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Windows 10 1903 Has a Nasty Audio Stutter Bug Microsoft Hasn't Managed to Fix

Windows 10 May 2019 Update (version 1903) is the pinnacle of neglect and contempt Microsoft has shown towards the all-important audio subsystem of the modern PC. With it, Redmond has one-upped its last big move against audio, by killing the DirectSound hardware pipeline and mongrelizing PC audio under Intel's lousy and fundamentally anti-competitive Azalia specification that solves common audio compatibility problems under a scorched-earth guiding principle - "kill any feature that could possibly lick our aftersales support budget, by dumping every aspect of audio onto a very restrictive host-signal processing (HSP) architecture, let people come up with their own soft DSPs, because CPUs can handle them." Windows 1903 proves how this approach wasn't a silver bullet against PC audio problems, and is fallible.

I've never owned a PC without a discrete sound card. My first "multimedia PC experience" was powered by a Creative kit that included a Sound Blaster PCI, an Infra-CDROM drive, a clip-on mic, and tiny stereo speaker boxes. ISA-based integrated audio solutions back then were bested by greeting cards. I've since made it a habit to buy a sound card every 5 or so years. No gleaming SNR numbers by Realtek can convince me that an integrated audio solution can best a $100 discrete sound-card, and I've owned plenty of motherboards over the years with the most premium Azalia implementations (be it the ALC889 or the modern ALC1220). My current machines feature an ASUS Xonar AE (a bang-for-the-buck ESS ES9023P implementation with a 150 Ω amp), and a Creative SB Recon 3D. Both cards implement the Azalia pipeline at some level, to survive operating with post-Vista Windows. The SB Recon 3D uses a chip that converts PCIe to the HDA bus; while the Xonar AE uses a PCIe to USB chip and a USB (Azalia) to I2S chip (essentially a USB headset laid out on a sound card with a high-quality analog side). Both cards are borked after the "upgrade" to Windows 10 May 2019 Update (1903), and two successive "Patch Tuesday" updates haven't managed to solve it.

Creative Formally Launches the Sound Blaster AE-7 and AE-9 Audiophile Sound Cards

Creative Technology Ltd continues its legacy of revolutionizing audio with the launch of its most advanced PCI-e sound cards ever - the Sound Blaster AE-9 and Sound Blaster AE-7. Built with only the most premium components, and complemented with the latest technologies from Creative, these sound cards are designed to define a new performance standard in this class for the ultimate PC entertainment experience.

Up till 1989, the only sounds coming out of the PC were mere beeps. The same year, Sound Blaster was born, and PC audio was transformed forever. Since then, over 400 million Sound Blasters have been sold; and the Sound Blaster brand has become synonymous with the term sound card and high-quality PC audio - first for gaming, and then movies and music. With experience and expertise refined over three decades of audio innovation, Sound Blaster has continued to reinvent itself with the development of digital audio processing technologies. Each new innovation served to redefine what the ultimate audio experience really means, such as when it evolved beyond the PC in the form of external sound cards for platforms like gaming and entertainment consoles.

EVGA Releases Free Nahimic 3D Software for NU Audio Sound Card

In January 2019, EVGA launched the NU Audio Card. The NU Audio Card was designed to produce the most immersive audio and lifelike gaming experienced on a PC. This was achieved, in part, by partnering with Audio Note (UK), Ltd. - a world-renowned audio company dedicated to using only the highest quality components and materials in its products, even if it means creating the components in-house. The result is an audio card that features specs often used in higher-end audiophile equipment but at an affordable price for PC enthusiasts. This partnership produced an audio card that has been praised by many reviewers for its Lifelike Audio quality and its dedication to audio fidelity.

Today, EVGA releases a free software update that further enhances and upgrades the capabilities of the EVGA NU Audio Card for owners using Windows 10. The NU Audio Card is now enhanced by Nahimic with 3D Audio for Gamers, along with many other features.

EVGA Unveils the NU-Audio Audiophile-grade Sound Card at CES 2019

What's this? A new high-end internal sound-card launch? From EVGA? We must be dreaming! The NU-Audio internal sound card is the most unexpected product from our visit to EVGA's suite on Monday. Developed in partnership with British audiophile hardware maker Audio Note and sold under the EVGA badge, the NU-Audio is a full-height internal sound card with PCI-Express 2.0 x1 bus interface. At its heart is an XMOS xCORE 200 PCIe audio processor with an Azalia-like pipeline. The main DAC is an Asahi Kasei AK4493, fronted by an Analog Devices OP275 OPAMP for the main headphones channel, and AD8056 for the line-out channel.

The card has some serious input chops as output, with the main line-in powered by an Asahi Kasei AK5572, and a Cirrus Logic CS53456 for the microphone-in channel. As an analog sound card, you only get 2 channels. You'll need optical TOSLINK for 5.1 channels. A combination of WIMA and Audio Note electrolytic capacitors are used across the card. The electrical area is ground-layer isolated, draws power from a SATA power input, and uses a Texas Instruments TPS7A47 voltage regulator. All connections between the electrical and audio areas are filtered, and copper EMI shielding covers vital audio components, in addition to the outer shroud. The PCB itself is chunky (possibly 4-layer with 2 oz copper layers).

Creative Announces Sound BlasterX AE-5 Audiophile-grade Gaming Sound Card

Creative Technology Ltd today announced at E3 2017 the latest addition to its Sound BlasterX Pro-Gaming Series, the Sound BlasterX AE-5. E3 is the world's premier event for computer, video and mobile games and related products, making it the perfect place to debut the next era of PC audio.

The sound card features the world's best gaming headphone amplifier for PCs. The Sound BlasterX AE-5 delivers the ultimate audio performance with the full force of a 122 dB 32-bit / 384 kHz ESS Sabre DAC, a kick-ass custom-designed 600Ω discrete headphone amp, audiophile-grade components, and proprietary Sound Blaster audio enhancement technologies.

ASUS Also Announces the Xonar U7 MkII External Sound Card

ASUS today announced Xonar U7 MKII, a high-quality USB sound card and headphone amplifier. The compact Xonar U7 MKII is an upgraded version of the acclaimed Xonar U7 and features true 7.1-channel,192kHz/24-bit high-definition (HD) surround-sound output for incredible audio performance. Xonar U7 MKII comes with ASUS Sonic Studio, a software utility with an intuitive single-screen interface that provides complete control over a wide range of audio features, and Sonic Radar Pro, a feature for gamers that visually maps in-game sounds in first-person shooter (FPS) games to provide a competitive advantage.

ASUS Xonar U7 MKII retains the compact USB-powered design that was a highlight of the original Xonar U7 and delivers true 7.1-channel, 192kHz/24-bit HD audio, outperforming most available USB-powered audio devices. With a high-quality Cirrus Logic CS4398 digital-to-analog converter (DAC) and exclusive ASUS Hyper Grounding technology, Xonar U7 MKII has a 114dB signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), ensuring ultra-pure sound for the best listening experiences. The small size of Xonar U7 MKII takes up minimal room on a desk, and makes it easily portable, so laptop users can enjoy great-sounding audio anywhere.

Creative Intros Sound BlasterX G5 71 HDA Portable Sound Card and Headphone Amp

Creative Technology Ltd today announced the availability in the U.S., as part of the Sound BlasterX Gaming Series, the Sound BlasterX G5, a 7.1 HD audio portable sound card with built-in headphone amplifier. The Sound BlasterX G5 is an external sound card that comes with the built-in SB-Axx1 multi-core chipset for hardware accelerated SBX Pro Studio enhanced audio and transforms even basic stereo into 3D positional surround sound on your headset. The Sound BlasterX G5 also supports multi-channel content, delivering true 7.1 audio for ultra-realistic surround sound.

Built with precision audiophile components, the Sound BlasterX G5 is also a 24-bit/192kHz, 120dB USB DAC and headphone amplifier with 2.2 ohm output impedance for high fidelity playback -- driving studio-grade headphones up to 600 ohms and sensitive in-ear monitors. The illuminated volume control knob and dedicated SBX and Scout Mode buttons also allow for quick volume or audio adjustments during gaming sessions.

ASUS Announces STRIX Series Sound Cards

ASUS today announced Strix Raid DLX, Strix Raid Pro, and Strix Soar, gaming sound cards that deliver sensational, high-definition 192kHz/24-bit audio, 7.1-channel surround-sound, and Perfect Voice noise-cancellation technology for incredible gaming experiences.

Strix Raid DLX is a premium soundcard built with high-end components to satisfy gamers who demand the ultimate audio performance. Strix Raid DLX features an ESS SABRE9016 digital-to-analog converter (DAC) - the world's highest performance 32-bit and 24-bit audio DAC - to deliver rich, immersive, and clear sound with an incredible 124dB signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). Designed for enthusiast gamers, Strix Raid Pro and Strix Soar come with the high-performance ESS SABRE9006A DAC for pure, full-sounding audio with an impressive 116dB signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). Low-dropout (LDO) regulators and Hi-Fi-grade Nichicon FineGold, Nichicon Muse, and German WIMA capacitors ensure optimized power delivery.

Creative Also Announces Sound BlasterX G5: 7.1 External Sound Card and Amplifier

Creative Technology Ltd today announced at gamescom 2015 , as part of the Sound BlasterX Gaming Series, the Sound BlasterX G5, a 7.1 HD audio external sound card with built-in headphone amplifier. The Sound BlasterX G5 is an external sound card that comes with the built-in SB-Axx1 multi-core chipset for hardware accelerated SBX Pro Studio enhanced audio and transforms even basic stereo into 3D positional surround sound on your headset. The Sound BlasterX G5 also supports multi-channel content, delivering true 7.1 audio for ultra-realistic surround sound.

Built with precision audiophile components, the Sound BlasterX G5 is also a 24-bit/192kHz, 120dB USB DAC and headphone amplifier with 2.2 ohm output impedance for high fidelity playback -- driving studio-grade headphones up to 600 ohms and sensitive in-ear monitors. The illuminated volume control knob and dedicated SBX and Scout Mode buttons also allow for quick volume or audio adjustments during gaming sessions.

PowerColor Devil HDX Sound Card Detailed

PowerColor rolled out the Devil HDX PCI-Express sound card. Designed with a strong focus on output quality, and targeted at PC enthusiasts with high-end headphones, the card is driven by a C-Media CMI8888 native-PCIe master processor, wired to Wolfson WM8741 primary DAC, with 124 dBA SNR, driving the headphones and front-out channels. Amplifying this, is a TI LM4562 OPAMP, which is swappable.

Nichicon Muse electrolytic, and metalized polypropylene caps man all channels, reducing signal loss. Only the electrical portion features solid-state capacitors. The card draws power from a 4-pin Molex input. The entire audio area is electrically isolated from the PCIe slot power input. The main PCB features a 6.3 mm headphones jack, supporting cans with up to 600Ω impedance, stereo RCA out, and 7.1-channel optical SPDIF (TOSLINK) outputs. A daughterboard gives out additional analog channels and inputs via 3.5 mm jacks. On the software side of things, you get C-Media's Xear3D software customized by PowerColor, with ASIO 2.2 support.

ASUS Unveils Three High-end STRIX Series 7.1-ch Sound Cards

ASUS unveiled two new high-end 7.1-channel sound cards under its premium STRIX brand, the STRIX RAID DLX, the STRIX RAID Pro, and the STRIX Soar. The three are based on a common base card design, and differ with features and DSPs. The DAC component of the card consists of a native-PCIe multi-CODEC HD audio controller, wired to an ESS SABRE 9006a DAC, dedicated to the front audio output, with 116 dBA SNR; and a separate 110 dBA SNR DAC wired to the main headphones amplifier. On the RAID DLX, the front-out DAC is a higher quality SABRE 9016a.

The main amp can handle 600Ω impedance headphones. On the software side of things, is a Raid mode (positional audio), Sonic Radar (lets you pinpoint enemies based on audio, and a new Sonic Studio control panel interface. The RAID DLX and RAID Pro come with an external module with audio jacks, and physical switches to audio feature controls, besides volume control.

Aim Launches SC808 7.1-channel PCIe Sound Card

Taiwanese PC audio hardware manufacturer Aim launched its flagship consumer sound card, the SC808. This full-height dual-slot (with daughterboard) sound card features PCI-Express x1 bus interface, and offers 7.1-channel analog and digital outputs. At its heart is C-Media's CMI8888, which is a native PCIe HDA controller, giving external DACs the task of handling analog outputs. The primary 2-channel headphones output is driven by a Wolfson WM8741 DAC, which offers a stellar SNR of 128 dBA. Other analog channels (center/sub, rear, sides), are handled by a C-Media CMI9882A CODEC, which offers a reasonable 100 dBA.

At the downstream of the WM8741 is the card's headphones amp circuit, featuring socketed Texas Instruments LM4562 OPAMP chips, metalized polypropylene capacitors, and a swappable pre-amp stage. The main PCB of the card holds a 6.3 mm stereo headphones jack, left and right RCA line-outs, 7.1-channel coaxial, and optical/TOSLINK SPDIF outputs. The other multi-channel analog outs are wired out by a header and ribbon cable to the daughterboard, which holds color-coded 3.5 mm jacks to all the channels. All audio portions of the card feature electrolytic capacitors (except the OPAMP stages, which feature MP caps), only the electrical/VRM portion of the card features conductive polymer (solid-state) capacitors. The card draws power from a 4-pin Molex power connector. On the software side of things, the driver provider is C-Media, with its reference Xear3D control panel. The card supports Windows 8. Slated for an April 24th launch in Japan, it's expected to be priced at 12,000¥ (US $112). Given its hardware, that's a reasonable price.

ASUS Announces the Essence STX II and Essence STX II 7.1 Sound Cards

ASUS today announced Essence STX II and Essence STX II 7.1, two new Hi-Fi-grade sound cards designed to delight audiophiles with 124 dB signal-to-noise-ratio (SNR) clarity and a 600 ohm-headphone amplifier.

Essence STX II and STX II 7.1 build on the success and huge popularity of ASUS Essence STX - the world's first consumer sound card to deliver 124 db SNR audio clarity plus 600 ohm headphone amp, and the long-term holder of the number-one position in Head-Fi's Sound Cards charts, as voted by highly-satisfied users globally.

ASUS Launches the Xonar D-KARAX Sound Card

ASUS today announced Xonar D-KARAX, a professional-grade sound card designed for singing enthusiasts that like to sing and share their songs online.

Designed by leading music-industry engineers, Xonar D-KARAX helps eager amateur singers shape their voice and indulge in the latest trend of sharing personal songs online. Xonar D-KARAX is a PCI-Express sound card offers 96KHz/24-bit playback, real-time audio processing, 7.1 audio and a 106dB SNR (signal-to-noise ratio). Singers can apply and hear audio effects in real-time with no playback lag, a sophisticated feature previously the preserve of professional recording studios.

ASUS Announces Xonar U7 Echelon Edition 7.1 USB Sound Card

ASUS today announced Xonar U7 Echelon Edition, a compact 7.1-channel USB sound card that retains the high audio quality of the award-winning Xonar U7 and adds the military-inspired digital camouflage pattern that is unique to the Echelon range.

As well as stylish looks, ASUS engineers have also worked hard to add an impressive range of exclusive features designed to help gamers, including Sonic Radar for in-game sound visualization and Sonic Studio Pro for fine control of every audio feature.

Creative Announces the Sound Blaster Omni Surround 5.1 USB Sound Card

Creative Technology Ltd today announced an all new high performance external sound card - the Sound Blaster Omni Surround 5.1. On top of enhancing audio playback via Creative's SBX Pro Studio suite of processing technologies, the Sound Blaster Omni Surround 5.1 goes a step further to provide a more complete playback experience. The sound card comes with a 600 ohm headphone amplifier that allows discerning listeners to hear every enhanced audio detail through powerful studio-grade monitoring headphones.

Diamond Multimedia Presents the Xtreme Sound 7.1 PCIe Sound Card

Diamond Multimedia has introduced the newest addition to their sound card collection, the Diamond Xtreme Sound 7.1 PCI-e Low Profile 24 Bit Record and Playback Internal Sound Card, model name: XS71HD. The high performance HD sound card improve Your Sound Experience for Gaming, Movies, Music and more in true 7.1 channel surround sound.

The Xtreme Sound 7.1 HD sound card provides theater quality sound, all in true 7.1 channel surround sound and support for 24bit 192KHz/96KHz/48KHz/44.1KHz playback and 24bit 192KHz/96KHz/48KHz/44.1KHz recording, anti-Pop protection circuitry, special effects including concert hall and more. The Xtreme Sound 7.1 HD sound card also includes a digital optical output, which provides a multichannel, pure digital, distortion-free signal that can be connected via a single optical digital cable, therefore eliminating multiple cable connections and guaranteeing high fidelity audio for your home theater experience.

ASUS Announces Xonar Essence STU External Sound Card and Headphones Amplifier

ASUS today announced the Xonar Essence STU USB external digital-to-analog converter (DAC) and headphone amplifier, based on the acclaimed design and quality of Xonar Essence ST/STX internal sound cards and going beyond their already high standards. Offering audiophile-grade performance, Xonar Essence STU delivers USB connectivity and accessible external controls.

It offers clear sound with a 120dB signal to noise ratio (SNR), strong 600ohm headphone amplifier, asynchronous USB audio and swappable Op-Amps for DIY sound modification. Precision clock tuning technology further enhances audio fidelity, making Xonar Essence STU a great choice for discerning music lovers who need a quality DAC and headphone amplifier to drive the full capabilities of high-end headphones.

ASUS Announces ROG Xonar Phoebus Solo Sound Card

ASUS today announced the ROG (Republic of Gamers) Xonar Phoebus Solo 7.1 PCI Express gaming sound card with precise positional audio and lifelike immersion for gamers. Xonar Phoebus Solo continues to exhibit the previous Xonar Phoebus hardware excellence, including clear 118 dB signal-to-noise ratio, a powerful 600 ohm headphones amplifier, Dolby Home Theater V4, and DTS UltraPC II surround sound.

The ROG Xonar Phoebus Solo sound card features an EMI shield and exclusive ASUS Hyper Grounding technology that significantly reduce the detrimental effects of the electromagnetic interference present inside all desktop PCs. Hyper Grounding technology brings the considerable motherboard expertise of ASUS to audio products, with a multi-layer PCB and high-quality power supply that help eliminate electrical noise from nearby components, resulting in cleaner, less distorted audio. Together with the high-fidelity PCM1796 digital-to-analog converter, the ROG Xonar Phoebus Solo delivers clear and crisp sound with a 118dB signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), which means gamers will hear and experience every audio detail.

Tt eSPORTS Introduces the BAHAMUT External USB Pro-Gaming Sound Card

Tt eSPORTS, the leading expert in professional E-Sports gaming peripherals, is announcing the BAHAMUT external USB gaming sound card. The BAHAMUT sound card is designed with compact size and full completion of all acoustic demands. Embedded with the most advanced dts Surround Sound Headphone Technology that digitally takes care of your sound, the BAHAMUT provides further enjoyment to your game and music.

Tt eSPORTS believe in thinking differently, and at Tt eSPORTS' Acoustic Department we believe gaming experience can become more engaging and interactive if high quality audio technology is present during the games. The BAHAMUT pro-gaming sound card successfully facilitates the input and output of audio signals with dts Surround Sound Headphone Technology, and its software application provides further acoustic customization - whether you are enjoying a movie, preparing for a FPS game that requires both microphone and speaker - the BAHAMUT takes care of all your demands with seamless compatibility in both Windows/Mac OS.

Creative Introduces the Sound Blaster Z-Series Sound Cards

Creative Technology Ltd today announced its new ultra high-performance Z-Series of Sound Blaster PCI-Express sound cards, elevating the standards of technology and performance for the future of gaming and entertainment on the PC. Creative will preview the new Sound Blaster ZxR, Sound Blaster Zx and Sound Blaster Z at Gamescom in Cologne, Germany from 15-19 August 2012.

"The audio landscape for gaming and entertainment on the PC has changed. As content creation and consumption evolves with the interactivity of the Internet, our vision is to enable the best listening experiences for music, video and games, and to transcend the basic concept of sound quality as a specification with enabling technologies that allow users to completely customize their PC audio," said Low Long Chye, Director of Product Marketing for Audio. "For audio playback, we use studio-grade components to deliver outstanding fidelity, and then greatly enhance the listening experience by implementing our SBX Pro Studio suite of audio technologies. This enables complete customization of audio playback, uniquely catered to suit individual tastes. Our mixture of outstanding components and proprietary technologies also enables us to provide the highest quality recording experience for audio creation, which today expands beyond just music recording to include user interaction and creation with YouTube, eSports, and more."

ASRock Introduces Fantastic Scout Mode in its Top Gaming Sound Card - Game Blaster!

World's top 3 motherboard manufacturer, ASRock Inc., specially partners with Creative Technology Ltd, the worldwide leader in digital entertainment products for the personal computer, to introduce the most trusted sound card in mobo industry - Game Blaster!

Gamers need so much more from their rigs. ASRock Game Blaster was designed to exceed the expectations of even the most dedicated gamer. It is the first sound card coming with both Creative 7.1 CH HD Sound Core3D Audio and Broadcom Gigabit LAN in the world.

ASUS ROG Phoebus Sound Card Pictured, Driven by New CMI Oxygen Express Chip

ASUS displayed its latest sound card, the Republic of Gamers (ROG) Phoebus. This card is designed for multichannel gaming audio. While it might not pack any fancy DSP that doesn't already exist, its AMP circuitry is so designed to give the best positional audio that could come handy with competitive online gaming. With this card, ASUS also brought to the fore C-Media's latest audio chipset, the CMI 8788DH Oxygen Express, which packs native PCI Express support. All PCI Express sound cards launched by ASUS so far feature OxygenHD and ASUS-rebadged AV-100 chipsets, that use legacy PCI, and hence depend on PCIe-to-PCI bridge chips by PLX to function on PCI Express.

The primary DAC for headphone/front-out channel of the ROG Phoebus is TI-BB PCM1792A, with stellar signal-noise ratio (SNR) of 127 dBA. Other main channels are handled by Cirrus Logic, probably the CS5381, with SNR of 120 dBA. There's also a tertiary Realtek ALC889 (110 dBA) CODEC that probably handles an independent set of audio channels, or handles the digital outputs, since it's licensed with a few Dolby technologies. On the AMP side, we spy bleeding-edge OPAMPs, a Texas Instruments 6120A2(?) AMP chip (for the headphones channel), etc.

ASUS Bundles Battlefield 3 with Graphics Cards and Sound Cards

ASUS began bundling copies of Battlefield 3 (not Limited Edition) and an ASUS-Battlefield 3 themed Lanyard with GeForce GTX 560 Ti DirectCU II TOP graphics card and Xonar D2X PCI-Express 7.1 channel sound card. You can buy either of those and get a Battlefield 3 coupon that can be redeemed on Origin.

The GeForce GTX 560 Ti TOP will allow you to play Battlefield 3 at 1080p resolution with quite some eye-candy turned on. Its core is overclocked to 900 MHz (from NVIDIA reference speed of 820 MHz), and memory at 1050 MHz (4200 MHz GDDR5 effective). The DirectCU II cooler, ASUS claims, keeps the card 20% cooler than the reference heatsink. There is 1 GB of GDDR5 memory across a 256-bit wide memory interface. This GTX 560 Ti is based on the 40 nm GF114 silicon, packing 384 CUDA cores.

Auzentech Announces Market Availability of X-Meridian 7.1 2G Sound Card

Auzentech, Inc., announced the immediate availability of the Auzen X-Meridian 7.1 2G, the second generation of the Auzen X-Meridian 7.1. The original Auzen X-Meridian 7.1 was a game-changing high-performance audio card which marked the dividing line between audio that sounds great, and audio that sounds perfect. It was the world's first custom-designed audio card based on C-Media CMI 8788 chipset, and received rave reviews for its audio quality. Now, the award winning Auzentech audio development team and chipset manufacturer C-Media have teamed up again.

With the X-Meridian 7.1 2G, Auzentech has taken what many consider the greatest sound card of all time and updated it with the best of today's technology, making the X-Meridian 7.1 2G more than simply the must-have PC Audio solution for audiophiles-it's a feast for the ears. Under the hood, the new X-Meridian 7.1 2G has been upgraded with new Advanced Driver Software Architecture (ADSA) for the C-Media CMI8788 Oxygen HD PCI Audio Processor. Features include Dolby Digital Live Real-Time Content Encoder, DTS CONNECT and Xear3D sound technology.
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