MDX-400 Posted December 11, 2002 Report Share Posted December 11, 2002 I just thought I'd post this to answer the question of how to get optical (Toslink) output from your PC to record on to MD. While there are several sound cards (and adapters for those sound cards) that can supply optical and sometimes also coaxial I/O the easiest method is usually to use a USB sound device that provides such features for your PC. You just plug it in and go... There have been one or two models in the past but recently there have been some new additions to these USB sound ports so I'd like to make a short list of the more popular and relatively inexpensive ones... (All prices are indicated in US dollars.) Xitel DG2 (aka Digital Hi-Fi Link) $35-40 on eBay--provides optical out and "discrete mode" that puts in digital track markers automatically. Link: www.xitel.com USB SoundBox ~$30 on eBay (used to be cheaper)--provides both optical digital out as well as analog output in the form of a minijack. Sampling rate is fixed at 48kHz and there are no track marks (you have to use "spacer files" and your MD has to put in the track marks by itself). Xitel PRO Hi-Fi Link $99 MSRP--this is a new unit from Xitel and provides a bunch of new features. It has analog level output in the form of L/R RCA jacks, as well as coaxial digital output and optical digital output. Retail version comes with plenty of LONG cabling: good quality optical, stereo RCA and (75 Ohm?) coaxial RCAs are provided. Additionally (unlike the two above units) this model features Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 pass-through so you can hook up a compatible receiver/decoder to get surround from DVDs, etc. Link: www.xitel.com M-Audio/MidiMan Sonica MSRP $69.95--this is another relatively new unit that features both analog out (in the form of a stereo minijack) and optical digital output in a small little unit that connects to your PCs USB port. This unit, like the PRO Hi-Fi Link, features pass-through of 5.1 Dolby Digital and DTS signals via the optical output. Supports many different sampling rates (up to 96kHz) and up to 24-bit PCM (16-bit for AC-3 and DTS). Link: http://www.m-audio.com/products/consumer/s...onica_page1.php M-Audio/MidiMan Sonica Theatre--Coming soon. Upgraded version of the Sonica. Will support digital input(?) as well as Dolby Digital EX and DTS ES (upto 7.1 channel output supported). No additional info yet. Link: http://www.m-audio.com/products/consumer/index.php# There is also the Creative Labs Solution of the Extigy. However this is more of a sound "card" solution rather than just an optical out solution. MSRP on the Audigy is $150 I believe. It also connects to the USB port of a compatible PC and provides several I/O features. It supports up to 24/96 on the digital outputs. It also features stand-alone DD decoding (helped via Ceative Labs' Software) but DTS is not decoded to 5.1 analog outputs. However both DTS and DD are supported through the digital outs for external decoders/receivers. I features 5.1 channel analog output and many PC standards for audio. It also features optical in and out as well as coaxial input and analog line level input. It features a remote as well. The Extigy is said to "strip" SCMS. Details are at: http://www.soundblaster.com/products/extig...igy/welcome.asp Well that's my list for now. If anyone has any comments on these or additions to the list, please feel free to add them! Hope that helps people out those that are looking for easy solutions for optical output (and input in some cases) on their PCs. Edit: Okay I've decided to make this a "Sticky" to keep people informed about ways to get digital output from a PC... I've also been informed of the cost-effective Yamaha Cavit DP-U50 unit (thanks to Watchdog on the T-Station forums!) which I will add to the list... Yamaha Cavit DP-U50 MSRP $99 CDN!--"External Audio Soundboard Processor". It also connects to the PC using USB and costs less than the Xitel PRO Hi-Fi Link and offers some different features (though it was reported the US MSRP was $250 US on the DP-U50 it appears there has been a price drop...). Dolby Pro Logic Decoding. Virtual Dolby Digital and DTS (2-speaker output only). However note that Yamaha makes no mention on ANY of the 3 different Cavit units' ability to "pass-through" AC-3/DTS digital bitstreams so I currently can't comment on whether it can do this or not. (The Sonica, PRO Hi-Fi Link and Extigy can do this). Edit: It appears that while the DP-U50 (and other Cavit units) can pass through an AC-3/DTS digital stream if it is on one of its digital inputs (opt. or coax.), it cannot send a 5.1 digital stream that it gets from the PC 24bit/96kHz max. resolution, also offers input facilities via one Coax, one Toslink and one analog input. This provides the ability to get sound into the PC via digital or analog connection and record to the HDD, something that the Xitel and M-Audio USB units do not. Offers multiple DSP modes via the on-board Yamaha DSP processor and also provides a 7-band EQ. All in all a very nice unit with the exception of the lack of ability to pass a 5.1 stream from the PC through its digital outputs. The Extigy lacks some of the sound processing ability of the Cavit and may also have worse sound quality but I have to say the Extigy has the edge as it can output 5.1 digital streams from the PC. The U50 Cavit is cheaper though. There are 3 different Cavit units but the DP-U50 is far cheaper than the other two units--the other two are ridiculously costly in comparison. See them at: http://www.yamaha.ca/computer/cavit/index.htm . Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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