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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
i did some critical listening and comparing the audio quality between my htpc with dio sound card and my sony 9000 es and all i can say is the audio quality of the dio is nowhere when compared with the 9000 es...


used powerdvd vrx and windvd 2.6.4 connected via digital coaxial audience au-24 interconnect...


test dvd: gladiator, tigris scene...


the extreme highs and 1ows is not as define and natural as the 9000es... example, when the tigris gladiator closed his face shield... on the 9000es i can actually hear the metal locking device clicking in in whereas the dio sounded dull and lack definition...


when maximus forced his sword onto the sand, you could actually hear the sand shifting in 9000es, whereas in dio, again, it lacked the details... the highs seems to be cut off prematurely...


and when the tiger roared, my heart would actually sink in, the dio produced bass alright but not deep enough to make me shiver..


all in all, the dio is nowhere when compared with the 9000 es in terms of audio quality...


unless of course somebody could tell me that i'm doing something wrong...


my ht:

b&k ref 30 pre

b&k ref 7250 amp

sony 9000 es dvd player

mirage om 5

mirage om 7

mirage om c2


htpc:

asus 12x dvd

dio 24/96 s/c

powerdvd vrx

windvd 2.6.4
 

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I am assuming you are piping the digital output from the card back into your system the same way your 9000es is, right?


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WinDVD is known to have poor audio quality and PowerDVD VRX could be using the WinDVD audio filter. PowerDVD and ATI DVD player have the same audio qualities you have described for the 9000ES when played through my Denon receiver.



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Best Regards, Cliff

Digital Connection, LLC

[email protected]
 

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Before I got into the HTPC game I was very concerned about sound quality. I'd say that its more important to me than most people on this forum. Before I built my HTPC I tested the M-audio 24/96 sound card using music with a fairly respectable audio system consisting of an Audio Research preamp, Proceed power amp, and a CAL SigmaII processor. My opinion is that if you are going to test basic audio quality using music is the best way to go. This way you are only concentrating on the audio and have some frame of reference as to how it should sound.


So I used music tracks on DVDs and compared SW DVD players via the 24/96 fed into the CAL SigmaII against my Elite DV-05 fed into the CAL SigmaII. Same cables etc.


PowerDVD 3.0 and the Elite were very close, both were dynamic with good low frequency extension and open at the top. Lots of detail. I was impressed with the computer. When I tried WinDVD it was a completely different story. The music was thin, no low end punch and not very involving. It almost sounded like early generation CD players in comparison. The difference was not subtle and it didn't take very long to reach these conclusions. Now I never did a test like this with the ATI 4.1 player, but I think it sounds even better than PowerDVD with the movies I watch. The bottom line is that WinDVD doesn't sound very good if your going to do any type of critical listening.


Just for kicks, I also compared CD's played on the HTPC (using Windows Media Player and PowerDVD) with a CAL Delta transport. Both were fed into the SigmaII. In this case the Delta/Sigma rig sounded better, but the margin was not nearly as much as the difference between PowerDVD and WinDVD. Its also not a fair test to compare a $800 transport to a $150 sound card. But the test convinced me that an HTPC used as a digital transport can sound pretty good.


Farahaqil, your 9000 es may be a better transport than the DV-05, but as Cliff says, use either the ATI player or PowerDVD 3.0 to make the comparison. I also suggest using music (without video) to make critical judgements.


Regards,

John Moschella
 

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Forgive me for asking, but how does WinDVD produce such a different result on digital pass-through? Assuming you have the same source, same soundcard (hence the same jitter characteristics), etc. Does WinDVD resample the audio or something? Or just produce massive amounts of jitter in the bitstream going to the soundcard? Seems odd to me...



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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
will do the test again with ati player then... and also powerdvd...


about the price comparison, well, i would say it's a fair comparison since i am comparing only the audio quality...


no doubt the 9000es costs usd 1100 but i believe the audio section costs only a small fraction of that... and the dio costs 200 usd...


whatever it is, i'll do the test again and keep an open mind as usual...


thanks for input...
 

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farahaqil,


Thank you for the detailed explanation of the particular sounds you were hearing and not hearing. The use of certain scenes in a movie with their associated sounds and details gives a much better procedure for other trying to duplicate your experience. You are the first that I've come across to actually describe the exact noise that is either missing or is present. Most just say, the highs or the lows, etc.


To everyone else and farahaqil, all this talk about different sounds and sound details being produced from the digital audio track, still isn't sitting well with me. Yeah, yeah, jitter and all that, whatever. I just don't see how it's all possible. It's a digital stream, either it gets through or it doesn't. How can you misinterpret a 1 to be a 0. I really want THE BEST POSSIBLE sound from my system. And I'm worried that I might be missing something. But I just don't see it from a theoritical point of view. I guess I need to hear a demonstration. What a nightmare that is going to be, to try and find a place that will induldge me.


Tim
 

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â€on the 9000es i can actually hear the metal locking device clicking in in whereas the dio sounded dull and lack definition...


when maximus forced his sword onto the sand, you could actually hear the sand shifting in 9000es, whereas in dio, again, it lacked the details... the highs seems to be cut off prematurely...


and when the tiger roared, my heart would actually sink in, the dio produced bass alright but not deep enough to make me shiver..â€



Using PowerDVD 3.0, DTS ES, and the DiO soundcard I get exactly the some audio quality that you described above for the 9000ES. DD 5.1 was not as good as DTS but I could still hear the locking device and blade enter the sand.



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Best Regards, Cliff

Digital Connection, LLC

[email protected]
 

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B&W, I almost posted similar a couple of hours ago... Re upgrading, but decided not to as the thread was (at the time) concerned about the relative merits now, but... Part of the beauty of these beasts is... Even if a higher end player ($1110 my not be everyone idea of high end but it is mine !!) can best a HTPC now (and I am not even sure it can) improving this is only a matter of new HW down the pipe or your cost balance at build time... If audio is so important 1010's are now in the 500 - 600 $$ range so you upgrade the portion that obssesses http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/wink.gif / is important to you... As soon as an improvement is out you are only an incremental cost out of pocket... With the DVD player its resale value only !!!


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HTPC without using windows... GUI Front Ends for Home Theater
 

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A Quick Question:


I know digital pass-through has nothing to do with the O.S. but doesn't regular audio processed use the windows audio settings? I have seen numerous posts saying Pc audio is worse, etc.. but nobody seems to realize that Windows defaults to poor audio, and that you must go into CONTROL PANEL, SOUNDS AND MULTIMEDIA, and the AUDIO tab, and select ADVANCED and set it up to BEST reproduction, and setup the speaker output to attain decent results.


Am I wrong, or doesn't the DVD software/Winamp use these settings when not using pass-through?
 

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Unless, the test is double-blind AND output is verified to be within 0.1db between the various units, the results are scientifically unacceptable at best and fallacious are worst.


Frank.
 

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Duckjibe,


You said it! That is one of my biggest fears about the DTS issue. Some people claim that the DTS track is actually recorded at higher db level than the DD track, so some people think it sounds more involving and dynamic.


Audio is so tweakable that it's easy to introduce wanted or unwanted results.


Tim
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
clarification...


on the dio i could hear the details, however, it just seems to lack the natural warmth and definition when compared to the 9000es... it's not that i couldn't hear it...


well, my htpc has clocked in 100 hours now... all my other audio equipment has been run in adequately... hopefully the dio age gracefully like my other equipment...



duckjibe:

well, it wasn't a blind test as i was the only one in the house... however, all sound has been calibrated as equally as possible to 75db and my sub to +6db using the radioshack spl meter...


i am pretty confident that i could tell the difference between the dio and 9000es in a double blind test cause the difference is that much


bdschuler:

by using the dio spdif output, all other settings in the advance options is disabled (greyed out)...


Phat Phreddy:

yes, audio quality is important to me and i have the intention to upgrade to a better sound card... then again it's costs/performance ratio here and will the more expensive 10/10 give a performance better than 9000es..???


maybe yes and maybe no... anyone ever did comparison between the two?
 

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The DVD audio stream is very robust and doesn't suffer from jitter problems like CD. My WinDVD/SB Live 5.1 based PC sounds just as good as my standalone player a Sony 725D. If you are getting a difference then you probably have a problem with your PC. Also DTS is recorded at a high volume than DD, but it is still a superior format.


Jeff
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
jeffy:


yes... i did compare the audio against the pioneer 737 (dv-37) and the audio quality is pretty much the same... however when i put the dio against 9000es, there is a difference...


well, whatever it is.... i am going to change my asus dvd drive to toshiba and see if that helps...
 

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Also be aware that some of the VRX installs are fakes... I am not saying yours is but if so, it may not be up to the minute current as you think...


I am unsure which earlier version the VRX fakes are based on as I tend not to be too keen to try every new patch... I value stability v performance more than some...


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â€Forgive me for asking, but how does WinDVD produce such a different result on digital pass-through?â€


No one has been able to answer that question including an engineer from Dolby Labs. However, when compared everyone agrees that WinDVD AC-3 pass-thru audio quality is not as good as PowerDVD and/or ATI player.



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Best Regards, Cliff

Digital Connection, LLC

[email protected]
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
uninstalled vrx and installed powerdvd 3.0 that comes together with the dio card....


audio quality still pales when compared to 9000es... ati player won't even play...


i'm using radeon 32mb ddr @ [email protected]


the difference in audio quality is mostly in the extreme highs and low...


however when compared to pioneer 737 (dv37) dvd player, audio quality is pretty much the same...


looks like its more than just the software player... i could be wrong though...
 

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mmm, after reading your post, I thought I would spend a bit of time really having a good look at my HTPC vs SONY 7700 & 7000 / DVDo iSCAN combo. To cut a very long story short, I have reverted back to the Sony DVDo iSCAN combo for the time being. Plus, with guests this weekend, I do not need my HTPC (which works great) to suddenly decide to not work. SODS LAW dictates that this would happen. After all, they have been waiting to see the HT room for over a year, and I feel that it is too much of a risk to go HTPC on such an occassion.


Anyhoo, I had forgotten how good the sony DVDO iSCAN setup looked (My Seleco only does 640x480 anyway). Maybe I'll put NT on the HTPC and use that for MAYA and KAYDARA FILMBOX.


I have enjoyed HTPC, but I'm gonna give it a rest for a while and see how I get on. I'll give it a week http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif


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