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maxpain's picture
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RE: Faulty dac or faulty files?

I know I never imagined that someone could overload the speakers with the output from the soundcard,I thought that this can only happen when you missmatch the amplifier with the speakers.I is an interesting idea and I am going to do several experiments on it becaouse unfortunately I can't really fit a new dac in the budget that I am going to spent for amplifier and speakers.Thank you both for your help and usefull information! Cheers!

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RE: Faulty dac or faulty files?

If the problem is as abacus describes it would be the pre-amp section of the speakers that are being overloaded not the power amps or speakers. I've used a couple of soundcards with the Z5500 speakers and never come across across the problem but yours may well have a slightly higher output than the ones I used.

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RE: Faulty dac or faulty files?

I have done a littel research and come up with some ideas.  It does seem pretty clear that, as suggested by other posters, the output from the soundcard is too high for the speakers.  Also I have come to the conclusion that it is unlkely new speakers/amp will help much.

Over the course of my reading I came across statements like this:

 

"Max output level is 5Vrms (Differential DAC output with gain adjustment"

 

"X-Meridian delivers a pristine bitstream to your AV equipment as well as the highest analog output levels of any sound card on the market"

 

Now it seems to me that 5v (if true) is way more thanb consumer line levels.

 

I've been trying to find a manual, and am struggling.  But it seems to me that that there is some setting in the drivers/setup tool that all the user to change the output gain for the card.  I would suggest that this setting is reduce to "unity gain" or line level or equivalent.

 

Hope this helps

 

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RE: Faulty dac or faulty files?

It occured to me,  It mayt be worth mentioning that I think "Pro" studio gear often runs at a higher level as standard, so studio monitors may help, but i'm sure they wouldn't handle 5Vrms.

But i think the solution is to fix the output levels on the soundcard before trying or buying new gear.

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RE: Faulty dac or faulty files?

First of all I would like to thank you all for your interest in my problem! I really had a lot of usefull information from you! As for the output level of the soundcard,my knowledge on the matter is practically zero...so...if I understand correctly...the output level means that the sound card is sending more ''power'' or..more 'powerfull signal'' trying to make it more acurate? and this overloads the speakers? Like when you give more throtle in a car when its spining on ice? the car is trying to accelerate but nothing happens? Again I am an amature on these kind of stuff.As far for the solution...I searched the drivers very carefully I didnt see any specific choice for lowering the output level of the soundcard.But you can adjust the db leven on each chanel and of course as I have said the problem seems to dissapear when I am deducing foobars or yourubes volume to -3 or -5 db or in some extreme cases even more.So from the last comments can I assume that the output leven of my soundcard is very high from its nature and I have to deduce it in order to enjoy my soundcard in the fullest pottential?Again I cant really understand what is the ''high output of the soundcard'' so I just make assumptions...

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RE: Faulty dac or faulty files?

"More powerfull signal" basically means the audio signal is coming out of the soundcard at a louder volume. This could be overloading the pre-amp section of your speakers.

 

Try turning the Windows master volume slider down to 80 or 90%. Hopefully that should fix the problem.

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RE: Faulty dac or faulty files?

So higher output means my soundcard its just outputs a louder signal? That makes sense! Turing down the volume on windows or in my music player is indeed solving the problem. I suppose it will remain a mystery that the problem is nto apear when I am palying a movie or most importantly a game (in games I think that the soundcard is producing quite an amound of sounds with the explosions and all)...and of course why that is not happening with all my music files but just with some of them.I would like to keep my volume to 100% becaouse I am using asio trying to keep the original file as close to the source..so for my undertanging when you lower the volume (digitaly) taking bits off the file.But if there is nothing else to try I will keep my volume to the 75% maby? I was going to buy new speakers and amp anyway (I even have another thread asking for oppinios in some combinations)so..maby this problem will go again with the new set of tools! Maby it doesent...either way I am still going to love my music hehe Blum 3

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RE: Faulty dac or faulty files?

Don't worry about the digital volume control effecting the sound quality. A digital volume control does indeed use less bits to lower the volume but this doesn't effect the quality of the sounds you hear it just raises the noise floor. So long as the noise floor is still low enough to be inaudible then the sound will be exactly the same as far as your ears are concerned.

 

Leaving the master volume slider at 75% will be perfectly fine.

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RE: Faulty dac or faulty files?

I think I have read somewhere that when you decrase the sound (digitaly) by -4 db you indeed decrease the bitdepth by 2 bits so when you are listening to a 16bit file and you do that you are actually get 14bits resolution.But I dont really know if that is true and of course I dont really know how that could effect the quality of the music I am listening.I have notice than when I am going 75% in foobar some bass and some dynamics are lost but yet again....maby it was too much in the begining! I dont really have much experience with lots of setus so I cant say,I am just trying to get the maximum out of my humble setup.As for the noise floor...my soundcard is listed as 120 snr if this is what you mean...I Guess thats a good number (my previous was listed as 114snr).Sometimes even without the clipping I am reducing the volume with some recodrings becaouse they sound to forward and too '''overloaded'' like they are strugling to be heared in a way...with some other recordings its just perfect and it becomes worst when I am lowering the volume...maby its about the file and the frequecnies of the songs...but in the end the problem is being solved when I am lowering the digital volume so it must be it. I guess further tests with different speakers,players,files and volume level are nessecery...but if I have to go by 75-80% volume...it would be ok too!

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RE: Faulty dac or faulty files?

I don't know if this is it but I have noticed a problem with Wasapi in Foobar erroneously adding in a distorted like sound occasionally.

Setting output in Foobar to WASAPI (event) I've heard this many times, like a fuzzyness and weird distorted sound. Switching over to Directsound whist playing the file actually seems to fix the issue (can hear it instantly) but I would prefer to be using a bit perfect mode like WASAPI/ASIO.

Anyway good luck.

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RE: Faulty dac or faulty files?

maxpain wrote:

I think I have read somewhere that when you decrase the sound (digitaly) by -4 db you indeed decrease the bitdepth by 2 bits so when you are listening to a 16bit file and you do that you are actually get 14bits resolution.But I dont really know if that is true and of course I dont really know how that could effect the quality of the music I am listening.I have notice than when I am going 75% in foobar some bass and some dynamics are lost but yet again....maby it was too much in the begining!

What you're hearing is just a trick of your ears. It's normal when lowering the volume of music for it to sound like it has less bass and dynamics. This is quite normal and is just a side effect caused by the way your hearing works.

 

Lowering the volume digitally doesn't reduce the relative amount to bass or dynamic ranage compared to the rest of the sound. The only two effects it has is reducing the volume and increasing the noise floor. If you reduce the digital volume on your computer but increase the volume on your speakers so that the resulting volume is still at the same level as before you will find that it still sounds exactly the same as before with the same amount of bass and dynamic range.

 

 

maxpain wrote:

I dont really have much experience with lots of setus so I cant say,I am just trying to get the maximum out of my humble setup.As for the noise floor...my soundcard is listed as 120 snr if this is what you mean...I Guess thats a good number (my previous was listed as 114snr).Sometimes even without the clipping I am reducing the volume with some recodrings becaouse they sound to forward and too '''overloaded'' like they are strugling to be heared in a way...with some other recordings its just perfect and it becomes worst when I am lowering the volume...maby its about the file and the frequecnies of the songs...but in the end the problem is being solved when I am lowering the digital volume so it must be it. I guess further tests with different speakers,players,files and volume level are nessecery...but if I have to go by 75-80% volume...it would be ok too!

The sound floor basically means the volume of added distortion (which will usually sound like background hiss) relative to the volume of rest of the music. At 75% volume the noise floor is slightly louder than at 100% volume but it's still going to be so quiet compared to the rest of the music it will be totally inaudible. Leaving the digital volume at 75% and turning the volume up on your speakers to compensate won't have any effect on the sound quality (although the hiss caused by the electronics in your speakers will be a bit louder now but I suspect that this will still be quiet enough to be inaudible too whenever there is any music playing).

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RE: Faulty dac or faulty files?

Oh I see...so basicaly when I am lowering the volume can degrade the quality but at 75% the degration would be inaudible.Maby the reason that movies and games are not making any distoring sounds is that they are not recorded in such a dynamic range so the sound is more ''flat'' and thus they cant overload the pre amp? It is the only conclusion I got thinking all of your advices...even so...the x-meridian its an outstanding card for its price and can really deliver a very good sound (again for the money). Thank you all for your effort in helping me and giving me some pretty good advice and ideas! Keep enjoying the music! :cheers:

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RE: Faulty dac or faulty files?

maxpain wrote:

Oh I see...so basicaly when I am lowering the volume can degrade the quality but at 75% the degration would be inaudible.Maby the reason that movies and games are not making any distoring sounds is that they are not recorded in such a dynamic range so the sound is more ''flat'' and thus they cant overload the pre amp? It is the only conclusion I got thinking all of your advices

You've probably got a point there. On my computer I do find that movies and games are usually quieter than music.

 

 

maxpain wrote:

...even so...the x-meridian its an outstanding card for its price and can really deliver a very good sound (again for the money). Thank you all for your effort in helping me and giving me some pretty good advice and ideas! Keep enjoying the music! :cheers:

I'm sure that it is very good quality. Almost certainly as good as a proper hifi DAC. I've done a few comparisons in the past and IME a good quality PC soundcard sounds identical to hifi DAC's.

 

You may find this thread of interest. Clicky

:cheers:

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RE: Faulty dac or faulty files?

Points of order.

Your post suggests that you soundcard outputs 5 volts rms. That is outrageously high by hi-fi standards and it is not remotely surprising that it is over loading the next item in the chain. It is two and a half times the output of a CD player and perhaps ten times the output of of some other source components. Suggest you can contact the manufacturers and see if it can be reduced. (In hardware rather than software)

Turn it down to a level that allows the volume control on you amplifier to be used at normal levels, that is as good a guide as any.

Digital volume controls lose 1 bit of resolution for each 6dB of attenuation.

Most processors run at 24, 32 or even more bits, this is irrespective of the number of bits in the signal. Thus, worse case, for CD standard digital, you can lose 8 bits, ie 48dB (6dB  x 8bits) below full output before you affect the signal at all.

In general terms it means that if you use the digital volume on a software player, and set up so it's volume level is even reasonably close to maximum for serious listening, then you will not hear it.

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RE: Faulty dac or faulty files?

Oh I know...soundcards have made serious progress in terms of hi fi and there are some card out there that make wonders similar to devices with 5 times the price! Some soundcards that cost 150-200 euros have dac's that you can find in amplifiers that cost over 1000 euros and more or in external dac's in the ragne of 500 euros.They also have very good (not allways) suportive software and capabilitys letting you use your pc like the center of all your media not just music but movies and games too.It is very interesting..the thread that you mentioned and I am going to read it for sure!  :cheers:

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