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Soundcard Question

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I own a Creative Sound Blaster Audigy SE, and apparantly it has this wolfson DAC. Now, I've always been wondering why the sound is MUCH different than regular onboard sound/portable devices. I know a soundcard is supposed to be better than  onboard sound but for example, when comparing another source, it's like the soundcard adds more bass. On Pg34 of this datasheet, is that last 44.1khz the actual frequency response of the card? That would explain the boosted bass wouldn't it? I'm not so sure. If not, is there a way to measure the frequency response of the soundcard? I'm just really curious. 
 
Is it that the headphones are given more power, or is it just the soundcard that is adding more bass? 
 
 

Edited by Fuzziekiwi - 3/10/13 at 9:10am
post #2 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fuzziekiwi View Post

I own a Creative Sound Blaster Audigy SE, and apparantly it has this wolfson DAC. Now, I've always been wondering why the sound is MUCH different than regular onboard sound/portable devices. I know a soundcard is supposed to be better than  onboard sound but for example, when comparing another source, it's like the soundcard adds more bass. On Pg34 of this datasheet, is that last 44.1khz the actual frequency response of the card? That would explain the boosted bass wouldn't it? I'm not so sure. If not, is there a way to measure the frequency response of the soundcard? I'm just really curious. 
 
Is it that the headphones are given more power, or is it just the soundcard that is adding more bass? 
 
 

 

Ok.. just about everything you wrote is wrong. Starting with the belief that no onboard or protable device will sound like your card - seriously, have you heard every motherboard audio system and DAP? And 44.1khz is the standard sampling frequency for digital audio, not a frequency response (which would be a curve on a graph, not a single number.) The amount of bass any most DAPs and computer audio players is adjustable; it sounds as if your card simply has a different default setting to some other devices you have heard.

 

(This isn't your fault: in the old days forums like this were newsgroups and they decent FAQs that explained stuff like the above.)


Edited by scuttle - 3/10/13 at 9:22am
post #3 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by scuttle View Post

Ok.. just about everything you wrote is wrong.

(Sign) How can that be? He's asking questions. Are questions wrong?

Here's my hopefully less ham-fisted response: There are no published specs on this or many other sound cards, but their bass response is hardly ever a problem. If there is an audible bass difference between this and some other device you might look for a hidden tone control, or customized setting in both devices. Some sound cards have settings for different types or sizes of speakers, portable devices sometimes have tone or equalizers. Nothing in the chip or card design should inherently affect bass.
post #4 of 14

I'm pretty sure CMSS-3D is on by default for the Audigy, this would cause a drastic change in sound signature.

 

Find your creative control panel(should be able to locate it through your playback device options), and turn it off and see if that is causing the change you are describing.

post #5 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaddie View Post

If there is an audible bass difference between this and some other device you might look for a hidden tone control, or customized setting in both devices.

This the correct advice. Most SoundBlaster cards have a control panel that enables a number of "enhancement features" by default. They should all be disabled.

--Ethan
post #6 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by EthanWiner View Post


This the correct advice. Most SoundBlaster cards have a control panel that enables a number of "enhancement features" by default. They should all be disabled.

--Ethan

I wouldn't say you necessarily should or shouldn't disable them. CMSS-3D is a crossfeed technology which a lot of people like. I generally switch it on for tracks with extreme panning because stuff like a guitar playing on only one side can get irritating without any crossfeed.

post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by chewy4 View Post

I wouldn't say you necessarily should or shouldn't disable them. CMSS-3D is a crossfeed technology which a lot of people like. I generally switch it on for tracks with extreme panning because stuff like a guitar playing on only one side can get irritating without any crossfeed.

Already turned everything off when I first got it. 

post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 

 When i said 44.1khz I was talking about the graph that is labeled that

post #9 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fuzziekiwi View Post

 When i said 44.1khz I was talking about the graph that is labeled that

 

Well:

 

1. Human hearing stops at 20khz at best - 10 or 15kHz are more likely as you age

 

2. 44.1khz is the standard sampling frequency for digital audio.

 

..So if that is an fr graph, it is a pretty strange one - unless Creative is planning to sell soundcards to bats.

 

I wouldn't worry about it. If you like the sound from the card, l great. If you don't, follow Chewy's instructions on changing the settings. If you want your DAP to sound more like the card, then turn the lower frequencies up in the equalizer.

post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fuzziekiwi View Post

I own a Creative Sound Blaster Audigy SE, and apparantly it has this wolfson DAC. Now, I've always been wondering why the sound is MUCH different than regular onboard sound/portable devices. I know a soundcard is supposed to be better than  onboard sound but for example, when comparing another source, it's like the soundcard adds more bass. On Pg34 of this datasheet, is that last 44.1khz the actual frequency response of the card? That would explain the boosted bass wouldn't it? I'm not so sure. If not, is there a way to measure the frequency response of the soundcard? I'm just really curious. 

New soundcards are flat enough most of the time. Any bass boost you may hear is likely caused by high output impedance (combined with highly reactive headphones) and could be reduces by external amp with low output impedance.

Or maybe this "other source", whatever it is, has bass rolloff.
Edited by mich41 - 3/10/13 at 2:48pm
post #11 of 14

Being rude to someone who is asking for help is absolutely disgusting. 

 

Anyhow, along with what others have said, I've noticed, with low impedance headphones and IEMs (most common on the market today) that the amount of bass was most significantly effected by different amps, eg: my iPhone or iPod compared to a dedicated amp. I'll leave the technical explanation for that up to people who understand the electronics better.

post #12 of 14

Supposing that the info is right, that the Sound Blaster Audigy SE uses the WM8768, looking at page 34, there is nothing there that represents the card's output frequency response.  (that is, unless it's really doing de-emphasis filtering for material it's not supposed to be doing that for)  By the way, for those that answer questions without reading links, the 44.1 kHz quoted was the sampling rate listed in some figure labels, not an axis marker on the graph.

 

If anything, so long as there's nothing external to the chip that would alter the FR, you're probably more looking for page 33, where it shows the DAC filter response.  It's plotted in terms of Fs, the sampling frequency (44.1 kHz for CD audio, so 0.5 Fs would be 22050 Hz).

 

 

image (Click to show)

 

 

As mentioned a lot previously, most of these sound cards should be pretty flat across the audio band, just maybe with slightly different rolloffs near 22 kHz.

 

 

If you are using headphones directly from the sound card, there can be some frequency response variations as a result of interactions between the headphones impedance and sound card output impedance, as mentioned above.  What headphones are you using?   It could be that another device has an undersized DC blocking capacitor on the output and thus rolls off the bass when you use lower-impedance headphones, for example.

 

 

There are a number of ways to measure the frequency response output of the card.  You can use some software like the free version of RMAA to do the test signals and math for you.  Just run a 3.5mm cable from the sound card output back to the input.  That tests the overall response of the D/A and A/D combined, whereas maybe you're only interested in just the D/A, but that should be sufficient to confirm that there is no big bass boost active.  You can use a splitter and connect the output to both headphones as well as the input, if you want to the how the FR is affected when running headphones.  This kind of testing is limited in accuracy by a few factors, but for just getting a general idea of the FR it should be good enough.

 

 

It should also be noted that if you are comparing the sound output of two devices and one is louder than another, the difference in loudness will also impact the perceived level of bass relative to other frequencies.


Edited by mikeaj - 3/10/13 at 4:59pm
post #13 of 14

I actually have that sound card in an older PC, and could measure it. But I would not expect any surprising results. It does have an output impedance of a low tens of Ω (I do not remember the exact value), but that is probably also true of the onboard audio output. Undersized DC blocking capacitors are common on the latter, however.

post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 
I use HD558, Koss TBSE, and MDR-V6. Sources I use (no amp to go with these) : iPod Touch 2g and Galaxy s3
Edited by Fuzziekiwi - 3/11/13 at 9:38am
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