AVS Forum banner
Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 9 of 9 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
27 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm currently using a SB Live! with Coaxial out to my Yamaha DSP-A1 Amp. I mainly use the soundcard for DVD Movies with TheatreTek & WinDVD. Will I hear any difference if I upgrade my soundcard to a Revo 7.1 or SB Audigy 2 ZS? Since the Coaxial output to my Amp is digital, there should be no difference on whichever soundcard I use. Am I correct? Thanks!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,132 Posts
Digital output to receiver is all the same for the sound cards. Bits are bits. Same goes for optical or coaxial (except optical may have trouble with longer lengths or kinks of the wires and coaxial may have more electrical interferences). Either you get the signal there correctly or not. The only advantage of the 7.1 higher priced sound card is for analog output (for example, let the HTPC decode the signal and send 7.1 signals to 7 channel amplifier (or 7 amplifiers) and powered subwoofer. It's usually better to let the receiver decode the signals for smoothest and best sound.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
210 Posts
If you only listed to DVD digital audio this is true. You should just keep the sound card you've got.


If you listen to CD audio there are other factors involved.


Do a search on "Kernel Streaming" and read the FAQ.


All Creative Labs sounds cards upsample CD audio to 48KHz. This according to some people degrades the sound.


Andy
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
216 Posts
This topic is a little old, but I thought I'd comment for anyone who's still paying attention.


When dealing with digital audio, ESPECIALLY coming from computers, there seems to be a misconception of what's important and what's not. I've heard "bits are bits" MANY times, but it's not OK to think that way.


Without going too far into it, there are other things to consider than just 0s and 1s and whether or not they are all reaching the receiver. You've probably heard about jitter. It may sound like digital voodoo, but I assure you it's a serious concern with regards to audio quality. With jitter, it's not a question of all the data transmitting intact, it's an issue of the receiver processing the data at imperfect and inconsistent times resulting in poor audio. When there are potentially thousand of these errors every second, you'll notice it.


With computers, jitter can be extremely high, and with cheaper soundcards it's even worse. For my HTPC, I have a device inserted between the HTPC and my receiver that completely clears out the jitter from the dat stream and sends a new signal to the receiver. The difference is drastic.


What this proves is that jitter has a strong affect on the sound you hear and it needs to be dealt with. Cheaper soundcards will have higher jitter, better sound cards will have lower jitter and better sound. This isn't voodoo either -- it's a common-known fact in pro audio and always needs consideration.


As for digital cables, optical is preferred over greater distances because it doesn't attract electrical interference like coaxial. Any coax over about 25 feet needs to be strongly shielded from interference, or better yet use optical.


Back to the subject -- I've noticed that, even with jitter correction, my on-board spdif doesn't sound very good. So I'm also thinking about upgrading to a Revo or higher end hoping that it will sound better. Compared to the spdif on my standalone CD player, the HTPC spdif is only 70% as good.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
254 Posts
I just recently posted about upgrading to a Revo 7.1. I used to use my digital coax connection from the onboard P4C800-D sound card, but after my friend's incessant push for me to get a "real" sound card, I finally got the Revo 7.1


What a world of difference! My sound system's a no-good Pioneer home-theater-in-a-box, and I'm not exactly an audiophile, but the difference was astounding. Music actually became more lively, more puchy, and the notes felt more... "real", for lack of better terminology on my part.


I don't know the specifics behind the cause of this supposed "jitter", but I can assure you that it's a VERY OBVIOUS effect. I'd recommend you to buy a Revo, plug it it, and blind test it with some non-audiophile friends. My technically-obtuse girlfriend managed to pick out the Revo in 5 different songs, and my friend didn't even bother going through the third song before he told me to just "buy the damn thing".


Yep, it is digital voodoo, and perhaps your YMMV. But give it a shot, you won't regret it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
216 Posts
Thinking -- that's my exact motherboard and the Revo is exactly the card I've been thinking about. This is the first time I've heard of where the onboard spdif and Revo spdif connections were compared.


It's clinched -- I'll run it for a test drive soon.


One question -- can you think of any shortcomings with the Revo that the onboard spdif might have provided?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
254 Posts
Um, I'm not sure of the performance hit you'll take for using the onboard SPDIF in games, but it's a widely known fact that the Revo is a resource hog and may affect your gameplay if you're playing processor-intensive games like FPSs (examples of Half Life 2 and Doom 3 come to mind, though a lot of games, when you max out on their bells and whistles, can come close to giving you a performance hit.


Oh yeah, I'm glad I was able to help. I couldn't find any tips, but the Revo had such good word-of-mouth that I simply *had to* buy it to test it out (and if it didn't work, I could always abuse 30-day-"rental"-policy of your local CompUSA or BestBuy.


I'm glad I didn't have to return it. :)
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top