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  #11 (permalink)  
Old May 16, 2014, 09:26 AM
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Originally Posted by sswilson View Post
That doesn't answer my question though... what are the actual output options available for digital output? As an example, the onboard realtec optical for my AM1 system has a selection for up to and including 2 channel , 24 bit, 192 KHz. Does this device offer that option?

I'm pushing on this because my research on the subject earlier this year showed some very wishy washy information being provided by the manufacturers on the subject making it almost impossible to know what the device was going to offer for digital output until you spend the money to get it into your home, which makes it too late if you've planned a mITX build around using an external USB soundcard.

From my experience, optical audio connections just seem to be more stable and offer better compatibility, and quite frankly, if the preferred method of digital audio connectivity is through HDMI then why exactly are S/PDIF connections even included?
This external solution is primarily a DAC so HDMI isn't needed. More importantly, adding HDMI necessitates the usual by-device licensing fees which would cause the price to rise.

S/PDIF on the other hand is included as a way to achieve digital quality sound without HDMI. Many motherboards and all GPUs these days include HDMI outputs but lack a dedicated HD digital audio output if you are using DisplayPort or DVI. Hence why S/PDIF is a great option within a break-out-box configuration.

Take X79 and the upcoming X99 for example. If you are running a monitor via DP* or DVI, outputting a HD audio signal towards a receiver is nigh-on impossible without some sort of secondary solution. Now granted many users will likely go the dedicated internal sound-card route but for those that want a more versatile solution, the U7 would offer the best of both worlds: a headphone amp for your cans and an S/PDIF output to stream audio towards a receiver.

*Yes, I know DP can technically carry HD audio but the device support structure isn't there right now.
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Old May 16, 2014, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by SKYMTL View Post
This external solution is primarily a DAC so HDMI isn't needed. More importantly, adding HDMI necessitates the usual by-device licensing fees which would cause the price to rise.

S/PDIF on the other hand is included as a way to achieve digital quality sound without HDMI. Many motherboards and all GPUs these days include HDMI outputs but lack a dedicated HD digital audio output if you are using DisplayPort or DVI. Hence why S/PDIF is a great option within a break-out-box configuration.

Take X79 and the upcoming X99 for example. If you are running a monitor via DP* or DVI, outputting a HD audio signal towards a receiver is nigh-on impossible without some sort of secondary solution. Now granted many users will likely go the dedicated internal sound-card route but for those that want a more versatile solution, the U7 would offer the best of both worlds: a headphone amp for your cans and an S/PDIF output to stream audio towards a receiver.

*Yes, I know DP can technically carry HD audio but the device support structure isn't there right now.
What specific quality of output does it support over S/PDIF???
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Last edited by sswilson; May 16, 2014 at 11:22 AM.
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Old May 17, 2014, 05:15 AM
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Looks like 24 / 96 to me but I've asked ASUS exactly that.
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Old May 17, 2014, 07:38 AM
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Looks like 24 / 96 to me but I've asked ASUS exactly that.
Thanks,

24 / 96 is probably more than sufficient, that's what my Audigy2 NX offered and I was satisfied with its output. Where I've run into issues is with devices that seem to default to stock windows 2 channel 16 / 48 settings. In those cases it's the only option offered, and the quality of the audio is (for lack of a better word) "thin". If I hadn't come up with an HDMI option I would have probably ended up ditching the digital output for the stock analog one... it wouldn't have been pretty, but it would have had to be better than what I was getting from the optical out.

Sorry for gnawing on the subject like a dog with a ham bone, but the dearth of clear information really irked me when I was trying to put together my second mITX build. This isn't an ASUS issue, every consumer grade priced device I looked at had similar questions being asked about it, and every question seemed to be met with the same respose (chirping crickets). If I had to guess, it'd be that it's an issue similar to what happened with XP TV tuners under win7 where we had some limited functionality, but most features would not work under the new OS.

With that in mind... I was excited to see both optical and coax S/PDIF on this device, and had hopes that maybe there was a $100ish device that would actually do what I had been trying to do earlier in the year. It may be a limited market, but if it can be done with onboard audio, I don't understand why there's such an issue getting it in a portable device.

edit: As far as why we should care goes (in case anybody is wondering why I'm making an issue of it)... I'm assuming (there's that word) that a S/PDIF output signal at appropriate freq/bitrate would be hardware quality agnostic. Being a digital signal, if the signal is lossless then it wouldn't matter to us if it's coming from a $20 device as opposed to a $300 one because we're leaving that work to be done by the receiver.
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Old May 22, 2014, 03:06 PM
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I'm currently using an Audio Technica ATH-A500X headphones which is 48ohms on a Xonar D2X,will there be any improvement if I switched to a Xonar U7?
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Old May 23, 2014, 05:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Biff73 View Post
I'm currently using an Audio Technica ATH-A500X headphones which is 48ohms on a Xonar D2X,will there be any improvement if I switched to a Xonar U7?
Not noticeably.
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Old May 23, 2014, 05:30 AM
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Ok,thanks,I'm looking for a decent 5.1 sound card with more powerful headphone amp,any reccomendations?Sorry for off topic
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Old May 23, 2014, 07:10 AM
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Off hand, I'd say the Xonar Essence STX.
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Old May 23, 2014, 07:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SKYMTL View Post
Off hand, I'd say the Xonar Essence STX.
Yes,the Xonar essense stx is perfect for headphones,but it lacks analog 5.1 input which I need for my speakers
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Old May 23, 2014, 08:32 AM
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Yes,the Xonar essense stx is perfect for headphones,but it lacks analog 5.1 input which I need for my speakers
This is an excellent sound card if you don't have a problem with cost..http://www.ncix.com/detail/asus-rog-...e-d2-71120.htm
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