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HDMI Output from Laptop

This is kinda a hardware and software issue, so I'm trying here first.

I'm trying to understand options to feed my HT/Audio system my ripped CD collection (WAV and FLAC) via a laptop running Win 7 with HDMI output.

I currently use Media Monkey to organize and play my CD's. On my Desktop, I have a sound card that outputs via digital coax, and I use an ASIO driver in MM to bypass Win XP.

I'm now looking to see what I can do with my laptop that runs Win 7. It has the ability to output via HDMI to my HT processor. I've hooked it all up and it plays very well. I like the fact that I can view/control Media Monkey on the HT screen, and use the Milk Drop visualizer when audio is playing. So I want to understand HDMI better.

I have found the drivers for the intel video/audio controller in the laptop that controls the HDMI connection, and can set it up for 24/96 output rates, and the HT DSP recognizes it just fine.

Now the question.

Is Windows 7 taking my digital files, processing (re-sampling) them before it gets fed out on the HDMI connection? I think it is because I can adjust the volume within the program.

I'm trying to figure out if this option can feed my digital files without Windows screwing up the data like I did with my desktop.

HDMI Output from Laptop

Reply #1
I don't know how to bitstream your files to the hdmi receiver, but unless you've specifically instructed your computer to do so, you can be 100% certain that it's decoding the FLAC streams, applying potential amplication, potentially resampling it (if you've set up Media Monkey to output to a specific resolution) and then passes it on to your virtual "HDMI soundcard" which than potentially resamples again provided the delivered resolution does not match with the HDMI output settings.

HDMI Output from Laptop

Reply #2
You must have then a Core i5 or i3 laptop... In any case, your audio is being resampled bit-converted to whatever you set the mixer to, unless it's already at the same sampling rate/bit-depth. To bypass this, you need to use WASAPI exclusive. foobar2000 has a plugin for it, or if you're using pretty much any DirectShow player, you can install ReClock, which is a DS audio renderer that will also do exclusive mode.

There are some problems with HDMI devices and exclusive mode though, but I've never tried the Intel HDMI devices. For instance, with ATI and Nvidia devices when using foobar2000 if you pause you hear repeating sounds. With ReClock there's no significant problems though (except if you use the alternate Realtek driver for ATI HDMI, which solves other types of bugs that the original ATI driver doesn't).

So, in short, unless you really need things like automatic channel switching (from 2.0 to 5.1, etc) depending on source, using WASAPI is not worth it in my opinion. You can try it anyway and see if Intel has any problems, but you probably won't hear the difference with resampling, and if you do, you can always apply higher quality resampling with both foobar2000 and ReClock, in DirectSound mode.

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