Using EMU 0404 PCI as external DAC
Dec 18, 2007 at 12:07 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 7

GotNoRice

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After building my new computer I faced a dilemma where I had 4 PCI cards and only 3 PCI slots. I couldn’t get rid of my SCSI controller, and games that use the PhysX PPU I have are barely just coming out, that left my two soundcards, my trusty Audigy2 ZS + EMU 0404 combo.

I had my Audigy2 ZS set as the main sound card in windows, with a cable running from the digital output on the audigy to the digital input on the 0404 to take advantage of its better DAC. This was the case for all audio on the computer except for Music, which was sent directly to the 0404 via ASIO 2.0 32-bit/96khz.

I took the smallest computer I had, which is an old HP celeron 366Mhz with 128megs of ram, put a old hard drive in it and installed Windows Server 2003 on it. I put the EMU 0404 in and the drivers installed fine. It worked out perfectly, since the windows audio subsystem is disabled by default in 2003 server, I don’t have it actually trying to use the sound card for anything itself.

Aside from that, there are two things I’m not sure about. First, since I can no longer send my music directly to the 0404 via ASIO 2.0, I have to send it to the Audigy2 ZS instead (which is then sent to the 0404). The Audigy is limited to ASIO 1.0 which is limited to 16-bit/48khz. I switched to using Kernel Streaming and it let me keep it at 32/96.

The 2nd thing is that I noticed some pops as I listened to music. This seemed to be resolved when I switched the EMU control panel app to using external instead of internal source for the clock, but still has me a bit uneasy.

Is there any drawbacks to the way I have it setup now, using kernel streaming and sending my music over the digital cable to a totally seperate computer rather than having it sent directly to the 0404 via ASIO 2.0?
 
Dec 18, 2007 at 5:26 AM Post #2 of 7

infinitesymphony

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The Audigy 2 ZS is not capable of outputting bit-perfect audio and will resample all non-48 kHz content to 48 kHz using poor algorithms. By outputting at 96 kHz, you're introducing another resampling step. Here's what it looks like:

44.1 kHz --> 96 kHz --> 48 kHz --> out to 0404 PCI

Until you get a new sound card, you may want to keep the resampler set to 48 kHz on the computer with the Audigy 2 ZS.
 
Dec 18, 2007 at 5:54 AM Post #3 of 7

GotNoRice

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Quote:

Originally Posted by infinitesymphony /img/forum/go_quote.gif
The Audigy 2 ZS is not capable of outputting bit-perfect audio and will resample all non-48 kHz content to 48 kHz using poor algorithms. By outputting at 96 kHz, you're introducing another resampling step. Here's what it looks like:

44.1 kHz --> 96 kHz --> 48 kHz --> out to 0404 PCI

Until you get a new sound card, you may want to keep the resampler set to 48 kHz on the computer with the Audigy 2 ZS.



The Audigy 2 ZS cannot do 44.1khz but it definitely can do 48khz and 96khz. Given the choice of resampling to 48khz and 96khz, I went with 96. The Audigy2 ZS is definitely not sending 48khz to the 0404, for one, because when I switch the Audigy2 ZS output from the control panel to 48khz while the 0404 is set to 96khz, it produced noticeably bad results.
 
Dec 18, 2007 at 8:44 AM Post #5 of 7

GotNoRice

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Quote:

Originally Posted by infinitesymphony /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Try using ASIO with 16-bit / 48 kHz with the Audigy (plus resampler in Foobar for 44.1 kHz to 48 kHz conversion), then set the 0404 PCI to accept 48 kHz.


What would be the advantage of doing that rather than what I have going right now?

Since in either case, 48 or 96, it is not resampling as it would with 44.1k.
 
Dec 18, 2007 at 11:34 AM Post #6 of 7

infinitesymphony

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The original audio is not 48 kHz or 96 kHz--it must be resampled from 44.1 kHz (unless you have higher resolution files). There is no advantage to resampling from 44.1 kHz to 96 kHz versus 48 kHz, especially with a software resampler. The disadvantages of resampling to 96 kHz are wasted processing power and possible high frequency smearing, artifacts, or edginess.

The only benefit to resampling to 48 kHz at all is so that the card doesn't try to resample again. Whatever you do, there will always be at least one stage of resampling involved when feeding 44.1 kHz audio through the Audigy 2 ZS.
 
Dec 18, 2007 at 9:50 PM Post #7 of 7

GotNoRice

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Quote:

Originally Posted by infinitesymphony /img/forum/go_quote.gif
The original audio is not 48 kHz or 96 kHz--it must be resampled from 44.1 kHz (unless you have higher resolution files). There is no advantage to resampling from 44.1 kHz to 96 kHz versus 48 kHz, especially with a software resampler. The disadvantages of resampling to 96 kHz are wasted processing power and possible high frequency smearing, artifacts, or edginess.

The only benefit to resampling to 48 kHz at all is so that the card doesn't try to resample again. Whatever you do, there will always be at least one stage of resampling involved when feeding 44.1 kHz audio through the Audigy 2 ZS.



I was already resampling even when sending the audio directly to the 0404 just to keep everything consistent and working smoothly with the combined audio from the audigy, resampling to 96khz uses 8% of one of my 4 cores so I'm not terribly worried about that.
 

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