[linux-audio-user] Choosing a sound card for video playback

Tony Houghton h at realh.co.uk
Wed Jan 25 16:34:24 EST 2006

I've got two PCs which I use mainly for watching video with MPlayer (for
various reasons Xine isn't so practical) and it has A/V sync problems on
them. I think it may be because my cheap & nasty sound cards lack some
feature that MPlayer relies on to sync properly:
<http://www.mplayerhq.hu/DOCS/HTML/en/audio.html#sync>. Unfortunately it
doesn't say exactly what the feature is and which are the bad drivers.

One of the PCs has a cheap sound card using the snd_cmipci driver and
the other has VIA onboard audio. The former also sometimes makes speech
sound a bit muffled I think.

I've heard of an "AC3 passthrough" feature. Does that mean the sound
card decodes the audio stream instead of the CPU? Although I don't have
a surround system ATM, I think it would be a nice feature to have in
case I install one later.  Meanwhile, would AC3 passthrough work for
stereo AC3 streams?

So what would be a good card to get? I've heard that the Turtle Beach
Santa Cruz is supposed to be very good, and I know it is supported by
Linux, but I haven't been able to find out how well or whether it's
likely to fix the A/V sync. I should be able to get one (or two) on eBay
at a reasonable price.

TH * http://www.realh.co.uk

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