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Objective way to tell if my audio gear is faulty or not?

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by Red Dragon, Oct 8, 2017.
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  1. yage
    I would agree... but there is an intermittent popping with both the Realtek and the SB Live. This points to something outside the PC as well. My guess is that switching to a balanced connection might solve that issue.
  2. gregorio
    1. It means anything after your computer, such as cables, DAC and speakers.
    2. No they don't - irrelevant - irrelevant.
    3. Pretty much all of them. 3a. Makes no difference. 3b. Already answered.

    Ah, I didn't know that. I don't recall seeing such a switch on any studio monitors I've used, just a balanced +4 input. I therefore stand corrected.

    1. No, it still indicates something inside the computer but that is not certain. Hence why I've suggested the process of elimination at least twice!
    2. Even if there were an issue with balanced/unbalanced that would still not account for the symptom of intermittent popping, just the additional hiss. However, there is not a balanced/unbalanced connection issue with the speakers, as Pinnahertz pointed out and as I responded to above.

    Last edited: Oct 25, 2017
  3. ev13wt
    Google Soundblaster and popping. Known bug.
  4. yage
    I owned an SB Live ca. 1998-2001 and don't recall any issues with popping when playing MP3s, speakers or headphones.

    Edit - Of course, that was with Win 95 / Red Hat Linux 5.x on a Dell Dimension D266
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2017
    ev13wt likes this.
  5. yage
    The problem could still lie outside the computer - e.g. power line issues. Still, I agree about experimenting to find the root problem.
  6. pinnahertz
    No, not a chance. If there were a power line issue bad enough to cause an interruption in audio the PC would also reboot itself. This is an INSIDE the PC problem. The fact that both sound cards are affected just points you to a different issue. I'd have a look at all running processes and see what's hogging resources. Should pop right out if it's that big.
  7. Red Dragon
    After reading that post, my new questions are:

    1. Why is the way how audio interfaces which include DACs are powered irrelevant, yet the way how standalone DACs are powered is not irrelevant?

    Maybe my use of the phrase "sub-par" is too subjective. So I'll rephrase:

    2. What would be an example of an audio interface that contains a DAC which is as good as, or better than, the DAC contained in the Modi Multibit?
  8. Currawong Contributor
    Depends what you call "good". For some people, that is "It sounds nicer to me" and since you're in the Sound Science forum asking, it will be whatever objectively measures better. Noting here, so there is no misunderstanding, that I like the guys who design it, but the Modi Multibit cannot even reproduce a -90 dB signal correctly, so technically just about anything else is "better". However people find the multi-bit DACs to be more enjoyable to listen to music with, and the technically better DACs often less pleasant.
  9. gregorio
    1. The power supply should be irrelevant to any DAC. A DAC should obviously be able to correctly handle (condition and isolate) whatever power supply it is designed to accept.
    2. Again, I've already answered that question!

  10. Red Dragon
    That statement confuses me because I'm pretty sure I've read many comments to the effect of: one of the key factors about how good or bad something sounds is the cleanliness of the power which feeds it.

    I am pretty sure I've also read one of the Schiit employees commenting about how the reason to upgrade to better models up their product line is for the cleaner power that comes along with the additional money.

    EDIT: I found a link to one of the posts that gave me this impression:

    and here is another along the same lines:

    ...are those comments not strongly implying that with a worse power supply comes worse sound?

    But the quoted statement from you seems to be contradicting those ideas. So I don't know how to reconcile all of that seemingly contradictory information?

    I see your point about how about good is a subjective and ambiguous word. My issue is, I have to stop endlessly shelling out more money trying to achieve audio that I like, but I don't know how to do that. I'll try once more by buying one more new DAC or audio interface, but if my sound still sucks after that, then I'll have to take the losses and accept that I am doomed to have crappy audio.

    I've seen the recommendation for the Behringers, but those products don't inspire faith in me that they will stand a high chance to give me what I perceive to be good audio. So I am stuck not knowing what to buy.

    Are there any other products that stand the highest possible chance that they will sound good to me? I know there are no guarantees, but what product(s) would be the next-best, most-close thing to a guarantee?
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2017
  11. gregorio
    1. A clean, stable, isolated, appropriate power supply to the DACs internal components is obviously essential for good performance, which is why any competent DAC must condition the power it is fed. This is an expected, not particularly difficult and inexpensive task to accomplish.
    2. Yes, referring back to the previous point, at least some of the Schiit models cannot therefore be described as "competent", which is unacceptable even in a cheap external DAC.
    3. Yes, quite a lot of what you'll find here in the Sound Science forum contradicts audiophile beliefs/marketing/myths.
    3a. Much of the contradictory information cannot be reconciled. The audiophile industry has been around for several decades and at least partially relies on myths for it's continued existence. Highlight an issue which is inaudible or not even applicable to audio reproduction, use pseudo-science and anecdotes to demonstrate the issue is real and explain why you therefore need to buy their product to cure that issue. With shills and professional reviewers reliant on the advertising revenue, the marketing is often almost irresistible unless you have a good understanding of how audio really works and of course the average audiophile doesn't, as their only source of information is the audiophile industry itself and those already, unwittingly, suckered by it.
    4. The Behringer will give you clean, accurate and therefore high fidelity audio reproduction. My opinion is that if it's clean and accurate it's therefore good, some audiophiles prefer a coloured, inaccurate sound and therefore call that good and high fidelity, even though it's actually lower fidelity. In other words, there's no way of knowing what you personally like and even though the Behringer will give you very good audio, you effectively might not like very good audio.

    ev13wt likes this.
  12. castleofargh Contributor
    it's as hard for us as it is for you. so far I'm still not totally sure if you have some serious issues with your audio, or if you're just mostly disappointed by how fairly good audio sounds in the big scheme of things, just like any other audio. you mentioned enjoying sound on a previous computer(different gears altogether) and how the new computer apparently never offered you what you had before. maybe there is a serious problem with your computer, maybe it's some setting that would just need to be changed. and maybe on the older computer, the sound card had some sound effects turned ON all the time and you liked that a lot?
    it's hard to deduce anything from how little controls you have. by controls I mean other gears to compare it too, or really any other mean of reference. it's not your fault in any way, but it does make things hard. don't you have some geeky guy you know who cares about audio a little and could come to your house and check stuff(maybe bring his own DAC or amp, or just a laptop, cellphone etc to try as a source). even if he has nothing at all, maybe just a pair of "independent ears" to judge if your sound has some obvious issue or feels fine to him overall?
  13. bigshot
    Be skeptical of things that people say who are trying to sell you something.

    Do a little google research from sites run by people who aren't trying to sell you something to try and figure out how things work.

    There's wheat and chaff. Your job is to discern between them.
  14. techboy
    For what it’s worth, my speakers sound perfect with all DACs except Mimby. With Mimby they too sound muffled and disjointed. But all my headphones work perfectly fine with the same Mimby.

    Try using a smartphone to test. If the problem disappears then using Mimby with speakers might be your problem.

    Although I don’t know why or how, that has been the case for me.
  15. techboy
    Since you don’t have a smartphone, just use a 3.5mm to RCA cable to connect your on board sound to your speakers. Don’t question. Just do it. You’ll know where the problem lies. Just do it before you reply.

    To be clear, after you do the above, your speakers will no longer sound muffled. But even I hate studio monitors. Not everybody likes them. I suggest you try Audioengine or Aktimate speakers. And no need for MMB or M3 for such cheap speakers.
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2017
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