Sound cards (Was: Re: no sound

Ralf Mardorf ralf.mardorf at
Fri May 20 12:58:22 UTC 2011

On Fri, 2011-05-20 at 14:36 +0200, Hartmut Noack wrote:
> Am 20.05.2011 13:54, schrieb Ralf Mardorf:
> > On Fri, 2011-05-20 at 12:48 +0200, Robert Klaar wrote:
> >> Any Rme card is good, although they're a bit expensive. Didn't have to
> >> do a thing to get my hdsp 9632 working.
> >
> > Hi Robert :)
> >
> > the main reason to switch the sound cards is the audio sound quality.
> > I'm able to pay around 700,- EUR / 800,- EUR (right now, regarding to my
> > "profession", I usually don't have any money). Btw. I noticed that not
> > only my sound cards do cause loss. When recording soft synth just by
> > JACK, without the sound cards being involved, there's a loss for the
> > sound quality too!
> No, there is none.
> Any software, that generates sounds from scratch like a softsynth wil 
> produce exactly the same stream with any soun card. In fact such 
> software will even generate the very same stream if no soundcard exists.
> And if you record such a stream with Jack you simply store that very 
> stream bit by bit.

Wrong! There still could be rounding errors and dithering involved, a
digital copy very often isn't a digital copy ;). But ok, here I didn't
use dithering and I do use 32-bit float, but the result has a loss. I
dunno what do cause this loss.

For Jack there also is a zero-copy issue! You can't do wild connections
using Jack, but you need to take care about the order, when e.g.
connecting a client to itself.

> I assure you, you get the very same data in a recording via Jack if you 
> play the same patch of the same synth on a work station with a RME 
> Hammerfall or on a Laptop with a built-in HDA.
> The only level on wich a soundcard is related to a softsynth is the one 
> on wich you actually hear the stream. And some synths can render 
> differntly, if Jack is running at 96KHz instead of 48 or 44.1.
> But this has only remotely to do with the sound card let alone its quality.
> > And soft synth already do sound less good than real
> > old synth. Unfortunately those real old synth can break and there're no
> > microchips available to repair those synth, resp. they are hard to get,
> > very expensive and without warranty.
> >
> > My two TerraTec EWX 24/96 needs to be replaced,
> Tell me where you dump them, these 2 more stereo-dacs would be most 
> welcome in my box ;-)
> All the trouble with the envy24-cards is related to (mis)configuration 
> and to stupidities like automatically zeroing all channels caused by PA 
> in most cases.
> As of now these problems can be solved by the user. They are *not* 
> acceptable, they are bugs that need to be solved. But these bugs are not 
> show-stoppers.
> > before I don't have got
> > the money anymore. FWIW S/PDIF doesn't work for my Ubuntu Studio with
> > the TerraTecs, hence I can't use "good analog IOs" that would be
> > available via S/PDIF. Btw. "good analog IOs" in this context does mean
> > consumer DAT Sony DTC-670 and Aiwa HD-S1, both are without any loss of
> > sound quality, when listening by my consumer equipment. At least good
> > consumer sound quality is what I expect of a "professional" sound card,
> > even if internal Linux there still would be loss caused by JACK or
> > caused by what issue ever.
> Jack does not cause any "loss in sound-quality" because Jack does not 
> have any influence on the way, the pcm-stream is produced by the 
> driver/sound-card.
> > Once Brauner borrowed me a Mac with a Motu
> > firewire device.
> The MOTUs are quite okayish and they sound exactly the same on any 
> system that supports them.
> > the Mac's sound quality
> There is no such thing.
> No Mac-expert would endorse something like a special "Mac-related" sound 
> quality. Do not mix that up with "sound performance" that has to do with 
> latencies and stability but *not* with how good it sounds in the end.
> You know why? Because no professional would want to buy/use any 
> computer/OS, that attempts to manipulate the sound produced from a 
> pro-interface, be it for better or worse.
> OS/Driver etc *has* to be absolutely neutral in that, everything else is 
> "super-bass-enancer" nonsense that one my expect in a cheap MP3-player 
> but certainly *not* in a computer-system built for pros.
> > accomplished this requirement! No, I'm not using Brauner microphones for
> > my home studio ;), all I need is good consumer sound quality.
> All your experience is fired by the real quality of the DAC/ADC-hardware 
> on the cards you have used and to some extend may be influenced by 
> mixer-settings.
> no offence ment but RTFM please.
> best regs
> > Two question about the RME card, I'll read more about sound cards later
> > and during the weekend and maybe I'll order a card next week.
> >
> >
> >
> > At a max of 4 analog IOs? The unbalanced breakout cables are part of the
> > product content?
> >
> > Cheers!
> >
> > Ralf
> >
> >

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