Hi... I was wondering if anyone here happened to know about the chips in the Dualshock 4 controller and/or PS4 that relate to the audio quality that you get from listening to music, movies or games from the headphone jack. It has an option for all audio out, instead of just chat audio, and it sounds really good.
I don't have much experience with expensive audio equipment though for comparison, but I did compare it to Realtek ALC662 (onboard audio on my Acer computer) and Realtek ALC989, if I remember those numbers right, the one that's in the Sound Blaster Audigy FX, also on this computer, and I compared it to the audio out of my LG monitor that is using "Intel Display Audio" (powered by either Realtek). And I thought it sounded better than that, a little more musical. It wasn't obvious at first. I tried it back and forth, attempting to adjust volume levels, but I don't think volume levels affected it, because the Audigy FX is indeed louder, which ought to bias me toward it, and it sounds worse.
So I went looking for info on what's inside the $60 controller and I didn't get much. This page for instance:
So Wolfson was bought by Cirrus last year, but this Scottish company made chips for top phones, yes? Like iPhone? So it is one of the best "micro" DACs out there, perhaps? Anyone have any info on this kind of stuff?
Just kind of curious... I'd never given these details much thought over the years, and presumably most other people don't either. When I looked up reviews of Xonar PCI Express cards, like DSX and DGX, I did get info from Tech Report (Geoff Gasior) in his review about the musical qualities of these cards (DSX was usually judged to be better), but not a lot of info on why, like if it's a difference in amps, in the DACs, both, or other circuits and aspects of the chips, such as the "audio chip" (CMI8786). I know very little about electronics...! :) But learning about external amps, and the way people mod these things... my interest has grown a little about how they work and why one would be worth more than the other.
For instance, this thread here: http://www.head-fi.org/t/560122/all-dacs-sound-the-same/30
has someone saying all DACs sound the same, then others scoffing, then others sort of agreeing, saying, "all GOOD DACs should sound the same; yes -- there shouldn't be any coloration."
But at the beginning of that Tech Report article, on the second page, it says, "Like the Xonar DG that came before it, the DGX has been programmed to give certain elements, specifically vocals and percussion, a little more oomph. We liked this extra kick when we first heard it, but the artificial emphasis can sound a little harsh. Cyril's ears seem especially sensitive to this special programming. He's experienced fatigue when listening to the Xonar DG for long periods. Throughout our blind listening tests, he also said the DGX reminded him of the DG."
Now these cards look very similar, similar price, similar main company (ASUS), etc., so one might think they'd sound the same -- right? Or that all cheap cards (internal or external) sound the same. But I'm no audiophile at all and I can hear the differences between the Dualshock 4's Wolfson (?) chip output and various Realteks, and that's just using Portapros or cheap $10 Sony earbuds.
So if anyone can shed some light on these matters... or point me to a site that discusses these electronics, their differences, I'd really appreciate it. It's hard to find stuff on Google sometimes. You just get a lot of commercial stuff, like stores, and very little information from the companies themselves, which are sort of hidden behind a smokescreen of English pages when the companies are really Chinese or Singaporean or whatever. I guess Cirrus is from Texas, though. Well, I just wish I knew what was accounting for the subtle differences in the sounds and what goes into the engineering (design) of these chips. To what extent, for instance, the engineers at C-Media, Realtek, Wolfson, etc., are tuning things to sound better, or trying to leave it neutral and accurate, or what. Do they have a musical ear? Or is it just kind of random that one sounds better and it's due to better op amps?
I don't know how to approach this subject because it seems complex.
What I'm not interested in are things like whether one card can do 5.1 vs 7.1 or whether one can go all the way up to 192khz, or even signal to noise ratios are probably not what is the issue here. It's definitely the actual sounds and how they're placed in the sound field - like how a saxophone sounds against percussion sounds, or how crude the bass comes through... things like that.
Usually when I look up sound card info I just get stuff about whether you can hear the footsteps in the distance of a Battlefield game or something else with the audio processing software (EAX, etc). Not interested in that. I turn off those features. I'm talking about music.
Thanks if anyone can help or bring up something I need to know.
P.S. I'm aware that this is an enthusiast forum that mostly cares about expensive equipment ($300+) and that if I do want better internal sound in a PC I can get cards like SB Z or Xonar Essence. But I want to know *why* it works as it does, why the chips would sound better or not, just with 16-bit 44khz CD-quality music. I'd think they'd all sound virtually the same (accurate) at this point, yet you plug the same headphones into different cards and different stereos and the like and you always get a subtlely different sound. So now I'm interested in what's causing that, the different chips and how that works. Maybe I just need to learn basic electronics.
P.P.S. I see the warning in red about DAC posts supposed to be in the dedicated component section... sorry if this should go there instead. It's sort of about lots of things, but maybe i posted in the wrong section. I didn't get much of a response though when I posted a similar topic in the introductory help corner.
Edited by stalepie - 3/22/15 at 1:10pm