Auzentech Forte Review at Xbitlabs
Sep 4, 2009 at 11:25 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 21

ear8dmg

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Auzen X-Fi Forte 7.1 Sound Card Review - X-bit labs

This may be of interest to some of you. It's a Forte review that's rather less than gushing.

Chief concern seem to be a lack of ability to recreate quiet music accurately. There's quite an extended discussion on using different opamps and the reviewer seems to finally get something he's happy with after a lot of opamp rolling.

Also there are some observations on sound change with burn in and the need for the card to warm up (rather like a tube amp I guess) to acheive optimum sound quality.

He is very impressed with the headphone amp though...
 
Sep 4, 2009 at 11:42 AM Post #2 of 21

leeperry

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ah cool, I asked him last week if he would ever post it! as he said that it had been ready to publish for a while.

I like their reviews, they don't sound like press releases...like some other "guru" websites
wink.gif


PS: well, it was obvious that all the NJM4580 would be a major deal breaker on this card.
 
Sep 4, 2009 at 4:58 PM Post #3 of 21

ROBSCIX

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Quote:

Originally Posted by ear8dmg /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Auzen X-Fi Forte 7.1 Sound Card Review - X-bit labs

This may be of interest to some of you. It's a Forte review that's rather less than gushing.

Chief concern seem to be a lack of ability to recreate quiet music accurately. There's quite an extended discussion on using different opamps and the reviewer seems to finally get something he's happy with after a lot of opamp rolling.

Also there are some observations on sound change with burn in and the need for the card to warm up (rather like a tube amp I guess) to acheive optimum sound quality.

He is very impressed with the headphone amp though...



Auzentech recommended "burn-in" with the Prelude also when first released also, IIRC.
Most seem to be impressed with the headphones amplifier, as not the quality of a external unit. It is built around a proprietary desing using 12 discrete transistors. As far as gaming cards go though, it is a great sounding gaming card. Although personally I would prefer replacable opamps across the board.
To note, the new HTHD 7.1 uses the same headphone amplifier design.
 
Sep 4, 2009 at 5:28 PM Post #4 of 21

leeperry

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having second thoughts, I was kinda hoping that this card would be good...as using Volumouse on the PC is just *SO* much more convenient than an external volume knob
frown.gif


but this one and the Essence are just major hit and misses...hopefully some day, someone will come up w/ a serious HP amp on a PCI card...maybe that HT.Omega Claro thingie? but it's pretty pricey, hardly any reviews on the web...and it's got a lousy CMI DSP chip, meaning crappy drivers at work
evil_smiley.gif


ah well..this X-Fi had bit-matched ASIO, that's worth something I guess
smily_headphones1.gif
 
Sep 4, 2009 at 5:36 PM Post #5 of 21

sonci

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Quote:

Originally Posted by leeperry /img/forum/go_quote.gif
having second thoughts, I was kinda hoping that this card would be good...as using Volumouse on the PC is just *SO* much more convenient than an external volume knob
frown.gif


but this one and the Essence are just major hit and misses...hopefully some day, someone will come up w/ a serious HP amp on a PCI card...maybe that HT.Omega Claro thingie? but it's pretty pricey, hardly any reviews on the web...and it's got a lousy CMI DSP chip, meaning crappy drivers at work
evil_smiley.gif


ah well..this X-Fi had bit-matched ASIO, that's worth something I guess
smily_headphones1.gif



Have you tried the EMU1212M or the Esi Juli?
 
Sep 4, 2009 at 6:09 PM Post #7 of 21

leeperry

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Quote:

Originally Posted by sonci /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Have you tried the EMU1212M or the Esi Juli?


the Juli@ looks almost perfect! Envy24 DSP, EWDM ESI drivers...the only things that lack are the op-amps
evil_smiley.gif


they also used NJM4580...major fail
afrojojo.gif


and the EMU cards have a problem w/ ASIO(also Creative I think?), they didn't program their ASIO drivers properly(they should be "virtual" but were not coded this way), so after each reboot you have to reselect them in foobar
rolleyes.gif


ah well, the perfect soundcard does not exist...the Xonar Essence have very bright and "digital"-sounding to death caps(ask thoppa what he thinks about that!), crappy drivers to the utmost and their HP out is nowhere near as good as their line-out.

I'll try the Prodigy HD2 Deluxe Edition(Envy24 DSP, EWDM ESI drivers) line-out w/ some OPA2132/LME49722/OPA132U, at least the drivers kick ass! and it's not grossly overpriced
atsmile.gif


also the E-Mu are plagued w/ that PatchMix something? it looks very annoying to use..
 
Sep 4, 2009 at 7:17 PM Post #8 of 21

sonci

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Quote:

Originally Posted by leeperry /img/forum/go_quote.gif

and the EMU cards have a problem w/ ASIO(also Creative I think?), they didn't program their ASIO drivers properly(they should be "virtual" but were not coded this way), so after each reboot you have to reselect them in foobar
rolleyes.gif

.



3 years with EMU1212M on xp, and Foobar, but dont know this problem,
It doesnt have the auto switching sample rate as in xfi, you have to click when played different sample rate files, but com`on..
As for the Patchmix, its not user friendly, but not complicated, just send asio strip to the source you use, and the patchmix is by-passed completely.
 
Sep 4, 2009 at 7:25 PM Post #9 of 21

ROBSCIX

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I have heard the 1212m and it is a nice card for sound quality. Most recording cards I have seen and/or used have manual sample rate to lock them for recording.

As for the patch mix, People look at recording cards for their soudn quality and then complain about software that is designed for use in recording. I guess it my look complicated to some, if you have no experince with any type of recording equipment.
 
Sep 4, 2009 at 7:30 PM Post #10 of 21

sonci

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I`m reading a SNR of about 124db, on the Asus Essence,
btw who has measured that?
 
Sep 4, 2009 at 8:44 PM Post #11 of 21

leeperry

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Quote:

Originally Posted by sonci /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I`m reading a SNR of about 124db, on the Asus Essence,
btw who has measured that?



him:
images


OK, so the problem w/ foobar only happens w/ the 0404USB(for sure) and some X-Fi then...good to know.

but I think depending on the sample rate, you have to select different presets in PatchMix? luckily, it's got ASIO bit-matched at least.

and what kinda op-amps you got there? JRC2068? 5532? 4580?

getting a soundcard w/ a nice DAC, swappable op-amps and killer drivers...takes a friggin' miracle
mad.gif
 
Sep 4, 2009 at 9:02 PM Post #12 of 21

ROBSCIX

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Quote:

Originally Posted by sonci /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I`m reading a SNR of about 124db, on the Asus Essence,
btw who has measured that?



The DAC spec for the STX/ST is actually about 127db for SNR but real world measured value is 124dB according to AP test included with the card.
You would need a high power analyzer to measure that type of output.
You can try with another soundcard using RMAA but you will hit the limit of the ADC on the recording card.
 
Sep 4, 2009 at 9:30 PM Post #13 of 21

sonci

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Quote:

Originally Posted by leeperry /img/forum/go_quote.gif
him:
images


OK, so the problem w/ foobar only happens w/ the 0404USB(for sure) and some X-Fi then...good to know.

but I think depending on the sample rate, you have to select different presets in PatchMix? luckily, it's got ASIO bit-matched at least.

and what kinda op-amps you got there? JRC2068? 5532? 4580?

getting a soundcard w/ a nice DAC, swappable op-amps and killer drivers...takes a friggin' miracle
mad.gif



Thanks, you made me laugh,
I spend several bucks on modding the EMU, so I`m not in the mod of trying another stereo audiocard, though I would like to hear the Essence

I tried the good old LME4562 on the EMU, simply because I had only those, at my surprise the sound didn`t change much, as it was for the xfi platinum,
maybe they implement differently those opamps, because even others admit that the major changes comes from replacing capacitors,

I dont know how far can PC soundcard audiophillia can go, since in theory there should be RMI|EMI shield, or Jitter, or even crap psu, while on an ext,DAC are easily corrected,
but then still, there are the RME, LYNX ...
 
Sep 4, 2009 at 9:33 PM Post #14 of 21

sonci

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Quote:

Originally Posted by leeperry /img/forum/go_quote.gif
him:
images


mad.gif



Where did you get this?
Its great
Maybe my next avatar
 
Sep 4, 2009 at 10:16 PM Post #15 of 21

leeperry

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don't focus too much on the STX metal shield, xbitlabs(an *independent* review site, unlike most others) compared their Xonar D2 w/ and w/o the shield...and the RMAA results were perfectly identical, they said the only thing it'd do is actually make the IC warmer(hence increasing distortion)...plus many ppl use discrete op-amps and ditched it.

and when I asked yoyolai about it by email(he's the Xonar Product Manager), he tried to avoid the subject
wink.gif


the PCB is very well shielded, the metal shield is here to please the n00bs.

well, some ppl tried to swap the crappy JRC4580 of the Juli@ for the LM4562...and seemed pretty unhappy w/ it: esi juli@ jrc4580 - Google Search
Quote:

I just soldered 2x LM4562MA chips to ESI Juli@ but I'm not happy


but anyway, I don't like the 4562 either...and as you said hardly any op-amp can be swapped w/o design changes
redface.gif


I've got great hopes towards the Prodigy HD2 Deluxe Edition though, it's got killer non-SRC drivers, OK-ish RMAA results(worse than the STX line-out, but on par w/ the ST line-out), swappable op-amps(fed w/ ±9V), Sanyo OScon caps....and it's cheap!

ixbtlabs(sister site of xbitlabs) reviewed the Standard Edition, and said that it was great value at the time...and that the drivers were really killer(ESI EWDM). w/ some OPA132U or LME49722, I'm sure it'll please me...especially for US $113 shipped
smily_headphones1.gif
 

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