To Audiophiles

Actually there are several questions, as I need some advices on audio system for my PC. I am mainly asking about music, not about DVD movies, or games.

The main question is if it possible to have a sound comparable with good hi-fi system, e.g. around $1000 per box?

Did anyone tried to compare, what are results?

If it can be comparable, my next question is: what are recomendations for audio card and speakers. I would suspect that something like Creative DTT 3500 is good only for games, but I am waiting on your advise.

And finally: if I want to listen to CD, where is the better quality: on CD drive output, or on audio card output? Can someone try please with good headphones, as I have very very old sound card.


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ComTechConnect With a Mentor Commented:
This question has been abandoned and will be placed it PAQ and points refunded.

Best regards,
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I'll throw in a comment, just to be able to follow this. These "sound" questions tend to grow into interesting threads... As long as they don't produce sound cards with valves, I'll stick to a dedicated sound system, thank you :)
Generally speaking I'd think the sound quality deteriorates a little for each added step of amplification or processing. Thus, the best CD sound should come from the audio output of the CD unit. This, however is not the whole truth: The quality will depend on: the D/A circuitry in the CD player (which could be inferior, as the units main purpose isn't audio); the analog circuitry that comes after the D/A coverter (which may or may not be of good quality, with the same reasoning as above) and the cabling inside the box. I have seen unshielded ones - no good for high quality sound. Well, just a few thoughts...
proskigAuthor Commented:
rid: thanks for your comment.
I do have some points: as you mentioned DAC can be quite poor on CD-drive and can be quite good on audio card.
The signal goes in digital form from CD to Audio Card, is it correct assumption?
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I was just about to say "yes", when I remembered the little cable from CD unit to soundcard and became uncertain. I hope someone can fill in here...
"I remembered the little cable from CD unit to soundcard"

That's exactly the problem.  To take advantage of a quality sound card for listening to music CDs you'll have to digitally extract the music to .wav files on the hard drive.  Hope you've got a lot of drive capacity.
proskigAuthor Commented:
OK, I do have enough drive capacity.
Can I ask someone to compare quality please?
I mean standard CDROM audio output and sound card linear output?
Most CD's have two audio connectors on the rear. The four (4) pin connector is analog the two pin connector is
Digital. The little cable that comes with most CD's is analog.

When you rip your music to .wav you'll want to record at at least 44.1K (48 even better) and 16-bit (24 better) That will give you at least CD quality sound or better.

In regard to drive space, at 44.1, 16 bit you're looking at 10Meg per minute of audio roughly. This can quickly fill up even some of the higher capacity drives.  
Generally I wouldn't recommend using your PC as your music platform simply because it's not really designed for the purpose.  The sound quality coming from your PC will never equal the sound quality coming from your seperates just as the performance you'll get from a truck will never match a sports car.

However, I have amassed quite an MP3 collection and also play the guitar and so hooked up my PC to my amp and the effects have been nieghbour-disturbingly good.

My PC has a Creative SBLive Platinum with the little box thing you can stick in the front of your PC giving you all sorts of great looking ports (still figuring out what some of them do)... The two speaker outs on the back of the card are then linked to my Sony amp through a couple of the line-ins.  The amp is then connected to my Mordaunt-Short speakers.  It goes loud... very loud.

I chose the SBLive! Plat because of the little box thing which allows me to connect my guitar to it but also because of all of the cool DSP effects you can get on it.

This way I can play all my MP3's through my seperates.

Anyway... Hope this helps.

Tech Dude
proskigAuthor Commented:
Tech Dude:
Did you try to compare normal CDs playing them from CD-ROM and from hi-fi CD player? How worse are MP3 files comparing when playing CD from CD player?

I am basically trying to understand whether it is worth spending money on good sound card and computer speakers.
Yes, I did compare the two and as long as you get hold of a decent soundcard and speakers you probably won't notice much of a difference unless you stop, shut your eyes and listen really carefully.  I'd say a computer is good enough for pumping out the tunes day to day, however, don't expect it to win any awards.

MP3's in my mind are great.  I personally listen to them a lot and the sound quality is fine by most peoples standards.  They are pretty much on par with CD's... they work by cutting out all the excess frequencies that we can't hear anyway.  Some people argue that they don't have the same 'feel' to them but in the end it just comes down to whether you want to listen to the music or to experience it...

All summed up I would say it's definatly worth getting a good sound card and speakers.

If you are on a budget I would recommend the SBLive! Value with the Creative Labs surround speakers.  The subwoofer on this is pretty good and I used to be able to feel my room vibrating when I had them.

Middle ground is the SBLive! Plat. with the Videologic Dolby Digital speakers... these speakers are great and can really pump out the bass notes without loosing any definition on the mid-high range frequencies.

If you've got pots of money get a SBLive! Plat. or better and hook it up to your seperates system... it's the best way...

Tech Dude
Hi all,

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