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What's the best audio output from the computer? - Page 2

post #16 of 30
Cplay cmp's sourceforge website has vanished from the internet, but if I recall correctly, the author of the programs said usb ports are sometimes messed with when you have multiple devices plugged into the motherboard, with some components and even specific usb ports getting priority over others (err I may be hallucinating this part, correct me if I'm wrong), thus some usb ports are better than others for optimal sound quality. Also, the wires go in different directions inside the case, each having different lengths and picking up different amounts of emf/rfi.

Here's something sort of related said by cics

Quote:
A soundcard usually connects to the CPU via the PCI bus regardless of whether it is a PCI, USB or Ethernet card and, for best results, it needs the lion’s share of access to it. Disk drives connected via these buses compete with it for access and tend to degrade sound. However, many southbridge chips provide separate bandwidth for SATA drives.
He recommended just having separate psu's for inessential peripherals like cd player, mouse, keyboard etc and making the computer psu dedicated to the motherboard and essential components plugged into it.

It's too much of a headache for me, I'll just use my rockboxed H120's optical out until people make a cheap audiophile hard drive transport.
post #17 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by upstateguy View Post
No static, no noise. One port sounded, for lack of a better word, clearer (or maybe even slightly louder) than the other 3.

Placebo? Has to be, right?

Now check this out: I swapped out a new i5 windows 7 laptop I was setting up for my wife with my old 3GB Northwood XP laptop. Same USB rig, different computers. My over all impression was that the new computer running Wasapi was much "clearer" and "cleaner" than the asio4all XP computer..... More placebo, right?

Would you mind trying out your usb ports to see if there is a difference?

USG
It might be louder too, which can produce an faked effect of sounding more detailed. That might just be a product of that one USB port's power being more stable than the others.

To add another layer to this, some people say that there is a difference between asio4all and WASAPI. They are both bit-perfect, but transported in different ways, so volume changes, frequency response ranges, or something else really weird is going on.

Half of computer audio is just test and listen. What sounds better to you? Some people prefer feeding a DAC from a real sound card. Some people prefer using a USB --> SPDIF transport. And others still prefer just using USB. There are too many things we can't control for things to be perfectly outlined and simple.
post #18 of 30
Different Ports can indeed give different audio performance according to the quality of the power supplied to the USB device. On-board hubs may share supplies and ground with a other circuitry that can introduce noise onto the supply line. A dedicated USB card is likely (though not certain)to be better in this regard.

I started using my Hiface via an on-board hub. In order to fault-find an issue I was having with it, I purchased a Belkin PCI-USB card and added some low ESR caps to the 5V supply line to get rid a of a little extra noise. I was surprised to find it sounded considerably better this way.
post #19 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prog Rock Man View Post
With regards to Benchmark I don't see how that can be. On the brilliant Benchmark USB DAC1 thread Elias Gwinn, a Benchmark engineer, makes it clear there is no difference. Each type of cable is perfectly capable of transmitting the 1s and 0s, jitter is removed so that is not a factor and then each ends up going out the same analogue output. So how can they make a difference?
Yes both what are we talking about the cables or other factors?
For instance,many sugegst going with Coax because you can get cheap optical transmitter and receivers which can ofcourse impact your sound.

Now, some others go the opposite way and suggest that with optical, the cable cannot pick up any interference. Also the DAC is isolated from the source when using optical.
All things being equal, there shouldn't be a difference unless another factor comes into play. Some will still say there is though as this is one of those discussions in Audio that will never be resolved. You have to do some tests yourself and make up your own theories based on those.
post #20 of 30
I'm finding my computer to sound best through USB with power filtering. Loving it.
post #21 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mad Max View Post
I'm finding my computer to sound best through USB with power filtering. Loving it.
What's power filtering?
post #22 of 30
We have crossed into your interesting post upstateguy on USB ports

http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f133/d...-weigh-482506/

Frustratingly I have only one USB on the side of my laptop that is near the DAC and I dont want more wires all over the place. I read in Empirical Audio that it is best not to use a hub and even not to have any other USB port used at the same time. I use a mouse and there is no difference in sound when it is plugged in or not.

So my conclusion is there is no specific answer and it is worth experimenting with all ports and all types of connection.
post #23 of 30
Let me google that for you

I think power filtering can help a computer transport a lot too, but possibly do it harm as well, like mode 2 surge protectors that filter unwanted noise into ground.
post #24 of 30
Deleted, failed post
post #25 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mad Max View Post
I'm finding my computer to sound best through USB with power filtering. Loving it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by upstateguy View Post
What's power filtering?
That does sound like a USB power filter. I use two plug in mains filters one specifically for the laptop as it was putting noise back into the mains.
post #26 of 30
I'm using a Belkin PureAV isolator/protector/power filter (F9A1033fc10). I read it was great bang for buck here. It has increasing amounts of filtering as you plug things in farther and farther away from the On/Off switch. The two outlets next to the switch have just enough filtering to make an almost big improvement in my Compass DAC without digitizing the sound, then I use one of the farthest outlets to plug in my Dell XPS420 desktop. Even my ipod sounds cleaner and more detailed when I plug it into the Belkin isolator. Certainly brings much more improvement than any of my power cords alone.
post #27 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prog Rock Man View Post
We have crossed into your interesting post upstateguy on USB ports

http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f133/d...-weigh-482506/

Frustratingly I have only one USB on the side of my laptop that is near the DAC and I dont want more wires all over the place. I read in Empirical Audio that it is best not to use a hub and even not to have any other USB port used at the same time. I use a mouse and there is no difference in sound when it is plugged in or not.

So my conclusion is there is no specific answer and it is worth experimenting with all ports and all types of connection.
I was wondering, to help eliminate placebo gremlin , would you turn your laptop sideways and try the other ports. When I tried it, I thought there was a noticeable difference (and this was on the port a mouse was plugged into).... but it could have also been nothing more than psycho-acoustical hodge podge. The purpose of my thread was to try to gather some anecdotal evidence one way or the other. It would be worth it to know if the USB port matters, and if it does, to what extent.

USG
post #28 of 30
I've been doing a fair amount of PC audio testing. I started with my AV-710 card and also have used the onboard Realtek 889A. Other on-hand equipment used is a vintage Pioneer VSX-24TX surround receiver, Rotel preamp/amp/CD player, old B&W 610 speakers. My Rotel preamp/amp have no digital inputs.

First, I'd say that sound can be dramatically altered by just reconfiguring the software, in my case foobar and either Realtek or AV-710 drivers. This is a summarized listing of my equipment test results.

AV-710 green jack > Rotel preamp/amp > 610s = not very good sound
AV-710 black "digital" jack > Rotel preamp/amp > 610s = better, but something seemed "missing"
AV-710 optical out > Pioneer Reciver DACs > 610s = much better sound
Realtek 889A optical out > Pioneer Reciver DACs > 610s = AV-710 optical sound
Rotel 965BX CD player DAC > Rotel preamp/amp > 610s = best sound so far

I have one good (bad?) test song that only will sound right via the Pioneer DACs or the Rotel DACs. On the rest it can be grating at times.

I like the simple Rotel preamp/amp, and prefer the sound over the Pioneer receiver, plus the Rotel system runs cooler. It at appears that the key for me will be using optical/coax output and finding a DAC >= to the one used in the old CD player outputting to either the Rotel preamp or straight to the amp. Some claim that optical out and a separate stand alone PSU for the DAC is the way to go.

I haven't tried the USB sound yet, no devices. I have also considered using a DAC > powered speakers or DAC > little amp > 610s.
post #29 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by haloxt View Post
Cplay cmp's sourceforge website has vanished from the internet, [...]
Finally!
post #30 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by haloxt View Post
Cplay cmp's sourceforge website has vanished from the internet
Now it is

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