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Re: What's the Ducks Guts about HD audio.

 
 
Roger_Nickel
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      06-29-2011
On Wed, 29 Jun 2011 09:23:26 +1200, Robert Cooze wrote:

> At the Beginning of the year I bought a new Motherboard. And seing as I
> had had some success with the on-board audio I decided to use the
> on-board audio.
>
> A little bit later and a few questions answered Im left with the
> question.
>
> What's the difference with the regular front panel connectors and the
> HD-audio module for the front of the case?
>
> If there is a difference are the ones on the back HD?
>
> Is there any practical difference?
>
> Or is it for the surround sound which I am not interested in.
>
> Or is it just one word MARKETING and just that.
>
> As for what I am playing the sound through set up one a Preaux and
> Lambert combination or a small 20W home made amp and some NAD or Mission
> speakers.
>
> <history>
> A long time ago I used to use a DA converter to play music trough the
> computer. now I just use the line out and its Ok it Don't sound like the
> expensive CD player or the cheep DVD player(both sound different). It
> does have its own sound and it is not bad. </history>


Intel HD chipset supports multiple concurrent HD streams. It would be
possible, for instance, to use the "HD module" to drive a home theatre
sound system while using a headset connected to the front panel sockets
to chat during an online video game while simultaneously streaming a
separate high resolution sound file out through the rear panel
connectors. The chipset has 8 192/32 channels (yeah,right!) but in any
event ought to be good enough. Sound quality is going to be limited by
electrical noise and by the quality of the analogue signal path rather
than by the DAC. I have an old Sounblaster Audigy card which puts out a
pretty good sound on AKG K600 headphones but the Musicstreamer USB DAC
wins because it is dead quiet. Best $300 I ever spent. If you want to
know how the HD chipset has been used on your particular motherboard then
you will need to Read The Fine Manual.
 
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Me
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      06-29-2011
On 29/06/2011 3:19 p.m., Roger_Nickel wrote:
> On Wed, 29 Jun 2011 09:23:26 +1200, Robert Cooze wrote:
>
>> At the Beginning of the year I bought a new Motherboard. And seing as I
>> had had some success with the on-board audio I decided to use the
>> on-board audio.
>>
>> A little bit later and a few questions answered Im left with the
>> question.
>>
>> What's the difference with the regular front panel connectors and the
>> HD-audio module for the front of the case?
>>
>> If there is a difference are the ones on the back HD?
>>
>> Is there any practical difference?
>>
>> Or is it for the surround sound which I am not interested in.
>>
>> Or is it just one word MARKETING and just that.
>>
>> As for what I am playing the sound through set up one a Preaux and
>> Lambert combination or a small 20W home made amp and some NAD or Mission
>> speakers.
>>
>> <history>
>> A long time ago I used to use a DA converter to play music trough the
>> computer. now I just use the line out and its Ok it Don't sound like the
>> expensive CD player or the cheep DVD player(both sound different). It
>> does have its own sound and it is not bad.</history>

>
> Intel HD chipset supports multiple concurrent HD streams. It would be
> possible, for instance, to use the "HD module" to drive a home theatre
> sound system while using a headset connected to the front panel sockets
> to chat during an online video game while simultaneously streaming a
> separate high resolution sound file out through the rear panel
> connectors.

LOL. Death by featuritis.
> The chipset has 8 192/32 channels (yeah,right!) but in any
> event ought to be good enough. Sound quality is going to be limited by
> electrical noise and by the quality of the analogue signal path rather
> than by the DAC. I have an old Sounblaster Audigy card which puts out a
> pretty good sound on AKG K600 headphones but the Musicstreamer USB DAC
> wins because it is dead quiet. Best $300 I ever spent. If you want to
> know how the HD chipset has been used on your particular motherboard then
> you will need to Read The Fine Manual.

I've got some (pre-Harmon Kardon era) JBL speakers, a very cheap MOSFET
class B amp made in china, and after several tests, decided that out of
CD players, my NAD was worst, the $49 DVD player purchased at countdown
marginally better, and a $200 bluray player best. I like it!
My next door neighbour has Krell Evolution CD/SHCD, preamp, and 2x 600w
class A monoblock power amps (which draw 3kW each), connected with
perhaps 10 metres of their special $600/metre digital cable, connected
to a pair of B&W Nautilus Signature 800s.
It does sound very good, but I doubt that there's any field more full of
absolute BS than the high-end hifi business.

 
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Roger_Nickel
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      06-29-2011
On Wed, 29 Jun 2011 19:44:43 +1200, Robert Cooze wrote:

> On 29/06/11 15:19, Roger_Nickel wrote:
>> On Wed, 29 Jun 2011 09:23:26 +1200, Robert Cooze wrote:
>>
>>> At the Beginning of the year I bought a new Motherboard. And seing as
>>> I had had some success with the on-board audio I decided to use the
>>> on-board audio.
>>>
>>> A little bit later and a few questions answered Im left with the
>>> question.
>>>
>>> What's the difference with the regular front panel connectors and the
>>> HD-audio module for the front of the case?
>>>
>>> If there is a difference are the ones on the back HD?
>>>
>>> Is there any practical difference?
>>>
>>> Or is it for the surround sound which I am not interested in.
>>>
>>> Or is it just one word MARKETING and just that.
>>>
>>> As for what I am playing the sound through set up one a Preaux and
>>> Lambert combination or a small 20W home made amp and some NAD or
>>> Mission speakers.
>>>
>>> <history>
>>> A long time ago I used to use a DA converter to play music trough the
>>> computer. now I just use the line out and its Ok it Don't sound like
>>> the expensive CD player or the cheep DVD player(both sound different).
>>> It does have its own sound and it is not bad.</history>

>>
>> Intel HD chipset supports multiple concurrent HD streams. It would be
>> possible, for instance, to use the "HD module" to drive a home theatre
>> sound system while using a headset connected to the front panel sockets
>> to chat during an online video game while simultaneously streaming a
>> separate high resolution sound file out through the rear panel
>> connectors. The chipset has 8 192/32 channels (yeah,right!) but in any
>> event ought to be good enough. Sound quality is going to be limited by
>> electrical noise and by the quality of the analogue signal path rather
>> than by the DAC. I have an old Sounblaster Audigy card which puts out a
>> pretty good sound on AKG K600 headphones but the Musicstreamer USB DAC
>> wins because it is dead quiet. Best $300 I ever spent. If you want to
>> know how the HD chipset has been used on your particular motherboard
>> then you will need to Read The Fine Manual.

> the fine print in manual? not a lot of real descriptive about 1/2 a
> paragraph.
>
> think I might have stumbled on to the answer kind of what you said and
> being able to do the 7.1 sound.
>
> All I seem to find is lots of gibberius on boards by pimple faced teens
> that is almost unreadable


If you open Windows Control Panel=>System=>Device Manager and look for
the Multimedia/Sound devices you should find which sound devices are
installed and which chipset and which drivers they use. The Control
Panel=> Sounds window should take you to a window which lets you assign
particular sound devices to particular I/O connectors and to send out
test signals. Should be able to work out quickly whether the front and
rear panel connectors are paralleled or separate. This part of the
Control Panel also accesses the Windows Mixer which lets you balance the
levels of the connected devices; best to mute the devices you are not
using. Should be no problem using these controls as volume controls---you
have 32 bits to play with, so aren't exactly short of dynamic range.
 
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Roger_Nickel
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      06-30-2011
On Thu, 30 Jun 2011 09:55:20 +1200, Robert Cooze wrote:

> On 29/06/11 22:14, Roger_Nickel wrote:
>> On Wed, 29 Jun 2011 19:44:43 +1200, Robert Cooze wrote:
>>
>>> On 29/06/11 15:19, Roger_Nickel wrote:
>>>> On Wed, 29 Jun 2011 09:23:26 +1200, Robert Cooze wrote:
>>>>
>>>>> At the Beginning of the year I bought a new Motherboard. And seing
>>>>> as I had had some success with the on-board audio I decided to use
>>>>> the on-board audio.
>>>>>
>>>>> A little bit later and a few questions answered Im left with the
>>>>> question.
>>>>>
>>>>> What's the difference with the regular front panel connectors and
>>>>> the HD-audio module for the front of the case?
>>>>>
>>>>> If there is a difference are the ones on the back HD?
>>>>>
>>>>> Is there any practical difference?
>>>>>
>>>>> Or is it for the surround sound which I am not interested in.
>>>>>
>>>>> Or is it just one word MARKETING and just that.
>>>>>
>>>>> As for what I am playing the sound through set up one a Preaux and
>>>>> Lambert combination or a small 20W home made amp and some NAD or
>>>>> Mission speakers.
>>>>>
>>>>> <history>
>>>>> A long time ago I used to use a DA converter to play music trough
>>>>> the computer. now I just use the line out and its Ok it Don't sound
>>>>> like the expensive CD player or the cheep DVD player(both sound
>>>>> different). It does have its own sound and it is not bad.</history>
>>>>
>>>> Intel HD chipset supports multiple concurrent HD streams. It would be
>>>> possible, for instance, to use the "HD module" to drive a home
>>>> theatre sound system while using a headset connected to the front
>>>> panel sockets to chat during an online video game while
>>>> simultaneously streaming a separate high resolution sound file out
>>>> through the rear panel connectors. The chipset has 8 192/32 channels
>>>> (yeah,right!) but in any event ought to be good enough. Sound quality
>>>> is going to be limited by electrical noise and by the quality of the
>>>> analogue signal path rather than by the DAC. I have an old
>>>> Sounblaster Audigy card which puts out a pretty good sound on AKG
>>>> K600 headphones but the Musicstreamer USB DAC wins because it is dead
>>>> quiet. Best $300 I ever spent. If you want to know how the HD chipset
>>>> has been used on your particular motherboard then you will need to
>>>> Read The Fine Manual.
>>> the fine print in manual? not a lot of real descriptive about 1/2 a
>>> paragraph.
>>>
>>> think I might have stumbled on to the answer kind of what you said and
>>> being able to do the 7.1 sound.
>>>
>>> All I seem to find is lots of gibberius on boards by pimple faced
>>> teens that is almost unreadable

>>
>> If you open Windows Control Panel=>System=>Device Manager and look for
>> the Multimedia/Sound devices you should find which sound devices are
>> installed and which chipset and which drivers they use. The Control
>> Panel=> Sounds window should take you to a window which lets you
>> assign particular sound devices to particular I/O connectors and to
>> send out test signals. Should be able to work out quickly whether the
>> front and rear panel connectors are paralleled or separate. This part
>> of the Control Panel also accesses the Windows Mixer which lets you
>> balance the levels of the connected devices; best to mute the devices
>> you are not using. Should be no problem using these controls as volume
>> controls---you have 32 bits to play with, so aren't exactly short of
>> dynamic range.

>
> From what I can see they are Individual just one problem I don't have
> front panel connectors I do have the header pins on the Main Board, That
> was never the question.
>
> I can make a front panel connector but not for the HD? as although it
> uses the same front panel header it uses different pins.
>
> It looks like I can steer different programs to use different outputs.


It wouldn't surprise me if the "HD module" contained a DTS decoder
supplied by its own separate digital output channel on the motherboard.
The other outputs will all be high resolution analogue. 192/32 is better
than the AES studio standard of 96k 24bit samples per second. 32 bit
conversion implies nanovolt resolution into the analogue signal chain.
Good luck with that but it's still more than enough even if eight of the
low bits are swallowed up in noise.
 
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Richard
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      07-01-2011
On 6/30/2011 12:50 PM, Roger_Nickel wrote:
>>
>> From what I can see they are Individual just one problem I don't have
>> front panel connectors I do have the header pins on the Main Board, That
>> was never the question.
>>
>> I can make a front panel connector but not for the HD? as although it
>> uses the same front panel header it uses different pins.


an AC97 front panel will work but without jack detection, you will need
to install the full audio driver suite to get the codecs control
application to set the front inputs to disable jack detection and task
them to what you want them to do, the norm is mic and headphones but
most codecs let you change them into 2 mics or 2 headphones or whatever.

>> It looks like I can steer different programs to use different outputs.

>
> It wouldn't surprise me if the "HD module" contained a DTS decoder
> supplied by its own separate digital output channel on the motherboard.
> The other outputs will all be high resolution analogue. 192/32 is better
> than the AES studio standard of 96k 24bit samples per second. 32 bit
> conversion implies nanovolt resolution into the analogue signal chain.
> Good luck with that but it's still more than enough even if eight of the
> low bits are swallowed up in noise.


No decoders done in hardware - why would you when you have an assload of
processing power there to do it in software?

32bit audio is in floatingpoint not integer so can go way past 0dB and
then bought back with DSP, whereas signed linear samples will clip at
around 0dB. Windows 7 is smart enough to limit things when they go past
0dB which means you just get pumping and not horrid clipping when you eq
up the bass.
 
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Richard
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      07-05-2011
On 7/3/2011 9:00 AM, Robert Cooze wrote:

> Ok so the on board sound should be way better than an PCI card or
> somthing like that of the generation around and before AC97(inconsumer
> grade gear).


Not really, they use the crappest lousiest codecs possible on
motherboards with no power conditioning or filtering so you get squeeks
and bleeps when doing stuff. PCI cards are normally furthur away from
the rest of the stuff and have at least some basic filtering on the DC
lines to remove all the crap from everything else

> Now as for doing the eq Thing why would you bother if you have good
> speakers and a good Amplifier? As for the little bit of Sound editing
> That I have done this limiting would be a pain in the ass.


Any amplifier will not need equalization unless it has some in it
already, like many mini systems do. The crazy idea of trying to
physically build a speaker with a flat response is thankfully going
away, and the speaker has no idea of the room response either which is
quite significant depending on the location of the woofer and the wall
and floor materials.

Also I was using a software crossover for a while between some nice 12"
sealed floorstanders that had great bass once extended with some EQ, and
some bookshelfs that were really detailed but had no bass at all and
would bottom out if you gave them signifigant power below 120Hz or so
(stupid ported design)


If you are doing sound editing then you would be watching your meters in
the software so not pushing it past 0dB. I have only really seen it
happen when I am adding signifigant bass extension and dont have the
gain turned down and an already bass heavy track comes up in the
playlist. Better some pumping than having it clip to hell.

> Now the interesting question is where can I get the HD front panel
> instead of the AC97.


Not found one for sale seperate other than a 3.5" bay module which had
the crap wires on it so would be useless for a mic input which is what I
wanted it for.

> Yep did find the jack detection had a interesting quirk. When using
> Linux the audio driver (module) it thought the line in from a sound
> source I had plugged in though it was the rear speakers of a 5.1 set-up.
>
> Very easy to fix. just untick a check-box in the mixer I was using


 
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Me
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      07-19-2011
On 15/07/2011 7:25 p.m., Robert Cooze wrote:
> On 15/07/11 10:32, Me wrote:
>> On 29/06/2011 7:54 p.m., Robert Cooze wrote:
>>>
>>> The market seems to be all hype and misdirection these days

>>
>> Not helped (IMO) by "fanboi" bias, product/brand bashing, and shill
>> posts and reviews in many online forums. A common factor seems to be
>> condemning lower cost products as crap(TM), or automatically
>> recommending something very expensive and high end - without bothering
>> to ask what the original poster intended to use the product for, and
>> what their budget is. Cameras, audio gear, cars, big TVs, phones seem to
>> be things which excite the most passionate and outrageous misdirection.
>> Boy toys. I don't see women carrying on like that - but perhaps I don't
>> look in the right places.
>>

>
> Too true some of the online reviews or forums seem to be who can shout
> the loudest. I read one that was so bad the misnomers and assumptions
> where so bad. I just did not bother posting at all or reading the rest...
>

OTOH, most compact HD audio systems are crap(TM), even and especially
some well-known and high cost ones:
Satellite speakers with drivers way too small to reproduce voice
frequencies efficiently.
So-called subs with crossover at 200hz - one octave too high for a
single sub system, and with a very peaky response.
If you try to eq out the deficiencies, then you get low spl, high
distortion, or usually both.
Like automobile engines, ultimately there's just no substitute for cubic
inches.
 
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Richard
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      07-19-2011
On 7/19/2011 6:00 PM, Robert Cooze wrote:

>
> I got a TA2024 based Amplifier and with the good speakers I already had
> Im in stereo heaven and can drive a set of head phones or drive the big
> amp independently Got it working and it is musical is it as good as a
> good CD player I don't know....



Hmm, the two 2024 amps I have tried have been noisy and ridiculously
underpowered. Had to go for a much larger "4x100w" amp module that took
more voltage to get it to acceptable levels, but still had a noise problem.

They certainly sound really harsh when driven to near their limits - no
clipping but just a real awful aspect to the sound (insert any of the
negative BS audiofool words here like "unrefined" and "harsh")

 
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Me
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      07-19-2011
On 20/07/2011 8:22 a.m., Robert Cooze wrote:
> On 19/07/11 22:48, Richard wrote:
>> On 7/19/2011 6:00 PM, Robert Cooze wrote:
>>
>>>
>>> I got a TA2024 based Amplifier and with the good speakers I already had
>>> Im in stereo heaven and can drive a set of head phones or drive the big
>>> amp independently Got it working and it is musical is it as good as a
>>> good CD player I don't know....

>>
>>
>> Hmm, the two 2024 amps I have tried have been noisy and ridiculously
>> underpowered. Had to go for a much larger "4x100w" amp module that took
>> more voltage to get it to acceptable levels, but still had a noise
>> problem.
>>
>> They certainly sound really harsh when driven to near their limits - no
>> clipping but just a real awful aspect to the sound (insert any of the
>> negative BS audiofool words here like "unrefined" and "harsh")
>>

>
>
> Must have got lucky with mine.... ok not a match for the 200W Perreaux I
> have. But not as harsh as 70's Receiver I have or used to use. And the
> last amp I used before was so lush but all the volume base treble and
> balance pots where Very noisy.
>
> From what I read about them got reviews from Good to Bad.
>
> With mine I did find the input volume was critical as if it had clipped
> (a Linux distro can do that) the sound it very nasty from that point on.
>
> Either way it sounds different to what I have around the place and so
> far it has driven the NAD speakers that I have as well as the mission
> and lambert ones with out any problems. Not bad for what in essence is a
> switch-mode power-supply.
>
> but this is out side of the thread I would have to say.

It's called "thread drift" and quite normal.

OK, so I don't get why people would use Class D for low power (20w)
audio amplification, unless saving power in a battery-powered device was
the objective.
I have some class D active speakers, but these are relatively powerful
300wRMS and 600w RMS output with efficient large drivers. Hf drivers
have separate 100w class A/B amps. Conceptually the antithesis of
high-end hifi design.
They should sound like crap (TM) in a domestic setting. But they don't.
They just look a bit ugly.
 
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Me
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      07-21-2011
On 20/07/2011 9:32 a.m., Robert Cooze wrote:
> On 20/07/11 09:00, Me wrote:


>> They should sound like crap (TM) in a domestic setting. But they don't.
>> They just look a bit ugly.

> I think the words are horses for courses....

Perhaps... but that's a market position statement based on what's
available, not what could (or IMO should) be available.
I'm not convinced that the slow "advances" in design using old
technology (combined it seems with ever more exotic and expensive
engineering materials) has kept up with advances possible using active
design.
They are different approaches, say B&W with expensive "tested by ear"
design of passive audio crossovers, combined with speaker driver
placement to minimise effects of time alignment with HF/mid/lf drivers.
That's a lot of R&D money being poured in to trying to solve problems
which can be solved simply, very effectively, and cheaply using DSP in
active designs. (this isn't old "active" - actually probably better just
called "powered" designs which just added an amp or two to what would
have been passive speakers)
The established high end home audio manufacturers don't seem to be going
down that path (except with subs perhaps) - it's probably not in their
interests to do so. I don't think it's sound quality driving this. The
technology is used widely in professional studio (monitors), PA/SR
applications etc, arguably much more critical than home entertainment.

>
> I still remember the amplifier's I made with 2N3055's That is all I used
> and it was class A rough and ready would be how I describe them. Alas I
> don't have them any more, and I have forgotten more about electronics
> than I care to remember but those where the days.
>

I used to make my own audio gear (amps, speaker cabinets) too. It was fun.

> No mater what you use the system should disappear and only the music
> should be heard. that is all I go by these days.
>

I'd just say that it should sound good.

 
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