X-Fi HomeTheater HD (Win 8, 32-bit / 64-bit) released! - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 31 Old 01-13-2013, 05:54 PM - Thread Starter
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Yes! So happy today.
To clarify, for those who do not know of this card, the drivers are released. This card has been out for years.

Card:
http://www.auzentech.com/site/products/x-fi_hometheater_hd.php

Drivers:
http://www.auzentech.com/site/download/updates.php#hthd

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Auzen HDMI XFi> 7.2 via Marantz AV8801>Wyred4Sound, & Emotiva Amps>Paradigm 100'sV5, ADP590'sV5, 690v5, 20v5's, + Dual HSU-ULS15 Subs

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post #2 of 31 Old 01-13-2013, 08:35 PM
 
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Wh... Why....?

Didn't Vista move us to entirely software audio rendering and video cards have taken over the duty of spitting out you digital audio channels over HDMI? Unless your goal is to capture analog audio, the idea of a discreet sound card is kind of antiquated.
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post #3 of 31 Old 01-14-2013, 07:43 AM - Thread Starter
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I like EAX. Especially on older games I still play........

HTPC/Gaming Rig:
Silverstone CW02B, I7 3930K, 16GB, ASUS Rampage IV Formula
EVGA Signature Titan> 70 inch ELITE PRO-70X5FD
Auzen HDMI XFi> 7.2 via Marantz AV8801>Wyred4Sound, & Emotiva Amps>Paradigm 100'sV5, ADP590'sV5, 690v5, 20v5's, + Dual HSU-ULS15 Subs

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post #4 of 31 Old 01-14-2013, 10:24 AM
 
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Older XP games are the only place you'll find EAX still, as hardware audio no longer exists in Windows Vista+. We all have four cores at +3ghz now. Sound gets taken care of entirely in software on the CPU, and the world is a better place for it. Everyone now hears the same intended experience instead of a different experience based on which brand sound card they went with.

If your goal is to run the original Doom 3 with EAX, then sure a Creative card makes sense. It makes no sense as an upgrade with any sort of look to the future. Modern games simply do not care what sound card they are running on. They'll give you the same audio experience either way.
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post #5 of 31 Old 01-14-2013, 11:31 AM
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i will probably run a separate card for audio. just because it will probably be cheaper then buying a new receiver for decoding.
plus i have 2 Tri-path amps i will end up using for HT amps, if i can find some kind of dsp software or something to really be able to tune in my speakers with it.
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post #6 of 31 Old 01-14-2013, 11:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darklordjames View Post

Unless your goal is to capture analog audio...

Yes.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geronimo.USMC View Post

I like EAX. Especially on older games I still play........

Yes.
Quote:
Originally Posted by darklordjames View Post

Older XP games are the only place you'll find EAX still, as hardware audio no longer exists in Windows Vista+. We all have four cores at +3ghz now. Sound gets taken care of entirely in software on the CPU, and the world is a better place for it. Everyone now hears the same intended experience instead of a different experience based on which brand sound card they went with.

If your goal is to run the original Doom 3 with EAX, then sure a Creative card makes sense. It makes no sense as an upgrade with any sort of look to the future. Modern games simply do not care what sound card they are running on. They'll give you the same audio experience either way.

Not entirely. The software stack of Vista/7/8 is good for dealing with simple playback of audio from movies, music and games, but it lacks the latency required for any actual production work involving audio. For that only ASIO-enabled (or equivalent) hardware will do, but the quality of the hardware will determine how well audio is input and output Hardware quality is just as important (to some) when it comes to all things from games to production and you won't find that on any old motherboard. There are also some issues with sampling distortion when using shared mode that are inherent to the software stack. Just because you don't know that you're starving your ears doesn't mean it's not happening. wink.gif
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i will probably run a separate card for audio. just because it will probably be cheaper then buying a new receiver for decoding.
plus i have 2 Tri-path amps i will end up using for HT amps, if i can find some kind of dsp software or something to really be able to tune in my speakers with it.

Good receivers are pretty cheap nowadays. What speakers are you driving?
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post #7 of 31 Old 01-14-2013, 11:44 AM
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my speakers are nothing special, just an older Onkyo set. But i will be building some when im done finishing my basement/HT.
i want to build line arrays, if my amps will be able to power them, and 2 tapped horn subwoofers (kinda just for fun!) or maybe have the line arrays built into vertical tapped horn subs!?
either way i will probably need new amps for the line arrays alone.
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post #8 of 31 Old 01-14-2013, 12:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by majorahole View Post

my speakers are nothing special, just an older Onkyo set. But i will be building some when im done finishing my basement/HT.
i want to build line arrays, if my amps will be able to power them, and 2 tapped horn subwoofers (kinda just for fun!) or maybe have the line arrays built into vertical tapped horn subs!?
either way i will probably need new amps for the line arrays alone.

Way cool! Your own design or someone else's? Be sure to log your progress in the DIY speaker section. I've been looking only at DIY subs as I used to dabble back in my car audio days. I'm leaning toward the WolfhornSDX.
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post #9 of 31 Old 01-14-2013, 12:35 PM
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if i find a design i like i will probably just use someone else's, otherwise i'll have to figure something out. there's a few programs for design out there for free.
my first project for speakers will probably be PA speakers/subs.
ill be sure to document and make posts about everything.
hopefully my HT build will be getting done soon, and ill have a post about that.
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post #10 of 31 Old 01-14-2013, 01:55 PM
 
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"For that only ASIO-enabled (or equivalent) hardware will do"

You haven't been around long enough to know that at one point I was the definitive source in regards to the Envy24HT around these and other HTPC forums. Believe me, I know plenty about ASIO. wink.gif It got to the point where manufactures where calling me up to send me review samples of their new Envy24 cards.

In addition, you go on this whole spiel directly after quoting me about audio capture...

"Just because you don't know that you're starving your ears doesn't mean it's not happening."

Human ears are still a pretty crap design. There is plenty of science out there on just how terrible our audio capabilities are in terms of sensitivity, resolution, and our immense subjectability to external influences on our perception . What you won't find? A claim of audible Windows' sampling distortion that comes anywhere close to passing even the most basic of double-blind tests.

The enthusiast audio world is filled to the brim with scams. Your default position should be skepticism until proven otherwise. LPCM out over HDMI on a video card is already so far beyond human perception capabilities that claims of better options in terms of playback are silly, especially when there is money on the line.

PC audio playback is already solved, and comes by default with your video card or motherboard.
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post #11 of 31 Old 01-14-2013, 06:01 PM
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If you're outputting analog then I would probably buy a ht omega over this frankenstein.

If you're outputting over hdmi then you are much better off buying a video card and save a couple hundred bucks or get a powerful video card.

I see no reason for this card to exist except to confuse consumers into buying it because it says hometheater hd.

If you are looking at this card to add dts-hd to your nvidia video card then look the other way it is a huge waste of money.(not intended as a hit on Nvidia, just a warning that it's not worth it)
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post #12 of 31 Old 01-14-2013, 08:33 PM
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"Wh... Why....?

Didn't Vista move us to entirely software audio rendering and video cards have taken over the duty of spitting out you digital audio channels over HDMI? Unless your goal is to capture analog audio, the idea of a discreet sound card is kind of antiquated."


Disagree completely. I recently had my sound card go out in my HTPC and so I updated all the audio drivers and switched over to onboard sound. I played a movie and watched it with my wife and immediately we were both like "wtf" is up with the sound (and she isn't very in tune with these things). The sound was distorted and static-y anytime there was an action scene or a lot going on. Sound cards are worth it for audio conscious people.

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post #13 of 31 Old 01-14-2013, 09:26 PM
 
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"The sound was distorted and static-y anytime there was an action scene or a lot going on."

So you're running analog out? And responding to a quote referencing HDMI audio output with "nuh-uh!"?

...
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post #14 of 31 Old 01-15-2013, 04:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darklordjames View Post

"For that only ASIO-enabled (or equivalent) hardware will do"

You haven't been around long enough to know that at one point I was the definitive source in regards to the Envy24HT around these and other HTPC forums. Believe me, I know plenty about ASIO. wink.gif It got to the point where manufactures where calling me up to send me review samples of their new Envy24 cards.

In addition, you go on this whole spiel directly after quoting me about audio capture...

"Just because you don't know that you're starving your ears doesn't mean it's not happening."

Human ears are still a pretty crap design. There is plenty of science out there on just how terrible our audio capabilities are in terms of sensitivity, resolution, and our immense subjectability to external influences on our perception . What you won't find? A claim of audible Windows' sampling distortion that comes anywhere close to passing even the most basic of double-blind tests.

The enthusiast audio world is filled to the brim with scams. Your default position should be skepticism until proven otherwise. LPCM out over HDMI on a video card is already so far beyond human perception capabilities that claims of better options in terms of playback are silly, especially when there is money on the line.

PC audio playback is already solved, and comes by default with your video card or motherboard.

Quite frankly James, don't take it the wrong way, but you may not know everything.......To me, its a fact that, My X-Fi HTHD sounds waaaaaaaaay better than on-board, or even GTX 680 HDMI sound. To me this is a fact. Have you ever even demo'ed the HTHD card in question, in you system, or "experience"? As far as me being antiquated, this is my HTPC/Gaming rig,

Specs:

Silverstone Crown CW0-2B

I7 3930K, 16GB, ASUS Rampage IV Formula

GTX680 4GB> 70 inch ELITE PRO-70X5FD

Auzen HDMI XFi> Marantz AV8801 (MultEQ XT32)>Wyred4Sound front 3 channels (1000w mono blocks for L/R 500W Center) & Emotiva Amps for sl, sr, rl, rr >7.2>Paradigm 100's & 690v5 + Dual-(two)-HSU-ULS15 Subs


I would say it is a "decent" system.....lol.

In the end, it is what I hear that makes sense....especially with over $70,000 (& always upgrading) worth of A/V equipment in front of me.....&yes that is not including my consoles, Which I only use for console exclusives.

HTPC/Gaming Rig:
Silverstone CW02B, I7 3930K, 16GB, ASUS Rampage IV Formula
EVGA Signature Titan> 70 inch ELITE PRO-70X5FD
Auzen HDMI XFi> 7.2 via Marantz AV8801>Wyred4Sound, & Emotiva Amps>Paradigm 100'sV5, ADP590'sV5, 690v5, 20v5's, + Dual HSU-ULS15 Subs

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post #15 of 31 Old 01-15-2013, 05:57 PM
 
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Ahem.

Bits is bits, yo. Audio in Windows Vista and "newer" being entirely software based, the only way You Creaaaaative chipset is changing the audio quality is if it is intentionally damaging the audio before output over HDMI....lol.

I paved my loving room and parked a Model T in there so that I can have the genuine drive-IN experience when I watch my movies....it it supercharged and has 64GB of ram...so I think I know what I'm talking about.

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post #16 of 31 Old 01-15-2013, 06:05 PM
 
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A bit more serious: Saying modern Windows audio sounds different based on which HDMI hole it's coming out of is like saying Youtube sounds better because you're using Chrome instead of Firefox. It's a silly assertion.

The source software now decides what the final audio output sounds like instead of the pre-Vista model where the output hardware made the final decision. This is a good thing.

You've got a GTX680 spitting out HDMI to a modern receiver. PC audio output doesn't get any better than that. Roll with it.
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post #17 of 31 Old 01-15-2013, 06:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geronimo.USMC View Post

Quite frankly James, don't take it the wrong way, but you may not know everything.......To me, its a fact that, My X-Fi HTHD sounds waaaaaaaaay better than on-board, or even GTX 680 HDMI sound. To me this is a fact. Have you ever even demo'ed the HTHD card in question, in you system, or "experience"? As far as me being antiquated, this is my HTPC/Gaming rig,

Specs:

Silverstone Crown CW0-2B

I7 3930K, 16GB, ASUS Rampage IV Formula

GTX680 4GB> 70 inch ELITE PRO-70X5FD

Auzen HDMI XFi> Marantz AV8801 (MultEQ XT32)>Wyred4Sound front 3 channels (100w mono blocks for l/R %00 Center) & Emotiva Amps for sl, sr, rl, rr >7.2>Paradigm 100's & 690v5 + Dual-(two)-HSU-ULS15 Subs


I would say it is a "decent" system.....lol.

In the end, it is what I hear that makes sense....especially with over $70,000 (& always upgrading) worth of A/V equipment in front of me.....&yes that is not including my consoles, Which I only use for console exclusives.

I made fun of the difference you are hearing earlier, probably didn't notice though. Your gtx680 doesn't support the lossless "hd" standards. This is now being decoded on your receiver instead of on your computer. The real difference here is that lpcm is quite often treated differently by your receiver than the "hd" codecs. There is also always the placebo affect, which with $70k of a/v equipment placebo is a big part...
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post #18 of 31 Old 01-16-2013, 10:14 AM
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1. What we're really talking about here is DAC (digital-to-analog coverter) - the hardware that does the work. In the chain between a digital audio source and the production of sound waves resides a DAC. Where it is, what it's made of, and how it's made will all affect sound quality.

2. The Windows audio stack is not part of the DAC.

3. Motherboard DAC is consistently bottom-rung compared to dedicated devices. Objective testing of crosstalk, distortion, freq response, dynamic range, noise level, EM interference, etc. are used to prove this time and time again.

4. From worst to best: motherboard DAC to amp; isolated internal sound card DAC to amp; external DAC to amp.

5. Depending upon the setup or application, the DAC may vary, but you can (and should) always upgrade over motherboard DAC.


Geronimo.USMC, that's a pretty awesome setup. In my HT, I use HDMI connected to my Yamaha RX-A3000 for lossless bitstream and PCM of most content from my PC. The Burr-Brown DAC (made by TI, if I'm not mistaken) does a superb job. When I play a game that relies on EAX, I use the analog outputs from my "old" USB X-Fi adapter to the analog inputs of the A3000. For my primary work/game computer, I'm still using my old Audigy 4 Pro with the breakout box. That's connected to an old McIntosh tube amp and monitors.

Macks, I may be misunderstanding you, what do you mean the GTX 680 doesn't support HD audio? All Kepler-based GPUs support 8-channel LPCM and bistreaming. My 670 has no problems...

darklordjames, you are clearly talking about digital output from the PC, but Geronimo and I are talking about analog output.
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post #19 of 31 Old 01-16-2013, 10:35 AM
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Auzen HDMI XFi> Marantz AV8801 (MultEQ XT32)>Wyred4Sound front 3 channels (100w mono blocks for l/R %00 Center) & Emotiva Amps for sl, sr, rl, rr >7.2>Paradigm 100's & 690v5 + Dual-(two)-HSU-ULS15 Subs

Geronimo is talking about the hdmi output so the DAC is not a concern.

All Kepler-based GPUs support 8-channel LPCM and bistreaming. My 670 has no problems...

Completely true. The Auzen Hometheater hd will send the hd audio to your receiver without decoding it to LPCM.

If you are using analog audio to an amp then I have no doubt that this is better than onboard audio. There are much better options for you than this card though if DAC's are your main concern or if you care about worthwhile support.
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"but Geronimo and I are talking about analog output."

A) No, he obviously isn't.

B) If anybody in this thread is talking about analog output from their PC, then a $250 sound card upgrade is the wrong decision. The correct choice would be to spend that money toward a receiver with modern inputs so that you can use the HDMI audio on your video card. smile.gif
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post #21 of 31 Old 01-16-2013, 04:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darklordjames View Post

"but Geronimo and I are talking about analog output."

A) No, he obviously isn't.

B) If anybody in this thread is talking about analog output from their PC, then a $250 sound card upgrade is the wrong decision. The correct choice would be to spend that money toward a receiver with modern inputs so that you can use the HDMI audio on your video card. smile.gif

The ONLY reason to even have a soundcard if for the analog. I'm currently rocking the new Creative ZxR and using the analog outputs. It sounds great.

Blasting brown notes for 10 years and counting!

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post #22 of 31 Old 01-16-2013, 09:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darklordjames View Post

A bit more serious: Saying modern Windows audio sounds different based on which HDMI hole it's coming out of is like saying Youtube sounds better because you're using Chrome instead of Firefox. It's a silly assertion.

The source software now decides what the final audio output sounds like instead of the pre-Vista model where the output hardware made the final decision. This is a good thing.

You've got a GTX680 spitting out HDMI to a modern receiver. PC audio output doesn't get any better than that. Roll with it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by macks View Post

I made fun of the difference you are hearing earlier, probably didn't notice though. Your gtx680 doesn't support the lossless "hd" standards. This is now being decoded on your receiver instead of on your computer. The real difference here is that lpcm is quite often treated differently by your receiver than the "hd" codecs. There is also always the placebo affect, which with $70k of a/v equipment placebo is a big part...

I listen to music output by foobar in WASAPI. You guys are correct. I never disputed that, & I will not argue that bits in=bits out, but different chipsets do send out different information via drivers & such including sample rate. That will affect sound. Still I was talking about EAX games. Yes, they are older, but I still like to play them, & want that experience with them the best way (96Khz), even if the effects are done via software & such, but sadly there is no way to just use the 680 output for that. I would love to ditch the X-Fi & just use my video card. The HTHD also has an awesome analog section, which I've used before, but my marantz AV8801 got that beat, So I use HDMI out on lpcm @96Khz "game" mode on my HTHD. I didn't start this thread to argue. My post was merely a PSA for those that already had this excellent card.

HTPC/Gaming Rig:
Silverstone CW02B, I7 3930K, 16GB, ASUS Rampage IV Formula
EVGA Signature Titan> 70 inch ELITE PRO-70X5FD
Auzen HDMI XFi> 7.2 via Marantz AV8801>Wyred4Sound, & Emotiva Amps>Paradigm 100'sV5, ADP590'sV5, 690v5, 20v5's, + Dual HSU-ULS15 Subs

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post #23 of 31 Old 01-17-2013, 01:35 AM
 
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"My post was merely a PSA for those that already had this excellent card."

Ohhhhh! Did you mean new drivers came out for it? I see now! I thought you were saying that a new card was coming out and that you were excited to purchase it. The word "drivers" or "support" or anything of the sort would have gone a long way in helping signify your intention.

22 posts to find out what the original post was intended to say. I'm sure it's not a record here at AVS, but it may be in the running.

Also too, we went from "Yes! So happy today." to "I would love to ditch the X-Fi" in those same 22 posts. Let's see if we can finish this off in the next 22... Where to start?

Ah! I would argue that any game old enough to be using hardware EAX effects is running an audio experience that is so primitive that no amount of SB Live! room echo is going to make it any less primitive sounding. EAX died right around the same time that the current consoles came out, maybe a touch later. Vista was certainly the nail in the coffin, but devs were already shifting away from hardware audio well beforehand. I can think of a handful of PS2-era games that still hold up in terms of audio, and almost every one of them is Japanese and therefore on the Dreamcast, Playstation 2, or Gamecube as Japan was simply not making PC games yet. American devs were still pretty bad in terms of the audio half of their experience, with possibly the single note-worthy nod to id for Doom 3. Oh, I take that back. Half-Life 2 also had excellent audio, but was entirely software.

Geronimo, do yourself a favor and flip through your PC games real quick. Can you seriously point to any of them where EAX-specific hardware effects really has any impact on the experience anymore? The age where EAX was a factor was the same time that 3D graphics were making rapid progress. It's an age for the most part best forgotten. It isn't like the sprite-based games with chiptune music from the previous time period where things still hold up really well. Sprites and MIDI ages pretty gracefully. Low-bitrate samples mixed with primitive room effects, paired up with low-polygon models and blurry textures ages very poorly. Hell, is there a 3D game from 1995-2000 that really matters anymore, aside from Mario 64 and Ocarina? Neither of which use EAX. wink.gif
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post #24 of 31 Old 01-17-2013, 02:11 AM
 
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On to DACs...

Audio DACs are a cheap, silly little thing to spend any time worrying over. Much like Windows audio, that problem is already solved. Moore's law bludgeoned the DAC debate to death back in 2005 or so. DACs have become so cheap and so easy to do correctly that it is nigh on impossible to find a bad one anymore. Even the cheapest of DACs by any of the players that you'll find in PC hardware far surpass human audio capabilities.

Analogy time! Where is all the argument over video card DACs? The human visual system is a much higher bandwidth input system than our auditory sense. In the time between when we finally shifted to 24-bit color but were still outputting analog over VGA there was very little talk of DACs. Yes, card to card you could push resolution up high enough that you would hit the edge of any particular DACs capabilities. This was an obvious visual error though and easy to discern. It also went away by itself over time, beat to death by Moore's law. Plug any of your modern video cards VGA to your 1080p displays and it just works. The brand of DAC doesn't matter, even though said cheap little DAC is far higher bandwidth than any audio DAC you will ever come across.

The key word in the above paragraph is "obvious". Human audio is a lot looser about picking up errors. As such, we have a heavy tendency to decide an error exists when there is none, especially in a place like this where people with "magic ears" tend to gather.

Yes, PC analog audio can be done incorrectly. Most commonly, motherboards are laid out poorly in that after hitting the DAC the analog audio then runs alongside some relatively high-current, noisy supply traces for the CPU. This can result in all manner of buzzing and noise in your analog output. This means that your motherboard is designed in a broken fashion. It has nothing to do with the quality of the DAC. You can take a $10 sound card with the exact same DAC on it, slap it in to a PCI slot, and it will sound perfect. Why? Because you moved those analog audio output lines away from other, electrically noisy lines.

Tomfoolery - Aside from a driver or software setup issue of one sort or another, this would also be a likely issue of yours. You've simply been merrily using your motherboard for a couple of years not realizing that it has has a crap layout for it's post-DAC audio traces from day one. Had you not put a sound card in the system, you would have known that it's audio layout was crap, then you would have returned the motherboard for a different design from possibly a different manufacture that actually functions correctly. smile.gif Don't blame the concept of onboard audio for your motherboard designer's poor decisions. That's like declaring that motherboard CPU sockets are a terrible idea because ASUS shipped you a board with a busted socket handle one time.
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post #25 of 31 Old 01-17-2013, 05:10 AM
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"The sound was distorted and static-y anytime there was an action scene or a lot going on."

So you're running analog out? And responding to a quote referencing HDMI audio output with "nuh-uh!"?

...

No, no sir. It's digital. Just saying same cables with sound card...great sound... same cable arrangement with onboard sound (also digital) sounds like $hit.

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post #26 of 31 Old 01-17-2013, 06:41 AM
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"The d-baggery in this thread is staggering"
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post #27 of 31 Old 01-17-2013, 06:49 AM
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No, no sir. It's digital. Just saying same cables with sound card...great sound... same cable arrangement with onboard sound (also digital) sounds like $hit.

Your onboard HDMI was staticy then? or was it toslink?

Even if you are talking about toslink, you responded to a post talking about hdmi. They are not the same.
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post #28 of 31 Old 01-17-2013, 09:02 AM
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Your onboard HDMI was staticy then? or was it toslink?

Even if you are talking about toslink, you responded to a post talking about hdmi. They are not the same.

My bad, I don't know how to read. I thought I was addressing software rendered PC audio versus a sound card. I'll stop talking now.

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post #29 of 31 Old 01-17-2013, 09:08 AM - Thread Starter
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"The d-baggery in this thread is staggering"
I'm not even wasting my time replying to these idiots. Not worth it, but The PSA on the drivers is out there. I'm moving on. Original post edited for clarification.
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post #30 of 31 Old 01-18-2013, 06:17 AM
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Ohhhhh! Did you mean new drivers came out for it? I see now! I thought you were saying that a new card was coming out and that you were excited to purchase it. The word "drivers" or "support" or anything of the sort would have gone a long way in helping signify your intention.

You could have also just asked him first before going on multiple condescending rants. You spend an awful lot of text building up straw men... for what purpose? E-peen?
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On to DACs...
Audio DACs are a cheap, silly little thing to spend any time worrying over. Much like Windows audio, that problem is already solved. Moore's law bludgeoned the DAC debate to death back in 2005 or so.

Oh did it? Audio DAC advances are being made on a regular basis in everything from computers to smartphones to Hi-Fi. Multiple vendors compete on a whole range of features and quality. I'd hardly consider that "solved".
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Analogy time!

Poor analogy. The only analogy is that DAC innovation and improvements are ongoing. Since most computers connect digitally (TMDS) to displays, the DAC operation is in the display, where picture quality is very much still a hot bed that drives innovation to achieve the best possible image reproduction (for those willing to pay). In the event of connecting to an analog display (like my FW900), the available RAMDAC can make a significant difference in PQ at different resolutions and refresh rates. While it's true that most modern GPUs don't struggle with this as most architectures have integrated them, some still do (usually downclocked RAMDAC to conserve power). Much like audio, there is still much improvement to be had in all forms of DAC. These things have not stagnated and are certainly not "solved".

Don't make sweeping judgements about quality just because "a lot of people can't tell the difference". Subjective reasoning is not useful to anyone but the buyer. If something is objectively better, then there is no reason to believe it won't be noticed by someone. Whether that's 10%, 1%, or .001% of consumers, it doesn't matter.

You've stated your case: sound cards, DAC, EAX, and games from 1995-2000 are not worth talking about. Cool, I'm glad you got that out of your system. Now we can all move on.

Geronimo, thanks for the heads up on the drivers. Also, I hope you have fun playing your meaningless and antiquated games. I know that I will! biggrin.gif
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_video_games_that_support_EAX (incomplete list!)
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