Question about the science of audio?

Discussion in 'OT Technology' started by JazzHound, Aug 20, 2002.

  1. JazzHound

    JazzHound Guest

    I dont' know too much about audio equipment so all that dolby, surround sound, 5.1 6.1 is all jargon to me.

    How does a DSP (digital signal processor?) work in relation to getting the sound from a DVD to the speakers? I want to get this(SoundBlaster Extigy)


    • Hook-up to your PC or notebook with the hassle-free external USB connection
      Experience high-definition audio with 24-bit multi-channel performance with 100dB SNR clarity
      Transform your PC into a home-theater system with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound
      Enrich your listening experience with innovative EAX ADVANCED HD music enhancement tools

    It has all that which sounds great to me, so is it ?

    I've also read some stuff about most high-end video cards have dvd decoding chips that make movies better but I've always thought it was the DVD-ROM that made the difference. So any of you home theatre freaks think this Extigy unit lives up to it's claim?

    http://www.soundblaster.com/reviews/

    All these are gaming and PC hardware publications, I find reviews from 'pure' audio experts abit more reassuring.
     
  2. 04

    04 Guest

    Ok, first, I really wouldnt get that extigy. I mean, it has some features to be desired, but if you are not going to use them anyways, its a waste. What exactly is your system plan? I assume you want to watch dvd movies on your computer? Do you have a reciever at home as well as speakers?

    The Dvd rom quite frankly has nothing to do with the picture quality of your movie. Unless you have a really crappy one, any DVD drive should be able to read the MPEG2 video stream fast enough for the computer to decode it. So yes, the video card plays a more significant part than the drive. As for needing to upgrade to a newer video card, as long as you have a pretty fast PC I see no reason. I personally have a 1.33ghz Athlon and I have no frame skipping problems or Jerkyness. The picture quality is fabulous, considering I use a PC monitor instead of a TV. You can actually clearly see the compression artifacts from the encoding of the movie.
     
  3. JazzHound

    JazzHound Guest

    Re: Re: Question about the science of audio?

    That pretty much sums up my goals. I'll eventually get into the meaty side of home entertainment (HDTV, DVD players, 5.1 speaker setups,etc) but right now I want to make an enjoyable atmosphere fully contained computer/entertainment hub. I have a fast machine (1800_xp, DDR system), Labtec 4 satelites and subwoofer (bass box) which was never intended to be a long term solution and a decent sound card (SB Live +mp3). The Extigy is a great solution as it offers versatility (hot-swappable, mobile, etc).

    Well, my next investment are going into a better video card to replace my aging ATi 32mb AIW. Guess its good to know I dont have to invest a shitload in a DVD-ROM when any will do (I have a Panasonic (slowly dying).

    Got another question though about DSP. In home theatre equipment specifically, where does it come from? DVD players like SONY, Panasonic, Hitachi all have really nice (austhetics) ones that range from $200-300 with alot of these DSP, progressive filtering stuff which are likely to be top end stuff for a good home theatre right? Eventually when all this said and done, I'll want to spend 500-1000 on DVD player and speakers.
     
  4. 04

    04 Guest

    Re: Re: Re: Question about the science of audio?

    To be honest with you, the system you have now is perfectly fine. Unless you like playing new 3d games, you dont even need to upgrade your video card. The soundcard you have now has a toslink interface which means it can connect to a reciever with dolby digital and dts decoding, and have your computer pass an AC3 audio signal just like a normal DVD player would. In your case, the Extigy would be a waste of money, where you could spend elsewhere like a new reciever or speakers.

    Ok, here is my take on the whole DSP thing. You don't need them. All those fancy sound modes such as hall, concert, theater, etc, are worthless, they just make bad sound. DSP features such as time delay, digital crossovers, equilizers and such are actually very usefull, unfortunatly they really are more of an advanced user type of thing, so only if you plan to get SERIOUS about your home theater will you need to worry about the whole DSP feature Set.

    To answer your question more, the reciever does the DSP processing (although your dvd player could too).
     
  5. JazzHound

    JazzHound Guest

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Question about the science of audio?

    It's one of the things I enjoy regularly so video card upgrade is a no brainer, however the extigy will definitely be purposesful as I have a laptop which had horrid sounds. With this I can simply plug it via USB and be thumping away. I think the beauty (correct me if I'm wrong) with the Extigy is you can plug it into a high-end home system as well so eventually I can make the transition from crappy computer speakers to my home theatre system with great ease.
     
  6. 04

    04 Guest

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Question about the science of audio?

    Oh, I see, I thought you had said you used a SB Live or Audigy for the soundcard. In that case, perhaps upgrading would be in order. Yes it will work as you want it to for that situation.
     
  7. JazzHound

    JazzHound Guest

    heh sorry to confuse you with what i said in my previous post. I DO have a sb live card right now in my main machine where I watch all my dvd, play games, etc. it isn't audigy but does have EAX. my laptop on the other hand has useless speakers and plugging in and out the 1/8 speaker jack is a PITA.

    thanks for the replies.
     

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