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  • MikeFord
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Foobar toslink output device with all bit and rate options
I don't care if its audible or not, but I can't find true happiness unless I get a toslink device that supports all common output modes, and includes some type of dolby encoding ideally the fancy stuff that uses expensive options on my old toslink input receiver (DTS connect maybe). I have a cheap Diamond XS71DDL, but it seems limited and I get errors saying this or that output mode isn't supported. I want to eliminate these error messages so I can listen in harmony confident that all my bits are being treated well. If my bits get processed, the knowledge troubles me, and my enjoyment is reduced.

Any suggestions on a cheap toslink output device that sets me on a path to serenity?

  • phofman
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Foobar toslink output device with all bit and rate options
Reply #1
Any Envy24-based card with toslink output will offer all common samplerates.

DTS encoding and other DSP is in most cases performed by SW as part of the driver chain.

  • MikeFord
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Foobar toslink output device with all bit and rate options
Reply #2
Any Envy24-based card with toslink output will offer all common samplerates.

DTS encoding and other DSP is in most cases performed by SW as part of the driver chain.


Encoding is a mix, some chip sets seem to have some optimization like the CMI8768 vs CMI8768+, but main issue is licensing from Dolby for encoding, and only the manufacturer can license, no end user path. My learning curve was steep buying my first three sound output devices based on chip set, got lucky on the first, neither of the next two had an encoding license or way to add it (Creative has an option to pay to unlock on some newer devices).

I hate to spend money without audible gain, but at some point peace of mind has to have some value, and I think I am at that point where I want the silly thing to work without issue even if that means buying something with gold plated connectors.

  • phofman
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Foobar toslink output device with all bit and rate options
Reply #3
Encoding is a mix, some chip sets seem to have some optimization like the CMI8768 vs CMI8768+


Well, the main-features datasheet for CMI8768+ lists the "Dolby® Digital Live 5.1 (AC-3) real-time interactive content encoder" capability in the "Valuable S/W" section. IMO it is only value-added SW being part of the driver bundle. Similar to what A52 (AC3) http://www.alsa-project.org/main/index.php/A52_plugin and dcaenc (DTS) http://aepatrakov.narod.ru/dcaenc/ alsa plugins provide in linux for any soundcard with SPDIF output.

I hate to spend money without audible gain, but at some point peace of mind has to have some value, and I think I am at that point where I want the silly thing to work without issue even if that means buying something with gold plated connectors.


On one hand you want to obtain audible gain, on the other hand you want to employ a VERY lossy compression at the output of your chain. Instead of DD/DTS I would opt for a decent multichannel soundcard and feed the analog outputs into AVR's multichannel analog input. That is how I have setup my HTPC.

  • MikeFord
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Foobar toslink output device with all bit and rate options
Reply #4
Encoding is a mix, some chip sets seem to have some optimization like the CMI8768 vs CMI8768+


Well, the main-features datasheet for CMI8768+ lists the "Dolby® Digital Live 5.1 (AC-3) real-time interactive content encoder" capability in the "Valuable S/W" section. IMO it is only value-added SW being part of the driver bundle. Similar to what A52 (AC3) http://www.alsa-project.org/main/index.php/A52_plugin and dcaenc (DTS) http://aepatrakov.narod.ru/dcaenc/ alsa plugins provide in linux for any soundcard with SPDIF output.

I hate to spend money without audible gain, but at some point peace of mind has to have some value, and I think I am at that point where I want the silly thing to work without issue even if that means buying something with gold plated connectors.


On one hand you want to obtain audible gain, on the other hand you want to employ a VERY lossy compression at the output of your chain. Instead of DD/DTS I would opt for a decent multichannel soundcard and feed the analog outputs into AVR's multichannel analog input. That is how I have setup my HTPC.


Despite what the data sheet says, if the board manufacturer does not pay Dolby, the features will not be available at least in the Win7 setting I choose to use for now.

I have no special issues with inaudible compression, lossy or otherwise. I do have a problem with 30 feet of 6 channels of hum producing analog going from a digital source to a end to end digital target, it drops a pebble of distress into the pool of my tranquility.

  • Mach-X
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Foobar toslink output device with all bit and rate options
Reply #5
Wait does your receiver not accept straight multi channel pcm? I apologize if I am mistaken but you don't mention video content, and the title says 'foobar' so I am assuming music only, of which only sacd or dvd-a use dolby/dts. I think multi channel flac from places like bandcamp are simply pcm. If so it's not difficult to use any soundcard with hdmi passthrough.

Reason for edit: answered without realizing spdif doesnt support multichannel pcm.
Edit again: apparently neither does bandcamp.
  • Last Edit: 07 April, 2013, 02:58:31 AM by Mach-X

  • MikeFord
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Foobar toslink output device with all bit and rate options
Reply #6
Wait does your receiver not accept straight multi channel pcm? I apologize if I am mistaken but you don't mention video content, and the title says 'foobar' so I am assuming music only, of which only sacd or dvd-a use dolby/dts. I think multi channel flac from places like bandcamp are simply pcm. If so it's not difficult to use any soundcard with hdmi passthrough.

Reason for edit: answered without realizing spdif doesnt support multichannel pcm.
Edit again: apparently neither does bandcamp.


Sony STR DA3000ES, old so no HDMI, on another AC circuit with some ground issues if I don't use isolation between the media PC and it. Toslink works fine, when it works.

Specs are;
7 Channel Direct Drive Digital Amplifier: 150W x 7 (8 ohms 20Hz - 20kHz, THD .6%)
Dolby® Digital, Dolby® Digital EX, dts®, dts-ES, dts-ES 96/24, dts: Neo6, Dolby® Pro Logic® II Decoding

Its all digital from toslink in to the final stages of the output section, which means I will have no mental harmony if unneeded conversion stages are added.

I don't really know all the details of the various formats the receiver accepts, but it looks like some form of DTS 24/96 is supported.

Source formats are worse for me, some I rip myself, some from my wife or son, or friends. I don't have a SACD player, but have tracks ripped with a PS3 in various formats, same for DVDA, that foobar doesn't like. Iso seems to work fine, 6 ch 24 bit types not at all.

I have a Diamond XS71DDL, for basic function, motherboard 880GM -P51 VIA® VT1828S, great specs on paper (2 independent 16/24-bit S/PDIF TX Outputs supporting 16/20/24-bit, 48K/96K/44.1K/88.2KHz sample rate) no driver support from MSI for any "optional" DTS etc encoding modes fully supported by chips, bought a toslink output bracket and wasted a week learning that.

Thinking now I might try motherboard spdif again with maybe a different approach. Foobar normally decodes audio from some format and makes it acceptable to "the next stage", but lately I've seen material where foobar just passes it through, doesn't decode it so no visuals etc work and it looks like noise, but receiver decodes the stream fine.

I am also looking in to using some kind of CM6631 based USB to Toslink converter.

Foobar toslink output device with all bit and rate options
Reply #7
I don't care if its audible or not, but I can't find true happiness unless I get a toslink device that supports all common output modes, and includes some type of dolby encoding ideally the fancy stuff that uses expensive options on my old toslink input receiver (DTS connect maybe). I have a cheap Diamond XS71DDL, but it seems limited and I get errors saying this or that output mode isn't supported. I want to eliminate these error messages so I can listen in harmony confident that all my bits are being treated well. If my bits get processed, the knowledge troubles me, and my enjoyment is reduced.

Any suggestions on a cheap toslink output device that sets me on a path to serenity?



I just picked up a FIIO D07 that ran about 50 bucks, has coax and toslink inputs, handles some modern surround formats, goes up to 24/96 and has about 100 dB dynamic range. 2 channel output only.

http://www.fiio.com.cn/products/index.aspx...enuID=105026003

Summary

Frequency response (from 40 Hz to 15 kHz), dB:   +0.03, -0.17   Very good
Noise level, dB (A):   -94.0   Very good
Dynamic range, dB (A):   89.5   Good
THD, %:   0.0032   Very good
IMD + Noise, %:   0.095   Good
Stereo crosstalk, dB:   -53.8   Poor
IMD at 10 kHz, %:   0.049   Good

  • Last Edit: 08 April, 2013, 10:21:31 AM by Arnold B. Krueger

  • pdq
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Foobar toslink output device with all bit and rate options
Reply #8
Stereo crosstalk, dB:   -53.8   Poor

I understand that our hearing is not very sensitive to stereo crosstalk, so the above figure is probably more than adequate, but it seems that it would not be very difficult with modern circuitry to accomplish something much higher than 53.8 dB?

Foobar toslink output device with all bit and rate options
Reply #9
Stereo crosstalk, dB:   -53.8   Poor

I understand that our hearing is not very sensitive to stereo crosstalk, so the above figure is probably more than adequate, but it seems that it would not be very difficult with modern circuitry to accomplish something much higher than 53.8 dB?


Given that it decodes a number of flavors of DTS, MPEG, and Dolby as well as PCM, the relatively poor channel separation performance may be due to leakage through inactive decoding circuitry or logic.  Or there may be a residual grounding problem in the FIIO circuit card.  I'm a lot more interested in the great performance in areas that I can actually hear!

They are < $50 - if you are really interested buy one and tear it apart and maybe even make it better. ;-)

I purchased this box to integrate a TV set with only Toslink outputs into a larger analog-based audio system.
  • Last Edit: 08 April, 2013, 11:13:35 AM by Arnold B. Krueger

  • saratoga
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Foobar toslink output device with all bit and rate options
Reply #10
Stereo crosstalk, dB:   -53.8   Poor

I understand that our hearing is not very sensitive to stereo crosstalk, so the above figure is probably more than adequate, but it seems that it would not be very difficult with modern circuitry to accomplish something much higher than 53.8 dB?


The speced value is 80dB, so perhaps that is limited by the measurement device? 


  • phofman
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Foobar toslink output device with all bit and rate options
Reply #11
But MikeFord is looking for the other side - encoding multichannel to DD/DTS for transmission over toslink to his existing multichannel AVR.

Foobar toslink output device with all bit and rate options
Reply #12
Stereo crosstalk, dB:   -53.8   Poor

I understand that our hearing is not very sensitive to stereo crosstalk, so the above figure is probably more than adequate, but it seems that it would not be very difficult with modern circuitry to accomplish something much higher than 53.8 dB?


The speced value is 80dB, so perhaps that is limited by the measurement device?


It may be a rightmark artifact.

I save the .wav file that is recorded as part of the audio rightmark analysis. Analyzing it with CEP, I find that there is actually no trace of signal spilling over in the portions of the file where only one channel has a signal.  The channel with no signal is just noise floor.

Foobar toslink output device with all bit and rate options
Reply #13
But MikeFord is looking for the other side - encoding multichannel to DD/DTS for transmission over toslink to his existing multichannel AVR.


If we were talking Dolby, that would seem to be the same as Dolby Digital Live, no?
  • Last Edit: 08 April, 2013, 11:56:04 AM by Arnold B. Krueger

Foobar toslink output device with all bit and rate options
Reply #14
Stereo crosstalk, dB:   -53.8   Poor

I understand that our hearing is not very sensitive to stereo crosstalk, so the above figure is probably more than adequate, but it seems that it would not be very difficult with modern circuitry to accomplish something much higher than 53.8 dB?


The speced value is 80dB, so perhaps that is limited by the measurement device?



The measurement device is a Delta 24192 audio interface that usually does over 90 dB channel separation.

  • MikeFord
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Foobar toslink output device with all bit and rate options
Reply #15
Stereo crosstalk, dB:   -53.8   Poor

I understand that our hearing is not very sensitive to stereo crosstalk, so the above figure is probably more than adequate, but it seems that it would not be very difficult with modern circuitry to accomplish something much higher than 53.8 dB?

DDL which I have now with the Diamond XS71DDL card encodes to the Dolby Digital standard from 1995, 16/48 5.1 channel 640k bps. Its a lowest common denominator type format. Maybe it is adequate, maybe it is full of flaws nobody bothers to investigate in an 18 year old technology.

DTS is Digital Theater Sound, not Dolby. DTS interactive is the PC encoder that "looks" like it creats 5.1 24/48 1.5 Mbps over spdif. DTS from media sources "look" like they can be 24/96 7.1, but its like they don't like to give any real details to consumers, or license directly to consumers. DVDA and SACD both "look" like content will rip to DTS of some flavor preserving surround and quality. DTS Connect "looks" like the product licensed to some sound output devices, with two parts DTS interactive and Neo (headphones).

Depending on the source it "looks" like various other formats will "pass thru" using some kind of raw format.

Headphone output would be nice, but not the main goal, which is 5.1 with the least fussing with the data stream.

Don't some headphone devices include "enhanced" crosstalk to open the sound stage from between the ears? Seems odd it is so low, but not an issue, maybe something like a common PS.

  • probedb
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Foobar toslink output device with all bit and rate options
Reply #16
I still can't work out what your actual request is for having read your OP and replies.

This card does DTS Connect http://www.auzentech.com/site/products/x-plosion_cinema.php

  • MikeFord
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Foobar toslink output device with all bit and rate options
Reply #17
I still can't work out what your actual request is for having read your OP and replies.

This card does DTS Connect http://www.auzentech.com/site/products/x-plosion_cinema.php

That card might work, a quick look didn't show support for Win7, but same is true for other cards that work fine. It also did no pop up in my google etc searches, maybe due to few vendors.

Its 5am not at all sure how many brain cells are still working, but I bought a Xonar DS from Neweqq, $53 shipped no incl $10 rebate card. DTS connect only, but DDL is what I have now so I can't see selecting it on a new card.

Request is simple, I want my sound to work, and would have much preferred not learning any of the details I have.

Core of problem, unable to play some files due to multichannel modes not showing as available or supported. Could be I don't have foobar setup correctly, win7 not happy with old drivers for XS71DDL card, or files ripped to bad formats, or who knows what. Couple days I should have the new card and give it a try.

  • LithosZA
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Foobar toslink output device with all bit and rate options
Reply #18
Quote
DDL which I have now with the Diamond XS71DDL card encodes to the Dolby Digital standard from 1995, 16/48 5.1 channel 640k bps. Its a lowest common denominator type format. Maybe it is adequate, maybe it is full of flaws nobody bothers to investigate in an 18 year old technology.


Dolby Digital's quality is about on par with MP3. Take ffmpeg's AC3 encoder which is probably not as optimized as the commercial AC3 encoders out there and encode a stereo song at 192Kbps and it should be transparent. Dolby Digital on DVDs are encoded at 448 kbit/s. So Dolby Digital probably isn't that bad.

Quote
Core of problem, unable to play some files due to multichannel modes not showing as available or supported. Could be I don't have foobar setup correctly, win7 not happy with old drivers for XS71DDL card, or files ripped to bad formats, or who knows what. Couple days I should have the new card and give it a try.

Any specifics on what formats don't want to work?

  • MikeFord
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Foobar toslink output device with all bit and rate options
Reply #19
Quote
DDL which I have now with the Diamond XS71DDL card encodes to the Dolby Digital standard from 1995, 16/48 5.1 channel 640k bps. Its a lowest common denominator type format. Maybe it is adequate, maybe it is full of flaws nobody bothers to investigate in an 18 year old technology.


Dolby Digital's quality is about on par with MP3. Take ffmpeg's AC3 encoder which is probably not as optimized as the commercial AC3 encoders out there and encode a stereo song at 192Kbps and it should be transparent. Dolby Digital on DVDs are encoded at 448 kbit/s. So Dolby Digital probably isn't that bad.

Quote
Core of problem, unable to play some files due to multichannel modes not showing as available or supported. Could be I don't have foobar setup correctly, win7 not happy with old drivers for XS71DDL card, or files ripped to bad formats, or who knows what. Couple days I should have the new card and give it a try.

Any specifics on what formats don't want to work?

I have a rip of Cars- Moving In Quadio (Live In Chicago 1978) DVDA-V, had it for years, never anything but noise, appears to be an .iso file. Unrecoverable playback error: Unsupported stream format: 48000 Hz / 16-bit / 4 channels. I expect DTS connect to fix that.

DDL is giving me function issues, quality I have not attempted to test. Things I feel pretty confident that should be 5.1 are showing at the receiver as 2.1 or linear PCM. Maybe win7, maybe drivers, sick of it.

Part of what is happening is that SPdif is a dying technology, all of the HDMI companies would like to see it die, and most vendors are using ancient drivers, xp era patch for win7 etc. Many things just don't work as advertised, and I am sick of pot holes in the road to hifi.

  • probedb
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Foobar toslink output device with all bit and rate options
Reply #20
I still think you've got something setup wrong.

What software are you using? How is it setup? What is the file? If it's foobar you might want to try this: http://wiki.hydrogenaudio.org/index.php?ti...%28foo_spdif%29 / http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index....4476&st=100 / http://www.ga.cba.pl/spdif_xp.html

  • phofman
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Foobar toslink output device with all bit and rate options
Reply #21
I still think you've got something setup wrong.


I do not think the setup is wrong, IMO the error is perfectly valid. I could not find any info about that quadio DVD, google offers only torrent links. Nevertheless I assume the DVD contains 4-channel LPCM. Logically, the player cannot send 4 channel PCM audio across SPDIF, that is why it complains about unsupported stream format 48000 Hz / 16-bit / 4 channels

IMO fighting with working setup of DTS connect is a waste of time. It requires finding a working DTS encoder provided by soundcard manufacturer, which may be fragile, often poorly coded (quality of closed-source drivers is very low in general), and may not work at all in future versions of windows OS (or even latest ones). IMO DTS connect (or any digital format for SPDIF connection) is a dead technology in these days of HDMI 1.4 (multichannel PCM, lossless DTS-HD, etc.)

If I were to solve this puzzle of transfering multichannel 30 feet, I would try the following:

1. run unbalanced analog using regular coax cable, it may be perfectly OK.

2. use powered multichannel usb soundcard and 2 pieces of 5m usb extension cord with powered usb hub in between. These cards use USB2.0 highspeed (12mbps), it could work OK

3. at best - get an unbalanced-balanced convertor and run balanced analog connection designed for long runs.

That is just what I would do.
  • Last Edit: 10 April, 2013, 05:40:57 AM by phofman

  • probedb
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Foobar toslink output device with all bit and rate options
Reply #22
I do not think the setup is wrong, IMO the error is perfectly valid. I could not find any info about that quadio DVD, google offers only torrent links. Nevertheless I assume the DVD contains 4-channel LPCM. Logically, the player cannot send 4 channel PCM audio across SPDIF, that is why it complains about unsupported stream format 48000 Hz / 16-bit / 4 channels


Does DVD-V support multi-channel LPCM? I'd assumed it was a DD or DTS track, it's not mentioned what format it is that I can see.

Yes the error is perfectly valid in that situation but if it's a DD/DTS stream it should be fine. I have DD 4.0 soundtracks on some DVDs.

Apologies if I'm completely misunderstanding this but I can't work out the format that he's trying to send and how he's actually trying to do it.

  • phofman
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Foobar toslink output device with all bit and rate options
Reply #23


Does DVD-V support multi-channel LPCM? I'd assumed it was a DD or DTS track, it's not mentioned what format it is that I can see.
[/quote]

I have Eagles DVD with DTS and 2 ch LPCM. I do not know about multichannel but perhaps yes.

Yes the error is perfectly valid in that situation but if it's a DD/DTS stream it should be fine. I have DD 4.0 soundtracks on some DVDs.


That is true, in such case DTS passthrough should be configured instead.

  • probedb
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Foobar toslink output device with all bit and rate options
Reply #24
I have Eagles DVD with DTS and 2 ch LPCM. I do not know about multichannel but perhaps yes.


I've seen 2 ch PCM and after a bit of research it does appear it supports up to 8 channel PCM

I would imagine that since HDMI didn't exist when the format was specified that the player had to either convert to a lossy format for S/P-DIF or only output over multi-channel analogue outputs?

I guess once we know what the OP is actually trying to play and how we can offer better advice.
  • Last Edit: 10 April, 2013, 06:35:22 AM by probedb