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Chinese $10 USB Audio Controller Review (I'm serious) - Page 4

post #46 of 129
I'm getting some irritating noises from my audigy 2 and my computer is under my desk, the longer cable i'm using is 10 meters... does not improve the sound

I'll think about it, it's still a hour of work for me ( student )
post #47 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by robert1325 View Post
I'm getting some irritating noises from my audigy 2 and my computer is under my desk, the longer cable i'm using is 10 meters... does not improve the sound

I'll think about it, it's still a hour of work for me ( student )
Ok well if you're having noise problems then certainly it would be an upgrade. The TBAAM is relatively quiet.

Even if the noise comes over USB, you can always use a hub with an external adapter and get off the computer's PS.
post #48 of 129
Curiosity got the best of me and I picked one up at a local computer fair. I have always been looking for an alternative to my laptop's on-board sound (which distorts way too much).

Testing it out with my PX-100, I'm happy to say there is no distortion audible and the coloration on the low-end is not terribly bad (more like 'warmish' sound). If it was not mentioned here, I probably would not have paid it any heed. SQ-wise, I don't find it that ground-breaking. The AudioTrak Prodigy and even the A2 ZS are better. No contest. But it's not really fair to compare it with soundcards that cost 5-8x more. The unit picks up some crackles though when there is disc activity -let's see if it goes away after further use (aka burn-in) or if I use a USB extension cable on it (maybe later..)-.

I'm quite happy with it. It is more usable than the headphone out of my laptop. It has reasonably acceptable SQ. It is also easily carried around. And it is dirt-cheap!

edit: The crackles are gone when I used a USB extension cable. It was a good idea to plug the USB adapter further away from the laptop internals and DC input jack (most likely culprit for the crackles and which is directly situated beside the USB ports).

edit 2: I tried plugging the dongle directly to the laptop again and funnily enough, the crackles are no longer there. Either there was indeed a burn-in period required (30 minutes in my case) or I did not plug it in correctly earlier (I'm leaning towards this). All is well anyway.

edit 3: You're welcome, webbie64.
post #49 of 129
Thanks for the detail, Zorander. I appeciated the clarification of what I can expect from this.
post #50 of 129
OK mine came in the mail today.

First impression is that I'm not sure I can tell a difference. I think it sounds a little better, but maybe I want it to? hehe

I am switching from an integrated SoundMAX sound card. Mine only came with the USB device, no software or anything. It also installed as a "USB Audio Device" with Microsoft drivers circa 2001

Is there a way to find out if this is actually the C-Media chip? If so, where can I get drivers? Or better yet, the software that lets me control the effects?
post #51 of 129
bump in hopes somebody will know where to get software/drivers.
post #52 of 129
Thread Starter 
I'm not sure, I just used the default drivers. Could crack it open and look at the chip serial #
post #53 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by RedLeader View Post
I'm not sure, I just used the default drivers. Could crack it open and look at the chip serial #
I actually did that the first day I had it :P

Unfortunately, the lettering on the IC was kind of faint. I had a few of us where I work look, but none of us could make out what it said

Well it definately sounds better now, so I guess it was $7 well spent. I jsut wish I could get a hold of some of the software.
post #54 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by nightfire View Post
Yeah; there was a reference to it in one of the documents on their site.

It sounds pretty bad... There was a huge difference for me going from its toslink to the Transit's toslink.

Mind you you can get around it by using a software upsampler that does a good job. If you feed it a 48khz signal from your PC it doesn't seem to touch it. And it's still a good deal for the price, I think.

Hmm, actually no. It locks at 48 KHz only if you use it to feed your headphones. If you use TBAAM's optical out to another external DAC, it can pass on a bit perfect stream.
post #55 of 129
Well I just ordered one to fix the noise floor problem on my old laptop. The compact size, low price and semi-decent performance was too good to pass up. However, the 3D/Virtual 5.1 sound is bothering me. Is that just marketing mumbo jumbo or does the device distort the sound to create surround effects?
post #56 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by incognitoedleon View Post
Well I just ordered one to fix the noise floor problem on my old laptop. The compact size, low price and semi-decent performance was too good to pass up. However, the 3D/Virtual 5.1 sound is bothering me. Is that just marketing mumbo jumbo or does the device distort the sound to create surround effects?
Are you talking about TBAAM? If so, just install it's driver and not the Surround **** software (It will work with the Windows driver as well. Sounds a bit congested I thought with the Windows driver and the amplification is better with TBAAM's driver). However if you are just going to use its optical out to feed an external DAC, I wouldn't think it would matter with either driver.
post #57 of 129
Nope, not the TBAAM. I was referring to the cheapie generic USB device.
post #58 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by incognitoedleon View Post
Well I just ordered one to fix the noise floor problem on my old laptop. The compact size, low price and semi-decent performance was too good to pass up. However, the 3D/Virtual 5.1 sound is bothering me. Is that just marketing mumbo jumbo or does the device distort the sound to create surround effects?
I didn't detect any surround effect (nor the like) with this dongle.
post #59 of 129
Nice review, it was a fun read. Good to know there is something like this out there in case u need it one day
post #60 of 129
Quote:
Originally Posted by incognitoedleon View Post
Nope, not the TBAAM. I was referring to the cheapie generic USB device.
I don't want to break any dreams here, and it's true that I don't know anything about the technical details of the devices involved...

But I suspect that the TBAAM and this generic Chinese USB Audio device use the same internals.

I own a TBAAM, and use it regularly. But, I never installed the included drivers, and just use it as a normal USB Audio device with my Mac. In the sound preference panel of OS X, the TBAAM registers as "C-Media USB Audio" automatically. So clearly the TBAAM is identifying itself as such. So, I deduce that the TBAAM uses the same "C-Media" internal components as this generic Chinese device.
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