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Thread: On-board Audio VS. Sound Card

  1. #21
    Maximum Bitrate cadence117's Avatar
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    well it is going to improve the quality
    i mean i doubt the whole soundcard buisness is a hoax
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  2. #22
    Super Moderator. If my typing sucks it's probably because I'm driving.... turbocad6's Avatar
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    there are other factors that affect how a sound card works & sounds besides the sampling rate. The output line voltage is a big factor, & the signal/noise ratio comes into play. on board sound will probably top out at somewhere between 1.5 & 2 volts before clipping(distortion). a high end head unit for an automotive environment can push between 5-8v & some even more. a good usb sound card should put out a bit more than 2v clean & there's the main difference, unfortunately no spec.s are given so hard to compare, I've always had luck with the extigys. if your running multiple amps you will want to search fourums for info. on line drivers, you could probably use a line driver on the mb sound, but keep in mind that as the signal is amplified so is the ground floor noise, not a good thing...

  3. #23
    FLAC Pudge's Avatar
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    Ya and onboard video looks the same as a Radeon 9800 .................................................. .................................................. .................................................. .................................................. .....................
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  4. #24
    MySQL Error Scouse Monkey's Avatar
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    I have to say that i tested my laptop onboard sound through a crappy tape connector and i was pretty impressed by the results. I am little bit wary of all this uber high quality sound stuff in a car cos at the end of the day i have an engine reving away up front, an exhaust giving off a bit of noise and low profile tyres on crappy british roads and to top it off a tinny french car which doesnt have the level of soundproofing of a heavy German tank (hehe) so compered to radio and tapes anything sounds good. Yeah i will be updating/adding speakers but thats mainly get more bass etc. In a much quieter car i am sure you will notice the difference but i think you should try improving other areas first like wiring and speakers and then see if you need a new 100 audigy2 soundcard (after installing the latest drivers, software etc of course). I have no doubt that there are some soundcards that are much better than the on-board stuff but i think the main advantage of the usb soundcard is that you can relocate it near your amp to keep the audio cable length down.

  5. #25
    Maximum Bitrate starfox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NRGZ28
    How is an external card "better" then an on board audio chip ? They all sample at 44 or 48 KHZ and use similar Burr-Brown DACs.... It probably sounds better to you because they apply sound shaping filters that your onboard sound doesn't use. Try to use an EQ with your onboard sound card and I bet it will sound a lot better
    When you design any sort of circuit, there's always a tradeoff between noise / crosstalk and other interference and the amount of space you can occupy on the PCB (which is related to cost). Onboard sound is usually designed so the sound quality is acceptable, and the board cost is minimised. Some better quality PCI and USB soundcards are designed so sound quality is good, and as a result the board cost is increased. (of course there's some PCI and USB soundcards that're also designed for minimal cost, and you probably want to watch out for these).

    You say there's Burr-Brown DACs on soundcards? Which ones have these? I thought usually the DAC is integrated with the AC97 codec or I2C IC?

  6. #26
    Variable Bitrate NRGZ28's Avatar
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    AC97 is a standard... not an actual DAC chip Realtek uses Burr-Brown DACs and so does Soundblaster to give you two examples...

    Onboard video and a Radeon 9000 is like comparing apples to oranges... that's a totally different thing altogether

    Signal to noise ratio is probably the only deciding factor between an onboard sound "card" and an external one. The newer SoundBlasters' SNR ratio is well over 100db which is awesome in a totally quiet, studio like environment... but I'm pretty sure in a car you won't be able to notice a difference.

    ALL I'm saying is.... I don think it's absolutely necessary to get an external sound card. The onboard audio is definetly up to standard for what we do here.
    But of course everyone is going to buy whatever they want.... I'm just saying it's not ABSOOLUTELY necessary like some forum members make it sound That's all...
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  7. #27
    Maximum Bitrate cadence117's Avatar
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    well for some closure here,
    i went ahead and ordered myself a USB Soundblaster MP3+,
    I'll post back when i test it out
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  8. #28
    Nic
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    Quote Originally Posted by NRGZ28
    AC97 is a standard... not an actual DAC chip Realtek uses Burr-Brown DACs and so does Soundblaster to give you two examples...

    Onboard video and a Radeon 9000 is like comparing apples to oranges... that's a totally different thing altogether

    Signal to noise ratio is probably the only deciding factor between an onboard sound "card" and an external one. The newer SoundBlasters' SNR ratio is well over 100db which is awesome in a totally quiet, studio like environment... but I'm pretty sure in a car you won't be able to notice a difference.

    ALL I'm saying is.... I don think it's absolutely necessary to get an external sound card. The onboard audio is definetly up to standard for what we do here.
    But of course everyone is going to buy whatever they want.... I'm just saying it's not ABSOOLUTELY necessary like some forum members make it sound That's all...

    i dont think its comparing apples to oranges, the video is clearer on my 9800 than on onboard video, likewise the sound is clearer on my audigy than on onboard sound....

    the same thing applies with cd players, compare a cheap cd player and an expensive one and the expensive one will sound better, they both have the same sampling rate but one uses better components, if it didnt sound better no one would buy the more expensive one!

    like you said its not absolutely necessary but IMO for anyone with a decent stereo its stupid not to use a decent sound card cause you may as well have bought a cheaper stereo system
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  9. #29
    Maximum Bitrate starfox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NRGZ28
    AC97 is a standard... not an actual DAC chip Realtek uses Burr-Brown DACs and so does Soundblaster to give you two examples...
    I know AC97 is a standard, i was saying that the AC97 Codec ICs usually have integrated DACs in them. If you take a look at the datasheets of the ICs, you'll find that as well. With regards to the SoundBlaster range and Realtek using Burr-Brown DACs, I can't find any evidence to support this at all?

    The Audigy2 series use Burr-Brown ADCs, but they have Cirrus Logic and Crystal Audio DACs.

    The layout of the SB Live and Audigy1 boards only have the provision for AC97 path DAC through an AC97 Codec IC which is either a Philips, Esonique, or Sigmatel IC, or output through I2S which goes through a Philips DAC chip.

    If you look up the Realtek 650ALC datasheet (which is a common onboard sound IC) you'll see that it has AC97 data input pins, and has an integrated DAC; it has stereo and SPDIF outputs, and usually with onboard sound the stereo outputs are directly connected to a 3.5mm jack. It has no mention of Burr-Brown on the datasheet? I also remember that when AOpen put out their Vacuum tube motherboards, they used Realtek's 650ALC which annoyed a lot of people, because the onboard DAC isn't that good...

    Sorry if i'm being pedantic...

  10. #30
    Constant Bitrate dingofarmer's Avatar
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    M-Audio Sonica, Works great love the digital interface, very clean sound, Zero Noise..... It actually sounds better than my old HU. Cheap too, 15$ on Ebay, and the new M-audio gear is even better. Nice alternative to creative labs, if what theyoffer will not work in your particular situation.

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