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Stupid sound question!

Discussion in 'Computer Components' started by EnglishJohn, Apr 15, 2005.

  1. EnglishJohn

    EnglishJohn
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    I will say sorry now if this has been asked already!

    If you are using and external amp/processor do you really need to buy a good quality sound card?

    You ouptut from the pc via optical and then the rest is done externally so the sound card isnt really doing much, right or wrong??

    Comments and "put me right" below please!
    Thanks guys!
     
  2. lisag

    lisag
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    I agree with you :smashin:
     
  3. KraGorn

    KraGorn
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    There is one area where a 'bad' soundcard will affect playback quality: jitter.

    This refers to the ability (or otherwise) of an S/PDIF output stage to keep to the required clockrate. The digital signal is simply a bit stream, the sender and receiver negotiate a speed when the playback starts but then only re-sync occasionaly, if the sender doesn't maintain an accurate clockrate then some data gets lost. At worst this will be audible as dropouts, but lesser cases will be heard as a odd little glitches.

    That said, I've used motherboard-based digital outputs and never heard a problem .. but that probably means I'm just not an audiophile ;)

    While it's plausible that a mid/high end card could increase the quality by an small amount, as in the are of 'high quality' cables there's a good amount of snake-oil around this subject. :)

    Of course, these comments refer only to digital links, clearly analog quality will be a LOT better with quality soundcards.
     
  4. CrispyXUK

    CrispyXUK
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    My Soundcard allows me to use asio over S/PDif thats why I bought it
     
  5. EnglishJohn

    EnglishJohn
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    Asio, whats this then does it make some kind of improvment?

    And what sort of money without running into the mega hundreds would you look to spend? and on what sound card, there must be hundreds of them out there!
     
  6. CrispyXUK

    CrispyXUK
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    ASIO, bypasses the windows kmixer as windows default resamples everything to 48khz and not very well too.

    M-Audio - Audiophile 2496, about £90
     
  7. EnglishJohn

    EnglishJohn
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    Thanks, will have a look at that!
     
  8. wyerd

    wyerd
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    Another stupid question - where do you set it to use ASIO?
     
  9. probedb

    probedb
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    Depends what you're using. For example, in Winamp you need the ASIO plugin (well for my card you do) and then you use that as the output plugin for Winamp as opposed to WaveOut or DirectSound (?). Not all applications can make use of ASIO as far as I'm aware.
     
  10. jrpavel

    jrpavel
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    To get bit-perfect playback without Kmixer resampling I have used a USB sound card such as the M-Audio Transit (verified by playing tracks from http://www.sr.se/multikanal/english/e_index.stm) through Windows Media Player at full volume).

    However, it downmixes Dolby Digital AC-3 / DTS to PCM unless the M-Audio Transit control panel is explicitly set to DD/DTS pass through. It is inconvenient to have to twiddle with the settings when switching between DVD and CD / TV, but you do get bit-perfect playback without Asio, or anything clever.
     
  11. RobsterD

    RobsterD
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    Been looking at the transit for my laptop.Whats the "analogue out" sound quality like is it anywhwere near the Audiophile 24/96's
    Regards
    Rob
     
  12. jrpavel

    jrpavel
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    I don't use the analogue, but if that is important, then going USB may not be the best approach. In any case, M-Audio has the Sonata USB box which has higher specs and there are firewire boxes.
     

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