Best Onboard Motherboard Audio?

Discussion in 'Motherboards' started by JoseJones, Jun 1, 2014.

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  1. JoseJones

    JoseJones Gawd

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    Best Onboard Motherboard Audio?

    I am really interested in great onboard sound. There's some really sweet audio technology onboard motherboards nowadays but, which is truly best after reading through all the hype? And is all that GOLD really necessary or is it just jacking up the price?

    I'm impressed with what Gigabyte is now doing with Sound Blasters Creative Sound Core3D quad-core audio processor but, I've not been able to test it out for myself.

    Gigabyte 8 Series G1-Killer audio:

    Introducing GIGABYTE AMP-UP Audio
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0vWSwiGpmCg

    Here's the new Gigabyte Z97X-Gaming G1 for a mere $379 (it would be likely $100 cheaper without all that gold).

    - Onboard Creative Sound Core3D™ quad-core audio processor
    - AMP-UP Audio technology with exclusive Upgradable OP-AMP
    - Audio Noise Guard with LED path lighting
    - Dual DAC-UP USB ports
    - Gold plated display and audio ports
    - High end Nichicon audio capacitors

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128700

    http://www.soundblaster.com

    http://www.youtube.com/soundblaster

    So that's just Gigabyte but others are coming up with great audio packages as well but, which is best?

    I wonder if some of these audio packages will be covered at Computex?

    As an aside from the onboard sound chip, I'd ALSO be curious to see if they show any audio performance improvements with the new HDMI 2.0. HDMI right now is at 8-channel while HDMI 2.0 will be 32-Channel. An audio demonstration video of the new HDMI 2.0 at Computex would be helpful.

    Are there any reviews of these audio packages by credentialed audio/sound experts who really know what they're talking about? It can be difficult to wade through all the hype.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2014
  2. Bluesun311

    Bluesun311 2[H]4U

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    MSIs gaming 9 onboard looks like it's the most over engineered on the new z97 boards. I'm not sure if the mpower max or xpower ax have the same solutions or not. Having the DAC stuck on a motherboard probably isn't the best way to go but for the most part onboard codecs are all comparable in quality. You won't find better sound OUTput by flipping the 96khz switch (or the 192khz switch either) but all the boards with the sound elements physically divided from the rest of the components are going to have similar SNR output, I'm guessing. The quoted SNR on all these boards is purely the statistic associated with bitrates, which are given and not variable, so marketing BS. The onboard DACs will have varying overall SNR and that's where it seemed to me the gaming 9 looked like it had the upper hand.
     
  3. Tup3x

    Tup3x [H]ard|Gawd

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    If it uses the DAC built in that SoundCore chip then it is not going to be that good because it has pretty poor built in DAC and ADC.
     
  4. Skripka

    Skripka [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Le FacePalm.

    Hoss. If you use HDMI for audio then you entirely bypass the motherboard audio hardware.
     
  5. JoseJones

    JoseJones Gawd

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    You miss the point, it's an audio and motherboard related question raised for discussion:

     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2014
  6. RPGWiZaRD

    RPGWiZaRD Gawd

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    My vote goes for AsRock Purity Sound!

    I have a SoundBlaster ZxR sitting on the shelf right now. :) My headphones + amp actually sounds better out of the Extreme6 Z87 with Realtek ALC1150 + TI NE5532 opamps which is weird since the ZxR is a $200+ card.

    The bass texture and control is better on the AsRock, it's punchier with just as much impact but less bloat. The mids is the only thing I think ZxR does better, it has slightly bit more "organic fullbodiness" like it's enhanced a bit but the ASrock onboard feels slightly more neutral in that sense and it's definitely not lacking by any stretch, it's just the ZxR does mids particularly well (the only thing I liked about it). The highs again I prefer the ASrock, they sound more realistic somehow. The ZxR has slight bit "grain" to it almost.

    I've only tested one other ALC1150 solution and that's the ASUS offering but their version doesn't sound nearly as good as the ASrock (waaaay too smooth in the highs due to excess amount caps that they taut as "reducing peaky highs")! Remember to always use 5.1 speaker config though irrelevant if you use headphones or stereo speakers or 5.1 setup because soundstaging is lacking if you use stereo/headphones on Realtek onboard but it does EXTREMELY well if using 5.1, the ZxR doesn't seem to use 5.1 speaker settings equally well and with stereo/headphones it doesn't either match the soundstaging (expansiveness, out of the head feel) that Realtek does with 5.1 speaker config.

    Due to the soundstaging capabilities with 5.1 speaker config on Realtek I'd personally pick it over any Sound Core wannabe onboard solutions because then you get to use Creative drivers and creative doesn't seem to do stereo to virtual 5.1 surround equally well. I think with Titanium HD cards that worked better (using stereo speakers instead of headphones since headphones changes it for the worse to my ears but with ZxR I was too dissappointed with soundstaging since you can just use "headphones" in the creative driver panel, it always sounds too in my head. :(
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2014
  7. Tup3x

    Tup3x [H]ard|Gawd

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    One of our PC's have that Asrock's combo. It picks a lot of interference from nearby LTE modem and I do not think it is anywhere near as good as my Zx. Something must be wrong and/or you prefer some kind of sound which is not necessarily better. You are mixing two things as one. Pure audio quality isn't the same thing as personal virtual 5.1 audio preferences. No one wants to keep SBX enabled while not gaming, it's obviously not going to sound good.

    I had issues in the beginning but that was caused by the speaker setup thingy that messed up the sound. (Like I've said in certain thread in Head-Fi - lol).
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2014
  8. TheGoat Eater

    TheGoat Eater [H]ard|Gawd

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    Hands down the MSI Z97 GAMING 9 The one if you are interested in great onboard sound. I plan to get one and test it out, would be nice to free up some room on my desktop from no longer needing my DAC and AMP
     
  9. SonDa5

    SonDa5 [H]ardness Supreme

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    A good DAC is always good to have for a specific sound that you enjoy.

    That new MSI board with the super high quality specs sounds very promising.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2014
  10. Bluesun311

    Bluesun311 2[H]4U

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    It does look nice... but still no RCA out. When they start putting RCAs on the onboard audio I'll have another look.
     
  11. Skripka

    Skripka [H]ardForum Junkie

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    No you just don't get it.

    You use HDMI to carry audio, then you are not using your motherboard audio hardware AT ALL. HDMI means that you have an audio receiver that does DSP/DAC/amp duties and does it all, as the signal comes to your computer in digital form and leaves in digital form...in fact it never leaves digital form.

    All those "AMP-UP Audio technology with exclusive Upgradable OP-AMP", "Dual DAC-UP USB ports", and "High end Nichicon audio capacitors " you do not use whatsoever. Your choice of interface (HDMI) completely removes the audio from being motherboard related. So there isn't much to discuss so long as you're worried about using HDMI.


    Hell the only reason you'd use the "Onboard Creative Sound Core3D™ quad-core audio processor" is if you're using a software DSP...which most people don't as they sound like shit.
     
  12. bigsnyder

    bigsnyder Gawd

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    Wow, that does look interesting. Very nice selection of audio components.


    @OP
    Gigabyte does have cheaper boards that feature the Creative audio chip.
     
  13. JoseJones

    JoseJones Gawd

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    Wow, I guess you don't realize that the HDMI IS ATTACHED TO THE MOTHERBOARD! You just don't get the fact that it is an audio/motherboard question I am bringing up to find out if the new HDMI 2.0 audio is noticeably better than the older HDMI - that is an aside from the onboard motherboard sound chip - what part of that do you not understand? If you still don't understand then, I recommend having someone else explain it to you on a 4th grade level. But since HDMI 2.0 is not even out yet, everything you're being an idiot about is completely irrelevant. If it's over your head then, just let it go and forget about it.

    You STILL miss the point, it's an audio and motherboard related question raised for discussion and I even mentioned Computex - hoping that they might have a demonstration on the new HDMI 2.0 audio (I hope they'll demonstrate the audio AND video of HDMI 2.0 at Computex since HDMI 2.0 isn't even out yet but, this thread is about AUDIO on motherboards - both onboard sound chips AND HDMI 2.0):

    Take note how you are the only one who doesn't understand. Oh, I get it, you're just a troll. You can't possibly really be this stupid.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2014
  14. bigsnyder

    bigsnyder Gawd

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    Your question is confusing since you were asking about onboard audio solutions in your original post implying that this might have something to do with HDMI audio output (I realize now that you are asking a separate question).

    I believe your question regarding HDMI would best be served in another thread probably in the Computer Audio sub-forum.
     
  15. JoseJones

    JoseJones Gawd

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    No, it is not confusing. The title of the thread is "Best Onboard Motherboard Audio?" I mentioned both onboard sound and HDMI 2.0. Come on, Jesus Christ, if I understand this, then, it really shouldn't be difficult. And, I'm talking specifically about onboard motherboard audio, which includes onboard sound chips as well as HDMI 2.0 - not computer sound cards etc. Just actually read the post and THINK before posting. Only an average IQ is required here nothing more.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2014
  16. JoseJones

    JoseJones Gawd

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    The gold issue needs to be addressed. There's no doubt that gold is an excellent conductor and I am not challenging that fact. I am challenging the necessity of so much gold. It is not necessary and just jacks up the price by about $100 on the Gigabyte boards mentioned in the OP.

    The places where gold would be more necessary are places where extreme and constant humidity are a real issue, like in Cambodia or Vietnam or anywhere like that. It's practically a desert where I live for 6 months out of the year. Most of us just do not need that much gold. I like that the gold option is available but, I'd just like a minimum gold option too.

    Motherboard 24Kt Gold? How Much Gold?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2zEBUclZOyA

    http://www.tomshardware.com/picturestory/550-gold-motherboard-chemistry.html
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2014
  17. JoseJones

    JoseJones Gawd

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  18. Dan_D

    Dan_D [H]ard as it Gets

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    The MSI Z97 Gaming 9 looks very promising. I'm looking forward to getting my hands on one. As for the Creative Sound Core3D on the GIGABYTE boards, I don't think it's a bad solution by any means but it isn't any better than the Realtek ALC1150 on an ASUS board in practice.

    Allot of boards are going with Nichicon (or some sort of dedicated, purpose built audio capacitors) audio capacitors, isolated audio on the PCB and integrate Texas Instruments amplifiers. In fact I pretty much just described all the major mid-high end motherboards this generation from MSI, GIGABYTE and ASUS. That MSI board is interesting because it tells you exactly what DAC is being used and it's using the C-Media chip instead of Realtek or Creative. On the other hand while I'm not sold on Realtek as a whole, ASUS is doing some amazing things with it in the ROG line with their programmable OP-AMP.

    So far I haven't really messed with this generation's high end offerings on the audio front yet, but I'm looking forward to getting my hands on them.
     
  19. JoseJones

    JoseJones Gawd

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    Has anybody tried out these new audio technologies to test yet? It sounds like we need a type of:

    Realtek ALC1150 vs Onboard Creative Sound Core3D quad-core audio processor vs HDMI 2.0

    MSI Z97 Gaming 9
    http://www.amazon.com/MSI-Motherboards-Z97-GAMING-AC/dp/B00K23C0ZS/

    Gigabyte Z97 GAMING 7
    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00JKCHDEU?tag=intercept-kb-20

    I couldn't find the Gigabyte gaming 9 on Amazon

    Are there any reviews of these audio packages by credentialed audio/sound experts who really know what they're talking about? It can be difficult to wade through all the hype.
     
  20. dandragonrage

    dandragonrage [H]ardForum Junkie

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    32 channel audio means nothing to you or I unless you actually plan to set that up. And even if you do, it's not like you will find content for it, nor is there a Dolby Pro Logic for that many channels. It's great that our interconnects are no longer imposing the limitations, because interconnects are literally the last thing that should be limiting our amount of audio channels. Content and hardware (amplification/speakers) should determine this, not how many channels some interconnect designer thought ought to be enough for everyone.
     
  21. bigsnyder

    bigsnyder Gawd

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    If you want continued meaning discussion, don't be an ass. I was trying to help clarify why more than one person had confusion with your question. Because it makes sense to you doesn't mean it will to everyone else.
     
  22. Dan_D

    Dan_D [H]ard as it Gets

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    You don't have to be an ass. We are trying to help you. I've tried to explain the situation as best as I can. The sad truth is that the information you want is going to be difficult to get because motherboard manufacturers go to great lengths to avoid you finding out just how something is built. Why? Because they don't want their competitors figuring it out either. ASUS I believe was first with the isolated PCB design. Now GIGABYTE and MSI do it too. In fact MSI's design is almost identical on the Z97 Gaming boards to last generations Republic of Gamers audio. I've heard from many motherboard companies about how they struggle to avoid the others reverse engineering their designs. They all buy each other's boards and do just that. They do not make it easy for the layman to figure out what's best, nor how it's made.

    So good luck wading through the hype. I have do it every time I get ahold of one of these things for review. Even I can't get through all of it. There is a reason why I don't talk about Ultra-Durable 5 or Audio Boost 2.0 as a specific feature but rather try and tell you what that means exactly. They mask, twist and try and sensationalize everything.

    That's pretty much what motherboard companies want you to see above all else. We don't even get full disclosure from each company on just how these things are built and what all components specifically are necessarily used. I have had just as many questions about designs, implementations or technology avoided as answered. The audio capacitors, if you can ID them are there to see, but the DAC information and other specs are often harder to find. Sometimes the important stuff is covered by a shield which prevents you from seeing all the specifics. Like I said, MSI on their website is very fourth coming about the MSI Z97 Gaming 9's audio, which is refreshing. Though quality of implementation is something which must be evaluated and is largely subjective.

    In fact many technical aspects of the board design are hidden as much as possible by all manufacturers as they don't want each other copying the other. It still happens as I've pointed out quite a few times. At best they can delay the copy for a generation or two.

    You brought up Creative Sound Core3D vs. Realtek ALC1150. I've used them both and frankly there isn't much difference. The OP-AMP used and DAC differences drastically change the sound of the solution. I swapped OP-AMPs out on the GIGABYTE G1 Sniper 5 and it totally changed how it sounded. It went from being virtually indistinguishable from a Realtek ALC1150 to having too much base and poor mid-range as if some rap star had taken over the damn thing.

    I've seen dozens or more Realtek ALC1150 based boards. The quality of audio can still vary wildly amongst different models even from the same manufacturer. Allot of bad boards use the ALC898 or ALC892, and even the ALC1150. Many good boards used those solutions as well. And good luck trying to figure out precisely what's different about each of those solutions. I've never gotten a straight answer on that question from any motherboard manufacturer. And you can compare half a dozen Realtek ALC1150's to a single board with a Creative Sound Core3D chip on it and find that one or none of the Realtek's stack up.
     
  23. JoseJones

    JoseJones Gawd

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    bigsnyder & Dan_D,

    You are not helping, you're both now just being fucking pricks. This whole thing was over and now you've brought it back up again - and you're just fucking lunatics for it. How fucking stupid can you possibly be?

    Besides, I'm not the "ass" here, dumb fuck Skripka is for attacking me while he clearly had absolutely no clue what the fuck he was talking about at all and now you dumb-asses are kissing his ass for it. Just shut the fuck up and let it go. It was over until you stupid fucks brought it up again.

    Fucking clown shoes!
     
  24. JoseJones

    JoseJones Gawd

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    Jesus Christ, I don't need to be talked down to like some fucking 9 year old. Is that your idea of helping? All you needed to say was:

    But, what motherboards, speakers and headphones did you test them out on? I understand that this is your opinion but how do I know you have any clue what you're talking about?

    See, this is why I made this comment in the OP:

    "Are there any reviews of these audio packages by credentialed audio/sound experts who really know what they're talking about? It can be difficult to wade through all the hype."
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2014
  25. JoseJones

    JoseJones Gawd

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    Yep, fair enough, dandragonrage, the 8 vs 32-channel on HDMI 2.0 is just about all the info given regarding the sound so, I'm just curious if there's any sound performance increase or not. They make a big to do about the video performance increase but HDMI also carries audio so it would be hard to believe that they made no audio improvements to go with.
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2014
  26. Tsumi

    Tsumi [H]ardForum Junkie

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    He explained exactly why it's difficult for the general public found in a forum like this, and even audio experts, to determine how good the motherboard hardware is. If you bothered to read.

    Also, you may want to edit your posts. You've got an infraction incoming if you don't.

    Additionally, your initial post can be misread and misunderstood. If you had said "On a different note, how does HDMI 2.0 compare to HDMI 1.x?" the confusion would have never existed. As it stands, that one unrelated line seems like it's related to the entire wall of text in your OP.
     
  27. JoseJones

    JoseJones Gawd

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    Another stupid fucking clown shoe! Jesus christ, this used to be a great place to interact with intelligent people about computers but, now it's full of low IQ trolls.

    No, that's both of you inadvertently proving you have no idea what you're talking about and have almost no research skills whatsoever. I don't embrace bullshit excuses. It's actually not all that difficult to sus out when one knows what they're doing. If you don't know what you're talking about, then, don't pretend like you do as it's easily spotted.

    It's all there for those who were actually paying attention. Again, only an average IQ is required here nothing more. Is this the short bus section of the forum?

    Skripka owes me an apology for attacking me personally TWICE over his own clown shoe mistake. Had he not attacked me for his error it would've been different. I have zero patience for such bullshit. Not one of you called Skripka out on it. Instead you further attack me and bring it all up again AFTER it was over. So, just shut the fuck up dumb ass.
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2014
  28. Tsumi

    Tsumi [H]ardForum Junkie

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    The only one doing any attacking around here is YOU. There was absolutely NO attack on Skipka's side. A facepalm might be slightly offensive, but it's far from a personal attack. But if you really think he was attacking you, you need to calm down, take a few deep breaths, and reread his posts. Nowhere did he call you stupid, or an idiot, or names. The only namecalling and attacking around here is being done by you, and you alone.

    Edit your posts, and calm down. Otherwise, enjoy the infraction and/or ban.
     
  29. Parja

    Parja [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Sound performance increase? Wut?

    All HDMI does is carry the source digital signal. HDMI 2.0 just increases the limit on the number of channels it can carry. So no, upgrading to a new HDMI standard is not going to have any effect on any source signal up through 8 channels.
     
  30. Lethal

    Lethal ViragoAdmin Emeritus Staff Member

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    JoseJones, I'm giving you a one-week chill pill for your behavior in this thread.

    When you come back, be sure to read rule #1.

    (1) Absolutely NO FLAMING, NAME CALLING OR PERSONAL ATTACKS, NO TROLLING. Mutual respect and civilized conversation is the required norm.
     
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