Why my HTPC sounds worse than the CD Player even though both are connected over SPDIF

Discussion in 'Tips and Tricks' started by BugsBunny, September 1, 2006.

  1. BugsBunny

    BugsBunny Portal Pro

    Joined:
    April 22, 2006
    Messages:
    210
    Likes Received:
    12
    Location:
    Tirol
    Ratings:
    +13 / 0
    Home Country:
    Austria Austria
    Getting the best sound quality out of your HTPC

    or why my HTPC sounds worse than the CD Player even though both are connected over SPDIF?

    See eg:
    https://forum.team-mediaportal.com/showthread.php?t=7025

    Setup:
    1) A CD player digitally connected to an amplifier (SPDIF) playing a track
    2) A HTPC digitally connected to the same amplifier (SPDIF) playing the same track (eg ripped as WAV)
    When doing an A/B comparison it would sound logical that there should be no difference (the same bits should go to the D/A converter
    What is not taken into account here is sample rate conversion see:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sample_rate_conversion

    Most consumer soundcards put out a fixed sample rate of 48kHz.
    I've got an external (AD) DA converter that indicates the sample rate of the signal:
    [​IMG]

    I've tested some motherboards with onboard spdif and some consumer soundcards (soundblaster live!, soundblaster audigy2).
    They always put out a signal with a sample rate of 48kHz on the SPDIF.
    The digital audio CD (and MP3s made of CDs) uses a sample rate of 44,1kHz. So if you play back a CD/file with 44,1kHz the sound chip converts the sample rate to 48kHz. Often the conversion is done with bad quality so you will notice a difference in quality.

    Some pro soundcards do put out the correct sample rate - so there is no audible difference when you do an A/B test in a setup described above.



    Some pro soundcards (and my experience with them) that always put out the correct sample rate over SPDIF:

    Many years I used the sekd Prodif 96 on my main PC, damaged the card and then switched to the DIGI96/8 PAD from RME (uses the same drivers as the sekd Prodif 96).

    When I started with my HTPC project back in march, I thought that I would simply use the DIGI96/8 PAD in my HTPC. But I had issues (stuttering sound) with TV and radio using this card.

    I then bought the M-Audio Audiophile 192 that caused different problems: incompatible with XP + VIA 133 chipset -> bought new MB. Then I found out that the driver (most probably) has a bug if you use the SPDIF out of the card - even got a new card - problem stayed - tested it with different PCs - problem stayed. If you play back a CD or files after some tracks the sound get's scrambled or muted. After a track change sound is OK again - weird!

    In august I finally got an ESI Juli@ since then my HTPC works like a charm and puts out high end sound quality!

    There are probably a few more pro soundcards that do not resample the audio signal.
     
  2. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  3. rtv
    • Team MediaPortal

    rtv Retired Team Member

    Joined:
    April 7, 2005
    Messages:
    3,622
    Likes Received:
    301
    Occupation:
    CTO at ES2000
    Location:
    Osnabruck
    Ratings:
    +301 / 0
    Home Country:
    Germany Germany
    Show System Specs
    In fact some very cheap c-media based soundcards (like the Z-Cyber Nightingale Pro6 for 35 EUR) do not resample, too ;-)

    http://au-ja.de/review-zcyberngp6-1.phtml <-- old german review
     
  4. sderuiter

    sderuiter Portal Pro

    Joined:
    December 2, 2005
    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0
    The Chaintech AV-710 doesn't resample. Unfortunately, you cannot buy this card in Europe, or so it seems. I had mine brought to Europe by a friend from the States. Can't go wrong for USD 25. :)
     
  5. trosty
    • Premium Supporter

    trosty MP Donator

    Joined:
    October 6, 2004
    Messages:
    161
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Zurich/Switzerland
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0
    Home Country:
    Switzerland Switzerland
    Right, that is why I bought the "Typhoon Acoustic 6 Soundkarte" - it was only 22 Euros and it has the 44.1 kHz-option :D .
     
  6. knutinh

    knutinh Portal Pro

    Joined:
    September 4, 2005
    Messages:
    558
    Likes Received:
    2
    Ratings:
    +2 / 0
    Audiophiles will argue that:
    *re-sampling can be detrimental to the sound
    *even though a "bit is a bit", D/A-converters could have less than ideal jitter-suppression. If your soundcard/cable has a high level of jitter, this could lead to audible "frequency-modulation" of the D/A analog output if it does not contain proper PLL/rebuffering/reclocking.

    Me, I use a m-audio audiophile 2496, and I think that people are talking about many differences that simply cannot be heard under ABX testing.

    -k
     
  7. BugsBunny

    BugsBunny Portal Pro

    Joined:
    April 22, 2006
    Messages:
    210
    Likes Received:
    12
    Location:
    Tirol
    Ratings:
    +13 / 0
    Home Country:
    Austria Austria
    Thanks for all the addidions! If someone knows of other soundcards that do not resample the S/PDIF out signal please add them here in this thread.

    @ knutinh:
    Sure jitter can be quite a bad thing, but using a soundcard that does not resample can get you at least one step further to "audiophile sound".
    I'm not a "high end" audio guy, but I do prefer getting the digital signal out clean and let some external converter/amplifier do the D/A conversion.

    I've started this thread because most people think: use your digital out on your onboard soundcard, hook it to some external D/A converter/amplifier/receiver and everything is perfect. Few people know that this digital signal can be messed up, by some bad resampling. Some may notice a difference but don't know what is causing it.
     
  8. knutinh

    knutinh Portal Pro

    Joined:
    September 4, 2005
    Messages:
    558
    Likes Received:
    2
    Ratings:
    +2 / 0
    m-audio audiophile does no resampling, Idont think that any maudio cards do.

    -k
     
  9. johanb

    johanb New Member

    Joined:
    November 11, 2004
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0
    The quite cheap M-Audio Revolution does not resample either.

    I use it with winamp under mp along with the kernel streamer plugin (to bypass windows kernel mixer) to get 44.1 kHz with my mp3's.

    See http://www.stevemonks.com/ksplugin.

    // Johan
     
  10. reagan+carter

    reagan+carter Portal Pro

    Joined:
    September 6, 2006
    Messages:
    221
    Likes Received:
    2
    Occupation:
    bioinformatics white-collar worker, hustler, astro
    Location:
    Nantes, FR
    Ratings:
    +2 / 0
    Every motherboard using a nForce 2/3 audio chipset stamped 'soundstorm' (e.g. the ALC658).
    Everything based on the old Cirrus Logic DSP chip (CS4630), i.e. Turtle Beach Santa Cruz.
     
  11. Henry Mac
    • Premium Supporter

    Henry Mac MP Donator

    Joined:
    September 8, 2006
    Messages:
    69
    Likes Received:
    0
    Occupation:
    wms process engineer
    Location:
    Schiedam
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0
    Home Country:
    Netherlands Netherlands
    I use the m-audio revolution 5.1. Works good BUT when the htpc wakes after suspend the s/pdif connection is not restored. You would need to re-load the drivers and so (re-boot) the machine. Still a case open with m-audio support. I do not expect it to be solved as their support is supposed to be horrible... :mad:

    https://forum.team-mediaportal.com/showthread.php?t=11700&highlight=m-audio.
     
Loading...

Users Viewing Thread (Users: 0, Guests: 0)

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice
  • About The Project

    The vision of the MediaPortal project is to create a free open source media centre application, which supports all advanced media centre functions, and is accessible to all Windows users.

    In reaching this goal we are working every day to make sure our software is one of the best.

             

  • Support MediaPortal!

    The team works very hard to make sure the community is running the best HTPC-software. We give away MediaPortal for free but hosting and software is not for us.

    Care to support our work with a few bucks? We'd really appreciate it!