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richardmoss
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Asus Essence Sound Card: Making Sense of Digital Audio

Not quite getting digital audio, when for example, JA notes the Asus sound card processes 192 hz--but there's really good stuff at 177 or 188 (these are notional.)

But getting ahead of myself. Until the broadband duopolies (Comcast & Verizon) half monthly fees, I'm buying CDs. So in that context, is using a workstation and whatever drive (Plextor, e.g.) and the Asus card, a preferable solution to, e.g. Oppo 83.

This is a point of information. In current Stereophile, Reina I believe compares Oppo Blu 83 and same but 83 SE. And observes that 83 SE is much better if you need analogue out; but if you're going with HDMI, it's moot, even Oppo saying the standard ($500 83)will not be improved upon.

Admitting how little I understand: are there now amps that support stereophonic sound in on an HDMI port. I thought HDMI was principally delegated to television, providing both a video and audio signal in one cable.

Sorry to be verbose; any short answer will be appreciated.

Richard Moss

struts
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Re: Asus Essence Sound Card: Making Sense of Digital Audio


Quote:
Not quite getting digital audio, when for example, JA notes the Asus sound card processes 192 hz--but there's really good stuff at 177 or 188 (these are notional.)

192kHz is the maximum the Asus can handle. Most commercially available hi rez audio programme is currently sampled at either 88.2kHz or 96kHz. Pretty much all DACs capable of 192kHz also accept the 'relevant' lower sampling rates (these are generally even multiples of 44.1kHz (CD) or 48kHz (DVD)).


Quote:
But getting ahead of myself. Until the broadband duopolies (Comcast & Verizon) half monthly fees, I'm buying CDs. So in that context, is using a workstation and whatever drive (Plextor, e.g.) and the Asus card, a preferable solution to, e.g. Oppo 83.

Yes! Downloading is far from the only reason to pursue computer-based audio*. I have been computer-based for my digital audio for about five years now but in that time I have only downloaded about 20-30 tracks. The main point for me is convenience, it is like having all my CDs in a big jukebox and being able to play them in any room in the house (via a Sonos wireless streamer).


Quote:
This is a point of information. In current Stereophile, Reina I believe compares Oppo Blu 83 and same but 83 SE. And observes that 83 SE is much better if you need analogue out; but if you're going with HDMI, it's moot, even Oppo saying the standard ($500 83)will not be improved upon.

It was Kal Rubinson in his column 'Music in the Round'. Key thing is that Kal's column focuses on surround-sound audio, where HDMI's multi-channel capability becomes relevant.


Quote:
Admitting how little I understand: are there now amps that support stereophonic sound in on an HDMI port. I thought HDMI was principally delegated to television, providing both a video and audio signal in one cable.

HDMI was indeed conceived as an AV standard and is therefore generally only seen on AV equipment such as DVD players, Blu-ray players and HT Amps. However it has the major advantage of being able to support up to 8 channels of 'hi rez' (24/192 LPCM) audio which means that by definition any product with an HDMI interface will support hi rez stereo audio. Afaik there are few if any stereo-only (i.e. purely audio) players or amps that offer HDMI connections but that could change if hi rez downloading becomes more prevalent or if Blu-ray takes off as a physical medium for hi rez audio in the way DVD so conspicuously failed to.


Quote:
Sorry to be verbose; any short answer will be appreciated.


Tried to keep this short but didn't quite succeed. Hope it helps!

* Afterthought: While you don't need a high speed connection to download music if you rip your own CDs you do need some sort of internet connection to access the metadata (album/track/artist names, cover art etc.) that makes 'ripping' viable. Presumably you have one since you are here, but I thought I would point it out as it may not be obvious to everyone. I would not recommend anyone embark on computer-based audio without an internet connection of some kind.

richardmoss
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Re: Asus Essence Sound Card: Making Sense of Digital Audio

Stuts, thank you for your generous and comprehensive reply to my post about Asus Essence. I get the basics a little better now, though it feels like shifting sand--zb, wasn't home theater 5.1 channels around 2007? Eight channels simply astounds me: do people have 8 speakers in their living room? Mine's about 25 square meters & 2 floor standing would be a problem.

I wish I could hear "hi-rez" 24/192 LPCM & equally allay anxiety that noise from HDD and fans can be overcome.

Thanks again for your response,

Richard Moss
Washington, DC

Editor
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Re: Asus Essence Sound Card: Making Sense of Digital Audio


Quote:
I wish I could hear "hi-rez" 24/192 LPCM & equally allay anxiety that noise from HDD and fans can be overcome.

I reviewed the ASUS card installed in a Shuttle PC, which is liquid-cooled. Though it has a fan, it hardly ever comes on. The hard drive is also very quiet.

http://us.shuttle.com/

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

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