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A (researched) question about Realtek 1150 vs. sound card - Page 2

post #16 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by RonaldDumsfeld View Post

It's pretty damn good. Up to 115 dB SNR on the main DAC  What you would have expected in a high end/professional unit costing $2000+  15 years ago. 10 years ago it would have been project studio quality and cost $500+. Even 5 years ago or less it compares well with boxes costing $150+. Now it comes as a $10 part on expensive motherboards.

This is overstating the significance of 115db SNR. Redbook CD audio has an SNR < 100db. Now bluray has an SNR of 124db, but tor the average consumer, there's probably little benefit of SNR rations much above 100db. You'd have to have the system cranked really, really loud, and then you'd only be able to hear the SNR from the DAC with a bluray in a dead quiet part of a film. Might not even ever notice it even at reference volumes.

But, higher SNR does makes them sell, just like higher mega pixels on digital cameras makes them sell, even though it's generally not significant because cameras (such as in phones) need bigger sensors and better lenses much more than more megapixels.

That being said, I'm not saying that the 1150 might not sound good. Just be wary of getting hyped advice about how well motherboard audio performs now based on specs. Higher specs sometimes only mean higher specs, not significant audible performance increase. And, higher specs still don't tell you how the audio performs in the environment of a computer with noise problems potentially being introduced by PSUs or gaming graphic cards.
post #17 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post


While it is certainly true that computers have improved significantly over the years in this regard, it's quite impossible to make this claim for all computers. Noise can be a result not just of the sound card or motherboard, but other parts of the hardware configuration as well. And of course, not all sound cards or motherboards are created equal.

And then how much difference an external dac/amp makes is also partially a personal value judgement.

 

Any decent brand's top models such as HP's Envy line or MSI's GS60 with ALC 1150 have amazing sound with easy to drive headphones. MSI GS60's (latest model with Nvidia 980m) headphone jack has actually quite a powerful output and can drive Sennheiser HD650s with authority. ALC 1150 is no worse than similar Cirrus Logic or Wolfson products. I think it sounds better than the Cirrus Logic in Macbook Pros actually.

 

I've done a lot of listening test myself. Tried Meridian Explorer, Chord Hugo, Resonessence Herus and Dacmagic XS which I borrowed from friends (I had the first three but now sold them). To be honest, none of them sounded better to me than the headphone jack of my laptop with ALC 1150.

 

Well, Explorer, Herus and Dacmagic XS are your really standard cheap dac/amps. They are good if you have a horrible low quality laptop from 5 years ago, but new laptops with ALC 1150 sound better than them, I think. And no, there's no audible noise at all.

 

Chord Hugo, well yes it's better in many ways and it should be for the price. But it's not worth that much at all. It should be USD 500 at best. The sound signature is lean and bright and that can be somewhat annoying with bright headphones. Hugo+Beyerdynamic Tesla line is a recipe for disaster, for instance. ALC 1150 with its neutral sound can pair with a lot more variety of headphones well. In the end I sold my Hugo, it was a disappointment to me.

 

I'm not saying there are better amps. Sure, a USD 2000 amp will be great for your LCD 3. But if what you own is an easy to drive headphones such as Fostex TH900, don't pay for snake oil. You've already paid a lot for the headphones, just enjoy them.

post #18 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by obsidyen View Post

Any decent brand's top models such as HP's Envy line or MSI's GS60 with ALC 1150 have amazing sound . . .

Have you tried them? If so, great to hear that kind of testimonial. But there are people that try to extrapolate their own computer to all other computers with the same audio chipset. Time and time again that has been shown not to be true because the whole computer environment affects the audio quality.
post #19 of 19

Yes, I tried MSI GS60 a few days ago. The new model with Nvidia 970m. The headphone jack was really powerful too, could drive 300 ohms with ease. I'll probably buy one even if I don't play games on laptops. Really elegant and powerful computer.

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