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Old 25th October 2006, 02:09 PM   #1
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Default ASIO & bit rates

Is it correct that if upsampling, for best sound quality, use 44 kHz?

And should use of ASIO be factor in choosing a media player, or its configuration?

{I have an older M-Audio card (bought to use with SoundEasy, 75% off on ebay) the PC is 2.2 G}.


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Old 25th October 2006, 04:03 PM   #2
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ASIO doesn't really make any difference if you plan to just listen to music. I think you get the most benefit from ASIO if you record your own music. ASIO drops I/O latency significantly, but that's pretty much the only benefit I can think of. (OK OK, it does bypass some useless software) If you just listen to music it doesn't matter if your latency is higher. However, I find even a 10ms latency annoying when I record my guitar playing. It's just noticeable. 5ms is perfectly OK, and that's what I use. (In case you don't know what I/O latency means, it basically means that when you pluck a string on your guitar, you hear it some milliseconds later. Extremely annoying for a musician but makes no difference to a person listening to a CD track.)

"The best" upsampling resolution depends on the original material. Basically you should upsample to the closest value to the multiplied sum of the original. The differences are minimal, though. The difference between say, 44.1kHz and 192kHz is noticeable but the difference between 98kHz and 192kHz isn't all that significant. Depends on who you ask, though. People argue about this all the time. What's "best" depends on your ears. I think you shouldn't let someone else say what sounds best to you.
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Old 25th October 2006, 04:33 PM   #3
kepa1 is offline kepa1  France
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Sorry I don't agree blacklight, ASIO do make a difference for music playback; just try the ASIO output plug-in for Winamp and you'll be convinced. At least it's what I heard with my USB card...
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Old 25th October 2006, 04:40 PM   #4
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ASIO makes a difference because it bypass Windows Kmixer
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Old 25th October 2006, 05:40 PM   #5
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No need to be sorry, dude. I'm here to learn, also. Guess I'll have to look into it a bit more. Mind you my experience on the subject is limited to recording some guitar tracks.
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Old 26th October 2006, 03:12 AM   #6
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Default negative(s) of Kmixer

I had been considering upsampling of normal full resolution on playback. I knew little about sampling rates Ė so just did some reading at wikipedia. I canít hear beyond 13 kHz, so std Red book 44.1 khz should do me.

What is the negative of Windows Kmixer, and does it matter for audiophile playback off a PC hard drive,
or only when recording?

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Old 26th October 2006, 04:04 AM   #7
Daveis is offline Daveis  United States
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ASIO and the right sound card can give extremely low latencies, eg. 3-6 msecs.

This is great for live recording and monitoring of guitar as was mentioned earlier.

Low latency is also essential if you play audio and video such as during DVD playback. I'm able to run 4-way crossover on my PC with low enough latency that the audio and video still appear to be in synch.

Kmixer is the software mixer in Windows. I am unsure of whether WDM drivers bypass it or not. It's considered undesirable due to rumors that sound passing through this layer is no longer being passed "bit-perfect" to the sound card.

I've found that sound passing through the Windows mixer doesnt sound as good. I do not know if that is because they are going through "kmixer" or not. I do know that sound going through Winamp5 and ASIO sounds the same as from CD.

For serious audio work on the PC I'd choose a sound card that has ASIO drivers.

The better sound cards, such as RME, seem to disable Windows mixer and substitute their own. They still support WDM drivers and these sound very good. I think the key isnt so much whether the drivers are ASIO or WDM, but rather is the Windows mixer being bypassed.

I havne't had good luck with firewire sound cards. My M-Audio Firewire solo gave me glitchy/poppy audio. I dont have that problem now with RME PCI cards. I still like M-Audio, just don't think I'd buy another firewire audio device. Rumor on the Thuneau board was that Microsoft's firewire drivers dont support large packets of data.
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Old 26th October 2006, 10:39 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by Daveis
ASIO and the right sound card can give extremely low latencies, eg. 3-6 msecs.


I havne't had good luck with firewire sound cards. My M-Audio Firewire solo gave me glitchy/poppy audio. I dont have that problem now with RME PCI cards. I still like M-Audio, just don't think I'd buy another firewire audio device. Rumor on the Thuneau board was that Microsoft's firewire drivers dont support large packets of data.
It's not Firewire but M Audio. They are cheap and the drivers reflect this cheapness. I have had trouble with every single piece of hardware made by them, from the Duo to the Audiophile 2496.

Don't even touch them

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Old 26th October 2006, 10:56 AM   #9
sangram is offline sangram  India
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What are you upsampling?

Any form of resampling degrades the music, IME.

kmixer resamples all audio going through it, to 48 KHz - even if the drivers request 44.1. And then back down to what the driver requests.

The WDM drivers supplied with pro cards may or may not bypass it.

The drivers supplied with my 1212m don't, and the one with the m-Audio Delta 66 do.

This is easily detected with an A/B test, with decent resolution of downstream components you can tell the difference in SQ - and yes, there is some.

I have found that the best playback is obtained from bypassing WDM completely and feeding ASIO directly to the output mixer. Latency is not so important, as resampling and other forms of bit-mangling that the PC does to the music.

Also I've become very picky - I don't use any volume controls anywhere except on the output, I find they degrade the sound badly, again due to the nature of their work.

It's become a little painful, because I've also dropped Winamp (2) in favour of Foobar... because it sounds better. I don't have a single logical explanation for why, but there it is.
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Old 26th October 2006, 11:44 AM   #10
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Default as you mention video

> Low latency is also essential if you play audio and video such as during DVD playback

The idea *has grown from just audio, to sometimes also do video (movies etc). The M-Audio 410 (PCI) sound card should be up to the audio task.

I will leave the video till later, though as my video card is onborad & very ordinary, if anyone reading wants to say where to find out what is the minimum video card specs for smooth in synch video, or what is a good video media player, feel free.

Cheers
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