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Microsoft Surface RT

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
So anyone check one out and what are your thoughts on the sound quality?

I know it has a Wolfson, but that doesn't necessarily automatically mean good sound.
post #2 of 17
Thread Starter 
No one?
post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 
Ok, so I picked one up.

I haven't plugged in my Shure 535s directly into it yet, but I did plug in my Grant Fidelity TubeDAC-11 and it installed the driver fine. And I'm listening to some tunes via Xbox Music->DAC->HD650s.

I can also plug my 2TB music drive in via a hub and have access to my entire collection.


That said:

It doesn't seem to like setting the output format to 24/96 in the sound control panel.
Xbox Music doesn't do gapless playback.


I hope someone is working on an RT music player app...
Edited by DrTone - 11/6/12 at 6:35am
post #4 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrTone View Post

. And I'm listening to some tunes via Xbox Music->DAC->HD650s.
I

Can you please explain to an old man like me how this system is put together,

I am confused as the Surface is no longer in the chain quoted above

 

thanks

post #5 of 17

How is it as a source?

 

I am thinking of buying one and using my Bladelius USB dac with an amp as a bedside rig.

 

Thanks

post #6 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by KT66 View Post

Can you please explain to an old man like me how this system is put together,

I am confused as the Surface is no longer in the chain quoted above

 

thanks

xbox music is the surfacases music player app, its like their itunes (the PC software)

post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by spkrs01 View Post

How is it as a source?

 

I am thinking of buying one and using my Bladelius USB dac with an amp as a bedside rig.

 

Thanks


As of right I couldn't use it as a source. No gapless is a deal breaker for me.
post #8 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrTone View Post


As of right I couldn't use it as a source. No gapless is a deal breaker for me.

 

Just because Xbox music isn't gapless doesn't necessarily make it a no-go. Install a proper music program like foobar200 and you'll have your gapless.wink.gif

post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Achmedisdead View Post

Just because Xbox music isn't gapless doesn't necessarily make it a no-go. Install a proper music program like foobar200 and you'll have your gapless.wink.gif

rolleyes.gif Do some research into what a Windows Surface RT is...

And I wouldn't install Foobar, I'd install J River.
Edited by DrTone - 11/6/12 at 10:38am
post #10 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrTone View Post


rolleyes.gif Do some research into what a Windows Surface RT is...
And I wouldn't install Foobar, I'd install J River.

I thought the big selling point of a Surface was that it would be able to run more than just "tablet" apps, even the RT with the ARM innards....if not, then I'd spend less money and get either an Android tablet or a proper Windows laptop. Then again, I already have both of those....so I wouldn't waste my time with a Surface anyways.wink.gif

post #11 of 17

it would be able to run more than tablet apps, but they have to be ported first to the ARM processor architecture, they can't automatically use the x86 processor application right out of the box

post #12 of 17

I am listening to streaming Xbox Music audio on my Surface (RT) as I type this. Audio quality is good to my ear. Soundstage seems a bit broader with my PX-100-2s than when using my Zune HD as the source. I'm also picking out more detail (listening mostly to Nick Cave and old Celtic Frost today so YMMV). Haven't tried with high quality files or cans yet, but my usage for this device is really more portable/practical than serious listening.

 

I'm having trouble with audio stream chopping when I type, so boo for that. Otherwise the Xbox music experience seems good (I am a an old Zune Pass subscriber not iTunes so again YMMV). Overall I'm pleased with the audio quality ... to my ear richer and fuller than iPad. I have no knowledge of the Wolfson DAC used in this unit, but I certainly prefer the sound to onboard audio on my PCs/laptops (using the same headphones). Overall sound is very "Zune-y".

post #13 of 17

Also purchased a Surface with the hope that music will become one if its big uses. So far it's (just) lived up to my expectations.

 

The sound quality out of the headphone jack is surprisingly good - as the poster above me stated, it's reminiscent of the Zune hardware (120GB in my case). I've found it to be a little noisy with sensitive headphones, and as a result my Westone 3s generate a slight hiss when plugged in and the audio hardware is active (Windows seems to be switching it on and off as needed). It's not overwhelming, and it's a consistent lowly hiss (think the opening track of Kind of Blue), which fades into oblivion once music starts playing. I'm thankful for that, as my laptop and PCs generate this jarring cacophony of white noises when I plug sensitive earphones and I was worried that the Surface would do the same. No such drama.

I've also plugged in a pair of Denon D2000s. These aren't all that demanding but the Surface can drive these to very uncomfortable levels of loudness. I usually find myself using the IEMs between 20-30 and the full-size headphones between 40-50 on the 100-step volume control. Driving the Denons via my headphone amp seems to minimise the hiss to an almost imperceptible level.

 

Of course this thing has a full-size USB host on the side. I’ve tried it with a NuForce Icon Mobile and Cambridge Audio DACMagic (v1) and both of them were recognised and initiated automatically. For the record, they both use standard USB Audio class drivers. Anyone who has used Windows Vista/7/8’s audio management will be in familiar territory. There’s no ASIO support but there is the option to allow exclusive access to the audio hardware for applications (meaning WASAPI exclusive mode support, if I’m not mistaken).

 

I’ve only used one music app on this device, Microsoft’s Xbox Music. I’m an Xbox Music subscriber, and their catalogue is mighty impressive, but the app chugs along uninspiringly. I feel it needs an overhaul. It’s a little too net-connected, and loads far too many useless assets on the app’s home screen. The library management is woeful; making it an n-step process to scroll to any artist/album whose name begins with something other than a number, A or B. I have no idea why it’s so clunky when more complex apps like IE10 and OneNote MX are silky smooth (and in the case of IE10 particularly, rock solid). Hopefully this will all improve, but I still think an overhaul is better than a fixer at this point (after receiving two updates to the app in the last week I'm still unimpressed).

 

What would be awesome is an alternative, no-nonsense music player akin to Foobar2000 for this platform.

post #14 of 17

Hi,

 

I am driving a Shure SE535 from a Surface and am really annoyed by the noise coming when no audio is played in windows. The noise goes away approx half a second after some audio has played (i guess windows tuening off the soundcard).

I am relatively new to more sophisticated audio systems so any suggestions welcome here. I was looking at a Fiio E17 to act as a dac+amp to drive my shure or occasionally HD650. I am not sure though if surface will correctly recognize the FiiO... I am also not sure how much of a difference the FiiO setup would make compared to the onboard dac.

post #15 of 17
I'm a little late to this thread, but i just wanted to say that i have the FiiO E17 and it works like a charm on the SurfaceRT. However, i am not sure if the SurfaceRT is a going to be good for music playback. xbox music is the only option, so right now there is no FLAC or other lossless support. I can set the SufaceRT to be in 24/96, but, well, there is nothing to play. :-) I also get issues with sound skipping, pops, etc when typing or moving around in other apps, but this seems to only happen occasionally. I was a former Zune subscriber, and i feel that somehow MSFT has taken a step backwards with the xbox player. It doesnt seem as intuitive or friendly as the old zune player.

I think i will sell my SurfaceRT for the SurfacePro when that comes out
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