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#1 SirMaximusOwnage

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 01:10 AM

Is there a noticeable difference, if you've got good ears and have been playing games as long as I have, between a SNR level of, say, 100 or 107, and 120 or 124 dB?

Also, I read somewhere that blu-ray has some protection on it's audio that only certain sound cards can fully decode, but it sounds like marketing crap to me. Has anyone heard or experienced if it's true or not?


Edited by hamluis, 25 February 2013 - 05:13 PM.
Moved from System Building to Internal Hardware - Hamluis.


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#2 Kevin384

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 03:05 AM

In my training as a telecomm technician, I have been told that there could be a difference in perception of sound, depending on the measurment TYPE (dB, dBa, dBm, or dBv)

Normally, decibel measurement is said to show an increment in perception for every 3dB of increase (i.e. the level should double for every increase of 3dB).

I have found, however that this increase is usually imperceptible due to the limitation of the frequency that can be heard by the average human ear. I am not sure which type of measurement was used in your example above, but if it was dBa, then you would, I am sure, be able to notice a difference in the S/N level, depending again on the test frequency used to test this level.

However, this frequency is typically 1KHz in audio applications and measured in dB, and a level (OR S/N Ratio) which is greater than 95 dB at that frequency will provide very good audio, and better S/N level at higher frequencies.

Effectively, the higher the S/N ratio, the BETTER the audio should sound. 107 Db is a very good ratio, and 124 dB is even better, as this is the ratio between the noise generated by any audio circuit compared to the signal quality produced by that circuit.

IMHO, therefore, there may be some truth in what you have said about blu-ray decoding, but most sound cards will still produce excellent audio due to the fact that most games (as far as I know) will have audio frequencies somewhat higher than 1KHz, as should any audio from a DVD or Blu-ray Disc, without any impairment of your listening pleasure, due to the higher frequencies from the audio on the discs. This difference should be imperceptible in this case.

Hope that this helps, and that I haven't confused the issue!!
Regards,
Kevin

#3 killerx525

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 03:12 AM

It is possible to notice a difference but you would have to listen carefully to notice. A gamer may not notice because a lot of time they are immersed into the game and don't take notice of the fine details but a audiophile would be able to easily notice it.

Edited by killerx525, 04 February 2013 - 03:14 AM.

>Michael 
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#4 SirMaximusOwnage

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 03:59 AM

In my training as a telecomm technician, I have been told that there could be a difference in perception of sound, depending on the measurment TYPE (dB, dBa, dBm, or dBv)

Normally, decibel measurement is said to show an increment in perception for every 3dB of increase (i.e. the level should double for every increase of 3dB).

I have found, however that this increase is usually imperceptible due to the limitation of the frequency that can be heard by the average human ear. I am not sure which type of measurement was used in your example above, but if it was dBa, then you would, I am sure, be able to notice a difference in the S/N level, depending again on the test frequency used to test this level.

However, this frequency is typically 1KHz in audio applications and measured in dB, and a level (OR S/N Ratio) which is greater than 95 dB at that frequency will provide very good audio, and better S/N level at higher frequencies.

Effectively, the higher the S/N ratio, the BETTER the audio should sound. 107 Db is a very good ratio, and 124 dB is even better, as this is the ratio between the noise generated by any audio circuit compared to the signal quality produced by that circuit.

IMHO, therefore, there may be some truth in what you have said about blu-ray decoding, but most sound cards will still produce excellent audio due to the fact that most games (as far as I know) will have audio frequencies somewhat higher than 1KHz, as should any audio from a DVD or Blu-ray Disc, without any impairment of your listening pleasure, due to the higher frequencies from the audio on the discs. This difference should be imperceptible in this case.

Hope that this helps, and that I haven't confused the issue!!
Regards,
Kevin


I really don't have much information other than it was the SNR (Signal to Noise Ratio.) and it just listed that, dB. So it's 107 dB SNR.
The reason I ask is because the next card up from the ASUS Xonar DS (107 SNR.) is 120 dB SNR, but for about twice the cost, it goes up to 116dB. And then the price just really escalates from there. So unless I can hear a mouse whisper to me (Not sure if that comparison makes sense, but I'm trying to say "unless it's damn huge difference and good quality.), I'm not sure it justifies the cost. That's why I ask.

Also, should I grab the ASUS Xonar DSX instead? It's PCI-E instead of just PCI. I can't remember if PCI cards will work on PCI-E or not, and so I don't want any problems when picking out my motherboard.

Edit: Also something important that I should be considering is this: I don't know where the "front-out" of a card is. And also, if I used an USB headset, would that use my soundcard, or just use my internally built sound hardware (Not sure if that's handle by motherboard, cpu or both.)?

Edited by SirMaximusOwnage, 04 February 2013 - 04:20 AM.


#5 DJBPace07

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 07:27 AM

Standard PCI cards will not work on a PCI-E slot, but a PCI-E card will work in any PCI-E slot that either matches it or is larger, so, a PCI-E X1 card will work in a PCI-E X16 slot, but not the other way around. I use an Asus Xonar D2X card because I used to listen to a lot of music with high-end headphones. If you use a USB headset, it will most likely use the audio chips on the headset itself for basic functionality. If you want to use the audio card's outputs, you need a headset with standard jacks.

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#6 Kevin384

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 11:20 AM

Hi again,
To simplify the matter, the higher the S/N ratio, the "purer" (i.e less percieved "noise" generated by the circuit components) the audio will be. The sound heard from the DSX card would be "purer" than the DX card, but to my way of thinking (and I am a middle-of-the road audiophile) a S/N ratio of 107 dB would be heaven, as my best audio component set at the moment has a S/N ratio of 95dB@1KHz, which, when I purchased it, was at the top end of availablity. To purchase a component set today with a S/N ratio better than 100dB@1KHz is more than my bank account can stand!

In conclusion, to spend more cash on a card that has a S/N ratio better than 107dB would not be justified unless you have superb hearing. To spend more on a higher-end card would only be in the realms (for me anyway} of "I've got one, what have you got?"

BTW the "noise" that I am referring to is normally heard as a hissing sound overlaid on the audio signal. The less hiss, the better the S/N ratio, if that helps at all. No doubt, our friend DJBPace07 used the higher-end card, because of this "noise", and his high-end 'phones were able to reproduce it.

Secondly, is the headset you intend to use only USB, or will it be a USB powered gaming headset similar to the ROCCAT KAVE headset seen here?

Edited by Kevin384, 04 February 2013 - 11:24 AM.


#7 SirMaximusOwnage

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 02:14 PM

If I'm reading that right, it's ONLY USB. Though since they both use USB, would that not still count as the headset using it's own sound hardware?

I can always upgrade. In fact, eventually I will. At the time, my Arctic p531 was the best bang for my buck (I got it at something like $30 off.), spouting "true" 5.1 surround sound. And to my budget at the time, it sounds like it (Amnesia: The Dark Descent sounds so much better.). It doesn't list a SNR, though. I'm not sure any of them did. I'm not sure what the price would be, but since I use online chat a lot, it might be more prudent for me to get a pure USB headset than a really expensive soundcard? And to be clear, that would be a USB headset that does 7.1 surround (Yes, it seems silly since it's a headset and not speakers in a room, but I liked it.) of high quality.

Also, you can grab the ASUS card I was talking about, which is 107 dB and 195KHz or something, for about $40-50, depending on if you want the PCI or PCI-Ex1 card. At least, that's the Newegg price.

#8 Kevin384

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 02:15 AM

Hi,

Sorry for the delay, just got out of the sack and found your reply notification in my e-mail.

Agreed, at first look, they are both USB headsets, but going in-depth, you will find that the Kave is a true surround unit, whereas the Arctic is a virtual surround head set, where the channels are encoded in the in-line control.

The Kave has four cables that connect to your rig, three 3.5 mm jacks for the sound card, and the USB for the tip 'n control box power. This makes it a true 5.1 headest. I have to say, that USB or not, the Arctic has a very impressive spec.

No headset manufacturer will quote a S/N ratio for their product, they will specify the sensitivity of the speaker unit(s) in the headset.

As regards using online chat, I would say a pure USB headset would be a solution, but there would be a trade-off in audio purity without some sort of audio control (as in the Arctic headset) for gaming. I am unsure if any USB connection's transfer speed will have any affect on the audio purity, thus my personal preference for the true surround headset with a physical connection to the sound card!

However, personal preference, and financial circumstances will dictate.

The ASUS Xonar DX card looks like a very good buy, and much in line with the spec of your present headset. In fact, I would seriously consider it for my rig but for the fact that my on-board sound has the same (or similar) spec. as the card.

The spec. states 100 dB S/N Ratio with a sampling rate of 24 bits at 192Khz . As far as I can ascertain this means that every 24 bits of audio signal are processed at 192KHz, which makes for excellent audio processing, with the audio signal 100dB louder than any noise generated in your rig, on the card, or by any external source.

Regards,
Kevin

Edited by Kevin384, 05 February 2013 - 02:36 AM.


#9 SirMaximusOwnage

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 09:19 PM

I may not be enough of an audiophile to tell the difference between true and virtual 5.1. I've probably never even heard true 5.1, not counting un-knowingly walking through department stores.
To that end, I'm actually surprised that there's 4 plugs total for the headset to work. But I guess it makes sense, one line per channel (Though I don't where the last channel would go, much less for the subwoofer.).

It sounds like I don't really need a soundcard at this point, so I'll keep that in mind. Unless, of course, USB headsets end up taking up CPU resources, in which case I'll see about what I can do to fix that.

However, there is still the matter of audio-splitting. Would a sound card enable me to split audio for recording or even outputting sound/music to two devices? Or would I still need to use some sort of software or stereo-to-mic trick?

#10 Kevin384

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 01:00 AM

Hi,
Just a quick explanation of the cables:

The three jacks are similar to those you would find on a stereo headset, but the connectors on the jacks serve a different purpose of providing one line per channel for surround sound purposes. I fact each jack, when plugged into the correct plug on your motherboard, will serve the purpose of providing signal to the centre/subwoofer (one line on that jack for each), another for the front speakers, again one line for each, and the third for your side or rear speakers, on the same principle.

Any sound card is designed to provide these outputs to whatever equipment you want to connect to your system (e.g. a 5.1 gaming speaker set).

OK, enough of that.

I am not quite sure what you mean by audio-splitting - do you intend to output the same source to two different devices, or different sources to two devices, and recording two different input sources to your system?

Could you also provide me with a link to your motherboard specifications? I will need that info to try to answer your question.

Regards,
Kevin

#11 SirMaximusOwnage

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 02:07 PM

I'm still not quite sure how the different jacks work, as it sounds like left and right channels are missing.

But yes, that's what I mean for splitting. Either have 2 audio outputs for when me and my friends or family are playing on my same computer, for whatever reason, or for when I would be recording, or even broadcasting to a friend via xfire or something else. Also, I'm not sure it's possible, but it would be nice if I could split audio without tricking the computer (By either starting a VOIP program while assigned to the headset, and the game while under "speakers."), so I can put voice output to my headset, and game audio to my speakers. I know you could do something like that in Vista, but it was still annoying how you had to do it.

Motherboard: http://www.gigabyte.com/products/product-page.aspx?pid=4169#ov

Edited by SirMaximusOwnage, 06 February 2013 - 02:07 PM.


#12 Kevin384

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Posted 08 February 2013 - 01:10 AM

WHOAA!! What a motherboard, I would swop all I have (within reason) for that board.

 

Sorry for the delay, was away fetching family and doing general transport duties.

 

Each output from your onboard audio is paired to a socket on the back of the board, and each jack plug will correspond to the connections in each socket.

You comment that that the left and right channels are missing, I am assuming that you mean the front left and right channels!
 

These two channels would be powered by the green socket on your board. Have you connected the jack for these channels to that particular socket? If so do not remove the jack, and do the following (assuming that you are using Windows 7):

 

Go to start-> all programs-> Creative

Click on Soundblaster Recon 3Di

Click on Speakers/Headphones-> speakers tab, and make sure that the Full Range Speakers box is checked - this should enable your front Left and Right speakers through the green socket on the back of the motherboard.

 

To be frank, I am not familiar with this particular audio chip, but I have checked this information in the manual for your motherboard, as downloaded from the Gigabyte site.

Secondly, why on earth would you even consider purchasing a separate sound card for this rig - you have the BEST possible  audio components right there onboard - that's why I now have a serious case of the "I-Wants".

 

I have researched the Creative audio on this board, and the specification is, to say the least, the best that I have ever seen!!!!!

 

I am not sure if you will be able to split audio with this audio setup, but I will do some further research and get back to you when I have some feedback.

 

I hope that this helps.

Regards,

Kevin



#13 SirMaximusOwnage

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 05:53 PM

Sorry for the delay. I couldn't figure out what was wrong, but now my Firefox is refusing to start up without instantly crashing. So now I'm on Chrome.

The missing ports was in regards to saying how you have to plug in several cords for surround sound. I don't have the card yet, but I was just noticing that there  seemed to be no dedicated cords for left/right channels.

 

I didn't really look at the motherboard's onboard audio. I had assumed it would just be minimal, honestly. The most important part were the PCI-Express 3.0 slots, to me, as well as the SATA's.

Looking again, it really does have it's own chip for audio. I suppose this means I can possibly just forego buying an extra audio card!

If so, that would be nice. At the same time, though, I was hoping to get experience in setting up my own sound card with drivers and experiencing the hookups. I can't really tell by the specifications, but does that include enough audio jacks for 5.1 surround?

If it's got it's own sound chip, does that mean a USB headset would work with it, possibly? Just asking out of curiosity, as the more options I have, the more money I can possibly save.



#14 Kevin384

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 12:01 AM

Hi,

Strange that Firefox is crashing, I suggest that you download a fresh copy and re-install.

 

There are no separate (or discrete) cords for the left and right channels on any sound card. For surround sound 5.1, you really only need 3 cords, one for the centre/sub-woofer output (orange socket), one for the left/right front speaker (green socket) and one for the rear surround left/right speakers (black socket) - these are the sockets available on the back of the board.

 

If you want to separate the channels, the cords you will need will be the RCA (or similar) type of cord(i.e. the cords that have the 3.5mm standard stereo jack at one end and red and white RCA type Jacks at the other). What external equipment do you intend to connect to the audio card? There should be corresponding RCA sockets on that equipment.

 

You will notice another two plugs available - one (pink) is for either a microphone or an input audio cable, and a black one for the headset output. These are also configured for two channels (Left and Right).

 

The audio chip on your board is one of the most advanced audio processors available today. It is a quad-core processor with a S/N ratio better than the best possible add-on card available, other than one from the producer of your onboard audio (Creative Audio). Creative are, IMHO, the leaders in sound card technology for PC's today. (I don't work for Creative, and have no affiliation with them, I'm just a big fan of their products!).

 

You REALLY don't need to buy a separate audio card for your rig!!!

 

Most USB 5.1/7.1 Headsets come with a utility disc which enable the virtual surround audio, and should be compatible with the audio chips on any motherboard, but please confirm with the seller (in writing if possible ) that there will be no compatibility issues. Your Arctic P531 should work on this rig with no problems.


Edited by Kevin384, 11 February 2013 - 12:04 AM.


#15 Kevin384

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Posted 11 February 2013 - 12:13 AM

Whups,

I slipped up by not addressing your question about splitting the audio - I suggest that you start a new thread on this particular query in the Audio forum here on BC, you will probably get good or better guidance on that there - just don't forget to specify the motherboard that you are using so that the folks there will be able to assist much faster!!






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