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sean blake

USB Sound card

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Hi there :) well i bought a £2 usb 3d sound card off Ebay for my Hackintosh and i must say I'm blown away :o!!!! i expected basic,distorted and rubbish audio BUT! this thing sounds better than my £100+ creative audio cards I'm hearing details that i have never heard before in my music and everything sounds perfectly balanced it amazing! what I'm hear to ask (punt) is this, is it the sound card or core audios processing and the cpu as the sound card isn't really accelerated. 


Thanks for any replies :) 

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IMO AppleUSBAudio.kext does all the magic. PC connected to an external DAC (cinema receiver for instance) via USB to S/PDIF /TOSLINK adapter or directly via S/PDIF /TOSLINK (if present), IMO would sound even better. Not to mention a tube amplifier added to the mix. :)

Edited by 3.14r2

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With USB audio cards, its a funky amalgamation of the CPU and the sound card doing the processing. The USB part of this is handled by the CPU, and since its just data at that point, its just put over the USB interface. Of course, the more 'full' the sound is, the more data is being processed by the CPU for transmission over that USB link. When it gets to the sound card at the end of that USB cable, then the chip there decodes (if any is needed) the data stream into either a linear PCM stream (Optical) or analogue outputs (2-5 or sometimes 7). If you were using HDMI for carrying your audio, then it would all be wrapped up into the HDCP HDMI signal, and that would be anywhere from 2 to 9 channels depending upon source material and your HDMI version. As always, moving the DAC outside of the case is the best bet for best sound as there are WAAAAYYYY to many things inside your case that can create interference. Plus, as the round one said, the DAC in a home theater receiver is gonna be better than anything you could put in your system (or connect externally) that is less than $100. Of course, if you must separate the sound from HDMI (as I do for studio audio editing), then a linear PCM stream is just fine running from your USB sound card to whatever amp you have.


BTW, I used way too many acronyms up there...

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