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Thread: SoundBlaster Audigy 2ZS or 1616M for S/PDIF *ONLY*?

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    SoundBlaster Audigy 2ZS or 1616M for S/PDIF *ONLY*?

    Hi. I am trying to decide which soundcard to use in my car. I have a mini PC in the trunk and right now I'm using Creative's SoundBlaster Audigy 2ZS card. The card is connected to an Alpine PXA-H701 dsp processor. It sounds very good. But I can't help but wonder if the 1616M would yield even BETTER SQ, even through an all digital S/PDIF TosLink connection?

    OK....let's say they'd both be about the same, since they'd both output an digital toslink signal....what about their respective software? That's right, I'm talking about Creative Sound Mixer vs Patchmix software. Which of these two software applications would you say gives better sound quality?

    Creative's Sound Mixer gives you the following:

    1)Main volume
    2)A single Bass slider
    3)A single Treble slider
    4)EAX
    5)An EQ
    6)A few other funky things like pitch control, THX settings, CMSS, etc

    Patchmix gives you:

    1)A main volume slider
    2)A separate strip you can create strictly for ASIO or Wav output
    3)A ****LOAD of effects and processors ranging from different EQs to reverb effects to peak meters and so on
    4)You can mix and match several of these "effects" to create your own "sound" per'se....something Creative's Mixer doesn't do.


    The one BIG advantage of using the SB Audigy 2ZS, is the fact that the cardbus itself already contains a lineout jack that also doubles as an S/PDIF digital out connector. All one needs is a Toslink to mini-male adapter and you can enjoy an all digital s/pdif signal directly from the card.

    The E-MU 1616M however, requires that you connect the cardbus daughter card to an external Microdock via an RJ45-like cable. This Microdock contains a "true" Toslink S/PDIF output, as well as about a dozen line-in/line-outs. Not to mention requires an external power source. I would need to power it through the cigarette lighter.

    So my main question is, if I'm running *ONLY* a digital S/PDIF output to my Alpine processor, which card should I go with if I want the absolute best sound quality in my car? Should I continue to use the SoundBlaster Audigy card or should I connect the E-MU 1616M and couple it with the external Microdock? And is Patchmix better than Creative SoundMixer as far as SQ goes?

  2. #2
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    are you running your Audigy 2 ZS in bit perfect mode?

    also, if you're so concerned with SQ why are you trying to use the built in tuning features on the card and not the Alpine 701?

    If you want the absolute best SQ, you should get away from the 701 and go toa 900 or a DBX drive rack...
    Jan Bennett
    FS: VW MKIV Bezel for 8" Lilliput - 95% Finished

    Please post on the forums! Chances are, someone else has or will have the same questions as you!

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    Quote Originally Posted by RedGTiVR6 View Post
    are you running your Audigy 2 ZS in bit perfect mode?
    Yes.

    also, if you're so concerned with SQ why are you trying to use the built in tuning features on the card and not the Alpine 701?
    Good question. It's cuz I don't know how

    The guy at Traffic Jamz said he didn't really mess with the EQ on the 701 but that all the X-Overs or whatever are tuned up.....whatever that means.

    I really do wanna learn how to use the 701. I peaked at the manual but it doesn't make any sense to me. Is the thread that explicitly discusses how to use the 701's features even for beginners? I'm currently too afraid to even touch the damn thing

    If you want the absolute best SQ, you should get away from the 701 and go toa 900 or a DBX drive rack...
    If only I had that kinda money at my disposal

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    Quote Originally Posted by isamu View Post
    Yes.
    If you are then you're already getting the bit stream as best you can. Changing sound cards isn't going to change a thing.



    Good question. It's cuz I don't know how

    The guy at Traffic Jamz said he didn't really mess with the EQ on the 701 but that all the X-Overs or whatever are tuned up.....whatever that means.

    I really do wanna learn how to use the 701. I peaked at the manual but it doesn't make any sense to me. Is the thread that explicitly discusses how to use the 701's features even for beginners? I'm currently too afraid to even touch the damn thing
    So why did you spend all that money on it then? There are much cheaper options out there to get audio from your PC to your amps...

    Essentially what you're saying is that you're too scared to mess with the 701 and the EQ settings on it, but that you're more than willing to mess with it o the computer? What in the world is the difference then? Seems like a super waste of a 701 to me.

    BTW - Jason spent a LOT of time writing up this FAQ specifically to help out people like yourself.

    If you're not willing to do it yourself, I'd recomend taking it to someone to have them tune the car. You will get MUCH more out of it than you currently have, especially if the guy that messed with it the first time didn't do any EQ work...
    Jan Bennett
    FS: VW MKIV Bezel for 8" Lilliput - 95% Finished

    Please post on the forums! Chances are, someone else has or will have the same questions as you!

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    Quote Originally Posted by RedGTiVR6 View Post
    So why did you spend all that money on it then? There are much cheaper options out there to get audio from your PC to your amps...

    Essentially what you're saying is that you're too scared to mess with the 701 and the EQ settings on it, but that you're more than willing to mess with it o the computer? What in the world is the difference then? Seems like a super waste of a 701 to me.

    BTW - Jason spent a LOT of time writing up this FAQ specifically to help out people like yourself.

    If you're not willing to do it yourself, I'd recomend taking it to someone to have them tune the car. You will get MUCH more out of it than you currently have, especially if the guy that messed with it the first time didn't do any EQ work...

    Hi Red. You have a good point. But I certainly don't regret buying the unit. The more I listen to my installation, the more I like it. What I mentioned about what the installer said wasn't verbatim. He said something along those lines, but I can't remember the specifics. I will talk to him again tomorrow. Please don't get the impression that i am unsatisfied with the sound of my installation. Far from it. I took a drive around town today and honestly, at times, my jaw was on the floor! The remastered version of Depeche Mode's Violator, for example, sounds UN-FREAKIN-BELIEVABLE!!!!!!!!!! As does Once Upon a Time by Simple Minds. And trust me, after fiddling around, I will get to know the H701 over time. But I will post my other H701 questions in the appropriate thread.

    Anyway let's get back on topic. RedGTiVR6, I would like to pick your brain for a little bit and ask you a few questions regarding the SoundBlaster if you don't mind:


    1)Could you do me a favor and try to think back to when you were using the SB Audigy 2Z? When you were using it, can you tell me where, approximately, you kept the main volume slider most of the time? My installer was adamant about keeping it right at or just below the 90% mark. He said it's best to keep it there, and then use the H701 to control the volume to where I'm comfortable listening to the music. I haven't been keeping the SoundBlaster card up THAT high, but somewhere around the 70%-85% mark, and have been fiddling around with DFX and Foobar's own volume slider see how I like it.


    2)Can you tell me approximately where you used to keep your bass and treble sliders in the Sound Blaster sound mixer menu? Did you have them both fairly high? Right now I am finding that they sound good at about 48% Bass and 65%-75% Treble. What do you think?


    3)Which software player do you personally prefer? Foobar or Winamp?

    4)With whichever one you run, do you run ASIO out or Kernal Stream? Do you resample? Up to what? 48Mhz? 96Mhz?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by isamu View Post
    Hi Red. You have a good point. But I certainly don't regret buying the unit. The more I listen to my installation, the more I like it.
    considering you've done nothing but set xo points you can get the same sound using a much cheaper product and running the speakers passive instead of active.

    What I mentioned about what the installer said wasn't verbatim. He said something along those lines, but I can't remember the specifics. I will talk to him again tomorrow. Please don't get the impression that i am unsatisfied with the sound of my installation. Far from it. I took a drive around town today and honestly, at times, my jaw was on the floor! The remastered version of Depeche Mode's Violator, for example, sounds UN-FREAKIN-BELIEVABLE!!!!!!!!!! As does Once Upon a Time by Simple Minds. And trust me, after fiddling around, I will get to know the H701 over time. But I will post my other H701 questions in the appropriate thread.
    I don't doubt that you think it sounds incredible, what I'm getting at is that ignorance is bliss. If you don't even have any EQing done you're really flying blind. Only once you have a proper FULL tune on the car will you really appreciate it. To spend all of that money on only utilize one of the six functions on that thing is completely asinine IMHO.


    1)Could you do me a favor and try to think back to when you were using the SB Audigy 2Z? When you were using it, can you tell me where, approximately, you kept the main volume slider most of the time? My installer was adamant about keeping it right at or just below the 90% mark. He said it's best to keep it there, and then use the H701 to control the volume to where I'm comfortable listening to the music. I haven't been keeping the SoundBlaster card up THAT high, but somewhere around the 70%-85% mark, and have been fiddling around with DFX and Foobar's own volume slider see how I like it.
    http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/car-...-properly.html


    2)Can you tell me approximately where you used to keep your bass and treble sliders in the Sound Blaster sound mixer menu? Did you have them both fairly high? Right now I am finding that they sound good at about 48% Bass and 65%-75% Treble. What do you think?
    I had them disabled because I was and am using the full processing abilities of the 701. I wouldn't dare do otherwise when competing unless I were doing ALL tuning on the computer.

    3)Which software player do you personally prefer? Foobar or Winamp?
    Winamp in the car because it's easier to use on a TS.

    4)With whichever one you run, do you run ASIO out or Kernal Stream? Do you resample? Up to what? 48Mhz? 96Mhz?
    I run bit perfect...if you're asking about re-sampling then you're probably not running bit perfect in your car...if you were truly concerned with getting the absolute best quality audio possible, you would NOT re-sample.

    I think you're just a bit confused on all of this SQ stuff, which is rather easy to be since there's so much information out there.

    I'd recommend researching Bit-perfect (I've written a WIKI article on it, written a FAQ in the nav-bar and written a FAQ in here about it).

    I'd recommend reading the thread I posted above in post 4. I'm not sure why you keep resisting actually using that $700 processor that you bought ($300-$400 if you went the cheap route and went eBay or the like). If you wanted to throw away money, I would have gladly taken a donation. If you really are as concerned with sound quality as you're pretending to be you would learn to tune on the 701. Make changes and write down your changes...you can't blow it up. Just about anyone who has done this for a decent amount of time and been really serious with it will tell you the same thing. You CANNOT have a great sounding car without tuning it....and messing with a bass and treble knob is NOT tuning...

    Look, if you absolutely don't want to use that 701 then I'm at a loss. I've been competing in car audio for over 9 years now, only 3+ years in SQ, but my husband and I have amassed 2 world titles and a NUMBER of other awards in competition. I absolutely am at a loss as to why you would want the best sound possible but wouldn't use the tools you're given. I've seen a TON of people use that 701 to it's full abilities and walk away with award after award after award...we've been running it in the car for 2 SQ seasons...both of which we walked away with at least one first place for the finals. If you wanted to do ALL tuning on the PC then we're in an entirely different ball game, but then you wouldn't have a 701 and you wouldn't be interested in bass and treble adjustments on the sound card.
    Jan Bennett
    FS: VW MKIV Bezel for 8" Lilliput - 95% Finished

    Please post on the forums! Chances are, someone else has or will have the same questions as you!

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    If you have the H701-use it to it's full potential. Leave all your settings on computer to flat-no EQ, no bass/treble(defeat)-volume 100%. Use the Alpine for everything.

    The Soundbaster audigy cannot do bit perfect from my understanding because it resamples always to 48Khz due to the clock crystal they use on it for clock timing. If you want to do bit perfect, jasonww had posted a method for taking a cheapo Chaintech AV710 card ($20) using the digital optical out, and using different drivers to unlock the potential for bit-perfect.

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    Quote Originally Posted by durwood View Post
    The Soundbaster audigy cannot do bit perfect from my understanding because it resamples always to 48Khz due to the clock crystal they use on it for clock timing. If you want to do bit perfect, jasonww had posted a method for taking a cheapo Chaintech AV710 card ($20) using the digital optical out, and using different drivers to unlock the potential for bit-perfect.
    The Audigy can do bit-perfect. There's a specific setting for it in the control panel. It's how I used it before.

    The chaintech method is detailed on AVS forum as well (I believe that's where JasonWW pulled it from). All you have to do is download the latest drivers.

    The only draw back is that the line-in seems to have some quarks..at least it does in my car right now. I'm running it in my car to test with since I'm testing BT, HD Radio, XM Radio, etc. in StreetDeck.
    Jan Bennett
    FS: VW MKIV Bezel for 8" Lilliput - 95% Finished

    Please post on the forums! Chances are, someone else has or will have the same questions as you!

  9. #9
    Car Audio Moderator durwood's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RedGTiVR6 View Post
    The Audigy can do bit-perfect. There's a specific setting for it in the control panel. It's how I used it before.
    Hmmm, didn't know that. I never it saw it with the drivers I was using. They must have updated it at some point unless I missed it all together.

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    I believe they call it bit-accurate. It's in a tab all on it's own I believe.
    Jan Bennett
    FS: VW MKIV Bezel for 8" Lilliput - 95% Finished

    Please post on the forums! Chances are, someone else has or will have the same questions as you!

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