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Better sound ALC883 + codec dump than ALC889A + codec dump


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I actually noticed this some time ago, but thought other people might be interested (and perhaps diagnose a problem with the newer ALC889A ?).


Anyway, I was originally using a P5K motherboard, which uses ALC883 for audio. I noticed when I was in OS X the sound quality was substantially better than in Vista. I know that the older versions of Windows handled audio poorly, so sound wasn't as good, but from everything I've heard, Vista is supposed to be improved in this area... So I made sure that I tested using the same player in each OS (iTunes, although I also tested with Winamp and Foobar to make sure it wasn't the Windows version of iTunes which sounded {censored}) and that sound enhancer was disabled on both, and that in Vista the sound settings were set to the highest rate the ALC883 chip supported.

And all was exactly what it should have been for max quality in Vista... But still, there was without a doubt in my mind, a huge difference between sound in Vista and OS X.


I know what you guys are probably thinking, placebo, but I'm definite it isn't that. I use a very high end listening set up which I use for mixing (and yet I was using onboard sound, yeah, lol, I know), which I suspect is why the difference to me was so obvious (because the equipment easily reproduces the intricacies of the sound which aren't being produced in Vista).

Which is why I don't see how it could have been a placebo, because there were sounds in recordings which were simply not there in Vista, and clear as day in OS X.


Anyway so I had another thought, perhaps Core Audio in OS X does some enhancement like iTunes sound enhancer can do, or that Vista sound management while improved from previous Windows, still wasn't as good as OS X.



So some time pasted, I didn't use OS X much although I really wanted to because of how good sound was, the reason I didn't was because the P5K board had a LAN controller and SATA controller which were both not supported (not working naturally or with a driver), and so I wasn't that enthusiastic not being able to use the internet and being able to use only 2 SATA devices at once (all my important files are stored on a different drive from my OSes, which means I can either have the OS HD and CD-drive, or OS HD and storage HD with no CD-drive... Which was annoying because I copy many CDs).


But then one day I was listening to headphones, and the phone rang!

I quickly jumped up to get it before it rung out, completely missing the fact I was tangled in headphone cable D: Anyway... The result was I broke (shattered :S) the line out port on my PC... So no sound at all... Which I was deeply depressed about. Instead of buying a sound card or audio interface to get sound back, I was very happy with the improvement I got in OS X, so I thought I could replace my motherboard instead, to get audio back (and perhaps a bit of a test for myself related to OS X audio, and perhaps try a different audio chip), and get the features in OS X that I couldn't get with my P5K, so now I can use OS X for everything that I up until that point would have had to use Vista for!


So I bought Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3P (rev 2.1.), which has a newer audio chip, ALC889A... So I thought, great, even better sound in OS X, with a newer chip!


Anyway I started off testing in Vista; The sound quality was very good in Vista, it had all the details I remember hearing in OS X with the older ALC883, but not in Vista with the ALC883. That was enough to excite me and think, wow, if there is this much of an improvement from ALC883 to ALC889A in Vista, it will sound amazing in OS X!


So I reboot, and found a patch for audio, and start playing music... Ugh! It sounds worse than ALC883 did now in OS X!?


I have no idea why that could be; There is no reason it should be worse, the chip is much better sounding!?


If I had to guess though, I'd say OS X, because of audio patch problem, can only access the lower rates of the chip, whereas Vista can use the highest rates... So everything sounds muddy in OS X and clear in Vista. Does that seem feasible?


Is this a known issue? Has anyone else noticed it? Can it be fixed?


I'm sorry for waffling about but I wanted to be clear... And it seems patches for ALC889A are relatively experimental at this stage so I thought you guys might want to hear this comparison...

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