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Maudio USB

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Hello,
I have an interesting situation. My PC has a PCI SCSI card, a normal mainboard, only 1 PCI bus, so that saturates PCI bandwidth. The only option I have is to go USB, since that does not ride the PCI buss (yes i checked the block diagram). So I have purchased the maudio audiophile USB. I will be connecting it to a presonus headphone amp, but was wondering what other things I should do. I read that you can upgrade the PSU? Also what about getting an external dac? Remember I cannot use a PCI like the chaintech.

Thanks
Will
post #2 of 10
You have lots of DAC options. Basically anything that will except a coaxial connection. There are of course lots of USB DACs too where the AP USB isn't necessary. If you don't add a DAC you may want to try a Stancor PS to boost the AP USB headphone out.
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
So, adding a better PS wont help cause I already have a headphone amp. Right?
post #4 of 10
Unless you value storage subsystem performance during music playback very, very much or have difficulty finding a PCI slot not sharing an INT# line with some other "difficult" device, going USB for bandwidth concerns (as opposed to no free slots) wasn't such a very smart move. For what the Audiophile USB costs, you could have gotten a really nice current PCI card - E-MU 0404, ESI Juli@ or M-Audio Audiophile 192, maybe even a 1212m. (Or did you really think that the SCSI host adapter would hog all the bandwidth it can get, all of the time?)

As for the amp, is that the Presonus HP4, $129.95? Do you really need *four* headphone outs? For that kind of money, you can get a Portaphile X with single buffer upgrade. (Yeah, their website sucks bigtime, but the amps are supposed to be good.) A pre-built PPA(v2) should also be feasible.

Regarding the PSU, what do you have now? Considering you have a SCSI setup, you're not likely to use a $15 junker anyway, I'd assume. A good-quality power supply always is a good idea, regardless of use.
post #5 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by willlane
Hello,
I have an interesting situation. My PC has a PCI SCSI card, a normal mainboard, only 1 PCI bus, so that saturates PCI bandwidth. The only option I have is to go USB, since that does not ride the PCI buss (yes i checked the block diagram). So I have purchased the maudio audiophile USB. I will be connecting it to a presonus headphone amp, but was wondering what other things I should do. I read that you can upgrade the PSU? Also what about getting an external dac? Remember I cannot use a PCI like the chaintech.

Thanks
Will
Unless you really really have no free PCI or are your system does really really not accept IRQ sharing, you would get better in the way of PCI card. Btw. PCI is backbone of modern computer and everything except CPU, RAM and maybe SATA goes through there, inluding USB so you didn't ease the bus and system at all since USB is mostly more time-demanding than pure PCI.
post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
The problem is not IRQs, its that the PCI buss it self maxes out at 133MB/s. A single U320 SCSI disk can max that out easily. That means that you have a 133MB/s link to the north bridge, if that link is saturated than you will have issues. On my mainboard, others may be different, the USB ports use a DIRECT connection to the northbridge, that is they speak with the NB directly, and do not share in the 133MB/s that is the PCI buss. Just because its integrated into the mainboard doesnt mean that it doesnt ride the PCI buss, for example I have 4 SATA ports, 2 controlled by the NB, and the other 2 are controlled by a Silcon image chip that shares the PCI buss.

So, in my system a PCI audio card will NEVER work properly. Note that workstation systems have segmented PCI busses, which would allow a PCI card to work but that means buying a 400dollar board.

As for PSU, i was asking about the psu for the Maudio, the wall wart, not the system PSU. I have the HP4 for 2 reasons. 1, I have had it for awhile so I want to use it, 2: it has monitor out and monitor mute so you can connect speakers and control / mure them on the unit. ^_^

To: sgrossklass
I got the juli@ about 2 weeks ago, it took about 5minutes to tell that it wasnt going to work for me. Yes it does sound great, im using it in another PC now. So then I got the maudio FIREWIRE, with out checking the block diagram and had the same issues that the juli@ had, so that is on ebay. And I just got the USB version and it works great. So yea, the USB version was smart.

To: rimmer

Here is the block diagram to the board I have, as you can see, 1394 is ON the pci buss, and USB is not.

http://imap.jxxtech.net:8080/block.gif
post #7 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by willlane
The problem is not IRQs, its that the PCI buss it self maxes out at 133MB/s. A single U320 SCSI disk can max that out easily. That means that you have a 133MB/s link to the north bridge, if that link is saturated than you will have issues. On my mainboard, others may be different, the USB ports use a DIRECT connection to the northbridge, that is they speak with the NB directly, and do not share in the 133MB/s that is the PCI buss. Just because its integrated into the mainboard doesnt mean that it doesnt ride the PCI buss, for example I have 4 SATA ports, 2 controlled by the NB, and the other 2 are controlled by a Silcon image chip that shares the PCI buss.

So, in my system a PCI audio card will NEVER work properly. Note that workstation systems have segmented PCI busses, which would allow a PCI card to work but that means buying a 400dollar board.

As for PSU, i was asking about the psu for the Maudio, the wall wart, not the system PSU. I have the HP4 for 2 reasons. 1, I have had it for awhile so I want to use it, 2: it has monitor out and monitor mute so you can connect speakers and control / mure them on the unit. ^_^

To: sgrossklass
I got the juli@ about 2 weeks ago, it took about 5minutes to tell that it wasnt going to work for me. Yes it does sound great, im using it in another PC now. So then I got the maudio FIREWIRE, with out checking the block diagram and had the same issues that the juli@ had, so that is on ebay. And I just got the USB version and it works great. So yea, the USB version was smart.

To: rimmer

Here is the block diagram to the board I have, as you can see, 1394 is ON the pci buss, and USB is not.

http://imap.jxxtech.net:8080/block.gif
I see the diagram but to me the so marked PCI are the sockets only while the BUS is the thick horizontal line. I was not much interested in mainboards for pretty long time, but all I've seen so far have those peripheals connected via PCI.
What exactly is your board maker and type?

As for the disk, I doubt non-(RAID-stripping) subsystem can saturate so much bandwidth.

You can make a little experiment, run some kind of diagnostic tool like Sisoft Sandra or at least windows device manager, where you can show all devices grouped by connection. There should be written which bus they use.

At last, why don't you make another computer for audio playback only when you do not want to mess with this particular workstation?
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
Its a gigabye K8NS ultra 939. The pci buss is that bold line going between the slots and the NB. Things that connect to that line ride the 133MB/s that is the PCI buss, they dont necessarily have to be in a slot to ride that buss. And 133 would just be the theoretical max. A U320 scsi disk at 15k can kick up by my tests ~80MB/s, so that is enought to cause problems during heavy disk access.

The SCSI card I have is meant to sit in a 64BIT slot, to mitigate these issues, but my pc doesnt have 64bit slots. But anyhow I have the maudio USB and its working great, even if the disk is running hard. As you can see, the USB doesnt partake in the PCI buss.
post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by willlane
Its a gigabye K8NS ultra 939. The pci buss is that bold line going between the slots and the NB. Things that connect to that line ride the 133MB/s that is the PCI buss, they dont necessarily have to be in a slot to ride that buss.
That's what I kept saying from the beginning.

Quote:
Originally Posted by willlane
The SCSI card I have is meant to sit in a 64BIT slot, to mitigate these issues, but my pc doesnt have 64bit slots. But anyhow I have the maudio USB and its working great, even if the disk is running hard. As you can see, the USB doesnt partake in the PCI buss.
Playing audio is not much data per second anyway. Even resolution double to redbook (16*2*44100 or e.g. 24*2*96000 bits per sec) is pitiful compared to the bandwidth of the bus. You said the disk takes 80MBps at max. The only problem might be the card has difficulties accessing the bus at all (the SCSI controller might not let other devices read/write; the shady side of bus mastering), since I/O at all and especially such systems as disc controllers on PCI tend to block the bus in terms of time, not only bandwidth.

I am sorry for my english not being bad enough is mixed with programmers jargon, I just can't express it better.
post #10 of 10
Must be the PCI implementation. Some of those newer chipsets are good for storage devices but not great for audio, and the newfangled PCIe stuff seems to be yet worse. That said, the nForce3 appears to be well suited for low-latency audio, but I guess folks are mostly using PATA/SATA drives off the southbridge controllers. Maybe the Juli@ was in a PCI slot sharing an interrupt with the SCSI host adapter? Some playing with the PCI master latency might improve things. Here on my trusty P2B-D with the legendary i440BX chipset, I can record from the Aureon, play back on the "Prodigy", and read from the T7K250 on the Ultra100 TX2 (2.00 b42 drivers) at almost 80 MB/s (same sector, coretest) at the same time without getting audio problems.
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