CDROM->soundcard via spdif - getting lots of distortion - diyAudio
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Old 22nd April 2006, 03:07 PM   #1
percy is offline percy  United States
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Default CDROM->soundcard via spdif - getting lots of distortion

I just wanted to try this out so I connected the 2-pin digital/spdif connector at the back of the cd drive to the spdif input connector on the soundcard and played the CD. There was quite a bit distortion. I will try to describe. I hear ocassional ticks/clicks, sometimes one of the channels fades or drops out for a very brief moment and then there is plain outright distortion (rough, grungy sound) that is always there.

When I connect the heaphones to the front jack on the drive, the sound is just fine. And when I play via regular IDE (foobar) it works great too. The drive is an unbranded (but I think its an i/o magic) DVD-ROM drive and soundcard is Turtle Beach Santa Cruz.

What do you think could be causing this ? I am just using one of those typical internal connection cables - its a 2-wire unshielded cable. Could it be impedance imbalance because of the cable ? I am not sure whether to rule out jitter or not because the card by itself works just fine and I believe it would reclock everything coming in to its spdif input. Help?!
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Old 22nd April 2006, 03:55 PM   #2
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It might be the drive's electrical noise. If you use Win2k and up, you can go in the CD-ROM propreties so that every programs reading CD-audio read them thru IDE.

The option is there if you're using Win9x and don't have a SoundBlaster (Shouldn't be a problem in your case, but I only tried with an AC'97 codec)
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Old 22nd April 2006, 04:22 PM   #3
percy is offline percy  United States
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I am using "Windows ME".
The only options I see in the CD-ROM properties are -

1. a slider for "CD Player Volume", which is about 3/4 of the way up.
2. a checkbox for "Digital CD playback", which is currently checked on.
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Old 22nd April 2006, 05:01 PM   #4
poynton is offline poynton  United Kingdom
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Quote:
Originally posted by percy
I am using "Windows ME".
The only options I see in the CD-ROM properties are -

1. a slider for "CD Player Volume", which is about 3/4 of the way up.
2. a checkbox for "Digital CD playback", which is currently checked on.
Digital cd playback usually refers to IDE connection. [otherwise it's via the audio connector]
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Old 22nd April 2006, 06:38 PM   #5
percy is offline percy  United States
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I dont think it refers to the IDE connection. It plays via IDE irrespective of whether that check box is 'checked' or not.
Additionally, the 2-pin digital/spdif works only if it is 'checked' (i.e. digital audio enabled)

I believe it is for switching between the 2-pin digital connection and 4-pin analog connection, both of which are typically on the back of the cd drive, and connected internally and directly to the soundcard.

The volume control slider also does not have any effect whether playing via IDE or internal digital/spdif connection. I think it works only on the 4-pin analog connection.
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Old 22nd April 2006, 07:46 PM   #6
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In a normal CD player (Windows CD player as an example), it uses the CD-ROM's integrated decoder and outputs both analog and digital at the same time.

When you select "digital CD mode", you can unplug both analog and SPDIF cables and it will still work. The audio is then coming from the IDE port. The CD Audio slider works in this mode.

If you use foobar, it uses it's own engine always reading thru the IDE port - and that's why you have to use Wave to control the CD player volume.

Optical drives are very noisy and might produce some clicks as you describe. I just mute the CD output and use either foobar or Winamp that use their own (better) DAE-mode players.
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Old 22nd April 2006, 09:31 PM   #7
percy is offline percy  United States
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well I tried Windows media player 9 too and with the 'digital cd' mode UNselected (and nothing else connected to the drive other than ide cable) I can still play the cd.
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Old 23rd April 2006, 12:51 AM   #8
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Maybe WMP uses it's own decoder too, I was talking about the "CD Player" application
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Old 23rd April 2006, 01:36 AM   #9
percy is offline percy  United States
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ok..I think I know what player you are referring to...but strangely enough that CD player option has disappeared from my Start->programs->Entertainment menu. Yet I searched for the file cdplayer.exe, I found it but when I execute it manually it invokes wmp!
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Old 23rd April 2006, 01:43 AM   #10
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Maybe it wasn't installed at the same time as Windows.

Are there other players that use Windows CD playback engine?

If you have Winamp disable digital audio extraction and sampling options.

Well I found a shareware trial-version that does : http://www.axialis.com/axcdplayer/
(I tried that thing years ago, when Winamp still was a v1.x barely working shareware if I remember correctly)
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