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Thread: FAQ, making use of the SPDIF out on Via Epia MBs

  1. #1
    Variable Bitrate
    Join Date
    Feb 2006

    FAQ, making use of the SPDIF out on Via Epia MBs

    I can attest that making use of the SPDIF out on the Epia MB was definitely worth it if you are looking for extremely clean sound. I am getting much cleaner sound than I was previously with a HU.
    Getting there is a many step process that involved a lot of searching this forum to solve each step so I am putting it all in one place for the next person to find.

    The jumper position on the MB to enable the spdif is wrong in the documentation for the Epia 10K. Beware. I can’t speak to the other Epias though. The jumped pins need to be 3,4 (not 1,2)

    I used the Dayton spdif-toslink converter to drive my Alpine PXA-H701. The converter says it wants 6vDC. Ignore that and supply it with 12v. It will be fine. I used regulated 12V off my M1 but some are using unregulated car 12V with no problems.

    Enable spdif out in the advanced tab of the volume control. You will need the proper Epia drivers installed to see this option.

    In order for winamp to output sound to the correct place you need to go in and change its settings. In winamp preferences go to plugins -> Output. Change it to waveOut.

    Software volume control is with the “wave” slider in the windows volume sliders. I intended to set the software volume once and never touch it again. Accordingly I tried to set the volume via the windows volume but found that winamp would reset the volume to its volume at the start of every song. Easy fix, just open winamp outside of RR (or whatever front end you will use), set the volume to 100% and exit.

    It is critical that you get the latest drivers for the AC' 97 codec because the driver I loaded first sounded like crap. Use the via arena for all drivers. If you get drivers from the links next to your specific MB on the via site (like I did at first) you will get old drivers.

    I have no aspirations to play movies in my car or use AC3/5.1 sound. But if you want/need to then you will want to take a look at these additional links to get that working.

    I hope this helps someone.

    If I missed any keywords that someone might use when searching then post them.

  2. #2
    Variable Bitrate fonseca's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Nice. I'll chime in on the AC3/5.1 part.

    Dayton spdif-toslink converter will run on 8v minimum. The mislabeled AC/DC converter puts out 9.3v.

    If you use a front end such as Road Runner, try mapping the "master volume" slider to "wave" in the config if you want to control the volume via the front end, as the "wave" slider controls SPDIF. This is very useful if you only use software volume control, or if you want to use speed-attenuated control. Frodo also has a match volume app that can link the two sliders. Search for "MatchVol".

    I disable Winamp volume control for one less slider to deal with. I also use Direct Sound output in Winamp as well as Media Player Classic. DS is especially nice if you use a Powermate or similar for fastforwarding, as the fade feature eliminates the choppy skipping sound.

    Install WinampAC3. Mine is configured for output of Direct Sound, SPDIF, and PCM 24bit. Set it to 16bit if you don't play 24bit audio. I haven't found the "FLOAT" to be reliable. Don't use any of the Mixer or EQ features in WinampAC3 unless you need to. This way, you can send your music as unaltered as possible to your DSP. AC3 files played in this manner will be 100% untouched, wave volume and EQ settings won't change the output at all.

    The Winamp EQ will still work with SPDIF output for all but AC3 files using these settings, which are the only audio files you can output completely untouched in Winamp (AFAIK, someone correct me if I'm wrong). I use the Winamp EQ for MP3s (and love my presets), but it shouldn't be necessary with an Alpine DSP or similar. The more done in hardware the better IMO.

    Somewhat related: if you have DTS audio and want to play it in Winamp, install the "in_dts" plugin. DTS WAV files will bypass EQ functions, but are still controlled by the Windows wave slider, since they aren't routed through WinampAC3. This plugin downmixes to stereo though, so another player is the best choice. I use Media Player Classic or convert the files.

    5.1 audio is absolutely amazing in a car environment, even without a center speaker. Your DSP can route the center channel sound to the front left and right, or you can do it in software with WinampAC3. I convert my SACDs and DVDAs to DTS WAVs, or simply grab the WAVs if DTS tracks are already available. They sound better than the AC3 tracks, but take up a lot of space. You can compress and tag them with FLAC and keep the six channels, which is a lot of work, or convert to AC3, which is the better option for Winamp. The Winamp in_flac plugin also doesn't seem to like 5.1. I haven't looked into the AAC format, but that might work with the appropriate plugin for Winamp.

    AC3filter is not required if you have FFDShow (which uses the liba52 codec) and want to play video with mutichannel audio. But the two can both be installed without problems, which will give you the option of using each for specific audio types. If you don't have a DSP with advanced processing abilities, either can upmix stereo tracks to 4.1/5.1 as well, which can be very beneficial, for example sending adequate bass to your sub.
    In progress: M10000; Travla c134; Xenarc 700TSV; Hitachi 80GB 2.5"; 256MB ULP; M2-ATX; ITPS; Powermate; iKEY SL-88 KB; Holux GM-210; Audiobahn ADD51T w/ COAX/optical converter; Road Runner; iGuidance 2.1

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    So how much improvement in sound is gained by using the SPDIF out port?

    I mean is it worth it to go through all these steps instead of just hooking up from the sound card line out to the HU or amp with RCA connectors?

  4. #4
    Maximum Bitrate 3onDubs's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Anaheim Hills, Ca
    The SPIDF signal is going to be a pure noise-free signal as opposed to rca's which run the risk of noise introduction.

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