Computer audio quality...

Discussion in 'Computing' started by dwcook, Nov 26, 2001.

  1. dwcook

    dwcook Guest


    Please lend your opinions/observations...

    The question is--is it really possible to get the same digital audio integrity out of a properly set up PC or Mac DAW as out of a stand alone unit, like a Tascam DA-88?

    I set up a DAW at home, assuming that it would at least be good enough for working on material that had been recorded on Adat/DA-88, and now I'm not so sure.

    I recently started doing a bunch of A/B tests, and it seems that anything that is played from the computer is slightly degraded--a slight loss of detail and apparent space and depth.
    Doesn't sound as good as the DA88s I've worked with--and those don't have fancy converters...

    So, working with playback to begin with, I've imported files from finished CDs directly into wavelab, and playback from wavelab or Logic doesn't sound as good as playback from my Marantz home CD player. And, direct playback from the computer's internal CD player doesn't sound as good as the playback from the Marantz. Sounds like the kind of degradation you get from poor clocking. So I'm wondering is it possible to clock computers tight enough for "good" audio.

    When doing these comparisons, no processing, mixing or level changing was done in logic, wavelab or the RME output mixer. The RME is supposed to be bit perfect when set at unity gain.

    I'm NOT asking for anyone to troubleshoot my system, just let me know if you've actually tested out any PC or Mac based DAW that you KNOW sounds as good as a standalone digital device. If you have, tell me what worked for you. If there's a light at the end of the tunnel I'll keep working on this and put off getting a standalone recorder to go along with my computer.

    The kind of music I've been recording is primarily steel string guitar and vocal--folk, simple, but it sounds better when it sounds better...

    FYI my system is:
    PC, Win ME, Intel 1 gig P3, 512ram
    Asus cusl2-c w/ intel 815e chipset
    Tekram 160 SCSI controller
    Scsi drive IBM 10Krpm (for audio)
    40 gig seagate IDE drive for all else
    Plextor CDR 40X and Plex CD/RW 12x10x32
    Matrox G-450 Video card

    RME digiface audio interface
    Apogee PSX-100 AD/DA
    Lucid GenX6-96 as word master--75 ohm canare cables, 75 ohm terminators

    Logic Plat 4.7
    Wavelab 3.0

    Thanks for your input,

    Dave Cook
  2. Opus2000

    Opus2000 Well-Known Member

    Apr 7, 2001
    I would have to say that I've heard PC based DAW systems definately sounding better than stand alone MDM systems! I guess it all depends on your OS and the card and the way you bring the sound out of the card. I'll tell you this right now..Win2k sounds better than 98 or Me..hands down! No joke!! I hear a huge difference between those OS's..Win2k sounds clearer and more defined. I use a Layla20 bit and I'll have to say the sound that comes out is amazing!!! Sometimes when I have people listen to a song they ask what studio it was recorded from..I tell them my PC at home and usually their jaws drop!! just my $.02 worth
  3. Teacher

    Teacher Member

    Aug 15, 2001
    opus u should let us hear some....

    and did u set it to 24/96 if u did i dunno what to tell u

    besides the os thing maybe its true ntfs is "warmer" :p
  4. Opus2000

    Opus2000 Well-Known Member

    Apr 7, 2001 24/96 need for that..I aint doing DVD production!! lol
    It's not NTFS it's NT technology...ya know..where it boots up and says based on NT(New Technology) Technology..always baffled me why they have to put technology twice :p
    The way that Win2k is coded is why it sounds better..smoother handling of the bits and so forth..
  5. dwcook

    dwcook Guest


    Thanks for your comment.
    So, Win2k sounds better than ME? That's very interesting... do you care to venture a guess as to why this might be?

    For the price of an OS I'll try it out to hear for myself, but I'm really curious as to how an OS could affect audio quality as opposed to just stability, dropouts and things like that.

  6. dwcook

    dwcook Guest

    One more question along the same line--

    Does the mac OS sound better than NT?

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