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The Nameless Guide To PC Gaming Audio (with binaural headphone surround sound) - Page 136

post #2026 of 2860
Quote:
Originally Posted by shrimants View Post


Third problem, maybe bitstream is the wrong word. What I mean is, if i have FLAC or AAC or something, VLC should obviously decode because receiver cant. But if its DTS-HD or DTS or DD or some other format that my receiver CAN decode, I'd rather send that full on datastream directly to the receiver. I believe right now it is impossible with VLC to do HDMI pass-through, though I think with commercial applications you can do it. I know XBMC can do it, but I dont want to start up XBMC every time just to watch a quick video while eating.

FLAC or AAC is 2-channel audio, there is really nothing to decode.

Not sure why when your playing an audio file using VLC, the audio will not go thru the HDMI connection.

post #2027 of 2860
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

FLAC or AAC is 2-channel audio, there is really nothing to decode.
Not sure why when your playing an audio file using VLC, the audio will not go thru the HDMI connection.

Thats not what i'm saying at all.

Flac, aac, mp3, and the other formats are "usually" decoded by software to 2.0 PCM and sent to the receiver. This is because the receiver usually doesnt have a CODEC for this (generally a hardware implementation on a chip, like what is in MP3 players).

DTS, Dolby Digital, and all of the newer evolutions of these formats are sent directly to the receiver, decoded BY THE RECEIVER TO PCM, and then played. The receiver has a proper hardware codec (microchip) for this.

Right now, VLC doesnt do that. It just decodes everythign in software instead of letting the receiver do anything. So the only thing my receiver ever gets is PCM. The receiver should say "DTS" when i play a DTS -encoded file, and it should say "Dolby Digital" when I play a dolby digital encoded file. It should read PCM when i play anything else that is being decoded in software (within windows) and sent over the HDMI cable as PCM.

To elaborate slightly, back in Toslink Optical world, this feature was called "S/PDIF PASSTHROUGH". Think of DTS and DD as a "zip file" for music. Rather than unzipping a 5.1 or 7.1 channel audio signal and sending the entire thing to the receiver, the computer/player would send the entire zip file over. The receiver would "unzip" it and play back the contents inside.

Right now, VLC is doing everything: It unzips everything and then sends it to the receiver.

Quality wise, it should theoretically make no difference, as that decode process is lossless short of hardware failure or buffer errors or something. But it would be VERY nice (ie not annoying) if my receiver would received the "zipped" DTS/DD/whatever file instead of having VLC doing all the decoding.

Also, i've greatly simplified this example. technically my receiver DOES have those mp3/flac/aac/whatever codecs built in, but I dont think I can give it those over an HDMI connection. It can definitely decode those files via USB and network connections, though. If I could bitstream those files too, that would be fantastic.
Edited by shrimants - 11/13/13 at 5:28pm
post #2028 of 2860
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evshrug View Post

It's Ev... Eve would be a girl, though I'd always wanted to meet an Eve.
No deal needs to be struck with either Creative or Asus, or Dolby, because it doesn't make use of their products. If you read the full article, TrueAudio does it's processing before sound libraries (such as FMOD or Wwise) are applied, before a 5.1 mix that SBX Pro or Dolby Headphone would remix down to stereo. Basically, you're getting real-time positional processing instead of a 5.1 mix. In that way, it's like OpenAL, in other ways though I am not an expert in the field (this is just what I understand from the article).

I hadn't thought about adjustable surround, and the extra features like "Crystalizer" that I generally found degraded the surround effect (plus made highs harsher for me). The ones I DID like were equalizer effects (bass and dialogue boosts), I think we could still use a standard EQ for that (mostly), but I could understand why others might miss them. From what I read though, the TrueAudio supposedly works well regardless of ear shape, so supposedly it should sound natural with no need for adjusting %. Also a step forward in rear cue presentation.

I wouldn't mind if videocards had built-in headphone jacks, but I'd be just as happy plugging in USB or Optical DACs (or using a soundcard for it's traditional purpose, as a DAC). I think it ought to be possible to pipe TrueAudio out through HDMI, as well. I would LOVE if the PS4 had a dedicated headphone jack (I haven't seen this level of specification details yet), but I doubt it's there frown.gif

I have no idea how well TrueAudio will deliver on it's promises, but somewhat I don't mind hyping it so companies know there is a demand!


I'm going to go ahead and assume true audio will work like Razer surround where it sits just before your chosen audio endpoint. True audio will probably send a 2 channel pcm stream to your sound card and then you can apply the effects you want from its control panel.

Most likely amds control panel will be where you control the hrtf settings as that's the only logical place before the endpoint. OR you may even be able to adjust in game itself depending on how devs implement it.

So theoretically you can send true audio through any endpoint to your DAC, amp, AVR, you name it. Yup including HDMI. I don't see AMD limiting it to onboard lol. And since the gcn cards don't have analogue outs, it wouldn't make sense.

I wouldn't want GPUs with headphones out. Either they will be cheap and in that regard useless or they will be audiophile quality and drive up GPU costs. That and the cards already are a garden of digital components, adding analogue stages would lengthen the already long GPU.
post #2029 of 2860
^not to mention digital noise impinging on the analogue stage of a headphone jack.

I'm not sure exactly how Razer surround works... I thought that was just another 5.1 to stereo headphone down mixer, except – unlike soundcards – it runs entirely off of CPU resources, and can tune the HRTF (within limits, and using a bit of guesstimation). TrueAudio would apparently happen before the 5.1 stuff is set into channels. I could be wrong on any of this though.
post #2030 of 2860
Quote:
Originally Posted by shrimants View Post


That's not what I'm saying at all.

Flac, aac, mp3, and the other formats are "usually" decoded by software to 2.0 PCM and sent to the receiver. This is because the receiver usually doesn't have a CODEC for this (generally a hardware implementation on a chip, like what is in MP3 players).

I'm far from an "audio expert", but I find it hard to believe that any modern receiver would have any problems playing any music audio file?

post #2031 of 2860
It's not a matter of "can't play", it's a matter of "am I directly doing a file transfer of flac over hdmi or am I doing a decompression to pcm and them transferring that time-sensitive signal". For the Network and USB connections, the receiver decodes an actual file. For hdmi, it decodes time sensitive information. The dolby and dts formats are also time sensitive. IE they have to be at a certain place at a certain time or you get dropped audio. With a file transfer like flac or aac the audio just gets stored on media and accessed whenever. Does that clarify things?

Technically you are right. The receiver should be able to receive any compatible format as frames and play it back after a decode. This is called bitstreaming. However, in the interest of keeping it simple, I'm only interested in getting the most basic functionality working. That is, when I play dts encoded content, it should be sent to the receiver as dts, not decoded to pcm before being sent to the receiver.
Edited by shrimants - 11/14/13 at 10:47am
post #2032 of 2860
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evshrug View Post

^not to mention digital noise impinging on the analogue stage of a headphone jack.

I'm not sure exactly how Razer surround works... I thought that was just another 5.1 to stereo headphone down mixer, except – unlike soundcards – it runs entirely off of CPU resources, and can tune the HRTF (within limits, and using a bit of guesstimation). TrueAudio would apparently happen before the 5.1 stuff is set into channels. I could be wrong on any of this though.

Sorry what I meant was HOW Razer surround is implemented in the audio pipeline. Where it sits.

You can select which endpoint it plays to. I didn't mean the CPU bound mixing/5.1 down mixing part.
post #2033 of 2860
Quote:
Originally Posted by shrimants View Post

It's not a matter of "can't play", it's a matter of "am I directly doing a file transfer of FLAC over HDMI or am I doing a decompression to PCM and them transferring that time-sensitive signal". For the Network and USB connections, the receiver decodes an actual file. For HDMI, it decodes time sensitive information. The Dolby and DTS formats are also time sensitive. IE they have to be at a certain place at a certain time or you get dropped audio. With a file transfer like FLAC or AAC the audio just gets stored on media and accessed whenever. Does that clarify things?

Technically you are right. The receiver should be able to receive any compatible format as frames and play it back after a decode. This is called Bitstreaming. However, in the interest of keeping it simple, I'm only interested in getting the most basic functionality working. That is, when I play DTS encoded content, it should be sent to the receiver as DTS, not decoded to PCM before being sent to the receiver.

To the best of my knowledge, Dolby and DTS is stored on disk as bitstream (compressed) and with something like an external Blu-ray player, you have the option of leaving the audio as is (bitstream) and play that thru the HDMI cable to a receiver (or modem TV) which will then convert the bitstream to PCM.

Or set the external Blu-ray player to decode the bitstream to PCM, then sending it thru the HDMI cable to the receiver (or TV).

 

If your on a computer and using it as the source of a video, of any kind, using a software program like Windows Media Player or VLC, or Media Player classic, etc. it's going to automatically convert the bitstream (compressed audio) to PCM, before it's sent thru a HDMI cable.

As I would assume computers can only process PCM, not bitstream.

 

So I would assume when your playing a music files, like FLAC or AAC and using a program like Foobar2000, Win Amp, Windows media player, VLC, Media Player Classic, etc, if it's outputed from any digital output on the computer, like HDMI, or USB or S/PDIF, it's going to be PCM.

post #2034 of 2860
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post


If your on a computer and using it as the source of a video, of any kind, using a software program like Windows Media Player or VLC, or Media Player classic, etc. it's going to automatically convert the bitstream (compressed audio) to PCM, before it's sent thru a HDMI cable.
As I would assume computers can only process PCM, not bitstream.

So I would assume when your playing a music files, like FLAC or AAC and using a program like Foobar2000, Win Amp, Windows media player, VLC, Media Player Classic, etc, if it's outputed from any digital output on the computer, like HDMI, or USB or S/PDIF, it's going to be PCM.

PCM is just one stage of the decode process for any digital file storage format. The great thing about computers is that they are so versatile. As long as you can write software to tell it how to do something, it can do that something. So unlike with a receiver, which requires a hardware chip to tell it how to decode FLAC, AAC, DTS, etc, with a PC you just need some software to tell it how to decode the DTS or w/e stream.

Generally, you'd have something like mp3/flac/dts (a52)/aac be the compressed storage medium. it gets decompressed to PCM, which is your straight up 1's and 0's which represent the analog waveform itself rather than just some clever repackaging method. There is no information present in PCM except for the analog waveform itself, and you need to make sure your sample rate and bit depth settings are correctly handled or this part makes no sense to your hardware. This is what gets decoded to an analog wave and then amplified.

On one hand, you are KIND OF right. computers, at the end of the day, turn everything to PCM and send it to a DAC. but you are incorrect in thinking that they cant handle anything else. They can handle anything. In software, they can do the conversion themselves to PCM.

For a receiver, it can accept this PCM signal straight off the wire, or it can accept the prior product in the signal path: the actual compressed (flac, aac, mp3, dts, etc) file. For DTS in particular, they have been designed for this.

So to put this incredibly simply, there are 2 ways i should be able to visualize my data on my receiver. Either my receiver should tell me that the input is "PCM 3/2/.1" or it should tell me the input is "DTS 3/2/.1" or whatever other codec is being passed to it. Right now, the computer is doing ALL of the software processing. With an optical cable, you can do s/pdif pass-through. with an hdmi cable and XBMC, you can do HDMI pass-through (bitstreaming, when available). with VLC, you cant do that.

I'm going to try out KCP this weekend and see if thata offers what i want. VLC used to be a fantastic program when it played every format without complaining about it. Now it seems to just get in the way of output.
post #2035 of 2860

You guys are making it too complicated.

 

Just install MPC-HC lite with the LAV filters and madvr. LAV Audio itself allows bitstream of DTS and DD, problem solved.

Forget about using VLC or whatever else.

 

This is the current way I'm doing it and it perfectly works any movie encoded in DTS or DD. DTS-HD doesn't really work properly yet, but support is there and the devs are working around it.

post #2036 of 2860
Quote:
Originally Posted by benbenkr View Post

You guys are making it too complicated.

Just install MPC-HC lite with the LAV filters and madvr. LAV Audio itself allows bitstream of DTS and DD, problem solved.
Forget about using VLC or whatever else.

This is the current way I'm doing it and it perfectly works any movie encoded in DTS or DD. DTS-HD doesn't really work properly yet, but support is there and the devs are working around it.

I dont think i have any dts-hd material, so its all good. I think i have DTS-ES 6.1, which my receiver would need to matrix down. KCP is just Kawaii Codec Pack. Its an auto-install of MPC-HC, MadVr, LAV filters, and I think a couple other things like reclock and stuff. automatically sets itself up. Trick is, you need to have proper settings. If you have DTS-connect that you're relying on, it doesnt work right. Since im using HDMI now, it should work OK.
post #2037 of 2860
Quote:
Originally Posted by shrimants View Post


I dont think i have any dts-hd material, so its all good. I think i have DTS-ES 6.1, which my receiver would need to matrix down. KCP is just Kawaii Codec Pack. Its an auto-install of MPC-HC, MadVr, LAV filters, and I think a couple other things like reclock and stuff. automatically sets itself up. Trick is, you need to have proper settings. If you have DTS-connect that you're relying on, it doesnt work right. Since im using HDMI now, it should work OK.

 

I know. I'm using KCP. :)

post #2038 of 2860
Quote:
Originally Posted by shrimants View Post


I dont think i have any dts-hd material, so its all good. I think i have DTS-ES 6.1, which my receiver would need to matrix down. KCP is just Kawaii Codec Pack. Its an auto-install of MPC-HC, MadVr, LAV filters, and I think a couple other things like reclock and stuff. automatically sets itself up. Trick is, you need to have proper settings. If you have DTS-connect that you're relying on, it doesnt work right. Since im using HDMI now, it should work OK.

 

 

I know you said you dont want to start up XBMC every time to watch a quick video, but 1 second start up and then just go right to the file in your library(XBMC also has the last played file on the homescreen with the right skin) seems like hardly any work.  At least to me it isn't.

 

I feel like XBMC would solve most of your problems and headaches.  And the major feature that makes me smile is seperate handling of bitstreamed audio and decoded audio.  Meaning you can chose to send each type of stream to a different end point.  AND you can select WASAPI exclusive mode for each which gets rid of all that nasty windows mixer resampling/errors/pops/crackles etc and lets your receiver's DAC get the stream and go to town.

 

Anyway just my 2 cents.   I feel like codec packs are just a mediocre fragmented solution to PC multimedia setups.  

 

P.S.  XBMC frodo now does decoding of DTS-HD and DOLBY TRUE HD.  Not that I would if your receiver can ;)

post #2039 of 2860
Quote:
Originally Posted by DJINFERNO806 View Post


I know you said you dont want to start up XBMC every time to watch a quick video, but 1 second start up and then just go right to the file in your library(XBMC also has the last played file on the homescreen with the right skin) seems like hardly any work.  At least to me it isn't.

I feel like XBMC would solve most of your problems and headaches.  And the major feature that makes me smile is seperate handling of bitstreamed audio and decoded audio.  Meaning you can chose to send each type of stream to a different end point.  AND you can select WASAPI exclusive mode for each which gets rid of all that nasty windows mixer resampling/errors/pops/crackles etc and lets your receiver's DAC get the stream and go to town.

Anyway just my 2 cents.   I feel like codec packs are just a mediocre fragmented solution to PC multimedia setups.  

P.S.  XBMC frodo now does decoding of DTS-HD and DOLBY TRUE HD.  Not that I would if your receiver can wink.gif

I'll check for some minimal version of xbmc themes but ibsont waht an htpc solution for media browsing when im sitting in front of an explorer based interface for everything else. I just want a regular window that I drat and drop files into and have them play the way I want . also kcp isn't a codec pack.
post #2040 of 2860
Quote:
 

guys, i noticed something happening on 2 different computers now. maybe one of you has some insight into it.

 

Both me and my gf have Xonar DSX soundcards. Whenever we use an HDMI monitor (when we go to the basement to game on the TV, for example), the soundcard entirely fails to output via optical. It completely refuses to.

 

On my own PC, it seems to go away if I disable HDMI audio output. On hers, it seems to never allow audio output as long as HDMI is plugged in, regardless of what her video driver is set to for HDMI audio (enabled or disabled). In the basement, Ideally I'd like to just connect via an optical cable and use DTS-connect to mix 5.1 PCM -> DTS and send it to the Z5500 system we have there, but ive been just using analog.

 

For my own PC it doesnt matter anymore as I use HDMI for everything. VLC doesnt want to bitstream DTS and DD to my receiver over HDMI, and while I'd love for the receiver to be the decoder, I'm ok with the receiver not doing anything except decoding PCM. It hasnt been a problem, but it is definitely annoying.

 

A bit late to the party, but I've been doing a bunch of experiments with my new Schiit Lyr/Bifrost and HD Audio so I might be able to add some value here.

 

VLC output should be controlled by whatever your default audio device has been set to.  You can try and override this in VLC, but I have found that to have mixed results.  I have better luck using the Win7 Sound Control Panel to set my default output device to be Digital Optical out (SPDIF), or one of the HDMI outputs if I'm going for a direct HDMI connect from my video card.

 

In truth, VLC output is going to be determined (and usually overridden) by what the Intel HD Audio (HDA) driver determines on your PC.  This is where the default audio device comes into play as HDA has its own physical and software link interface which uses I2C-like signalling to transfer command and data packets on 48KHz boundaries.  In other words, HDA has the final word on what the soundcard, video card, external DAC, etc. receives as far as framing, bitrate, and most importantly format is concerned.

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