Oct 2006

Speaking of HD Audio...
I just got the new "Indiana Jones" on Blu-ray.  The audio is fabulous - DD TrueHD!  We started watching it on Mrs. Sheen's HTPC (S/PDIF) and the sound was good (dolby digital 5.1 @640kbps).  But on my HTPC, way better.  I've got to get analog cables for Mrs. Sheen...  (wait! her Birthday is coming up!  or, Christmas...)

EVEN COOLER:  The new "THX" demo that plays before the movies starts!  It's pretty amazing - even though it's not HD audio.

I also got "The Fifth Element" from Netflix.  The movie looked "new again" in HD and I had forgotten how "tight" the editing was on that flick!  Definately worth a second look (and listen - the HD Audio is great and the movie is packed with sound effects!) if you haven't seen it in a while, watch it on Blu-ray!

I'm seriously finding that HD Audio adds a new depth (dimension) - and I'm quickly becoming spoiled by it...

Dude...  How old IS this FusionHDTV3 ???

Offline
Joined: 27 Dec 2006

cgsheen wrote:

Speaking of HD Audio...

six months ago.....Smile

I'd be very impressed if you got away with getting Mrs. Sheen analog cables for her birthday Laughing out loud

I am also very much looking forward to getting HD audio running on my pc, analog just makes the transition easy.

My Home Theater, XLobbyMC
To Do: Finish Re-ripping my music collection - While Playing FF XIV

Offline
Joined: 15 Mar 2007

Do you have identical surround sound systems for both machines?  Are both systems in the same type of room or even in the same room?  You really can't compare spdif and HD audio unless they are on the same system.  I've done that so many times I can't remember them all and each time I come away with the same impression.  Huh?  What's the big deal?

Offline
Joined: 2 Oct 2006

Naylia wrote:

cgsheen wrote:

Speaking of HD Audio...

six months ago.....Smile

;D ...  I didn't want to start a new thread...  :Smile

Quote:
I'd be very impressed if you got away with getting Mrs. Sheen analog cables for her birthday

The older you get and the longer you've been married, the more your expectations dim  Wink
Mrs. Sheen and I have been married since 1972...  Shock

autoboy wrote:

Do you have identical surround sound systems for both machines?  Are both systems in the same type of room or even in the same room?  You really can't compare spdif and HD audio unless they are on the same system.  I've done that so many times I can't remember them all and each time I come away with the same impression.  Huh?  What's the big deal?

No.  Other than they're both 5.1 digital audio (DD & DTS) systems with fairly good speakers. 
Here's the scoop:
The "man cave" is our smallest bedroom - converted.  It's about 10x13 feet with a 4' x 5'4" (4:3) custom projector screen on one wall, opposite the projector/av rack that used to be a closet.  My aiwa speakers are fairly large for the room, but not huge.  I've got a sub and the fronts have very good bass.  The surrounds are passable, and the center is great for voice.  The receiver is a Panasonic - not crappy, but no means high-end...

You have to remember that I can, and do, BOTH 6-channel analog and S/PDIF on my HTPC.  So I can, and do, compare HD audio with receiver decoded digital audio using the same room, speakers, and receiver...

Mrs. Sheen's HTPC is setup in a traditional "family room" setting.  It's set up so the room is wider than it is deep.  We have her Mits 55" widescreen RPTV (crt) in the middle of an entertainment center with her Yamaha receiver and her HTPC on it's shelves.  The Yamaha speakers are slightly better than mine and the receiver is definately better than my Panasonic, but it's still no where near "high-end" either. 

The center is on top of the Mits and the fronts are on either side of the entertainment center (about 9 feet apart), the sub is to the left.  The surrounds are a pair of NuTone in-wall speakers Mrs. Sheen won at a Home Show drawing - and they're pretty darn good speakers!  The furniture is arranged in a "horseshoe" around the entertainment center, so seating ranges from 7 to 9 feet from the screen.

The Yamaha has excellent range and can really put out some volume and the speakers handle it pretty nicely.  Her sub is really nice and gives good LFE and bass without the distortion I get from mine if it's up too high...

One thing about the Mits CRT:  I really, really like it as an HD monitor.  It's got a really nice picture and it doesn't display any digital noise...  This sounds funny but, it has great resolution BUT it smooths the image a little so you kind of get the best of both worlds.  Hard to explain but it looks great!

It'll be interesting to see if I think her system has the same difference in audio once she gets her Birthday present!

Dude...  How old IS this FusionHDTV3 ???

Offline
Joined: 12 Aug 2007

cgsheen wrote:

Speaking of HD Audio...
I just got the new "Indiana Jones" on Blu-ray.  The audio is fabulous - DD TrueHD!  We started watching it on Mrs. Sheen's HTPC (S/PDIF) and the sound was good (dolby digital 5.1 @640kbps).  But on my HTPC, way better.  I've got to get analog cables for Mrs. Sheen...  (wait! her Birthday is coming up!  or, Christmas...)

EVEN COOLER:  The new "THX" demo that plays before the movies starts!  It's pretty amazing - even though it's not HD audio.

I also got "The Fifth Element" from Netflix.  The movie looked "new again" in HD and I had forgotten how "tight" the editing was on that flick!  Definately worth a second look (and listen - the HD Audio is great and the movie is packed with sound effects!) if you haven't seen it in a while, watch it on Blu-ray!

I'm seriously finding that HD Audio adds a new depth (dimension) - and I'm quickly becoming spoiled by it...

I've been meaning to give my wife my Best Buy gift card that I have so that she can pick up Indiana Jones since Tuesday and keep forgetting.  I won't forget tomorrow.  You said you watched it using SPDIF in Dolby Digital?  In PowerDVD?  I know we went through all this when discussing Iron Man.  Indiana Jones has an English Dolby Digital track that's accessible?  Or are you using the mixing option in PDVD?

I'm going to give analog another try on my system.  But I think I'm going to try the analog on my motherboard instead of my sound card and see how that goes.  See what kind of options I have on that.  It uses the Realtek ALC888.

Offline
Joined: 12 Aug 2007

One other question.  You say you do both analog and spdif...at the same time?  I asked about this, but I could never get my system to do it.  Do you have to switch it manually in the control panel or in your sound's set up, or do you only have to specify in PowerDVD which you're using ("Use spdif", "6 channel").  With my old JVC 7 disc DVD changer, if I put my receiver on "DVD" then it played 5.1 through SPDIF.  If I put the receiver on "6.1 Input" then I got analog sound.  I wish it was that easy on the PC.  Even if I only had to change it in PowerDVD it would be OK.  But I don't want to have to specify it in every program AND have to go in to Windows Control Panel or the audio's own set up and specify it, too.

Offline
Joined: 12 Aug 2007

I finally had an idea that worked.  I enabled my on-board audio in the BIOS and installed the drivers.  This made the Realtek become the default device in Windows.  Then I set PowerDVD to "6 channel".  In SageTV, it is still using the Envy 24 as the renderer for videos and DVD so I can still use SPDIF.  I used the Realtek's software to boost the bass on it's EQ.  This way it compensates for the loss of bass through analog that you guys were telling me about.  And since it only controls things for the Realtek, when I go back to Sage and using SPDIF through the Envy I don't have to change it back.  Will let you know what I think of Indy through analog after I watch it.

Offline
Joined: 2 Oct 2006

htpc_user wrote:

  You said you watched it using SPDIF in Dolby Digital?  In PowerDVD? 

Yes, S/PDIF and it puts out DD 5.1 @640kbps.  But I'm NOT using PowerDVD.  I have version 8 Ultra, but I'm pretty much using TMT exclusively these days.

I'm not using the mixing option and I don't have DTS Connect enabled.  TMT doesn't show it as a seperate audio track (it only shows 3 audio tracks: English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD, French 5.1 DD, Spanish 5.1 DD), but via S/PDIF either of our receivers get DD 5.1 surround...

htpc_user wrote:

One other question.  You say you do both analog and spdif...at the same time?  I asked about this, but I could never get my system to do it.  Do you have to switch it manually in the control panel or in your sound's set up, or do you only have to specify in PowerDVD which you're using ("Use spdif", "6 channel"). 

NOT in Vista!  I used to get digital and analog out at the same time with MCE 2005 - never have been able to with Vista.  And ya - when I switch, I have to change it in Vista's Sound control panel AND in the player I'm using.  It's a pain, so I don't do it often.  Mostly, I just leave it on analog these days...

Dude...  How old IS this FusionHDTV3 ???

Offline
Joined: 2 Oct 2006

I've found the .m2ts file on the Indie BR disc that's the THX demo.  Anyone interested?  It's an MPEG-4 AVC with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio and it's about 116MB.  TMT will play it standalone, so will PowerDVD 8 Ultra. 

You can download the same thing from the THX website - it's called "Amazing Life".  I'm sure it has the same audio but it's definately not in HD video...

Dude...  How old IS this FusionHDTV3 ???

Offline
Joined: 30 Sep 2006

Ohh yeah put it up somewhere Smile

Offline
Joined: 2 Oct 2006

http://rapidshare.com/files/155025234/THX.m2ts.html

There's the THX file...

Dude...  How old IS this FusionHDTV3 ???

Offline
Joined: 30 Sep 2006

Wow that is a funky THX intro.

Offline
Joined: 2 Oct 2006

Ya, it's awesome, isn't it...

Dude...  How old IS this FusionHDTV3 ???

Offline
Joined: 27 Dec 2006

Have to snag that and add it to my collection. I just need a good way to launch them prior to a movie.

My Home Theater, XLobbyMC
To Do: Finish Re-ripping my music collection - While Playing FF XIV

Offline
Joined: 2 Oct 2006

Well, Mrs. Sheens Birthday came early this year.  I pulled out her HTPC and got the 6-channel analog all connected to her Yamaha receiver.  Man, it sounds nice!! 

It's because my son came over and we ended up watching The Fifth Element.  We only got 2-channel over S/PDIF and I was REALLY disappointed in how it sounded (after watching that movie on my HTPC).  When I watched segments of it again after 6-channel analog was working, it was like an entirely different movie!

I spent a little time and got all the speakers balanced.  I think I've been running the surrounds too low.  It made a huge difference.  You really notice the seperation and movement front-to-back and side-to-side.  (the jet fly-over in the Indiana Jones movie is really cool!  the opening "jungle sounds" of Apocalypto are equally amazing)

So, I re-visited the whole "which sounds better in HD Audio - Iron Man or Forbidden Kingdom".  On Mrs. Sheen's system, it's Iron Man...  That movie is stinking awesome for HD audio effects and the Yamaha is definately better than my Panasonic.

Dude...  How old IS this FusionHDTV3 ???

Topic locked
Website design by Yammm Software
Powered by Drupal