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#144678 - 12/30/06 12:57 PM Re: Ethernet vs. Digital Audio Out [Re: Randy_Perkins]
cameron Offline
veteran

Registered: 09/26/03
Posts: 117
You guys sound like this is so complex. I have been using my soundcard to play my FLAC music for a couple of years and have had no problems or sound issues, popping, etc. at all. I am using a chaintek 710 card and using the digital optical out to my receiver and it sounds just like my cd player (which is now is the bedroom). I am also using the ASIO plugin which I'm told bypasses all the stuff that can degrade the sound? I don't know how it works, but it does sound great. What it does do is it plays music in 44.1 instead of 48k which is like the difference between cd sound quality and the sound quality of the music channels on cable.

I'm using winamp as my player and I have all of the commands (play, pause, next, random, playlist toggle, etc.) programmed into my main system remote. One remote (to rule them all - sorry ) controls everything in my system; I couldn't be happier.

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#144679 - 12/30/06 01:31 PM Re: Ethernet vs. Digital Audio Out [Re: cameron]
bridgman Offline
axiomite

Registered: 08/25/04
Posts: 5432
Loc: Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada
>>What it does do is it plays music in 44.1 instead of 48k

That seems like an important point. I remember shopping for sound cards a few years ago and finding (IIRC) that many sound blasters could not run at 44.1 KHz and so all of the audio had to be resampled to 48 KHz sampling rate, presumably in software. This seemed like something to avoid if possible, unless everyone feels that the resampling algorithms are so well understood these days that the loss of quality would be un-noticeable -- or if the s/pdif protocol allowed 44.1 KHz samples to be bursted out at 48 KHz with periodic gaps and then automatically retimed to 44.1 KHz on the receiving end.

Any idea which chipset integrated audio subsystems can output s/pdif at 44.1 KHz, or if this is even something to worry about ?

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#144680 - 12/30/06 06:41 PM Re: Ethernet vs. Digital Audio Out [Re: bridgman]
cameron Offline
veteran

Registered: 09/26/03
Posts: 117
I could tell the difference between 48 and 44.1. It wasn't huge, but it was enough that I would still be using my cd player if I couldn't get 44.1. I don't know what all soundcards can get 44.1, but my card (the chaintek) was only 25 bucks or something close to that.

I will say that it was a pain to get it to switch to 44.1. I had to closely follow a thread over at avsforum that explained it step by step using the ASIO plugin. I didn't work a few times, but eventually I got it and it's been good to go ever since.

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#144681 - 12/31/06 12:02 AM Re: Ethernet vs. Digital Audio Out [Re: cameron]
Randy_Perkins Offline
veteran

Registered: 08/31/06
Posts: 193
Loc: Franklin Indiana
Hello

the Popping sound i mentioned is only on analog output.
anyway

I just looked it up and the spdif on my mobo is 48khz. Never thought about that before. I'll have to see what the reciever says it is getting.

I guess what I would really like to know is:
If I am listening to a Flac file outputed through the spdif,
does the stream stay digital in the computer,
or is it converted to analog for the mixer function then reconverted back to digital to be outputed through the spdif.

I guess this would determine does the quality of the dac matter to me in my application ?

concerning the resampling from 44.1 to 48khz, I am hearing you say the quality was worse ? Makes me wonder if I should rip my Flac files at 48khz ?

Randy
_________________________
Axiom M22,Ep500,Qs8,VP150, Denon 2807,1940, Sangean HDT-1X

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#144682 - 12/31/06 02:04 PM Re: Ethernet vs. Digital Audio Out [Re: Randy_Perkins]
packetlosss Offline
hobbyist

Registered: 12/29/06
Posts: 21
Loc: Long Island, NY
I'm fairly certain that most audio cards will convert, mix and then output in digital on the spdif.

You might want to try to abx a few FLACS with the CD. I use a creative labs X-FI and even with all the effects/equalization etc disabled it doesn't sound as good as through my stereo (listening to both via ES500 IEM's.)

As far as the DAC is concerned, I think if you used the digital out on a sqeezebox, it would be bypassing the DAC in the sqeezebox and relying on the one in your receiver. I suppose that might warrant an ABX test to see which DAC you like better (assuming there is an audible difference).

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#144683 - 01/01/07 09:04 AM Re: Ethernet vs. Digital Audio Out [Re: packetlosss]
packetlosss Offline
hobbyist

Registered: 12/29/06
Posts: 21
Loc: Long Island, NY
Here's a link to the squeezebox forums which basically has a few replies regarding pc sound cards compared to a squeezebox.

http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=30504

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#144684 - 01/01/07 10:40 AM Re: Ethernet vs. Digital Audio Out [Re: packetlosss]
packetlosss Offline
hobbyist

Registered: 12/29/06
Posts: 21
Loc: Long Island, NY
I did some more research into the transporter/squeezebox/spidf issues. The following page has some pretty good info as well as additional links to pages that discuss jitter.

In short, each time you pass on the digital stream (via spdif or digital coax), you will be introducing jitter. Thus, even if you were dealing with FLAC and a soundcard that didn't mix and/or resample that sends the data to the receiver via spdif it wouldn't sound the same as if you played it directly on the receiver (networked receiver with decoder and built in DAC). Just to be clear, the digital data being received can be identical, yet due to jitter (syncronization and word clock issues), it won't be played the same.

So in answer to your original question, you are better off with the networked receiver that will decode the FLAC and use it's own DAC. Another solution which might be better, depending on budget and how descriminating your ears are, would be either a sqeezebox ($299), modified squeezebox (an analog modded SB with the Sonicap Platinum upgrade but without the Bybees and with an upgraded linear power supply - $600), or Transporter ($1999). From what I've read so far, if you do go with one of the squeezebox options you would be using analog out, otherwise you would still have to deal with jitter and it would still rely on the DAC in your receiver (thus why bother with the squeezebox if you have a networked receiver.)

http://www.lessloss.com/about.html
http://www.stereophile.com/features/368/

http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread...red+transporter


Edited by packetlosss (01/01/07 10:57 AM)

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#144685 - 01/02/07 02:46 AM Re: Ethernet vs. Digital Audio Out [Re: packetlosss]
Randy_Perkins Offline
veteran

Registered: 08/31/06
Posts: 193
Loc: Franklin Indiana
Very interesting about jitter.
I had only heard of it regarding the ripping of Cd's, and that was a long time ago.

seems like the spdif way of doing things is flawed. I read so much my head hurts, but i got the impression that the recieving end extracts the clock signal from the data, which is a poor substitute for having its own copy of the source clock. There also appears to be some subjectiveness about how much this can be heard, which is to be expected.

It does seem that a squeezebox would have less digital connections in which to introduce this problem. Unfortunatly I am going to stick with my computer, cause I can watch movies, play music, and do some limited web surfing via my wireless keyboard. spdif is a huge improvement over analog out.

i did like one solution I read which involved clock injection, but I imagine eventually manufacturers will replace spdif with something else. maybe it will be hdmi ?


thanks

randy
_________________________
Axiom M22,Ep500,Qs8,VP150, Denon 2807,1940, Sangean HDT-1X

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#144686 - 01/02/07 07:47 PM Re: Ethernet vs. Digital Audio Out [Re: Randy_Perkins]
BrenR Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 12/10/03
Posts: 3602
Loc: Winnipeg MB Canada
Quote:

seems like the spdif way of doing things is flawed.


But how flawed? I put up some audio files here a couple of years ago the last time all the hubbub about jitter came up... I introduced jitter by hand into some WAV files (at a much higher rate than would normally appear) and let everyone give a listen to see if they could hear it. Consensus was that no one could, not even after burning to a CD then bringing it into their home theatre. Even with 100 instances of jitter per second, the audio stream is still 99.77% accurate.

I'll reproduce the files again if anyone cares to give them a listen to put their own minds at ease.

The audio may be flawed by jitter, but it's not a flaw like your son being born with 13 fingers and webbed toes, it's a small issue on par with, say, light dust on a CD.

Bren R.

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#144687 - 01/02/07 08:54 PM Re: Ethernet vs. Digital Audio Out [Re: BrenR]
Randy_Perkins Offline
veteran

Registered: 08/31/06
Posts: 193
Loc: Franklin Indiana
thanks for the reply.

to clarify what I meant by flawed:
What I had read is spdif is technically flawed because the clock signal is not transmitted independantly, but it is extracted from the data signal. Of course I could have easily misunderstood what I was reading.

As far as the sound quality, I had concluded that the ability to hear the effects of jitter is more aptly defined as subjective, as oppossed to obvious.

I think its great that your tests conclude you can not hear the difference, and thanks for mentioning it. Although I havent done any A/B tests, my gut feeling is that I wont hear any differences either, so I guess I am biased already


I think I will do a test of playing the same compact disk from 2 sources. One being computer-->spdif--reciever and the other test dvdPlayer-->hdmi-->reciever and see if i notice a difference. probably will have to do a diff of the cd's to be sure they are bit identical

I have to wait for my Toshiba upconverting dvdplayer to get returned from warranty repair before I can do the test. The player had an interesting problem. After trying to play the latest crippled/bad sector/pseudo_enhanced_encryption/non_standard dvd's from blockbuster, the unit couldnt read *any* disks. Unplugging unit for 30+ seconds and restarting would fix problem, until similar disk was played again. The labor portion of my warranty had expired but Toshiba gracefully is going to repair/replace it at no charge. I think they were aware of the issue, because the nailed it immediately.

my original concern was that the audio chip on my computer kept the data in the digital format, so that the dac was not utilized. I was concerned because it appeared the mixing functions were done in analag. I have since noticed that the software mixer volume control has no affect on my spdif output, so I am assuming there is no dac conversion happening within the computer.

Thanks again for the post

Randy
_________________________
Axiom M22,Ep500,Qs8,VP150, Denon 2807,1940, Sangean HDT-1X

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