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Discussion Starter #1
I had a Yamaha YMF 724 sound card in my HTPC for a long time now and it worked fine with SPDIF out connection via coaxial to my Proton AS-2631 preamp.


Since the yamaha had problems in Windows XP with the WDM drivers I bought a cheap sound card based on CMI8738 chip (Ennyah DigiSound 6 channels) just to try out XP.

Ennyah claims that their SPDIF is 24 bits compliant and S/N ratio is over 120db.


Unfortunately the Ennyah drivers didnt provided SPDIF out function in XP but still, it was very interesting to compare SPDIF output from both cards.


The test setup is as follow :

Abit BX6-r2 mainboard

P3-750

256 Mo RAM PC133

Radeon VE

Windows ME


Yamaha drivers 1040 (vxd)

Ennyah drivers 2.37 (vxd)


Now for the listening experience, I tried with TopGun Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack and The Corrs Live in London (DTS 5.0).


With both discs, the difference appears to be the same. The yamaha has a deeper soundstage with lots of bass but also lots of confusion on the medium and highs. Overall it could be qualified as smothered with big bass.


With the ennyah, everything appears clearer, specially in the mids. Weird enough, the bass are not there at all at least compared to the yamaha, quite confusing. With The corrs, voices and instruments are much more distinct and you can locate them easily on the soundstage. With TopGun, the planes passing from left to right gives an overwhelming experience since you can actually "see" where the plane is just bu listening to it. With the Yamaha everything is drowned in the reactor's bass.


I've been following the various threads here about subjective audio difference in SPDIF out even though the data sent seemed to be equal. Now that I experienced by myself, I can definetely say there is a huge difference between soundcards even when using only SPDIF. My problem is that I'm not really able to tell which one is the best, they do sound different but I have no idea how it should sound. My personnal preference would be for Yamaha's bass associated with the Ennyah's mids and treebles !


For now, I'll keep the ennyah since the clearer mids are more suitable for HC effects and voices perception but I'll be watching for something better :)
 

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Is it just me but I thought SPDIF output

implied that an exact signal was being

sent regardless of the card. It is

a digital interface so I though the DVD

player software was supposed to send

the exact same bits regarless of the

SPDIF card used.


I know there are some reports of "clock judder"

on some cheap cards but that probably doesn't

explain the result posted above.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
That issue has been very controversial here.


Some people do hear sound differences, others just say there can't be any. I remember a post from someone who recorded the bitstream from a Sblive SPDIF card and an M-Audio one.

The record showed no difference in stored raw data. I guess temporal effects or other factors are the main cause for trouble.


I also seen a lot of posts from people buying a M-audio card and saying that, even in the SPIDF mode, they could hear substancial differences. These posts could be argued that, when you pay $200 for a new sound card, you really want it to sound different, and thus, you DO hear it sound different ;)


In my case though, the Ennyah is 10$ so I don't really cared much as how it would sound, I just wanted to try XP !
 

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I can't believe a 10$ sound card can use the same hardware as a 150$ one!
For all we know the only thing in common might be the chip.


For drivers, try ftp://ftp.cmedia.com.tw

The WDM drivers version 6.23 work for me, so 6.27 and 6.29 should work too.



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