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  • Mempile - Thursday, September 17, 2009 - link

    Thanks, but no thanks, Auzentech and Asus. I'll get a PS3, which is simpler, smarter, and probably better. Reply
  • cubdukat - Friday, September 04, 2009 - link

    I've been waiting for this card to come out ever since it was announced, because I had read that Auzen's X-Fi cards were a quantum leap over Creative's as far as general stability and audio quality were concerned. However, this review is giving me pause.

    Auzen made a point of trumpeting its collaboration with both Nvidia and Cyberlink on the card's design. That it seems to be having such issues with Nvidia chipsets is not a good sign. I am using a GeForce 8200-powered mobo with a 9800GT card, and I have no intention of crossing over to ATI or Intel in order to use this card. I certainly hope that either Nvidia and/or Auzen fixes this problem soon.

    The second issue I have is that Auzen has stated that not only will there be no Linux support for DTS Connect and Dolby Digital Live, they will also not even provide rudimentary Linux drivers for the card either. Now, for most people this is a non-issue, but I also dual-boot a Linux multimedia distro called Mythdora, and that's a deal-breaker for me.

    As it stands right now, I am torn between getting this card or one of the Creative PCI-e X-Fi cards. On one hand, it's perfect for my HTPC setup because I can bitstream TrueHD and DTS-HD to my receiver or output the uncompressed LPCM without downsampling. On the other, I don't want a card that I am going to have to fiddle with, as I already have too many components in my system that fit that description, not to mention that the Creative card does have Linux support. So I think I'm gonna wait and see how this shakes out...
    Reply
  • CDJay - Saturday, September 05, 2009 - link

    See, I've been waiting for this card for entirely different reasons....

    I have a "HTPC", but I don't use it for DVD or Blu-ray, at least atm. No, I use it as an easy way to play music, or games at 1080p. So whilst I could get a PS3 Slim ( I have a normal PS3, I just never use it ) I'd be stuck w/ games that cost more, and run at resolutions that look utterly horrific on my 65" screen.

    So in fact the reason I wanted this card, and indeed why it is now sitting in my PC, is so I can play stuff like Race Driver Grid, Street Fighter IV, Pro Evo 2009, Crysis, Bioshock, Call of Duty Modern Warfare yada yada yada at 1080p/60hz and with PCM over HDMI. Some games ( Streetfighter IV and Pro Evo 2009 I am looking at you ) don't make use of my 7.1 setup, but Race Driver Grid and Crysis most certainly do. I had a Creative X-Fi Fatal1ty using the multichannel input on my audio processor, but that bypasses the decent Audyssey MultiEQ Pro room correction and bass redicrection and thus sounded fairly crappy. I could use Dolby Digital live, but that's lossy and limited to 5.1.

    So to sum up, if I want to listen to lossless stereo, 5.1, 7.1 for music and games this card is the only practical option. Before anyone asks, I have a Xonar HDAV 1.3 sitting in a cupboard upstairs, I didn't enjoy the horrific driver issues and stereo Race Driver Grid etc.

    This is a niche product, sure, but if anyone has the money to burn on having a true 1080p/60fps/multichannel audio gaming setup for multiplatform or PC specific titles this is a VERY interesting product indeed. IMO, YMMV.
    Reply
  • archer75 - Thursday, September 03, 2009 - link

    Just rip your blu-rays to your hard drive, NAS, server, whatever and rip that audio as lossless flac. Stream to receiver as LPCM.
    You get 100% of that DTS-HD MA or TrueHD with none of the DRM and no need to buy expensive sound cards either. Simple.
    Reply
  • DominionSeraph - Saturday, September 05, 2009 - link

    Simple... and illegal under the DMCA. Reply
  • medi01 - Tuesday, September 08, 2009 - link

    Is ripping DVDs legal? Reply
  • wonder1980 - Thursday, September 03, 2009 - link

    please do a comparison between x-fi and ATI 4650 if possible, thanks a lot! Do you think the difference worth $200?
    Reply
  • archer75 - Friday, September 04, 2009 - link

    If you are using a digital connection such as HDMI, optical, etc. there is no difference. It just passes the audio straight out. You don't even need a soundcard for this.
    Either you are bitstreaming it out or your player is decoding it and passing out LPCM. But the sound card is just shipping the audio out.
    If you are talking analog audio then yes, the soundcard will make a difference.
    Reply
  • chizow - Thursday, September 03, 2009 - link

    Anand or anyone else who has this card already,

    Can you measure the card's dimensions? Particularly the length? Trying to see if it'll fit in a Classified's x1 PCIE slot. Amazingly Auzentech's website documentation and even their manual PDF do not list any dimensions or a detailed schematic drawing.

    Thanks for the review, sounds like it'll do what it advertises. One key thing I didn't see mentioned or emphasized though is that this card also retains all of the X-Fi's EAX capability in games and should also be able to encode them as DD Live/DTS Interactive over HDMI. Sound quality will be the same as previous PCIE or PCI X-Fi cards for games, but it'll be the first sound card to offer this all natively over HDMI.

    Also curious if passing video through the sound card has any negative aspects, perhaps input lag, decreased quality or framerate limits.
    Reply
  • chizow - Thursday, September 03, 2009 - link

    Here's the part that concerned me about the HDMI passthrough aspect, as taken from Auztentech's website about the Silicon Image chips used:

    http://www.auzentech.com/site/products/x-fi_hometh...">http://www.auzentech.com/site/products/x-fi_hometh...

    quote:

    The SiI9135A and the SiI9134 are used in many high end AVR designs. The parts support HDMI 1.3 capabilities for transmission of high fidelity audio and 12bit Deep Color per video component.

    Overall link speed of the SiI9134 TX and SiI9135A RX is 225MHz allows for support of 1080p 60Hz Consumer Electronics resolutions and up to 1600x1200 UXGA PC resolutions.

    The HDMI SiI9135A and SiI9134 can support HDCP Repeaters which keeps the downstream and upstream links Authenticated.


    The bolded portion being the biggest concern. Will the card be able to pass higher resolutions than 1920x1080p @ 60Hz or 1600x1200 @ unknown refresh? Or will it cap frames due to limited bandwidth, or simply refuse to pass higher resolution signals?
    Reply
  • Fallen Kell - Thursday, September 03, 2009 - link

    I would say no, it won't. Higher resolution means needing a higher bandwidth connection, either with more data in parallel, or at a faster speed. If they are stating limits, it means those are the limits. Currently, those are fine limits for dealing with current HDMI 1.3 spec equipment, since those do not require to handle anything higher than that. Remember, this is HDMI, not DVI. DVI supports much higher resolutions (well dual link DVI) in its specifications. HDMI does not. Reply
  • medi01 - Thursday, September 03, 2009 - link

    Sorry for trolling, but I can't help posting it:

    "Let's make an anti pirate very-very-very-well-protected HD standard, so that nobody could steal our mega-cool-HD-content!"
    "And let's make it so, that just watching it in the provided quality feels like an achievement!"

    So, what's the status of "Blue Ray ripping" at the moment?
    Reply
  • archer75 - Friday, September 04, 2009 - link

    Blu Ray ripping is quite easy to do. There is a great guide over at avsforum.com

    Just rip the video to mkv, the DTS-HD MA or true HD to lossless FLAC, subtitles if you need them, all with EAC3to. Then merge the files together with mkvmerge. Done.
    You will get 100% of the audio. Bit perfect. And none of the DRM or need to buy this soundcard. Easy.
    Reply
  • Comdrpopnfresh - Thursday, September 03, 2009 - link

    It may very well be worthwhile trying the systems that did not work, with different drivers.

    "The one thing both of my test platforms had in common was their NVIDIA graphics using the latest 190 series drivers. I swapped an ATI Radeon HD 4890 into the P55 board, installed its drivers and it worked right away; under both Windows Vista 32-bit and Windows 7 x64.

    I’m not sure what the NVIDIA/Auzen incompatibility was, and perhaps switching to an arbitrary older driver would fix it"

    The better question may be: what is the NVIDIA/Creative imcompatibility?

    This seems eerily similar to the problems with X-Fi sound cards and Nvidia- problems dating back to the NF4 chipset. It didn't matter what driver one used with the sound, or graphics, cards. The result was SCP- snap, crackle, pop (the S being an ear-bleeding scream/shriek for some). Creative insisted it was a IRQ sharing, or latency handling issue with Nvidia's chipset. But the story kept changing as the problem persisted:

    Running in SLI was to blame, then customer overclocking, use of Nvidia graphics cards on Nvidia motherboards in general, the PCI bus- switching to PCI-e was to cure it, placing the sound card too near to a graphics card, placing it near EMI sources generally within the computer anywhere, memory configurations, driver version on both sides, improperly seated soundcards, lack of EMI shielding...

    The problem has spanned so many generations of motherboards, soundcards, graphics cards, drivers, OS's, and X-Fi soundcards; That it takes hours just to scroll through the troubleshooting/problem thread (scroll, not read) on Creative's own forums. It got so large, infact, that the moderators had to lock the first thread and continue the discussion in an entirely different one.

    The ironic thing, for me at least, is when I read this on page 2:

    "The first jumper block lets you configure how the video signal gets sent to the X-Fi HTHD: either video HDMI input on the back of the card or over the PCIe bus. Apparently NVIDIA and Auzentech have been working on a way to pass video (or audio) over the PCIe bus instead of an external cable. This feature doesn't appear to work on any NVIDIA chipsets today, but it may at some point in the future (or with a future NVIDIA chipset)."

    I thought to myself- "Nvidia and Auzentech developed a way to pass audio or video over the PCI-e bus... but the feature doesn't work; as both companies are finding it impossible to work around the dumb, deaf, and blind licensing-elephant in the room."
    Then I read about the failure on the next page. Typical Creative.
    Reply
  • Automaticman - Thursday, September 03, 2009 - link

    "The first jumper block lets you configure how the video signal gets sent to the X-Fi HTHD: either video HDMI input on the back of the card or over the PCIe bus. Apparently NVIDIA and Auzentech have been working on a way to pass video (or audio) over the PCIe bus instead of an external cable. This feature doesn't appear to work on any NVIDIA chipsets today, but it may at some point in the future (or with a future NVIDIA chipset)."


    The card is not designed to pass video over the PCIe bus. If you look more closely at the card you will see an SLI connector at the top. I still don't think they have it working yet, and of course, you need to get the card working with NVIDIA in general first. The internal video jumper certainly isn't going to work without and SLI connector attached, though.

    In an earlier press release they did specify that it was for NVIDIA and not an ATI Crossfire connector.

    Personally, once I saw the card was priced over $100 more than the ASUS HDAV slim card and did not come with software (ASUS includes TMT2 - not win7 compatable but I didn't find that out 'til later) I went ahead and picked up the ASUS. It works fine, but they need to make it more set-and-forget.
    Reply
  • Crittias - Wednesday, September 02, 2009 - link

    Anand mentions on the last page of the article that there are plenty of open source projects with UIs that completely outclass PowerDVD. Could someone elaborate on some of these options for me? Reply
  • Fallen Kell - Thursday, September 03, 2009 - link

    MediaPortal+StreamedMP skin/plugin
    http://www.team-mediaportal.com/">http://www.team-mediaportal.com/
    http://forum.team-mediaportal.com/streamedmp-301/">http://forum.team-mediaportal.com/streamedmp-301/

    VLC
    http://www.videolan.org/vlc/">http://www.videolan.org/vlc/

    Media Player Classic - Home Cinema
    http://mpc-hc.sourceforge.net/

    MPlayer
    http://www.mplayerhq.hu/design7/news.html">http://www.mplayerhq.hu/design7/news.html
    Reply
  • sprockkets - Thursday, September 03, 2009 - link

    Those are nice, but have no native bluray support :( Reply
  • sprockkets - Thursday, September 03, 2009 - link

    Yeah, the XBMC project.

    http://www.anandtech.com/mb/showdoc.aspx?i=3630&am...">http://www.anandtech.com/mb/showdoc.aspx?i=3630&am...
    Reply
  • bersl2 - Wednesday, September 02, 2009 - link

    "Encryption legend"?

    This is the (n+1)th time bringing this up, I'm sure, but that particular legend made me nauseous.
    Reply
  • StevenG - Wednesday, September 02, 2009 - link

    Forget sound cards, I won't be ready to build an HTPC until somebody markets a "preamp card" and allows me to ditch my receiver and use the HTPC as the true center of an A/V system.

    The card would need to replace all of the inputs, switching, and processing capability of a full-fledged A/V preamp: At least 3 HDMI inputs (for cable/satellite box, gaming console, etc), a few optical/coax digital inputs, and an analog input or two (yeah, some people still use cassette decks). Full Dolby/DTS decoding (including lossless codecs) for streams sourced from HDMI or internally (BluRay drive, hard drive), bass management, speaker level settings, some DSP music modes, maybe Audyssey processing. Decent DACs. 7.1 analog output to an external amplifier and subwoofer (yeah, the card would need to take up several rear panel slots to make room for all the inputs/outputs). Web-based GUI access to all preamp functions, as well as API access so users can develop simple homegrown preamp control applications and macros. And make it software upgradeable for new DSP functions and other features.

    So you'd just need to hook up the HTPC to a decent 7-channel amp, and yer all set. No more receivers or preamps.

    I would drop $600 easy for a card that did all this. Has any manufacturer announced such a product? Who else would buy one?
    Reply
  • archer75 - Friday, September 04, 2009 - link

    Yes, there are cards with the preamp. The Asus HDAV with the daughter card.
    You aren't going to get all those inputs though.
    But you plug it straight into an amp and go.

    Though I don't know why you'd want all that in a computer. A receiver can do it for cheaper. Doing all that in a computer just introduces too many variables. Too much to go wrong. Software that can monkey with your audio.
    No, i'd rather just have it bitstream to my receiver.
    Reply
  • crimson117 - Wednesday, September 02, 2009 - link

    With your home theater setup, could you tell the difference? Was the audio noticeably different? Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Wednesday, September 02, 2009 - link

    Did I notice the difference from higher bitrate audio? Tough to tell.

    Where you actually notice the difference is that True HD and DTS-HD MA give you 8 discrete channels of audio, whereas the best you get with DD/DTS core is 6. If you have a 7.1 setup the extra pair of surrounds are derived from the other surrounds; with True HD/DTS-HD MA you get 8 discrete channels, and it sounds better.

    If you don't have a 7.1 setup then I'm not sure if most people would notice a difference. It is a significant increase in audio bitrate (> 20Mbps uncompressed?!?) but as with most things in the AV world, you really have to train your ears. I am more likely to notice issues with video than audio it seems, perhaps it's different for other people.

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • Zorlac - Wednesday, September 02, 2009 - link

    This reminds me of all the problems there were when DVD playback initially came to the PC. It was a freaking nightmare!

    Hence the reason I did not even try for Blu-Ray on the PC this time. Instead I went with a PS3, then a Bitstream capable dedicated player and now probably back to a PS3 Slime (since it can now bitstream).

    HTPC has always been too much of a headache for me. I will just stick to dedicated A/V equipment for movies and PC for gaming, head-fi, etc.

    Zorlac
    http://www.MyPortableLifeStore.com">http://www.MyPortableLifeStore.com
    Reply
  • sprockkets - Wednesday, September 02, 2009 - link

    And it wasn't until stuff like xine, mplayer or vlc came along that gave us easy dvd playback via analog or digital means.

    I can understand why Apple doesn't want to touch BluRay. Needing firmware updates for players, receivers and tvs to get it working is not only annoying but is BS. Paying $400 for a player or around $300 for a bluray drive plus software to decode it is also ridiculous.
    Reply
  • RubberJohnny - Wednesday, September 02, 2009 - link

    Who's TV or reciever ever needed a firmware to play a bluray?...that statement is BS.

    There's a $60 sata bluray drive on new egg at the moment...where did you pull this $300 figure from?...more BS?
    Reply
  • sprockkets - Thursday, September 03, 2009 - link

    "Who's TV or reciever ever needed a firmware to play a bluray?...that statement is BS. "

    Oh, I don't know, maybe the previous Anandtech article about his receiver needing a firmware upgrade to talk properly to the computer?

    "Gary tried the Denon AVR-3808 and got the same error: HDCP failed until a firmware update from Denon although the unit worked fine with competing solutions. His situation was slightly different with the Pioneer VSX-94TXH as it worked properly (finally) after the latest updates from ArcSoft and Corel. However, Cyberlink's PowerDVD 8 Ultra still does not have G45 repeater support at this time."

    Fun shit huh? Oh, btw, how fun is it that you need a firmware upgrade every time Fox decides to change keys? What if your player is not worth upgrading anymore?

    Also read about how certain TVs needed firmware updates to properly talk to HDCP bluray players; there were times where the TV would all of a sudden be treated as a "illegal" or "unauthorized" device by the player. Even if this issue is not around anymore, it still is stupid to begin with that I would have to upgrade my TV to play movies. That never happened with DVDs.

    Btw, unless things have changed, and I doubt they have, those bluray drives come with crippled versions of software, and require you to pay for the $70-90 version for all the features that blu ray offers.

    Well, if you want to keep feeding the MAFIAA, go right on ahead.
    Reply
  • Zorlac - Wednesday, September 02, 2009 - link

    PS3 Slim that is (gotta love the edit button) =P Reply
  • taltamir - Wednesday, September 02, 2009 - link

    "Piracy shouldn’t be easier, it should just be cheaper."
    This is why those industries are failing and they don't understand why. When people buy your product, put it on the shelf, and use a pirated version of what they just bought because the pirated version actually WORKS, then you have a huge problem.
    Reply
  • Wellsoul2 - Wednesday, September 02, 2009 - link

    Seems like alot of hoops to jump through...

    I'll just stick with my $80 ASUS and PCM optical out.

    IMHO if Microsoft had just said no to DRM we would have a better
    OS with better sound by the hardware layer as in XP.
    All this DRM just impedes technology.

    It's not scientific but to me the sound in Vista is not as good as
    XP with the apps I use.
    Reply
  • Fallen Kell - Wednesday, September 02, 2009 - link

    You are kidding me right? XP's Audio Mixer was HORRIBLE! If anything had to get touched by the OS (say for instance volume control), the audio was immediately downsampled to 16bit. Reply
  • CookieMook - Wednesday, September 02, 2009 - link

    I for one have an NVidia 8800 GTS (640 MB) card and get video through the X-fi Home Theater HD to my JVC-RS1 projector. However, I get HDCP issues whenever trying to view Blu-Ray content via Power DVD 9 Ultra. If I bypass the X-fi HTHD card, I have no problems with HDCP. Anyone else get video but HDCP failing with this card? Reply
  • adder - Wednesday, September 02, 2009 - link

    does this card output decoded DTS MA,DTS HD via analog 7.1 outs,since there are lot of people with older recievers. Reply
  • Fallen Kell - Wednesday, September 02, 2009 - link

    I don't think that this is the intended target for this card. I am not saying that it can't do it, but I don't think it does. If you simply want analog out, I believe any sound card which has 5.1 or 7.1 analog outputs will send the audio that way, but I believe that there are certification issues when doing analog out and you can only use the lower quality audio streams when doing so on a PC. Reply
  • maddoctor - Wednesday, September 02, 2009 - link

    It can do the analog. You must look the serial like connector in the card and multiple colour cable that intended to connect with. These will go to the speakers. Reply
  • gwolfman - Wednesday, September 02, 2009 - link

    @Anand

    I have an Intel DG45FC mini-itx board running Vista Ultimate x64 that I'm currently using for my HTPC with PowerDVD. I use it to bitstream standard DTS and DD to my Onkyo TX-SR606. As you stated, I am constantly having to play with the audio configuration settings to have it work correctly. If I get it working correctly, a few reboots later (for unknown reasons) it starts magically sending LPCM instead of DTS/DD. I have to spend 20+ minutes with PDVD and Vista audio settings and multiple reboots to get it back. Sometimes I even need to disconnect the HDMI cable going from my HTPC to my receiver to get it to come back; sometimes doing that I lose video on my HDTV and have to reboot again. It's way annoying!
    Reply
  • Dreamwalker - Wednesday, September 02, 2009 - link

    I tried it few weeks ago, recommendet on AVF forum and I'm really impressed. Not only it supports much more video formats (.mkv,...) it should also be able to do all the lossless audio passthrough, at least judging from their webseite and all the logos.

    I would really like to see if it works with the Auzen.
    Reply
  • Fallen Kell - Wednesday, September 02, 2009 - link

    The lossless pass-thru is ONLY with the Asus card mentioned in this article. There is a thread dedicated to this over at AVSForums:

    http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=10...">http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=10...
    Reply
  • tim851 - Wednesday, September 02, 2009 - link

    It's just the same with the video games industry. All those contraptions designed to prevent illegal copying are only hurting those, who have paid for their games. Pirates can get fully cracked versions of games, that don't even need to be installed, that you just put in a folder and play without ever thinking about admitting developer distributed spyware to your PC, about forced registrations or about incompatibilities with installed software.

    The paranoia of the content industry is so dumb and so proven to be ineffective, that you just know there are alterior motives.
    Reply
  • 123sex - Wednesday, September 02, 2009 - link

    Doesn´t look like a 24 bit disc
    http://www.blu-raystats.com/Search/displayTitles.p...">http://www.blu-raystats.com/Search/displayTitles.p...

    http://www.blu-raystats.com/Stats/Details.php?u=42...">http://www.blu-raystats.com/Stats/Details.php?u=42...
    vs 24 bit
    http://www.blu-raystats.com/Stats/Details.php?u=41...">http://www.blu-raystats.com/Stats/Details.php?u=41...

    Which makes perfect sense considering the age of the movie

    (sorry about the other post)
    Reply
  • jay401 - Wednesday, September 02, 2009 - link

    Thanks for reviewing this! Auzentech has made some excellent cards and it's rare anymore to see a review of a peripheral soundcard since most folks aren't concerned enough with their sound quality or decoding to go beyond whatever onboard sound their motherboard provides. Reply
  • andy o - Wednesday, September 02, 2009 - link

    See anything wrong? While the output frequency is correct, the output resolution is not. If I’m correct, we should be seeing 48kHz/24-bit audio, but instead we’re getting downsampled 48kHz/16-bit audio - the same we get over LPCM. It’s close, but not technically lossless.

    I hope you realize that you're still getting whatever is in the disc, right? That's the point of bitstreaming. The error is just on PowerDVD's display. Maybe that's what you meant, but the way it's worded seems to say that you're getting something else. And, it clearly says 192 kHz, not 48 kHz.
    Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Wednesday, September 02, 2009 - link

    I was under the impression that the discs I used contained 48kHz/24-bit tracks, I'm checking to see if I have anything else here confirmed to be a 24-bit disc.

    Either way I do not believe the output frequency should be 192kHz, very few BDs are mastered with a 192kHz audio track.

    Take care,
    anand
    Reply
  • andy o - Wednesday, September 02, 2009 - link

    Sorry, one more and I'm done.

    If you notice, your receiver indeed is telling you it's receiving only 5.1 audio both in the THD and DTS MA example pictures. And again, there's no way PowerDVD could downsample the audio without decoding it first. Then it would have to encode again. It's not just very unlikely, but there's also no reason whatsoever that they would do it, and it would take extra effort to re-encode the TrueHD and DTS MA streams on-the-fly so your receiver gets them. I don't know if it's even possible to encode those formats on-the-fly.
    Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Wednesday, September 02, 2009 - link

    Wow, you're more than completely right (a night of rest and the whole downsampling without decoding thing hit me right in the face). I've updated the article, it looks like the most that's happening is PowerDVD is just providing screwy output but the card is working as intended.

    Thanks again :)

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • andy o - Wednesday, September 02, 2009 - link

    BTW, 24.576 Mbps is exactly uncompressed PCM 16-bit 192 kHz 8-channel, which are the numbers that PowerDVD is reporting (which is what shows in your pictures). It is not reporting the bitrate of the TrueHD audio. Somehow it can't read the true specs of the THD and DTS MA streams. No big deal.

    Also, note that the movies you tested don't have 7.1 (8-channel) audio, so again, PowerDVD is clearly misreporting, and you can easily double check this with your receiver, which will tell you how many channels it's receiving/processing.
    Reply
  • andy o - Wednesday, September 02, 2009 - link

    Of course, what I'm pointing out is that 192 kHz is ridiculous... the only one I know that does that (movie) is Akira. Also, the 24 Mbps audio should be a tip that PowerDVD is just misreporting.

    In any case, once your receiver tells you it's getting TrueHD or DTS MA, you're set. There is no way downsampling is being done, no matter what PowerDVD tells you. The only way would be that the card is getting the downsampled PCM output from PowerDVD and re-encoding it to THD or DTS MA, but you see how that's very extremely unlikely.
    Reply
  • andy o - Wednesday, September 02, 2009 - link

    first paragraph is a quote from the 2nd page of the article, "quote" doesn't work in the comments typing field? Reply
  • 123sex - Wednesday, September 02, 2009 - link

    Doesn´t look like a 24 bit disc
    http://www.blu-raystats.com/Search/displayTitles.p...">http://www.blu-raystats.com/Search/displayTitles.p...

    http://www.blu-raystats.com/Stats/Details.php?u=42...">http://www.blu-raystats.com/Stats/Details.php?u=42...
    vs 24 bit
    http://www.blu-raystats.com/Stats/Details.php?u=41...">http://www.blu-raystats.com/Stats/Details.php?u=41...

    Which makes perfect sense considering the age of the movie
    Reply
  • hu24ebr - Wednesday, September 02, 2009 - link

    I already have a slim ps3, and a home theater receiver that can bit stream, i tried to compare between the compressed and the pure audio, and I have failed to listen to any difference. Reply
  • cmdrdredd - Wednesday, September 02, 2009 - link

    [quote]I already have a slim ps3, and a home theater receiver that can bit stream, i tried to compare between the compressed and the pure audio, and I have failed to listen to any difference.[/quote]

    That's because there is no difference.
    Reply
  • Golgatha - Wednesday, September 02, 2009 - link

    Yeah, I thought about getting all excited about HD audio, but my ears just can't tell the difference. I have a 5.1 Klipsch setup too, so my speakers aren't super high end, but they aren't crap either.

    I figured an upgrade to PowerDVD 9 was $50, a sound card that can pass the HDMI HD audio signals would be $200+, and then I get to pray to God it all works when I get it together...or, I could just keep what I have and live with HD audio sources downsampled to DD5.1 and live with it. This and the fact that later versions of the PowerDVD 8 software don't support playing HD audio/video back from a virtual drive pretty much killed any and all desire to upgrade my hardware.

    Frankly, they have only succeeded making me not want to purchase hardware and software to playback Blu-ray discs with all this DRM in the mix. If things like AnyDVD HD weren't available, I wouldn't have purchased the BD reader and PowerDVD 8 software I currently use, so thank the "pirates" out there for your sales. Make the DRM any "better" at securing premium content and I'll make sure to give any new hardware supporting said DRM the middle finger.
    Reply
  • CrimsonFury - Wednesday, September 02, 2009 - link

    "For that price you’re $50 away from a PS3 Slim, which can bitstream Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD MA in full 48kHz/24-bit fashion"

    The PS3 does NOT bitstream Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD MA. It decodes them using the PS3's software and outputs them in 8 channel LPCM.
    Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Wednesday, September 02, 2009 - link

    While I haven't tested it myself, the word on the street is that the PS3 Slim can bitstream the hd audio codecs:

    http://www.engadget.com/2009/08/21/ps3-slim-bitsre...">http://www.engadget.com/2009/08/21/ps3-...by-trueh...

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • Golgatha - Wednesday, September 02, 2009 - link

    The PS3 can pass the audio stream to the receiver uncompressed, which makes the receiver pick it up as a LCPM stream. This is bit for bit equivalent to the HD audio formats, it's just that your little light indicating that's what your getting won't light up at the receiver. Reply
  • andy o - Wednesday, September 02, 2009 - link

    Yeah, that's right, I just got my PS3 slim and many others also have confirmed. But the thing is that bitstreaming itself is not the big deal with this card, it's that software players have been screwing the audio in different ways with bugs (channel mapping, improper decoding, etc.). Bitstreaming is just a practical solution. The upcoming Slyplayer will NOT downsample audio so it'll be a good solution, it'll stream bit-perfect LPCM the same way as ReClock can do now with WASAPI exclusive-compatible HDMI devices like the ATI 4000 series with Realtek drivers. Reply
  • asdasd246246 - Wednesday, September 02, 2009 - link

    The 48xx series already has HDMI output, with audio, so what's the point of this expensive and apparently, (as usual with Creative) unstable card?

    A Bluray disc contains digital data, that is generally just sent along it's way to the receiver? There's nothing that needs a codec.
    Reply
  • George Powell - Wednesday, September 02, 2009 - link

    The 48xx cards do not allow the raw bitstream data to be sent across HDMI. The data is first decoded and then sent as LPCM. There are advantages to both systems in my view.

    1. Bitstream allows for the highest quality possible. The decode is done by the amplifier which will use specialist hardware to perform the decode. Given high end enough equipment this will offer a better sound than LPCM.

    2. LPCM can be fed into just about any amplifier with an HDMI in port. The amplifier doesn't need to do any decoding work. This is a good option for those who have older high end equipment, and I count myself as one of them.
    Reply
  • archer75 - Friday, September 04, 2009 - link

    It does'nt matter what does the decoding. Decoding is pretty much just like unzipping a file. You get the same thing if you do it on this computer or that one.

    LPCM works on receivers that support HDMI 1.3. and SOME older ones.

    The problem with LPCM is your software player can mess with the audio. PowerDVD or TMT will downsample the audio when they decode it and then pass it out as LPCM.
    The only way around that is to do your own Blu-Ray rips to your hard drive in a MKV container with lossless flac.
    Reply
  • Jaybus - Friday, September 04, 2009 - link

    This is true. I think this should be a software option. It seems they limit bitstream output to 6.144 Mbs, which is the maximum allowed for DVD-Video. This only allows 16-bit 48 kHz sampling for 7.1 surround. Perhaps, with the exception of these high-end audio cards, it is the hardware itself that can't handle more than a 6.144 Mbs audio bitstream over HDMI? Makes the software more compatible with various HDMI implementations? License only allows for DVD-Video quality audio? Not sure. Reply
  • mczak - Wednesday, September 02, 2009 - link

    Err, there's no point in using "specialist" high quality hardware for decoding. This is a lossless format, so any decoder adhering to specification will in fact decode it to the exact same uncompressed data. D/A conversion will happen in the receiver anyway so it really doesn't matter where you decode the lossless format.
    But audiophiles might argue about "better bits" and whatnot whispering words like "jitter"...
    Reply
  • micksh - Wednesday, September 02, 2009 - link

    Thanks a lot for the article. The essence of the problem is very well formulated.

    This is exactly what I gathered from months of reading AVSForum. LCPM over HDMI provides you enough resolution for most blu-ray disks even if it is downsampled to 48KHz/16 bit. It is still lossless and can be provided by cheap video cards or motherboards. Not many disks have greater than 48 KHz sample rate and 24 vs 16 bit is like 114 vs 92 db detail level. The difference can't be heard in most environments anyway.

    Current Blu-ray PC players just can't get it right with bitstreaming so there is no need to pay ridiculous price for audio hardware. With release of SlyPlayer there will be no need to pay for crap software either.

    It is great that the article is appeared on such respectable site.

    One question regarding roadmap for motherboard bitstreaming over HDMI. I've heard opposite rumours - LPCM over HDMI can be discontinued because of the need to pay for license. Example - new ATI Radeon 5xxx series are going to lose LPCM over HDMI. Is it true about ATI?
    Reply
  • recon300 - Thursday, September 03, 2009 - link

    I have to agree. Thanks for the writeup, the issues you highlighted definitely need to be addressed. Great article. Reply
  • Procurion - Wednesday, September 02, 2009 - link

    I beg to differ. In a movie room, one built for this environment and set up for it, there is a difference. $250 is high-end which is the emphasis of the article. Subsonics are one of the first thing to go in a compressed format and obvious when compared. There are a lot of people who remember and still listen to lossless-only music and recognize what we're losing when they are converted to what the industry tries to pass off as "indistinguishable" differences in a less than full reproduction.

    In essence, you can't HEAR the difference, you FEEL the difference. Subsonics and ultra high frequencies can't be heard, true. They are felt.
    Reply
  • snarfbot - Wednesday, September 02, 2009 - link

    it ultimately depends on your receiver and speakers right?

    compressed audio does clip the very low and very high frequencies, but most consumer level audio equipment cant even reproduce that part so you wouldnt feel it anyway, even if you could, which im not convinced of, at least in the high range. my mediocre speakers can reproduce painfully high frequencies as it is.

    also a good sub can only do around 20hz at best anyway, which is covered just fine by regular dvd's.

    so i cant really see what your missing, unless you are talking about bass shakers, you know the things that physically shake the chair your sitting in, which also work just fine with regular compressed audio.

    my particular ass for example probably couldn't tell the difference between standard and high definition vibrations.

    lol
    Reply
  • LTG - Wednesday, September 02, 2009 - link

    "you can't HEAR the difference, you FEEL the difference. Subsonics and ultra high frequencies can't be heard, true. They are felt."

    I'm not that confident in your ability to "feel" ultra high frequencies.

    Are you sure they can do anything other than give you a headache or upset your dog?



    Reply
  • Fallen Kell - Wednesday, September 02, 2009 - link

    "I'm not that confident in your ability to "feel" ultra high frequencies.

    Are you sure they can do anything other than give you a headache or upset your dog?"

    There were several scientific studies on just this subject, and in all of them the answer was yes, we do interpret many of the frequencies that we can not audibly hear. Multiple studies in the infra-sonic frequency ranges have all produces extremely high correlation that humans most certainly do detect infra-sound and interpret it. The high frequency results have not been studied as much, but the studies that I have seen have all shown that there is a very large percentage of people do somehow detect the frequency ranges (one particular study had subjects listening to music which contained a clipped frequency range and music where those clipped frequency ranges were still intact and brain scans were taken during the time. The music with the full range frequency showed much more activity in the brain, which showed that even though the frequency ranges were outside normal audible range, the brain was still interpreting the frequencies).
    Reply
  • jigglywiggly - Friday, September 04, 2009 - link

    Just get a ps3 and put linux on it, rip it to a smb windows computer. No encrpytion if using anydvd + way freaking easier. Reply
  • MrPoletski - Wednesday, September 02, 2009 - link

    It's more than that. You brain identifies the sound as a guitar sound, so you hear a guitar sound - the missing frequencies be damned. As far as you brain is concerned the missing frequencies are just distortion and will require your brain to do a little more work to decipher that it is a guitar sound. But in the end, you will always hear the guitar.

    That runs with the idea that you dont see and hear the things around you. You see and hear the sights and sounds your brain believes to be around you based on the input it gets from its ears and eyes - i.e. it's interpretation of that.

    Having lossy formats wont sound any worse until you have heard the real recording and even then, the difference will be far more noticable ion the experienced fatigue from listening to the music for a length of time.

    A tinny radio turned up too loud will tire you out if you are trying to listen to it, a high end hifi would not. In fact, it would be a joy to listen to. Try that tinny radio turned up too loud. You'll soon want to turn it off.
    Reply
  • Mastakilla - Wednesday, September 02, 2009 - link

    "One question regarding roadmap for motherboard bitstreaming over HDMI. I've heard opposite rumours - LPCM over HDMI can be discontinued because of the need to pay for license. Example - new ATI Radeon 5xxx series are going to lose LPCM over HDMI. Is it true about ATI?"
    I am very interested in this too...

    I'm planning to buy the ATI Radeon 5xxx and was kinda hoping it would have better support for Audio than the older ATI hardware

    @ Anand: You mention that future mainboards will have better audio support, do you know anything about the future videocards? Cause the mainboard is not something I would replace soon...
    Reply
  • Baked - Wednesday, September 02, 2009 - link

    Indeed a PS3 Slim would be the better option. I got an eye sore just reading the failure page. Reply
  • kleshodnic - Wednesday, September 02, 2009 - link

    Try ripping a Blu-Ray ISO to a FAT32 partition... Reply
  • joos2000 - Monday, September 07, 2009 - link

    Eh, rip it on your PC and store it on your media streaming NAS. Easy enough. Reply
  • leexgx - Friday, September 04, 2009 - link

    below only relating to if you Play them as an file or over the network (as its going to be AC3 you lose something but norm house sound systems you not notice it)

    use TVeristy and stream TS or M2TS over the network useing the PS3 media center handles 1080p norm fine (H.264 10GB files) But does not support DTS audio needs converting to AC3 that takes 10 mins

    DTS does not seem to play from files get no sound (same on power dvd 9 i have to use popcorn audioconverter to convert DTS to AC3 then use TSmux to convert the MKV to TS then my video card handles the video output {wish rel groups would do every thing in TS and AC3 in 1080p}) yes you can use VLC (new one is Crap media player classic is better) it uses all CPU no Video HW decode
    Reply
  • elpresidente2075 - Wednesday, September 02, 2009 - link

    Try running the Indy 500 in a Chevy II... Reply

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