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Thread: The forgotten component - What’s up with computer audio?




  1. #51
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    Default Re: The forgotten component - What’s up with computer audio?

    here here!

  2. #52
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    Default Re: The forgotten component - What’s up with computer audio?

    and another point...in this day and age, we should be able to do WITHOUT compressed audio as well. with HD's at the size of 100+G's and mainstream soundcards able to handle more and more power, there is no real reason why there are not more 'mainstream' lossless compression or even perfect copies or totally uncompressed sound formats. Doom 3 was done in ogg and the sounds are decent, not stellar but decent IMHO, but still they insist on using compression even on todays cds etc. I truely dont understand why quality isnt an issue to music companies or even their distrubuters, its a question of money i guess, takes less time to burn a compressed cd rather than a raw format and if they can save $.01 per cd i guess we as consumers take it as such and dont whine about the crap that we are handed. As a comparison, would you buy a car that had the CHEAPEST possible tires on it, the cheapest possible windows and the cheapest possible parts? yes, some of us would, for various reasons, money usually is the top reason but when it comes down to it the parts would usually crap out a LOT sooner than if you bought a better quality part and then your back to buying your parts again anyway and spending the money you thought youd saved, so really in the long run, are you better off at all?

  3. #53
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    Cool Re: The forgotten component - What’s up with computer audio?

    Compression is a trade off. You trade some quality for more space. All media are subject to it. However, there are less than what you imply. Audio CD are uncompressed (although the sampling is also a loss of quality). Video are compressed too in your DVD. The limited resolution of the TV set is a compression of sort.

    The current media are delivered in the format that are economically sound. I'm personnally more amazed that people are still accepting the crap resolution of a TV set (512x384) than compressed music.

    This is starting to change though (HDTV). Video game sound is compressed because otherwise you'd need 10+ CDs to get your game and i personnally dont like to play toaster with my CD drive. And games are still distributed as CD because this is what ALL the market can read.

    The real plague is legacy if you think about it. Legacy resolution for old TV sets, legacy stereo sound (instead of 5.1, 6.1 or 7.1), legacy CD for games instead of DVD (few games are on DVD, lots are on 4+ CDs), legacy compatibility with win3.11...

    In blind audio tests at 128+kbit compression, most people could not distinguish the original CD from the compressed files. Why do you want them to waste the space? Can you see the compression artefact in your DVD or cable channels?

    Compression is used because for most people, it is "good enough".

    I know lots of people with crappy computer sound systems that could not make the difference between a CD or a 64kbit mp3. I've seen people watch divx movies compressed to 2 movies on a CD. VideoCD are such a low quality, i cannot think of it without shivering (but they are soooo cheap to produce).

    The final argument is money. We are in a capitalist world and money talks. Put your money where your mouth is and if enough people do, you may see the product you'd like. If we all cheap out, quantity and cheap parts will win out.

  4. #54
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    Default Re: The forgotten component - What’s up with computer audio?

    well..i have...:) ive spent more money on my audio hardware than 90% of the population will in their LIFETIME, ive purchased Martin Logan electrostatic speakers, which 90% of that population will say 'what????' when you say that...sigh....noone seems to care about quality...they are only interested in getting it as fast as possible as easy as possible :P which is a poor way of doing things on a practical basis as then you usually end up doubling back anyway and fixing all the problems that you missed in the hurry to get it out in the first place *MB's PRIME example* sigh...i know im a minority opinion..but still...im allowed to whine :) hehe
    and compression sucks...and yes...most ppl will never truely KNOW what REAL audio sounds like..just the crap they hear outta the radio on their 2 bit mono or MAYBE even stereo POS that they got under the Xmas tree. blah.

  5. #55
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    Default Re: The forgotten component - What’s up with computer audio?

    First off, I must commend the authors of the article for absolutely nailing an issue that has been for years frustrating my obsession for "immersion" in the multimedia PC experience. Countless times in the past I've scoured the internet for information on this subject, desperately hoping that it was "just around the corner". Sadly, always I concluded that I must be just plain crazy , or obsessed, or something.....as it seemed that nobody cared about PC audio moving past the ridiculous technology that we are currently stuck with from the likes of unCreative and the onboard audio hardware manufacturers. However, nVidia's SoundStorm was a glimmer of hope. I was excited! But now, thanks again to the unfortunate technology-inhibiting evils of today's PC market, that bit of hope is seemingly lost.

    Frenchy2k1, that was an excellent post. You summed the situation up quite nicely.

    ASLayerAODsk, I'm in the same corner as you, but you are just a bit farther into the extreme corner. All I can say is, first things first. For the most part, RAW (uncompressed) consumer video and audio content is a pipe dream in the near term. Don't you think there is a bit more hope in the near term of pushing for better-quality audio software and hardware implementations and getting to a "DD or DTS"-ish level in PC audio, rather than worrying about quantum-leaping to the audiophile level?

    Worse yet, the established standards for multi-channel sound (DD, DTS) suffer the same bogus dead-end thinking. Regarding 5.1 vs 6.1/7.1/x.1 in general; you have to realize that this is just another marketing ploy by all who stand to benefit from consumer's extra $$ for the perceived gains. The extra channels being added above 5.1 are NOT discretely encoded in the DD or DTS stream. Do some research on the technology and you will see. In other words, the extra channel(s) being advertised in addition to 5.1 contain no unique information above what was already there in the 5.1 stream. If you do happen to have a newer decoder that supports those the additional channels (in 6.1/7.1/etc), all you are getting in those extra speakers is a matrix-decoded signal derived from the two surrounding channel pairs. Remember good ole' Dolby3 technology? Hello again! A good example is to think of a movie scene where something (plane, car, train, bullet, whatever) is moving behind you from left to right. The sound will gradually pan (move) from the Rear Left speaker to the Rear Right speaker. Well, now add in that "Rear Center" channel(s). Now the sound will seemingly pan more "smoothly" because that rear center channel is now "filling in" between the rear Left and Right speakers. All this is done by simply doing a sort of "subtraction" to determine the difference in the signal between the two channels, and then outputting the result. No doubt, the end result is definitely beneficial, but consumers are (as usual) fooled into thinking they are getting something SO MUCH BETTER than 5.1. There used to be a real neat website http://vento.cjb.net/ that explained this in detail, but it seems to be gone now. (If anyone knows it's owner or a new link, let me know)

    The question of multiple analog signals vs. one digital (coax/optical) signal is, practically, more of a interconnect convenience issue. Assuming 44kHz source material, and decent hardware with good A/D and D/A conversion, most people would not be able to perceive a difference in basic sound quality. (that is, sound quality due to the quality of each channel.)

    Sound quality in terms of immersion achieved through environmental/positional audio, that is another story. As mentioned already by some seemingly very knowledgable individuals, environmental and positional audio is at a sad and stalled state in today's software. Creative's so-called "technology" is going no-where. It's all clever marketing hype. Another poster's previous comments about Aureal's promising but now dead technology are depressing. And is it true that Creative's recent buy-out was the reason for nVidia dropping SoundStorm? Or was it entirely based on lack of market demand?

    However, now we have Intel touting their "HD Audio" quite strongly as a major new feature on the new PCI Express chipsets. What is going on there? This feature is looking somewhat promising, except of course that we are dependent on motherboard makers to use decent components for the codecs. The chipset supposedly has the same Dolby Digital encoding capability that SoundStorm had.

    What is it going to take?

  6. #56

    Default Re: The forgotten component - What’s up with computer audio?

    I'm sure most of you already saw this, but I thought this discussion could be updated. From Hexus:
    <!--StartFragment -->
    NVIDIA Editors Day: Soundstorm

    Posted on Tuesday, 7 December, 2004 by David

    In an exclusive press briefing - the CEO of NVIDIA has just stated that we will see Soundstorm avaliable on nForce soon. This will be more than the old hat Soundstorm which was on nForce 1 and 2.

    NVIDIAs CEO was slightly cryptic about it being delivered, however, I think we can make an assumption that maybe the PCI-E bus has enough to deliver it as a standalone product. Here are those precious words:

    "We're gonna build SoundStorm 2, it's gonna be awesome," he later added to that with more information about how it will be delivered "It come in a way that you won't expect.

    NVIDIA chose not to do this with nForce 4 - but he for one acknowledges that the market wants it. This is a great proof of consumer power and that NVIDIA do listen to the consumer.

    It was apparent that that Jen Hsun is excited about this audio solution. More on the new Soundstorm implementation as and when we get it.

    Update: I know many people will accuse us of being wrong on this - however, this isn't the case. Wait and see :)

    Update: More info comes in from David in the US, here.
    Kind of makes you wonder, this announcement came right on the heels of the Nvidia/PS3 announcement. I hope it works out.
    Last edited by Wrecking Ball; 12-18-2004 at 04:00 AM.

  7. #57
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    Default Re: The forgotten component - What’s up with computer audio?

    This was a great post and discussion!

    I got referred to the article (and then the update, and then the forum) after wondering if going from my onboard sound to a PCI Soundcard would improve my sound quality. My dilemma was two-fold:

    1. Whenever I enabled EAX in a game, I would notice a "richer" (to my uneducated ears) sound, but then generally after 5-10 minutes of play I'd experience some sort of error (game crashes, sound shuts off, white-noise, or repeating noises [e.g. echoing gunfire when no-one is around and no-one is shooting]).

    2. My Mobo is the Asus A7N8X-E Deluxe. In order to use 5.1 analog you have to have the Center/Subwoofer channel plugged into your "microphone in" port. Which means you can't have 5.1 and a microphone in use at the same time and would result in me crawling under the desk to change wiring depending on my game.

    First off, I'm a FPS gamer, not an audiophile. I paid mucho-$ for BFG's 6800 Ultra, but I have used onboard sound with a cheap (but effective for my purposes) Altec Lansing 5.1 (non-digital) surround sound speakers. To me, gunfire is gunfire, explosions are explosions...I like the positional audio so I can tell from which direction someone is coming towards me. For me it looks like my options are either get a digital speaker system (which fixes microphone issue) or a Creative A2 Platinum card with the front panel (which fixes both issues).

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