Audio Processing in Vista Explained - Page 10 - AVS Forum
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post #271 of 971 Old 09-12-2006, 03:23 PM
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Yes. The driver installation package crashes. Installing just the driver (using update) gets further, but the control panel applet does not run.
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post #272 of 971 Old 09-12-2006, 07:21 PM
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"Have you tried installing Vista RC1 build 5600?

This wiki lists SoundMax Intergrated Digital Audio (32 Bit) as compatible:
http://www.iexbeta.com/wiki/index.p...ist#Sound_Cards"

I have... it doesn't work....


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post #273 of 971 Old 09-13-2006, 07:46 AM
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Amir,

Until recently I worked for Microsoft in one of the European subs. I am proud of my time at Microsoft and happy that I got to spend quite a bit of time in your building in Redmond.

What I would like to see is:

1. 32 bit float audio out of PC to DAC/processor through USB or other method.
2. A way to send volume control setting to a hardware volume control (as you note, the limiting factor of quality equipment is likely the DAC itself so it does not help to feed it less than full volume)

Petter
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post #274 of 971 Old 09-13-2006, 08:14 AM
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Summary: Chipsets do not allow connection of proper audio DAC's because they are too "integrated" and thus manufacturers are unable to differentiate their motherboards.

Amir,

I am very happy that Microsoft has provided manufacturers with performance levels they have to meet wrt audio quality - this helps a lot even though the specs themselves are fairly feeble.

However, it is a conundrum that manufacturers of high quality CD players appear incapable of implementing good audio hardware in PC's even though the foundations to build exquisite hardware driven by superior MS software are already there! Look at Sony for example - even their cheapest CD players far exceed their most expensive computers in terms of sound quality!

I believe the reason for this is that the PC hardware industry is relying on using standardized chips which due to competition on price and integration has led to exceptional poor audio hardware - it fails with the integrated DAC's.

Look at Intel HD Audio for example. It is fundamentally very sound and should be capable of excellence. However, I have searched high and low and been unable to find any chips (as in Realtek etc) that is adequate for more than cellphones in terms of audio output quality. To take it one step further - I have found no Intel HD Audio chips able to output data to DAC chips as used in CD players - they all force you to use their integrated low-quality DAC's.

I believe we have to rely on a manufacturer of external USB devices to pick up the slack, or hope that Microsoft will come up with a reference design which kicks butt and allows for use of high quality DAC chips, because it does not seem as if the PC manufacturers, motherboard vendors, chipset vendors or even mid-range sound-card vendors are able to help themselves - there is just no mechanism for them to differentiate due to the lack of WCLK, BCLK and MCLK outputs from the audio chips needed to use better audio DAC's on motherboards.

Petter
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post #275 of 971 Old 09-13-2006, 10:59 AM - Thread Starter
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Petter, appreciate the feedback and pretty much agree with a lot of what you say. We have eleveted the logo requirements to put much better metrics in there for audio quality. But the cry from the hardware community is quite strong as we do this. So while I love to add an extra 20 db to the specs , I am not sure we are going to get away with that.

I think mid to long term solution is to put the audio over HDMI and the let the DACs in your favorite processor/receiver do the conversion to analog. Meanwhile, there will be some media center PC solutions from smaller companies who will build a better packaged system. But I am not sure that satisfies the needs of people who want better quality in every PC they buy, or want to put together their own machines.

Net, net, we are trying to move the world forward. But is kind of slow and we are looking for ways around it...

Amir
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post #276 of 971 Old 09-13-2006, 01:48 PM
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amirm,

I've been looking into USB playback since you brought it up.

It seems USB audio 1.0 only supports 2 channel PCM at up to 48khz, so not really any different the spdif.

There is a USB 2.0 specidifcation, but it looks like it was finalized in may of this year.

Do you know if there are any devices out there (praticularly recievers) that support USB 2.0 audio?

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post #277 of 971 Old 09-13-2006, 02:41 PM
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The Creative Audigy 2NX is a USB2 device that supports 7.1 channels of 24/96 quality. It even uses async USB audio where the clock for the playback resides in the device and the data delivery from the PC is slaved to that clock.

Cheers

Thomas
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post #278 of 971 Old 09-13-2006, 03:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cdspm View Post

Summary: Chipsets do not allow connection of proper audio DAC's because they are too "integrated" and thus manufacturers are unable to differentiate their motherboards.

Amir,

I am very happy that Microsoft has provided manufacturers with performance levels they have to meet wrt audio quality - this helps a lot even though the specs themselves are fairly feeble.

However, it is a conundrum that manufacturers of high quality CD players appear incapable of implementing good audio hardware in PC's even though the foundations to build exquisite hardware driven by superior MS software are already there! Look at Sony for example - even their cheapest CD players far exceed their most expensive computers in terms of sound quality!

I believe the reason for this is that the PC hardware industry is relying on using standardized chips which due to competition on price and integration has led to exceptional poor audio hardware - it fails with the integrated DAC's.

Look at Intel HD Audio for example. It is fundamentally very sound and should be capable of excellence. However, I have searched high and low and been unable to find any chips (as in Realtek etc) that is adequate for more than cellphones in terms of audio output quality. To take it one step further - I have found no Intel HD Audio chips able to output data to DAC chips as used in CD players - they all force you to use their integrated low-quality DAC's.

I believe we have to rely on a manufacturer of external USB devices to pick up the slack, or hope that Microsoft will come up with a reference design which kicks butt and allows for use of high quality DAC chips, because it does not seem as if the PC manufacturers, motherboard vendors, chipset vendors or even mid-range sound-card vendors are able to help themselves - there is just no mechanism for them to differentiate due to the lack of WCLK, BCLK and MCLK outputs from the audio chips needed to use better audio DAC's on motherboards.

Petter

The fundamental reason for this is that everyone who cares about high quality audio already has a reciever or pre-amp/DAC that has very high quality. That's what SPDIF is for. Sound cards optimize for the gamer market, something your hifi system can't do. Quality in the gamer's world is not nearly as needed - special effects are what drives them.

Thanks
mike
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post #279 of 971 Old 09-13-2006, 03:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thomaspf View Post

The Creative Audigy 2NX is a USB2 device that supports 7.1 channels of 24/96 quality. It even uses async USB audio where the clock for the playback resides in the device and the data delivery from the PC is slaved to that clock.

Cheers

Thomas

There are quite a few FireWire based products that will support up to 24/192 to 8 channels. Just off the top of my head, there are:
Echo Audio AudioFire8 and AudioFire12
RME Fireface400 and Fireface800
M-Audio FireWire 410

and there are lots more (Edirol, Mackie, etc.)

These products are a little more expensive, but provide much better quality with balanced outputs, higher quality DACs, opamps. The SNR of the Audigy 2 NX is 102dB, which is not as good as most AVRs (107dB-110dB). Those listed above have SNRs of 114dB - 120dB.

USB is cheaper to implement, but doesn't offer as much flexibility as FireWire. For more info on this, feel free to read this article.

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post #280 of 971 Old 09-13-2006, 03:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeSM View Post

The fundamental reason for this is that everyone who cares about high quality audio already has a reciever or pre-amp/DAC that has very high quality. That's what SPDIF is for. Sound cards optimize for the gamer market, something your hifi system can't do. Quality in the gamer's world is not nearly as needed - special effects are what drives them.

Thanks
mike

Everyone? Some people might use a soundcard with higher quality DACs which they then connect directly to their amps. I hate to sound like a broken record, but the sound quality of some of the pro cards listed in my other message match most of the dedicated DACs at a fraction of the price (not all, some of the pro cards can also be expensive).

Besides, S/PDIF doesn't have the bandwidth to handle high resolution multichannel audio. In the future, we'll see a lot of motherboards and cheap soundcards that include HDMI outputs. Unfortunately, a lot of people will have to buy new receivers because many of them out there now don't have HDMI connections. I don't know of a single manufacturer who offers this type of upgrade. So, IMHO S/PDIF is going to die off.

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post #281 of 971 Old 09-13-2006, 03:42 PM
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I believe Vista doesn't have in box 1394 audio class drivers. This will mean the drivers will need to come from a 3rd party and need to be designed for Vista just like a PCI sound device would need to be.
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post #282 of 971 Old 09-13-2006, 04:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greggplummer View Post

Everyone? Some people might use a soundcard with higher quality DACs which they then connect directly to their amps. I hate to sound like a broken record, but the sound quality of some of the pro cards listed in my other message match most of the dedicated DACs at a fraction of the price (not all, some of the pro cards can also be expensive).

Besides, S/PDIF doesn't have the bandwidth to handle high resolution multichannel audio. In the future, we'll see a lot of motherboards and cheap soundcards that include HDMI outputs. Unfortunately, a lot of people will have to buy new receivers because many of them out there now don't have HDMI connections. I don't know of a single manufacturer who offers this type of upgrade. So, IMHO S/PDIF is going to die off.

My point was addressing the question about why sound card vendors don't do that today. And today, with very limited multichannel audio sources, SPDIF is fine. Depending on an outboard reciever may change in the future, but I don't think so.

There is another reason for this. I'll be getting multichannel sound from my cable DVR, and other non-PC sources. If the DAC's are on a sound card, then I have to feed the data from say a DCT 6412 to the PC, which would drive the amps directly. That just isn't going to happen. So the smart buy is an outboard pre-amp/amp combination, and have the PC feed that directly, just as your cable DVR and other outboard devices will also feed it directly.

Sure, maybe the PC will do everything, but I don't think so, not when the cable and DBS guys give away native HD DVR's for a few bucks a month, and refuse to allow native digital feeds to the PC on an unrestricted basis.

The motherboard and sound card companies aren't crazy - they know this is the case and design to support that solution. You will always be able to find niche very end products, but the architecture you are talking about is not going to be mainstream.

Thanks,
mike
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post #283 of 971 Old 09-13-2006, 06:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeSM View Post

My point was addressing the question about why sound card vendors don't do that today. And today, with very limited multichannel audio sources, SPDIF is fine. Depending on an outboard reciever may change in the future, but I don't think so.

There is another reason for this. I'll be getting multichannel sound from my cable DVR, and other non-PC sources. If the DAC's are on a sound card, then I have to feed the data from say a DCT 6412 to the PC, which would drive the amps directly. That just isn't going to happen. So the smart buy is an outboard pre-amp/amp combination, and have the PC feed that directly, just as your cable DVR and other outboard devices will also feed it directly.

Sure, maybe the PC will do everything, but I don't think so, not when the cable and DBS guys give away native HD DVR's for a few bucks a month, and refuse to allow native digital feeds to the PC on an unrestricted basis.

The motherboard and sound card companies aren't crazy - they know this is the case and design to support that solution. You will always be able to find niche very end products, but the architecture you are talking about is not going to be mainstream.

Thanks,
mike

Maybe it won't be mainstream, but I'm hoping there will be a niche market large enough to support a small business. I understand what is going on with most soundcard manufacturers. None of them, except maybe M-Audio for a brief period, seem to see beyond the gaming market.

What if this soundcard was an external device with a FireWire connection to the PC and included both S/PDIF and HDMI inputs? And the soundcard drivers supported Vista's exclusive mode and their DSP features? And the DAC/analog circuitry was as good as what you might find in a dedicated DAC like the Benchmark DAC1?

This product would be very PC-centric, but could also connect to non-PC sources. It also might be a little easier to upgrade (kind of like how you can upgrade your PCs today).

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post #284 of 971 Old 09-13-2006, 09:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thomaspf View Post

The Creative Audigy 2NX is a USB2 device that supports 7.1 channels of 24/96 quality.

It appears that the Creative stuff needs Creative's own drivers to work properly in Vista (so is it the case that there are no "in-box class drivers" for Creative in Vista?).

http://www.iexbeta.com/wiki/index.ph...st#Sound_Cards

Question: has anyone out there installed Vista RC1 on a PC and used these HTPC features?
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post #285 of 971 Old 09-14-2006, 12:17 AM
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MikeSM you should have a look at the "soundcard as a pre/pro" thread, and you will see taht many people here use soundcards connected directly to their amps.
I for example use use a Lynx TwoB connected to two chevin research Q6 amps. The lynx twoB uses the best dacs and op available with rock solid drivers.
It sounds better than all the stereo dacs I've heard (when I mean better I mean that it plays what is on the disc and doesn't add distortion to please your ears ) so for multichannel playback it's as good as it can get. What's more the lynx is HTPC friendly as the volume and the mixer can be remote controlled.

Amir I would really appreciate if you could answer these questions :
- can you tell me what is mandatory if I want to use this soundcard for hd-dvd playback in XP and in Vista (signed drivers ? whql drivers ? logo compliant drivers ?)
- What about watermarked audio that should be in AACS 1.0, will it recquire a special chipset that has to be on the soundcard ( a la DVD-A) or can it be done in software ?
- What do I need to ask the lynx team development so we van have access to the SysFx DSPs in their vista driver ?
- How hard would it be to add a registry setting to turn dithering on/off?

sorry for my poor english but I'm french !!!!
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post #286 of 971 Old 09-14-2006, 08:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philoneous View Post

It appears that the Creative stuff needs Creative's own drivers to work properly in Vista (so is it the case that there are no "in-box class drivers" for Creative in Vista?).

http://www.iexbeta.com/wiki/index.ph...st#Sound_Cards

Question: has anyone out there installed Vista RC1 on a PC and used these HTPC features?

I have, but I only have AC97 audio so I can't get to the room correction features, and I'm currently using the spdif out, to bypass the narly internal DACs.

That's why I'm curious as to a USB 2.0 class audio reciever. I'm not ready to upgrade my HTPC yet, waiting for somethings like HDMI audio to fall into place first. But I know I'll need to upgrade my reciever to something that takes HDMI audio, so if I could get away with using USB right now to pass hi-res multi-channel audio I'd jump on it in a second.

and the creative is such a crap company, I'm trying to never buy their products if I can avoid it. This is from someone who bought the original sound blaster ISA card. Ever since they bought Aureal and killed their competition through business, not quality, they've been in a downward spiral.

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post #287 of 971 Old 09-14-2006, 12:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vairulez View Post

MikeSM you should have a look at the "soundcard as a pre/pro" thread, and you will see taht many people here use soundcards connected directly to their amps.
I for example use use a Lynx TwoB connected to two chevin research Q6 amps. The lynx twoB uses the best dacs and op available with rock solid drivers.
It sounds better than all the stereo dacs I've heard (when I mean better I mean that it plays what is on the disc and doesn't add distortion to please your ears ) so for multichannel playback it's as good as it can get. What's more the lynx is HTPC friendly as the volume and the mixer can be remote controlled.

As I said, I think this works in some niche applications, just that it isn't and won't become mainstream. Actually, reading that thread and seeing all the issues people have in getting to work only confirms my assertion. :-)

I would be interested in how you woould hook a Comcast DVR to your setup and maintain high quality digital audio out?

Thanks,
Mike
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post #288 of 971 Old 09-14-2006, 02:05 PM
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I live in france, so it will never happen
But when i built my htpc I knew I wouldn't process external sources and that all had to be done by the pc.

sorry for my poor english but I'm french !!!!
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post #289 of 971 Old 09-14-2006, 02:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sotti View Post

I have, but I only have AC97 audio so I can't get to the room correction features

Same problem here - I have put Vista on two different PCs - both have AC97 codecs - so I don't get the advanced features. I also put a Creative Audigy SE (24/96) into one of those PCs and had the same results.

Amir - can we get a list of supported hardware?
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post #290 of 971 Old 09-16-2006, 02:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philoneous View Post

Same problem here - I have put Vista on two different PCs - both have AC97 codecs - so I don't get the advanced features. I also put a Creative Audigy SE (24/96) into one of those PCs and had the same results.

Amir - can we get a list of supported hardware?

You can start here for hardware compatability in RC1 - http://www.iexbeta.com/wiki/index.ph...atibility_List

And here for software compatability in RC1 - http://www.iexbeta.com/wiki/index.ph...atibility_List
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post #291 of 971 Old 09-16-2006, 04:41 PM
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Nice links Cipher. Looks like there's not much as far as soundcard / Vista 64bit, so far there's just Realtek High Definition Audio for Vista 64bit (and 32 bit).


Amir, (or anyone else who knows)

Do you know if the soundcard / soundchip companies are working on Vista 64 bit compatibility or are they mainly going for just Vista 32 bit? If the latter, any ideas/guessses as to why?
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post #292 of 971 Old 09-16-2006, 05:03 PM
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Amir,

Thanks for your efforts to bring us the room correction technology as well as your time answering our questions. I have a few questions that may be useful to others as well. I'm planning to build my first HTPC once the Core2 Quadro chips start shipping and I plan to use Vista as the OS. I have a nice 2 Channel system that includes the Benchmark DAC1 and plan to integrate the HTPC into that. I want to move my CD collection onto the HTPC and would like the option to use your room correction technology or bypass it.

1. Understanding that out of the box Vista won't do a bit by bit transfer out the S/PDIF port on the motherboard, the nearest equivalent is to use Exclusive mode with the volume set to maximum. Correct?

2. Are you aware of any 3rd party solutions for Vista that will allow someone to send a bit by bit transfer over S/PDIF? A hardware based USB solution with it's own S/PDIF output would be acceptable. If you're not allowed to answer this one, just say so.

3. For the room correction, is there a reason you only measure down to 30Hz? What is the top end frequency that you measure for room correction?

4. What can you tell us about microphones we should be looking at for this purpose? Do you have any you might recommend at different price points (like $25, $100, $250) ?

5. How hard is it to flip room correction on and off? If I'm in the middle of playing a track, can I turn it off and then on again to compare the difference?


Thanks
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post #293 of 971 Old 09-17-2006, 07:49 PM
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Hey 2 channel, the deal with bit perfect output is this

1) exclusive mode allows bit perfect, but the SOFTWARE needs to support it.

non-exclusive, full volume, will be VERY close.

2) see 1, it's not a hardware thing.

3-5) dunno

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post #294 of 971 Old 09-17-2006, 10:19 PM
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No offense to Amir...

"room correction" via eq is such a bunch of nonsense. Wavelengths are too short above about 1khz such that moving your head (or a microphone) even a few inches will change the FR.

This room correction crap doesn't work in receivers and it won't work in Vista either. If your room makes your audio sound like crap, fix your room.

Eq'ing below 500hz is slightly less futile but again you have problems with the eq only being "valid" for where the mic is. As well, you can't fix standing waves with eq. End rant.


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post #295 of 971 Old 09-17-2006, 11:32 PM
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Hi,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jesse S View Post

No offense to Amir...

"room correction" via eq is such a bunch of nonsense. Wavelengths are too short above about 1khz such that moving your head (or a microphone) even a few inches will change the FR.

This room correction crap doesn't work in receivers and it won't work in Vista either. If your room makes your audio sound like crap, fix your room.

Eq'ing below 500hz is slightly less futile but again you have problems with the eq only being "valid" for where the mic is. As well, you can't fix standing waves with eq. End rant.

If you look at the potentiel of this Audysssey MultEQ Pro sofware kit, (today included in the Denon 5805CI, but tomorrow who knows what can happen...), one can easily imagine what the inclusion of Audyssey MultEQ XT in Vista could do to Room Correction.

As to repeat myself, IMHO "Audyssey MultEQ XT" is to Audio, what "Clear Type" is for Windows reading.

Hugo


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post #296 of 971 Old 09-18-2006, 11:37 AM
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Amir,

I'm using a Turtle Beach mini USB adapter that allows SP/DIF passed to receivers. I have a HK AVR 8000.

I noticed that this device is natively supported now by Vista RC1 build 5600. However I saw no way to adjust the basic treble or bass outputs as Vista does not provide any. Also, none of the enhancements (bass management, loudness, etc) to audio made any difference to the audio.

I think what I need is an EQ still. Will this be built in?
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post #297 of 971 Old 09-18-2006, 12:31 PM
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Thanks for the explanation sotti. That clears things up quite a bit. So it looks like we're waiting for someone to build a playback application that can take advantage of the bit by bit capability of exclusive mode. Unless I'm missunderstanding previous posts, Microsoft didn't think to add it to WMP 11. This leaves and opening for iTunes if Apple is smart enough to exploit it.

Hopefully Amir will provide some feedback on questions 3 to 5.
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post #298 of 971 Old 09-18-2006, 01:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amirm View Post

Petter, appreciate the feedback and pretty much agree with a lot of what you say. We have eleveted the logo requirements to put much better metrics in there for audio quality. But the cry from the hardware community is quite strong as we do this. So while I love to add an extra 20 db to the specs , I am not sure we are going to get away with that.

I think mid to long term solution is to put the audio over HDMI and the let the DACs in your favorite processor/receiver do the conversion to analog. Meanwhile, there will be some media center PC solutions from smaller companies who will build a better packaged system. But I am not sure that satisfies the needs of people who want better quality in every PC they buy, or want to put together their own machines.

Net, net, we are trying to move the world forward. But is kind of slow and we are looking for ways around it...

In 6 or 12 months we probably mont be having this discussion, but as of this moment I dont know of a single solution that will send 8ch audio from a PC to an AVR over HDMI. I agree the potential is there, but until i see (or even hear about it) working, the benefits of software (hence my $$$ for a vista upgrade) are lost.

You undoubtedly have more access than I, so how about some insight as to when hardware will be up to speed with vista's new functionality.
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post #299 of 971 Old 09-18-2006, 02:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2Channel View Post

Thanks for the explanation sotti. That clears things up quite a bit. So it looks like we're waiting for someone to build a playback application that can take advantage of the bit by bit capability of exclusive mode. Unless I'm missunderstanding previous posts, Microsoft didn't think to add it to WMP 11. This leaves and opening for iTunes if Apple is smart enough to exploit it.

Hopefully Amir will provide some feedback on questions 3 to 5.

There are a handful of applications that already support bit-perfect playback in XP using ASIO drivers. Check out J River Media Center 11 for an example of a player with ASIO support. I would assume they will probably support Vista exclusive mode in the future, but I haven't heard any official comments from J River on this.

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post #300 of 971 Old 09-19-2006, 08:40 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jesse S View Post

No offense to Amir...

"room correction" via eq is such a bunch of nonsense.

Please read the first few posts where I explained that we use temporal correction and not just plain EQ. EQ is used also in the process but not as the main means of room correction. Indeed, I also commented that receivers which only implement pure EQ are not useful.

Quote:


This room correction crap doesn't work in receivers and it won't work in Vista either. If your room makes your audio sound like crap, fix your room.

Well, I recommend that you take a listen. The system works remarkably well. It is based on solid science. As I noted at the beg., my standard is quite high when I say this, as I own a $10K room correction from TacT.

Quote:


As well, you can't fix standing waves with eq. End rant.

We are not trying to fix standing waves. Again, more detail is in the first dozen or so posts.

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