Realtek HD audio
Sep 4, 2009 at 10:41 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 30

noparanoia

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Hi. This is my first thread, so be kind.
I have just acquired a new PC: Gigabyte GA-EX58-UD5 motherboard, i7920, 6gb DDR3 RAM.
I was previously listening to my Headroom Ultra Micro Amp & DAC driven HD650s through the optical digital out of my old pc's onboard sound card. The listening experience was generally great.
However with my new PC the sound quality does not seem to be in the same league. The sound is a little murky: the soundstage has suffered, and details are less prominant. It is not unpleasant sounding, but I expect so much more from this kit.
I am not good at these audiophile terms, so if you want to know anything else about the problem just ask and I will try to explain it to you as best as I can.
I have checked in most of the obvious places to make sure there is no equalization or sound processing happening.
The motherboard uses a Realtek HD audio chip, Realtek ALC889A codec (hopefully that means more to you than it does to me).
I listen using iTunes 8. The system runs using an evaluation copy of windows 7.
If there is anything else you would like to know just ask.
I hope one of you guys knows the answer to this; it's doing my head in.
Thanks in advance
 
Sep 4, 2009 at 10:47 PM Post #2 of 30

leeperry

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did you update the drivers to the latest?

otherwise, maybe it's time to try w/ a more serious soundcard? provided you got a shop w/ a return policy near you. Realtek is junk basically..this ASIC chip prolly costs <$1.
 
Sep 4, 2009 at 10:48 PM Post #3 of 30

DeusEx

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Nice PC build. I just finished an i7 920/Asus P6T Deluxe V2/Corsair Dominator 6GB build myself.


Are you using the optical out on the UD5 to stream to your DAC? It shouldn't really matter (besides jitter theory) since it's all digital code. And you're not even using the Realtek HD audio chip if you're streaming to a DAC.

If you're not using the optical out, and using the onboard DAC, then by all means upgrade. Even most dedicated sound cards can't compare to external DACs, let alone onboard Realtek.
 
Sep 4, 2009 at 10:59 PM Post #5 of 30

DeusEx

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Should be:
Quote:

Originally Posted by ROBSCIX /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Onboard audio is HORRIBLE compared to modern internal soundcards and external gear. Have you considered getting a better audio interface?


tongue.gif
 
Sep 4, 2009 at 10:59 PM Post #6 of 30

noparanoia

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Quote:

Originally Posted by leeperry /img/forum/go_quote.gif
did you update the drivers to the latest?

otherwise, maybe it's time to try w/ a more serious soundcard? provided you got a shop w/ a return policy near you. Realtek is junk basically..this ASIC chip prolly costs <$1.



Wow, thanks for almost instant reply to get the ball rolling.
Drivers have been updated to the most recent, no real change in quality.
Yes, I agree Realtek are rubbish. Initially I was suspicious about the idea of running my system (which cost more than my car!) from such a low quality source, but then I heard everyone saying "it's digital so it doesnt matter" and now I just don't know what to think.
confused_face(1).gif
 
Sep 4, 2009 at 11:03 PM Post #7 of 30

Bredin

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From what I've read, a ASIO sound card and coax out seems to be best. That is how I'm running my system now. Sadly It didn't work exactly as I wanted. I've ended up with a card for ASIO output in foobar to my dac, and another soun dcard for everything else XD. If you found a ASIO card with coax out that works good I'd recommend it.

The card that I'm having problems with is the ESI maya44.
 
Sep 4, 2009 at 11:05 PM Post #8 of 30

noparanoia

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Quote:

Originally Posted by DeusEx /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Nice PC build. I just finished an i7 920/Asus P6T Deluxe V2/Corsair Dominator 6GB build myself.


Are you using the optical out on the UD5 to stream to your DAC? It shouldn't really matter (besides jitter theory) since it's all digital code. And you're not even using the Realtek HD audio chip if you're streaming to a DAC.

If you're not using the optical out, and using the onboard DAC, then by all means upgrade. Even most dedicated sound cards can't compare to external DACs, let alone onboard Realtek.



Hi. Yes I am using the optical out to stream to DAC. Which is what gave me the impression that the onboard sound card should not matter.
However as my PC sounds nasty I have tried my rig with a few different optical out connections (PS3, others' computers, my old pc) and they all sound very different, so I am unsure as to whether that is the whole story.
 
Sep 4, 2009 at 11:08 PM Post #9 of 30

noparanoia

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Quote:

Originally Posted by ROBSCIX /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Onboard audio is not very good compared to modern internal soundcards and external gear. Have you considered getting a better audio interface?


I would happily spend up to £200 on a new sound card if I was certain that was the problem. I was under the impression that as I was using my own DAC the sound card would not really matter. To what extent is this true?
 
Sep 4, 2009 at 11:08 PM Post #10 of 30

leeperry

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Quote:

Originally Posted by noparanoia /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Wow, thanks for almost instant reply to get the ball rolling.


np, I happened to be around and I know how irritating crappy soundcard/drivers(or combination of both
biggrin.gif
) can be annoying
mad.gif


well, first things first, you're using itunes...which prolly uses DirectSound?

if you *really* wanna stick to it, you could try to install Reclock, set it to use WASAPI(it'll be used as a wrapper, don't forget to set Reclock's prebuffer to 25ms instead of the default 500ms), and then select Reclock in itunes as the DS audio renderer.

so at least you'll get bit-perfect audio in itunes...and provided that the Realtek stuff doesn't resample your audio(WASAPI shouldn't allow it), you should get fully bit-perfect audio to your DAC?
L3000.gif
 
Sep 4, 2009 at 11:21 PM Post #11 of 30

noparanoia

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Quote:

Originally Posted by leeperry /img/forum/go_quote.gif
np, I happened to be around and I know how irritating crappy soundcard/drivers(or combination of both
biggrin.gif
) can be annoying
mad.gif


well, first things first, you're using itunes...which prolly uses DirectSound?

if you *really* wanna stick to it, you could try to install Reclock, set it to use WASAPI(it'll be used as a wrapper, don't forget to set Reclock's prebuffer to 25ms instead of the default 500ms), and then select Reclock in itunes as the DS audio renderer.

so at least you'll get bit-perfect audio in itunes...and provided that the Realtek stuff doesn't resample your audio(WASAPI shouldn't allow it), you should get fully bit-perfect audio to your DAC?
L3000.gif



I'm just doing that at the moment. I have the kit, so it seems a shame not to have a source that can tap its full potential.
I am stuck on the bit about setting reclock as itunes default renderer.
So does that mean that if the problem I am hearing is that Realtek is resampling my audio this could fix it? (on top of getting bit perfect audio)
Thanks
 
Sep 4, 2009 at 11:32 PM Post #12 of 30

leeperry

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I've never used itunes, but hopefully there'll be a way to select the DS audio renderer?

otherwise set Reclock as the default Windows audio renderer, which might be even more convenient if you only use your DAC anyway.

well WASAPI Exclusive doesn't allow resampling (theoritically, as broken WDM windows drivers can come a long way
evil_smiley.gif
) and bypasses any windows resampling anyway...so it can only improve the situation
smily_headphones1.gif
 
Sep 5, 2009 at 12:01 AM Post #13 of 30

ROBSCIX

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Quote:

Originally Posted by noparanoia /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I would happily spend up to £200 on a new sound card if I was certain that was the problem. I was under the impression that as I was using my own DAC the sound card would not really matter. To what extent is this true?


Well it is true that usually digital is digital and should generally be the same between cards and onboards.
Your right perhaps there is something else at work here. Driver possibly or incorrect settings somwhere.
 

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