option of interest would be
Digital output configuration. This setting controls
how the Optical S/PDIF digital output on the Digifire
is to be used, with the options available being:
- This specifies that
all audio is to be outputted via the Optical S/PDIF
software player - This
option enables the output of an AC-3/DTS stream
to your receiver/decoder via the S/PDIF Output.
Despite the title this will work with software
decoders other than PowerDVD (Which comes bundled with
the Digifire). To use this feature the software DVD
decoder must be set to S/PDIF Output also.
audio source -
This option would allow you to
send a digital audio stream from the S/PDIF Input &
output it via the S/PDIF Output. But, the Digifire
7.1ís only S/PDIF Input is internal making this a
somewhat redundant option for most (With the Game
Theatre XP this was useful as it would allow you to
connect, say, your DVD Playerís S/PDIF Output to the
Game Theatre XPís external S/PDIF Input(s), then have
that signal sent via the Game Theatre XPís S/PDIF
Output(s) to a decoder Ė which meant rather than
swapping cables youíd only need to change a Control
Panel option). I emailed Hercules
Technical Support to ask them what purpose this
option fulfilled with the Digifire & this is what they
had to say:
Any S/PDIF source can be
connected to that internal connection. You could
modify a standard COAX cable to fit that internal
input if you wanted. You are correct that this may be
a useless feature to most people, but we have left the
Some of our other sound
devices do have external S/PDIF inputs. The drivers
used for the Digifire are unified drivers that support
many of our sound cards. This is why the feature was
included in the Control Panel applet.
So there you
have it (Iíd also like to add that Hercules Technical
Support got back to me within a day or 2 on this).
get into more detail in the relevant sections later,
in general the Drivers performed very well and I canít
say I encountered any issues while using the
Soundcard. Every feature I tested worked as expected.
In the Gaming/Music/DVD section Iíll cover more
specific matters with the Drivers, if any.
Digifire 7.1 features a pair of Cirrus Logic
CS4294 AC97 codecs for providing 8 channel
output & various audio inputs. Although this provides
20-Bit/48kHz DACs & 18-Bit/48kHz ADCs, the CS4624 DSP
which the Digifire uses is limited to 16-Bit/48kHz
precision (Much like the Santa Cruz, Game Theatre XP,
etc. are). As such, the specifications are somewhat
prone to letting you draw incorrect conclusions based
on only stating the ADC/DAC specifications.
other AC 97 codecs the Digifire will resample audio
sources lower than 48 kHz, e.g. Audio CDs, which uses
a sampling rate of 44.1 kHz (Though youíd find this to
be the case with even the Audigy 2 also, though not
the Revolution 7.1). The DSP used (CS4624) is also
nearing its end of life, & will be discontinued by
Cirrus Logic on February 27, 2004.
this should mean is that the Digifire 7.1 will give
very decent/good quality sound, though of course if
youíre willing to pay more then there are newer and
better sounding Soundcards available such as the
Audigy 2 or Revolution 7.1.