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Can sound card DSP be carried over S/PDIF?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

My onboard audio is a SupremeFX X-Fi 2. It's a Realtek AC chipset with a Creative X-Fi software layer for DSP effects. I employ the DSP effects for gaming quite frequently.

 

The motherboard audio-outs are inconveniently placed to connect headphones to (same with the front audio outs) since my headphone cables aren't long enough. If I were to use the S/PDIF optical out to an outboard external DAC (e.g. my Peachtree Nova [ESS Sabre24]) would the DSP and software effects carry over to the DAC via the digital output? Essentially what I'm asking is whether equalization and software DSP of the Creative X-Fi drivers occurs at the digital level (i.e. before the DAC stage). If it does, I would have a very pleasing gaming setup.

 

Would appreciate any input, thanks.

post #2 of 6

DSP=Digital Signal Processing

DAC=Digital to Analog Converter

By design DSP is done before the signal enters the DAC.

 

What about an extender cable for the headphone?

post #3 of 6


They absolutely *should*. I'd give a shot, hook the thing up, and open up the EQ or some other effect that can make a very noticeable difference (X-Fi Crystalizer at 100% very_evil_smiley.gif) and see if you hear the change. As far as the processing of audio for games, anything generated by the game itself will entirely be available via S/PDIF so that should not be a problem. Ensure you set the digital output to a bitrate that doesn't have SRC taking place for the bulk of your playback or that exceeds what the receiver can handle - sometimes Windows and/or the X-Fi driver package will default to odd things (24/48, for example, does not seem uncommon).

Quote:
Originally Posted by 3X0 View Post

My onboard audio is a SupremeFX X-Fi 2. It's a Realtek AC chipset with a Creative X-Fi software layer for DSP effects. I employ the DSP effects for gaming quite frequently.

 

The motherboard audio-outs are inconveniently placed to connect headphones to (same with the front audio outs) since my headphone cables aren't long enough. If I were to use the S/PDIF optical out to an outboard external DAC (e.g. my Peachtree Nova [ESS Sabre24]) would the DSP and software effects carry over to the DAC via the digital output? Essentially what I'm asking is whether equalization and software DSP of the Creative X-Fi drivers occurs at the digital level (i.e. before the DAC stage). If it does, I would have a very pleasing gaming setup.

 

Would appreciate any input, thanks.



 

post #4 of 6

Yes. I do the same thing.

My X-Fi sound card passes the digital surround sound signal to my external DAC via optical cable.

post #5 of 6

Now that I have an SU-DH1 to verify this: yes, X-Fi cards will pass on EAX effects and CMSS-3D Headphone over S/PDIF.

 

However, setting it up is a bit weird. You have to click the Options button in the Console Launcher (or just head straight into the Audio Control Panel), click the Digital I/O tab, and you'll see a "Play Stereo Mix using Digital Output" checkbox. Click that, or you won't hear anything at all.

 

Also important is that you have to keep the "Speakers" option as the default sound device, NOT "SPDIF Out".

 

I also noticed that short sounds, like the speaker tests, don't go through very well. For the first few seconds of an audio stream, it's as if the DAC needs to secure a lock before it can properly decode the sound, and you'll either hear nothing or unintelligible static until it does lock.


Edited by NamelessPFG - 12/17/11 at 12:03pm
post #6 of 6

In most cases yes and there are many people around here and in other forums that have use an older X-fi model and a high end DAC to get all the DSP features but higher grade sound quality from the DAC.

 

IIRC, there is one card from Auzentech that will not pass effects through S/Pdif.

This is the only model that I have heard having issue with passing effects though.


Edited by ROBSCIX - 12/17/11 at 12:23pm
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