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What Does It Take To Turn The PC Into A Hi-Fi Audio Platform?

Results: Symphonic Dances / Andante Con Moto / Rachmaninoff

Track notes

HRX's version of Rachmaninoff's Symphonic Dances is made available in a DVD-R format of 24-bit/176.4 kHz (after a 176.4 to 88.2 to 176.4 kHz process). That created similar issues as Daft Punk's 88.2 kHz album, and the reason is the same. Only the Benchmark DAC2 supports this sampling frequency; the JDS Labs O2+ODAC and Asus Xonar Essence STX do not. Realtek's ALC889 codec does support that frequency in its specs, but in WASAPI mode using foobar2000, neither 88.2 nor 176.4 kHz worked.

Since we were going from 176.4 kHz all the way down to 44.1, we wanted to show that resampling using the same foobar2000 PPHS resampler in Ultra mode introduced no audible artifacts. Both listeners tried multiple times, and neither could tell any difference. In our subjective opinions, 176.4 and 44.1 kHz are exactly the same.

Test results (Listener B)

RunActual DeviceGuess deviceCorrect / Incorrect
1JDS Labs O2+ODACN/A - "Less preferred"N/A
2Realtek ALC889N/AN/A
3Asus Xonar Essence STXN/A - "More preferred"N/A
4Realtek ALC889N/A - "Less preferred"N/A
5Benchmark DAC2 HGCN/AN/A
6JDS Labs O2+ODACN/A - "More preferred"N/A
7Benchmark DAC2 HGCN/A - "Less preferred"N/A
8Asus Xonar Essence STXN/A - "Less preferred"N/A

Listener B's comments:

I was surprised at the results, struggling to decide whether the validity of our blind tests could be called into question, or rather if these tests indeed show our auditioned devices cannot be reliably told apart. I do believe that the story would be different if we used full-sized speakers, rather than headphones.