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Bit Perfect and Audio System Inventory


IamKirk
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Hey,

 

This is kind of an all inclusive evaluation and support post lol.

 

 

System

 

Compaq Evo D530 Small Form Factor (http://www.saverstore.com/productinfo/Compaq_Evo_D530_SFF_P42_DK907AAB.html)

Creative External 24 bit USB Soundcard (http://www.soundblaster.com/products/product.asp?category=1&subcategory=206&product=10702)

Super Pro USB 707 DAC

Yamaha RxV459 Receiver

Klipsch RF10 Speakers

Paradigm DSP3100 Sub

 

Foobar 2000 used with Kernel Streaming (Creative works with it).

Win VNC used from laptop/other computers to control media pc.

Compaq is used because I got it for free from a hospital I worked IT at. Upgraded it with spare (free) parts. 2.4 Ghz P4, 1 gig ram, DVD Drive. Unfortunately the sound is still the same. It has a pci riser to fit a video card I also added (for s video support - have tv connected to see playlists/stream movies). Not much space for internal upgrades.

 

So How can I tell if I am doing bit perfect output? Or can I even. Money is a problem so I won't buy much of anything (unless I ask for something small for christmas). I tried hooking up the super pro directly to usb on the compaq, but it clicks and pops when switching songs and has some interference. Hence why i bought the Creative from a friend for 30 bucks. Will the Creative being 24 bit, and the dac only 16 bit mess things up?

 

I now have the usb out from computer to the creative, then an optical to super pro dac, then rca out to receiver. With KS on it sounds pretty good, but I have a feeling the creative is a weaker link. I was looking at the Trends USB transport thing mentioned here, but a guy from a different forum mentioned he didn't enjoy the combination of the super pro and trends.

 

I really have a feeling the usb is just awful on the pc. Can someone give me some suggestions on what I could do to improve it, or am I kind of at a stalemate until I have money for an whole upgrade to the system (some day :D lol).

 

I would kind of like to settle my position on this and just all my internal debate lol. I guess I am most concerned about bit perfect, less jitter on usb (maybe - still not entirely sure how this works), and the creative external s/c being kind of shitty. I just want 16bit, 44.1 music. I am not concerned about the 24 bit + and high quality recordings because I have none. I use FLAC and cd's and realistically probably don't have the home stereo to really justify 24 bit.

 

Thanks, if anyone responds lol.

 

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Hello my Captain :)

 

I´ve had your creative interface before my present interface. The Creative really is capable of playing & recording in 24/96. There´s one drawback however: it can´t record & play 24/96 simultaneously, it is not full duplex at this samplerate because it is just an USB 1.1 interface. Also, make sure for eventual playback that you don´t ever use any of the DSP in the Creative. That means, go to the Creative console and turn off everything (EQ, CMSS (most important), EAX, Bass Boost, Time Stretch, etc.) Only if these things are switched off, the card won´t resample or change anything.

 

Then you have to set the sampling rate to 44.1 kHz with the configurator in control panel. You can leave the bit-setting at 24, because the card will process internally ALWAYS with 32 Bit floating-point but leaving 16 Bit as it is. Never use the internal resampler, it is pure crap because it produces huge distortions.

 

But be sure to switch off every DSP in the card. If you don´t, the card will resample everything to 48 kHz - gone will be your bitperfect output. The digital output of the card is a good one. Another one from a more expensive card will only be marginally better if you follow the above written tips. Even the integrated converters are not that bad - you also can tweak the sound of the card with a better USB cable (true) because the card got its power from the computer via the USB port. A better cable will create a better power supply, hence improve the sound a bit.

 

If you follow these advices and use the Kernel Streaming output (which works perfectly with this card) you´ll have bit perfect, non-resampled output and very good sound. If you use any DSP in foobar2000 make sure, that the Kernel Streaming output is set to 32 Bit (the card uses this bit-depth anyway) because than foobar2000 won´t have to dither. I used it for years that way and it never let me down.

 

E-MU 0202 USB wired with Monster USB Cable --> Audioquest King Cobra --> (sometimes) Corda Arietta --> Sennheiser HD-600

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Awesome write up man. One question though. What driver did you use? I grabbed a driver that just allowed the use of the volume knobs and stuff on the creative card. Is there one that gives the whole control panel and everything? I found some basic settings under sound options (digital output only). I didn't get a cd or anything with the card and since it worked without anything else I didn't look into it much more.

 

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The latest driver is from 2005. There is nothing newer. Anyway, it works. Be sure to install the Creative console.

 

You´ll need this: http://support.creative.com/downloads/download.aspx?nDownloadId=8678

(Basic Audio Suite) and this:

http://support.creative.com/downloads/download.aspx?nDownloadId=8637

(Driver)

 

Don´t use the Windows Driver - you can´t configure the card fully with that. It appears that you´re at the moment only using the driver from Microsoft itself for basic USB Audio. It is not a really bad driver but installing the ones from Creative gives you more freedom. Good luck :)

 

E-MU 0202 USB wired with Monster USB Cable --> Audioquest King Cobra --> (sometimes) Corda Arietta --> Sennheiser HD-600

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  • 2 weeks later...

What made you change from the Creative?

I wanted to have a good D/A conversion - at least better as with the Creative. I also wanted to have ASIO capabilities for foobar2000. I don´t miss the digital outputs of the Creative Live! 24Bit USB. The D/A conversion of the new interface is better. Not so much as I expected but better. The older Creative interface sounds a bit muted at the mids when connected via analogue. The newer E-MU is a bit more fresh, dynamic, precise, better room impression.

 

Sadly I ran into some problems with the newer interface. It is a true USB 2.0 interface and uses up to 50% of my processor resources for hardware compared to only 10-20% for the older Creative (USB 1.1). Reason: my PC is too old and too slow (Centrino 735 with 1.7 GHz).

 

All else is perfect. The Creative is a good thing to start with if one doesn´t use any DSP in the card. The E-MU is perfect for upgrading. But keep in mind that the difference was not that big.

 

E-MU 0202 USB wired with Monster USB Cable --> Audioquest King Cobra --> (sometimes) Corda Arietta --> Sennheiser HD-600

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Than you won´t need any better interface for the moment. If you have the possibility use a coaxial RCA connection for the DAC. There is enough evidence to suggest that this kind of connection sonically is a bit superior to the optical output (less jitter).

 

E-MU 0202 USB wired with Monster USB Cable --> Audioquest King Cobra --> (sometimes) Corda Arietta --> Sennheiser HD-600

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