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The Successor to AC'97: Intel High Definition Audio

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the hear-hear dept.

Intel 428

An anonymous reader writes "A few days back Intel announced the name to its previously dubbed 'Azalia' next-generation audio specification due out by midyear, under royalty-free license terms. The Intel High Definition Audio solution will have increased bandwidth that allows for 192 kHz, 32-bit, multi-channel audio and uses Dolby Pro Logic IIx technology 'which delivers the most natural, seamless and immersing 7.1 surround listening experience from any native 2-channel source'. The architecture is designed on the same cost-sensitive principles as AC'97 and will allow for improved audio usage and stability."

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428 comments

Eph Phee Joo Phaggotz! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8014679)

woo! phear it!

I WANT TO PUT MY PEE PEE IN YOUR POO POO HOLE (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8014682)

I WANT TO PUT MY PEE PEE IN YOUR POO POO HOLE

I WANT TO PUT MY PEE PEE IN YOUR POO POO HOLE

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PLEASE HELP FELLOW TROLL (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8014739)

HELP my p3n150r won't fit in the hole in the wall I tried lube please help.

Linux is an albino? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8014683)

Have you seen these IMB commercials?

Re:Linux is an albino? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8015070)

I was surprised, as well. I always figured Linux to be a gay nigger.

It is still onboard sound (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8014693)

Will it still also suffer from the same effects of background noise from the rest of the voltage going through the motherboard, or have they found a way to block that out also? 32/192 is fine as a standard... but it is still onboard sound. It needs some seperation from the motherboard to maintain a high S/N ratio

Re:It is still onboard sound (4, Interesting)

UrGeek (577204) | more than 10 years ago | (#8014775)

Mmmm, what would really be nice if the DAC's were not on the sound chip but in a sheilded housing if it's own and then some nice connectors. And the sound chip would have that digital audio interface - i forgot what it is called - if it even supports something as insane as 32-bits/192kbps

Re:It is still onboard sound (1, Insightful)

treat (84622) | more than 10 years ago | (#8014804)

If only there were some way to have a digital output from the computer, and do the D/A conversion in a dedicated box.

I can't tell if you're joking or not (4, Informative)

roystgnr (4015) | more than 10 years ago | (#8014838)

But assuming you aren't, just find a sound card with a digital output (I think all the higher end cards have SPDIF now) and plug it in to your home theater.

Re:I can't tell if you're joking or not (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8015082)

Yea , but the AC97 resampled the spdif out stream -

-greg

Re:It is still onboard sound (5, Informative)

xlyz (695304) | more than 10 years ago | (#8014844)

If only there were some way to have a digital output from the computer, and do the D/A conversion in a dedicated box.
br> there is

digital out is common on today pc (either optical or coax) and any good A/V receiver with integrated decoder is able to convert the signal from digital to analog

Re:It is still onboard sound (1, Informative)

EventHorizon (41772) | more than 10 years ago | (#8014854)

Thankfully many onboard audio systems do have an SPDIF optical/coaxial out that you can connect to a dedicated DAC.

Or you can just use USB; the EMagic 2|6 and Edirol UA-5 work well under ALSA and are prosumer studio quality for $200-$300. If you're into softsynth the USB stuff also tends to have low latency, and still works nicely on a laptop.

Re:It is still onboard sound (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8014881)

If only there were some way to have a digital output from the computer

Uh... the computer I'm typing this on, with an Asus P4P800 [asus.com] motherboard has a built-in digital coaxial S/PDIF audio output (yes, the motherboard's built-in sound chip - and it does also have analog outputs). I can plug it into my Sony receiver which finds and decodes the digital signal just fine. I've not tried to get surround sound going because I don't have any surround sources, unfortunately.

Of course, that doesn't mean that the shovelware manufacturers (Dell, HP) are going to have digital outputs any time soon - but the moral is "build it yourself" to get the good stuff.

Re:It is still onboard sound (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8014945)

nice reverse troll!

there should be a name for posts that are deliberately made so child posts will get modded up.

you have brought that much more karma into the world today, sir!

Re:It is still onboard sound (2, Informative)

xlyz (695304) | more than 10 years ago | (#8014826)


use a DAC out of your case

just use digital out to a good A/V receiver

Re:It is still onboard sound (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8014857)

You havent' tried a nforce2 board with the soundstorm chipset?

Re:It is still onboard sound (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8014916)

Oh god no. Not after what NVIDIA did to 3DFX. They are one of the worst things that has happened to the computer industry.

Re:It is still onboard sound (2, Insightful)

ethanms (319039) | more than 10 years ago | (#8015021)

You're right... but keep in mind that most of the motherboards out there that give out lousy sound from onboard are due to poor layout from the manufacturers... who giving poor layouts because want to save money and physical space on the motherboard, at the expense of analog components like sound...

more bits and more kHz are useless for onboard until you clean up the analog paths to the jack, and properly isolate the codecs on the motherboards using ground moats. Nothing worse then a company that routes a processor +12V feed trace right under the analog side of the codec... or worse, a noisy signal like PS/2 or NIC.

Dear Boss: please don't fire me for this post

OSS drivers? (4, Interesting)

cyb97 (520582) | more than 10 years ago | (#8014695)

Does the royalty free license also imply that we'll see good opensource drivers for a plethora of platforms?

Re:OSS drivers? (4, Informative)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 10 years ago | (#8014712)

Not necessarily. It's still up to the hardware manufacturers to implement it on their hardware, and then either provide drivers for said hardware or publish their specs as well.

Linux Logo opportunity? (4, Interesting)

bstadil (7110) | more than 10 years ago | (#8014778)

Any idea what it would take to use this as an opportunuty to establish a sort of Azalia Certified for Linux Logo and a set of requirements that goes with it?

Logo that you could stick on the box and "Journalists" et al could include in the normal fluffy Buzz Word compliance reviews.

Re:OSS drivers? (4, Insightful)

Clockwurk (577966) | more than 10 years ago | (#8014731)

It depends on how nice intel is feeling. Royalty free doesn't mean that intel doesn't control it. Royalty free only implies free as in beer, not free as in speech.

Re:OSS drivers? (1)

iammaxus (683241) | more than 10 years ago | (#8014961)

What do you mean "control"? What could they possibly do? Take down the PDFs with the specs for the standard from their website? Even if they change the specs significantly in some bad way (which i can't really imagine), other companies will stick with the older working version. If its royalty free, its royalty free.

Re:OSS drivers? (2, Interesting)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 10 years ago | (#8014741)

I just hope for good drivers period. I can't tell you how many times I've had problems with onboard audio even in Windows. I've seen computers where the audio will work flawlessly in Win2k but not in XP, where it'll work fine in XP, but not in 2k, where it'll work fine until you reformat and reinstall the exact same OS, then be broken, etc. etc.

I finally got fed up with it and just got a cheapo PCI card and haven't had any problems since. Incidentally, you get better gaming performance when you don't use onboard audio, too.

Re:OSS drivers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8014835)

> I finally got fed up with it and just got a cheapo PCI card

Probably the same AC97 stuff you get on mobos.

> Incidentally, you get better gaming performance when you don't use onboard audio, too.

Old Wives Tale. There's no difference with modern hardware.

Re:OSS drivers? (3, Insightful)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 10 years ago | (#8014847)


Even better would be if turning it off in the BIOS meant that the OS actually ignored it.

Re:OSS drivers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8014940)

Does this also mean that nobody is ever going to fix the AC'97 OSS drivers, now that they've been superseded? It would be nice if playing sound didn't block the OS in linux.

Re:OSS drivers? (1)

tloh (451585) | more than 10 years ago | (#8014969)

OSS drivers?

Forgive me if I missunderstand, but I hope you don't mean Open Sound System. Last I heard that project was long ago superseded by ALSA [alsa-project.org] Those guys have really been on the ball. I don't think we need to worry too much about not having opensource drivers.

Re:OSS drivers? (1)

cyb97 (520582) | more than 10 years ago | (#8015049)

oss being an acronym for open source software, whether the drivers are based on OSS or ALSA I don't really care as long as they work.
Of course ALSA being the sound of the future so it would be better to have ALSA drivers, but I guess as long as one is released (and okay specs are avail.) it shan't take too long before somebody ports them to what ever is the modern state of sound-drivers.

I prefer OSS (2, Interesting)

MarcQuadra (129430) | more than 10 years ago | (#8015050)

I still prefer OSS, even on my 2.6 testbox, ALSA is about two-and-a-half more bitches to set up from scratch. I really hate having to do all the module configs when OSS just seems to work.

All I really need is playback from my systems, ALSA is overkill for my needs, and I hate recompiling the alsa-drivers package every time I update my kernel (on 2.4 systems).

Hopefully someone will automate or simplify ALSA for low-end use.

You'll never think of onboard the same way (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8014696)

You'll never think of Onboard sound in the same way... like when you see your dad masturbating to gay porn.

Initial reaction (5, Insightful)

Firehawke (50498) | more than 10 years ago | (#8014710)

The very first thing I thought when I saw the article itself was, "Please don't let this be as bad as AC'97."

Don't get me wrong, AC97 is cheap, but it really dragged on the CPUs of the timeframe it came out. This one looks like it might be a shot at the Creative Labs end of the market, but with cheaper components (meaning most likely CPU-based)

I'm sure it'll be on pretty much every board before too long-- well, the non-nForce ones, anyway.

Re:Initial reaction (2, Interesting)

BoomerSooner (308737) | more than 10 years ago | (#8014824)

Agreed, AC97 is a POS. Every computer I've ever seen someone is using it on the driver implementation and quality is pure shit. Just spend the $50 and get an Audigy card.

Re:Initial reaction (2)

treat (84622) | more than 10 years ago | (#8015032)

Could someone please explain exactly what is wrong with AC97? How could the quality be affected if I'm using the SPDIF out? (And why would you complain about quality if you're not?)

Re:Initial reaction (3, Interesting)

dnoyeb (547705) | more than 10 years ago | (#8014831)

Yea, integratedness has fallen out of favor with me. At least those things that are human detectable such as audio and video.

Integrated sound thus far has been a bad failure. It works well if nothing else is taxing the CPU, but otherwise, it can stutter. My nforce stutters when the network is active so no playing mp3s located on my Linux share...

Re:Initial reaction (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8014864)

Well, that's the fault of your cheap'n'nasty Nforce chipset, not integrated sound per se.
I've built any number of PCs (all Intel-based) over the last 3 years or so with AC'97 onboard audio, and have never noticed the audio "stutter" under any kind of load.
Sorry, but that's the truth. Don't blame AC'97 just because your particular implementation of it is sucky..

Re:Initial reaction (1)

A_Non_Moose (413034) | more than 10 years ago | (#8014851)

Agreed, but I thought of their video cards.

Like the AC'97, the vid cards were "functional", but just barely. Heck, even compared to the old Rage 128, it was shameful, IIRC.

Tho, I'd rather have the ati rage in a server, and no sound, nor the intel video cards.

Don't get me wrong, integrated sound/vid/net/whatever is ok, but I agree, it has to be at least of some quality, resource friendly, and stable (like the rage vid cards).

Oh, and just in case it is not the case, being able to disable it is always a must.

How is it on nForce mobo's?

Re:Initial reaction (1)

Clockwurk (577966) | more than 10 years ago | (#8014935)

Having built an Nforce based PC (and supported it) I can safely say that nforce pcs are a joy to work with.

You get good drivers and you only need to install one driver (that covers network, sound, chipset, and graphics). The audio is pretty good quality, and the integrated graphics aren't bad.

I would definately go with an Nforce (for an AMD platform) even if I didn't use any of the integrated components. Nvidia makes excellent chipsets and I don't have to deal with VIA.

linux (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8014711)

linux support for the AC97 flat out SUCKED!

Progress In Consumer Audio? Yes! (5, Interesting)

ten000hzlegend (742909) | more than 10 years ago | (#8014722)

True progress from Intel, strange but true

This new system for audio managment is great news for portable devices such as DVD+screen, next-gen PDA devices and even handheld game systems *Gameboy Advance II or PSP?*

I've long been following PC related audio solutions, all the way from Sonarc to the latest 5 and 6 channel set-ups, my normal set-up is bass speaker, left / right and one for routing system alerts etc... this kind of announcement coupled along with the latest cards supporting the new Dolby processing solutions could well make me upgrade

More to post...

All the usual concerns. (4, Insightful)

IGnatius T Foobar (4328) | more than 10 years ago | (#8014725)

On its face this is a great announcement, but we must have all the usual concerns. Will it work in Linux? Are the hardware API's going to be published, so someone can write Linux drivers? Or is this going to be the next Centrino, needlessly obfuscated to give Intel's friends in Redmond yet another unfair advantage?

I'm also concerned that a new audio hardware API may introduce way too many opportunities for things like Digital Restrictions Management. Long term, doing that is of course futile because someone will find a way around it, but that doesn't stop some hardware makers from setting out the legal minefield anyway.

It's a sad state of affairs when politics and litigation are at the forefront of geeks' minds when technology ought to be.

Re:All the usual concerns. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8015036)

Or is this going to be the next Centrino, needlessly obfuscated to give Intel's friends in Redmond yet another unfair advantage?

Needlessly obfuscated? Do you have any idea what you are talking about? Centrino consists of a CPU, chipset, and wifi chip that have been validated to work extra well together. Thats it. All three components are available seperately. There is no secret attempt to entrench Microsoft.

Its idiots like you that make me wonder how linux is successful at all.

Isn't this just a bit much? (4, Insightful)

UrGeek (577204) | more than 10 years ago | (#8014729)

32-bit audio at 192kbps? Why not just stick with 24bit at 96kbps - it is good enough for most studios. And actually 16-bit at 44.1kbps is the most that these old ears are gonna hear anyway - if even that well after sitting front for Jimi Hendrix.

Re:Isn't this just a bit much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8014744)

Perhaps they are wanting studios to upgrade to this as well... although that still runs into the S/N problems that I mentioned a few minutes ago...

Re:Isn't this just a bit much? (4, Interesting)

ten000hzlegend (742909) | more than 10 years ago | (#8014759)

With modern audio requirements, getting as close to the fidelity of the original is the "flavour of the month"

Last year, Pink Floyd released Dark Side on SACD, 24-bit audio at 48khz / 96khz, the amount of clarity over a CD, once the benchmark, was remarkable, I attended a launch party at was blown away even in a relatively acoustic poor setting

I for one welcome consumer 32-bit audio

Re:Isn't this just a bit much? (1, Funny)

Shadowlion (18254) | more than 10 years ago | (#8014801)

I for one welcome consumer 32-bit audio

I, for one, welcome our consumer 32-bit audio overlords...

(Sorry, had to do it.)

Re:Isn't this just a bit much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8014855)

(Sorry, had to do it.)
No, no you didn't.

Re:Isn't this just a bit much? (2, Interesting)

boa13 (548222) | more than 10 years ago | (#8014869)

Last year, Pink Floyd released Dark Side on SACD, 24-bit audio at 48khz / 96khz, the amount of clarity over a CD, once the benchmark, was remarkable, I attended a launch party at was blown away even in a relatively acoustic poor setting

How much of that clarity was due to the excellent sound engineers they probably hired? How much was due to the stage setup, and the excellent speakers and amplifiers they probably had? How did you compare the clarity over a CD? If they offered a comparison, how do you know the CD was a good one, and not a voluntarily dirtied version?

I for one am very wary of launch parties.

Re:Isn't this just a bit much? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8014928)


"How much of that clarity was due to the excellent sound engineers they probably hired?"

Most of it. The remasters come from the same source as the original: very high quality analog tape.

On the other hand, I can tell a big difference in dynamics, recording piano at 24/96 versus 16/44. Say what you want about "inaudible this" and "overkill that." Better headroom is higher fidelity. It's just not as important for playback as it is for recording. And, sadly for the future of our human rights, more poeple choose to playback than to record.

Re:Isn't this just a bit much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8015030)

People do talk a lot of bullshit about better audio equipment being all a waste of money and like to pretend that audiophiles imagine everything - but you usually find that the people who do so either don't much like music, or have already stretched their credit to breaking point for their "good as it gets" 300W (PMPO) Sony midi-system and a bunch CDs that come highly recommended by MTV. Nobody enjoys admitting to liking what they know they'll never have - in this case that's good taste, and true high-end audio.

Re:Isn't this just a bit much? (3, Informative)

ten000hzlegend (742909) | more than 10 years ago | (#8014931)

True, we handed Gary Wright who was announcing the various specifications of SACD at the time of play, a 1984 Dark Side CD, a 1993 20th anniversary CD and finally a copy of Echoes which had the latest digital master before the 30th anniversary re-master

Clean, no scratches and if I recall, the Japan import 1984 cd was worth a mint

Anyhow... we played each one and came to the result that the 2 channel 30th anniversary remaster was far superior, even on a great system, and the surround mix was simply amazing to hear

Re:Isn't this just a bit much? (3, Insightful)

JebusIsLord (566856) | more than 10 years ago | (#8015029)

In double-blind tests, people have been unable to tell the difference between the SACD layer of the new release and the 1992 CD remaster. The cd-layer on the 30th anniversary version is needlessly overcompressed, probably just to make it sound different than the SACD layer. Try it double-blind, you'd be surprised at how much placebo comes into effect.

Very true (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8014977)

I simply can't believe that a shift of bits proved to be "remarkable" unless the previous version was a poor mix or the new version was "enhanced". Like you said, how can you possibly compare what you remember the album sounding like at home verses how it sounded after engineers with unlimited budgets did a demo with multiple speakers on less? Do a blind-test where everyone there wears headphones and listen to the old then new version and then we will see if there is any difference. If it truly sounded different than its in the mix and not just because of more bits.

double-blind, controlled test, please? (4, Insightful)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 10 years ago | (#8014921)

Last year, Pink Floyd released Dark Side on SACD, 24-bit audio at 48khz / 96khz, the amount of clarity over a CD, once the benchmark, was remarkable, I attended a launch party at was blown away even in a relatively acoustic poor setting
I think you're deluding yourself. Audiophiles make a lot of claims that they can hear certain things, but they never test their own claims using double-blind studies in which the other variables are all controlled for.

I teach a physics lab class, and in one of the labs, I have students test their own hearing, to see the highest and lowest frequencie they can hear. There's some individual variation, but basically the top end of everyone's range comes out to be no less than 10 kHz, and no more than 20 kHz. I have never had a single student who could hear frequencies above 20 kHz.

The 44 kHz (IIRC) sampling frequency of a CD means that you can actually record signals with frequencies as high has 22 kHz (half the sampling frequency -- that's a methematical theorem about the discrete Fourier transform). The reason they designed CD audio around that figure was exactly because of the limits of human hearing.

Even if there was a hypothetical human who could hear 30 kHz, there would be many other things preventing it from being useful musically. For instance, your tweeters most likely can't respond well to those frequencies. Furthermore, the music might sound worse to such a person if the 30 kHz stuff was left in. The musician couldn't hear it, and therefore couldn't adjust his tone to make it sound good. The audio engineer also couldn't hear it, and therefore couldn't judge whether it sounded good or not.

Another practical issue is that distortion will always introduce high-frequency harmonics, so that even if you could hear those frequencies, a lot of what you were hearing would probably be spurious stuff coming from distortion.

People who really want to hear good stereo sound should spend their effort on the two things that will make a lot of difference: (1) getting good speakers, and (2) working on the acoustics of the room, the placement of the speakers in the room, and the placement of their own head in the room. Note that all the stuff under #2 is free or cheap. The audio industry would rather have you waste your money on stuff that's expensive, which is why they promote expensive, superstitious ways of improving sound, such as gold monster cable.

Re:double-blind, controlled test, please? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8014996)

Yeah - cause we know everything about sound that there is to be known, the presence of one frequency can never change the way another is reproduced (even if they're coming out of the same speaker at the same time), and imposing your own views on your students is a right and proper occupation for a teacher.

Oh, and Bush is the best president EVAR!!!111!

Re:double-blind, controlled test, please? (1)

Amadan-Na-Briona (734678) | more than 10 years ago | (#8015018)

I'm told that due to the joys of the analog electronics, the actual frequencies from a cd range up to 11, not 22 kHz (because the system takes for samples, not two). Therefore, there is a real benefit to the new-wave audio standards that are appearing - as the parent mentioned, most people can hear up to about 20kHz, so we're getting an extra 9kHz for our money's worth.

Re:double-blind, controlled test, please? (3, Insightful)

JebusIsLord (566856) | more than 10 years ago | (#8015062)

you were told wrong. use Cooledit or something, remove everything below 11khz on a track and then give it a listen.

16khz is usually a pretty good cutoff for music though - most MP3 encoders cut out everything over 16khz. I can hear up to 22khz test tones, but have a really hard time telling if an actual song was lowpass filtered at 16khz or not.

Re:double-blind, controlled test, please? (1)

tarquin_fim_bim (649994) | more than 10 years ago | (#8015058)

The 44 kHz (IIRC) sampling frequency of a CD means that you can actually record signals with frequencies as high has 22 kHz
However the timbre of the reproduced signal at this frequency will be nothing like the original. Anyway use this frequency is only intended for the aural pleasure of dogs.

Re:Isn't this just a bit much? (2, Interesting)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 10 years ago | (#8014922)

The problem is that at 24 bits per channel, it is impossible to fully realize that sort of dynamic range with physical objects.

The extra eight bits to get to 32 bits is simply a waste. The best I can think of is steganography where you can hide data in the least significant byte and few would catch on unless the data was carefully analyzed.

Re:Isn't this just a bit much? (1)

dabadab (126782) | more than 10 years ago | (#8014932)

Well, considering that you specify the acoustic setting as "relatively poor", I would doubt the difference between SACD and CD would not be drowned out by the background noise.

Re:Isn't this just a bit much? (1)

kelnos (564113) | more than 10 years ago | (#8014962)

exactly. that sampling rate is simply overkill. take a look at an application [wolfram.com] of the nyquist sampling theorem. human hearing maxes out around 20kHz. 44.1kHz is plenty (and with some breathing room) to sample stuff that humans can hear.

now, the increased resolution offered by 24 bits of accuracy per sample could help. but increasing the sampling rate beyond 44.1kHz does nothing: "No information is lost if a signal is sampled at the Nyquist frequency, and no additional information is gained by sampling faster than this rate."

Re:Isn't this just a bit much? (1)

DustMagnet (453493) | more than 10 years ago | (#8015027)

32 bits is only 10 log10(2^32) or 96 dB. Human hearing can works in a range of 120 dB. Of course that goes from hardly noticed sounds to hearing damage. From what I can tell, hearing damage is pretty popular with the kids I hear driving home from high school.

Thank God... (-1, Redundant)

mgcsinc (681597) | more than 10 years ago | (#8014732)

Thank god! Hopefully this will mean bye-bye to quite a bit of annoying legacy software writing.

I have particulary fine ears... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8014755)

So, I think I'll wait for 42.1 with 0Hz to 1GHz (+/- 0.0000001%) bandwidth and 256 bits samples audio hardware, which shouldn't be to far away :o)

Re:I have particulary fine ears... (1)

Tyler Eaves (344284) | more than 10 years ago | (#8014872)

It's already available!

Although you'll need a CityBlock-ATX motherboard, just buy a new Carnigie Hall module.

Re:I have particulary fine ears... (2, Funny)

tloh (451585) | more than 10 years ago | (#8014926)

Jesus! The constant ding of the everyday sound spectrum must drive you nuts then. I'll bet people look at you funny when they hear nothing but see you shouting "make it stop! make it stop!"

the way I look at it (2, Insightful)

Bubba (11258) | more than 10 years ago | (#8014768)

At least they are changing an old standard that has had mixed issues for several years. New input on old (possibly failed in some aspects) standards is always good for sales.

Re:the way I look at it (1)

jimmsta (628925) | more than 10 years ago | (#8015015)

I'm surprised that the standard hasn't changed much in the past few years. I mean, AC'97 was a stepping stone for standardizing audio on PC's, but why wasn't the standard updated to bring us better audio on motherboards sooner? It IS 2004 after all. I see 1997 standards as being ancient. I'm rather surprised that the AC'97 standard has lasted so long -- longer than VESA (ISA/PCI slot)!! Well...anyway... it's about time!

That's great! .. (3, Interesting)

ShadeARG (306487) | more than 10 years ago | (#8014779)

.. but when will we see high definition video support with component and dvi i/o?

Re:That's great! .. (1)

Wesley Felter (138342) | more than 10 years ago | (#8015035)

Even a $50 video card has DVI these days and quite a few cards have component adaptors. Sometimes it takes a bit of fiddling with Powerstrip to convince the card to output weird resolutions, but it's not impossible.

Re:That's great! .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8015074)

But I want an onboard standard for an upcoming Teeny-ITX noiseless solid state entertainment server! Screw expansion on those things. Everything should be built onboard and have access to the media server machine through a network. Boing!

Teh Goatse Man Says... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8014783)

"Width Does Matter!"

Is that 32 (20h) bit float? (0, Troll)

Thinkit3 (671998) | more than 10 years ago | (#8014818)

I've heard of floats used in audio before. Is this the upgrade to the usual 24 (18h) bit studio quality? Video cards are going towards a 20h-bit float as well for internal processing. Hmm, an audio/video card would be nice.

Trying to impress us with your base-16? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8014906)

Please... don't.

That's audio ? (2, Insightful)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 10 years ago | (#8014828)

The Intel High Definition Audio solution will have increased bandwidth that allows for 192 kHz,

192 kilo-Hertz? that's more longwave radio than audio. Hell, it's like 5 times the frequency of ultrasounds. Who are they kidding? This smells of marketting bull, or deceptive commercial practices targetted at trendy audio posers ...

Re:That's audio ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8014862)

well, the bandwith could be used for more channels. other than that.. it is too much for audio...
maybe audio for dogs?

Re:That's audio ? (3, Insightful)

PatrickThomson (712694) | more than 10 years ago | (#8014870)

I gather that with 48khz there are ikky problematic sounds if you forget to filter out high frequecies that reach all the way down into the audible domain - 196khz ensures that these artifacts will be well out of the range of hearing and the abilities of most equipment to reproduce.

Re:That's audio ? (2, Informative)

Professeur Shadoko (230027) | more than 10 years ago | (#8014883)

Well, actually, 192KHz is the sampling rate.
Even if frequencies that high cannot be heard, using such a sampling rate will decrease the noise added by analog->digital conversion.

Re:That's audio ? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8014904)

I think they are referring to the sampling rate there (maximum). 192kHz is an amazing sampling rate, current cards are usually 44kHz or 48kHz. The way to think of the sampling rate is the number of times per second the amplitude of the wave is taken -- more samples, more accurate sounds.

Re:That's audio ? (3, Informative)

admbws (600017) | more than 10 years ago | (#8014912)

192khz refers the the sample rate, how many times per second the sound is sampled, not how many cycles per second. While theoretically, 192khz sample rate does allow frequencies higher than the ear can hear to be recorded, its real purpose is to make the lower frequencies more accurate - for example, a 22050hz sine tone (if you can hear that high!) sampled at 44100hz is only sampled twice per cycle, and would effectively be recorded as a square wave (although, admittedly at that frequency you'd need to be a dog to tell the difference!)

Re:That's audio ? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8015009)


for example, a 22050hz sine tone (if you can hear that high!) sampled at 44100hz is only sampled twice per cycle, and would effectively be recorded as a square wave (although, admittedly at that frequency you'd need to be a dog to tell the difference!)


This is completely and utterly wrong. I hear this very often though.

At 44100Hz sampling, a 22050Hz signal will be reconstructed as a 22050Hz SINE WAVE. The reconstruction of sampled signals is not as simple as you think it is. This is covered in any elementary DSP book.

With IDEAL equipment sampling at frequency N allows perfect reconstruction of all frequencies N/2 in all cases. The rather = comes about because of the potential of sampling the frequency N/2 at the zero crossings. However, if only two nonzero points are sampled of the N/2 component, it can be reconstructed perfectly.

Using a higher sampling rate has to do more with counteracting clock jitter and the error introduced by non ideal equipment.

Re:That's audio ? (2, Informative)

bbbl67 (590473) | more than 10 years ago | (#8014963)

I don't really think they mean 192 kiloHertz but 192 kilobits per second. There is a difference in the case of lossy-compressed audio. The higher the bps, the less lossy the quality of the audio is. And this bitrate also includes all of the channels together, not just one channel.

Re:That's audio ? (1)

kelnos (564113) | more than 10 years ago | (#8015080)

i don't think so. if they mean 192kbps, then this is a huge step _down_ from 48kHz, 16 bit audio. while something on the order of a 192kbit mp3 is fine by my tastes, it is a huge reduction in quality from, say, a 44.1kHz, 16bit pcm stream from a CD. you just cannot (with current algorithms) losslessly compress an audio bitstream down to 192kbps without losing a good measure of quality. for reference, a pcm CD audio stream runs you around 700kbps. now, things like FLAC [sourceforge.net] can drop this number a bit while remaining lossless. but not that much.

Re:That's audio ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8015085)

No, it's 192kHz which effectively means you can sample 96kHz in the real world. In terms of multichannel raw audio at these sample you're talking many Mbps, so much so that DVD-Audio or SACD is incapable of 5.1 surround at 192kHz 24bit (or DSD), they're either 48kHz or 96kHz because of physical limits of transfer speeds and disc capacity.

Re:That's audio ? (2, Interesting)

DarrylM (170047) | more than 10 years ago | (#8015023)

192 kilo-Hertz? that's more longwave radio than audio. Hell, it's like 5 times the frequency of ultrasounds.

Yeah, that is pretty high, but it will allow for a flatter frequency response in the human hearing range than what is possible with 44.1kHz or 96kHz. The reason is that the sampling process has a frequency response of a sync function: sin(x) / x. At a sampling rate of 44.1kHz, the amplitude response of the sample at the high end of the human hearing range will be a fair bit lower than at the low end of the human hearing range. This results in less amplitude (volume) range for the higher frequencies - meaning that the sound won't be quite as close to the original.

When you sample at a higher frequency, the sync function is, in effect, stretched out so that the frequencies at the high end of the human hearing range have a much better amplitude response. Translation: the sound output should, theoretically, be closer to the original at higher frequencies.

Other people have also mentioned the benefits of reduced harmonics and such. As for how much of an actual difference to the perceived sound quality this will make, I have no idea. My speakers aren't all that great, anyway. :-)

Not true discrete channels? (5, Informative)

SpookyFish (195418) | more than 10 years ago | (#8014843)


This sounds like it could be more smoke and mirrors, though there really isn't enough information to be sure.

ProLogic IIx will "synthesize" multiple channels from a stereo or 5.1 source. I sincerely hope Intel isn't thinking "we can do the same old thing (stereo) and marketing folks can call it 7.1 multichannel because we put this Dolby fake surround processing in the chip!"

Despite how much ProLogic has advanced, it still doesn't hold a candle to true, *discrete* 6+ channel sound (like DD/AC3 or DTS).

Why onboard (1)

j_sp_r (656354) | more than 10 years ago | (#8014878)

Just wondering, sound is still inside the computer, onboard, thus crap. The only way to filter out the noise is to make it an external device. But I'm speaking about things I can't afford, with my crappy SB live! and disfunctional stereo plug (it crunches) , oh yeah, computer ungrounded isn't that good for quality music also.

DSD Support? (2, Interesting)

babymac (312364) | more than 10 years ago | (#8014909)

When will we see support for the DSD audio format in computer hardware? I have yet to hear this technology for myself, but friends who have heard it say it's incredible. Like analog, only better. The one bit tech behind it is very compelling...

Best soundcard? (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 10 years ago | (#8014972)

I play all my music from WAVs on my HD, but I don't sacrifice quality for money. The highest-quality DAE from CD to HD (using CDParanoia) gives the same quality as thousands of dollars worth of separate CD transport and data equipment. Then I (losslessly) compress them with Shorten (2:1) to save some money on storage. I often bypass my Onkyo amplifier and KLH speakers to listen with my Sennheiser 600 headphones - all hi-end audio gear. But the bottleneck is the soundcard. Soundblaster Audigy 2 seems really good at $80, but doesn't it have noise from the PC power supply? What's the best way to get all my CD quality from my Debian/i386 HD to my 5.1 surround system, playback only (no ADC)? Let's say my budget is $500 for the "soundcard", which one is the one for me?

buy yourself an enema (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8015039)

you are so full of shit, it's amazing you can still walk.

memory requirements (4, Interesting)

Saville (734690) | more than 10 years ago | (#8014995)

Since you can fit ~80minutes of music on a ~700meg CD you have ~146K/sec for your music. That is at 16bit 44.1KHz stereo songs. Now audio data will take 8.7 times as much memory if recorded in stereo, but if recorded with eight (7.1) channels each song will take almost 35x as much memory thanks to the higher sampling rate and the use of 32bit values instead of 16bit. That is 5.08 megs/sec for your audio.

I like that this standard is very future proof, but when can we use it? Already CD sound is good enough for all but maybe 10,000 people on the planet. Most people's audio experience is probaby limited by their audio hardware, not the source sound. Hey, most people are quite happy encoding their mp3s at 128k!

Where will the high quality sound data come from? Audio CDs are still going to be 16bit, stereo, 44KHz. DVDs have compressed audio. Almost all video games use compressed audio of some sort too because we don't have enough memory yet for even CD quality sound.

I love that it is 7.1 and that it is very future proof, but other than making 7.1 standard it seems to be a standard for marketing to use as an advantage, not something consumers will ever use (by the time they can use it they'll have upgraded anyway). It seems that this beyond CD quality audio is just included because they can and we'll never see it in use this decade :)

Better to overbuild than underbuild I guess. But I'm not excited about this promise of higher quality audio.

Re:memory requirements (1)

damiam (409504) | more than 10 years ago | (#8015024)

Now audio data will take 8.7 times as much memory if recorded in stereo

That's what DVD-A/SACD are for.

Binureal beats (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8014998)

There are certain dangers with high frequencies to health.
Our brain changes state based upon certain frequencies, for example we enter sleep at the low end 1-4 hz. Now imagine what would happen at those higher frequencies. True we may not hear them, but the waves will get picked up by the brain.

7.1? (2, Interesting)

Cyno01 (573917) | more than 10 years ago | (#8015020)

I had this discussion the other day with some friends, none of us are audiophiles, but we all have decent setups. I have 4ch surround for my entertainment center and 4.1 for my sterio in my bedroom, but we all understand that the 5th is a front center, and we all assume, but none of us know that 6.1 has a rear center chanel. But none of us could figure out the arrangment of 7.1 surround. Is there an overhead speaker or no front center speaker and 4 evenly spaced in front. Can anyone shed some light on this?
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