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Tristan

join:2006-09-10
Nepean, ON
Reviews:
·Start Communicat..
·Rogers Hi-Speed
·Bell Sympatico
·TekSavvy Cable
reply to Krisnatharok

Re: Is on-board RealTek audio really that bad?

said by Krisnatharok:

Would you ever consider writing a guide on audio solutions for home PCs, perhaps by price-point? This is all fantastic information and probably new for many of us.

If you like, I can assist with any research or formatting, but it would be a big help to the forum(s) when recommending builds to people if you had a guide we could get stickied.

Let me mull it over. I have to consider the free time I have. I have a baby due for first light early July, and I'm in the middle of renovating the bathroom and kitchen, then have to start on the baby's room. I might be able to do something in the evening when I can't sleep.

I love this stuff, and can probably do something. I would certainly need help, because there are probably people a lot more knowledgeable in knocking down audio issues than myself.

sk1939
Premium
join:2010-10-23
Mclean, VA
kudos:10
Reviews:
·T-Mobile US
·Verizon FiOS

I can contribute some information as well, I've invested quite a bit into my desktop audio system I'm an attempt to get it to sound as good as possible.

External DACs are better than external audio interfaces for those not recording, less components equals less noise in the signal chain. The other issue is the lack of a volume control with studio monitors. The windows volume control is very lossy digitally, so you would need to find a dac with a volume control for example.



Krisnatharok
Caveat Emptor
Premium
join:2009-02-11
Earth Orbit
kudos:12

If you guys could put something together focusing on a couple different pricepoints (i.e. under $200, $200-500, and over $500) with a couple recommended products, differentiating what is ideal for a headphones-based setup, and then what is ideal for a 2.1 and then a 5.1-or-greater setup... that would pretty much take care of it.
--
Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.



Cthen

join:2004-08-01
Detroit, MI
Reviews:
·Verizon Wireless..
reply to Tristan

said by Tristan:

And most definitely, Asus sound drivers are crap. Almost as bad as their wireless NIC drivers.

I have to agree there and throw in a tip. I use the drivers available at Windows Update for the Xonar cards (I have 2 of them in different machines). Oddly enough, they work a whole lot better than the driver set on the ASUS website.
--
"I like to refer to myself as an Adult Film Efficienato." - Stuart Bondek


Cthen

join:2004-08-01
Detroit, MI
Reviews:
·Verizon Wireless..
reply to trparky

said by trparky:

My guess is that because whatever is in MalwareBytes' Web Site Blocking calls for a DPC that takes longer than it should, it causes the processor to spend more than it should on a single task. At least, that's what I seem to understand. DPCs, or Deferred Procedure Calls are rather technical.

Because of the nature of audio and the fact that it requires near real-time processing, anything that can cause the CPU to lock itself up doing something else will cause an audible audio dropout.

Now back to the original subject.

That is really why a lot of gamers, audiophiles, enthusiasts, etc prefer a real sound card over onboard audio (including myself). Most times (but not in all cases) onboard audio will use your processor rather than being able to support it's own functions.
--
"I like to refer to myself as an Adult Film Efficienato." - Stuart Bondek


trparky
Apple... YUM
Premium,MVM
join:2000-05-24
Cleveland, OH
kudos:2

For the average user that listens to occasional music with a decent pair of headphones, would getting a dedicated sound card be even worth it?
--
Tom
Boycott AT&T uVerse! | Tom's Android Blog


sk1939
Premium
join:2010-10-23
Mclean, VA
kudos:10
Reviews:
·T-Mobile US
·Verizon FiOS

said by trparky:

For the average user that listens to occasional music with a decent pair of headphones, would getting a dedicated sound card be even worth it?

Frankly, not really. Some might be able to tell the difference, but it also depends on your source material. If what you usually listen to is streaming radio or 160k MP3s, the it really dosen't matter.

Tristan

join:2006-09-10
Nepean, ON
Reviews:
·Start Communicat..
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reply to sk1939

My audio interface has a volume control, and its own mixer. I only use the Windows mixer for mixing the various non-ASIO stuff - Windows sounds, WinAMP sound streams, CD sound streams, etc.

My audio interface's volume can be controlled either on-screen, or through the volume control on its front panel, depending on how I have it set.


Tristan

join:2006-09-10
Nepean, ON
Reviews:
·Start Communicat..
·Rogers Hi-Speed
·Bell Sympatico
·TekSavvy Cable
reply to Cthen

said by Cthen:

said by Tristan:

And most definitely, Asus sound drivers are crap. Almost as bad as their wireless NIC drivers.

I have to agree there and throw in a tip. I use the drivers available at Windows Update for the Xonar cards (I have 2 of them in different machines). Oddly enough, they work a whole lot better than the driver set on the ASUS website.

It's funny you should say that. I decided to go that way with my son's system. Rather than install the stupid Asus specific drivers and control panel interface, I just went with what Windows provided. For his needs, it was good.

It's too bad this card isn't compatible with the kXaudio driver project. I used to use that with my SB Live card, and it worked much better than Creative's own crappy high-latency drivers. Creative didn't even want to support ASIO on this card, so it was either use kXaudio, or ASIO4ALL which wasn't very good for providing true low latency.

Tristan

join:2006-09-10
Nepean, ON
Reviews:
·Start Communicat..
·Rogers Hi-Speed
·Bell Sympatico
·TekSavvy Cable
reply to sk1939

said by sk1939:

said by trparky:

For the average user that listens to occasional music with a decent pair of headphones, would getting a dedicated sound card be even worth it?

Frankly, not really. Some might be able to tell the difference, but it also depends on your source material. If what you usually listen to is streaming radio or 160k MP3s, the it really dosen't matter.

My answer would be... depends on whether you can hear the system noise in your headphones.

I can hear higher frequencies than the average person, and system noise bugs the hell out of me. Putting the speakers an inch away from my ear drum is just going to make the system sound that much more audible.

I'm 40, so technically my high frequency response should be dropping off soon. The younger you are, the higher the frequency you can hear, in general.

sk1939
Premium
join:2010-10-23
Mclean, VA
kudos:10
Reviews:
·T-Mobile US
·Verizon FiOS
reply to Tristan

said by Tristan:

My audio interface has a volume control, and its own mixer. I only use the Windows mixer for mixing the various non-ASIO stuff - Windows sounds, WinAMP sound streams, CD sound streams, etc.

My audio interface's volume can be controlled either on-screen, or through the volume control on its front panel, depending on how I have it set.

It's also a professional recording interface with way more capability than most people need. For those starting out, something like an Audioengine D1 would be best, followed by the Matrix Mini-i, and the Cambridge Audio DacMagic Plus.


Pashune
Caps stifle innovation
Premium
join:2006-04-14
Gautier, MS
Reviews:
·Vonage
·CableOne
reply to trparky

Audio wise, I haven't always had the best experiences with Realtek. I had two problems that were plaguing me on my previous build with onboard Realtek audio.

- Random high pitched squealing in between sounds. It's not audible any time audio is being played but if you press stop on your media player, there would be a squealing noise. If I used the generic Windows drivers, this squealing would be a pop noise. Fooling around with windows settings, trying all kinds of drivers, disabling energy saving settings in the BIOS, etc.. nothing fixed it.

- Poor volume. This chip could barely drive my old $15 Sony MDR-XD200's and I found myself setting the volume at or near 100% most of the time.

It's possible I may have received a defective board for all I know.

After losing my patience, I finally gave up and bought an Asus Xonar DG. Never looked back and even used it on my recent build which also has Realtek audio. I don't know if it's plagued with the same issues or not.
--
CableOne 10m/1m



trparky
Apple... YUM
Premium,MVM
join:2000-05-24
Cleveland, OH
kudos:2

I have a pair of Sony MDR-XB500 headphones that I use exclusively as my audio source on my computer.



dolphins
Clean Up Our Oceans
Premium
join:2001-08-22
Westville, NJ
kudos:7
Reviews:
·Comcast
reply to Boricua

said by Boricua:

koitsu See Profile, could this also have to do when my roommate turns off the bathroom fan, it comes out of the speakers?

Could be bad ground somewhere, improper speaker wire shielding, heavy load on circuit causing power drops and surges? Try using a surge protector, you may also require a UPS? It would help if you knew where a dedicated circuit was to test further.
--
Stop The Mindless Killings Stop Over Fishing

sk1939
Premium
join:2010-10-23
Mclean, VA
kudos:10
Reviews:
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reply to trparky

said by trparky:

Sony MDR-XB500

Eww, but that's just opinion of course. Too much bass and not enough clarity in the upper ranges.


Ctrl Alt Del
Premium
join:2002-02-18
kudos:1
reply to koitsu

So, what would you recommend?

In terms of audio quality, the Asus sound cards beat the onboard Realtek in this article: »techreport.com/review/23358/asus···reviewed One Asus card uses Cirrus Logic chips while the other uses Wolfson.

I have had good luck with Cirrus Logic, which Apple tends to use them in their Mac lineup (like my MacBook Pro: »www.ifixit.com/Teardown/MacBook+···n/9515/2)
--
less talk, more music



trparky
Apple... YUM
Premium,MVM
join:2000-05-24
Cleveland, OH
kudos:2

At least according to that review you posted, the Xonar DGX and the Xonar DSX are two very different cards.

The Xonar DSX has no on-board preamp for the use of headphones whereas the Xonar DGX does. The DSX assumes that you're going to use an external amp for headphones and speakers. DGX has all of what you need work right out of the box, preamp and all.
--
Tom
Boycott AT&T uVerse! | Tom's Android Blog



dolphins
Clean Up Our Oceans
Premium
join:2001-08-22
Westville, NJ
kudos:7
Reviews:
·Comcast
reply to trparky

This MoBo came with Realtech high definition integrated audio. The sound quality was horrible, the highs were especially horrible. So bad I thought my new at the time, 5.1 system had damaged tweeters. I deleted the integrated drivers and disabled it in my bios. I installed Audigy 4 PCI card. My only gripe is if my sound system is powered on when waking from standby my sub-woofer pops so loud it scares the crap out of me. I have learned not to leave my sound system powered on when not in use.
--
Stop The Mindless Killings Stop Over Fishing



QA

@rr.com
reply to koitsu

(like anti-virus software, malware scanners, etc. -- anything that causes an interrupt to be held high (stopped/halted) for a while, such as disk I/O) does nothing but destroy responsiveness of a system. Welcome to what we system administrators have to deal with/troubleshoot as well.

I did some QA work for a well known anti-virus product. One bug I found: An inexperienced developer thought it was a good idea to set the process priority to "REAL TME" during update decompression, because, well, that would make it faster. Faster = less disruption, right? ... It's fixed, now.


koitsu
Premium,MVM
join:2002-07-16
Mountain View, CA
kudos:23
reply to Ctrl Alt Del

said by Ctrl Alt Del:

So, what would you recommend?

I recommend people go with whatever works for them. Your needs are probably different from my needs.

I'm not doing anything wild/crazy with these cards, I simply use them normally, just that I rely on some features that many implement in broken/wonky ways, or play certain games or run certain applications that do a great job of finding driver-level bugs/design issues. So it's impossible for me to give recommendations to people.
--
Making life hard for others since 1977.
I speak for myself and not my employer/affiliates of my employer.


koitsu
Premium,MVM
join:2002-07-16
Mountain View, CA
kudos:23

2 recommendations

reply to Boricua

said by Boricua:

koitsu See Profile, could this also have to do when my roommate turns off the bathroom fan, it comes out of the speakers?

What do you mean "when my roommate turns off the fan, it comes out the speakers"? What comes out your speakers? His urine? His anal fumes? Consider me confused.
--
Making life hard for others since 1977.
I speak for myself and not my employer/affiliates of my employer.


dmt1

@208.91.142.x
reply to trparky

I am a musician with a similar setup. I installed Malwarebytes Pro two days ago, and glitch, buzz, here I am. Fortunately forums such as this helped me quickly determine that the new audio latency issue was being caused by the website blocker in MB.



kingdome74
Let's Go Orange
Premium
join:2002-03-27
Syracuse, NY
kudos:5
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS
reply to trparky

I've been having many of the same problems the other posters have been experiencing. I haven't used a Creative card in probably ten years mostly out of fear of their drivers and the overall lack of enthusiasm by other users. Just on a whim I bought the Sound Blaster Zx mostly so I could control my headphone volume without going on the computer. I have to say out of the box it sounds fine. I only have lossless files and I use a set of Sennheiser HD558 cans and the improvement over my Reatek onboard is strikingly better. I wish I could afford DAC's and all that but having just built a new gaming computer money is tight so this was my low cost solution.

That said everyone is different. Different computer components, different listening devices, and, most importantly, different ears. Mine were blown out working on an Air Force flightline so I have very limited upper range and bass actually hurts my ears. Bottom line is what works for me probably won't work for you and the best you can do is make sure you buy from a reputable dealer and save your boxes and receipts.
--
FINAL FOUR, BABY!!!