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Soundcard digital pathways?, If you skip the DAC are they 'perfect'?
puntloos
post Jul 28 2003, 13:27
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I was wondering,

If you use a soundcard's digital out and tell it not to equalize/eax/otherprocessing, is the digital quality 'perfect'?

Case in point I have a professional DSP hooked up to my SB audigy's digital out. If I were to upgrade the audigy (not that I have the $$$ but for argument's sake wink.gif ), would I get any improvement in the sound quality of my mpc audio playback?

Basically I hear some 'stories' from people that say 'yes' to the last question but I find it hard to believe that the digital ".wav" data from winamp would get distorted by the sound card that's hooked up to it. provided of course I don't use the onboard DAC's or some hardware DSP feature like resampling or spatialisation crap, but Im telling my computer to have all EQ's off and just play back the file.

Anyone know the answer here?
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cabbagerat
post Aug 23 2006, 13:10
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QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Aug 23 2006, 02:14) *
If you're as concerned about sound quality as puntloos says, surely it's much better (at least in theory) to resample to 96kHz 24bits using a high quality resampler (e.g. those in foobar2k) and send that to your sound card. (Obviously you want the 24/96 fb2k output to be transferred, bit perfect, via the sound card to your outboard DAC).

I'm not claiming an audible difference, but there's certainly a measurable difference. You get a very sharp anti-alias filter at 22.05kHz - much better than you'll find in any DAC, even those with serious oversampling included.
Oversampling DACs will reduce the effect of the anti-alias filter so much that I would doubt that there is a signficant difference in performance of the filter versus a software SRC algorithm. I really don't think you are going to gain quality by resampling in software if your DAC is well designed.


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2Bdecided
post Aug 23 2006, 13:49
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QUOTE (cabbagerat @ Aug 23 2006, 13:10) *
Oversampling DACs will reduce the effect of the anti-alias filter so much that I would doubt that there is a signficant difference in performance of the filter versus a software SRC algorithm. I really don't think you are going to gain quality by resampling in software if your DAC is well designed.


I don't disagree, but there are measureable differences.

puntloos has already gone way past "audible differences"!

Cheers,
David.


QUOTE (puntloos @ Aug 23 2006, 11:33) *
I have to make one admission here.. my DAC is the 'weakest link' in the chain, in one very relevant way: It only supports 44/48Khz. I am not quite sure but I do think it does supports higher bit depths than '16'. This is why I hoped I could change bitdepth somewhere in the m-audio controls.


Hang on a moment - you have 192kHz 24-bit DACs in the M-audio card, don't you?

Whether they sound better, worse, or the same as the DAC you're currently using is something you can test.

The M-audio cards will (often) reproduce exactly what they're sent. Therefore, if you want 24-bits, you've got to send them 24-bits (e.g. from foobar2k).

Of course, if the source is 16-bits, then it doesn't matter whether you send 16-bits, or 16-bits plus eight extra zeros (i.e. 24-bits!) - IIRC (which I might not) if you look at how SPDIF works, you'll find that it's exactly the same stream either way.

If your DAC only supports 16 bits, and you send 24, then it will just ignore the bottom 8. This is truncation without dither. If the original was more than 16-bits (or has been processed into more than 16-bits - e.g. resampling, gain change etc) then this is worse than what you started with.

Cheers,
David.
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puntloos
post Aug 23 2006, 16:46
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QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Aug 23 2006, 04:49) *
QUOTE (cabbagerat @ Aug 23 2006, 13:10) *

Oversampling DACs will reduce the effect of the anti-alias filter so much that I would doubt that there is a signficant difference in performance of the filter versus a software SRC algorithm. I really don't think you are going to gain quality by resampling in software if your DAC is well designed.


I don't disagree, but there are measureable differences.

puntloos has already gone way past "audible differences"!

-heh- well, yeah, maybe in each individual instance I am being a bit (?) picky. Still, we are talking about a long audio chain here, and differences have a tendency to amplify eachother. My goal is to optimize each step, within certain reason. Wether or not I'm entering into insanity already is up for debate, perhaps?
QUOTE
QUOTE (puntloos @ Aug 23 2006, 11:33) *

I have to make one admission here.. my DAC is the 'weakest link' in the chain, in one very relevant way: It only supports 44/48Khz. I am not quite sure but I do think it does supports higher bit depths than '16'. This is why I hoped I could change bitdepth somewhere in the m-audio controls.


Hang on a moment - you have 192kHz 24-bit DACs in the M-audio card, don't you?

Yes.
QUOTE
Whether they sound better, worse, or the same as the DAC you're currently using is something you can test.

Well see your own point (and my response) about audible differences.. anyway well my current DAC is a 'pro studio device', which was amongst the best in its class when it was built. Wether or not a 'crappy' 192k/24b dac would still sound better than this one is debatable at least. Not saying that the m-audio one is bad, I just don't know.

Additionally, my computer is (fan noise!) in another room than my stereo. I prefer to transport the sound across those 15 metres digitally instead of the old fashion way, and DA-convert at the last possible moment.

Yes, I plan to compare the two setups at some point.

QUOTE
The M-audio cards will (often) reproduce exactly what they're sent. Therefore, if you want 24-bits, you've got to send them 24-bits (e.g. from foobar2k).

Of course, if the source is 16-bits, then it doesn't matter whether you send 16-bits, or 16-bits plus eight extra zeros (i.e. 24-bits!) - IIRC (which I might not) if you look at how SPDIF works, you'll find that it's exactly the same stream either way.

If your DAC only supports 16 bits, and you send 24, then it will just ignore the bottom 8. This is truncation without dither. If the original was more than 16-bits (or has been processed into more than 16-bits - e.g. resampling, gain change etc) then this is worse than what you started with.

True enough.. hence my personal current goal which is to switch up to 24bits if I intend to attenuate the signal, then dither back, and send it bitdirect when I don't attenuate. (see our replaygain discussion on why Im considering attenuating in the first place smile.gif )
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Patsoe
post Aug 23 2006, 17:03
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QUOTE (puntloos @ Aug 23 2006, 16:46) *
...anyway well my current DAC is a 'pro studio device', which was amongst the best in its class when it was built.


Getting really curious here: what DAC is it?
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Posts in this topic
- puntloos   Soundcard digital pathways?   Jul 28 2003, 13:27
- - AstralStorm   Digital should be, well, bit identical. But.., Som...   Jul 28 2003, 13:36
- - jrbamford   then there is the kmixer and other filters that wi...   Jul 28 2003, 14:02
- - Pio2001   It's very difficult to get a perfect digital p...   Jul 28 2003, 21:04
- - Patsoe   QUOTE (Pio2001 @ Jul 28 2003, 09:04 PM)It...   Jul 28 2003, 21:23
- - puntloos   QUOTE (Pio2001 @ Jul 28 2003, 12:04 PM)It...   Jul 28 2003, 22:48
- - jrbamford   apparently somewhere on avsforum there is a techni...   Jul 28 2003, 22:55
- - AstralStorm   Bypassing kmixer is possible with DirectSound. The...   Jul 28 2003, 23:06
- - Patsoe   @jrbamford: I was re-reading the link I provided, ...   Jul 28 2003, 23:40
- - puntloos   Indeed. I noticed that too. Im already registrin...   Jul 28 2003, 23:58
- - jrbamford   puntloos.. if you can afford possible reinstall i...   Jul 29 2003, 00:09
- - AstralStorm   Sorry, even setting latency to 512samples/sec (max...   Jul 29 2003, 03:32
- - puntloos   It would be cool if you could switch between the t...   Jul 29 2003, 03:37
- - dgover2   QUOTE Bypassing kmixer is possible with DirectSoun...   Jul 29 2003, 04:57
- - Halcyon   Let me try and summarise (please correct if I...   Jul 29 2003, 07:55
- - KikeG   Waveout is bit-perfect on Win9X, given that the mi...   Jul 29 2003, 08:58
|- - puntloos   Bump! (hah.. 3 year old topic..) Guys, Im S...   Aug 7 2006, 13:46
|- - probedb   QUOTE (puntloos @ Aug 7 2006, 13:46) Wha...   Aug 7 2006, 15:26
- - CSMR   What are you doing with Quad speakers and an Audig...   Aug 7 2006, 14:45
- - odyssey   QUOTE (puntloos @ Aug 7 2006, 14:46) add:...   Aug 7 2006, 15:06
- - Axon   BTW, I have an RME DIGI96/8 PAD, and I can attest ...   Aug 7 2006, 15:28
|- - puntloos   QUOTE (odyssey @ Aug 7 2006, 06:06) Am I ...   Aug 7 2006, 15:45
|- - puntloos   Plus oh yeah the terratec DMX6fire isn't being...   Aug 7 2006, 15:56
|- - puntloos   krt. leave it to creative to be extra-super-fuzzy ...   Aug 7 2006, 18:25
|- - Night Rain   Never mind. Didn't see the post above.   Aug 8 2006, 12:59
- - CSMR   I think all so-called professional or semi-profess...   Aug 7 2006, 15:48
- - probedb   Did everyone just ignore me? I mentioned a $2...   Aug 7 2006, 16:06
|- - puntloos   QUOTE (probedb @ Aug 7 2006, 07:06) Did e...   Aug 7 2006, 16:15
- - odyssey   QUOTE (puntloos @ Aug 7 2006, 16:45) QUOT...   Aug 7 2006, 16:34
|- - puntloos   QUOTE (odyssey @ Aug 7 2006, 07:34) QUOTE...   Aug 7 2006, 17:38
- - Rotareneg   Creative X-Fi cards let you select the master cloc...   Aug 7 2006, 17:43
|- - puntloos   QUOTE (Rotareneg @ Aug 7 2006, 08:43) Cre...   Aug 7 2006, 18:13
- - HotshotGG   QUOTE Now all I need to do is find out 'for su...   Aug 7 2006, 18:42
|- - puntloos   QUOTE (HotshotGG @ Aug 7 2006, 09:42) QUO...   Aug 7 2006, 18:55
- - CSMR   QUOTE (puntloos @ Aug 7 2006, 06:56) Well...   Aug 7 2006, 19:04
|- - puntloos   QUOTE (CSMR @ Aug 7 2006, 10:04) QUOTE I ...   Aug 7 2006, 22:30
|- - master   QUOTE (puntloos @ Aug 7 2006, 13:30) Sadl...   Aug 15 2006, 23:09
|- - puntloos   QUOTE (master @ Aug 15 2006, 14:09) If my...   Aug 21 2006, 15:39
- - Patsoe   Actually, I think there is officially no such thin...   Aug 7 2006, 23:16
|- - puntloos   QUOTE (Patsoe @ Aug 7 2006, 14:16) Actual...   Aug 8 2006, 00:25
- - odyssey   QUOTE (puntloos @ Aug 7 2006, 19:25) For ...   Aug 8 2006, 11:36
- - jvs   @puntloos: Why don't you buy an ESI Juli@? Thi...   Aug 14 2006, 23:20
- - Sebastian Mares   I am somewhat confused now - Pio said that Hercule...   Aug 15 2006, 23:49
- - Patsoe   QUOTE (Sebastian Mares @ Aug 15 2006, 23...   Aug 16 2006, 00:04
- - Sebastian Mares   Ah, right. Didn't they use Cirrus Logic back t...   Aug 16 2006, 00:23
- - odyssey   QUOTE (Rotareneg @ Aug 7 2006, 18:43) Cre...   Aug 22 2006, 21:32
- - puntloos   Well I've bought the M-Audio Revolution 5.1. ...   Aug 23 2006, 10:33
- - 2Bdecided   You know all this bitperfect stuff? While I agree...   Aug 23 2006, 11:14
- - puntloos   I have to make one admission here.. my DAC is the ...   Aug 23 2006, 11:33
- - cabbagerat   QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Aug 23 2006, 02:14) If...   Aug 23 2006, 13:10
|- - 2Bdecided   QUOTE (cabbagerat @ Aug 23 2006, 13:10) O...   Aug 23 2006, 13:49
|- - puntloos   QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Aug 23 2006, 04:49) QU...   Aug 23 2006, 16:46
||- - Patsoe   QUOTE (puntloos @ Aug 23 2006, 16:46) ......   Aug 23 2006, 17:03
||- - puntloos   QUOTE (Patsoe @ Aug 23 2006, 08:03) QUOTE...   Aug 23 2006, 17:21
|- - puntloos   QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Aug 23 2006, 04:49) If...   Aug 23 2006, 18:16
|- - Patsoe   QUOTE (puntloos @ Aug 23 2006, 18:16) Her...   Aug 23 2006, 18:32
|- - puntloos   QUOTE (Patsoe @ Aug 23 2006, 09:32) QUOTE...   Aug 23 2006, 19:22
|- - 2Bdecided   QUOTE (puntloos @ Aug 23 2006, 19:22) QUO...   Aug 24 2006, 13:42
- - odyssey   QUOTE (odyssey @ Aug 22 2006, 22:32) QUOT...   Aug 31 2006, 21:14
- - coburn_c   On my X-fi, in "audio creation mode" it ...   Oct 6 2006, 02:29
- - odyssey   QUOTE (coburn_c @ Oct 6 2006, 03:29) On m...   Oct 6 2006, 09:13
|- - coburn_c   QUOTE (odyssey @ Oct 6 2006, 03:13) QUOTE...   Oct 6 2006, 14:55
- - CSMR   You will not get bit perfect playback unless there...   Oct 7 2006, 03:03
- - odyssey   QUOTE (coburn_c @ Oct 6 2006, 15:55) QUOT...   Oct 7 2006, 12:50
- - CSMR   What you have just said would imply that bitmatche...   Oct 7 2006, 15:51
|- - odyssey   QUOTE (CSMR @ Oct 7 2006, 16:51) What you...   Oct 7 2006, 16:18
- - CSMR   Then what happens if you have a bit-perfect stream...   Oct 7 2006, 17:44
|- - coburn_c   QUOTE (CSMR @ Oct 7 2006, 11:44) Then wha...   Oct 7 2006, 18:32
- - CSMR   (Which is that is not compatible with what odyssey...   Oct 8 2006, 01:58
- - odyssey   QUOTE (CSMR @ Oct 7 2006, 18:44) Then wha...   Oct 8 2006, 16:29
|- - coburn_c   QUOTE (odyssey @ Oct 8 2006, 10:29) Just ...   Oct 9 2006, 00:26
|- - odyssey   QUOTE (coburn_c @ Oct 9 2006, 01:26) I...   Oct 9 2006, 14:26
- - coburn_c   What about this card?   Oct 10 2006, 04:38
- - Marvin77   Hmm, interesting. I found this review http://ww...   Oct 10 2006, 18:46
|- - coburn_c   That review was kind of crappy.. but those cpu uti...   Oct 10 2006, 22:57
- - MartinO2   I just wonder, what kind of resampling method is ...   May 2 2007, 11:52
|- - eevan   QUOTE (MartinO2 @ May 2 2007, 12:52) I ju...   May 2 2007, 13:05
- - IndieRockSteve   So is it possible to tell if a soundcard is borkin...   May 22 2007, 15:03


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