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Improve Linux audio playback quality?
Cromulent
post Dec 12 2012, 14:28
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Please note that I am not talking about encoding here, just the audio output of the system.

I'm running Arch Linux and all is working well. I use ALSA for audio but was wondering if there were any known settings that can help in terms of audio playback quality?

I'm well aware of the fact that I need a dedicated sound card to get the best results but I'm looking for a short term solution to make sure that the on-board sound card is performing at its best. I'm pretty new to audio stuff on Linux so I would be grateful for any advice.

When I have enough cash to spare I'll be getting an Asus Xonar DGX 5.1 PCI-E sound card (unless someone can recommend a better one).
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skamp
post Dec 12 2012, 19:23
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On-board DACs are pretty good these days. Unless you hear electronic noise / interference, a standalone sound card or external DAC probably won't make much of a difference. The one problem with on-board audio is often very high output impedance (I measured my laptop at 70Ω, and some Xonar models were measured at 100Ω!). It could (not necessarily) adversely affect the frequency response [*] and dampening factor of your headphones; another possible problem is insufficient power (not loud enough). The fix for both issues is a headphone amplifier with a low output impedance, ideally near 0Ω.

[*] The effect of an output impedance of just 22Ω on balanced armature IEMs whose impedance varies greatly with frequency (exagerated mids, no treble):



Conversely, here's the effect of my laptop's output impedance of 70Ω on my 25Ω Denon AH-D2000:



A slight 1 dB bump in the sub-bass region. Not much to write home about, so YMMV. My laptop doesn't get loud enough, though.

This post has been edited by skamp: Dec 12 2012, 19:28


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See my profile for measurements, tools and recommendations.
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Posts in this topic
- Cromulent   Improve Linux audio playback quality?   Dec 12 2012, 14:28
- - yourlord   The first question I would ask is what makes you f...   Dec 12 2012, 16:37
- - Cromulent   QUOTE (yourlord @ Dec 12 2012, 15:37) The...   Dec 12 2012, 16:59
|- - 2012   QUOTE (Cromulent @ Dec 12 2012, 17:59) bu...   Dec 12 2012, 17:59
|- - punkrockdude   QUOTE (2012 @ Dec 12 2012, 17:59) QUOTE (...   Dec 12 2012, 18:28
|- - 2012   QUOTE (punkrockdude @ Dec 12 2012, 19:28)...   Dec 18 2012, 22:16
|- - punkrockdude   QUOTE (2012 @ Dec 18 2012, 22:16) QUOTE (...   May 9 2013, 20:25
|- - 2012   QUOTE (punkrockdude @ May 9 2013, 21:25) ...   May 10 2013, 12:53
|- - punkrockdude   QUOTE (2012 @ May 10 2013, 12:53) QUOTE (...   May 10 2013, 22:29
- - Garf   Quite a few (I'd even say: most) of the on-boa...   Dec 12 2012, 17:44
- - skamp   On-board DACs are pretty good these days. Unless y...   Dec 12 2012, 19:23
- - Cromulent   QUOTE (2012 @ Dec 12 2012, 16:59) QUOTE (...   Dec 13 2012, 09:18
- - phofman   2012, did you check the actual output waveform? I ...   May 10 2013, 13:09
- - AHD   QUOTE (Cromulent @ Dec 12 2012, 14:28) .....   Jun 7 2013, 10:40
- - greynol   Hi and welcome. Would you mind substantiating th...   Jun 7 2013, 15:35
|- - AHD   QUOTE (greynol @ Jun 7 2013, 15:35) Hi an...   Jun 7 2013, 17:26
|- - greynol   QUOTE (AHD @ Jun 7 2013, 09:26) QUOTE (gr...   Jun 7 2013, 18:01
- - skamp   QUOTE (AHD @ Jun 7 2013, 11:40) The audio...   Jun 7 2013, 17:40
|- - greynol   QUOTE (skamp @ Jun 7 2013, 09:40) If [......   Jun 7 2013, 18:04
- - koplo   I think we should announce to the traditional audi...   Jun 17 2013, 11:17
|- - phofman   QUOTE (koplo @ Jun 17 2013, 12:17) choose...   Jun 17 2013, 12:43
|- - cpchan   QUOTE (koplo @ Jun 17 2013, 05:17) (choos...   Jun 17 2013, 14:22
- - skamp   Unsure. Jack is a low latency mixer. It works well...   Jun 17 2013, 13:58


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