Home > Multimedia, AV > The State of Motherboard Audio The State of Motherboard Audio Eugenia Loli 2003-07-02 Multimedia, AV 19 Comments Motherboard audio has sounded awful for a long time. But over the last few years, it has improved steadily. It’s still not ready to replace the best PCI sound cards, but based on ExtremeTech’s extensive testing, it might just work for you. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 19 Comments 2003-07-02 5:14 pm The actual amount of information per page in this article is horrible – I’m guessing this is to make me watch all the flashy ads.. 2003-07-02 5:16 pm Just read the “Print” link and you will get the whole article in a single page. I agree that their per-page info is too short. 2003-07-02 5:48 pm http://www.extremetech.com/print_article/0,3998,a=44174,00.asp good tip Eugenia 2003-07-02 5:55 pm It is actually, not fair to link there. People should only be using that link if they find it themselves. Companies are stuggling these days… 2003-07-02 6:15 pm 27 adds per paragraph is cool! They’re like little hugs from the advertising industry. 2003-07-02 6:33 pm I’m no expert on these things, but I have an Asus Mboard with the C-Media chip and I think it works fine. I purchased the SPDIF add-in as well, and that sounds great. I’ve always assumed that using the digital output negates any of the effects of the crappy chip and performance issues. Since there’s no D/A conversion and the preamp section does not come into play, it seems like the quality of chip shouldn’t matter. However, I’ve also thought that the same would apply to the digital outs on CD players, but some people still think that you need a great CD player even if you’re just using the optical output. Is there anyone who can add some color to this? 2003-07-02 6:37 pm Purple. Green. Yellow. How’s that? 2003-07-02 6:43 pm Leela: Didn’t you have ads in the 21st century?” Fry: Well sure, but not in our dreams. Only on TV and radio, and in magazines, and movies, and at ball games… and on buses and milk cartons and t-shirts, and bananas and written on the sky. But not in dreams, no siree. 2003-07-02 7:54 pm Why hasn’t Creative Labs made onboard Sound Blasters? Seeing as how C-Media and others are still using the AC97 spec for onboard audio chips! 2003-07-02 8:31 pm Almost every board with onboard audio I have ever seen uses the i810 audio chipset. In my experience, this is the worst audio chipset ever devised (especially if you wish to use something other than windows). Outside of windows this thing can only handle one audio stream. 2003-07-02 8:47 pm There is no motivation for Creative to make onboard sound cards as they are making more money making PCI sound cards. Who would buy their PCI sound cards if they made onboard ones? The AC97 spec, regardless of the name has changed since 1997. C-Media is a bottom of the barrel company that has more skills than you think, but I don’t think they are overly concerned with performance rather than features. I think sound cards will see a big change in the next 5 years, I don’t think the cards we use today will even be used in 5-8 years. Except in legacy systems (…) Anyways, if you want good sound you know to get a PCI sound card, if you don’t overly care about independant bass/treble settings or slight hissing and crackling then an onboard card works GREATTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTtt _____________________ GO PLAY IN TRAFFIC 2003-07-02 8:56 pm Actually, I remember there were some boards that used sb128 chips as integrated audio. And as for AC97 – simply put this is just name of codec technology. Creative uses it in pci boards too (but this pci cards have also chips for audio processing – onboard audio usually lacks this) 2003-07-02 9:44 pm I really don’t mind ads, as long as they are not flashy, animated or has sound – I even click quite a few of them because their offers interest me for some reason or another (target ads are a good thing as opposed to just porn ads which are annoying). Something like the OSNews page doesn’t annoy me much, the top animated ad banner at least blends with the page design a bit so it’s not “in your face” and “desperate” like the ones in this article… and deliberately posting an article to get as many ads showed just piss me off. 2003-07-02 9:47 pm I wish they’d leave out a lot of stuff that’s included on the mainboards. It is usually a pain in the ass to disable the things you don’t want (if you even CAN) just so you can free up some resources for your own devices (PCI audio, etc). So many motherboards causing so many pro-audio problems by having audio on them… Bundling. Good and Bad. I remember when the IDE controller was not included on the motherboards. I sometimes think that’s where we should be today. 2003-07-02 10:07 pm I’ve found that onboard sound still doesn’t rival that of a good addin card. I use my PC to compose and record original music, and as such I try to get the cleanest sound I can without going all out and buying expensive pro gear. So far the SB Live and Audigy line’s about the best I’ve found for the money. I recently upgraded to an Abit IC-7 MB, which comes with a supposedly high-quality 6 channel output. I was hoping that I could leave out my SB Live card as the Midi addon board isn’t 100% supported under WinXP. The other night I felt I’ve gotten enough of the basics configured on the PC to play around with some Audio apps, and I found that the onboard sound, while good, was not as clean as the SB Live is. At lower volumes it sounds fine, but as volumes increase, the background “hiss” of interference grew noticably loud. I’ve kinda always thought that on-board audio was inferior to a dedicated piece of hardware, and this board just proves to me this hasn’t changed. I’ve always felt it would be hard to have all that juice running around your Motherboard without having some form of audible interference. Don’t get me wrong, the onboard audio of this board sounds better than the AC-97 output of my PVR box (The IC-7 uses an AC97 based chip I believe), but it is just too noisy for use as a musician I feel. Does anyone have any experience with that AOpen specialized audio motherboard they came out with awhile ago? I remember reading the press releases about how it was going to incorporate actual tube technology on board in its sound circuit for that hard-to-get analogue sound (it had a small tube as is found in many guitar amps… The “number” slips my mind though. Ac-9?). I always thought that the naturl interference of a PC’s electronics would outweigh any benefit realized with the addition of a tube. Heat would be another factor probably… 2003-07-03 12:12 am Audio on board doesn’t really work well with all os’s. The AC97 on my Epox mb works great in windows, crashes esd often in Redhat9, wasn’t even supported in Redhat8 but works ok on FreeBSD 5 (go figure!) It’s really more trouble than it’s worth, if I wasn’t so damn lazy I’d have bought a real sound card by now 🙂 2003-07-03 12:44 am The onboard audio works fine for me in Windows and Redhat Linux. Sounds fine for me aswell, but I can rarely tell a difference in sound quality with my Klipsch speakers. Just my .02 2003-07-03 3:03 am If companies are struggling to make money I’d suggest selling something more valuable than advertisements to your customers. But what do I know? 2003-07-03 2:24 pm Not to be trolling or anything, but what does this have to do with operating system news?