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Soundcard digital pathways?, If you skip the DAC are they 'perfect'?
puntloos
post Aug 7 2006, 16:15
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QUOTE (probedb @ Aug 7 2006, 07:06) *
Did everyone just ignore me? I mentioned a $25 card that does bit-perfect out....


I didn't ignore you, but you said I needed to download some weird ASIO driver to make it work...
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odyssey
post Aug 7 2006, 16:34
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QUOTE (puntloos @ Aug 7 2006, 16:45) *
QUOTE (odyssey @ Aug 7 2006, 06:06) *

Am I missing someting?


Yes. You're missing the 'I haven't tested this myself' bit. Id like to be SURE that the card does it properly before I buy it. smile.gif

On the other hand I think you are missing a pair of glasses!

QUOTE (Halcyon @ Jul 29 2003, 08:55) *
- Terratec DMX6fire can output 44.1kHz digitally bit perfect as 44.1kHz without resampling. I've tested this myself. Sorry! Can't remember if Sensaura was on or off (I *think* OFF, but can't be sure anymore).


QUOTE (probedb @ Aug 7 2006, 07:06) *
Did everyone just ignore me? I mentioned a $25 card that does bit-perfect out....

But did you test it? LOL

QUOTE (puntloos @ Aug 7 2006, 17:15) *
I didn't ignore you, but you said I needed to download some weird ASIO driver to make it work...

If you already found your glasses, go to some obscure website called www.google.com and enter "ASIO4ALL".

This post has been edited by odyssey: Aug 7 2006, 16:38


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puntloos
post Aug 7 2006, 17:38
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QUOTE (odyssey @ Aug 7 2006, 07:34) *
QUOTE (puntloos @ Aug 7 2006, 16:45) *

QUOTE (odyssey @ Aug 7 2006, 06:06) *

Am I missing someting?


Yes. You're missing the 'I haven't tested this myself' bit. Id like to be SURE that the card does it properly before I buy it. smile.gif

On the other hand I think you are missing a pair of glasses!

No, that card is impossible to get (well maybe 2nd hand) - out of production.
QUOTE
QUOTE (Halcyon @ Jul 29 2003, 08:55) *

- Terratec DMX6fire can output 44.1kHz digitally bit perfect as 44.1kHz without resampling. I've tested this myself. Sorry! Can't remember if Sensaura was on or off (I *think* OFF, but can't be sure anymore).


QUOTE (probedb @ Aug 7 2006, 07:06) *
Did everyone just ignore me? I mentioned a $25 card that does bit-perfect out....

But did you test it? LOL

Well it is mildly important.. is this 'direct passthrough digital' seems to be a fringe requirement that a lot of soundcard makers put in the feature list as an afterthought. I don't want to end up with a dud..
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QUOTE (puntloos @ Aug 7 2006, 17:15) *

I didn't ignore you, but you said I needed to download some weird ASIO driver to make it work...

If you already found your glasses, go to some obscure website called www.google.com and enter "ASIO4ALL".

I never said I couldn't find it, I said the drivers sounded dicey, I prefer something that does what I want out of the box rather than depend on some 3rd party freeware project that might or not work. Are there no soundcards with drivers that 'Just Do It' ™?
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Rotareneg
post Aug 7 2006, 17:43
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Creative X-Fi cards let you select the master clock frequency, including 44.1 kHz, and also have a bit-perfect mode in "audio creation" mode.
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puntloos
post Aug 7 2006, 18:13
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QUOTE (Rotareneg @ Aug 7 2006, 08:43) *
Creative X-Fi cards let you select the master clock frequency, including 44.1 kHz, and also have a bit-perfect mode in "audio creation" mode.


Hmm that's a good tip, maybe I should just buy that one then.

I have been looking at the http://www.m-audio.com/products/en_us/Revo...on51-focus.html Revolution 5.1 from m-audio too.. it sounds capable...
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puntloos
post Aug 7 2006, 18:25
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krt. leave it to creative to be extra-super-fuzzy about what output formats its digital output module supports.

For one I would need the 'platinum' to even get digital out, but also (or the extrememusic with optional breakout module). But secondly while browsing the specs I get the impression that while the X-Fi's DACs do indeed support 192Khz, its digital out only reaches 96.
CODE
24-bit Analog-to-Digital conversion of analog inputs: 96kHz sampling rate
24-bit Digital-to-Analog conversion of digital sources: 96khz to analog 7.1 speaker output
24-bit Digital-to-Analog conversion of stereo digital sources:     192kHz to stereo output
16-bit to 24-bit recording sampling rates: 8, 11.025, 16, 22.05, 24, 32, 44.1, 48 and 96kHz
ASIO 2.0 support: 16-bit/44.1kHz, 16-bit/48kHz, 24-bit/44.1kHz, 24-bit/48kHz and 24-bit/96kHz with direct monitoring


Plus the platinum is 2x as expensive as the m-audio..

Now all I need to do is find out 'for sure' that the m-audio does what I want, direct-audio-wise.

It does say 'ASIO 2.0 support'. Is that an automatic confirmation there? Or doesnt that mean anything for bit-exact output?

This post has been edited by puntloos: Aug 7 2006, 18:27
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HotshotGG
post Aug 7 2006, 18:42
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QUOTE
Now all I need to do is find out 'for sure' that the m-audio does what I want, direct-audio-wise.

It does say 'ASIO 2.0 support'. Is that an automatic confirmation there? Or doesnt that mean anything for bit-exact output?


Yep ASIO 2.0 support. I have one. 192 kHz in two-channel mode. It's not low-latency however though. I don't really see why you would need a sampling rate that high anyway. 96 kHz is great for surround sound, other than that. wink.gif

QUOTE
krt. leave it to creative to be extra-super-fuzzy about what output formats its digital output module supports.


I wouldn't do business with a company that short changes people personally and let's keep it at that wink.gif

This post has been edited by HotshotGG: Aug 7 2006, 18:47


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puntloos
post Aug 7 2006, 18:55
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QUOTE (HotshotGG @ Aug 7 2006, 09:42) *
QUOTE
Now all I need to do is find out 'for sure' that the m-audio does what I want, direct-audio-wise.

It does say 'ASIO 2.0 support'. Is that an automatic confirmation there? Or doesnt that mean anything for bit-exact output?


Yep ASIO 2.0 support. I have one. 192 kHz in two-channel mode. It's not low-latency however though. I don't really see why you would need a sampling rate that high anyway. 96 kHz is great for surround sound, other than that. wink.gif


Well yes but the high end audio formats of the future (DTS audio, SACD, DVD-A) sometimes do have 192Khz versions already. I don't want to be left in the lurch the moment those start becoming commonplace.
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QUOTE
krt. leave it to creative to be extra-super-fuzzy about what output formats its digital output module supports.


I wouldn't do business with a company that short changes people personally and let's keep it at that wink.gif

I tend to agree, creative isn't a company I respect that much. Every sound card they've ever brought out has some type of weird compromise, be it in the output (hiss on SB128) drivers (live) or in the hardware (48Khz resample - audigy)

Their whole driver arrangement blows too.. lots and lots of insane checks. You can only install upgrade X if you have drivers Y with setting Z.. Basically if you don't have your original driver CD you're out of luck for a LOT of features. Well.. this is kinda off-topic, sorry. End of Rant.
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CSMR
post Aug 7 2006, 19:04
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QUOTE (puntloos @ Aug 7 2006, 06:56) *
Well no I mean I DONT want them to output 'ding' smile.gif If I have 2 soundcards, I can tell windows to 'ding' on the soundblaster and have winamp(foobar) be the only app to send audio to the pro card and into my main speakers.

Of course. You choose this via the software in some way. For my E-MU card you have a wav (windows) input and an asio input and can direct these to whatever outputs you want and switch very easily between settings. Other cards will work in different ways.
QUOTE
I need:
- stereo
- 24bits/192Khz
- Preferrably but not explicitly necessary: good DA convertors
- and the main requirement: bitperfect digital out

That's all. Assuming those demands are met, the cheapest possible card fits my bill.

Certainly the E-MU 0404 and 1212m will fit this well. Many others will also, but E-MUs are what I am familiar with.
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puntloos
post Aug 7 2006, 22:30
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QUOTE (CSMR @ Aug 7 2006, 10:04) *
QUOTE
I need:
- stereo
- 24bits/192Khz
- Preferrably but not explicitly necessary: good DA convertors
- and the main requirement: bitperfect digital out

That's all. Assuming those demands are met, the cheapest possible card fits my bill.

Certainly the E-MU 0404 and 1212m will fit this well. Many others will also, but E-MUs are what I am familiar with.


Sadly, actually the 0404 does NOT have a 192Khz digital out, and the 1212 is very expensive..
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Patsoe
post Aug 7 2006, 23:16
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Actually, I think there is officially no such thing as 192kHz SPDIF output.

If you look at RME's website, in some of their product descriptions they mention that they are the only company that provides 192kHz over SPDIF. I assume this also means that you can only make use of it when connecting to RME devices...
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puntloos
post Aug 8 2006, 00:25
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QUOTE (Patsoe @ Aug 7 2006, 14:16) *
Actually, I think there is officially no such thing as 192kHz SPDIF output.

If you look at RME's website, in some of their product descriptions they mention that they are the only company that provides 192kHz over SPDIF. I assume this also means that you can only make use of it when connecting to RME devices...


Nah, Ive been looking into this a bit, and I think that in theory there are no limits to the format, khz-wise. It is limited to 24bits, but that's fine. The 'clock speed' and 'data speed' are free to choose, all that needs to happen is that the receiving device can keep up of course. Fact is that the m-audio 5.1 does it, and also the e-mu 1212m.

I need to look closely at the m-audio since its 3x as cheap as the e-mu. It lacks a lot of inputs/outputs but it does have a fully featured spdif out, which is really all I want. Plus (obviously) it needs to be able to do the bit-identical thing we spoke about. Hotshot says he got that to work, so Im quite hopeful but Ill read up a touch more.. no need to rush.
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odyssey
post Aug 8 2006, 11:36
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QUOTE (puntloos @ Aug 7 2006, 19:25) *
For one I would need the 'platinum' to even get digital out, but also (or the extrememusic with optional breakout module).

No you don't biggrin.gif But i definately agree with you that the specs are VERY confusing. Thing is, you get digital-out from the so called "flexi-jack" connector - Buy a mono minijack-phono converter, and you're all set! tongue.gif I'm sure even the cheapest models have the flexi-jack, but they hide it to promote the bigger models i guess. I have the fatality model myself.


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Night Rain
post Aug 8 2006, 12:59
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Never mind. Didn't see the post above.

This post has been edited by Night Rain: Aug 8 2006, 12:59
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jvs
post Aug 14 2006, 23:20
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@puntloos:
Why don't you buy an ESI Juli@? This is considered a very good card with bit-perfect drivers that work without hassle with any audio player software. I use ESI drivers with my Chaintech AV-710 and I am very pleased with the performance. If you want coaxial digital out without a breakout cable you may choose the ESI Maya 44 instead of the Juli@. Both cards are around $100.
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master
post Aug 15 2006, 23:09
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QUOTE (puntloos @ Aug 7 2006, 13:30) *
Sadly, actually the 0404 does NOT have a 192Khz digital out, and the 1212 is very expensive..

If my memory serve me correctly, the latest driver from EMU enable the support of 192kHz for 0404.

QUOTE (probedb @ Aug 7 2006, 06:26) *
I don't think you can from reading the other replies. ALL soundblaster cards resample in hardware.

This statement is wrong. Please stop giving false information.


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Sebastian Mares
post Aug 15 2006, 23:49
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I am somewhat confused now - Pio said that Hercules do resample. So, my Fortissimo 4 resamples? Some people on these forums told me that this specific card does not resample. Also, the driver allows me to set the output frequency (44.1, 48, 96 and 192) - if I set it to 44.1, does this mean that the card still resamples?


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Patsoe
post Aug 16 2006, 00:04
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QUOTE (Sebastian Mares @ Aug 15 2006, 23:49) *
I am somewhat confused now - Pio said that Hercules do resample. So, my Fortissimo 4 resamples? Some people on these forums told me that this specific card does not resample. Also, the driver allows me to set the output frequency (44.1, 48, 96 and 192) - if I set it to 44.1, does this mean that the card still resamples?


Are you referring to this?

QUOTE (Pio2001 @ Jul 28 2003, 21:04) *
You can rule out all soundcards by Creative, Turtle beach, or Hercules (exept maybe used with ASIO support, like jrbamford says). The 24/96 soundcards by M-Audio and Terratec support perfect digital playback in Windows 98/me. Not sure about 2000.


That was in 2003, there was no Fortissimo4 back then smile.gif
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Sebastian Mares
post Aug 16 2006, 00:23
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Ah, right. Didn't they use Cirrus Logic back then?


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puntloos
post Aug 21 2006, 15:39
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QUOTE (master @ Aug 15 2006, 14:09) *
If my memory serve me correctly, the latest driver from EMU enable the support of 192kHz for 0404.

I've recently received a mail from EMU support confirming your statement. the 0404 will now do 192Khz.

Personally I've just ordered the M-Audio revolution 5.1. I am assuming that it will do what I want. (24/192)

I do have another question though..

But I'll ask it in a new topic:
Perfect (digital) Volume Control?
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odyssey
post Aug 22 2006, 21:32
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QUOTE (Rotareneg @ Aug 7 2006, 18:43) *
Creative X-Fi cards let you select the master clock frequency, including 44.1 kHz, and also have a bit-perfect mode in "audio creation" mode.

I just tried to enable bit-matched playback on my X-fi (on x64), however i think theres a fault in the driver because I get 48khz output on every material i try to playback. I tried contacting Creative about this, but have not yet got an informative answer.


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puntloos
post Aug 23 2006, 10:33
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Well I've bought the M-Audio Revolution 5.1.

And weeeee have playback. Im fairly disappointed by the lack of controls though. The driver dates back to 2004 as well. Some things I noticed:

- To even enable the digital out, you need to select digital speakers.. fair enough, though it would've been nice if they would MENTION this somewhere in the manuals.
- There's no way to CONTROL the digital out. Im surprised it even chose 44K/16bits. I would like to be able to manually set, and check this.
- ASIO doesn't work. I'm using winamp's asio plugin, I can select m-audio asio (which came with the driver), it says it plays, but the digital audio doesn't actually leave the card. (also the VU-meters don't light up like they do with normal playback)
- ASIO4ALL doesn't improve things. It also gets confused about the m-audio, says its a beyond spec card, says its input doesnt work, says it works now.. *boggle*
- Curiously, when I played a 48Khz mp3 (hah i didnt even realise it was 48k!), the card stayed at 44Khz SPDIF mode, but the clock was skewed! My DAC's spdif sync led got very confused.. blink.. blinkblink.. blinkity... <black> .. blink.. at least it sounded fine.
- Tried with foobar2k, no joy. Didn't try foobar's ASIO plugin yet.

Again, so far Im mixed about the whole deal and the $80 I paid for the card.
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2Bdecided
post Aug 23 2006, 11:14
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You know all this bitperfect stuff?

While I agree that you don't want your soundcard mangling what's sent to it, I'm not sure bit-perfect output of 44.1kHz sampled content is the best you can do.

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.


Sorry you're having trouble puntloos. The M-audio cards do integrate into windows differently from many other cards, specifically to allow propper control and bit-perfect output. On my audiophile 2496, it's all quite logical. You need to send output to the digital output to get digital output because it's a separate output. I don't have any further insights though - I haven't used ASIO.

Cheers,
David.
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puntloos
post Aug 23 2006, 11:33
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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.

For me the most relevant thing is that as 2BDecided said, I would like winamp to decode the mp3, then either:

1/ at 100% volume, pass it on to the output bit-perfect.
2/ if winamp is required to do stuff (attenuate?), immediately upsample, do 'some processing' and only downsample/dither at the last possible moment.

This post has been edited by puntloos: Aug 23 2006, 11:35
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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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