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Old 3rd March 2003, 09:50 AM   #1
Henckel is offline Henckel  Denmark
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Default High end Computer soundcard ?

Hi

I am seeking advice on which high end sound card to purchase, and i mean "High end" in the Audio meaning of the word.

It might be off the shelf card or modification of the DA and Analog stage of a soundcard.

The reason for having this request is two-folded:


- I have very good results with room compensation when using DRC 2.0

- The new Windows Media player 9 supports HDCD encoded CD´s

And i am looking for ways to turn my PC into my Primary source for High end sound


As a reference i am using a Terratec 24/96LT card today with AKM D/A converters. The card supports 24 bit/ 96 K sampling - This will be a minimum (and sufficient?)

Recomendations for external DAC´s would also be much welcomed. either DIY or off the shelf products.

The creative bunch of cards are not worth considering in this respect (unless modified ?)

Morten
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Old 3rd March 2003, 10:25 AM   #2
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I have looked extensively at this and pretty much come up short on all counts -- but there is light at the end of the tunnel. The new Envy 24 HT chipsets are extremely good on paper (they are constructed properly with full bit paths etc -- very impressive!) and are available in low cost sound cards from Terratec (Aureon Space) and M-Audio. Since this is a DIY site I recommend these which should allow you to have a ticket to high-end audio (after your own modifications to those boards) starting at around $100 or so ...

Other companies that provide more or less great units are: Egosys, RME, MOTU, Lynx etc. Cost is usually prohibitive though, but Egosys has some interesting units based on the Envy 24 HT chipset at several hundred dollars.

Creative has no solution worthy of any high-end system given their inherent resampling to 48KHz for ALL content even on Audigy2, Extigy etc.

Intel have also made a roadmap at the latest developer forum indicating properly constructed audio paths in about 12 months -- where the PC is intended to be the signal source (and extend from there). I firmly belive this will happen and must say I am astonished that it has not happened already!

Now, what is DRC 2.0 and where do I get it?

Petter

Petter
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Old 3rd March 2003, 11:10 AM   #3
Henckel is offline Henckel  Denmark
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DRC - highly recommended is available from:

http://freshmeat.net/projects/drc/?topic_id=114

In the manual there is a link to a guide ( dont have the link handy at the moment) that describes the process

on the soundcard issue i would agree that the Envy 24 HT is looking impressiv - will go for M-audio as they in gerenral has better drivers than Terratec.

has anyone tried to midifi any of these cards?

Morten
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Old 3rd March 2003, 11:44 AM   #4
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I tried to modify an Extigy, and found the process quite simple, even without data sheet, but decided it was not worth the effort given the obvious limitations of resampling to 48KHz that Creative probably will suffer with forever -- for the Envy, I have a data sheet which should help a lot. Also, as long as the DAC chips themselves are not used as volume controls, it is usually very easy to replace them with whatever you want. Step 1 of modifications though is of course power supply, then possibly clock, shielding, op-amp replacements, IV converter etc. I would hazard a guess that a daughter card would be the way to go.

Petter
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Old 3rd March 2003, 12:10 PM   #5
sangram is offline sangram  India
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Quote:
Originally posted by Henckel
on the soundcard issue i would agree that the Envy 24 HT is looking impressiv - will go for M-audio as they in gerenral has better drivers than Terratec.

I would suggest the Lynx Two or Lynx One. Pricey, but no higher end in terms of sound quality. Two channels only, and about 700 bux, but two channels of the purest computer audio.

Envy HT is good, but those are not really 'high-end' cards. The Delta 1010 and Delta 66 are actually better cards, as is the m-Audio Audiophile (2-channel). Most of these cards will not have the kind of featureset that the cards based on the 24HT offer, but will generally have superior converters, high-quality clocks, well-thought out design from POV of RF immunity, etc. - they are systems for the guy who's making the music, so...

m-Audio is the closest to commercial in the pro world as can be, so while they have excellent driver support etc. I would be careful. They are gradually turning into another 'Creative' as far as I can tell, only with much better products and philosophy.

Mid-fi tests are available. Some Googling and checking at the manufacturer websites for reviews is helpful... You can also join up discussion groups at www.homerecording.com to find out more from people who actually own and use these cards on a daily basis.
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Old 3rd March 2003, 03:30 PM   #6
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I wonder, is there any high-end AD/DA cards availble at all? Isn't this against the nature? Isn't the solution digital I/O card with fibre connection to a high-end DAC/ADC?

What about Protools gear? Too expensive?

http://www.digidesign.com
http://www.apogeedigital.com/
http://www.dcsltd.co.uk
http://www.digitalaudio.dk/
http://www.msbtech.com
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Old 3rd March 2003, 03:38 PM   #7
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How about this approach which I am getting into:

1. Get a PC with a decent digital output
2. Purchase a Behringer DCX2496 unit and get 2 channel digital input with 6 channel analog output (+ digital crossover and room correction in time/frequency domain as well.).

Now all you have to do is get 6 monoblocks to drive your three way speakers

Petter
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Old 3rd March 2003, 03:56 PM   #8
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Here is a link to a site that ranks sound cards, FYI.
I use a Turtle Beach Santa Cruz with good results for being cheap.

http://www.pcavtech.com/soundcards/compare/index.htm
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Old 3rd March 2003, 04:03 PM   #9
Henckel is offline Henckel  Denmark
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Quote:
I wonder, is there any high-end AD/DA cards availble at all? Isn't this against the nature? Isn't the solution digital I/O card with fibre connection to a high-end DAC/ADC?
Probably the best solution - however over my budget



Quote:
Purchase a Behringer DCX2496 unit and get 2 channel digital input with 6 channel analog output (+ digital crossover and room correction in time/frequency domain as well.).
The Behringer is not available yet ?

Volumen control on the digital side ?

D/A converter/ analog stage of the Behringer ?

But in the long the way to go Combined with all digital power amplifiers..... like Apogee/TACT( Ouch $)
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Old 3rd March 2003, 04:05 PM   #10
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Perhaps this is a better link:

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