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Onkyo SE-200PCI LTD driver issues

Discussion in 'Computer Audio' started by headfinoob, Feb 28, 2012.
  1. headfinoob
    I don't like starting trouble threads, but has anybody had any experience with the multi-channel Onkyo cards?  I have the SE-200PCI LTD.
    I have had the card for 2 years now, and only recently decided to try to make use the multi-channel outputs to solve my bass management issues with my 2.1 system.  I thought I would the use the Onkyo's RCA preouts for the speakers and use of the multi-channel 1/8" stereo outputs for the subwoofer.  Monoprice accidentally sent me an 1/8" to RCA cable with the perfect length, so I thought I'd give it a go.
    Note that in each case I tested, all Windows updates were installed.  The Onkyo uses the VIA Envy 24 chipset.  The drivers on the VIA website were updated a few days ago.
    Here is what I encountered.
    1.  No sound on multi-channel outputs on Windows XP with the old Onkyo version of driver.  "No matter, I wanted to use WASAPI in Windows 7 anyway", I thought to myself...
    2.  No sound on multi-channel outputs on Windows 7 32-bit with both the latest and older drivers from both Onkyo and VIA's websites.
    3.  No RCA preout volume control on Windows XP with both the latest and older drivers from both Onkyo and VIA's websites.
    4.  No RCA preout volume control on Windows 7 32-bit with both the latest and older drivers from both Onkyo and VIA's webites.
    5.  Kernel Streaming on Windows XP with the old version of the Onkyo driver spits an error when trying to use sound card in multi-channel mode and will not play.
    6.  WASAPI on Windows 7 seemingly doesn't work with large buffers.  I have to set the buffer pretty low to get any playback. 
    On to my limited success!
    Foobar with ASIO4ALL on Windows XP with the latest VIA driver version does output to the multi-channel outputs bit-perfectly (or so it seems-- no sound with 48kHz selected.)  In this scenario, the preouts will always be maxed out and the multi-channel outputs will be controlled by the Master
    Volume control.  This is cool if I wanted to use digital volume control in Foobar.  I would rather use volume attenuation at the ampifier.  If I do this, then I would have to use the Master Volume to adjust the subwoofer levels.  Every volume change would require amplifier volume control and Master Volume control-- not exactly what I had in mind
    My picky requirements are as follows.
    I want to the use the RCA preouts on the Onkyo for the speakers--  I don't want to use the multi-channel outputs for both the speakers and subwoofer.
    I want to use ASIO4ALL or Kernel Streaming or WASAPI for bit-perfect playback-- I don't want to use the Windows Kmixer.
    I want to use amplifier volume control-- I don't want to use Foobar volume attenuation.
    I want to high-pass my bookshelf speakers and low-pass my subwoofer.
    My dreams of using a different Electri-Q VST plugin for each output channel to high-pass the bookshelf speakers and low-pass the subwoofer in software have pretty much vanished at this point.
    I am okay with the Onkyo being delegated merely as a stereo DAC, but this would require some further options:
    Buy an Emotiva USP-1 for $450.
    Buy an Outlaw RR2150 that has bass management for $700.
    Get a miniDSP for with some plugins for somewhere around $150.  I really didn't want to do any ADC, DSP, and DAC outside of the Onkyo though.  This also adds wiring clutter.
    And there you have it.  I am convinced that there is probably no practical way to use the Onkyo card as a multi-channel preamp with DSP for a 2.1 system (short of forgoing the use of the RCA preouts).  If I could settle for Foobar's volume control, it should work fine.
    Before I decide on further hardware purchases, does anybody see an issue if the Onkyo SE-200PCI is outputting maximum volume with zero software volume annenuation?  If I use amplifier volume control, I just want to know if there is any clipping/distortion by outputting the Onkyo card at full-tilt.  I did measure the output at 2.0Vrms with test tones.  I believe there would be musical peaks of 5.66V.  Is this going to reduce sound quality?

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