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View Full Version : Real world test of Expensive PC sound Cards : audiofools ?



1101
27-02-2014, 09:35 AM
Real world test of Expensive PC sound Cards, tested with expensive $1500 Headphones

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/high-end-pc-audio,3733.html

Results in, you guessed it, in BLIND TESTING , a $2000 ~sound card~ was no better than a $2 onboard chip .

Public comments at the end are funny, audiofools still refusing to believe that spending bucketsloads of $$ wont allways give any better
sound quality- ie no difference that can actually be heard via humans far from perfect ears .

Its all placebo effect people, thats why audio mags never do double blind testing.
Now where did I put my $200 interconnects :p

I remember a test a radio station did, comparing CD, to Audiofile CD to Vynyl.
People were ringing in claiming they could hear how vinyl sounded better or AudiofileCD sounded better. Despite the sound going through all sorts of filtering compression etc at the radio station & during & after transmission .
ie what they expected to sound better, seemed to sound better to them .

dugimodo
27-02-2014, 10:03 AM
Yeah I read that story too, got a chuckle out of it.

Onboard sound used to be so bad you could hear the difference even through a cheap & nasty set of PC speakers. Also onboard used to bottleneck framerates in games so there were good reasons to buy a reasonable sound card originally. These days though onboard sound is good enough for most of us, me I connect digitally when possible for playing musc which takes the sound card out of the picture anyway.

Remember the people who spend $2000 on one of these devices are also the same people who are convinced gold plated connectors, oxygen free cables, and $80 HDMI cables all effect signal quality. I remember an article in an Audiophile magazine where a sound engineer tested the effect of the gold conectors and oxygen free cables and concluded the only measurable difference was a slight level increase - easily duplicated for free with the volume knob.

Chilling_Silence
27-02-2014, 10:25 AM
Yeah while not entirely accurate in every way, shape and form, these videos basically give a fantastic "overview" of how much of being an Audiophile is subject to placebo effect:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1rXcJuEsy0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bjTxEwlypA0

pctek
27-02-2014, 03:12 PM
Real world test of Expensive PC sound Cards, tested with expensive $1500 Headphones

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/high-end-pc-audio,3733.html

Results in, you guessed it, in BLIND TESTING , a $2000 ~sound card~ was no better than a $2 onboard chip .
.
Most people can't tell or don't care.

Did know one audiophile who could and did.
He got frustrated playing me stuff pointing out differences and thought I was just being stubborn when I said I couldn't tell.

Although that wasn't sound cards, it was other hifi stuff.....

Richard
27-02-2014, 04:32 PM
Yeah but you have to admit that hi-fi was a lot of fun until we started getting older, suffered from tinnitus, and increasing deafness. It was all really just skiting about our gear, just like the practitioners of another hobby I could name.

dugimodo
27-02-2014, 04:35 PM
I don't know, maybe he could tell or maybe he Just convinced himself he could. People hear what they expect to to an extent which is why the testing has to be blind.
If you can see what's being tested it influences what you believe you hear. I know people who claim to hear quantising distortion but can't explain what it sounds like.
I don't dispute that analog and digital sound different and people prefer one or the other but I do dispute you can identify what part of the difference is due to quantising.

There's a lot of snobbery in Audio (to quote the guys in Chills link) and people who spend $1000's of dollars on hardware are never going to believe cheap hardware can be Just as good.
I have a $60 20W T-amp powering a pair of wharfedale bookshelf speakers as my PC sound system. It sounds awesome, no set of PC speakers I've ever heard sounds as good for music.
Online reviews of similar T-amps suggests they match the quality of $10K ref amps - but Audiophiles refuse to believe it. Here's a couple links about T-amps if anyone is interested.
http://www.tnt-audio.com/ampli/tripath_amps_e.html http://boingboing.net/2013/06/24/low-cost-hi-fi-the-amazing-wo.html

Agent_24
27-02-2014, 06:23 PM
Online reviews of similar T-amps suggests they match the quality of $10K ref amps - but Audiophiles refuse to believe it. Here's a couple links about T-amps if anyone is interested.
http://www.tnt-audio.com/ampli/tripath_amps_e.html http://boingboing.net/2013/06/24/low-cost-hi-fi-the-amazing-wo.html

That reminds me of the Gaincard and the many Gainclones built thereafter.

Chilling_Silence
27-02-2014, 08:23 PM
It was all really just skiting about our gear, just like the practitioners of another hobby I could name.

^^ This!! :D

pctek
28-02-2014, 07:34 AM
I don't know, maybe he could tell or maybe he Just convinced himself he could.
I don't dispute that analog and digital sound different and people prefer one or the other but I do dispute you can identify what part of the difference is due to quantising.
]

I'd say he could, he wasn't into spending enormous amounts of money just because it was supposedly better.
But he spent an awful lot of time testing things before he bought them, probably drove the shops nuts....


And yes, analog vs digital was one of his pet rants....

J_Joyce
04-03-2014, 03:06 PM
Onboard audio has definitely come a long way compared to the days of old, I'd say these days it's about comparable to what the old soudblaster live cards used to be. Which for most people is more than adequate unless you're one of these people like myself who has their computer connected to a dedicated stereo speaker system or decent headphones.

I have an ODAC that's connected to the floor standing speakers in my lounge (usb audio dac mentioned in the review link in the original post). I also have an Asus xonar Dx pci-e card and I find the ODAC sounds noticeably better in a sense that music has that subtle note of life like there's a certain depth to the sound-stage that's missing with the Asus card.

Richard
05-03-2014, 10:23 AM
Hi-fi audio started to go really crazy when people began designing players that looked like spaceships, stood speakers on pins to reduce floor vibrations, ripped out wooden floors to replace with concrete, again to reduce vibration, installed speaker cable able to carry the Transpower DC supply to the North Island, coated all plugs with gold, washed records before playing them, and then spent all their time listening for hum, feedback, earth loops, cross-talk rather than the music which was supposed to be the object of the whole exercise.

If your 'gear' wasn't by Quad, Linn, Naim or NAD it wasn't any good.