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Thread: Question for the audio gurus

  1. #1
    Stupidity feeds my children blueonblack's Avatar
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    Default Question for the audio gurus

    I'm going to be setting up a new PC area soon, and hope to include good sound for the first time. I plan to use an external home theater receiver to power a set of speakers for 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound, connecting to the PC via optical audio. I think I have all that handled (unless someone has a better idea).

    My question is volume control. I currently use a PC-specific stereo speaker setup with a built-in in-line volume knob:





    As much as I hate the fact that this little gizmo is hard-wired to the system I have to admit that I've grown very fond of its ease of use. Does anyone know of a similar product that can be used with the above-mentioned sound setup? I won't have the huge receiver on my desk and I'd rather not use the remote control. This knob on the desk setup is pretty much perfect for me.

    Thanks in advance!
    “Do not trust people like me. I will take you to museums, and parks, and monuments, and kiss you in every beautiful place, so that you can never go back to them without tasting me like blood in your mouth. I will destroy you in the most beautiful way possible, and when I leave you will finally understand why storms are named after people.”

  2. #2
    Stupidity feeds my children blueonblack's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question for the audio gurus

    Possible solution: A USB external sound card with both optical audio IN and optical audio OUT:



    Could this be used simply as a passthough volume control? PC->external sound card->receiver->speakers

    I've not used these before but logically this should work. Given that it has both USB input and optical audio input it stands to reason that it has a setting somewhere to tell it which one to use. I've read about issues with USB audio due to bandwidth limitations but I haven't tried them myself. I'm not above putting a better sound card inside the machine to feed this one if this one can simply function as volume.

    Opinions?

    (Thanks again)
    “Do not trust people like me. I will take you to museums, and parks, and monuments, and kiss you in every beautiful place, so that you can never go back to them without tasting me like blood in your mouth. I will destroy you in the most beautiful way possible, and when I leave you will finally understand why storms are named after people.”

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    Undead Pirate d_stilgar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question for the audio gurus

    This is what you want: http://store.griffintechnology.com/powermate-bluetooth



    It's wireless and you can program it to do whatever you want. On getting audio to your receiver, does it have HDMI passthrough? I would go that route if your receiver has it. Fewer cables. Arguably higher quality.

  4. #4
    Stupidity feeds my children blueonblack's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question for the audio gurus

    Thanks for the link, I will definitely check that out. Having never used Bluetooth I've heard many things about reception, response time etc. Are those not a concern in this application?

    As for HDMI, I haven't purchased the receiver yet but the audio signal would be coming from my PC, would I be running HDMI from my video card (HD7970) to the receiver, then from the receiver to the monitor? That makes sense but I don't know anything about the sound quality produced by modern (semi-modern for you bleeding-edge people) video cards.
    “Do not trust people like me. I will take you to museums, and parks, and monuments, and kiss you in every beautiful place, so that you can never go back to them without tasting me like blood in your mouth. I will destroy you in the most beautiful way possible, and when I leave you will finally understand why storms are named after people.”

  5. #5
    Administrator OvRiDe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question for the audio gurus

    Quote Originally Posted by blueonblack View Post
    ...would I be running HDMI from my video card (HD7970) to the receiver, then from the receiver to the monitor?...
    Yep! The HDMI output will be digital just like the optical out. At that point it just depends on your source material (video's encoding, audio mp3's) since it will be passed directly. Higher end sound cards are higher end because they use higher end Digital Analogue Converters. Since you will be using a HT Receiver, it will be using its own DAC, and converting the digital signal passed to it though the HDMI (or optical).

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    Undead Pirate d_stilgar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question for the audio gurus

    You'll never need to worry about input lag if all you are doing is changing volume. I have a Bluetooth keyboard for my HTPC. While I have issues with it sometimes, it's never lag. It's usually some other thing. That's what I get for getting a 99 cent receiver, though. I doubt much, if any of it is the keyboard's fault.

  7. #7
    Stupidity feeds my children blueonblack's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question for the audio gurus

    Curtis: I was wondering if you'd pipe up here, with your history in the audio arena. Opinions on the feasibility of using an external sound card with optical in and out to feed a receiver?

    How about the same external sound card to feed just an amplifier?

    My main concern is power. I may end up using some bigger speakers and I want to be sure I have the power to drive them properly.

    Suggestions?
    “Do not trust people like me. I will take you to museums, and parks, and monuments, and kiss you in every beautiful place, so that you can never go back to them without tasting me like blood in your mouth. I will destroy you in the most beautiful way possible, and when I leave you will finally understand why storms are named after people.”

  8. #8
    Stupidity feeds my children blueonblack's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question for the audio gurus

    d_stilgar: Very good info, thanks! It looks like the product you linked is Mac only from what I can see, but knowing such a thing exists now, it's just a matter of finding one compatible with my hardware.
    “Do not trust people like me. I will take you to museums, and parks, and monuments, and kiss you in every beautiful place, so that you can never go back to them without tasting me like blood in your mouth. I will destroy you in the most beautiful way possible, and when I leave you will finally understand why storms are named after people.”

  9. #9
    Administrator OvRiDe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question for the audio gurus

    Quote Originally Posted by blueonblack View Post
    Opinions on the feasibility of using an external sound card with optical in and out to feed a receiver?
    This is probably the best bet for what it sounds like you want. The receiver will most likely have more features than you are needing but that could be a benefit as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by blueonblack View Post
    How about the same external sound card to feed just an amplifier?
    You could do this, but it may end up being more complicated than just going the receiver route. That is if you are just going to be using the optical out from the sound card. You will need an amp that has optical in and has an onboard decoder to separate the channels.

    Quote Originally Posted by blueonblack View Post
    My main concern is power. I may end up using some bigger speakers and I want to be sure I have the power to drive them properly.

    Suggestions?
    I believe most home receivers will fit your bill, with plenty of wattage to drive what ever speakers you throw at them.

    Another option is something like this... http://www.logitech.com/en-us/produc...m-z906?crid=47



    Multiple inputs (including optical), sound processing, speakers, plenty of wattage, a volume knob/control center, and a remote to boot.

  10. #10
    Stupidity feeds my children blueonblack's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question for the audio gurus

    This is a set I can get on board with. Thanks.
    “Do not trust people like me. I will take you to museums, and parks, and monuments, and kiss you in every beautiful place, so that you can never go back to them without tasting me like blood in your mouth. I will destroy you in the most beautiful way possible, and when I leave you will finally understand why storms are named after people.”

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