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Old 21st March 2012, 03:35 AM   #1
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Default Need a bargain sound card ?

Hi all,

I've been messing around with PCI sound cards for some time now. I've tried Onkyo Se-200pci and Xonar essense st and stx, and done some mods too. Not bad, but not really any better than the best usb solutions I've tried.

However, I wanted to try something as simple as possible with both optical in and out for a mini htpc / music player. I only need to use 48Khz and 44.1Khz for this job. I found this for US$20 and thought, well hey, why not.

I'm in the the process of upgrading it because actually, it sounds surprisingly good.

I'll post more details if anyone's interested, but I have a question for anyone out there who might be familiar with the CMI8768.

Is there any better driver than the one on C-Media's site ? Do you know if this driver hogs resources ?

Thanks fior any replies.
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Old 21st March 2012, 01:52 PM   #2
boris81 is offline boris81  United States
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: white plains, ny
I've never used that card but I recently stumbled upon this driver that might be of interest to you :-)

"One of the key features is the support for bitperfect lossless digital transmission through S/PDIF, meaning that there is no tampering with the signal whatsoever."

Last edited by boris81; 21st March 2012 at 02:07 PM. Reason: wrong link
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Old 21st March 2012, 03:00 PM   #3
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How fantastic is that ? I couldn't have asked for better ! Thank you !
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Old 22nd March 2012, 07:38 AM   #4
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Okay, so if anyone is interested in a simple, clean, driver for CMI8768 then I can wholeheartedly recommend Dogba's driver above.

DPC latency on my Intel D945gsejt dropped from 300-400uS with the C-Media driver to just 30uS with Dogba's. There's no sound processing done in the DSP at all so it's pretty easy to get the audio passed through Windows bit perfect at up to 96Khz. Only 16 bit but hey ho, still way better than C-Media's / Auzentech driver.

Thanks Boris for the heads up !

I haven't yet got it optimally set up - wasapi wants a different buffer size, the asio seems to need asio4all to work, and the waveRT driver doesn't support kernel streaming ... but hey, free, light on resources and better SQ. What's not to like ?
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Old 22nd March 2012, 10:53 AM   #5
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What "DSP" are you talking about? There is no "DSP" on that card. You want to say "processing done in drivers by main CPU" probably.

From what I did remember, C-Media driver it can pass 24 bit and you can cancel the processing. I have one of those cards in my "junk pile" (used it a looong time ago) but I don't fell like instaling it for this.
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Old 22nd March 2012, 12:16 PM   #6
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dsp = digital signal processor/ing = CMI8768 IC + driver :-)

According to this site it'll do 24 bit but the C-Media bloater/driver for Win7 doesn't allow this. It might for XP ? Or is it just the CMI8768+ that supports this ? My card is CMI8768.

Diamond XtremeSound 7.1 DDL CMI8768+

They have some rmaa testing

Click the image to open in full size.

But luckily this card is a low power bit perfect spdif out with pass through thanks to that driver...

My HTPC is under 20W even with the Broadcom HD decoder in there.

Here's CMI's info

They say, "Supports 96K/16bit playback; 48K/16bit recording"

Last edited by KlipschKid; 22nd March 2012 at 12:26 PM.
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Old 22nd March 2012, 12:27 PM   #7
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C-media WARNING! So much noise!
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Old 22nd March 2012, 12:40 PM   #8
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I use this:

I originally bought it for DAW use, of course, but then I noticed that compared to my other sound card it is DEAD QUIET. Really nice just for everyday audio use.

Of course it's a bit pricier than the c-media...
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Old 22nd March 2012, 02:23 PM   #9
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This is a US$20 card.

Analog out noise levels about -90dB and distortion around 0.076%, compared to my Onkyo which is US$150 and about -100dB and 0.006%.

But that's missing the point - it has a bit perfect driver, very low DPC, low power and spdif out = good for an external DAC. Maybe. We'll see....

For the wasapi output in Foobar, the maximum buffer length is 510ms.

Last edited by KlipschKid; 22nd March 2012 at 02:34 PM.
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Old 22nd March 2012, 03:01 PM   #10
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Sorry, I should have specified the buffer is for 44/16 files. Playing 96/16 and the buffer works at max 230ms, so of course for 48/16, it needs max 460ms.
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