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Bonsai 29th January 2007 05:07 AM

PC Sound Card for Audio Testing
Has anyone tried this card with a laptop for audio testing - i.e. distortion etc?

Would anyone who has used PC based sound cards for audio testing comment?

The card I am looking at is a Creative Audigy 2 Z5. They claim 24bit and better than 104dB s/N

Look forward to your comments


mtlin12 29th January 2007 12:29 PM

2 Attachment(s)
I use Creative X-Fi card and RMAA 5.5 as my-pre-amp test tools.

you can download the RMAA 5.5 software from RMAA's web

Creative Audigy 2 Z5 can run with RMAA5.3 , but I'm not sure
if it can work with V5.5 and where or how to download V5.3.


SY 29th January 2007 01:45 PM

I used the PCI version of that for a couple of years. It works reasonably well, but you'll find that the drivers are awful and that the card is really good only to 16 bits. Tired of wrestling with the poor way the drivers and my test software played together, I gave up and bought an M-Audio 192. I've had better results with it.

KJ42 29th January 2007 05:01 PM

I'm currently evaluating the Behringer Ultramatch PRO SCR 2496, in combination with my TerraTec 6Fire 2496 soundcard, as a measurement tool. It seems that my soundcard has excessive jitter that shows up as discrete frequency spikes in IMD tests, THD tests and noise tests. The spikes disappear when I set my soundcard in slave mode, using the internal clock in the Behringer as master clock; though the Behringer does not work as a DA converter in this mode. In order to slave my soundcard to the SPDIF clock from the Behringer, I have ordered one more Behringer. The plan is to use one as AD-converter and master-clock, and the other as slave and DA-converter (via the soundcard).

The noise floor from the AD-converter in the Behringer, set to use the internal master-clock in the Behringer, hovers below -120 dB FS (FFT-analysis, peak-hold, open AD-input). In loop-mode (DA out to AD in) using my soundcard as master-clock, which I presume has excessive jitter; the noise floor reduces to about -100 dB FS (FFT-analysis, peak hold). With two Behringers (one master and one slave) I hope to achieve a usable noise floor at around -120 dB FS. I have been using optical Toslink to connect my soundcard to the Behringer

So far I have been testing with RMAA 5.5 and Visual Analyser 8.30 from SilanumSoft. I have had some stability issues with the Visual Analyser, and it does not recognize the 24 bit capability of my soundcard, neither is the user interface the most intuitive. Otherwise the Visual Analyser is a powerful program, capable in turning your PC/soundcard into at rather advanced low-cost measurement tool.

Best regards

Stuart Easson 29th January 2007 05:25 PM

Has anybody tried any cards based on c-medias latest 'real' soundchip:

CMI8787 is the same specs minus dolby stuff, no cards that I've seen so far...

"If" it meets it's specs it is by far the cheapest real full duplex 192khz/24bit solution. The reviews of the cards are outstanding, but I was interested to hear if anyone here had used it...

So far, for the US, I've found the following cards available:

Bluegears b-Enspirer
Auzentech X-Meridian 7.1 : replace output opamps...

Other brands seem to be available on other continents.


tonyptony 29th January 2007 06:12 PM

I'd like to open this up and ask for what a good sound device would be, to include USB and Fireware based "cards". Something that inherently has good jitter, frequency flatness, noise specs, dynamic range, etc.

Stuart Easson 29th January 2007 06:25 PM

Unfortunately I don't have any experience with high end consumer or professional cards, just normal PC sound systems.

I've measured the normal aureal, emu101, sb16/32/64, cmedia etc and if the reviews and RightMark can be trusted the two cards mentioned above are night and day better at noise, THD, IMD, freq resp. etc than the 'normal' <$100 cards I could make comparisons to...

Not sure how to measure some of the other things (jitter etc).


Pars 29th January 2007 06:54 PM

It was recommended to me on another forum to use the M-Audio Firewire Audiophile for this, so that is what I use, but I am a relative newbie at this. It seems to work fine, and has the advantage of getting the A/Ds and D/As out of the computer's noise environment. The firewire version was recommended over the USB also, btw.

tonyptony 29th January 2007 08:08 PM

Yes, M-Audio seems to be highly regarded from what I've read.

KJ42 30th January 2007 08:05 AM


Originally posted by tonyptony
I'd like to open this up and ask for what a good sound device would be, to include USB and Fireware based "cards". Something that inherently has good jitter, frequency flatness, noise specs, dynamic range, etc.
From what I've seen the Crative X-fi series could serve as a benchmark in this respect. Overall they seem to achieve excellent performance, only «failing» on IMD distortion. It is readily available and widely used, relatively speaking. Otherwise the «pro-sumer-market» seems to overflow with audio interfaces of all varieties. The M-Audio Audiophile might be one good example; TerraTec FW Phase X24 FW might be another.


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