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[RT] ASUS Introduces the Essence STX II and Essence STX II 7.1 Sound Cards - Page 10

post #91 of 231
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mand12 View Post

Does anyone have a good link for a noob's guide to sound cards? Why someone who doesn't even know how much he's missing compared to an audiophile would want one, what benefits they provide, what sort of equipment I'd want to connect to one, that sort of thing? Ideally something somewhat technical, with more than the metaphory-style "warmer" "better" "fuller" language.

I'm going on 12 years now of building my own PCs, and not a single one of them has had a sound card, only the output on the back of the motherboard. I know it's crap, but I don't know it's crap, you get me?

Today's sound cards don't do much "processing", they basically just generate a cleaner analog audio signal, and often come bundled with with integrated amps and control software.

Start a thread! And avoid head-fi biggrin.gif

Quote:
Originally Posted by kishagi View Post

cant you pair a sound card with a receiver?

Unless your reciever is old, there's no point. Reciever DACs are generally better than sound cards, and even come with DSPs like Dolby Headphone or Pro Logic... Modern receivers are basically huge external soundcards.
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post #92 of 231
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mand12 View Post

Does anyone have a good link for a noob's guide to sound cards? Why someone who doesn't even know how much he's missing compared to an audiophile would want one, what benefits they provide, what sort of equipment I'd want to connect to one, that sort of thing? Ideally something somewhat technical, with more than the metaphory-style "warmer" "better" "fuller" language.

I'm going on 12 years now of building my own PCs, and not a single one of them has had a sound card, only the output on the back of the motherboard. I know it's crap, but I don't know it's crap, you get me?
For a more factual, no-nonsense approach, I'd suggest learning what phenomena affect audible fidelity, and how much of them (harmonic distortion, intermodulation distortion, frequency response, background noise, crosstalk, and human ear's tolerance for them). Also, there's lots of psychological stuff going around like expectation bias (basically the reason why every audio review is so glowing and hyped, people hear what they want to hear). You might want to try an A/B comparison between two different sound cards, with someone else changing the device so you don't know which one is playing (to eliminate your own expectations and sighted biasing). If you can't tell a difference, your equipment or ears is at it's limit. (Obviously you'll need to know about ABX and level matching methodology at first).

There's lots of audio hugboxes around the internet that choose to blatantly ignore objective and scientific data about how sound works and how do humans hear, just to get that feelgood of buying stuff and having their mind make up the alleged (and more or less nonexistent) differences. Learning the real stuff isn't as straightforward as asking on forums "hey I like Skrillex, what headphones/soundcard combination should I get?"

Generally, if you have some gamer headset/headphones, you are okay with most if not any soundcard, unless you can hear audible noise/chirps/interference from PSU/GPU/CPU/motherboard (happens a lot if power filtering is bad). They don't provide massive sound quality differences, minor improvements maybe. For peace of mind, I'd stick with using a TOSLINK or USB output into an external DAC/amp or receiver that handles all what you need, most likely better than the sound card ever could (with fancy gimmics like Dolby Headphone and surroundifyers too).
Edited by seepra - 3/27/14 at 1:59pm
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post #93 of 231
Quote:
Originally Posted by seepra View Post


It's neither necessary to glorify the single SNR spec as much as they're hyping it. Undithered CD and 16-bit FLAC sources have a SNR of 96dB. To fully enjoy a 124dB SNR you would have to play at a level where loudest signal in a digital file is over 124dB, and that'd break most headphones and most certainly cause permanent injury.

Have you heard how loud some people listen to their music?
Edited by DVLux - 3/27/14 at 1:58pm
post #94 of 231
Quote:
Originally Posted by DVLux View Post

Have you heard how loud some people listen to their music?
At those volumes you're looking at a hearing impairment within hours/days/weeks/months depending on actual usage and volume levels, at that point a miniscule change in quantization noise that is -80dB below the dynamic range of the brick-wall limited record is the least of their problems biggrin.gif
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post #95 of 231
Yeah....124 dB is right around the threshold for causing instantaneous hearing damage.
post #96 of 231
Quote:
Originally Posted by seepra View Post

The DA chip alone doesn't describe the allegedly different sound signature of a circuitry. The chip doesn't magically provide miniscule distortion for instance, if the surrounding circuitry is sub-par, is used off a sub-par power supply/voltage, and a lot of other factors. You can grab a great receiver for $400-500, whereas splurging $300 on an unbalanced internal DAC and then trying to afford power amplifier for your speakers with less money seems unlikely at best (unless one is okay with Class-D amps based on TPA3116, TA2020 or other neat and affordable ICs)

It's neither necessary to glorify the single SNR spec as much as they're hyping it. Undithered CD and 16-bit FLAC sources have a SNR of 96dB. To fully enjoy a 124dB SNR you would have to play at a level where loudest signal in a digital file is over 124dB, and that'd break most headphones and most certainly cause permanent injury.
you mentioned multiple inputs and outputs, but the HT/audiophile market is changing. I for one already had the needed amplification, also you mentioned PEQ in a previous post - you only get per channel PEQ with Audyssey XT32 ($1k and above) or Trinnov ($$$$$). New Onkyo sub $600 receivers no longer include basic Audyssey , they have a proprietary EQ scheme that doesn't EQ the mains at all.

However, JRiver was game changer in the PC audio/ht game. Many people use their PC's as active crossovers, room correction (yes per channel in JRiver). I used to use an Onkyo 809 as a prepro, now....my PC handles all sources and I can repair it myself. I think the ST/h6 and JRiver pushed me in that direction and I haven't turned back. My system is in my gallery.
post #97 of 231
I've heard bad things about driver support for Asus' sound cards. Will give this one time to see how it develops.
post #98 of 231
Quote:
Originally Posted by pratesh View Post

I've heard bad things about driver support for Asus' sound cards. Will give this one time to see how it develops.

They're still using the same processor. The drivers will probably be 99% identical to STX drivers (with a re-skinned control panel or something).
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post #99 of 231
Quote:
Originally Posted by prerich View Post

you only get per channel PEQ with Audyssey XT32 ($1k and above) or Trinnov ($$$$$).
My Yamaha RX-V771 has per-channel PEQ o_O it cost me $399.

Also, I haven't heard of many HT enthusiast who'd run a PC sound card, regardless of anyone's perception of the currently trending gadgets. Receivers are going strong, and have a much wider feature and input set than internal cards. The original question was about whether someone would like one in their HT, and I meant to answer that it's unlikely and backed it up with some reasoning. How would you even hook multiple HDMI inputs into a PC to use the PC sound card as the output source?
Edited by seepra - 3/27/14 at 10:35pm
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post #100 of 231
Quote:
Originally Posted by seepra View Post

My Yamaha RX-V771 has per-channel PEQ o_O it cost me $399.

Also, I haven't heard of many HT enthusiast who'd run a PC sound card, regardless of anyone's perception of the currently trending gadgets. Receivers are going strong, and have a much wider feature and input set than internal cards. The original question was about whether someone would like one in their HT, and I meant to answer that it's unlikely and backed it up with some reasoning. How would you even hook multiple HDMI inputs into a PC to use the PC sound card as the output source?
The 771 is very long in the tooth by HT standards. The accompanying "per channel PEQ" is very limited 7 total bands - with a PC , JRiver, and a multichannel soundcard the options are limitless and more precise. Oh you don't need multiple HDMI inputs ....your PC replaces everything except for your amps. The STX/ST is the minimum we would use, many of us opt for pro interfaces like RME, Lynx, and Mytek. I don't need a separate bd player, CD player, DVR, etc., it's all in my PC. I'm new to this forum, so I won't link to others unless it's allowed - but if you did a search on using a PC as a prepro - you'd Ben quite surprised. P.S. - I 've used a Yamaha rx-v663 as prepro until I replaced it with the Onkyo 809, the Onkyo was replaced by my HTPC.
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