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ASIO settings, sample rate issue - x-fi xtreme music

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

My friend gave me his old Xtreme Music to replace my Xtreme Audio, and it doesn't have a choice to change sample rate in the Creative Audio panel, so I changed it in Windows' to 192khz, 24-bit because I read this card drives 192khz with 2/2.1 (I have 2.1), but up to 96khz with more speakers. The card is in "audio creation mode" and "bit matched" output.

 

So the problem is on my Mediamonkey using a dll ASIO plugin, "resampling" only lets me set up to 96khz even though I'm using 2.1 speakers and 192khz sample rate set in windows' audio settings. Why is that - is my card only capable of 96khz, and should I set it to that, or is Creative ASIO only capable of 96khz? In that case should I change windows' to 96khz anyway?

 

Totally new to this stuff so I don't know if I should actually be setting 96khz in windows, or if I should even be using resampling in ASIO or not. From what I can tell I need to reduce the number of times things get resampled, but not sure how to do that either lol. Also should "direct input monitor" be used?

 

Sorry, couldn't find anything concrete on google.

 

Cheers

post #2 of 6
ASIO will bypass Windows. And iirc the Creative ASIO driver stops at 96khz.

Personally I wouldn't worry about this *at all* and I'd just leave the thing in Entertainment and Windows default at 16/48 (your music is probably 16/44.1 so you're doing resampling to make it run at 192khz and all that - that doesn't increase quality). For a few reasons:

1) This isn't really the mountain that many people make it into.
2) The X-Fi's SRC is so good that even if 1 weren't true, it wouldn't matter in this context.
3) There are far bigger fish to fry, like the quality of your speakers/headphones, the quality of the media files you're dumping into the thing, etc.
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the response. So presumably with the resampling option unchecked in the ASIO plugin, no resampling will be done at all? In that case I'll leave it as is.

 

And thanks for the advice, I do know it takes a monumental effort to distinguish 192khz from 96khz, but my reasoning is that I have cpu cycles to spare, and it costs me nothing to change sample rates around or tweak some things which is why I came here to ask and hopefully get a quick response from people in the know :p. Conversely I have no money to spare for speaker/headphone upgrades right now!

 

Regarding ASIO bypassing windows, how come with bit-matched enabled I can still control volume with the volume bar in windows? Actually I just noticed in mediamonkey using ASIO, I can change volume with the windows volume bar, but the green bar that indicates volume levels doesn't show. But say in youtube the green thing indicating volume movement does show - presumably this means mediamonkey uses ASIO while other programs don't? In which case windows is upsampling to 192khz outside of mediamonkey, but outputting bit-matched in mediamonkey. As I say if this is right I'll just leave it on 192khz since I don't mind cpu cycles or anything...

post #4 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by dukeReinhardt View Post

Thanks for the response. So presumably with the resampling option unchecked in the ASIO plugin, no resampling will be done at all? In that case I'll leave it as is.

Not necessarily. ASIO is designed to provide a low latency direct access from the software to the output hardware. The goal is that you aren't un/re-locking constantly (which takes time and can screw things up if you're armed and live). So what more likely will happen is that non-native simply won't playback.
Quote:
And thanks for the advice, I do know it takes a monumental effort to distinguish 192khz from 96khz

Here's the rub - you have to have files that are natively cut at 192khz or 96khz. Simply setting up your 16/44.1 mp3s to output at 96 or 192 is not doing anything for you - there MUST BE SRC to make that happen. There is absolutely ZERO potential for quality improvements there.

Quote:
, but my reasoning is that I have cpu cycles to spare, and it costs me nothing to change sample rates around or tweak some things which is why I came here to ask and hopefully get a quick response from people in the know tongue.gif. Conversely I have no money to spare for speaker/headphone upgrades right now!

On a true X-Fi (EMU20kx) chip, that's actually not done in the CPU. It's done in the X-Fi DSP. The chip does it so cleanly that it exists below the noise floor of any equipment you will have downstream (including the DtoA) - there is absolutely no quality benefit to be derived by re-sampling higher than native. You cannot "add in" quality in this manner. The perfect best-case scenario is native playback, but native versus SRC with something like the X-Fi is a total non-issue because the SRC is done so cleanly that every other device that touches the audio will inherently do more damage (so any "problems" with the X-Fi SRC are completely masked).
Quote:
Regarding ASIO bypassing windows, how come with bit-matched enabled I can still control volume with the volume bar in windows? Actually I just noticed in mediamonkey using ASIO, I can change volume with the windows volume bar, but the green bar that indicates volume levels doesn't show. But say in youtube the green thing indicating volume movement does show - presumably this means mediamonkey uses ASIO while other programs don't? In which case windows is upsampling to 192khz outside of mediamonkey, but outputting bit-matched in mediamonkey. As I say if this is right I'll just leave it on 192khz since I don't mind cpu cycles or anything...

No.
ASIO is a direct low-latency access from software to hardware, bypassing things like kmixer, but the volume control is a separate UI element and unrelated to the audio signal path inside of the OS (at least, for our purposes; the Windows Audio Stack is fairly complex).

There really is no reason to have it set to 192khz, but there's no reason not to - you can basically set it to whatever you want, because the X-Fi will resample and make it work. Almost nothing exists at 192khz, so that means it is always resampling (again, doesn't matter). Like I said, drop it in Entertainment Mode and let it run default - life is easier.
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 

lol my google skills are clearly lacking. i had completely the wrong idea - cheers for your response. my idea was to put it on 192khz since it doesnt affect my system and on the off-chance that i ever encountered a 192khz file or something. but anyhow hearing your explanation i'll stick it on entertainment mode. thanks!

post #6 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by dukeReinhardt View Post

lol my google skills are clearly lacking. i had completely the wrong idea - cheers for your response. my idea was to put it on 192khz since it doesnt affect my system and on the off-chance that i ever encountered a 192khz file or something. but anyhow hearing your explanation i'll stick it on entertainment mode. thanks!

What it will do if you encounter a 192khz file (I have no idea where you'd find such a thing beyond some obscure HDTracks downloads or making it yourself, to be honest) is resample that to whatever the current target is (Windows default, at least in 7 and XP, is 16/48). So compatibility is ensured. What setting it to 192 does is force EVERYTHING to resample up to 192k. While that doesn't really impact SQ (because the X-Fi does such a good job, with something like the Audigy this will bring the noise floor up a little higher though), it seems kind of...frivolous imho.
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