What’s the best way to connect PC sound to AV receiver and TV, using SPDIF?

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la chupacabra

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Apr 26, 2014
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Hello All, I have a question about connecting PC audio to AV receiver.
Currently I use old Sony DAV-S550, connected to PC by 2RCA to 3.5mm cable and the main problem is that only 2 speakers and the sub-woofer are working out of 5.1 set.
I would like to change it to digital connection, but I’m not sure about couple of things:
1. What is the difference between Toslink and Coaxial output\input? Which one is better?
2. If my motherboard doesn’t have any digital audio output, what is a better solution: changing the motherboard for the one that has it or getting a sound card with it?
3. What is the minimum number of audio channels that sound card should have? Is it very important for sound quality?
4. I’m planning to buy a second hand AV receiver (for around £100) and again; shall I get one with Toslink, Coaxial input or both?
5. Can anyone recommend a good AV receiver for under £100 (second hand) for a PC, mainly to watch DVD movies? What brands are good and which one I should avoid?
 

Rogue Leader

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Both the sound card needs to output 7.1 channel sound (Dolby Digital EX II and DTS-EX), and the receiver needs to be a 7.1 channel output. A good portion of the sound cards these days will do 7.1 sound, its whether you want to spend the extra cash on both the receiver and the fact you will now need 7 speakers and a sub, instead of 5.

Now HDMI, if you get a GPU that has HDMI out it will output audio and video. HDMI also has more bandwidth so it can handle many of the newer formats such as Dolby Atmos. Atmos employs ceiling speakers, or upward firing satellite speakers to make sound come from above you.

It comes down to how much money do you want to spend? Many 5.1 receivers today have HDMI so thats not as much of a concern, if you're always going to use it. If you want to get fancy and spend a lot more money you can get a bigger receiver, more speakers, etc. However if you're not, and just going to do 5.1 you don't need to worry as much about how you connect it, HDMI, Toslink, or Coax will give you the same sound.
 

Rogue Leader

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Very few sound cards have a coaxial output, most have Toslink, as well most motherboards with onboard sound have Toslink. While Toslink does have occasional digital handshake issues (which come in the form of the audio being slightly "off" from the video), they are the same. Now some Audiophiles will tell you toslink is inferior due to bandwidth issues, its BS, its digital sound, there is no way more bandwidth will change it.

If you have a good motherboard you can just get yourself a $30-$50 sound card, however if you are looking for an upgrade, a motherboard around $100-$150 will have all you need for both sound and to upgrade your PC, All depends on all your other components, without knowing your specs we can't answer this.

The number of audio channels does not matter for sound quality, a 7.1 channel card isn't going to sound better than a 5.1 card, unless you have a 7.1 channel surround sound system, and 7 speakers to take advantage of the 2 extra channels. The minimum number of channels for Dolby Digital and DTS is 5.1, not that it matters every sound card today delivers that at a minimum through its SPDIF.

In terms of value priced receivers, Yamaha is a good way to go, I also like Onkyo although they tend to cost more than Yamaha.
 

la chupacabra

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What would be "7.1 channel surround sound system"; sound card or AV receiver feature?
What about HDMI connection for audio? Is it worth paying extra for AV receiver that has it?
Does any graphic card with HDMI is supporting audio transfer together with video over the HDMI cable?
 

Rogue Leader

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Both the sound card needs to output 7.1 channel sound (Dolby Digital EX II and DTS-EX), and the receiver needs to be a 7.1 channel output. A good portion of the sound cards these days will do 7.1 sound, its whether you want to spend the extra cash on both the receiver and the fact you will now need 7 speakers and a sub, instead of 5.

Now HDMI, if you get a GPU that has HDMI out it will output audio and video. HDMI also has more bandwidth so it can handle many of the newer formats such as Dolby Atmos. Atmos employs ceiling speakers, or upward firing satellite speakers to make sound come from above you.

It comes down to how much money do you want to spend? Many 5.1 receivers today have HDMI so thats not as much of a concern, if you're always going to use it. If you want to get fancy and spend a lot more money you can get a bigger receiver, more speakers, etc. However if you're not, and just going to do 5.1 you don't need to worry as much about how you connect it, HDMI, Toslink, or Coax will give you the same sound.
 

r2-d2

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Mar 20, 2015
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after reading the solutions I couldn't establish whether you need nothing but an SPDIF to RCA cable. Most motherboards have this on the board itself so you won't find any sign that the mobo has it. You would need to open the PC and have a closer look.


 

Rogue Leader

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There is no such thing as an SPDIF to RCA Cable, SPDIF is Fiber Optic, RCA is analog. This thread is solved and over a year old, do not dig up old threads.

Thread closed.
 
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