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  #11 (permalink)  
Old November 7, 2007, 11:58 AM
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The better card boils down to sound quality and features. You look at details like the components used in the various sections of the card (Input,DSP,Output), The quality of the build is also a factor. The Prelude for example, uses top quality DAC's ADC's, opamps and Caps This transfers to superb sound quality when compared to a card that uses poor to medium grade components.
The final test is how the card sounds. Price has little to do with it, although you usually pay for the higher quality components.

Also, my soundcards reviews include "hard numbers" But as I said you cannot benchmark a soundcard in the same way as other devices. Unless you understand what:
Frequency response
THD%
Stereo Crosstalk
IMD%

As well as others and how they interact with each other. Where and what exactly transfer to sound quality is the discussion of much debate. Your questions is a very common one and one that is not answered easily.
reviews and personal opinion are very helpful becasue when using measurments to guide your decision you can find a device that will measure GREAT and sound awful and a device that doesn't measure so hot but sound amazing. Sound is subjective and what sounds good to one person does NOT sound good to another. Hope this helps.

Last edited by Robscix; November 7, 2007 at 12:26 PM.
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Old November 7, 2007, 01:40 PM
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Ok, thats fair.
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  #13 (permalink)  
Old November 7, 2007, 01:56 PM
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If you have more questions...feel free to ask.

I tested out the SB Live 24 Bit for three Days when it was first released.

It is a decent sounding card. It is a software based card so all effects are done using YOUR CPU. Most Creative cards use a onboards DSP chip to perform gaming effects etc. The Live! does not have one of these chips.
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Old November 7, 2007, 05:21 PM
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What advantage would the DSP chip give me?
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Old November 7, 2007, 09:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chibi_man View Post
What advantage would the DSP chip give me?
It performs the cycles usually done by the CPU, just like with your Live! card. It is also much more efficient since the DSP coding is created to handle the sound / effect calcs, and nothing else.

Personally and unfortunately for you, the best tool to judge a sound card are your ears. It is a totally subjective matter. I know a lot about sound, but my knowledge in this area is not computer-related...

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Old November 8, 2007, 12:12 PM
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Card with onboard DSP's are not quite as taxing on your system when processing sound routines. The card has it's own dedicated APU (Audio Processing Unit) to handle the audio coding. This is where the term software card or hardware card comes from. Many Creative cards are hardware cards but yours is a software card. The DSP taking the load for audio used to be a big deal mainly when gaming becasue of the power of CPU's. With modern systems and multi-core CPU power the issue is less of a concern.
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Old November 19, 2007, 12:38 PM
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This sounds like the same difference that would be found in on board gpu's that share the RAM cycles or the old Winmodem that was/is software emulated...can this be equated the same way Rob? I understand not exactly but for a point of reference to something tangible that someone like me could grasp.
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Old November 19, 2007, 12:44 PM
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It would be the difference between your CPU doing all the audoi calculations for a gaming or the onboard DSP chip doing it. Back when, this was a big concern.
WIth the newer CPU's and systems with loads of power..it is not such a big concern.
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Old November 24, 2007, 09:35 PM
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I look at his and think back to when i went from a Cambridge SoundWorks speaker set up with sb live.. to an audigy system and z5500...

I lied to my gf and said they were only 200$ for the works.... actual cost 450$.... I turned on mys system and set up.... i turned the thing to 5 and in 2 seconds .. she comes running into the room.. those are not bargain speakers.. [insert language content here], I knew when she heard them she would know...

She does not watch tv, the it gathers dust, but listens to music alot, our current theater system consists of a pioner elite series and klipsche speakers... an upgrade penalty for what i spent... old speakers and set up were were onykia and polk speakers...

The point being is the quality of speakers combined with the card makes a lot of diff.. The sound card has ahad a long road for the early 8 bit sampling beep beep speaker.. to the current x-fi , and and other modern ones...

The dsp, digital signal processing chip handles the sound that usually will tax the cpu of precious cycles, The latency of sound and quality is inferior, most of the harmonics is lost with cpu cycling, due to low ends and highs are sometimes clipped for bandwidth reasons, this is where a software based style card hurts the sound quality. The dsp removes this problem, . As for the dsp going away, probably not.


The dsp is required for audio signal processing, audio compression, digital image processing, video compression, speech processing, speech recognition... etc etc....

The process involves the utilization of adc and dac... natural sound is analog btw... the process of converting from digital to analog and vice versa.... this is done via a process of sampling... the higher the sampling the better the sound.... the sampling controls how many samples are taken per second.... this why the cycles of sound are at optimum with a dac chip and often memory... nothing is lost.. the amount of voices increases... the cpu says woah i can do other things now...

there is more but god I am limited to how much info i can throw at ya...
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Old November 24, 2007, 10:20 PM
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Is Cambridge Soudworks related to Cambridge Audio? (whom, btw, I think make the BEST midrange AVR for music lovers who happen to watch movies.)
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