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Coloured sounds within Audio cards.


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A rather trivial question for you people. I'm cutting to the chase here wihtout the semantics because that's the way I am. Anyway, I have two audio cards I'm using right now, the Prodigy HiFi 7.1 and the STX from Asus. The question regards the colouring of sound while using such audio cards, and the question of whether a card with lesser spec's can actually sound better than one that's rated superior?

 

I have not done allot of subjective listening with both but In the little time I spent with both, the HiFi seem to be more precise with sound while also sounding warmer at the same time, even though the STX has superior spec's. Am I looney here, or could It be the drivers that run the STX as to why It does not sound that great. Sure, the STX Is clear, but at the same time more digital. Where as the HiFi has a more analog sound to It.

 

So how much does something like the drivers or the sound chip Itself colour sound?

 

PC histroy: Long story short, yes I've been Into PC's for decades. No, PC's for sound and music was never an option, unless you owned an Amiga. I know all about Adlib,Soundblaster,Roland..etc It was still better to own stand alone. That's all changed right under my nose It seems. Yes I'm planning on upgrading with the help of this site. I'm crawling back under my rock now....

 

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Oohh well, guess nobody knows? Not a big deal, just thought I could get some advice on how sound Is handled different with certain audio cards, and If maybe I was doing anything wrong with the cards.

 

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And likely don't have experience with your specific cards. Do you know if they even support 44.1 kHz CD playback? (standard Windows playback resamples to 48 kHz via the Kmixer, which gives an immediate fidelity hit right there).

 

Most internal PC cards like you have don't support the higher sampling rates well, either.

 

Even the new Asus Xonar Essence ST/STX sound card, which works aggressively to overcome the SN issues inside a PC gets a rather mixed receptions in computer audio circles because of it's limited sample rate support- (typical for Windows, no 88.2 or 176.4 kHz, and for the STX version of the card it still takes some work to get it to NOT downsample to 48 kHz for the standard Windows Kmixer. The fix is installing ASIO4.DLL and setting that as the default playback device. No matter what you do, you can't get it to playback double CD rate or quad CD rate files without re-sampling (no bit perfect).

 

Standard sound cards are a way to get started with computer based audio, but given the issues around budget DAC performance, sampling rate, etc, if you have a nice system and are planning on investing in ripping your collection to a good hard disk setup, you'll probably want to investigate a variety of other solutions, once you've determined your goals and budget.

 

 

 

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"So how much does something like the drivers or the sound chip Itself colour sound?"

 

If we extrapolate from USB drivers, then it can colour the sound quite a bit by introducing or reducing jitter. It could also be resampling or doing other conversions to affect the sound. Specs don't mean much after a point, it's down to the implementation.

 

BTW, are you using the analog outputs or the digital ones?

 

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I'm not sure how to take that post Jon? It comes off as being arrogant.

 

Now you know the reason behind my screen name, What...

 

The Audiotrak supports all mentioned sample rates. I said, I never gave PC audio a chance, I didn't say I was an Idiot. Like I said, those of us that have been Into PC's for decades know the checkered past of PC audio, especially the IBM compatibles and never really thought about using them for audio.

 

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"those of us that have been Into PC's for decades know the checkered past of PC audio"

 

Hi What... - I am really interested in your thoughts on the above quote. Mastering engineers have been working on some of the best recordings in the world with PCs for nearly 20 years. Are your comments geared more toward consumer computer playback?

 

Just curious, to read you thoughts on this. No skepticism or anything negative should be read into my comments :~)

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

Announcing The Audiophile Style Podcast

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I'm using the analog for both Mr.C.

 

I wondered how much the drivers affected sound. The audiotrak uses ESI's drivers which have a much smaller footprint than the Asus drivers.

 

I'm thinking about the Lynx card or even an external DAC, the Bryston BDA-1 Is on my short list. I've looked at some of the speakers mentioned here, but I would have to hear them In person before I spend that kind of money on them . I've always been a Klipsch speaker person, as they are usually fairly good for the money spent.

 

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Yes, of course I'm talking about the consumer market. I'll say this one more time; "I've never gave computer audio a chance". As far as the professional aspect, those are two different worlds. My only Interest Is with how far the computer audio market has come for the average sod to enjoy high quality playback. Your conjecture on my statements Is kind of off, and I'm sure you could also say I made a broad statement as well but If you had read the sound cards I listed, It should have been a tip-off.

 

Is this web-site to help people learn about computer audio, or to chase them away?

 

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Hi What... - A quick search around this site and other sites will lead you to many people saying this is the friendliest site of them all. CA is laid back. I'm not sure what in my comments, "Just curious, to read you thoughts on this. No skepticism or anything negative should be read into my comments :~)" would lead you to believe the site is about chasing people away.

 

I honestly am interested in your comment -> "those of us that have been Into PC's for decades know the checkered past of PC audio"

 

I love reading about other's experiences and understanding where they are coming from. A checkered past can mean many things to many people. I am interested in your comments. In my opinion this is an invitation to stick around and share your knowledge. Not an "unvitation."

 

 

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

Announcing The Audiophile Style Podcast

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My Initial Impression of the site was that It Is a very friendly place and this has not changed that. If I could write as well as I talk, the conveyance of my posts would not be an Issue, but misunderstandings happen .

 

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Hi W,

 

Maybe it helps you if I tell you that I am completely surprised of how you respond to the posts. As if you read them upside down or inside out. Please take your time to read them again. If there's something wrong in one of them, well, I am blind. But I'm no woman either, and that matters.

 

Anyway, I am from the Amiga times as well, but used PCs instead. This was only about MIDI and synthesizing stuff, and I recall that I better bought the dedicated hardware, which I did. Of course I couldn't approach this in a normal fashion, and ended up building an "organ" like the (white) one Abba used. This is all computer stuff inside. Today I have three of those but it must have been 10 years ago that I touched them.

My little story ...

 

On your real subject ... I guess only few people realize or know what small things it takes to let a DAC hence soudcard with DAC sound different. As a matter of fact, all sound different and the most very different. It is just no strange thing. What is good and what is not is a totally different story, and I tend to say (very generally) the more accuracy you perceive (which is towards "digital" !!) while at the same time more warmth occurs, the better it is. As you see, I'm talking in active mode ("occurs") which is just from the experience of changing (software or hardware wise). So, suppose there was a knob to tune things, then the more precise the data is followed the more digitallly things should sound (because it *is* digital), but when that goes along with more warmth, it is a good thing.

 

Judging warmth, btw, is a most dangerous thing, because it is very easy to turn warmth into fuzzyness.

But you see ? fuzzyness won't go along with accuracy, so that's why I think it is important to look at it as I do. Well, if you like of course.

 

Regards,

Peter

 

Lush^3-e      Lush^2      Blaxius^2      Ethernet^2     HDMI^2     XLR^2

XXHighEnd (developer)

Phasure NOS1 24/768 Async USB DAC (manufacturer)

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