_WHY_ is AC97 bad?

Discussion in 'PC Audio' started by Spamcake, Apr 14, 2004.

  1. Gruggy

    Gruggy Member

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    What are you guys saying your onboard sound is "fine" comparing them to? If by "fine" you mean free from annoying buzzes and distortion then I could say almost all of my audio equipment sounds "fine", but it sounds like crap compared to quality gear.

    JET-RS: You can get a Revo for around $US99 + around $US35 shipping from eBay. Local prices are around $250 I think. I also just did a big post in this thread about the Chaintech AV-710, which is said to rival the Revo (it uses the same chipset) and only costs $US26 + postage. This card has coax-out if I recall correctly.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2004
  2. TommmA

    TommmA Member

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    you haven't listened to anyhting else that is why....
     
  3. CBJ

    CBJ Member

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    spamcake, you said you do pro audio
    then you should know about grounding

    the buzzing people talk about is because their system isn't grounded properly

    the more grounded, the less noise
    i still get buzzing (from mouse movement, hard drive seeking) even with a "real" sound card. again, grounding related, the speaker lead is unsheilded, it's near a monitor, power supply to speakers isn't grounded, etc.

    let's be real, the electronics are right near other electronics, and so would pick up all sorts of interference. loud or soft, it's all there. you can just prevent it.. :)

    AC97 is a "standard", and like jarnex said, it's up to manufacturers to meet or exceed it. it does fine for me, but i use an external amp/headphones/speakers.
    i use an STAudio C-Port for all my home-studio stuff (uses the envy24), and it shits all over the onboard stuff, i just wish ESI would pull their finger out and rewrite the multicard support... mmmmmmmm, 32 channels... :)
     
  4. bugayev

    bugayev Whammy!

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    actually, i have.

    i'm not saying my sound is best ever... or that i'm an expert in these things. what i AM saying is that i can't fault my onboard ac97. it gives me 5.1, i can pump it up, it doesnt crackle and it didn't cost me anything.

    i was just curious about whehter the differnce is realy THAT noticeable for everyday use...?
     
  5. douver

    douver Member

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    i had an audigy1
    after issues with games i pulled it out and tried my 6channel sound on my 8k3a
    the realtek drivers were so much better than those creative drivers - the control panel was user friendly and didnt take ages to install
    sound quality difference wasnt noticeable and better compatibility with games

    i know audigy 2 is meant to have better drivers but after seeing onboard i have no reason to go back :)

    my 2 channel ac97 system was rather poor is why i got the audigy
    but all the 6 channel ones ive owned have been perfect
     
  6. MWP

    MWP Member

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    AC97 isnt actually to blame for all you guys problems.

    AC97 is only a audio tranmission standard, and is actually capable of better than CD quality sound (48khz, 16bit).

    What is to blame are all the cheapie sound cards & onboard sound using it.
     
  7. Hibba

    Hibba Member

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    Even a cheapy C-media soundcard is better then AC97, and the c-media only runs in at like $19. It all just depends on what you want, and how much you want to spend.
     
  8. OP
    OP
    Spamcake

    Spamcake Member

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    Well I'm not that much of a pro. I play keyboard and the main reason I have the Delta 44 is for low-latency ASIO drivers so I can play soft-synths live (as opposed to having to squence them) on my MIDI keyboard.

    So except for final output (which is usually headphones) I don't really dabble in the ugly, messy world of analog audio signals much at all.

    Soft-synths rock my world, I don't think I will ever buy another hardware synth again.
     
  9. deepspring

    deepspring Member

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    In the recent past, motherboards with onboard AC97 or Crystal Media audio chipsets were flaky creatures. These generally had really poor sound quality and serious problems with hardware conflicts with PCI addon cards (even when they were "Disabled" in the BIOS).

    While the hardware conflicts issue has disappeared to some extent (I haven't seen any with any of the newer boards I have here). The sound quality is still attrocious, if you start up a very system intensive task you can often hear "pops", "crackles" and even low-moderate pitch whines coming through your speakers or head phones.

    I am also yet to see one of the 6.1 channel versions of the AC97 chipset (like the ALC650) actually work at anything other than 2 or 2.1 channel (using the appropriate drivers distributed with your motherboard and off the internet).

    Then there is the so called theoretical system overhead commonly associated with "onboard" features that use the CPU to aid in processing tasks. Onboard video cards are a classic example of this. Generally, most PCI addon card's like sound cards have their own processing power for these tasks and require virtually nothing from the CPU.

    In theory the more CPU intensive tasks you can offload onto an appropriate addon card, the more system and processor performance your supposed to gain. In the coming weeks, after I re-register my car, I am hoping to buy a PCI SoundBlaster Audigy ES and a decent 10/100 PCI NIC, so I can disable as much of the onboard crap on my system as possible to test this theory (see the link to my PCDB entry for my system specs).

    Anyway... feel free to correct me if anything sounds wrong.
     
  10. NotHappy

    NotHappy Member

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    I haven't read all this thread but I've just got an AC97 Supported motherboard for cheap as chips compared to the latest and greatest boards.. and for general use its fantastic.. It shits on my SB live I can actually get 6.1 separate channels with my Z-680's I couldn't do that with my SBLIVE.

    Also I hate soundblasters / creatives drivers they are just craploads of annoyingness.

    Thumbs up for onboard audio unless your a professional recorder.. as for games you'll get away with AC97 quite comfortably and it saves a whole lot of extra crap.

    You guys are getting too fussy about your components if you ask me.
     
  11. LaRgO

    LaRgO Member

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    I got the onboard sound on my NF7-S, nfi what it is, but I couldnt hear some channels go off, my SB Live! is the winnar, even a vibra addon to the onboard is fine, vibras go for very cheap and are nice cards
     
  12. NotHappy

    NotHappy Member

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    i got 6.1 channels with ac97 and it i coudln't get that with my sblive de 5.1
     
  13. Goose AU

    Goose AU Member

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    fool! The Nf7-s has soundstorm, which is ~ audigy DE quality sound! The best onboard you can get! Much better than my SB Live!

    The only excuse to use AC97 quality sound is if you use those crappy 10 dollar Multimedia speakers which cost about 10 dollars, and you can hear the difference
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2004
  14. fo3

    fo3 (Taking a Break)

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    I still use the onboard sound on my main pc (msi via266 pro mobo). I do want to upgrade to get better quality sound eventually, but at the moment I haven't experienced problems with buzzing, hissing etc, so I'm in no rush. In fact its on par with the soundblaster pci cards (creative ensonique ct4810 chip cards I have in my other PCs), ie they're both not great fbut do the job. The soundblasters have a problem when connecting to a lan server the audio goes on loop until the game loads, the onboard sound systems dont :confused:
    But yeah the main reason I want to upgrade is the performance hit you get in games with onboard and shitty soundblaster cards. Probably just get a soundblaster live 5.1 unless someone tells me they are crap and no better than the ac97 and ct4810. Cant see myself paying more than $100 though, as I'll need at least 2 (one for my main PC, one for my HT PC)
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2004

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