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Re: CD player

> -----Original Message-----
> 2010/1/27 Neil Waterman <neil.waterman@xxxxxxxxxxxx>:
> > If you go this route, note that the general run-of-the-mill soundcard
> > comes as part of a PC-bundle or laptop is not a very high-quality piece
> > kit
> As far as I know these is not true anymore with newer motherboards.

I recently tried out a rather useful piece of free software - RightMark
Audio Analyser - which tests sound cards, and I did a number of measurements
of a couple of different laptops, two USB sound cards, and one desktop
motherboard-based sound card. None of these were even close to being "top of
the line", but as you say, most of the modern cards do seem pretty good for
sound output. The same wasn't true for input though.

The biggest difference in sound output was in the low frequency response -
those cards which don't operate right down to DC often have a roll-off which
starts at quite a high frequency (even as high as 100 Hz). There were also
significant differences in distortion, but none of them were really bad.

The differences on the input side were dominated by noise levels: both the
laptops' built-in sound cards were prone to quite bad electrical noise,
especially if the signal level was low. The desktop motherboard sound card
was much better, but the cleanest were the USB sound cards.

Overall the best audio quality was from the cheapest USB sound card
(Behringer UCA-202). The down-side is that it doesn't have any "bells and
whistles" - no analogue recording level control, for example, so you usually
need to drive it with a pre-amp if you're using it for input. So as usual,
the moral is - don't judge a sound card by its price tag.