[SOLVED] Which Audio Source is Better? Does it make a difference?

Evel McKnievel

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May 30, 2013
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Specs:
Sound Blaster Z
MSI GTX 1080
Vizio E75 x 2 TVs
Vizio SB46514-F6 46" 5.1.4 Home Theater Sound System with Dolby Atmos Soundbar

I've had this PC a long time. Still has a 4770K in it. I've had it connected to a few different monitor/sound setups in the past but I've always had audio out via the sound blaster toslink.

Now that I have an Atoms capable setup, I originally connected it the same way, via the SB toslink but it is a small quality of life issue with the system always switching to ARC from the display after changing the video input from prime or netflix apps or whatever. The soundbar remote is awful and you really need to get up and turn on a light to see what input it's using.

I tested running audio from the GPU HDMI to the TV using the ARC to the soundbar and it seems to work fine so I'd like to use this as default so I can lose the soundbar remote and it will always be on the ARC input. If I have a movie on the main display that the soundbar is connected to via ARC, I can still use the 2nd display for working on the PC with no sound. I do not notice any difference but should I?

If I actually have Atmos content playing on the PC will this be sent to the soundbar via the GPU HDMI through the TV ARC? Would it or would it not work via the SB toslink? Is the SB useless when you have a powered audio system?

PS. sorry for being a dinosaur who still uses a sound card
 

hang-the-9

Titan
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Mar 25, 2010
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Is this now the quality of advice from Tom's Hardware moderators or are you trolling me?
Not all all, if you don't notice the difference then you don't notice the difference. Use whatever connection you want. What you "should" notice or not does not matter. If someone tells you that this chicken tastes different than the other one, but when you try both they taste the same to you, what someone else feels does not matter one bit to your taste buds. Same thing for audio, what you think should happen or what others think about the sound does not matter, it's your ears that are doing the listening and deciding if there is a difference. If you can't tell the difference from A to B, don't worry about it. That's why there is really no way to say for sure if someone will get "better" sound by changing something, only way to know is for the person asking to try it out and see if they can tell the difference and if that difference is actually "better" to them not just different.
 

hang-the-9

Titan
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Mar 25, 2010
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If you did not notice any difference then there is no difference to you. What is a theoretical change detected by electrical measurements does not matter, at least not enough to worry about, unless you are the type of person that owns a Bugatti but then you see a Bugatti with another 200 hp that is .02 seconds faster to 60 and you worry that yours is now a crappy car.
 

Evel McKnievel

Distinguished
May 30, 2013
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If you did not notice any difference then there is no difference to you. What is a theoretical change detected by electrical measurements does not matter, at least not enough to worry about, unless you are the type of person that owns a Bugatti but then you see a Bugatti with another 200 hp that is .02 seconds faster to 60 and you worry that yours is now a crappy car.
Is this now the quality of advice from Tom's Hardware moderators or are you trolling me?
 

hang-the-9

Titan
Moderator
Mar 25, 2010
60,215
1,036
152,890
16,799
Is this now the quality of advice from Tom's Hardware moderators or are you trolling me?
Not all all, if you don't notice the difference then you don't notice the difference. Use whatever connection you want. What you "should" notice or not does not matter. If someone tells you that this chicken tastes different than the other one, but when you try both they taste the same to you, what someone else feels does not matter one bit to your taste buds. Same thing for audio, what you think should happen or what others think about the sound does not matter, it's your ears that are doing the listening and deciding if there is a difference. If you can't tell the difference from A to B, don't worry about it. That's why there is really no way to say for sure if someone will get "better" sound by changing something, only way to know is for the person asking to try it out and see if they can tell the difference and if that difference is actually "better" to them not just different.
 

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