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  #41 (permalink)  
Old June 10, 2014, 05:53 PM
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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.
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Originally Posted by sswilson View Post
What specific quality of output does it support over S/PDIF???
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Originally Posted by SKYMTL View Post
Looks like 24 / 96 to me but I've asked ASUS exactly that.
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Originally Posted by sswilson View Post
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.
AkG has been kind enough to let me play around with the features of our review unit and now that I'm back from my trip to the National Capital region I can confirm that it at the very least allows for the selection of 2 channel 24bit / 192Khz sPDIF output, and that my receiver appears to be able to process the signal. I haven't done a head to head comparison yet (maybe tomorrow) to see if there is any subjective difference between the O/P of the onboard optical of my AM1 vrs the coax output of this card, but my initial impression is that I'm not noticing the type of poor quality audio I experienced with the cheepo USB audio device I tried out last year. There is however still no ability to configure for anything other than 2 channel output when using sPDIF.

Interestingly enough... there's a line in the manual WRT the functionality of selecting USB Audio 1.0 vrs USB Audio 2.0 on the device.... Selecting USB Audio 1.0 allows for plug and play, but limits most outputs to 44/48Khz @ 16bit. This has me leaning even more towards some kind of issue WRT cheaper USB solutions depending on windows default drivers as being the culprit for the crappy audio I experienced.
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Last edited by sswilson; June 10, 2014 at 06:03 PM.
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  #42 (permalink)  
Old June 11, 2014, 04:37 AM
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Very interesting. I'm looking forward to your follow ups!
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Old June 11, 2014, 05:46 AM
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Very interesting. I'm looking forward to your follow ups!
There's probably not going to be much more other than a subjective comparison between this and cheap onboard. It's not like I'm going to attempt to put the signals through a spectrum analyzer or oscilloscope. :)

I was more concerned with functionality as opposed to subjective impressions of sound quality.
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Old June 11, 2014, 07:16 AM
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Just to make sure,do you have this/..Amazon.com: SANOXY® 2 x RCA Male, 1 x 3.5mm Stereo Female, Y-Cable 6-Inch: Car Electronics It's needed for your front [green plug] speaker connection.
Thank you, I will order one of those and see if it helps. I would have responded earlier but been busy:)
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Old June 15, 2014, 01:04 PM
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Just to make sure,do you have this/..Amazon.com: SANOXY® 2 x RCA Male, 1 x 3.5mm Stereo Female, Y-Cable 6-Inch: Car Electronics It's needed for your front [green plug] speaker connection.

Thank you this worked, the Asus U7 itself does not quite work properly but I was able to get the speakers to work. The only issue is the button that you push that should make it go from headphones to speakers does nothing, you actually have to restart the computer to get it to switch, how ever at least now I can use either or as long as I decide before hand.

Once again thank you very much for your help!

Don
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Old June 15, 2014, 03:14 PM
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Thank you this worked, the Asus U7 itself does not quite work properly but I was able to get the speakers to work. The only issue is the button that you push that should make it go from headphones to speakers does nothing, you actually have to restart the computer to get it to switch, how ever at least now I can use either or as long as I decide before hand.

Once again thank you very much for your help!

Don
You're welcome Don. I think a reinstall of the drivers again might fix the "button" issue. Won't hurt to try. Glad you have it working in 5.1.
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Old June 19, 2014, 06:29 AM
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Hello. Would anyone have any comments on how the microphone volume works for muting? More of how quickly it can silence the mic and then turn it back on when on conference calls. I bought a headset (MMX300) that does not have built-in volume and mute buttons and need some sort of solution (for quickly muting and turning back on the mic mainly). I am currently using it on a laptop connected to a Xonar U3. I'd prefer a mic on/off switch but this may work okay and might increase sound quality at the same time. I do use the surround sound option on the U3, otherwise I'd look at some of the low cost usb to 3.5mm adapters.
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