An HD Audio Question

autolyus

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It seems the most easy mundane question, but i have searched the net for hours and cannot find the answer. A million explanations about how to connect the front panel HD audio to the mobo, but NOTHING about how to output from front panel to av receiver. What cable do i need? Is it a phono/RCA connector? It looks like a mini jack but surely HD audio is multichannel?

The fact that there is no information out there makes me think i am missing something really fundamental here. Can someone please dispel my ignorance and tell me what it is? Thanks.
 
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The problem is the term HD audio. You are mixing up surround sound with HiRes audio. Two different things.
Surround sound on video files would be a version of Dolby or DTS. These come in lower quality versions that can output via digital audio outputs. The higher quality version like Dolby TrueHD can only be sent via HDMI.
These connections assume that the surround processing is done outside the PC.
If you use 3-2 channel analog audio outputs on your PC then the surround processing is done in the PC. Usually there are 5 full range channels and a .1 bass channel.
HiRes audio files are usually FLAC, ALAC, SACD ISO, or DSD files.
HiRes audio is mostly stereo. It could be output through the lime green mini jack on your PC. The digital to analog conversion would be done on your soundcard or mobo. Usually an external DAC is used for higher quality. This could be connected via USB or SPDIF digital audio out. Mostly USB is used these days as it handles higher resolution files than SPDIF.
 

That is a big fat WRONG.

Americanaudiophile already defined what HD audio means,

What I chuckle is, the vendor apparently sold you a PC with an HD audio front panel. Well this is very confusing isn't it, because from Americanaudiophile's detailed explanation, the vendor shouldn't throw that term out nitty-willy. HD audio is primarily software, nothing to do with hookup hardware.

Bottom line is, your front panel is stereo, ignore the HD label. You want surround, gotta go to the back panel, or anywhere with an optical out.
 

autolyus

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Thanks guys for the detailed replies. So the HD audio output does indeed require a mini jack stereo connector. There seem to be an awful lot of wires for just two channels which is one thing that made me think it must be multichannel. I'm actually building a new mATX PC and learning as i go, particularly in terms of the audio.

The ASrock 970M spec states "To configure 7.1 CH HD Audio, it is required to use an HD front panel audio module and enable the multi-channel audio feature through the audio driver". I'm struggling a bit to square this with the above information so i clearly haven't quite grasped the concept yet. I have a phono spdif connector to my av receiver on my current PC and that's really all i want to achieve.
 
OK lets start from the beginning.

What exactly make/model of your receiver, and I assume you wish surround hookup?

Post a clear picture of your current front panel, and if you don't mind, the back of your receiver as well.
 

DRagor

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If you buy motherboard with SPDIF port on the back panel, you don't need anything more. If your mobo is without it, well you're down to juggling with like 3 or 4 mini-jack cables. Your mobo manual will explain which cable goes where.
 

autolyus

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DRagor - unfortunately not easy to find matx with spdif. Asus has one (optical) but i went with the ASrock assuming i would just add a sound card. Then when i saw the HD audio header and front HD audio panel on the case i assumed what i assumed.

jsmithepa -this is the PC front panel and the mobo header connector:



This is the other end of the header connector cable where it connects to the rear of the PC front panel.



The receiver is a Sony 1200 DTS. It does have a sort of restricted hdmi in/out so the audio content will not play through the surround speakers so i use coax spdif.



 
OK I vaguely recall this HD thing now, a big overly complicated headache. Last time I gave up on it. May wanna consider buying a cheapy soundcard, ANYTHING that gives you an optical out.

Meanwhile if your Sony has discrete multi-channel RCA inputs (the manual I saw has it), can attempt to hook up the individual channels directly see how that works. I'd still prefer a simple optical cable.
 

DRagor

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Well, if you came here with your questions before buying mobo, you would save yourself some trouble :)
If the receiver does not have mini-jack inputs (3 needed for 5.1 and 4 for 7.1), then I guess you are back to your original plan of adding a sound card.
 

To be fair, not even I expected this kind of #^%*. I can see why it's alluring, a whole Mobo for usd$64, but one look at the back panel and ewww, one can tell a lot by looking at the back panel of things. No HDMI, no optical, legacy PS2 ports (screams old), USB galore though, that it has.
 

autolyus

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Guys, I really was hoping for more information about the query than disparaging comments about the mobo. It's actually one of the most expensive (and up to date) mATX AM3+ boards i could find: low price was not an aspect of my decision.

The reason i went for one without HDMI was because i intend to install an RX460 and figured (perhaps wrongly) that not paying for something i wasn't going to use would be a good idea.

I was quite happy to install a soundcard but then on the ASRock website read "To configure 7.1 CH HD Audio, it is required to use an HD front panel audio module and enable the multi-channel audio feature through the audio driver".

I noticed the HD audio header on the mobo and a corresponding connector to the case front panel (module?) and wondered whether a soundcard was actually necessary and what connector was required from the front panel to receiver.

I'm still confused by the incongruity of this and the answers here. With the greatest respect to all who have replied, I would very much appreciate elucidation on this point rather than being told what an idiot i am for buying a rubbish mobo :-(
 

DRagor

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Ok, back to the point then:
"To configure 7.1 CH HD Audio, it is required to use an HD front panel audio module and enable the multi-channel audio feature through the audio driver".
You need four (4) mini-jack to mini-jack cables for 7.1 sound. 3 of them go to rear panel mini-jack ports, fourth goes to Lime colored (usually, don't think that mobo is different tho) mini-jack port on the front panel of your case. Obviously you need to plug that little connector named HD-audio to where it belongs on the motherboard (check manual for that). The other ends of cables go to the receiver - again manual will tell you which one goes where. Once your PC is up go to sound settings and switch from stereo to 7.1. Mission accomplished ...
Unless your receiver has no mini-jack ports...
 
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autolyus

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Many thanks for that DRagnor.

It seems incredibly out-dated, convoluted and plain crazy. And so unintuitive i don't feel too foolish for not guessing. No mini-jacks on the AV receiver, but in any event i shall get a 5.1 soundcard with spdif out. Anything manufactured in the last 25 years should work! Cheers.
 

DRagor

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:)
Actually, it's built this way so you can easily connect individual speakers each with its own wire. Dedicated PC gaming speaker sets usually go very well with that. But of course in your case single SPDIF is much better solution.
 
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