tom doesn't know pro audio

Tom is looking at sound cards from a gamer's point of view. When he says that the Audigy is suitable for pro audio, and uses frequency response and distortion as benchmarks, he's ignoring the opinion of the pro audio community on this card, which is a big thumbs down. The main problem is phase (time domain) relationships -- also, SB products don't play well with other pro audio hardware. If you want the real skinny, check out the newsgroup, as well as the pc-daw mailing list. Frequency response and distortion specs, by themselves, have long been discredited as a realistic guide to the performance of high-end audio gear.
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  1. I would be a little surprised if the card had audible phase problems. (Human beings are essentially phase-deaf about about 2 kHz.) A lot of what you read and hear about "time domain" problems in audio is simply nonsense based on folklore and overactive imaginations. Generally speaking, the key factors are frequency response, noise, and distortion. The problem with the Audigy, based on the review, would seem to be its frequency response, which is surprisingly bad. Almost looks like some sort of processing was active when the measurement was made.
  2. Just out of curiousity, what are either of your qualifications?

    I'm a semi-pro House and Monitor Engineer, although I haven't been in the industry for very long at all. I just want to know where you're coming from.

    <font color=green>I post so you don't have to!
    9/11 - RIP</font color=green>
  3. I've been a writer and editor in the consumer audio (and A/V) field for a little more than 20 years. Over the years I've been technical editor and editor-in-chief of High Fidelity magazine, executive editor of Stereo Review, and editor-in-chief of Audio magazine.
  4. What's your hands-on experience? No offense, but you can't learn much just by writing about it.

    <font color=green>I post so you don't have to!
    9/11 - RIP</font color=green>
  5. To write about it, you have to use it and (ideally) understand it. I spent years reviewing equipment, supervising others reviewing equipment, working with engineers to design test regimens. I started out to be a physicist, so I understand the tech side of it pretty well.
  6. that's all fine and dandy, but what can you tell us about m-theory (as well as its implications on this particular sound card)
  7. M-theory? What is m-theory?
  8. WHAT'S M-THEORY!? i thought you were a physicist, dude! unfortunately i must exile you from physicistdom (never to return).
    seriously though, m-theory has very little to do with sound cards (or you could say it has EVERYTHING to do with sound cards; must be one of those damn paradoxes), but any self-respecting physicist should know about m-theory.
    check out:
  9. Thanks for that gem - seriously I enjoyed the update on Superstrings - it gives me some (very small) hope that we can move anywhere in the universe (via a rolled up dimension) in less than the width of an electron (if an electron has width!). By the way any comments on M-Audio USB quatrro where are the Windows drivers that keep on being available Real Soon Now
  10. I said that I started out to be a physicist. However, I think that you would find quite a few working physicists unaware that string theory is now being referred to as M-theory. The number of people who actually work on that stuff is pretty small, relatively speaking. :-) But I do appreciate the link.

    I don't think it has anything to do with sound cards, at least at the level were discussing them at.
  11. it's really not just string theory's new name. rather m-theory is a combination of the several different string theories previously being researched seperately.
    all of this ultimately poses the unavoidable question... why the hell am i posting this b.s. on this board.
    to this i have no answer...
  12. My new M-theory enabled hydra-z oscillating dsp 9.1 card OWNS Audigy.
    :-) heh
  13. Humans are phase deaf about 2Khz? really well all I can say is....Since when? If so are you talking about absolute or relative phase? Because I KNOW that I can alter phase around this region and oh yeah you will hear it.
  14. This is caused by the bandwidth from ear to brain.

    The Brain effectively does a octaveband analysis of the incoming audio signal. Electrical impulses are sent to the brain only for positive half-waves in each band. However, when 2KHz is reached, the limited "datarate" into the brain means that a continous stream of levels representing the envelope/peak level of the waveform is instead sent to the brain.

    Knut Inge
  15. I need to find the paper for you all regarding the perception of phase by human hearing. I studied as part of my thesis on pshychoacoustics.

    Absolute phase cannot be heard relative phase on the other hand can. You can produce quite remarkable audible changes by manipulating relative phase right up to 2KHz.

    You only need manipulate audio over a very small bandwidth to do this of course and interestinly enough the effect is most promenet right over the most sensitive portion of human hearing.

    Quite interesting
  16. You can introduce large amounts of high-frequency phase shift within a single audio channel without it ever becoming audible. (Our neural system can't track waveforms above about 1.5 to 2 kHz.) It is this sort of phase shift that people usually are talking about when they bring up time-domain problems in audio gear, especially digital audio gear. Even when more than one channel is involved, I don't know of any way we can detect high-frequency phase differences on continuous tones unless there is enough to create a perceptible interaural difference in the time of onset. Transient sounds may be localized by interaural timing differences.

    I don't know what sort of phase shift you are talking about introducing to create an audible effect. But I can think of two possibly pertinent factors: (1) A filter that produces a large phase shift at 2 kHz normally will alter phase at surrounding frequencies as well. (2) If you vary phase between channels that are reproduced over loudspeakers there will be interference effects that alter the frequency response. Human beings are acutely sensitive to frequency response and can detect very small deviations.
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