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EVGA is taking on Creative and ASUS with a PCIe sound card

sonci

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#61
I have X-Fi Titanium HD and measured it. If you are "not so sure", see for yourself and stop making speculations.
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...-asus-with-a-pcie-sound-card.6104/post-156777
I didn't see any serious measuring in those links, they are just reviews trying to sell the cards..

as I said I had a lot of soundcards over the years, I modded the hell out of them, even though not bad, they are not even close to a cd player or external dac, as Amir showed with asus essence review, soundcards are far from the 120 db dynamic range..
They just publish the dac chip dynamic range and not the whole product.
I advice not to lose time or money with soundcards..
 

bennetng

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#62
I didn't see any serious measuring in those links, they are just reviews trying to sell the cards..

as I said I had a lot of soundcards over the years, I modded the hell out of them, even though not bad, they are not even close to a cd player or external dac, as Amir showed with asus essence review, soundcards are far from the 120 db dynamic range..
They just publish the dac chip dynamic range and not the whole product.
I advice not to lose time or money with soundcards..
Simple. It is a driver issue that forced the card to operate in 16-bit. Here is the updated 24-bit measurement showing 101dB SINAD.
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...f-asus-stx-ii-pci-sound-card.4915/post-111244

Here is Stereophile showing 114dB DNR.
https://www.stereophile.com/content/asus-xonar-essence-ststx-soundcards-measurements
I did not say these cards have 120dB DNR. It is you who said this. See my old posts and don't put your words in my mouth.

A non SACD player can never achieve more than around 96 or maybe 98dB (depends on measurement parameters) DNR since it is the inherent limitation of the 16-bit CDDA, aka "Red Book" format. So stop this CD player nonsense. How much is the cheapest and best measured SACD player? My soundcard is only $170 and it has both DAC and ADC. When you compare with other products you need to use something with similar prices and functionalities. That would be some budget studio interfaces. So use some common sense and read my old posts carefully before making a reply.
 
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#63
My old measurments of Creative X-Fi Titanium HD PCI-E soundcard. 24 bit, 96 kHz, loopback RCA out to RCA in so includes both DAC and ADC part. It is about -107 dB THD at 1kHz. Probably even more as I'm not sure if ADC or DAC is limiting factor.
X-Fi Titanium HD 2496 ASIO WaveSpectra.png
 

maxxevv

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#64
From what I have experienced, some PC's suffer from PSU's with serious ripple issues. I had one which was actually on the verge of failing and when a FLAC track was silent or ultra quite, had a serious hum through my earphones. It failed soon after, replaced it with a decent Seasonic 650W one after which, the hum just magically disappeared. ( it was an old Creative Audigy card.)

For what it is, perhaps its worth looking at PSU's with ultra-low ripple if you want to use the soundcard as a primary music processing source.
And it may be what's causing issues for some people and their systems. There are some resources on the web to check out measurements of such stuff.
 

bennetng

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#65
My old measurments of Creative X-Fi Titanium HD PCI-E soundcard. 24 bit, 96 kHz, loopback RCA out to RCA in so includes both DAC and ADC part. It is about -107 dB THD at 1kHz. Probably even more as I'm not sure if ADC or DAC is limiting factor.
View attachment 29507
The claimed DAC/ADC THD+N of X-Fi Titanium HD is 0.001% (-100dB) and my measurements are a few dBs worse. Loopback DNR is pretty nice though (119dB). Definitely not state of the art performance in 2019 but very respectable for a 2010 product. I am just using a very cheap FSP HEXA+ power supply.

Claimed DAC and headphone specs:
dac.jpg


Claimed ADC specs:
adc.jpg


Actually the X-Fi outperformed the external and balanced RME Multiface II in the studio I worked in 2012 in terms of DAC/ADC measurements.
https://www.rme-audio.de/en/products/multiface_2.php#5

I attached the RMAA reports of the X-Fi and RME. To be fair, the RME has a lot I/O and pro-audio features that the X-Fi doesn't have, people need to understand what they really need before making buying decisions.

As for typical claims like noise from PC, unless the external device has independent power supply and balanced I/O, or using Toslink, it can still be affected by noise from PC. Here is an example of an external DAC affected by PC noise:
http://archimago.blogspot.com/2013/02/measurement-asus-xonar-essence-one.html
 

Attachments

sonci

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#66
The claimed DAC/ADC THD+N of X-Fi Titanium HD is 0.001% (-100dB) and my measurements are a few dBs worse. Loopback DNR is pretty nice though (119dB). Definitely not state of the art performance in 2019 but very respectable for a 2010 product. I am just using a very cheap FSP HEXA+ power supply.

Claimed DAC and headphone specs:
View attachment 29509

Claimed ADC specs:
View attachment 29510

Actually the X-Fi outperformed the external and balanced RME Multiface II in the studio I worked in 2012 in terms of DAC/ADC measurements.
https://www.rme-audio.de/en/products/multiface_2.php#5

I attached the RMAA reports of the X-Fi and RME. To be fair, the RME has a lot I/O and pro-audio features that the X-Fi doesn't have, people need to understand what they really need before making buying decisions.

As for typical claims like noise from PC, unless the external device has independent power supply and balanced I/O, or using Toslink, it can still be affected by noise from PC. Here is an example of an external DAC affected by PC noise:
http://archimago.blogspot.com/2013/02/measurement-asus-xonar-essence-one.html
Have you ever listened to those cards?
I don't believe in this world there was or will be anything Creative to outperform anything Rme.
Your Titanium doesn't even support bit perfect playback
 

bennetng

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#67
Have you ever listened to those cards?
I don't believe in this world there was or will be anything Creative to outperform anything Rme.
Your Titanium doesn't even support bit perfect playback
I worked in an audio restoration studio for 4 years and used that RME interface for 4 years, good enough to invalidate your useless, baseless claims.
https://hydrogenaud.io/index.php/topic,96560.0.html

I also used some older external interfaces like DigiDesign MBox and Presonus FireBox. For Creative X-Fi PCI/E series I used XtremeMusic, Titanium and Titanium HD. Titanium HD has the best measured performance among them.

Whether you believe it or not is totally unimportant, I can't change what you believe.
 

zermak

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#69
I am building a 5 channels amp to drive my 5.1 setup in the living room with DIY speakers too and for the price I paid my ASUS Xonar DX I think it is a great bargain: I am looking to replace it or use an USB interface with 5 RCA outputs but I can only find worse products at higher price that does less than the tiny PCI-E card I already have. The sad part is that I don't know how good/bad the DAC is for the other channels (the surrounds, the central and sub) because every review just measured the front out and in the movies the center channel is the most used and so important.
Anyway suggestions for replacing the Xonar DX are welcome (USB or PCI-E interface with Jack/RCA outputs; under 250 euros?).
 

bennetng

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#71
I am building a 5 channels amp to drive my 5.1 setup in the living room with DIY speakers too and for the price I paid my ASUS Xonar DX I think it is a great bargain: I am looking to replace it or use an USB interface with 5 RCA outputs but I can only find worse products at higher price that does less than the tiny PCI-E card I already have. The sad part is that I don't know how good/bad the DAC is for the other channels (the surrounds, the central and sub) because every review just measured the front out and in the movies the center channel is the most used and so important.
Anyway suggestions for replacing the Xonar DX are welcome (USB or PCI-E interface with Jack/RCA outputs; under 250 euros?).
Considering the budget basically the only choices are consumer multichannel PCIE soundcards.

Creative AE-5 (ES9016) and AE-7 (ES9018) uses single-chip multichannel DACs, as well as Asus Strix Raid Pro (ES9006) and DLX(ES9016).

AE-9 uses a non-pro ES9038 as stereo output and ES9006 for other channels and it is out of your €250 budget. Also, the design is pretty silly. If they use a breakout box, they should put all analog circuitry in the breakout box rather than putting them on the PCIE card. The PCIE card should only have digital I/O and DSP/controller chips, not analog RCA jacks, opamps and DAC chips.

Reviews:
https://www.ixbt.com/multimedia/asus-strix.shtml
https://reference-audio-analyzer.pro/en/report/dac/creative-sound-blaster-ae-5.php
https://reference-audio-analyzer.pro/en/report/dac/asus-strix-raid-pro.php
https://reference-audio-analyzer.pro/en/report/dac/asus-strix-raid-dlx.php

The measurements look decent but what made me worry is some of the cards like AE-5, AE-7 and Strix Raid Pro are not using premium ADCs so analog loopback test are rather meaningless. Furthermore, Stirx Raid DLX in the reviews has a non-flat and leaky digital filter with about 3dB attenuation at 20kHz and a lot of imaging above Nyquist. On the other hand, the cheaper Strix Raid Pro uses a standard sharp filter. Don't know if the digital filters are configurable in the driver or not.

Also, RCA jacks on the PCIE card itself is a bad design. PCIE 1x card only has very few pins and the contact area with the slot is small and pretty insecure. Inserting and removing the RCA plugs can cause trouble and make the card unrecognizable, requiring users to open the case and reinsert the card. I can say this as a user of the X-Fi Titanium HD which also has RCA jacks.
 
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sonci

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#72
I am building a 5 channels amp to drive my 5.1 setup in the living room with DIY speakers too and for the price I paid my ASUS Xonar DX I think it is a great bargain: I am looking to replace it or use an USB interface with 5 RCA outputs but I can only find worse products at higher price that does less than the tiny PCI-E card I already have. The sad part is that I don't know how good/bad the DAC is for the other channels (the surrounds, the central and sub) because every review just measured the front out and in the movies the center channel is the most used and so important.
Anyway suggestions for replacing the Xonar DX are welcome (USB or PCI-E interface with Jack/RCA outputs; under 250 euros?).
I used to use an EMU 1820M, which was great for high resolution multichannel use, 8 discrete channels. asio playback etc, but then realised that a good receiver is good enough.
You can find one used but it's not that easy to configure.
As for the sound quality I had a xfi Prelude at the time, and the Emu was clearly better.
 

bennetng

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#73
In terms of measurement results 1820m is good (comparable to Focusrite Clarett series), but something to consider:

1. Be careful with the differences between PCI vs PCIE, quite a number of newer motherboards don't have PCI slots anymore.

2. Warranty.

3. Driver support and compatibility issues.

A brand new external interface with comparable functionalities and performances would not be at €250. Would be something like MOTU UltraLite-mk4 at around €500.
https://www.thomann.de/intl/hk/motu_ultralite_mk4.htm
https://motu.com/products/proaudio/ultralite-mk4/specs.html

Anything cheaper than that can potentially be a disaster:
https://www.gearslutz.com/board/music-computers/1100594-usb-interface-very-low-noise-floor.html

Unless the 2nd hand seller has a good reputation and willing to offer full refund and warranty, I would not take the risk.

Auzentech X-Fi Prelude is a completely different product. It is a PCI card with AKM DAC/ADC
https://www.guru3d.com/articles-pages/auzentech-x-fi-prelude-7-1-review,3.html

X-Fi Titanium HD is a strictly stereo PCIE soundcard uses PCM1794a DAC and PCM4220 ADC. Also, the main controller chip is different.
https://www.creative.com/oem/products/chips/CA20K1.asp
https://www.creative.com/oem/products/chips/CA20K2.asp

Not implying which one is better or worse, but they cannot be directly compared. X-Fi is just brand-name, like Pentium and Ryzen.
 

zermak

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#74
Considering the budget basically the only choices are consumer multichannel PCIE soundcards.

Creative AE-5 (ES9016) and AE-7 (ES9018) uses single-chip multichannel DACs, as well as Asus Strix Raid Pro (ES9006) and DLX(ES9016).

AE-9 uses a non-pro ES9038 as stereo output and ES9006 for other channels and it is out of your €250 budget. Also, the design is pretty silly. If they use a breakout box, they should put all analog circuitry in the breakout box rather than putting them on the PCIE card. The PCIE card should only have digital I/O and DSP/controller chips, not analog RCA jacks, opamps and DAC chips.

Reviews:
https://www.ixbt.com/multimedia/asus-strix.shtml
https://reference-audio-analyzer.pro/en/report/dac/creative-sound-blaster-ae-5.php
https://reference-audio-analyzer.pro/en/report/dac/asus-strix-raid-pro.php
https://reference-audio-analyzer.pro/en/report/dac/asus-strix-raid-dlx.php

The measurements look decent but what made me worry is some of the cards like AE-5, AE-7 and Strix Raid Pro are not using premium ADCs so analog loopback test are rather meaningless. Furthermore, Stirx Raid DLX in the reviews has a non-flat and leaky digital filter with about 3dB attenuation at 20kHz and a lot of imaging above Nyquist. On the other hand, the cheaper Strix Raid Pro uses a standard sharp filter. Don't know if the digital filters are configurable in the driver or not.
AE-7 (and AE-5) looks interesting but the question is: is it worth upgrading from my DX? I mean price/gain over my DX ratio. And talking about USB devices maybe both (mine and the SB) are better than the U-DAC8 from miniDSP which costs USD250.
Also, RCA jacks on the PCIE card itself is a bad design. PCIE 1x card only has very few pins and the contact area with the slot is small and pretty insecure. Inserting and removing the RCA plugs can cause trouble and make the card unrecognizable, requiring users to open the case and reinsert the card. I can say this as a user of the X-Fi Titanium HD which also has RCA jacks.
I see your point on RCAs but the goal is to plug it all in and never touch anything again for some years (I mean I am still using a NAD AV716 sinto now :facepalm: and the age is killing it).
I used to use an EMU 1820M, which was great for high resolution multichannel use, 8 discrete channels. asio playback etc, but then realised that a good receiver is good enough.
You can find one used but it's not that easy to configure.
As for the sound quality I had a xfi Prelude at the time, and the Emu was clearly better.
That is a nice card/stack (even overkill maybe considering all the INs that I will not need) but even if I still have one PCI slot on my current system dedicated to video playback I want something future proof and PCI-E is a must I guess.
 

bennetng

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#75
AE-7 (and AE-5) looks interesting but the question is: is it worth upgrading from my DX?
Just a quick search and I found the results of Xonar DX are pretty good and outperformed many budget studio interfaces.
https://www.ixbt.com/multimedia/asus/xonar-dx-2448.shtml
https://www.ixbt.com/multimedia/asus/xonar-dx-2444.shtml
https://www.manualslib.com/manual/1039812/Asus-Xonar-Dx.html?page=69
https://www.bit-tech.net/reviews/tech/asus-xonar-dx-pci-express-soundcard/5/

The results are reasonably consistent among different PCs. Unless there are ground loop or driver issues I don't think an upgrade is worthwhile.
 

zermak

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#76
Yeah. Like I tought. I mean it's not the best spec-ed but performance/price ratio is great and even now it is a very good card (I have just seen some new SB with same or lower specs).
I'll use it and I had no problem on my PC with the Uni Xonar driver with the low latency driver/installation.
 

bennetng

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#77
Yeah. Like I tought. I mean it's not the best spec-ed but performance/price ratio is great and even now it is a very good card (I have just seen some new SB with same or lower specs).
I'll use it and I had no problem on my PC with the Uni Xonar driver with the low latency driver/installation.
I especially don't like some current consumer soundcards intentionally use low end ADCs, looks like an excuse for any potentially poor loopback results.
 

zermak

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#78
I've seen that and you pointed it out too and indeed the RMAA results are kinda poor considering their DACs. I am pretty sure on an AP or a more spec-ed ADC chip the results would be more valuable and better (probably it is not to annoy the other audio brands in the pro market).
Just look at the DX results; they look better than them with higher spe-ed DACs.
 
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#79
Considering the budget basically the only choices are consumer multichannel PCIE soundcards.

Creative AE-5 (ES9016) and AE-7 (ES9018) uses single-chip multichannel DACs, as well as Asus Strix Raid Pro (ES9006) and DLX(ES9016).

AE-9 uses a non-pro ES9038 as stereo output and ES9006 for other channels and it is out of your €250 budget. Also, the design is pretty silly. If they use a breakout box, they should put all analog circuitry in the breakout box rather than putting them on the PCIE card. The PCIE card should only have digital I/O and DSP/controller chips, not analog RCA jacks, opamps and DAC chips.

Reviews:
https://www.ixbt.com/multimedia/asus-strix.shtml
https://reference-audio-analyzer.pro/en/report/dac/creative-sound-blaster-ae-5.php
https://reference-audio-analyzer.pro/en/report/dac/asus-strix-raid-pro.php
https://reference-audio-analyzer.pro/en/report/dac/asus-strix-raid-dlx.php

The measurements look decent but what made me worry is some of the cards like AE-5, AE-7 and Strix Raid Pro are not using premium ADCs so analog loopback test are rather meaningless. Furthermore, Stirx Raid DLX in the reviews has a non-flat and leaky digital filter with about 3dB attenuation at 20kHz and a lot of imaging above Nyquist. On the other hand, the cheaper Strix Raid Pro uses a standard sharp filter. Don't know if the digital filters are configurable in the driver or not.

Also, RCA jacks on the PCIE card itself is a bad design. PCIE 1x card only has very few pins and the contact area with the slot is small and pretty insecure. Inserting and removing the RCA plugs can cause trouble and make the card unrecognizable, requiring users to open the case and reinsert the card. I can say this as a user of the X-Fi Titanium HD which also has RCA jacks.
AE-5 and AE-7 use stereo (or mobile) versions of Sabre DACs though. The rest are handled by SoundCore3D DAC. ADC is handled by the same chip. So basically those are stereo playback only cards and not for those who want to do any serious recording. (Didn't check if AE-7 has separate ADC now. It has improvements for mic input though.)

AE-x cards allow changing the filter.
 

bennetng

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#80
Then they are worse than what I expected. As for ADC, even if users don't use the soundcard to make "serious recording", a good ADC is still very useful for diagnostic purposes. One of the reasons why I am not particularly interested in DAC-only products.
 
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