GPU HDMI out or High End Sound card for gaming?

mac_angel

mac_angel

Enthusiast
#1
I can't remember if I asked this before, but it's back in my mind. I'm trying to decide whether I should get a high end 7.1 sound card for gaming, or just stick with the HDMI out of my NVidia GTX 1080ti card. It's going to a high end Onkyo A/V Receiver, THX 7.1 system. I've found lots of reviews on sound cards and such, but nothing that compares them against using the sound out of a GPU with the HDMI. Is it worth going to a high end sound card for gaming? Would there be a noticeable difference? One thing I do know is that GPUs at least support Dolby Atmos right now (with Windows 10),and there aren't any soundcards that do. My receiver is only 7.1, but some day I will end up upgrading it.

Headphones is a non-issue at the moment. One, I don't have any. Two, when I do plan on getting some (hopefully in a couple of months) I plan on getting a pair of high end ones with a decent DAC like the Creative Labs E5. So for this post, I'm only focusing on 7.1 surround sound for gaming.
 
everettT

everettT

Audioholic Samurai
Ratings
864 9 11
#3
What high end onkyo system? How large is your room? How far do you sit from the speakers? Not sure if you need an external DAC depending on your avr.
 
mac_angel

mac_angel

Enthusiast
#5
What high end onkyo system? How large is your room? How far do you sit from the speakers? Not sure if you need an external DAC depending on your avr.
okay, this is the 5th freakin time I'm trying to respond to this. I try to add something at the end and instead it refreshes the page and I loose it all.

I'm using an Onkyo TX-SR876 with Onkyo THX 7.1 'wood' speakers that were from an all in one package that I also bought at the time. That system is now in my kitchen with a pair of Yamaha indoor/outdoor speakers for listening in the kitchen and the deck.
My system is in the basement and taking up the whole room, 12'x20', with a work table and drafting board on the opposite end of the computer (displays are on the short side). I'm running three 46" LED TVs in surround mode for gaming in 5760x1080. All 7 speakers are mounted on the walls, side speakers directly to the side of where I sit, back speakers on the far wall, and raised a bit, on each side of the drafting table. All calibrated with the receiver for distance, balance, etc.
I have my eye on a pair of Beyerdynamic DT 990 Premium 600 ohm HiFi headphones and Creative Sound Blaster E5 High-Resolution USB DAC 600 ohm Headphone Amplifier with Bluetooth. They are within my price range and I like the reviews I've read. I'm interested in the Creative Labs E5 because it will also work with my Samsung S8, which also supports 32bit audio. I also use the full version of Neutron Music Player for audio on my phone.
I'm also looking at the ASUS STRIX RAID DLX Sound Card with high end DAC, 600ohm, 124dB SNR audio. That would cover my 7.1 and headphones when I go to use them. Newer sound cards don't use EAX any more, but they do 'advertise' gaming enhancements, and reviews do say they are great sound cards, and usually an overlooked, important component in a gaming system. But they are usually compared to onboard audio; I have never seen any review comparing them to the HDMI of a GPU (not to mention, that also depends on where the HDMI is going to - the A/V Receiver). So, I'm trying to find out if there is more immersion with a gaming sound card over the HDMI in gaming. One thing I did notice in some games is the 'fading' from one speaker to another wasn't very smooth. It would go from center channel to side channel instantly, not fade over. Not sure if that's a matter of the game not being written well, or a matter of the HDMI isn't meant for gaming.
 
BoredSysAdmin

BoredSysAdmin

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
5,456 20 33
#9
my game room, or the question? I am checking it out and it just looks like people posting their battlestations, not asking advice.
I meant your game setup. A dedicated Audio Card won't do you any good. That part pretty much everyone already agreed on. I have external DAC. External audio cards or external DAC is only way to go if you want good quality audio - you see for very strong RF interference from (my educated guess) a video card, any internal sound card would need tons of shielding and be extremely overengineered to be able to do clean audio. Now, since your Onkyo AVR is so close, you don't need DAC. Your room size is not important, neither how many monitors you have. I use cheapest(free) onboard Realtek Toslink digital optical out. In my case, the onboard sound doesn't do anything at all other than pass the sound unmolested to my dac/headphone amp. To your next question, no, you don't need one of these either - your Onkyo receiver already has very good headphone amp.
In fact I should have AVR near my PC and only reason I don't is typical AVRs don't mix well on office desks
 
slipperybidness

slipperybidness

Audioholic Spartan
Ratings
2,380 7 3
#10
I meant your game setup. A dedicated Audio Card won't do you any good. That part pretty much everyone already agreed on. I have external DAC. External audio cards or external DAC is only way to go if you want good quality audio - you see for very strong RF interference from (my educated guess) a video card, any internal sound card would need tons of shielding and be extremely overengineered to be able to do clean audio. Now, since your Onkyo AVR is so close, you don't need DAC. Your room size is not important, neither how many monitors you have. I use cheapest(free) onboard Realtek Toslink digital optical out. In my case, the onboard sound doesn't do anything at all other than pass the sound unmolested to my dac/headphone amp. To your next question, no, you don't need one of these either - your Onkyo receiver already has very good headphone amp.
In fact I should have AVR near my PC and only reason I don't is typical AVRs don't mix well on office desks
C'Mon BSA......you gotta put your PC over in your HT rig.....not put your AVR over at your PC area! Then, get that wiresless Trackman and that wireless keyboard and work Like a Boss from that recliner! :p

@mac_angel
Seriously, BSA is giving you good advice, I have always done similar setups and configs as to what he is saying.

Currently, my tower PC is part of my HT, and I am feeding my audio over to my AVR with HDMI. The audio signal feeds into my MSI Video Card from the Asus mobo, then passes to the AVR in the digi domain via HDMI, the AVR does the DAC process. NOTE: My setup is for Music and Movies and QUALITY AUDIO, and not dedicated gaming (even though I do game via XBOX one on my same HT setup).

These guys with all the fancy sound cards for gaming.....they don't have enough knowledge on the audio technical end to know any better. Pass the audio signal out of the PC chassis in the Digital Domain, before you do the D/A conversion!
 
BoredSysAdmin

BoredSysAdmin

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
5,456 20 33
#11
I'm too much of old school. I'm very nerdy regarding my Keyboard and mouse. I guess it's comes with hazards of using computers professionally for so many years. my main pc has dual monitors, not for gaming, but multitasking - I find using any pc without dual monitors a limited experience.
I am lucky to have a dedicated office room in my house, where my pc setup is. It definitely helps to close the door and focus at task at hand. Either killing virtual foes or fixing a server in London.
 
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slipperybidness

slipperybidness

Audioholic Spartan
Ratings
2,380 7 3
#12
I'm too much of old school. I'm very nerdy regarding my Keyboard and mouse. I guess it's comes with using computers professionally for so many years. my main pc has dual monitors, not for gaming, but multitasking - I find using any pc without dual monitors a limited experience.
I am lucky to own a dedicated office room, where my pc setup is. It definitely helps to close the door and focus at task at hand. Either killing virtual foes or fixing a server in London.
Yeah, I gotcha, I was (mostly) joking.

Yeah, I don't currently use dual monitors, but what I have seen engineers doing at work that I think is an awesome idea--Dual widescreen monitors, 1 is horizontal and the other is vertical! What a great idea for doing some real work!
 
panteragstk

panteragstk

Audioholic Samurai
Ratings
1,085 5
#13
I'm too much of old school. I'm very nerdy regarding my Keyboard and mouse. I guess it's comes with hazards of using computers professionally for so many years. my main pc has dual monitors, not for gaming, but multitasking - I find using any pc without dual monitors a limited experience.
I am lucky to have a dedicated office room in my house, where my pc setup is. It definitely helps to close the door and focus at task at hand. Either killing virtual foes or fixing a server in London.
Yep, I've got a Shield TV in the theater so if I want to game in there I can (works very well actually),but I'm a keyboard and mouse gamer and won't give up my Corsair mechanical keyboard and gaming mouse.

I need to finally get one of the couch friendly setups that will let me hook a mouse and keyboard to the Shield so I can game the "right" way in my HT.

I had dual monitors, but now I've got one of the ultra wide 21:9 monitors and won't go back. Two monitors are great for my job, but this thing works great for work too since I can just put windows side by side and get a similar effect. I just need a bigger one...with gsync...
 
BoredSysAdmin

BoredSysAdmin

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
5,456 20 33
#14
Yep, I've got a Shield TV in the theater so if I want to game in there I can (works very well actually),but I'm a keyboard and mouse gamer and won't give up my Corsair mechanical keyboard and gaming mouse.

I need to finally get one of the couch friendly setups that will let me hook a mouse and keyboard to the Shield so I can game the "right" way in my HT.

I had dual monitors, but now I've got one of the ultra wide 21:9 monitors and won't go back. Two monitors are great for my job, but this thing works great for work too since I can just put windows side by side and get a similar effect. I just need a bigger one...with gsync...
Two things that grow with computer professional age: belly and monitor size
 
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BoredSysAdmin

BoredSysAdmin

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
5,456 20 33
#16
Going to try to start new diet, Intermittent fasting. Easy version for now - 12:8 - eating meals from midday and before 8pm - simply means skipping the breakfast.
 

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