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View Full Version : Best way to connect HTPC to amplifier



Myth
25-04-2013, 01:39 PM
I am looking for the best way to send audio from my home-built HTPC through the amplifier

Motherboard on HTPC is: http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/M2NVM_DVI/#specifications. I don't really want to upgrade this...

Amp is over 10 years old - VSX-454 Receiver. I am pretty sure this will need to be upgraded for what I want

So: what do I need to look for in a replacement amp/receiver; and is there any pci/pci-e card I can use on the PC?

psycik
25-04-2013, 06:04 PM
The back panel has discrete 6 channel audio outputs, I'm assuming your receiver does as well. But thats using the PC to decode DTS/Dolby Digital rather than the receiver.

Another option might be the 1 x S/PDIF output connector this will be a 2 pin motherboard header than I think you can just convert to a single RCA plug for Digital Coax input.

It's ither that or look for a SPDIF daughter board for your motherboard it will normally have a motherboard header to a PCI backplane.

gary67
25-04-2013, 07:48 PM
I'm using the headphone out on my laptop to the auxiliary port on my amp, but then I'm only using stereo not surround sound

dugimodo
25-04-2013, 11:44 PM
Spdif is the best option, either coax or optical if your receiver has it. Unfortunately there's a small adapter required to convert your MB header to the appropriate connectors. I had a very similar board at one point and managed to source the SPDIF adapter from the MB suplier (www.pp.co.nz) in that case. HDMI is good too but I'm assuming you don't have that.
There are USB external sound cards with surround and spdif support. If you just want stereo just get the appropriate 3.5mm to dual RCA cable and plug it in.

gary67
26-04-2013, 08:38 AM
Spdif is the best option, either coax or optical if your receiver has it. Unfortunately there's a small adapter required to convert your MB header to the appropriate connectors. I had a very similar board at one point and managed to source the SPDIF adapter from the MB suplier (www.pp.co.nz) in that case. HDMI is good too but I'm assuming you don't have that.
There are USB external sound cards with surround and spdif support. If you just want stereo just get the appropriate 3.5mm to dual RCA cable and plug it in.

Yes this is what i do

Alex B
26-04-2013, 10:47 AM
The other advantage of Toslink optical is you are less likely to get a ground loop or any unwanted noise going on.

wratterus
26-04-2013, 11:17 AM
+1 for optical if possible.

http://www.ascent.co.nz/productspecification.aspx?ItemID=393331

That would do nicely.

Speedy Gonzales
26-04-2013, 12:40 PM
Ive still got one here, there's two parts to it. The main soundcard and the card that you plug in. This has digital and spdif in/out on it. Havent used it since I changed to 64 bit. Dont even know, if there's 64 bit drivers for it (there's none on the manufacturer's site)

Myth
30-04-2013, 08:33 AM
+1 for optical if possible.

http://www.ascent.co.nz/productspecification.aspx?ItemID=393331

That would do nicely.This card will work in with my motherboard ok? To do what I need to do

Also: update on the receiver... hoping to buy this: http://reviews.cnet.com/av-receivers/marantz-sr5007/4505-6466_7-35320469.html

(means SWMBO's computer will need to wait :p)

gary67
30-04-2013, 08:37 AM
+1 for optical if possible.

http://www.ascent.co.nz/productspecification.aspx?ItemID=393331

That would do nicely.

Why optical when its still copper to the speakers?

Chilling_Silence
30-04-2013, 09:47 AM
Just use HDMI, takes all the pain out of it all :) Audio / video both in one cable so it's tidier as well.

1101
30-04-2013, 10:08 AM
Why optical when its still copper to the speakers?

Because optical will stop ground loops (hum), & any earthing issues between the various devices.
Many amps dont have 5channel RCA i/p for surround, let alone 6,7 ch
Surround sound from HTPC not worth the effort unless its modern equipment (HDMI etc)
Stereo is easy, as described in posts above.

My amp also doesnt have HDMI. Getting TRUE multichannel (Dobly/DTS) output from HTPC to amp was a real pain. The software has to support it , this sometimes requires 3rd party add ons that can cause other issues. I even bought a soundcard designed for HTPC multichannel, it was still a real pain to setup surroundsound & not reliable(software/codec) on my system.
Stick with stereo output.

Alex B
30-04-2013, 10:08 AM
Why optical when its still copper to the speakers?


The other advantage of Toslink optical is you are less likely to get a ground loop or any unwanted noise going on.

But yeah HDMI is probably the first thing to try. It's digital so there shouldn't be any unwanted noise.

1101
30-04-2013, 10:16 AM
But yeah HDMI is probably the first thing to try. It's digital so there shouldn't be any unwanted noise.

No.
He will have to buy a new amp & will probhably need to upgrade his HTPC to fully support it.
Again you still run the risk from connecting an earthed PC to a (often) unearthed amp.

1101
30-04-2013, 10:17 AM
But yeah HDMI is probably the first thing to try. It's digital so there shouldn't be any unwanted noise.

No.
He will have to buy a new amp & will probhably need to upgrade his HTPC to fully support it.
Again you still run the risk from connecting an earthed PC to a (often) unearthed amp.

Tukapa
30-04-2013, 12:08 PM
Also: update on the receiver... hoping to buy this: http://reviews.cnet.com/av-receivers/marantz-sr5007/4505-6466_7-35320469.html

I've was drooling over that range of Marantz amps a while ago but couldn't justify the cost just to upgrade to 2 more HDMI in and a total of 2 HDMI out (it would enable to me to get rid of some HDMI switches and splitters).

1101
30-04-2013, 01:42 PM
Ive had a few Marantz amps. They arnt the Marantz of old (where they got there good reputation from) . Not sure I'd buy another(new)
Have a look at Denon as well (do they still own marantz?).

Just FYI, the power rating is sometimes complete BS on multichannel amps, sometimes 1/4 of claimed rated RMS power (5 channels driven)

pablo d
30-04-2013, 02:45 PM
Another +1 for an Optical connection. PC's are notorious for audio noise/electrical interference.

Myth
30-04-2013, 09:24 PM
I've was drooling over that range of Marantz amps a while ago but couldn't justify the cost just to upgrade to 2 more HDMI in and a total of 2 HDMI out (it would enable to me to get rid of some HDMI switches and splitters).Out of curiousity; what did you decide on in the end?

Tukapa
30-04-2013, 11:32 PM
Out of curiousity; what did you decide on in the end?

I've got this (http://www.pioneer.eu/uk/products/archive/VSX-LX70/page.html) - I've had it for a few years now. It was about to be superseded when I bought it so they were happy to run the stock out so when I pressured them I got it for $1800 (retail was $4000).

But - I was debating whether to upgrade as the Pioneer only has 4 HDMI in and 1 HDMI out. That is not enough for my set up so I have an HDMI switcher and an HDMI splitter just to enable everything to work the way I want it. A receiver with 6 or 7 HDMI in and 2 or 3 HDMI out would enable me to tidy up all of the extra boxes and cables behind my cabinet.

I've come to the conclusion that the money woudl best be spent on something else now that we have a new baby in the house.

Doesn't stop me window shopping though :D

Myth
01-05-2013, 12:12 AM
I've got this (http://www.pioneer.eu/uk/products/archive/VSX-LX70/page.html) - I've had it for a few years now. It was about to be superseded when I bought it so they were happy to run the stock out so when I pressured them I got it for $1800 (retail was $4000).

But - I was debating whether to upgrade as the Pioneer only has 4 HDMI in and 1 HDMI out. That is not enough for my set up so I have an HDMI switcher and an HDMI splitter just to enable everything to work the way I want it. A receiver with 6 or 7 HDMI in and 2 or 3 HDMI out would enable me to tidy up all of the extra boxes and cables behind my cabinet.

I've come to the conclusion that the money woudl best be spent on something else now that we have a new baby in the house.

Doesn't stop me window shopping though :DNice...

Unfortunately my budget doesn't go that high; so I am tossing up between the Marantz above; or the Denon AVR2313. Both will do what I want them to do, for now and sometime into the future

Tukapa
01-05-2013, 09:18 AM
Nice...

Unfortunately my budget doesn't go that high; so I am tossing up between the Marantz above; or the Denon AVR2313. Both will do what I want them to do, for now and sometime into the future

That's the same Denon range I was "window shopping" but was looking at the next model up (it added 3 zones which I have at the moment through a speaker select switch box - would like to get rid of that as well) - I'm sure either of those receivers would do the business for you.