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Chappie_BR 11-11-2008 09:00 AM

First off, I may be getting in over my head here, so please forgive the likely basic nature of my question.

I had a hard drive on a 2 drive system die, and so I took it as an opportunity to build a whole new computer. After I had my new system, I got the other one up and running again, and now it's sitting in a corner. My plan was to sort of make it a poor man's media server and connect it to my home theater system. I figured I could run itunes through it and watch movies via the netflix watch now deal, etc.

The problem: the sound quality of my songs on itunes is horrible when played this way. When played through my PC and my $29 cheapo brand speakers, while hardly audiophile quality, it sounds MUCH better than giong through my reciever and out of my paradigm mains.

The setup, in case it's relevant: soundblaster sound card connected to a normal input on my receiver via a 1/8" to RCA plug.

What is the cause, or is it just that decent speakers really illuminate the poor quality of my itunes files? Again, I am perfectly happy with the quality of the sound when played over my normal cheap pc speakers.

stanger89 11-11-2008 09:08 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chappie_BR View Post

What is the cause, or is it just that decent speakers really illuminate the poor quality of my itunes files?

It's quite possible, probable in fact. Does the sound sort of "smear" at the high end? A quick way to test is to see what a CD sounds like, if it sounds good, it's probably the iTunes files.

Paul Bigelow 11-11-2008 10:42 AM

Good speakers and headphones can reveal all sorts of problems with the source material (high compression and artifacts) that lesser speakers don't reproduce. Might take a look at the settings to make sure there isn't a sound "enhancement" process going on. Creative can do a lot of things with sound.

nm88 11-11-2008 10:49 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chappie_BR View Post

The setup, in case it's relevant: soundblaster sound card connected to a normal input on my receiver via a 1/8" to RCA plug.

Try SPDIF digital output and use your receiver's DAC. The analog outputs on a typical sound card are horrible whereas the digital output are often just resampled and therefore still decent.

Also, turn off all gimmicky audio processing "enhancements" in the sound card drivers, which make everything sound even worse.

You're probably happy with your cheap PC speakers because they're cheap and not detailed, thereby hide all of the flaws mentioned above.


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