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Realtek ALC898 vs Asus Xonar DX - Page 6

post #51 of 115
Quote:
Originally Posted by friend'scatdied View Post

The comparison wouldn't really be valid unless you matched the output levels within 0.1dB, though. Most people don't match levels properly when comparing these things.
DACs don't make a difference. There's actually quite a bit of literature proving that modern DACs, for the most part, sound the same (or rather, disproving that modern DACs sound different).

highly depends on equipment used and methodology. Also negates the issue of output impedance, which does affect frequency response and is audible.
What I use as the benchmark is an IMD measurement of 0.003% or lower.

http://www.aes.org/e-lib/browse.cfm?elib=2962

Yes, there are many other relevant measurements, but that is one of the more reliable ones for objectively measured audible sound quality.

Here's the spec sheet for the ALC898:

http://goo.gl/ZXr6R

The key things under page 82 is the THD+N DAC and THD+N headphone output. Amplified output impedance is fine at 2 ohm and encouraging.
However factor in that that's the max the DAC chip can do and the real performance is highly dependent on circuit implementation. Take this as it'll measure much worse than the max specs.

e.g. the Fiio E10 uses a Wolfson WM8740 DAC rated at -104dB THD+N @ 0 dBFS
However it only reaches -86dB @ 0 dBFS measured.

As said, IMD is a far better 'real world' measurement than THD.
post #52 of 115
Quote:
Originally Posted by chinesekiwi View Post

highly depends on equipment used and methodology. Also negates the issue of output impedance, which does affect frequency response and is audible.
What I use as the benchmark is an IMD measurement of 0.003% or lower.
http://www.aes.org/e-lib/browse.cfm?elib=2962
Yes, there are many other relevant measurements, but that is one of the more reliable ones for objectively measured audible sound quality.

That is a measurable effect. Ceteris paribus, they will sound the same. If you design an equivalent output stage for DAC A and DAC B, they will suffer the same alterations of the frequency response.

Of course, the key here is that everything we can hear can be defined by measurements. Every difference is electronically explainable -- at this point I think high output impedance is just bad/archaic design, anyway.

NOS DACs are just bad design. They sacrifice frequency response in order to fix time domain response that isn't even a problem (or rather, is inaudible).
Edited by friend'scatdied - 9/19/12 at 6:19am
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post #53 of 115
Everything is not explainable. Not oversampling means nothing. There's no point in resampling before it reaches the reconstruction filter. I think you're thinking of some device that doesn't exist that doesn't even have a reconstruction filter and just outputs literal sample points in a jagged manner.
 
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post #54 of 115
Quote:
Originally Posted by friend'scatdied View Post

That is a measurable effect. Ceteris paribus, they will sound the same. If you design an equivalent output stage for DAC A and DAC B, they will suffer the same alterations of the frequency response.
Of course, the key here is that everything we can hear can be defined my measurements. Every difference is electronically explainable -- at this point I think high output impedance is just bad/archaic design, anyway.
NOS DACs are just bad design. They sacrifice frequency response in order to fix time domain response that isn't even a problem (or rather, is inaudible).

Not doubting that, but in the real world, there is bad and different design implementations, including in output impedance. High output impedance is often used as a shortcut halfass way to preventing dumb consumers from destroying their ears and audio equipment from high dB e.g. no doubt used in the Samsung Galaxy S2 design with the joke 49 ohm output impedance.

Yes, as agreed, no point in NOS DACs.
Most of audio and human hearing in a physics world standpoint has been figured out since the mid 1980s.

the ALC898 is great spec'ed DAC chip but as said, in the real world, circuit implementation determines everything.

Also factor in cost of motherboards that have the ALC 898 vs a cheaper motherboard + soundcard. Not to mention the software features of soundcards such as Dolby and of course, more connection options.
post #55 of 115
Quote:
Originally Posted by ramicio View Post

Everything is not explainable.
Example?
Quote:
Originally Posted by ramicio View Post

Not oversampling means nothing. There's no point in resampling before it reaches the reconstruction filter. I think you're thinking of some device that doesn't exist that doesn't even have a reconstruction filter and just outputs literal sample points in a jagged manner.

Just giving an example of bad design -- there are still plenty of "ultra high-end" designs that eschew use of a reconstruction filter (many of which include archaic ladder-type DACs that measure terribly to begin with). They sacrifice high-end frequency response to create perfect square waves. This isn't a big deal to the old, wealthy crowd they're marketed to anyway -- the audible impact to the FR isn't as important to them as the inaudible impulse response benefits. Doubtful they can hear well at 20KHz anyway.

Why would you create a NOS design in this Delta-Sigma age? There are too many benefits to filtering to ignore.
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post #56 of 115
Phsycoacoustics...

What you are talking about is not a NOS DAC. You are talking about some BS DIY audiophool design that some jerkoff coined as a NOS DAC. It's literally not even a DAC if it doesn't have a reconstruction filter. I don't think there has EVER been a commercial chip sold that does what you describe. Non-oversampling means it does not resample before the reconstruction filter, which is a good thing.
 
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post #57 of 115
Quote:
Originally Posted by ramicio View Post

Phsycoacoustics...
What you are talking about is not a NOS DAC. You are talking about some BS DIY audiophool design that some jerkoff coined as a NOS DAC. It's literally not even a DAC if it doesn't have a reconstruction filter. I don't think there has EVER been a commercial chip sold that does what you describe. Non-oversampling means it does not resample before the reconstruction filter, which is a good thing.

That's not the same thing. We can measure everything in sound perception with current tools. However, tying this data back to accurate psychoacoustic models is something that remains a point of significant (potentially futile) research. Psychoacoustics is opening a can of worms since you include linguistics, mental associations and reactions: what is "accuracy?"

Chips don't do it. The equipment designers do. Yes, every competently-designed DAC needs a reconstruction filter.

What are the audible (and thereby measurable) benefits of "not resampling before the reconstruction filter"? Oversampling (and noise shaping) are some of the milestone characteristics of contemporary delta-sigma designs.
Edited by friend'scatdied - 9/19/12 at 7:56am
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post #58 of 115
Psychoacoustics are BS and always will be. If someone's fine being a cheap-ass who thinks they only need ~200 kbps, fine, but it just doesn't apply to those of us with ears who want artifact-free music.

The reconstruction filter "over-samples" anyway by many many times, anyway. The over-sampling you're talking about is just re-sampling. It's done before the reconstruction filter and is just as pointless as up-sampling in software. They are usually only 4x or 8x, so no, it has zero to do with the reconstruction filter.
 
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post #59 of 115
Hello, im new here. I'm from the Philippines where people cheapout most of the time when building their rig, but that's another story smile.gif

I recently needed to buy a Sound Card when the other day i was playing then a sudden Lightning Storm came about. A powersurge (i think) came about and made the electricity flicker, and as a result my on-board (Realtek ALC889 on a gigabyte m750sli) audio got fried as well as my TV Tuner.

I'm no audiophile and i really am not into discrete audio when my monthly income is about us$500. I chanced upon discussions about audio cards and decided to get either the Xonar DSX /DS or DX since availability here in manila is very limited to parts like these although we have a lot of high end Graphic Cards, MoBo and Processors readily available in Stores, again the purchase was because of necessity. I have to stick to buying what they have in store since buying on-line is entirely a difficult proposition because of importation taxes/duties.

I ended up buying the DSX since it was about half the price of the DX and has pcie rather than PCI because i plan to retire my 4 year old rig soon.

As a casual Gamer, i immediately found the audio being to rich as compared to my on board audio. i fiddled around the settings to find out where i'd feel comfortable. but still i feel like the on-board audio is what i'm "used" to, that the DSX was giving me too much of what i expect from what i hear in my games. BTW i mainly use 5.1 speakers (logitech x540) i rarely use headphone, but when i do i use a Skullcandy Hesh, again because of cost considerations.

After trying it out in CoD AW2, H.A.W.X. and Starcraft2, there were sounds i didn't use to notice when i was on onboard audio. Does it mean that discrete audio is better for me? again i'd say it's not what i'm used to.

Trying it out on music from iTunes, playing Adele, U2, Sting, Soundgarden, Judgement Night OST, Bee Gee's and Barry White which were directly ripped from the CD using apple lossless encoder, i find the sound quality quite surprising. some of the odd hisses and unexpected clicks are now gone, i would say clearer and more distinct sounding music was given by this card. But i would say a little too clear. Although now i'm able to make the music louder without loosing quality even when the volume is turned on to the highest setting it's still clear unlike before when using the onboard audio.

Movies i will try latter, i'm still looking for a good HD movie to try out . And i'll be testing the DSX soon on my two other rigs an HTPC with an Gigabyte MA785GM-US2H and PhenomII X2 550BE and an Old Foxconn 975X7AB-8EKRS2H with a Q6600 just to have a fair comparison.

My Gaming/Photo Editing/Work PC has a Gigabyte M750SLI-DS4, Phenom II x4 940BE, Prolimatech Mega Shadow, Palit GTX 460 1GB, G.Skill 2x2GB DDR2-1100, Corsair HX750, 2x WD 640GB Black and 1 640GB Green on a Lancool k62.

Sorry for the very long post
post #60 of 115
Quote:
Originally Posted by ramicio View Post

Psychoacoustics are BS and always will be. If someone's fine being a cheap-ass who thinks they only need ~200 kbps, fine, but it just doesn't apply to those of us with ears who want artifact-free music.
The reconstruction filter "over-samples" anyway by many many times, anyway. The over-sampling you're talking about is just re-sampling. It's done before the reconstruction filter and is just as pointless as up-sampling in software. They are usually only 4x or 8x, so no, it has zero to do with the reconstruction filter.

Why would you not oversample? It makes filter design much easier and construction cheaper. It is an important part of ADC/DAC design. Are you certain you do not have them confused? I agree that up-sampling can be a bit silly in a competent design.

Again, I contend that there is no good in NOS DACs.
Edited by friend'scatdied - 9/19/12 at 8:12am
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