RME Card or ALC889A


Active Member

I am currently using an RME DIGI96/8 PAD feeding an optical digital signal to my tag AV32 processor.

I am about to upgrade my motherboad which has the new ALC889A hidef chip on it also with optical out.

I am asuming that my RME cards spdif output would still be alot better than the new motherboards spdif?

If anyone has an opinion on this i would be grateful




Active Member
Unless your receiver is from the digital stone age, it doesn't technically matter if it's fed from the RME or the motherboard's codec - BUT most drivers for HDA chips tamper with the sound signal in a way that introduces significant degradation and are thus rendering the SPDIF port completely useless.


Active Member
Hi thanks for your response,

i do disagree though, i have noticed a big difference between sound cards spdif in the past.

I used to have an m-audio which was good but the rme digital output sounded better possibly due that it has less jitter and better components are used.

I compared my rme to my Tag cd transport and the rme sounded better than that too.

There is alot of information on here regards different spdif quality, in the past "branxx" has done some extensve tests.

Just as various hi-fi cd transports sound different and all they are doing is sending a digital signal.


Active Member
oh ok thats good to know, mine is quite an old processer, although still rated as a very good one.

I dont know if it reclocks or not, so that may explain why i can here a differnce between sound cards if it does not.

Also the good thing with the RME drivers is it totally bypasses kmixer so i do not need to use the asio or kernal streaming.


Active Member
Sure: reclocking means that the DAC has a small buffer with a few incoming samples which are "reclocked" by an internal oscillator, meaning that they are fed to the DAC with the timing determined by the local oscillator instead of the oscillator of the source. This is a very effective way to reduce jitter errors. For 16bit CD audio, the maximum allowed jitter error is in the magnitude of 100 picoseconds (10^-10 seconds) which is one of the reasons why reclocking is an industry standard - it would be very expensive to meet these constraints without this "trick".
The RME drivers actually does actually something which every sound driver is ought to do: it doesn't modify the sound data. This has been one of the incentives for me to write an alternative driver for the C-Media cards which is bitperfect unlike the "official" drivers.

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