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izools's picture
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Joined: 28/04/2013 - 11:15
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Media Centre sounds rubbish, time to DAC?

I have my media centre - which is actually an HP Microserver - connected to my receiver (Arcam AVR360) via HDMI.

The audio is sent via HDMI and the media centre is configured to output in 5.1 24 Bit 192KHz over HDMI port to the Receiver. 

The graphics card, a Radeon 6570, takes care of all the audio duties on the GPU via it's HDMI port - there is no separate sound card.

 

I have various FLAC files. If I put them on a USB thumb drive and plug it in to the USB port on the receiver - playing them directly on the receiver itself - they sound fantastic, yet when played on my media centre, they sound dull and lifeless. 

I don't understand why; they files are a digital source being transferred digitally at a high resolution to the receiver over HDMI - oh, using a very short very high quality wireworld HDMI cable - yet they seem to be being subject to significant loss of clarity.

 

I don't understand why Sad 

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RE: Media Centre sounds rubbish, time to DAC?

Hello iztools,

I think people will need a bit more detail before any answers can be suggested.

In particular, what is the starting format of the music files that are causing issues? By this I mean that you say that they are all FLAC files - however are they initially stereo files? If they start out as stereo files, and are then copied as stereo files onto a memory stick, then they are being played as stereo files by the Arcam AVR360. I wonder if the situations where the files sound "rubbish" may be due to the Radeon 6570, trying (badly?) to convert the 2 channel recordings to 5 channel recordings, before outputting them as 5.1 HDMI to the Arcam.

Another potential issue could be if say the files start out as say 16 bit, and are being upscaled by the media centre to 24 bit - this is another way to introduce "error" into the output files, which you then hear as a loss of musical fidelity.

Just a few starting ideas, but more info would be helpful.

izools's picture
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RE: Media Centre sounds rubbish, time to DAC?

Thank you.

That does make sense actually as the media centre outputs to the receiver at 5.1 192/24 irrespecitve of the source format or bitrate.

Most of the FLAC files are 44.1/16 but some are higher res. I don't have any that are full 5.1 192/24.

Sound like what I need to find is a way to ensure the media centre outputs to the amp at the same bitrate / format as whatever it happpens to be playing. 

/hmm...

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