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SoundStorm 2: SoundStorm Strikes Back?

Hemos posted more than 9 years ago | from the the-battle-of-the-battles dept.

Hardware 123

An anonymous reader writes "Phoronix, a popular Linux-based hardware review site, has posted their beliefs on what they feel is the returning of NVIDIA's SoundStorm Technology. Even though sites have said SoundStorm is dead, Phoronix continues to believe otherwise about this long-discussed situation. They contend NVIDIA is currently working on a new generation of APUs for its upcoming Chipsets and they feel one of the audio technologies may be SoundStorm! The article can be read here, but it looks like only time will reveal if new audio features are being brought fourth in the new Chipsets."

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"Dead"? Did you read the link? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13482539)

"While we have chosen to not include the SoundStorm APU in our current nForce4 MCP, we look forward to including our audio technology in future NVIDIA products."

That's hardly dead, especially when that article if from nearly a year ago. A year is a huge timespan in computing.

Re:"Dead"? Did you read the link? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13482594)

You might want to check your system clock.

Re:"Dead"? Did you read the link? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13482616)

You might want to check the article.

"By Fuad Abazovic: Monday 25 October 2004, 10:41"

That's a little over 10 months ago, or nearly a year.

Not holding my breath (2, Interesting)

Deathlizard (115856) | more than 9 years ago | (#13483410)

They've been saying that for over a year now. I swear they say it just to hope that the soundstorm fan base will quiet down and die off.

I've heard the Nforce3-Nforce5 will have it. I heard it's going to be an add in card. Hell, I've heard it's going to be integrated in the next video card. So far I've seen nothing tangible and I'll be surprised if I do.

It's pretty much a given if you want to compete in the PC audio market you're dealing with Creative whether you like it or not. They were allowed to buyout all of the competition as well as most of the patents. In fact, the company that nV was geting the soundstorm tech from got bought out by Creative. The only reason Nvidia isn't owned by Creative is that they couldn't possibly buy them out, so they'll sue nV until they say "screw the audio market", which apparently nV did.

I still am holding out for a Nvidia soundstorm for athlon64, (my SN41G2 isn't going anywhere soon) but I doubt it will ever take place. At this point, once Nforce5 hits, I'm probably going to be switching to that regardless of what audio is on board.

Re:"Dead"? Did you read the link? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13484048)

Who needs Soundstorm when you've got Linux, Am I rite?

Eh. Audio innovation is dead, baby (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13482549)

The last truly inovative audio chipset was the Aureal au88x0 series, and what happened to them? Creative sucked them up and did nothing with their technology; even their "top end" Audigy 2 doesn't do positional 3D audio.

As far as the consumer is concerned, audio technology is at a plateu and it's good enough for what they're using it for. The only thing that changes in the audio hardware world are the damn hardware programatic interfaces; there are more audio chipsets than modern video cards and NIC's combined.

Re:Eh. Audio innovation is dead, baby (4, Insightful)

ImaLamer (260199) | more than 9 years ago | (#13482565)

Soundstorm is freaking sweet though. I've used it under Mandrake and watched many movies with the nForce 2 under Windows and Linux with great results. Creative may have their heads up their asses, but Nvidia does good work on hardware and the software they release just plain works.

Surround sound is easy to setup in Windows and Linux. It's more a matter of plugging the right speakers in the right places. I love the idea that you can use an extra mic input as a center channel or something.

I wouldn't trade it in.

Re:Eh. Audio innovation is dead, baby (2, Interesting)

backslashdot (95548) | more than 9 years ago | (#13482666)

I love the idea that you can use an extra mic input as a center channel or something.

Does this mean u can place a mic where you sit and it can figure out if you've placed the speakers optimally and/or dynamically adjust the sound outputs from each speaker to make the listening location hear the optimal audio experience (presumably near the mic in most cases)?

One presumes the speakers can emit sounds and the microphone/computer can then figure out what to adjust based on the received sound pattern/interference.

I been looking for a cheap system that does this, and/or a system with a 3D? gui that can show me the optimal speaker placement for my room/apartment (at minimum based on my inputting the apt. size, layout, and obstacles).

Re:Eh. Audio innovation is dead, baby (4, Informative)

Taladar (717494) | more than 9 years ago | (#13482771)

I believe what he meant was that the card manufacturer was cheap and used one physical input for both mic and one of the speaker channels.

Re:Eh. Audio innovation is dead, baby (1)

moonbender (547943) | more than 9 years ago | (#13482909)

I love the idea that you can use an extra mic input as a center channel or something.

Is that supposed to be a great advantage about Soundstorm or what? I think most dirt cheap Realtek on-board sound outputs work that way...

Re:Eh. Audio innovation is dead, baby (1)

ichigo 2.0 (900288) | more than 9 years ago | (#13483242)

What do you do if you need to use the mic and the center channel at the same time then? :P

Re:Eh. Audio innovation is dead, baby (3, Interesting)

slaker (53818) | more than 9 years ago | (#13482707)

There ARE good audio chips available. Sometimes they even make it on to motherboards. Albatron ships a few boards with the sounds-better-than-Creative Via Envy chipset. They even throw in a daughterboard with both types of digital input and output.

Via Envy is the same sound chip on most $50ish sound cards that aren't made by Creative.

If you want computer sound to get better, vote with your wallet and buy something better. Turtle Beach will happily sell you an Envy-based card, or you can get a PCI X-Mystique, which does exactly what Soundstorm used to do.

Re:Eh. Audio innovation is dead, baby (1)

DeadMeat (TM) (233768) | more than 9 years ago | (#13484244)

There ARE good audio chips available. Sometimes they even make it on to motherboards. Albatron ships a few boards with the sounds-better-than-Creative Via Envy chipset. They even throw in a daughterboard with both types of digital input and output.
The problem for most people (i.e., people using the analog outs) isn't just the sound chip. The quality of components like the DACs can also play a huge role in how good the audio is. In order to keep costs down, motherboard manufacturers either like to use sound chips with integrated DACs (which are usually of poor quality) or just include the cheapest DACs they can find. They also rarely pay attention to board layout enough to minimize the amount of noise picked up from other components. (I've got a Dell at work where I can literally hear windows redraw when my headphones are plugged in.) This won't really matter people who just care about system noises and the occasional Flash applet. But if you want to listen to music, the distortion and hiss is just painful to listen to.

This, incidentally, is usually what seperates the $50 Envy24HT boards from the $20 ones: the more expensive boards often use Wolfson DACs on one or more of the analog outs, which results in much better audio quality.

One of the nice things that Soundstorm did was place minimum requirements on things like the signal-to-noise ratio from the analog outs. If you bought a Soundstorm-certified motherboard, you knew the audio quality was going to be fairly good.

Re:Eh. Audio innovation is dead, baby (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13484512)

It does appear to be able to encode to AC3/DolbyDigital in realtime, like the SoundStorm did, but its analog part doesn't seem to work too well according to this review [elitebastards.com] . Soundstorm did set minimum standards for analog signal quality, and I can't imagine that they would have put up with intermodulation distortion and stereo crosstalk as bad as this.

Re:Eh. Audio innovation is dead, baby (1)

billcopc (196330) | more than 9 years ago | (#13484582)

Envy has nothing to do with VIA, except that VIA is an integrator so they build the Envy chip into their boards and chipsets. Envy is a sound processor that's used in many prosumer cards such as the M-Audio Delta series, the most famous being the Audiophile 2496. It does sound beautifully clean and quiet on those cards, but I honestly doubt it could perform nearly as well as an integrated component on a mainboard, simply due to the extreme noise on there and often shaky traces and/or marginal tolerances on Via stuff.

Meanwhile I've got the Realtek ALC650 on my NF4 board and for those times when I choose to forego my Audiophile, I have found it to be damned good.

Do keep in mind that I hate Sound Blasters with a passion ever since they came out with the Audigy and it's pathetic imitation of "pro" features. When someone asks me which sound card to get for gaming, I lead them to an M-Audio Revolution 7.1. That's about as good as it gets for $50.

Re:Eh. Audio innovation is dead, baby (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13485763)

Envy has nothing to do with VIA, except that VIA is an integrator so they build the Envy chip into their boards and chipsets.
VIA bought ICE a few years back. Now there's a whole line of Envy24 chips [viatech.com] , with the original Envy24 at the high end.

Re:Eh. Audio innovation is dead, baby (4, Insightful)

EzInKy (115248) | more than 9 years ago | (#13482756)


  The last truly inovative audio chipset was the Aureal au88x0 series, and what happened to them? Creative sucked them up and did nothing with their technology; even their "top end" Audigy 2 doesn't do positional 3D audio.

As far as the consumer is concerned, audio technology is at a plateu and it's good enough for what they're using it for. The only thing that changes in the audio hardware world are the damn hardware programatic interfaces; there are more audio chipsets than modern video cards and NIC's combined.

The real problem is the disparity between those who call themselves "audiophiles" and normal users. Seriously, if 99% of users can't tell the difference between a $10 card and a $10,000 then the $10 card will always win. If the "audiophile" can tell the difference then let him pay $10,000 for a difference that doesn't mean a thing to me.

Re:Eh. Audio innovation is dead, baby (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13483509)

Mod this down. This is the same slashbot group think that is always bandied around here. Sure, you cant tell the difference between a crappy sound card and a good one given its going through your jvc computer speakers or you sony home stereo.

Put it on even mid range nearfield speakers and it becomes another thing altogether. Cheap soundcards suck. Digital whatever still takes a back seat to a good analog signal chain and if you but the gear new it ain't cheap. Furthermore, If you do anything needing to pro sound on your home gear you WILL pull your hair out before you use a gay audigy card or some trite piece of crap like that that sells do to the numbers on the box to dolts like you that don't hear the difference.

You are either deaf, your computer is to friggin loud or your speakers or amplifier suck. The first thing that every one who hears my system says is ... wow ... that sounds great!

Re:Eh. Audio innovation is dead, baby (1)

geekboy642 (799087) | more than 9 years ago | (#13483833)

People who do work on their computer, and I mean real work, not playing games and recompiling their kernel for the 49th time, don't give two shits if their computer has an audio system that rivals your $14,000 home theater system. It really doesn't matter.
Then again...you buy Monster Cables, right?

Re:Eh. Audio innovation is dead, baby (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13484248)

Just because something may not be for you doesn't mean there isn't a market for it. And there's no point in attacking someone with the whole "Monster Cables" bit. That's just wrong.

Re:Eh. Audio innovation is dead, baby (1)

mp3phish (747341) | more than 9 years ago | (#13484461)

Yea, because we all know that monster cables are the biggest scam since Enron?

Please, trying to defend someone who uses monster cables is a pretty ridiculous way to defend against the parent's post. Moster cables are a rip. And they aren't any better than other cheaper brands (such as belkin's pureAV) which are about 1/10th the price.

Re:Eh. Audio innovation is dead, baby (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13485325)

That was kind of my point.

My post's intent was to stop the poster from being a dick. I am aware that Monster Cables aren't worth the money... but I'm not Monster Cables' target market. And neither are you.

Thanks for jumping all over my shit though.

Re:Eh. Audio innovation is dead, baby (4, Informative)

Quarters (18322) | more than 9 years ago | (#13482952)

The Audigy 2 hasn't been Creative's "top end" card for a while now. The Audigy 4 was introduced quite some time ago.

The Audigy 4 has recently been surpased by the X-Fi. It's an entirely new architecture, both hardware and software.

Creative's EAX has been doing positional 3D audio with occlusion and reverberation for quite a while now. The Aureal was nice, sure, but Creative has had, and has, tech that accomplishes the same thing.

Re:Eh. Audio innovation is dead, baby (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13483134)

EAX has been doing positional 3D badly for some time now. It's nowhere near what Aureal were doing five years ago, and it's nowhere near what Via or even CMedia are doing now. Creative are so badly over-rated it isn't funny.

Re:Eh. Audio innovation is dead, baby (1)

KillShill (877105) | more than 9 years ago | (#13484813)

only that the drivers are obscene, not only to install but they totally overdo it with extras.

you can pare it down to just the drivers and important applets (even then it's a large chunk of drive space) but most users wouldn't even dare click anything but the next button.

that alone isn't enough though. their drivers are buggy as hell and performance in 3d audio is pretty pathetic for it being a dsp-based hw accel. card.

unfortunetly, host-based (read soft/win aka no dsp no hardware accel) sound cards aren't good for gaming. and it wouldn't make sense to get one if you play recent games. they usually only support eax2 or 3 and very poorly compared to creative.

creative is the microsoft or intel of the sound card world but unfortunetly for us, they bought out their competitors and there's little alternative for gaming sound cards. if you do music or other applications then creative never need even enter your vocabulary and you'll be much better off.

Re:Eh. Audio innovation is dead, baby (1)

ydef (818818) | more than 9 years ago | (#13483974)

True about Aureal still being the gold standard bearer. But I should add as a footnote, that creative only sucked them up AFTER they delisted off the nasdaq and became a virtual penny stock while almost declaring chapter 11. Creative was able to suck their IP for next to NOTHING. And they remain the gold standard 5 years AFTER the fact. What's that in inverse moore's?

Hope so (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13482560)

Sure hope they do.

With the Nforce1 and the followup Nforce2 they managed to take integrated components from sneered at and abhored to respected as an actual option.
I remember the pre-nforce days where anything integrated was utter garbage. Nvidia changed that.
Then, bizzarely, they dropped the integrated graphics and the integrated sound.
The sound did have a few minor issues, but compared to the generic ac97's it was awesome, featured and great value.

Re:Hope so (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 9 years ago | (#13483865)

Well, odds are you can make more money selling a packaged AGP board retail, than a chipset to a motherboard manufacturer.

oh come on..... (3, Funny)

xao gypsie (641755) | more than 9 years ago | (#13482566)

I just bought a new board with an nvidia chipset!!! Buying hardware is worse than trading stocks...

SoundStorm isn't a technology! (5, Informative)

MarcoPon (689115) | more than 9 years ago | (#13482571)

SoundStorm isn't a technology, or a piece of hardware.

It's a "certification", a label that attest that the hardware follow certain specs and offer certain features (number and type of I/O connections, for example).

Re:SoundStorm isn't a technology! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13483678)

It is a technology. In fact, it's the only technology available for consumers that can encode and stream full Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound from any source, the most obvious application being games with 3D positional sound but no way to export it in a way a receiver can understand. Witness XBOX.

This is so full of shit that it reaks.

Re:SoundStorm isn't a technology! (1)

MarcoPon (689115) | more than 9 years ago | (#13483728)

No. THAT technology is called ICE, for Interactive Content Encoder.

ICE is a feature of the nVidia MCP-T, that's need for a "device" to feature the SoundStorm(TM) "quality mark". But it isn't sufficent.

bid deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13482574)

so NVIDIA is making DSP and calling it APU?

They can get inline behind 30 odd years of technology in the music industry.

-Sj53

Re:bid deal (4, Insightful)

mikael (484) | more than 9 years ago | (#13482712)

There have been a few sound musicians who have been looking at using GPU's for processing audio [nforcershq.com] .

BionicFX Harnesses Power of Graphics Cards for Audio Processing
Programming uses GPU as Audio Effect Processor

BionicFX announced a technology for music production that turns NVIDIA video cards into audio effects processors. Audio Video Exchange (AVEX) converts digital audio into graphics data, and then performs effect calculations using the 3D architecture of the GPU. The latest video cards from NVIDIA are capable of more than 40 gigaflops of processing power compared to less than 6 gigaflops on Intel and AMD CPUs.

BionicReverb, the first effect to use AVEX, will debut at Winter NAMM Conference in January 2005. BionicReverb is an impulse response reverberation effect that runs as a plug-in inside VST compatible multi-track recording software. The audio effect is generated by combining an impulse response file with digital audio. Impulse response files are created by firing a starter pistol inside a location, such as Carnegie Hall, and recording the echoing sound waves. Combining the two files through mathematical convolution is a CPU intensive process that is reduced by moving expensive calculations onto the GPU.

AVEX works by transforming audio streams into the structure and colors of graphics data. The graphics data is processed on the video card by pixel or fragment shaders that run audio effect algorithms, which read and write to textures in video memory. The final calculations are retrieved from off-screen buffers and decoded into audio.


While Nvidia may be happy that these guys are using their hardware, they may be worried that these companies start mangling their own software in order for it to run on a GPU and end up doing things that will only break as graphics technology changes.

Therefore it is much safer for Nvidia to design hardware that processes audio directly.

And besides, why shouldn't audio be treated in the same way as textures? There would be many benefits if an API such as OpenAL could be implemented in hardware. All the sound files in a game could be preloaded into audio memory, along with repeat/random/play once flags, and have the programmer simply set the location of sound sources and of the listener. And this would fit neatly into a scene-graph representation.

Re:bid deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13483828)

I'm saying it already is.

Check out Digidesign, Creamware, Korg's UAD-1, TC Electronics Powercore, now EMU ...

maybe i'm making my arguement incorrectly, but DSP has been done for a long time now and thats what NVIDIA will be doing, hopefully they will use compatible protocols like VST or in apple.. Audio Units as doing this only in DirectX will provide little use to many of the musicians out there.

-Sj53

Re:bid deal (1)

poptones (653660) | more than 9 years ago | (#13484141)

Therefore it is much safer for Nvidia to design hardware that processes audio directly.

Actually, it doesn't make a fucking bit of difference if they won't give any documentation on the things in the first place.

I looked for WEEKS for an MN31N - note the extra "N" - because I STUPIDLY bought into the hype about the MCP-T chipset. What I got is a computer with the shiitiest sound EVER - even worse than the e-machines we filled the offices of our startup with back in '99. It has a constant "whistle" only about 70db down that drives me up the fucking wall.

Because there are no open source drivers for the sound the "whistle" (due to resampling coefficients in the DSP and an inability to stop it from resampling everything) cannot be got rid of, nor can anyone try to "innovate" new uses or even just make the damn thing work as advertised.

Long story short: at least with intel I know what I am buying. I knew better than to believe the hype in the press and yet I did because I wanted to believe there was a good motherboard integrated sound solution. But whatever merit this chipset may have had has been lost due to the refusal by Nvidia to allow the open source community to make meaningful use of it.

Fuck "Soundstorm" - and fuck Nvidia and all that other crap. My next PC will have an intel chipset, a Matrox or S3 video card, and an M-audio sound card.

Re:bid deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13485314)

It has a constant "whistle" only about 70db down that drives me up the fucking wall.

You said fucking wall. Does this mean that in your office there is a wall that fucks you or ddoes it mean that you fuck a wall? Please elaborate, you damn ugly brown turd colored Hindu shithead, please elaborate.

Re:bid deal (1)

karnal (22275) | more than 9 years ago | (#13485575)

So you bought a notably badly designed piece of hardware, and you're not ever going to buy NVidia again because of that?

That's the way the free market goes, I guess. I've just known never to rely on onboard sound, since I've never heard one that can touch a decent PCI card - and yes, there are just as crappy PCI solutions as well... Bought a Maddog 5.1 card for FAR and it's crappier than my onboard sound on my A7N8X....

Re:bid deal (1)

KillShill (877105) | more than 9 years ago | (#13485068)

i wonder if bionicfx took it under consideration the nvidia over-"optimizes" it's drivers. there's the recent shimmering example of the latest 7800gtx series just to name one example.

i would guess those "optimizations" (read benchmark cheating) might damage the accurate calculations required by such applications.

not that ati is a saint but it hasn't even remotely "optimized" as much as nvidia.

any professionals know if it's a reasonable concern?

Only two ever came back from the dead (1)

almound (552970) | more than 9 years ago | (#13482576)

And they weren't Linux-based.

Congratulations you have successfully installed (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13482578)

Microsoft Slashdot Vista 1.0 XP for workgroups.

You must restart your slashdot to continue.

Click here to restart. [alexa.com]

Bose replacement (3, Insightful)

N8F8 (4562) | more than 9 years ago | (#13482579)

I see plenty of decent audio chip solutions on the market, what I don't see is a decent inexpensive speaker set. Logitech and the ilk that I have tried have been horrible. I just want a decent, inexpensive 5 speaker plus woofer setup that doesn't take much space and produces good sound throught the sound spectrum. Too much to ask? I'm sick of cheapo speakers in fancy plastic boxes.

Re:Bose replacement (1, Informative)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 9 years ago | (#13482606)

Well here's a tip you're not going to find a good amplifier+speakers for 69$...

Suck it up, spend the 500$-1000$ for a home setup and move on.

You don't have to be an audiophile with 3000$ speakers just to get some decent quality sound. I bought a Sony amplifier+receiver which with proper gauge cabling [forget what gauge] for 900$ I can listen to my music and actually like it ;-)

Tom

Re:Bose replacement (1)

FidelCatsro (861135) | more than 9 years ago | (#13482770)

You can get fairly good quality out of speakers that cost 100 euros , naturally though speakers costing 5 to 10* that are going to be far better but the average person would only likely notice the difference if its pointed out to them... unless they want to play at higher volumes then the difference becomes painfully obvious.
If you want to take full advantage of a good sound chip on a budget then headphones are the only way to go .Obviously that's not always an option if you have people in the room as-well , but if your on your watching something or mixing by yourself , spending 70 euros on a pair of headphones will likely net you far greater quality than a 70 euro set of speakers.

Re:Bose replacement (1)

JimStoner (93831) | more than 9 years ago | (#13482857)

...and spending more on headphones also has it's rewards - I recommend any headphones from Grado Labs http://www.gradolabs.com/ [gradolabs.com] (and I dont make recommendations often).

The SR325 headphones I have are something special.

Do yourself a favour - check them out, including their "budget" models ;)

Re:Bose replacement (1)

Malor (3658) | more than 9 years ago | (#13484506)

Sennheiser's higher-end cans are also really, REALLY good. The specific models that I know are good (because I have owned them) are the HD580s and HD600s. The 650s are also reputed to be great, but I haven't heard them myself.

Personally, I think the 580s are one of the better buys in headphones. You can usually pick them up at around $150 on Ebay, and they sound AMAZING. They are extremely comfortable. You can literally put them on in the morning and wear them all day, to the point that you'll forget they're on. Part of that comfort comes from the fact that they are "open" headphones, meaning they don't close you off from the outside world. Closed headphones seal the world out and your music in, but they're usually less comfortable to wear for long periods.

The 600s and 650s are better, but they're enormously more expensive for a much lower quality jump. Bang per buck on the 580s is really extraordinary. All of these cans are built with modular parts, so you can order any piece you need a replacement for. With reasonable care, they'll literally last a lifetime.

The only real downside to all three of these is that they are 'high impedance' headphones, meaning you need a strong output to drive them well. They'll still sound good from a normal output, like an iPod's, but on an amplifier they will sit up and truly sing. I have a Total Airhead (heh) from HeadRoom [headphone.com] . A better choice (which didn't exist when I bought mine) might be a Bithead or a Total Bithead, because they come with a USB connection and onboard, high-quality DACs. This gives you both the amplification of the Airhead and the ability to function as a good soundcard, which will let you get really high-quality sound off your PC. (All Creative cards, except possibly the X-Fi, do an internal resample to 48khz, which just butchers the treble. Most motherboard soundcards use such horrible DACs that they sound even worse. PC sound, in general, is terrible).

You could also use it as a laptop soundcard, but note that the Senns aren't particularly portable; they're very large, and you will look rather dorky wearing them in public. :) I'm just suggesting the Bithead because it's small, reasonably priced, and also solves the bad soundcard problem. Envy24 soundcards (like the Audiotrak Prodigy and M-Audio Revolution 7.1) usually have good DACs, so that'd be another way to solve the soundcard issue.

Sennheiser has a lot of different model numbers, and they're definitely not all the same. I know these are good. I've seen quite mixed reviews on many of the other (mostly lower-end) choices. If you don't like other Sennheisers, but haven't tried these specific ones, give them a shot.

Re:Bose replacement (2, Insightful)

BlueHands (142945) | more than 9 years ago | (#13482775)

The question should be why can't he get a good 5:1 speaker system for less then the cost of 400 gig hard drive? You have just told him to spend as much on the audio as on the rest of his entire system.

And this makes sense to you.

And others, because you got modded up for the comment. That scares me most-est.

Re:Bose replacement (2, Insightful)

Beta (31442) | more than 9 years ago | (#13483021)


The question should be why can't he get a good 5:1 speaker system for less then the cost of 400 gig hard drive? You have just told him to spend as much on the audio as on the rest of his entire system.

Because audio reproduction is still governed by the same laws of physics as it was 30 years ago. Bass response is dictated by the size of the transducer and the cabinet, and while you can do minor tuning with active EQ, you simply cannot compensate for 50 times too small enclosure. The enclosure must also be rigid and without obvious resonances, hence you need either thick walls (of MDF or similar material) or fancy and expensive manufacturing (as in Genelec's new 8000 series monitors).

Re:Ick replacement (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 9 years ago | (#13483449)

Because audio reproduction is still governed by the same laws of physics as it was 30 years ago.

Yes!

"subwoofer" cabinets on most computer sound systems are the size of my bookshelf speakers.

I think it's funny that people expect 6" speakers on ~30W amps to perform decently on bass frequencies when they are comparing it to the performance of 12" speakers with 150W+ amps.

Re:Bose replacement (1)

Mycroft_VIII (572950) | more than 9 years ago | (#13485221)

The problem I have with this is only partial, but if it's 30 years old why shouldn't the price of decent go down.
    In computers what cost a few hundred thousand is now in the bargin bin.
    I said partial because on some things you do tend to hit a min price for materials and some other things, but by now the R&D on how speakers work should be mostly paid for, amoung other things.
    If there were new breakthroughs being made then yes I could see high prices, but I suspec the main reason they still cost so much is because audiophiles will still pay unreasonable amounts for anything above average and they know it.
    I'm NOT going to pay $500+ plus for a set of speakers. Especially when I've got two pair $6 (that's $6 per pair!) of generic oem speaker that do at least as good (excluding bass, no sub) as most $120 speaker sets sold for pc's. The only place where they suck is the volume pot is wearing out and they crackle a bit when I turn the knob. They're about 4 years old though.

Mycroft

Re:Bose replacement (1)

karnal (22275) | more than 9 years ago | (#13485465)

I've found a few things in my years of listening to audio. Your $6 set of speakers would pale in comparison to the sound of my Klipsch Promedia 2.1s. Even without the sub.

Yes, the Klipsch I bought were expensive. If I recall, I paid about 150$ at Comp-Usa for them. A lot of my friends thought I paid too much.

Then they heard them.

They are probably some of the best all-in-one computer sets you can buy. And I did a lot of research. The only other pair I considered were some Soricco (sp?) speakers, but they weren't local, and they were also 2x as expensive.

My main point is, if you want good sound, like with anything else, you will end up paying for it.

But, once you pay for it, it will last, and you will enjoy the sound for a long long time!

Re:Bose replacement (2, Interesting)

Solder Fumes (797270) | more than 9 years ago | (#13482834)

I'll provide you with a better forum to search and ask for your goal: http://www.diyaudio.com/ [diyaudio.com] Lots of good stuff there, everything from putting together a decent system for minimal money, to modifying stock equipment with better components.

I can also give you the ultimate crapspeakers. Cheap 5.1 surround that mostly works OK. You know those 5.1 systems at Wal-Mart? Yeah, the ones selling for like $35, which aren't really surround but instead mix out from a stereo signal. I managed to bypass that mixing circuit and directly input the six channels to the volume control IC. It does work on my computer quite well, though it's better if you have Sound Blaster bass redirection, because the satellites are pitifully tinny. I didn't take any pictures when I modded it, but I did buy another one and plan to mod it pretty soon. Really the ultimate in ghetto surround.

Re:Bose replacement (1)

radish (98371) | more than 9 years ago | (#13483089)

If you're looking for value why do you bother mentioning Bose? They just make overpriced junk for people who know nothing about audio.

Honestly (1)

N8F8 (4562) | more than 9 years ago | (#13483574)

The best home stereo setups I've personally heard were all Bose. I had a audiophile room-mate once who dumped a ton of money into supposedly one of the best setups (this was 15 years ago) and it sounded like shit. OTOH, I've been to numerous homes and even one trailer that had simple Bose setups that sounded awesome. How the hell do they get such great sound from such tiny speakers? I've purched four "package" home autio solutiuons over the least decade (Kenwood, Sony ot name two) and I was less that impressed wit hany of them. I did hack together a decent solution with a 20 YO Poineer AMP and Reciever once that I bought at a garage sale. Within the next month I'm moving into a new house I just built and I want decent home entertainment setups. I have three spaces I want to wire: a cathedral ceilinged great room, a large master bedroom and an outside lanai. But $3000 per space is out of the question. So is having a bunch of bigass speaker boxes to trip over.

Re:Honestly (1)

Ykant (318168) | more than 9 years ago | (#13484029)

The best home stereo setups I've personally heard were all Bose.

I implore you, sir - if you're shopping for speakers in the near future, check out somewhere other than Best Buy and listen to some speakers before you jump on the Bose train (I suspect that BB arranges their Bose speakers better than the other brands intentionally). Additionally, most package setups don't really have very good speakers in them, just something to keep in mind.

Bose used to really put some effort into clever speaker design and made some decent speakers (for the size) say, 20 years ago - but since then they've pretty much spun that reputation into making overpriced bookshelf speakers that sound pretty marginal in comparison to similarly priced alternatives. The materials they're using inside the cubes these days are bargain-basement in comparison to before, and the price just keeps going up, up up.

If you go out and listen to a few speaker sets, all other things being equal, you should find that the Bose set lacks "precision" - you'll find you're not hearing all of the sound clearly.

My point is, if you shop around and use your ears, you will find that you can get a lot more bang for the buck... happy hunting.

Re:Honestly (1)

mp3phish (747341) | more than 9 years ago | (#13484593)

I would also like to point out that most demos which are showing the bose speakers winning on "tiny" speakers have no bass. Most are a jazz tune with lots of symbols and a horn. Those Bose speakers are really good at the high end, but their mids and lows are very loose and inprecise. That is how the sound is "so good out of those tiny speakers"

The point is that there is no speaker that is "tiny" which can accurately reproduce the mids and lows with precision. Bose doesnt' do magic in their setup, they just use fancy marketing tricks and have a good reputation at the upper half of the low end on music with no bass.

Re:Bose replacement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13483396)

JBL LSR-28's and forget the sub, you won't need it.

Or if you are cheap LSR-25's with a sub.

(The LSR-28's are now called: LSR6328P)

Re:Bose replacement (1)

GoRK (10018) | more than 9 years ago | (#13483433)

I just want a:

decent,
inexpensive
5 speaker plus woofer setup


It's the classic pick two of the three items on this wishlist and you've got yourself a deal! Seriously. You can get a set of 5.1 speakers from woot for 20 bucks every now and then [inexpensive, 5.1]; you can go out and buy a pair of moderately good all-in-one speakers for 150 bucks or so [decent, inexpensive], or you can put down 1000-2000 bucks for a 5.1 setup that doesn't totally suck rocks [decent, 5.1]

Even a $2000 setup won't be rock-your-socks-off-awesome (and not that the sheer cost of a speaker or amplifier necessarily makes it better) but you can still do OK with a 1-2k budget for amplifier(s) and speakers/sub for this type of setup.

Re:Bose replacement (1)

mp3phish (747341) | more than 9 years ago | (#13484489)

If your paying 69$ for a logitech 5.1 system and bitching about the quality you are either an idiot or you are picky.

Logitech makes probably the best (sounding) speakers in their price range. Of course an amp with speakersystem for 69$ isn't going to sound super extreme high quality. Try the Z-5500's if you want something that is going to sound great. Or, get some Klipshe speakers if you want the top end. Or, invest in a quality amplifier and discrete speaker system if you really want some awesome sound.. But bitching about Logitech's quality, when they beat pretty much anyone out there in the pricerange, is pretty silly.

For $69, the x-530's are as good as you are going to find anywhere. You will probably find them for 49 or 59 in some places on sale. And they are better than anything in previous years available in that price range.

If you want a step up, try out the 2.1 z-2300's for around $110-$120

Re:Bose replacement (1)

KillShill (877105) | more than 9 years ago | (#13484838)

no offense but try looking at speakers that cost more than 99 bucks.

something in the 400+ range !should! meet your needs. if not, put your own set together.

klipsh and creative's high end speakers are usually highly acclaimed. at least if you believe the reviewers. but ultimately it may not sound as good to you as it did the reviewers due to location differences and noise levels. buy a good set and try it at home.

Underwater Post (0, Offtopic)

repruhsent (672799) | more than 9 years ago | (#13482599)

...live from New Orleans, Louisiana.

Re:Underwater Post (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13485387)

Stop looting my bandwidth nigger; just go out and loot some shit and let me browse with Speed. damn niggers.

Fuck Soundstorm (2, Informative)

slaker (53818) | more than 9 years ago | (#13482618)

X Mystique, Dolby Digital Live-encoding PCI sound card [newegg.com] .
I have three of them. They rock. Best hardware I've purchased in years, since they let me junk shitty Asus boards (AFAIK Asus is the only company that ever fully implemented soundstorm to begin with) for Gigabyte and Soltek hardware that I'm much more comfortable with.

Here's [storageforum.net] a good summary of my experiences with the first card I got.

Re:Fuck Soundstorm (1)

endy64 (891510) | more than 9 years ago | (#13482693)

Wow, the reviews are really good and I'm looking for a sound card right now to go with my Logitech Z-5500's but I only use linux so... Does this card work with linux? :)

Re:Fuck Soundstorm (1)

slaker (53818) | more than 9 years ago | (#13482722)

It works as a Cmedia-whatever-the-hell; no Dolby encoding in Linux.
Soundstorm didn't work under Linux, either.

I'd suggest a Turtle Beach Santa Cruz for you. They work just fine under Linux.

Re:Fuck Soundstorm (1)

bersl2 (689221) | more than 9 years ago | (#13484932)

The Santa Cruz is an awesome card. The only problem is that the sound occasionally fucks up (1/100,000 times), possibly having to do with a few bits of the documentation that ALSA is unable to obtain for the CS4630 chip. The hardware DSP and mixing is great as well.

Better Prices - $87 w/free shipping (2, Informative)

N8F8 (4562) | more than 9 years ago | (#13482709)

Sicne he linked to Newegg (a great company BTW) I did a quick Froogle [google.com] and found it cheaper. Notably, Buy.com [buy.com] has it for ~$87 with free shipping.

Re:Better Prices - $87 w/free shipping (1)

KillShill (877105) | more than 9 years ago | (#13485032)

a great company that edits reviews that are negative .

that's why i stopped shopping there and i won't be going back.

there's no reason to reward dishonest merchants, especially if there are comparable vendors easily within reach.

Will this be applied to the new Shuttles? (1)

agentfive (545436) | more than 9 years ago | (#13482629)

I've got an NVIDIA sound chipset on my SNG41VG2 (number may be a little off) - will this sound chipset be used for future Shuttles? So far - I've been quite happy with the NVIDIA chipset.

Re:Will this be applied to the new Shuttles? (2, Informative)

slaker (53818) | more than 9 years ago | (#13482677)

That wasn't a soundstorm-capable chip. Soundstorm mixes everything into 5.1 Dolby Digital when given a digital path to a 5.1 Dolby decoder. AFAIK Asus is the only company that included it on their boards (or more precisely, the only company that included it and actually added the digital out needed for it to work). Everyone else just shipped CMedia or Realtek AC97 crap.

If you're happy with AC97, good for you, but Soundstorm was a whole different experience, since it actually creates LFE and rear surround (well, in games anyway; for music I think it just echos the front speakers) from PCM sources. Anyone who has had a home theater setup connected to their computer has probably tried the "Dolby Pro Logic II" setting (also available on some Intel Motherboards, I think), which does sort-of create surround, but surround that's limited to primarily the center channel and front speakers. DPLII barely touches the surrounds and never fires your sub, making it rather less impressive.

Re:Will this be applied to the new Shuttles? (2, Informative)

Trashman (3003) | more than 9 years ago | (#13482820)

The Abit NF-7S v2.0 is NForce2 based and has the soundstorm Chipset (with the Digital out too.)

I own one.

this (1)

illuminatedwax (537131) | more than 9 years ago | (#13482657)

Even better! Audio features are being brought third!

BLATANT slashvertisement (2, Interesting)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 9 years ago | (#13482670)

in true Roland Piquipaille style. Note the wordy submission, the fact that Hemos accepted it, and the 'click here for more information' link at the end. And Phoronix is a popular Linux site? I've never heard of it.... well, maybe they're trying to be popular by astroturfing.

Re:BLATANT slashvertisement (1)

I confirm I'm not a (720413) | more than 9 years ago | (#13482720)

And Phoronix is a popular Linux site?

According to google [google.co.uk] a whole 2 other sites link to it... :-o

I suspect I'm as shocked as you to find this on Slashdot (assuming you're not very shocked at all).

Re:BLATANT slashvertisement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13482766)

I have found out about phronix at LinuxHardware.org as most of their news is actually links to Phoronix articles. I personally don't feeel their that bad or anything with their content although they may not be hard like anand and toms etc they aare at least amond the few who bother to test with *NIX. If you google phoronix [google.com] there's 67,000+, about half that of HardOCP.

Re:BLATANT slashvertisement (1)

I confirm I'm not a (720413) | more than 9 years ago | (#13482827)

I was surprised at the discrepency between (a) sites linking to [2], and (b) sites refering to [67000+] Phoronix. I suspect Google may be underreporting links to Phoronix. I'm still none to impressed with the article submission: below par even by recent standards. Still, from now on I'll criticise "submitters" and not "submitted" ;-)

Re:BLATANT slashvertisement (1)

FidelCatsro (861135) | more than 9 years ago | (#13482829)

According to the ever reliable Netcraft it is at position 18490 nuzzled between Espanol.weather.com and cocklovingmoms.com ... seems like a nice place to be *? *

for a bit of perspective in this , slashdot.org is as at 37 , www.debian.org is at 1812 and technocrat.net is at 25803.

Re:BLATANT slashvertisement (1)

I confirm I'm not a (720413) | more than 9 years ago | (#13482855)

Aye, it looks like Google may be slightly wrong here... still, it gives me a chance to apologise to Phoronix, and more importantly say:
Netcraft confirms... Phoronix is not dying!

Advance or retreat? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13482699)

Wahay! 5.1 Audio, AC3, Dolby digital, 3d effects and dsp reverb+eq!

But I bet it's still got a fucking noise floor of -60dbfs on the inputs, converters that sound like shit and a gui mixer designed by a malicious five year old.

NO MORE FEATURES, NO NEW TECH. WHY NOT MAKE THE FUCKING THING SOUND BETTER AND GET RID OF ALL THE SHIT.

Re:Advance or retreat? (1)

speculatrix (678524) | more than 9 years ago | (#13482908)

in my humble experience, the only time a standard sound card can have an audiophile function is when you only use the s/pdif in and out, and ignore the analogue, so that the card is no more than a buffer.

my olde SB!Live!Value! with a hoontech adaptor works pretty well hooked into my Yamaha AX1 home cinema amp using fibre. Oh yeah, the downside is that this card has a fixed 48kHz sampling rate, so playing back mp3's captured off CD means the sound has been through some mangling, but when I record* off digital satellite which is also 48kHz, the sound quality is pretty good.

* I use audiograbber [com-us.net] , once commercial, now free, which as well as a no-brainer GUI for ripping CDs, has an excellent line-in timed-recording feature.

Re:Advance or retreat? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13483257)

I totally agree that using external converters is a good way to get round the problem of low end converters, but.....

Quality D/A converters are cheap nowadays, and good analog design is no longer a black art. So why can't any on board audio manufacturers have a least average (SB Audigy kind of level) sound?

I get dissapointed that they are adding so many features and outputs and forgetting the main function of the device.

Re:Advance or retreat? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13483304)

in my humble experience, the only time a standard sound card can have an audiophile function is when you only use the s/pdif in and out, and ignore the analogue, so that the card is no more than a buffer.


That's exactly what I do, I don't ever use the analogue outputs. There is one tiny problem however, any generated output of more than 2 channels is not pushed out the digital output.

Sure they can pass AC3 or DTS, but why do the limit PCM to 2 channel. I'd love to find a card that didn't cost a fortune which would happily output 4 or 6 channel PCM.

Re:Advance or retreat? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13485471)

Because PCM can't be defined in more than two channels, and your receiver can't undersand it if even if your card put it out, because there just isn't the bandwidth in th SPDIF for six raw, uncompressed, channels. I know there are more than two channel wavs, but that's totally different.

Sound of the 80's (1)

picz (264520) | more than 9 years ago | (#13482761)

The soundstorm song from the site made my ears cry. I haven't heard something that horrible since Stock, Aitken and Waterman.

Every time somebody clicks on the link to the song GOD kills a kitten. /picz

Re:Sound of the 80's (1)

nvlass (705494) | more than 9 years ago | (#13482920)

Indeed... This song is as bad as it gets... Makes you wonder what their marketing team was thinking when they chose it as a promotion sample...

F'ing kittens! (1)

thegnu (557446) | more than 9 years ago | (#13483812)

Every time somebody clicks on the link to the song GOD kills a kitten.

.......... *click* ......
.... hmmmmm .....
....... *click*..... *click* ...
..*click*.*click*..*click**click**click**clic k**click*
*click**click**click**click*
*click**c lick*
*click*
*click**click**click**click*
*cli ck**click*
 
MUAHAHAHAAAA!!!!

Re:Sound of the 80's (1)

Molochi (555357) | more than 9 years ago | (#13484396)

Lnkplskthx jk

Re:Sound of the 80's (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13485236)

Rock on: NVIDIA_SoundStorm_Song.mp3 [nvidia.com]

Apple? (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 9 years ago | (#13482765)

I have always wondered where Apple are with real time 3d digital sound encoding. What are the problems with any modern OS and a card with a chip doing real time 3d encoding then digital out to your home theater (5.1 to 7.1) amp? Is it hardware, software, the encoder, the complex flow of cash per unit shipped? Why are users and the computer industry having so many problems with this? Thanks

Re:Apple? (1)

cybin (141668) | more than 9 years ago | (#13483719)

the cynical answer to this is that apple will let the open source community write it first, and then include it in the operating system (konfabulator, launchbar, etc.etc.)... but, i'm a mac guy, so i can't really say that.

probably the truth is that you don't need on-chip 3-D audio algorithms. the CPU is fast enough to do this and still have the horsepower for whatever else you want... just take a look at the ambisonics equations for 3D sound placement...

problem being, in order for this to work, you have to have your loudspeakers in the exact correct place. i've been in dozens of people's houses with 5.1 setups that are completely wrong. until the computer can know the exact position of the speakers surrounding the listener, none of this will REALLY be possible (beyond maybe a "gee-whiz" factor). but, people will continue to believe it because they spent $1000 on a 7.1 system and a bunch of SACDs...

Soundstorm2 (2, Insightful)

Dimble ThriceFoon (567451) | more than 9 years ago | (#13482842)

My previous PC was based on the Abit NF7-s precisely because it was Soundstorm certified. I loved it, and recommended it to several other people who also ended up getting systems with the same board. I skipped the nForce3 generation because of the poor sound (AC97) and the lack of good cheap audio products, but eventually bit the bullet and got a Shuttle SN25P with nForce4 Ultra and onboard Via Envy 24PT soundchip, not ideal but it does the job. If nVidia released the nForce5 series (presumably for socket M2 and DDR2) with Soundstorm2 I WOULD buy one, and inevitably end up recommending it to others. I love nVidia for the unified drivers under winblows and Linux and can imagine few PC's more sweet than a Silverstone SG01 with a mATX nForce5 board with SS, and a nVidia graphics card with Shader Model 4 (unified shaders). oh, and a PCI-E AGIEA PPU as well for good measure. ;) i like the idea of the daughter-board as you get less electrical interference from motherboard components. Dimble

Soundstorm was incredible (1)

kriston (7886) | more than 9 years ago | (#13483122)

I am among the many people who are puzzled by nVidia's decision to drop Soundstorm from their IGP chipsets. The original Soundstorm was one of the first, if not THE first, high-quality, 3D-audio, 5.1 chipsets that was integrated on motherboards.

They started the revolution that finally brought high-quality, high-featured audio to nearly all modern integrated motherboard chipsets.

I'm excited to hear they have restarted development.

Shit! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#13483168)

Just when I bought a motherboard with an AC97 codec I hear about this! Now I have buzzword envy :/

How Do You Compete When Creative Owns Everything? (1)

rsmith-mac (639075) | more than 9 years ago | (#13483343)

As far as I'm concerned, all the chatter about "SoundStorm is returning" may as well be end-user fantasy until someone figures out how Nvidia is supposed to compete with Creative's patent portfolio. Since the original SoundStorm went in to design for the Xbox1, Creative has acquired both Aureal, and then in 2003 picked up Sensaura, the company responsible for providing most of the audio technologies/techniques that the SoundStorm used. This also means that Creative currently owns all 3 major 3D audio technologies, which translates in to patents on a broad spectrum of different methods to accomplish proper 3D audio.

Really, the only way for Nvidia to compete is for them to re-engineer everything from the bottom up on their own, a task compounded by the fact that Creative likely already owns the patent on the easy way of doing something. Now is Nvidia capable of this? Yes. But is it going to be worth all their efforts to re-invent 3D audio, then spend a couple of years in court with Creative arguing over patents and accusations of copying the Sensaura stuff Nvidia already saw? For Nvidia, the answer is no. Creative is perfectly willing to play hardball(just look at what they did to John Carmack), and the rewards for Nvidia just don't justify the efforts.

Re:How Do You Compete When Creative Owns Everythin (1)

LarsG (31008) | more than 9 years ago | (#13483614)

Creative is perfectly willing to play hardball(just look at what they did to John Carmack)

What was that about? [30 seconds of Googling]. Ah, was that the "We have a patent for 'Carmack's Reverse', so give us cash or include EAX in Doom3" thing?

[Cue yet another /. discussion about the evils of software patents]

ac3filter can do the same thing (1)

bmfs (467488) | more than 9 years ago | (#13483418)

I use ac3filter http://ac3filter.sourceforge.net/download/ [sourceforge.net] to do the same thing - great for watching HD p2p downloads when the file is wmv-hd (wmv-hd doesn't use AC3 or DTS, it uses WMA Professional 5.1 for the audio).

Instructions here: http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?p=19 25770#post1925770 [avforums.com]

I use nvidia on linux but don't trust them (1)

imr (106517) | more than 9 years ago | (#13483516)

They give good driver support but they don't give us full features (will the vivo part of my vivo card will work under linux ever? without having to rely on reverse engineering and manually compilling kernel and modules (thx to rivatv anyway))?
And I don't talk about open source support.

So when it comes to chipset i go to VIA, even if they are not always as fast, since they have open source initiatives (cle, unichrome)
And when it come to sound i go to CREATIVE LABS for the same reasons.

Makes Sense! (1)

usageman (912573) | more than 9 years ago | (#13483862)

It would make alot of sense that NVIDA is working on a next generation card! If a successes it will be interesting to see how much the individual stock shares willl be affected by these new devices {if they sold well} and what quater would they unviel these new cards in? You must have had to dig deep to get this news story.

SoundStorm did what it was built to do.... (1)

ShyGuy91284 (701108) | more than 9 years ago | (#13484866)

I got an A7N8X-Deluxe w/ it built into it. It did the job pretty well. I needed it so that I could hook it up to a home theatre receiver that only supported Dolby Digital and Stereo AUX input (Crappy MidiLand S 8200, I ditched it now for a Creative S750). Linux support was kinda iffie..... But seemed to work pretty well even then with the proper settings.
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