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EDIT: Are my headphones really so bad....

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
that they can be maxed out by onboard sound?

New topic. I have both my onboard sound and Essence STX hooked up and running. I'm switching my pair of headphones (JVC HA-RX700s) between the cards and listening to difference in music and positional audio in games.

There is none.

That must mean that the Realtek ALC889 is "maxing the headphones out" in the same way an HD 5770 will max out Call of Duty 4. So, up to what headphones could a Realtek ALC889 max out? Could they max AD700s?

-------------------------------------------------------
Old thread topic:

K well I bought a Xonar Essence STX. tbh I don't think it's a $196 upgrade over the Realtek ALC889, but that's prob cause my headphoans suck. Anyway I was adjusting the settings in the driver, when all of a sudden I noticed this white noise coming from both sides of my headphones where there was none while using them with my Realtek ALC889. I was able to fix it by changing the sample rate from 44.1KHz to, well, any other setting, be it 48, 96 or 192KHz. But I WANT TO USE 44.1KHz.

Quote:
by white noise I mean this, just quieter:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gZrH00YfiXU
I returned the STX to Fry's and got another one. Unfortunately I had the same problem.

Anyway, what I need from you guys is for someone to convince me that I don't have to have my sample rate set to 44.1 KHz. I have attached a picture of some music in my playlist that is not 44.1 KHz to help you with your arguments. Also, could someone explain to me the 88200 KHz sample rate to me? That's clearly 44.1 multiplied by 2, but why in the hell would they do that? Nothing lets you set your sample rate to 88200KHz...

Also, what is that lovely mechanical clicking sound that I hear when switching the analog out from one setting to another?


Edited by cuad - 3/26/11 at 7:47pm
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post #2 of 26
88.2Khz is just cleaner downsampling than the traditional 96Khz to 44.1
post #3 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by t0adphr0g View Post
88.2Khz is just cleaner downsampling than the traditional 96Khz to 44.1
I see, ty. So, why so much neglect for multiples of 44.1? Why no 88.2KHz or 176.4KHz options on my sound card?
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post #4 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by cuad View Post
K well I bought a Xonar Essence STX. tbh I don't think it's a $196 upgrade over the Realtek ALC889, but that's prob cause my headphoans suck. Anyway I was adjusting the settings in the driver, when all of a sudden I noticed this white noise coming from both sides of my headphones where there was none while using them with my Realtek ALC889. I was able to fix it by changing the sample rate from 44.1KHz to, well, any other setting, be it 48, 96 or 192KHz. But I WANT TO USE 44.1KHz.

So today I started fidgeting with it again and I thought I may as well try a different pair of headphones. Instead of using my $40 HA-RX700s (don't say it, simca) I hooked up a 4$ pair of Sentry HO248s and there is not a drop of white noise to be heard out of them. Now I am worried that the STX has illuminated a defect within my HA-RX700s.

But I'm also thinking, could these crappy Sentry HO248s be hiding a defect within the STX?

With that in mind, it could EVEN be that the HA-RX700s have illuminated a defect in the sound card.

Here are some datums to help:

Sentry HO248s
• Frequency Range: 20Hz-20,000Hz
• Impedance: 32Ohms

JVC HA-RX700s
• Frequency Response: 8Hz-25,000Hz
• Nominal Impedance: 48ohms

I'm guessing that if there's any hiding or illumination going on, it has to do with the frequency range that each headphone is capable of.

Anyway, what I need from you guys is for someone to convince me that I don't have to have my sample rate set to 44.1 KHz. I have attached a picture of some music in my playlist that is not 44.1 KHz to help you with your arguments. Also, could someone explain to me the 88200 KHz sample rate to me? That's clearly 44.1 multiplied by 2, but why in the hell would they do that? Nothing lets you set your sample rate to 88200KHz...

Also, what in the hell is that god awful mechanical clicking sound that I hear when switching the analog out from one setting to another?
Answer: It means your $4 Sentry isn't as sensitive as your RX700. You've also shelled out way too much for a sound card for the headphones you own.

On sampling rates: From a signal processing standpoint, since the human ear can only hear up to around 20 kHz, the Nyquist rate states that in order to fully reconstruct a sampled waveform (in this case, a piece of music), the sampling rate must be at least twice as high as the maximum frequency of the waveform being sampled. This prevents aliasing from occurring in the frequency domain representation of the signal. Of course, none of this will make any sense to you if you haven't taken calculus and don't know anything about Fourier transforms or Laplace transforms.

So in short, past 44.1kHz, the gains that you might find from obtaining a piece of digital media is NEGLIGIBLE.

On the topic of your sound card clicking: Miniature relays. The Xonar cards have the excellent feature of using relays to change audio outputs and power levels. This is something found on higher end sound equipment and is honestly one of the primary reasons why I like my Xonar D1.
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post #5 of 26
STX owner here and the clicking you speak of, and that RallyMaster was kind enough to point out, is a normal function of the card.

I have to ask because you didn't include it in your OP, did you update your driver?

http://support.asus.com/download/dow...Language=en-us
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post #6 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RallyMaster View Post
Answer: It means your $4 Sentry isn't as sensitive as your RX700. bla bla bla .
How would this explain why changing the sample rate in the driver software from 44.1Khz to any other value eliminates the white noise entirely?

I've tested with two more pairs of cheapo headphones. The Maxell NB-201s, some no-name Panasonics and Sonys. Specs are as follows:

Maxell NB-201s
- Frequency Response: 20Hz - 22,000Hz
- Sensitivity: 100 dB +/- 3dB
- Impedance: 32ohms

Panasonic ???
- ???

Sony ???
- ???

The Maxells have similar stats to the Sentrys and also don't playback any white noise at 44.1KHz. BUT, the Panasonics DID. So did the Sonys.

Quote:
So in short, past 44.1kHz, the gains that you might find from obtaining a piece of digital media is NEGLIGIBLE.
Well that's good because I don't want to use any other value. Maybe 48KHz once in a while since I've seen some movie audio sampled at that rate, but I don't watch movies.

Quote:
On the topic of your sound card clicking: Miniature relays. The Xonar cards have the excellent feature of using relays to change audio outputs and power levels. This is something found on higher end sound equipment and is honestly one of the primary reasons why I like my Xonar D1.
Quote:
STX owner here and the clicking you speak of, and that RallyMaster was kind enough to point out, is a normal function of the card.
ty to both

Quote:
Originally Posted by Slightly skewed View Post
I have to ask because you didn't include it in your OP, did you update your driver?

http://support.asus.com/download/dow...Language=en-us
I downloaded the drivers from ASUS on thursday so I'm up to date unless there is a new version out, but I suppose that it would be worth it to test with older drivers.
Edited by cuad - 3/26/11 at 1:18pm
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post #7 of 26
Thread Starter 
Bad news everyone. Fry's let me exchange it for another STX and it turns out that it does the same thing.
Edited by cuad - 3/26/11 at 3:49pm
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post #8 of 26
Why did you buy an STX with RX700s? I totally don't even understand that unless if you were simply future proofing.

If 44.1khz sample ratio give you noise, simply use 48khz. A lot of music uses 48khz as well. Not much of an up scale on top of that.

I didn't think it was a problem with your STX. If anything maybe it's a problem with your RX700s, but I don't know that.

"That must mean that the Realtek ALC889 is "maxing the headphones out" in the same way an HD 5770 will max out Call of Duty 4. So, up to what headphones could a Realtek ALC889 max out? Could they max AD700s? "

That seems more plausible, but can't tell you for sure. For me, onboard ALC 1200 to Xonar DX was night and day.

ST is 200, STX is 180. Unless you mean 196 after tax.
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post #9 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Simca View Post
Why did you buy an STX with RX700s? I totally don't even understand that unless if you were simply future proofing.
Well I had the money and I thought they would make my headphones sound better. But now I understand that, well, I'd probably need $400 headphones to get my money's worth out of this card, not $40 or even $100 headphones. However, I would never spend that much on headphones, so, there's no way to justify having an STX.

Quote:
That seems more plausible, but can't tell you for sure. For me, onboard ALC 1200 to Xonar DX was night and day.
I'll bet you were testing with cans better than the RX700. What I want to do now is get myself some better headphones to test the limits of the ALC889. Problem is there aren't any stores around here that sell AD700s, the ones I'd like to test most at this point.

Quote:
ST is 200, STX is 180. Unless you mean 196 after tax.
Yes after taxes.
Edited by cuad - 3/26/11 at 10:40pm
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post #10 of 26
It does not take $400 headphones to notice the difference. My DT880s ($200-$250) are very different from different sources, and lower end hi-fi headphones like the AD-700s, Denon D1001, or really any well reviewed $100-$150 headphone should benefit from the STX as well.
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