Need recommendation for USB 5.1 Audio Soundcard with analog output

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ssully

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According to the manufacturer of the SpeaKa Professional HDMI Audio Extractor with Toslink and 6 Channel (5.1) RCA Output:
"Supported HDMI audio formats: DTS-HD / Dolby TrueHD / LPCM 2 / 5.1 / 7.1 CH / DTS / Dolby-AC3 / DSD"
"Audio decoder.....................................Dolby Digital (AC3), DTS, LPCM 2CH"
"Sampling rate......................................32 - 96 kHz"


So if you are playing a 4 channel file and only getting 2 ch out from it, it appears to be an issue with your computer/laptop feeding the wrong signal to its HDMI output. Something perhaps is converting all out sources to 2 channel before it even reaches the SpeaKa. Obviously first make sure that foobar is not doing that. (foobar> Preferences>Playback>DSP Manager> left window should contain NO DSP plugins. ). After that , make sure your soundcard's HDMI drivers actually support surround output. If not , update the driver.

The switch on the front of the SpeaKa tells the playback device what audio track to provide. '5.1' should have worked but also try 'PASS'

If you are using foobar, you can also try using the WASAPI output plugin to bypass the Windows mixer. In that case .wav files will be passed unadulterated as PCM, and .dts as raw DTS, .ac3 as raw Dolby (DTS and Dolby will be decoded by the SpeaKa).
 
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jimfisheye

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Do you literally mean "card" as in a pci connecting card?

USB will be an easier solution to find and have more options for devices. Audio interfaces (what the device you want is called) connect to the computer with one of the following: pci (literally a pci card), USB, firewire, thunderbolt, or HDMI.

There are many small USB models to choose from. They range from frugal budget models that still have reasonable modern specs on the analog stages to high end boutique models with class A analog stages. The firewire and thunderbolt connecting models are usually the more pro audio models and usually include more connections, routing, built-in mixing ability, and a host or more pro audio and recording related features. HDMI connecting models should be a last choice. Consumer gear with HDMI connections runs into a lot of products with "copy protection gone wild" approach and can really be a PITA. There's always a better choice in some USB model. PCI cards... well, you'd need a desktop tower machine with a PCI card cage to begin with. The PCI cards are usually either on the ratty cheap end (Sound Blasticator, etc) or the extreme high end (going for minimum latency in live sound systems and that kind of thing). Again, USB connecting devices are where the most choices are going to be available today. And unless you're streaming 32 or more channels back and forth at extreme low latency for live show production, USB will be just fine. :)

PS. Use your OS audio control panel for downmixing and/or speaker management. Buying a more advanced audio interface with built-in mixing ability would be the expensive and more cumbersome approach for that.
 

winopener

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Bad sign... and no clues to help pointing out if the problem is the extractor or the hdmi chipset on the pc.
 

bloop

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thank you all for you hints, but none brought any success.
I tried finding any other intel driver for HDMI, but no luck.
Maybe the HDMI2analog is crap, some infos from buyers point out the same problem.
Maybe the driver is crap, but who knows?

I tried the HDMI2analog on my Oppo Player. Output was 2 x Stereo, same result as from the PC.
 

winopener

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If the Hdmi2Analog connected to the Oppo works only as stereo, it means it does only ac3/dts decoding. As i said, the description in the website you linked wasn't so clear.
Also, in the description quoted above (just seen it now) it says up to 96K, that's the ceiling for DTS, hdmi should go up to 192 stereo. It's the chipset inside the extractor that doesn't handle the audio fully.
 
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winopener

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mlrocker

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That's the one i'm using, the only difference is on the red writing on top.
For the record, it does play any flac-channel configuration (4.0, 4.1, 5.0, 5.1, 6.0, 6.1) that i have files for, downmixing correctly to a final 4.0.
sounds sweet to me!
 

ssully

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If the Hdmi2Analog connected to the Oppo works only as stereo, it means it does only ac3/dts decoding. As i said, the description in the website you linked wasn't so clear.
Also, in the description quoted above (just seen it now) it says up to 96K, that's the ceiling for DTS, hdmi should go up to 192 stereo. It's the chipset inside the extractor that doesn't handle the audio fully.

The key may be this line:

"Audio decoder.....................................Dolby Digital (AC3), DTS, LPCM 2CH"

it's odd that they would list 'LPCM 2CH' as something to decode. It perhaps means that LPCM input to the SpeaKa (either from native PCM, or pre-decoded DTS/AC3) is always rendered out as 2 channel only? Raw DTS and AC3 input on the other hand would still be decoded to multichannel.


I can't tell if the OP has actually tried feeding it a raw (bitstream) 5.1 DTS or AC3 signal, to test this
 

A/V SQuad

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I had this unit and it worked fine, then I upgraded to one with a remote!

Only issue was, it seemed to have come from China with a bunch of ant eggs inside. Seemed like I got an infestation that came from it...it was really weird.

But I got rid of them, and the unit still worked.
 
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