Soundcards vs standalones
Jul 4, 2002 at 9:30 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 31

Ricky

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Quote:

Originally posted by markl
Ignore Ricky's statement that a computer soundcard will sound as good as a quality CDP.


I don't know why some people still insist that computer soundcards are intrinsically bad. Many pros use them at their studios.

Also, I wonder if there is any consumer CDP, SACD, DVD-A or DAC that reaches the capabilities of this soundcard:

http://www.pcavtech.com/soundcards/LynxTWO/index.htm

As to the rest of your post, I don't remember having said anything about crappy CDPs and quality CDPs sounding the same.

 
Jul 4, 2002 at 10:11 PM Post #2 of 31

markl

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Here's what you said:

"Also, output from a good quality sound card doesn't differ much from output from a good quality cd player."

It could be easily construed as I did that you see no difference between soundcards and *good quality* CDP's. You suggested mikeg buy a $150 sound card in a thread where people were recommending $1K+ SACDPs. Given your (I'll be generous) "non-mainstream" views on cables, it wasn't much of a leap to assume that you're also one of those "non-mainstream" folks who assert there are no differences between CDPs.

As to the card you linked to (which is not the same one you recomended to mikeg), I am unfamiliar with it and don't see a price tag. Sure, I'll concede a $5K soundcard will outperform a $79 Radio shack CDP, that's not the issue.

Also, please verify that the $150 sound card you own is the device on which you base your opinion that cables don't make a difference. Is that your primary source? Enquiring minds want to know...

markl
 
Jul 4, 2002 at 10:39 PM Post #3 of 31

Anders

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Ricky,
I checked the price, now you are referring to a $1000 soundcard instead of a $150. Of course, the same technology can be implemented in a soundcard and a CDP. You are often repositioning yourself and presenting non-convincing arguments, although with much measurements.
I think you also has to look a little deeper, at your own motivation for this kind of discussion. I can understand that you had to defend yourself in earlier threads. I wondered if you are the kind of person that wants to fight for something you believe is the truth? Or if you just want to tease others and like to fight in a hostile environment? Opening this thread points to the later interpretation.
 
Jul 4, 2002 at 10:56 PM Post #4 of 31

Ricky

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Quote:

Originally posted by markl
It could be easily construed as I did that you see no difference between soundcards and *good quality* CDP's. You suggested mikeg buy a $150 sound card in a thread where people were recommending $1K+ SACDPs.




I said GOOD QUALITY soundcards. I also intended to say that, just for watching movies, no top quality equipment is needed, since AC3 audio is not top quality.

Quote:

Given your (I'll be generous) "non-mainstream" views on cables,




Why "non-mainstream"? That can be true at the audiophile cable section, but just go and ask some pro's. World is not that simple.

Quote:

it wasn't much of a leap to assume that you're also one of those "non-mainstream" folks who assert there are no differences between CDPs.




It was a leap that you just took somehow gratuitously.

Quote:

As to the card you linked to (which is not the same one you recomended to mikeg), I am unfamiliar with it and don't see a price tag. Sure, I'll concede a $5K soundcard will outperform a $79 Radio shack CDP, that's not the issue.




It's a $1000 card. What I was intending to say is that soundcards are not bad just for being soundcards. Note also that this card outperfoms players costing several times more.


Quote:

Also, please verify that the $150 sound card you own is the device on which you base your opinion that cables don't make a difference. Is that your primary source? Enquiring minds want to know...


I base my opinion on many things, as you can verify reading the related threads at the cables section.
 
Jul 4, 2002 at 11:07 PM Post #5 of 31

Ricky

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Quote:

Originally posted by Anders
Ricky,
I checked the price, now you are referring to a $1000 soundcard instead of a $150. Of course, the same technology can be implemented in a soundcard and a CDP.




That is part of what I was intending to say. Also that just having a card that outperforms much more expensive standalones, and that can also record and play at 192 KHz both at analog and digital domains, with balanced outputs and inputs, is not so expensive.

Quote:

I think you also has to look a little deeper, at your own motivation for this kind of discussion. I can understand that you had to defend yourself in earlier threads. I wondered if you are the kind of person that wants to fight for something you believe is the truth? Or if you just want to tease others and like to fight in a hostile environment?


What's bad on this kind of discussion? I just want to discuss about some points of view assumed by many people here, that I think can be not right. I think I have not tried to tease anybody here.

Maybe at other threads at the cables section I've been no so polite, but I believe I apologized for that when I considered that I had to. Note that other people at those threads I believe have been quite more unpolite with me than I have been with them.

Anyway, this is a different discussion and section, So I'd prefer to stay on topic.

 
Jul 4, 2002 at 11:11 PM Post #6 of 31

markl

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"I said GOOD QUALITY soundcards."

Yeah, and then went on to reco a $150 sound card, thereby implying it was the definition of "good quality". When you realized how silly this was, you switched over to a $1K soundcard that was NOT part of the original conversation.

"Why "non-mainstream"? That can be true at the audiophile cable section, but just go and ask some pro's. World is not that simple."

I could have called you a "quack" or a "crank" but I restrained myself. Why are you so ready to believe what you *read*? It's clear that you've never actually tried good cables in a system that would allow them to make a difference. You rely 100% on theory and have 0% experience.

"It was a leap that you just took somehow gratuitously. "

You were *begging* me to reply by starting this thread. You quoted me and asked for a response. That's exactly what you got.

"It's a $1000 card."

That's hardly your "typical" crappy PC soundcard now is it? You had to search far and wide to find the one decent soundcard on planet earth. Meanwhile there are hundreds of high-quality CDPs out there. Way to find the ONE exception to the rule, congrats man.

"What I was intending to say is that soundcards are not bad just for being soundcards."

Well...duh! Again who would argue that the $79 Radio Shack CDP is better than this $1K soundcard? This is a red-herring.

"Note also that this card outperfoms players costing several times more."

How do you know that? You've never heard a $300 player let alone a $3K player. You're basing your opinion on *nothing* but it's convenience to your rather thin argument.

"I base my opinion on many things, as you can verify reading the related threads at the cables section."

You sure do. Everything except actual experience and first-hand knowledge. Everything except actually listening to good quality ICs and CDPs. Admit it-- you really have no idea what you're talking about.

And at last we know for certain as I predicted eons ago that all your "critical listening" is indeed done on a crappy computer soundcard.

markl
 
Jul 4, 2002 at 11:47 PM Post #7 of 31

Ricky

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Quote:

Originally posted by markl

Yeah, and then went on to reco a $150 sound card, thereby implying it was the definition of "good quality".




In my opinion, it is a reasonable quality sound card, comparable to many cdp's, and in fact superior to many cheap cdps and portables. Note that I also somehow assumed that it was not a top quality audio device.

Quote:


When you realized how silly this was, you switched over to a $1K soundcard that was NOT part of the original conversation.




This is not the original conversation. This is a conversation derived from what seems as claims of a person of that a soundcard, as general rule, can't be as good as a good standalone.

Quote:


You were *begging* me to reply by starting this thread. You quoted me and asked for a response. That's exactly what you got.




About your "leap", again, I didn't say anything about cheap CDPs sounding the same as quality CDPs, you are just gratuitously assuming that I think so.

Quote:


That's hardly your "typical" crappy PC soundcard now is it?




I did't say it had to be a crappy soundcard, it seems that you assume that all soundcards are "crappy" soundcards.

Quote:


You had to search far and wide to find the one decent soundcard on planet earth. Meanwhile there are hundreds of high-quality CDPs out there. Way to find the ONE exception to the rule, congrats man.




Please go and look for many different quality pro cards from many brands such as M-Audio, Echo, DAL, RME, Creamware, Emagic, Waveterminal, Aadvark, etc.

Quote:


How do you know that? You've never heard a $300 player let alone a $3K player. You're basing your opinion on *nothing* but it's convenience to your rather thin argument.




I believe I gave you a link to support my claims. You can discuss if the information at this link is relevant for you, but please don't say that I base my opnion on "nothing".

Quote:


You sure do. Everything except actual experience and first-hand knowledge. Everything except actually listening to good quality ICs and CDPs. Admit it-- you really have no idea what you're talking about.

And at last we know for certain as I predicted eons ago that all your "critical listening" is indeed done on a crappy computer soundcard.




I have other audio sources aside from my Audiophile 2496. About this card, again, prove it's so crappy and try my test at www.kikeg.arrakis.es.

For the people that doesn't know what is this test about, at this test, I've passed a musical clip up to 4 times through my M-Audio Audiophile 2496. I have slightly compensated and flattened via DSP the frequency response of the card, that could be noticeable after a 4th-pass. The original frecuency response of the card is very similar to the one of many cd players.

Note that the only parameters I have slightly compensated are frequency response plus a 1 dB gain on the original signal.

Note what withing the 5 clips is the original file, just ripped with 100% accuracy from an original cd.

I want to know if people can dtect just by listening which is the original clip, and which the 1, 2, 3 and 4 times passed through the sound card clips.

So far, nobody has been able (though, just a few responses received so far).
 
Jul 5, 2002 at 12:11 AM Post #8 of 31

markl

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First of all, Ricky, I want you to know I'm not really *mad* at you per se. I don't think you're necessarily a "bad" person, just mis-informed, or rather, under-informed. I think you have definite psychological and fiscal reasons for posting the views you do, that are not necessarily connected to what I define as "reality". You seem to enjoy a hearty debate and so do I. Hence, the extra "bite" in my posts that I reserve especially for you, and other "infidels"
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Feel my scorpion sting!!!
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OK....

"In my opinion, it is a reasonable quality sound card, comparable to many cdp's,"

Based on what? Your "average" sound card? Surely you would admit that your "average" soundcard is in the $150 range, while the "average" CDP is several times more. Also, please list the CDPs you've auditioned in your home. None? I thought not.

"This is a conversation derived from the claims of a person of that a soundcard, as general rule, can't be as good as a good standalone."

Provide the quote where I said that. In fact, I've said just the opposite. A great soundcard surely can outperform a crappy CDP. However, your $150 sound card will not out-perform a low-cost ($300) SACD. Not even close.

"it seems that you assume that all soundcards are "crappy" soundcards. "

No, but as a general rule, *most* soundcards ARE indeed crappy, a fact you instinctively know, which is why you had to drag in the $1K soundcard to cover your tracks.

"Please go and look for many different quality pro cards from many brands such as M-Audio, Echo, DAL, RME, Creamware, Emagic, Waveterminal, Aadvark, etc."

While ignoring the HUNDREDS of good quality CDPs/SACDPs/DVD-A players.

A one-box solution, which has been designed to act as a whole, is in a better position to out-perform a separate Korean cheapie CD-ROM drive hooked up to a crappy sound card in a PC box with dozens of additional components that wreak havok on all the nice performance figures (you love those don't you?) for the soundcard. Don't forget that the rest of the devices inside your PC are adding all kinds of "grunge" and noise to the power supply, thereby obliterating all the nice performance measurements for that card. A one-box CDP does not have the same inherent problems.

You're on the ropes, man... Where's the ref? Your corner should just throw in the towel so you can save some face...


markl
 
Jul 5, 2002 at 12:32 AM Post #9 of 31

Ricky

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Quote:

Originally posted by markl
Based on what?



Mainly on measured specs. See www.pcavtech.com, measurements of many soundcards, CDPs and DACs.


Quote:


Provide the quote where I said that




It seemed that you intended to say that when you said "Ignore Ricky's statement that a computer sound card will sound as good as a quality CDP"

Quote:


However, your $150 sound card will not out-perform a low-cost ($300) SACD. Not even close.




How do you know? You accuse me of not having listened to a good quality CDP. Have you listened to a good quality soundcard?

Quote:


No, but as a general rule, *most* soundcards ARE indeed crappy, a fact you instinctively know, which is why you had to drag in the $1K soundcard to cover your tracks.




I'm talking about reasonable quality cards, not $20 cards.

Quote:


While ignoring the HUNDREDS of good quality CDPs/SACDPs/DVD-A players.




Of course, mainly because market for CDP's is much bigger than market for good quality soundcards, for obvious reasons mainly not related to their sonic qualities.

Quote:


A one-box solution, which has been designed to act as a whole, is in a better position to out-perform a separate Korean cheapie CD-ROM drive hooked up to a crappy sound card in a PC box with dozens of additional components that wreak havok on all the nice performance figures (you love those don't you?) for the soundcard.
Don't forget that the rest of the devices inside your PC are adding all kinds of "grunge" and noise to the power supply, thereby obliterating all the nice performance measurements for that card.




Please go to www.pcavtech.com and tell me how these performance figures are affected in the "excellent quality" range of soundcards. Note that I've done this measurements on my Audiophile card, and the results are very similar to the measurements on the Delta 66 soundcard.


Quote:


You're on the ropes, man... Where's the ref? Your corner should just throw in the towel so you can save some face...




That's just your opinion, of course.
 
Jul 5, 2002 at 12:47 AM Post #10 of 31

MirandaX

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Just my 2 cents... Probably it's possible to find a great sound card, but in most cases it'll be simpler to just buy a good dedicated CDP.

My only "experience" for comparison is with a Stereo-Link external DAC (about $150) versus a Sony NS500V (about $160). Though they're about the same price, the Sony blows the sound card away. There are many low level details in recordings that are clearly audible with the Sony that aren't audible with the sound card.
 
Jul 5, 2002 at 12:57 AM Post #11 of 31

markl

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"Mainly on measured specs. "

You and your measurements. I'll trade a thousand of your measurements for one of my own listening sessions. As has been said to you a hundred times already-- not all things that measure the same sound the same.

"How do you know? You accuse me of not having listened to a good quality CDP. Have you listened to a good quality soundcard? "

No, but I'm not arguing that a $1K sound card sounds the same as a $79 CDP, am I? Besides, I own actual CDs; I don't listen to crappy MP3's through crappy computer speakers like you do.

"I'm talking about reasonable quality cards, not $20 cards. "

Is there such a thing? Again which is "reasonable quality" the $150 card or the $1K card? You're being cagey on this, and I think the average reader can easily guess why.

"Of course, mainly because market for CDP's is much bigger than market for good quality soundcards, for obvious reasons mainly not related to their sonic qualities."

Fine. Then let's agree that there is no reason that a $150 msound card will out-perform a $150 CDP.

"Note that I've done this measurements on my Audiophile card, and the results are very similar to the measurements on the Delta 66 soundcard."

See my reply above.

Nothing you've said provides the folks here with any reason to buy a crappy computer soundcard in place of a stand-alone CDP.

markl
 
Jul 5, 2002 at 2:40 AM Post #12 of 31

Tim D

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Soundcards inherently have to battle with poorer power supply and more electrical interference.

Actually PCAVTech shows how some of the better soundcards match up with portable CD players in performance. And in fact he tests a variety of "consumer" CD players many of which are outdated...but some of which still show that in terms of price/performance a lot of stand-a-lone or portable players still manage to have better SNR or less jitter distortion. Also the Delta-66 is being tested with 24-bit 96khz sampling when it should also include test specs for CD audio.

Same as the DAC's which show good performance all around as well.

Also PCAVTech tests some of the BEST soundcards on the market, while their tests on consumer audio is an outdated motley of a selection(players you'd see selling for $50 on ebay?...there is a first generation 1983 CD player on it). But you can even see that some of the newer Sony MD players can even compete quite favorably with soundcards even though they use compression. Finally given the mechanical noises typical of computers themselves...well if anything I think PCAVTech shows the price/performance of many CDP's and DAC's as superior considering only a few cards, the majority of which are expensive, actually perform excellently.

In fact you can see some of the DAC results explicitly state how the devices were actually limited by the LynxOne card which is one of the best cards, at least before the LynxTwo. Seeing as how those DAC's tested are cheaper than either of those cards, I think the notion that soundcards are not considered the greatest performance/price audio solution is not completely unfounded. Saying that "pros" use soundcards is pretty meaningless seeing as "pros" also use expensive cd players and DACs as well. Yes get an pro audio catalog and open it up and maybe you will be suprised to see that there is plenty of expensive proaudio players and DACs, not just soundcards. Finally the "pros" often use soundcards for other reasons than audio playback or monitoring purposes. It isn't because they are the best or most cost-effective in high audio quality playback...or recording...but as an interface for convenient DSP work.



 
Jul 5, 2002 at 12:43 PM Post #13 of 31

kelly

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Ricky
The reason this keeps coming up is that your posts consistently sound like the kind of comments we're used to hearing from people who have never heard high end gear. If you have heard high end gear, why don't you tell us what you've heard and dispell this assumption that so many of us obviously have.

I have not heard the high end soundcards. My feeling is that it would be difficult to achieve a good quality due to the size, power and isolation capabilities of an *internal* soundcard. Get the signal outside of the box and into and external soundcard and all bets are off. I've had mild success connecting a budget external DAC to a budget soundcard, but the bottleneck in that rig is quite obviously the soundcard and is the next item up for potential upgrade in that system. My home system still has a standard CD player as its source.
 
Jul 5, 2002 at 7:40 PM Post #14 of 31

dparrish

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Well,

I HAVE heard an M-Audio 24/96, which is so highly touted over at the AVS forum.

I compared it to a Soundblaster Audigy and to a very modest conventional rig consisting of a Toshiba 5109.

In each case (Audigy, 24/96, Toshiba 5109) the signal was taken from the analog outs to a HeadRoom Cosmic amp and listened to on HD600s.

The results to my ears were that the Toshiba setup was clearly better, ESPECIALLY in the high-frequency area. The Audigy had a rather unatural-sounding upper mid/high frequency, while the 24/96 was somewhat cleaner/crisper. However, the 24/96 had an unpleasant harshness/hash which was very noticeable in the higher frequencies (strings especially).

While I felt the 24/96 was an improvement over the Audigy, it wasn't by much, and both cards really didn't come close to either the quietness or smoothness of the Toshiba, especially in the high frequencies.

I don't care WHAT the specs may say about the jitter present in these cards, SOMETHING is going on there (RFI or something) that must account for this.

I am still hunting for a reasonably priced card (I'm considering DAL Cardeluxe, RMEDigi96/Pro, among others) that can give better-sounding analog outs than the 24/96.

Bottom line: the 24/96 is okay, but not in the same league (at least through the analog outs) as even a modest CD/DVD player.
 
Jul 5, 2002 at 9:43 PM Post #15 of 31

Audio-Me

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dparrish, your description of the Audiophile 24/96 matches what I thought of the DiO 2496. The Terratec EWS88 MT sounds much smoother and more resolving. Have you thought of getting a separate DAC for use with your soundcard instead of hunting for better sound cards? Certainly a CAL Alpha DAC or something of the likes would destroy any sound card... I plan on using the Cary CD-303/200 when I get one as a DAC for when I'm not listening to CDs.
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As for consumer level sound cards, they are all turd. If you disagree, you are just in denial. If you are too ****ing cheap to save up for anything decent, I suggest a Creative Labs AWE64 GOLD from ebay for like $25.
 

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