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Sound card perfomance at different sample rates

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Most of my MP3's are @ 44.1 kHz or 48; my mixer is capable of 96 kHz.  Do you think that putting the sampling frequency at 96 kiloHertz will make a better sound? 

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In many cases the native samplerate of "sound card" is 48kHz and resampling 48->44.1kHz is poorly done. Many audio interfaces might not give flat frequency response (range 20Hz-20kHz) for lower (44.1-48kHz) samplerates but does for 96kHz (as for an example).

Sound card perfomance at different sample rates

Reply #1
Many audio interfaces might not give flat frequency response (range 20Hz-20kHz) for lower (44.1-48kHz) samplerates but does for 96kHz

Many?

(as for an example)

I don't see an example.
Is 24-bit/192kHz good enough for your lo-fi vinyl, or do you need 32/384?

Sound card perfomance at different sample rates

Reply #2
In many cases the native samplerate of "sound card" is 48kHz

All the cheap & on-board soundcards I've owned (manufactured 2002-2011) can only sample at 44.1 or 48, but I don't know enough about ADCs to say for sure that one rate is actually "native" and that the other is mathematically converted from it.

and resampling 48->44.1kHz is poorly done. Many audio interfaces might not give flat frequency response (range 20Hz-20kHz) for lower (44.1-48kHz) samplerates but does for 96kHz (as for an example).

Sounds plausible, and I have probably wondered the same things aloud in the past... but this being Hydrogenaudio, I really wish we could see some actual evidence of a soundcard recording more poorly at one rate than another, and having different frequency response curves for different playback rates. What would be a simple way to test?

Sound card perfomance at different sample rates

Reply #3
and resampling 48->44.1kHz is poorly done. Many audio interfaces might not give flat frequency response (range 20Hz-20kHz) for lower (44.1-48kHz) samplerates but does for 96kHz (as for an example).

Sounds plausible, and I have probably wondered the same things aloud in the past... but this being Hydrogenaudio, I really wish we could see some actual evidence of a soundcard recording more poorly at one rate than another, and having different frequency response curves for different playback rates. What would be a simple way to test?


The simplest way would be an RMAA test into another sound card that is known to have a flat frequency response.

Sound card perfomance at different sample rates

Reply #4
In many cases the native samplerate of "sound card" is 48kHz

All the cheap & on-board soundcards I've owned (manufactured 2002-2011) can only sample at 44.1 or 48, but I don't know enough about ADCs to say for sure that one rate is actually "native" and that the other is mathematically converted from it.

and resampling 48->44.1kHz is poorly done. Many audio interfaces might not give flat frequency response (range 20Hz-20kHz) for lower (44.1-48kHz) samplerates but does for 96kHz (as for an example).

Sounds plausible, and I have probably wondered the same things aloud in the past... but this being Hydrogenaudio, I really wish we could see some actual evidence of a soundcard recording more poorly at one rate than another, and having different frequency response curves for different playback rates. What would be a simple way to test?



In fact the ear is well known to be very insensitive to even a complete loss of any sound reproduction at all (AKA a brick wall filter) starting as low as 16 KHz. All this wailing and gnashing of teeth about minor difficulties in the 20-22 KHz range is therefore pretty strange.

Sound card perfomance at different sample rates

Reply #5
Right, Juha needs to provide proof of his claim that 96 KHz playback is flat and sub-96 isn't, or that soundcards have a "native" sample rate and that they mathematically resample, perhaps badly, to other rates, affecting the audible spectrum. I have tried to be constructive and solicit guidance for him (+ whoever) toward a way to test. It's not like we can just say ABX it in foobar2000.

Sound card perfomance at different sample rates

Reply #6
Right, Juha needs to provide proof of his claim that 96 KHz playback is flat and sub-96 isn't, or that soundcards have a "native" sample rate and that they mathematically resample, perhaps badly, to other rates, affecting the audible spectrum. ยด

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? You don't remember this?

16/44.1: http://ixbtlabs.com/articles2/creative-aud...m-ex/index.html (resampled)

16/48: http://www.ixbt.com/multimedia/creative/au.../1648-out.shtml (native)

14/96: http://www.ixbt.com/multimedia/creative/au.../2496-out.shtml

          http://www.ixbt.com/multimedia/audiotrak/m...-pro-2496.shtml




I believe this still can be true when we are speaking of Creatives sound card models which are not equipped with genuine X-Fi DSP (if one has these newer models, just RMAA it to find it out).





Sound card perfomance at different sample rates

Reply #7
In fact the ear is well known to be very insensitive to even a complete loss of any sound reproduction at all (AKA a brick wall filter) starting as low as 16 KHz. All this wailing and gnashing of teeth about minor difficulties in the 20-22 KHz range is therefore pretty strange.


You must mean 20kHz-22kHz range?

IMO, flat frequency response in range 20Hz-20kHz is still one of the factors which makes the product status (pro/.../crapware).








Sound card perfomance at different sample rates

Reply #8
On the topic of "native" sample rates of sound cards, many boards based on the C-Media CMI8788 or similar chips, such as the ASUS Xonar family, have worse noise performance at 44.1, 88.2, or 176.4 kHz sample rate than at 48, 96, or 192, because of the re-clocking needed by the former. According to my tests, the line output SNR of the Xonar D1 and Essence STX dropped from 116 to 110 dB, and 118 to 111 dB when switching the sample rate from 48 to 44.1 kHz, respectively. While those numbers are still plenty good enough, and other parameters like frequency response and distortion are not adversely affected, the increased noise floor can be a problem when using the built-in headphone amplifier of the STX (which increases the 0 dBFS level to about 7 Vrms, and has no analog gain or volume control) with very sensitive headphones.

However, in most cases with modern hardware, there is no real benefit from playing 44.1 kHz audio upsampled in software. Even with the above mentioned Xonar STX, the noise is not audible with an external amplifier that has an analog volume control, and even with the built-in amplifier only affects some headphones and mainly IEMs.


Sound card perfomance at different sample rates

Reply #10
Nowadays even onboard HD audio interface can have very flat 44.1k response
http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index....st&p=856574

Furthermore, Win7 (maybe Vista and 8 too?)'s resampling quality are not only transparent, but also looks very clean in spectrum graphs. Audible resampling artifacts are only possible if the driver of the audio interface is forced to use its own resampling algorithm and bypass the one offered by Windows. Win7 users just remember to install KB2653312 to have great OS level resampling quality.


Sound card perfomance at different sample rates

Reply #12
16/48: http://www.ixbt.com/multimedia/creative/au.../1648-out.shtml (native)  14/96: http://www.ixbt.com/multimedia/creative/au.../2496-out.shtml
So? I thought you wanted to prove your point, not negate it.


LOL
Ohh, I see, you meant the frequency response at 44kHz in the first link? Mea culpa. Still, it's questionable whether that is audible.
It's only audiophile if it's inconvenient.

Sound card perfomance at different sample rates

Reply #13
I don't see how that proves that 96k is better than 48k.  It used to be common knowledge here 10 years ago that you avoided creative cards because only 48k was supported and they resamples poorly. If you dig up the really old cards you will see that everything but 48k is distorted.

Sound card perfomance at different sample rates

Reply #14
So, how exactly does this relate back to the topic's original post bearing the unsubstantiated claim?

Are these old cards being used in a DAW?
(EDIT: Topic was split)

Still, it's questionable whether that is audible.
Indeed!

BTW, those plots of the Platinum eX do not show much (if any!) difference in frequency response from 20 to 20k between 48k and 96k sample rates.  Also, there is only one plot of the Audigy 2 ZS, not that we accept plots as proof of differences in sound quality.
Is 24-bit/192kHz good enough for your lo-fi vinyl, or do you need 32/384?

Sound card perfomance at different sample rates

Reply #15
I don't see how that proves that 96k is better than 48k.  It used to be common knowledge here 10 years ago that you avoided creative cards because only 48k was supported and they resamples poorly. If you dig up the really old cards you will see that everything but 48k is distorted.


Hmm... why should it be (better) flatter? 48kHz stream goes through DSP (fixed for 48kHz) w/o need for SRC and the 96kHz stream bypasses the DSP (in my example the 96kHz link was just to prove that it's flat compared to 44.1kHz one).


Sound card perfomance at different sample rates

Reply #16
So, how exactly does this relate back to the topic's original post bearing the unsubstantiated claim?  Are these old cards being used in a DAW? 
Still, it's questionable whether that is audible.
Indeed!  BTW, those plots of the Platinum eX do not show much (if any!) difference in frequency response from 20 to 20k between 48k and 96k sample rates.  Also, there is only one plot of the Audigy 2 ZS, not that we accept plots as proof of differences in sound quality.


Graphics for ZS is quite same as for A2Plat. I couldn't see the graphics for 96kHz (they were there but totally mess) behind the link given on that ixbtlabs review page (yes, there are links for detailed RMAA results) so to be sure the graphs can be seen I linked the A2ZS graphs. My intention wasn't to compare 48 vs 96 because of diferent path the streams goes (see. my previous post).





Sound card perfomance at different sample rates

Reply #17
I don't see how that proves that 96k is better than 48k.  It used to be common knowledge here 10 years ago that you avoided creative cards because only 48k was supported and they resamples poorly. If you dig up the really old cards you will see that everything but 48k is distorted.


Hmm... why should it be (better) flatter? 48kHz stream goes through DSP (fixed for 48kHz) w/o need for SRC and the 96kHz stream bypasses the DSP (in my example the 96kHz link was just to prove that it's flat compared to 44.1kHz one).


Some can bypass 96k, some cannot.

I don't think anyone doubt's that bad resampling can perform badly. But I doubt that higher is necessarily (if ever) better. Cards certainly exist that resample higher rates down for instance. I'm not aware of any that force resampling to 96k though.

Sound card perfomance at different sample rates

Reply #18
If you talk about old Creative cards, SB Live (10k1) series only support up to 16-bit 48k and they have neither visible nor audible resampling artifacts at 48k. The SPDIF result (not bypassing DSP) proved this point.

SB Live (CT4830) recorded by X-Fi XtremeMusic with digital I/O module, analog results also included:
http://forums.dearhoney.idv.tw/download/file.php?id=650

Sound card perfomance at different sample rates

Reply #19
As an anecdote.

A long time ago (2005), I was attempting a 96kHz vs 44.1kHz ABX test on Windows XP and a Creative SB Audigy2 NX sound card manually set to 96kHz in the configuration application.  To my surprise, I heard (and proved with PCABX) a difference.  But one WAV file was 44.1khz and one was 96khz.  To eliminate the effect of the sampler, I resampled the 44.1kHz test track to 96kHz.  I could no longer hear a difference.  The conclusion?  The resampler had audible flaws.

Sound card perfomance at different sample rates

Reply #20
Creative Live/Audigy series are very complicated. In Win2000/XP, some of them use EMU DSPs (10k1/10k2) to resample audio and synthesize soundfonts (so-called EMU patented 8-point interpolation). This resampler has audible resampling artifacts at least in some test signals such as RMAA's IMD swept test and old RMAA's 19/20khz IMD test.

http://audio.rightmark.org/test/audigy/cre...udigy-1644.html
Just copy the pictures and open in other photo viewers if the graphs can't be displayed correctly.

Some cheaper Live/Audigy models or USB-based models use different chips which are hated by gamers because they have no hardware EAX support, and hated by home musicians because they are not compatible with kX drivers. Such cards MAY make use of Windows' internal resampler to resample audio. Win2000/XP's resampling quality can be manually configured, if it is not set to best, resampling artifacts can be audible.

http://www.geocities.co.jp/anothergs/kXTut/1st-step.html
The "Good" quality should be something similar to linear interpolation.

http://forums.dearhoney.idv.tw/download/fi...fac62a5b9b46e78
In "Best" setting I could not hear any artifacts even when listening to test signals, although it is not "graphically" as good as the resampler in Win7.

If you talk about old Creative cards, SB Live (10k1) series only support up to 16-bit 48k and they have neither visible nor audible resampling artifacts at 48k. The SPDIF result (not bypassing DSP) proved this point.

SB Live (CT4830) recorded by X-Fi XtremeMusic with digital I/O module, analog results also included:
http://forums.dearhoney.idv.tw/download/file.php?id=650


EDIT: Please copy dearhoney's link and paste on the browser's address bar to download, if still unsuccessful, visit http://forums.dearhoney.idv.tw and keep that window open while downloading.

Sound card perfomance at different sample rates

Reply #21
Yawn.

Yes, bad resampling can result in audible artifacts. Search the forum for udial.

EDIT: I only mention this for noobs will otherwise see this discussion and wonder if we're insane and for placebophiles who will otherwise see this discussion and be reaffirmed that we are insane.

Wow, has it been 10 years already?
Is 24-bit/192kHz good enough for your lo-fi vinyl, or do you need 32/384?

Sound card perfomance at different sample rates

Reply #22
On the topic of older Creative EMU cards and audio-routing-only offshoots (like P17V), these typically required explicitly setting up hardware sample rate via Creative's control panel app, at least as far as Windows 2000/XP was concerned. A SB Live! 24-Bit (P17V/CA0106) gave options of 48 and 96 kHz, plus 44.1 for SPDIF only. (I think I tricked it into analog operation at 44.1 once, which gave something like 8-bit performance.) Aside from the hassle, not a bad little card if you wanted 24/96 recording on the cheap.

I have a Vista machine, and what I've seen of (what I presume was) its resampler performance didn't look too exciting. Win7 up should be better.

While we're at performance at various sample rates, 24/44 output used to be broken in Realtek HDA drivers until not that long ago (some time in '12 or '13) and would set up the hardware all wrong.

Sound card perfomance at different sample rates

Reply #23
A lot of posting to get to a simple resolution. 44.1 or 48 upsampled will not give you "better". The source is the source. If your audio device outputs a different frequency response at different sampling rates, it needs to be replaced NOW. See how easy and painless that was?

Sound card perfomance at different sample rates

Reply #24
If I have a sound card that gives me adequate performance and suits my purposes using a software-based resampler because its on-board resampler isn't up to snuff, why should I replace it?

That seems wasteful.
Is 24-bit/192kHz good enough for your lo-fi vinyl, or do you need 32/384?

 
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