Sound Cards 2014-06-20 22:44:31 Hey,Don't know if you guys saw the TekSyndicate video on audio.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bjTxEwlypA0https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1rXcJuEsy0There it is claimed that a sound card is basically useless. I mean, for starters sound cards have features onboard might not have. Onboard also varies from motherboard to motherboard. I think it's a bit ridiculous to say that all onboard will not see an upgrade in sound quality once one gets a sound card. I have an old 2008 computer which had pretty bad onboard. I think a $30 sound card can be justified, because it skips the onboard if it's too crappy. In a Youtube conversation Logan from the video mentions that he feels sound cards have high output impedance and that it colors his sound. To me, it's odd that Logan claims to be able to hear and get bothered by high output impedance while at the same time say he cannot ever hear an improvement in sound quality going from onboard to a sound card. I mean, wouldn't a sound card have a lower output impedance than an onboard solution (if the sound card is good)? Wouldn't that alone be enough to hear a difference from onboard vs sound card? A sound card could have a lower noise floor... Although, that's one of the "either it's a problem or it's not" things. Like having cracks in your audio due to crappy onboard, either it's there and it bothers the heck out of you, or it's not audible. And SNR... SNR is another way of displaying total distortion... I am under the impression that a regular <$10 onboard dac chip is audibly transparent in the distortion category. And then shielding... Does that even matter?And then we have the Tom's article where the people there failed to tell Onboard from Objective dac/amp with HD800s!There is so much contradiction in the audio world it's insane.And on impedance... An HD800 is rated to have 300omh impedance. Measurement charts show again and again that this isn't the case, that the impedance varies up to like 530ohms depending on the frequency. I mean, that's getting close to double the impedance listed... That's kind of misleading. And so, I hear people saying things like 'This amp is good for up to 300ohms'... Which, first of all, I'm not sure if it even works that way. But ok, when I state that the HD800s vary in impedance all over the place, it is pointed out that a higher impedance requires less current is therefore easier to drive. I still don't get it. To my knowledge, you have current and voltage. In general, excluding the oddball headphones, the ones that require high current are the low impedance headphones and the ones that require high voltage are the higher impedance headphones. Clearly in either end of the extreme, it is problematic for the amp. So a headphone that is struggling to "drive" a 300ohm headphone will have issues when the headphone wants 500+ ohms at 200hz, no? So there will be problems.Another question: Yea, I know that some people can hear the difference between lossless and a lossy file. But some people are telling me their non-audiophile girlfriend can easily tell lossy from non-lossy apart on some budget headphones. I'm skeptical. In your experience, how often do you run into a person that actually can hear a difference between lossy and lossless?And while I'm piling on the questions here, my opinion is that balanced audio doesn't produce better audio, especially not in a way that is audible. Do you agree?There has been a significant backlash against Logan's two videos on TekSyndicate. Lots of facepalms were had. And I personally can spot more than one error in their video. But a lot of posts were simple facepalm, rage posts or a jab here or there, criticism here and there. No exhaustive list detailing every single error in the video. Which annoys me. Now depending on which forum you go to, people have different philosophies... Some are at the 'onboard all the way' crowd, some are anti-sound cards, some are tube lovers... I mean, with tubes you can blind test them easily, right? That's the entire freakin' point of tubes, to distort the sound in a way the person finds pleasurable. Lots of differences in opinion. I'm always curious about what Hydrogenaudio thinks about this though.