1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Sondigo Inferno 7.1 PCI soundcard

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by WilHarris, 12 Oct 2006.

  1. mclean007

    mclean007 Officious Bystander

    Joined:
    22 May 2003
    Posts:
    2,035
    Likes Received:
    15
    I'm no audio / electronics whizz, so can you please explain this? I understand the concept of SNR and dB, but why does a 117dB SNR DAC "provide an effective SNR of ~110dB"? And are the quoted figures for the various X-Fi models supposed to correspond to the "DAC" SNR or the "effective" SNR? In other words, does the Inferno compare most closely with the Xtreme Music / Platinum / Fatal1ty at 110/109dB, or with the Elite Pro at 117/116dB?

    Would be much appreciated if someone could enlighten me - as I say, my understanding of this sort of stuff is pretty rudimentary! Thanks
     
  2. Guest-16

    Guest-16 Guest

    A separate is something like a Hi-Fi box that does one specific function. People stack them up so you can have stuff like a tuner, decoder, amp, DVD player etc. Some come with more than one function but basically it allows you to tailor your Hi-Fi setup for your exact needs.
    Someone else will probably explain it better.

    Dom, I know SFA about ASIO's mate, I had to put a lot of research into the article for the detail so what you've just told me is fresh.

    Minimum specs are a P3 800 and 256meg ram, so I think a dual core CPU with 2GB of ram is more than enough ;)

    Unfortunately I didn't have any other soundcards to hand, nor the real expertise and time to look at more cards than what I had :( In a way it sort of helps I'm not an audiowhore because you know if I can hear a difference then others will be able to get even more out of it.
     
  3. specofdust

    specofdust Banned

    Joined:
    26 Feb 2005
    Posts:
    9,568
    Likes Received:
    168
    Intresting review, I'll be considering this card for my upcoming(he hopes) HTPC.
     
  4. Guest-16

    Guest-16 Guest

    Because Sondigo provided me with a graph of the exact SNR of each of their outputs with the minimum of about 108ish and max is 113ish, so on average you can say about 110. The DACs themselves, under perfect circumstances, are rated at 117 but obviously with the quality of PCB and motherboard power noise (that does vary between PCs) causes an average value the end user see's to be around 110dB.

    Creative will probably never provide a real value electing the PR to speak for itself and you can sure as hell bet the values that they show are the optimum-capable rather than real world. Ive read someone on the Creative site claiming 135(!) and then click a link and it's magically down to 116!?
     
  5. dom_

    dom_ --->

    Joined:
    4 Jan 2004
    Posts:
    3,942
    Likes Received:
    8
    Thanks for the reply.
    All you need to know about ASIO is that when you have a card that can handle it download the asio.dll for winamp and marvel at a massive increase in sound quality for no real effort.

    I appreciate you saying your not an audiowhore and thus any difference you hear must be great, but if you used a better pair of headphones of better speakers you would be able to hear the differences even more and more differences you would not have heard before.
     
  6. mclean007

    mclean007 Officious Bystander

    Joined:
    22 May 2003
    Posts:
    2,035
    Likes Received:
    15
    Great. Thanks!
     
  7. Aankhen

    Aankhen New Member

    Joined:
    15 Oct 2005
    Posts:
    406
    Likes Received:
    0
    I think I understand what you're getting at, but could you point me to any examples? Thanks for all the clarifications. :)
     
    Last edited: 14 Oct 2006
  8. Guest-16

    Guest-16 Guest

  9. Aankhen

    Aankhen New Member

    Joined:
    15 Oct 2005
    Posts:
    406
    Likes Received:
    0
  10. Guest-16

    Guest-16 Guest

    Yea, you can use the S/PDIF out, or you can use a few 3.5mm to two coaxial adapters (but you loose the Dolby live and DTS options) on the soundcard and cable it into a receiver which then connects to your speaker setup.

    Optical S/PDIF is better if you're using greater distances but you cant bend the cable as much and poorer quality cable has less of a dramatic effect. Also, you don't get electrical and magnetic interference with light, however, die hard audio enthusiasts will say that digital coaxial (electrical) S/PDIF is better because it keeps the signal electrical rather than having it undergo two electrical to optical conversions, possibly reducing the sound quality. For separates stacked on top of each other with minimal distance this is generally the preferred method but the Sondigo only has optical S/PDIF however it is possible to convert it; you can buy little boxes from specialists.
     
  11. Stwongbad

    Stwongbad New Member

    Joined:
    8 Jun 2006
    Posts:
    536
    Likes Received:
    0
    How does this compare to the Audigy 2 ZS?


    [edit] EEP! 150$?? nvm then
     
  12. Dranzerk

    Dranzerk New Member

    Joined:
    15 Oct 2006
    Posts:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    While this card looks good, keep in mind with Vista EAX does not matter anyways with Creative cards.

    BUT, also remember Creative cards are the only ones out that support hardware openAL. The new Cmedia chipset on this card and other one don't have that.

    Correct me if im wrong here, but i don't see any mention of it on there site.
     
  13. Guest-16

    Guest-16 Guest

    Yup, hense the increasing CPU usage compared to the X-Fi which is negligable.
     
  14. Dirge

    Dirge New Member

    Joined:
    12 Jun 2004
    Posts:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0
    I am quite impressed you are opting to keep the Sondigo Inferno over a X-Fi Fatal1ty. I assume you are not a gamer and are more interested in fidelity.

    I am a bit of an audio newb so bear with me as I would like to learn a little more about the components on this card.

    Could someone please explain to me why the need for 4 DACs and 6 dual channel op-amps. What determines the necessary ratio of DAC's to op-amps, do they provide more bandwidth or processing power than say a single DAC and op-amp combination.

    What exactly is the Wolfson WM8785 ADC responsible for?


    I also wonder about the AC'97 codec, the review mentions it is coupled with 117dB SNR DACs. Would that be the 4 AKM AK4396 Stereo DACs?

    What makes for a decent codec other than its pairing with high SNR DAC?
     
  15. Guest-16

    Guest-16 Guest

    I watch videos and listen to music every day. I play games, on pc, about once a month when something new comes out. Mostly it's the 360 these days. If you're an online addict and play the same game with EAX every day then obviously the X-Fi is your choice, but if you're a modest gamer who enjoys the whole entertainment PC experience and EAX doesn't really add much to the ocassional game. It's not like it's unplayable without it, I shot through Quake 4 and Prey without it when I played them and it's a noticable difference but I couldn't really care tbh. It's not like I have to buy a huge monitor and an SLI setup either.

    ADCs are analouge to digital converters for mic/line in inputs. 4 DACs = 8 channel (7 + 1 sub). the Op-amps are, for amplification of all the channels: 8 out + 4 in = 12.

    It's based on AC97 spec, which Intel's Azalia HD Audio is derived from. The "117dB SNR DACs" are the 4 stereo AKMs (4x2 = 8 channel). I'm not entirely sure what the split is between the Oxygen "processor" and the AC'97 codec. I think the codec is basically used to split the audio and provide the input/outputs and the oxygen IC does the PCI bus conversion, S/PDIF, Dolby/DTS (although most of the actual processing is done on the CPU).
     
  16. Dirge

    Dirge New Member

    Joined:
    12 Jun 2004
    Posts:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi Bindibadgi, and thanks for your reply. I think that clears up most of my confusion. I probably need to sit down one day and go over the theory.

    You guys might find it interesting to know Razer are developing a gaming audio card. You can check out some details on the Razer barracuda.
     
  17. Guest-16

    Guest-16 Guest

    No word on the actual chip it uses yet though, so I'll hold my breath but I'd probably put a bit of money on the fact it uses the same DACs and probably a similar audio processor looking at that pro-picture.
     
  18. SmartDrv

    SmartDrv New Member

    Joined:
    24 Jan 2007
    Posts:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have just recieved one of these cards myself replacing a rather old SB Live Platinum (non 5.1) /w Digital IO board. So far I am very impressed with it although I have a lot more "playing around to do". The sound quality is signifigantly higher than my previous card.

    The key feature to me is this cards flexible Digital Output - specifically the DTS Interactive / Dolby Digital Live modes. I've waited 9 years for Creative Labs to implement this feature but they have not delivered. As someone who used to use exclusively Creative sound cards right from my AWE32 I'm rather disappointed. I'm pretty sure that the only reason they are not offering this is simply royalty/licensing fees to DD/DTS which really can't be that much. Considering the high price of the higher model Xi-fi cards, what is a couple bucks to add this technology in and please the niche market who actually pays for the higher end models. The Inferno costs LESS and has this feature.

    Creative would also be able to market their cards as having Dolby Digital/DTS support complete with a bunch of logos and stickers for their box and website. While many home users may not use the digital technology ("digital" speaker systems with built in decoding would simplify things for a lot of home users) they would recognize the logos from their equipment in the living room and go "oh my expensive system has that this card must be good"

    Back to the Inferno, I forgot what it was like to install a 20MB set of apps vs a 250MB set of apps and it just "works". Everything out of the box works as promised, it is not "this isn't supported in Windows XP SP2 wait for the next software upgrade when we release the next product". I was up and running in minutes. While a tad cluttered, the software was functional and I didn't feel like it was sucking the life out of my system (no big tool bars, and as I hear advertising bars)

    I have not experimented with the analog outputs on the card as I am using the digital output direct to my Sony STRDA3000ES AV Reciever (which uses digital s-master amps which are supposed to keep the signal digital up to the last minute). It is a nice pairing. Should my PC gain the ability to play DVD Audio or something I still have the ability to use the analog inputs using the sound cards DAC's which from my research appear to be higher end (someone who is into professional recording would be able to comment better on them).

    The only downside I see to this card is the lack of a break out box or additional backplate to add additional connectivity. Myself personally, I didn't require the additional hookups but someoen who does recording may desire the additional plugs (this is where that Auzentech card would step in at this time)

    Anyhow I look forward to enjoying this card and would recommend it to fellow Home theater buffs anyday.
     
    Last edited: 24 Jan 2007
  19. Tyinsar

    Tyinsar 6 screens 1 card since Nov 17 2007

    Joined:
    26 Jul 2006
    Posts:
    2,287
    Likes Received:
    28
    :hehe: :lol: Quoted For Truth :thumb:
    Welcome to the forums
     
  20. Dirge

    Dirge New Member

    Joined:
    12 Jun 2004
    Posts:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0
    Bindibadgi I think you may have mislabelled a couple of components in your review of the Sondigo Inferno. The two components in question are the AKM AK4396 2 channel DACS and JRC 4580 OP-AMPS.
     
    Last edited: 27 Jan 2007
Tags: Add Tags

Share This Page