OT: soundcards

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  • 10-08-2004, 04:01 AM
    Slosh
    OT: soundcards
    The integrated soundcard on my computer's motherboard has been progressively picking up more and more noise from the fans, power supply, hard drive, etc. I see that Best Buy has an external Soundblaster card for only $40 plus I have a 10% off coupon. The idea of keeping the soundcard away from the noisy computer internals greatly appeals to me. I'm not interested in surround sound or 192 kHz/24-bit sampling or even too much in its own fidelity since, well, it's only going to be used when I'm working on the computer, obviously. It does have an optical output that I would be connecting to my old Sony ES pre/pro so the quality of its D/A converter doesn't really matter to me anyway, and also has an optical input which may prove to be useful someday. Anyway, I'm assuming USB2 should be fast enough to stream PCM. Is it?

    NP: Steve Wynn - Here Come The Miracles
  • 10-08-2004, 04:45 AM
    tentoze
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Slosh
    ... Anyway, I'm assuming USB2 should be fast enough to stream PCM. Is it?

    Sounds like the same SB I have, and it does everything my limited needs require. USB2 streams PCM fine.

    Disclaimer: I ain't no audiophool, so YMMV.
  • 10-08-2004, 06:36 AM
    Dusty Chalk
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Slosh
    ...USB2 should be fast enough to stream PCM. Is it?...

    USB1 is fast enough to stream PCM.

    The thing about digital outputs is...you need the right driver. Be wary.

    Perhaps this should be in the digital forum or some-such.

    Also, Head-Fi has a whole "computer-as-source" forum. You may want to look around in there. But I think they're SB-bashers, so go forewarned.
  • 10-08-2004, 09:45 AM
    Slosh
    I went with a slightly different model for $45. It has 5.1 support but it must be proprietary because my pre/pro is reading it as 48 kHz PCM, and not Dolby Digital (which doesn't matter to me since I only have a stereo amp connected). It also converts MP3 and WMA to PCM so I never need to use its own D/A. This model loses the optical input but gains an S/PDIF out which saved me from trying to find a 24 ft. optical cable. It'll also allow me to make my own 96 kHz/24-bit DADs from vinyl if I wish. I doubt I'll be doing that anytime soon though 'cause my turntable/phono stage is in another room on the other side of the house and I'm guessing the A/D isn't nearly as good as my stand-alone CD burner anyway, regardless of its 96/24 rating.

    As expected my pre/pro's D/As are a lot better than this soundcard's, which is no surprise as I'm comparing an $800 (MSRP) audio component to a $45 computer accessory. One weird thing though is I have to turn off the visualizations with Windows Media Player or else it screws up the timing. No big deal and there's probably a fix for this and I don't use WMP for CDs (I use HACP).

    Anyhow, no more noise and much better D/As than before so I'm happy :)
  • 10-09-2004, 10:36 AM
    Dusty Chalk
    Which model is that?
  • 10-10-2004, 03:35 AM
    Slosh
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Dusty Chalk
    Which model is that?

    Honestly, I don't know. All the box says is, "Sound Blaster Live 24-bit External" and the card itself only has a serial number. You had me a bit nervous regarding the digital out but it works as expected with no drop-outs and such. At least with the coaxial digital out . . . I haven't a reason to try the optical out at the moment.