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Thread: Sound

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    Sound

    Hi everyone, having just spent quite a while replacing my MP3 files with WAV, I have found myself appreciating the quality and clarity of the untouched, lossless music.

    My speakers are pretty old but I think that they are definitely doing their job.
    They are the Henry Kloss Cambridge Soundworks 2.1 (http://www.amazon.com/Cambridge-Soun.../dp/B000068PJE)
    I am also connected to my Sony Theatre system (HT-IS100) via coaxial.
    My motherboard is an Asus P5E with the sound card it comes with.

    Is it worth upgrading the sound card to something better?

    What is the best value for money soundcard out there now?
    I used to have a Creative Audigy 2 with the Bay, but that is long gone.
    I quite like the PCI-Express Asus Xonar, what is the general consensus out there these days?

  2. #2
    Admin team peterb's Avatar
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    Re: Sound

    Onboard soundcards seem pretty good these days - and you have the digital outputs anyway, so you aren't relying on the cards DSP/dac.

    As for wav files, they are lossless, but there are other lossless compression formats you can store, such as ogg-vorbis and flac, although not as well known as mp3, they offer savings in storage space and no loss of quality.
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    Re: Sound

    If you ever plug headphones in or require any kind of fancy processing for games, then an add-in soundcard is the way to go.

    The creative and asus cards are the most popular at the moment - although I personally wouldn't buy another creative card again - they do appear to be the best for gaming with the asus cards coming out on top as far as out-and-out sound clarity goes.
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    Re: Sound

    Quote Originally Posted by peterb View Post
    Onboard soundcards seem pretty good these days - and you have the digital outputs anyway, so you aren't relying on the cards DSP/dac.

    As for wav files, they are lossless, but there are other lossless compression formats you can store, such as ogg-vorbis and flac, although not as well known as mp3, they offer savings in storage space and no loss of quality.
    After looking at the minimal difference in file size between WAV and FLAC/ALC I stuck with WAV knowing it is the best possible. I have digital output to my Sony system, but my speakers are connected via 3.5mm cable

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    Re: Sound

    Quote Originally Posted by shaithis View Post
    If you ever plug headphones in or require any kind of fancy processing for games, then an add-in soundcard is the way to go.

    The creative and asus cards are the most popular at the moment - although I personally wouldn't buy another creative card again - they do appear to be the best for gaming with the asus cards coming out on top as far as out-and-out sound clarity goes.
    I noticed this the other day, when using headphones in the case ports, the quality just wasn't as good as through the speakers

  6. #6
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    Re: Sound

    Quote Originally Posted by Ommid View Post
    I noticed this the other day, when using headphones in the case ports, the quality just wasn't as good as through the speakers
    That isn't really surprising - you are using the onboard DAC etc, but through the Sony system yiou are using that systems DAC - if you listen through headphones from the sound system, quality will be better. If most of your listening is music via the sound system, I doubt that you will notice much difference with a better sound card unless you start looking at the pro end of the market.
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    Re: Sound

    Quote Originally Posted by peterb View Post
    That isn't really surprising - you are using the onboard DAC etc, but through the Sony system yiou are using that systems DAC - if you listen through headphones from the sound system, quality will be better. If most of your listening is music via the sound system, I doubt that you will notice much difference with a better sound card unless you start looking at the pro end of the market.
    It isn't though, most of the time, I am on the 2.1 system. I only use the amp rarely when the neighbours are away and the whole house wants to listen

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    Re: Sound

    http://www.cclonline.com/product-inf...yaa085-0uan00z

    Looks pretty nifty on paper (don't know what it sounds like though)

    If you are a true audiofile, I suspect you really need to listen to a variety to decide which sounds best to your ears and internal sound processing system!

    If you have deep pockets, have a look at these...

    http://www.broadcastwarehouse.com/pc...dcards/238/cat
    Last edited by peterb; 06-05-2009 at 10:12 PM.
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    Does he need a reason? Funkstar's Avatar
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    Re: Sound

    Quote Originally Posted by Ommid View Post
    After looking at the minimal difference in file size between WAV and FLAC/ALC I stuck with WAV knowing it is the best possible. I have digital output to my Sony system, but my speakers are connected via 3.5mm cable
    Minimal differences? You should be able to get anywhere between 40% and 60% reduction in file sizes with FLAC.

    There are good arguments for WAV actually being inferior to FLAC. WAV files do not store any meta data (Tags in other words). If you have managed to do it, it is a non-standard way of doing it and could break other software you use in the future. FLAC on the other hand is much more robust and has full support for metadata, including embeded cover art.

    Have you looked at taking the PC out of the sound reporduction chain completely?

    http://www.slimdevices.com/ I have a growing collection of their networked music players and am a fairly big advocate of what they do Their SqueezeBox Classic (also knows as the SB3) is highly regarded for it's audio quality, both over digital and analogue. Far better than most PC sound hardware. It also has the added bonus of letting you create whole house audio systems, or just letting you keep the PC out of the listening room.

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    Re: Sound

    Quote Originally Posted by Funkstar View Post
    Minimal differences? You should be able to get anywhere between 40% and 60% reduction in file sizes with FLAC.

    There are good arguments for WAV actually being inferior to FLAC. WAV files do not store any meta data (Tags in other words). If you have managed to do it, it is a non-standard way of doing it and could break other software you use in the future. FLAC on the other hand is much more robust and has full support for metadata, including embeded cover art.

    Have you looked at taking the PC out of the sound reporduction chain completely?

    http://www.slimdevices.com/ I have a growing collection of their networked music players and am a fairly big advocate of what they do Their SqueezeBox Classic (also knows as the SB3) is highly regarded for it's audio quality, both over digital and analogue. Far better than most PC sound hardware. It also has the added bonus of letting you create whole house audio systems, or just letting you keep the PC out of the listening room.
    By minimal I mean that MP3 --> WAV is around 10x bigger in file size, at least.
    FLAC --> is only 1.5-2x bigger.

    iTunes has managed to attach Album Art to the WAV files too, which is good as I only use iTunes

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    Does he need a reason? Funkstar's Avatar
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    Re: Sound

    Quote Originally Posted by Ommid View Post
    By minimal I mean that MP3 --> WAV is around 10x bigger in file size, at least.
    FLAC --> is only 1.5-2x bigger.

    iTunes has managed to attach Album Art to the WAV files too, which is good as I only use iTunes
    iTunes is definitely doing something weird, either that or just saving a copy of the artwork to its database and showing that when you call it up.

    I guess 1.5-2x compression only makes a difference when you are talking about lots of music. With 1,400+ albums it makes one hell of a difference.

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    Re: Sound

    Quote Originally Posted by Funkstar View Post
    iTunes is definitely doing something weird, either that or just saving a copy of the artwork to its database and showing that when you call it up.

    I guess 1.5-2x compression only makes a difference when you are talking about lots of music. With 1,400+ albums it makes one hell of a difference.
    I don't have that many to be honest, I have about 100 albums maximum ripped in and the rest remain as MP3. It shows artwork and stores it in its own folder, I cant add any artwork to the songs manually

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