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RMAA measurements of Gigabyte Aorus Pro Wifi Z390 (Realtek ALC1220)

peder2tm

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Oct 14, 2018
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Hi all,
I just built a new PC with a Gigabyte motherboard of the model Aorus Pro wifi z390.
I have been debating whether it would be worth it getting an external DAC so I tried measuring it with Rightmark Audio Analyzer (RMAA).
For those who don't know this program, it is basically an audio analyzer that uses your sound card only, so line in is used for making the measurements.
The ADC probably add some extra noise so the numbers can be seen as a worst case estimate.
See the measurements in the attached screenshot.

I get a THD for the realtek of 0.00151% which is -96 dB.
I think it is pretty decent and I don't think I will be able to tell it apart from an external DAC.
The spec says up to 120 dBA SNR for the dac and up to 114 dBA SNR for the ADC.
Here is a link to the marketing material:
https://www.gigabyte.com/Motherboard/Z390-AORUS-PRO-WIFI-rev-10#kf
There are also fancier versions of the motherboard with integrated Sabre DACs and some of them also come with cleaner USB power under the name 'USB DAC-UP'.

The motherboard also comes with an integrated headphone amp that is only available on the mini-jack output labeled 'line out'. It has three gain settings and on the highest setting it is loud enough to drive my Sennheiser HD650 to what I will describe as 'uncomfortably loud'.
If someone can find any information about this amp, I would be very interested. They call it AMP-UP and it might be a Gigabyte specific product, so would be nice to see some measurements to see if they got it right.

I have also bought the Apple usb-c dongle. See also the attached measurements of that.
They are a lot worse than Amir's measurements. It seems that my USB power is too noisy. There are no harmonics visible on the 'dashboard', they are buried under the noise. By looking at the plot wile moving the USB mouse, the noise floor also jumps up and down, so this also indicates too much USB noise.
My power supply is a 750W seasonic prime gold, which should be a decent supply, but I guess still not good enough for this application. The usb-c dongle is designed for clean battery power.


Realtek ALC 1220
alc1220.png


Apple usb-c
apple usb-c.png
 
OP
P

peder2tm

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Interesting! Thanks a lot for testing!

Maybe the extra noise on the usb-c dongle could also be caused by the fact that it is measured between two devices, the USB device and the onboard sound device and it could therefore be some kind of ground loop.

I have tried to measure the usb-c dongle using itself but it doesn't really work well. I guess it is because it is meant for microphones and not line in, so the ADC clips at very low input values, even when it does not use anything close to the 24 bit range.
 

Tim6622

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May 11, 2019
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Hi to all...

Yes, very interesting post. Thanks for that! Here's some related info on the product type...
https://www.velocitymicro.com/images/gigabyte-amp-up-audio.html
I'm pretty sure that's for the older z170-z270 boards. I have a z270x gaming 7 with an op amp and gain switches. This is not present on the newer z370 motherboards from gigabyte. Updated info on their new motherboard sound card design can be found here and at Gigabyte's blog.

Another manufacturer that I have had a good audio experience with are Asus strix/ROG motherboards. more info on those and with what headphone amps they use . Similarly likeGigabyte (and MSI, the only 3 that i know)they implement Sabre dacs in higher ends boards.
 

Tup3x

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Nov 17, 2018
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here is my asus crosshair vi hero results I'm not sure if I did this right
View attachment 26903
You obviously didn't use the loopback i.e. cable from line out to line in. Instead you likely used Realtek's Stereo Mix for recording the playback.

Also with loopback method the results are at best as good as the ADC, which is basically always the bottleneck in mobos (and playback oriented sound cards).
 
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