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Auzentech X-Meridian Back With a Bang in New Second Generation Model

Discussion in 'News' started by btarunr, Jul 23, 2010.

  1. btarunr

    btarunr Editor & Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    I think you didn't get what I was saying.

    If the DACs of this card are better than the DACs inside a particular >$500 receiver, then it's better not to use the receiver and instead just buy a decent $300 amplifier and use the analogue of the sound card. The DACs on this card are avant-grade and do a better job than that receiver.
     
  2. Wile E

    Wile E Power User

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    No, that's the same point I was driving at, only I'm using the receiver to simplify the chain and explanation. I left out the part about using the analog inputs on the cheaper receiver tho, so that's probably where the confusion stems from. I'll fix that now.

    Replace receiver with separate amps if you wish, but the point remains. To get good DACs in home audio, you have to spend much more than you should. You lose source selection with just bare amps tho.


    EDIT: Fixed original post to make the scenario more clear.
     
  3. btarunr

    btarunr Editor & Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    I think there's still some confusion. Maybe I'm not putting it across well enough.

    [​IMG]

    Now instead of spending $700 on a digital receiver with a lesser-quality DAC than the ones on this card, you can spend $300 on an amplifier of the same amplifier circuit grade for better quality (since the DAC sitting on the sound card is better), or you can spend the same $700 on a better-quality amplifier for an even better output.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2010
  4. Wile E

    Wile E Power User

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    No, I understood you perfectly. But buying just an amp does not afford you source switching abilities. The receiver will allow more than just your computer to play thru the speakers. You could also buy a preamp and separate amps, but at that point, you're spending even more than getting a receiver, for even less gain.
     
  5. zAAm

    zAAm

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    Why would you need ADC's on a sound card? I'd imagine all audio data will already be digital and will just be encoded to the correct format over digital SPDIF or optical... (Unless you're capturing the data from analog - which would normally not be the case since then you could just ignore the sound card and connect the analog input straight to the receiver/amp). Also, you would need to have an absolutely amazing setup to hear the difference between 110dB and 120dB SNR DAC's. :wtf:
     
  6. btarunr

    btarunr Editor & Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    To convert analogue to digital, duh. I made a typo, the ADC is the sound processor here, though every sound card has ADCs that convert inputs to digital.

    This sound card is targeted at people with amazing setups, though you don't really need amazing setups to hear the difference. Some subjective hearing with even mainstream speakers can tell the difference.
     
  7. runnin17

    runnin17 New Member

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    This is a killer sound card, I am still partial to my Xonar D2X though.
     
  8. zAAm

    zAAm

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    What I meant to say is why would a sound card need ADC's in the output circuitry which you were clearly discussing. Really no need to get condescending... :wtf:

    I'd like to see some double blind tests on that :rolleyes:, but I guess in audiophile terms there's never enough (even though distinguishing 110dB from 120dB means you'd have to be able to distinguish noise that's 300 000 times fainter than the normal signal vs noise that's a million times fainter). Also, what do you classify as mainstream? $10k?
     
  9. PanzerIV New Member

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    I used to have a Auzentech Prelude and found out that I could use the Optical to connect it on the Z-5500 I had and I was sure that it was better cause it shown (DTS Connect 5.1 blablabla) but in fact it was really stupid because I would use the very cheap DAC from the Z-5500 instead of the one from my sound card lol.

    Then I bought a Onkyo TX-SR607 receiver with KEF KHT-3005SE speakers that are worth like 2500$ but got them for 1000$ + 5% Tax. Obviously optical on this would be better than analogue on Z-5500 but would had still been able to push the sound quality even further if I'd be able to use analogue on these speakers.. unfortunately I learned about the (Multi-Chanel 7.1 Analog output) severals months after and also learned none of the Onkyo have this so I sold my receiver to buy a Harman Kardon AVR-1600 at only 400$ which is almost the manufacturer's price and since I've been using my Auzentech Forte with this amp through analogue on my awesome KEF speakers, hell it sounds better than ever! Clearly worth every penny I've put into this setup.

    What I hate from Auzentech is that they can't do a ****** card with everything on it. I wouldn't mind spending a premium price if I'd get the absolute best sound card but no they have to do for example:
    1- Forte is the best for gaming. It's PCI-E and use the X-Fi chip with X-Ram.
    2- Bravura doesn't have hardware acceleration, no X-Ram or X-Fi chip therefore clearly worse for gaming... BUT it let you switch all opamp instead of only the one for the headphone.
    3- Now with this new card, it's not PCI-E and it's not hardware accelerated for gaming. To me it's like a enhanced Bravura in PCI version (-_-)

    Why the **** couldn't they let us switch all opamp on the Forte too. Now either I get a "bad" chip for gaming but that let me change the opamp or else.. you see what I mean, I'm screwed no matter what I choose :banghead:
     
  10. eidairaman1

    eidairaman1

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    My Next Sound card will be from this company or HT Omega aslong as it is not a XFi chip.
     
  11. AsphyxiA

    AsphyxiA New Member

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    you could just clip the opamp off of your X-FI card and with a little soldering, put a new opamp in it's place ;) Anyways, EAX really seems overrated in my opinion.
     
  12. PanzerIV New Member

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    Why as long it's not a X-Fi chip. I've seen the software of the HT Omega since I recommanded a friend to buy it and it felt really old and cheap compare to the X-Fi software included with Auzentech cards.
     
  13. eidairaman1

    eidairaman1

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    Tired of Creative Labs Bullshit
     
  14. AsphyxiA

    AsphyxiA New Member

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    What are talking about? HT Omega cards are some of the best cards out there as far as sound quality goesand the X-FI chip is seriously overrated. My cousins Claro XT is amazing and kicks the crap out of my Audigy 2 ZS and my bud's X-FI Forte. This is in game stuff too. Results were played through an amplified 7.1 set of Sennheiser headphones. Also, don't bash Auzen, they also make really really nice cards in comparison to Creative.


    Like I said before, I'd rather buy a card that does everything well and really shines in audiophile applications rather than a card that only sounds good in games. I think that most of the people making comments about this card and who would ever think about throwing down this kind of money are looking for. Save your Creative fanboisms for another forum.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2010
  15. btarunr

    btarunr Editor & Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    $50~100 PC speakers. You will be able tell a Creative Xtreme Gamer from an HTOmega Claro in terms of audio quality with those speakers (the worse sounding one is the Xtreme Gamer). If you still can't, you probably should stick to onboard audio, since ALC889's rated 100 db SNR won't sound too different from a 110 db SNR sound card on speakers.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2010
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  16. zAAm

    zAAm

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    I'll leave this here, but I'm still not convinced. I'd imagine you'd be able to hear the difference in sound quality due to various OTHER characteristics of the sound cards (THD, that damn crystalizer thing on the X-Fi, if the card excels at bass response or mid treble or whatever and you're into that etc), but just the difference in 110dB and 120dB SNR? I'm skeptical. ;)
     
  17. btarunr

    btarunr Editor & Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    No, most audiophiles disable all those software enhancements. Fidelity is only lost.
     
  18. unknwn New Member

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    If i am not wrong all or at least most of new games use software sound engines which are really good when talking about sound effects also there are less problems with compatibility. With windows 7, multi-core proccessors and software sound engines hardware acceleration of sound cards isn't needed anymore. If you are not in love with some old games i would say it's not worth to invest in those fancy x-chips and x-ram because there will be no use of them. I believe that's the one of the reasons why we don't see xfi chips in new cards.
     
  19. TheMonkey New Member

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    Not true, there are plenty of options for affordable high quality DACs. I am running the Maverick audio TubemagicD1 http://www.mavaudio.com/ and that is just one of many different options. The TubemagicD1 is a DAC/Preamp and handles your source switching, I paid $150 new off the website with upgraded NOS (New old stock) WE 5670 tube. This also has a dedicated headphone amp for those with nice cans. This is great for me as I listen to music more than anything, but some people will want more than 2ch sound and thats understandable. I myself prefer 2ch at all times, I appreciate proper stereo imaging worlds more than surround sound.

    I understand we are in a thread talking about a sound card with good DAC but I thought I would mention that good outboard DACs are affordable.
     
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  20. Wile E

    Wile E Power User

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    That's what I really want. Basically a Forte with all channels with swappable opamps.

    Agreed, they are amazing cards, but It doesn't kick the crap out of a Forte. Surround headphones are one of the worst pieces of equipment for comparing accuracy. Surround headphones are straight out crap. All of them.

    Compare with a good set of IEMs or audiophile cans.

    The forte shines as an audiophile card as well as a gaming card. It's a jack of all trades.

    For most things, the Claro and Forte are equals, but the Forte uses less cpu, is cheaper, and is PCIe. The price difference puts them in 2 different markets, honestly.

    This. I use no effects other than EQ to level out the tonal characteristics of equipment and/or room. Also to sometimes compensate for poorly mixed/mastered tracks.

    Even if games aren't coded for it, check out Guru3d's reviews on cards. Xfi based cards still use significantly less CPU, even in Vista or 7.

    I was leaning towards surround setups. A preamp of that quality for a surround setup would cost 3x as much. I use only 2 channels for music, but I do still need surround for my games and movies. Somebody that does only 2 channel with no intention of going surround, and is looking for a sound card would be better served by a Xonar STX or similar.

    Aka: I was exemplifying putting together the most versatile and "cheap" setup that is still of audiophile quality. And is very simple to set up.
     
  21. unknwn New Member

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    Most tested games are old like BF2,BF2142,COD2,HL2. Games like COD:MW2, BF BC2 doesn't use hw acceleration and doesn't benefit from xfi chips. For me biggest advantage of xfi chips isn't the 1-2 average fps difference but features like eax,3d sound effects and etc. which you already get with custom software sound engines. I believe it's more logical to invest money on sound card with better DACs and on main CPU(as a result you will have performance advantage in all cases) than pay money for sound card with dedicated xfi chips but worse
     
  22. PanzerIV New Member

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    Ya I'd be really suprised to tell a difference between 110 and 120dB SNR. It's like saying you can notice the difference between 44.1 and 48Khz. I've read in a review that the human ear actualy can't notice the difference of 192Khz so that's complete overkill and that's why no one record its music at this rate. To me the Crystalizer really helps, perhaps because I listen to high-bitrate MP3 rather than WAV/Flac stuff who knows. Hell I have a setup worth 2500-3000$ with very fine ears and I can't tell the difference between 320kbps VBR and WAV so it's just snob audiophile BS when they say mp3 sucks and that Flac is way better. However you have to not exagerate the effect of the crystalizer. I set it to 30% otherwise it's way too much effect.

    I read on a highly reputated reviewer website that many people misunderstand the X-Ram. Games using OpenAL, which is not all title but most I'd say since Vista killed Direct3Dsound, well the game with OpenAL won't need any addiotional programming to take use of the X-Ram, it will use it automaticly. However if it's not OpenAL then the game developper will need to implement it and most won't do it. So as you see X-Ram is not 100% obsolete and useless. There is clearly a difference from having a sound card without any acceleration thought the performance impact is not as big as before with today's cpu.

    I'll just keep my Auzentech Forte until Auzen wake up and make a card that both merge audiophile + gaming in mind in PCI-E... AND with all opamp swappable. Why gamers wouldn't want to swap them? It's completely ridiculous not being able to swap them on the Forte, Prelude or even the overpriced HTHD.
     
  23. Wile E

    Wile E Power User

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    Except that my Forte is every bit as good in sound quality, has the added benefit of hardware processing in the apps that use it, AND is cheaper. I fail to see your point. I did not pay a hefty premium to have the X-fi processor.
     
  24. unknwn New Member

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    It's like transition to multi-core processors. Except that you won't have to pay more. Someone will see the point someone will not. Depends on your needs and available $.
     
  25. unknwn New Member

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    I didn't mean that those are 100% obsolete. I wanted to say that there won't be enough use of them to benefit the price. I am not talking about transition from D3D to OpenAL. I am talking about game developers switching to software sound engines and most them doesn't benefit from hw acceleration. As new games implement more and more sophisticated software sound engines which needs more and more processing power which current chips on sound cards wouldn't be able to handle. As a result you need to improve those chips on sound cards and it's like buying second CPU as it was done before. I think it's more economical to switch that load to unsused cpu core which has much more processing power. And it's easier for developers to do that than use HW acceleration on sound cards.
     

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