Digital or Analog?

I’ve been using Feurio lately and it’s player… When I’m listening audio cd’s I’ve got the setting to Digital because it sounds better. Is this because I have a crappy soundcard and the analog out sounds worse or is it that digital audio is better? I used to know that analog is better than digital audio… :confused:

cdda = compact disc digital audio :wink:

Using digital playback is better… You avoid “cost-conscious” DAC solutions that are present in most drives, evil ground loops through the analog audio cable (in a computer environment, rapid signal changes can cause very audible spikes on the ground planes), electromagnetic interference from fans and drive motors…

The nice thing about playing digitally is that the D-A conversion takes place right near where the signal leaves the computer (hopefully) and sounds just as good as the soundcard you use. …And if you use a really good soundcard… :smiley:

Playing digitally cuts a lot of nasty and unpredictable variables out of the equation.

It depends on the CDROM/DVDROM drive being used. Most of the old drives have bad quality analog output and also lower than the standard volume output - therefore equates to more noise ratio when you turn up the volume of the PC speakers.

If you got newer drives like my DVD Tosh 1502, the analog playback sounds just the same as the digital playback.

One bad thing about digital is that it uses the power of your PC (well a tiny percentage) to manage the data samples and sometimes you might get repeated playback of samples if the PC is busy. Analog playback of a track is PC independant - doesn’t matter if PC is bad ass busy doing deeds for you. :bow:

@godzilla525, don’t take it wrong way (neutral question), but I’d like to ask…

Wow, you’re that worried about the quality playback on a PC. For one, the PC makes noise which already causes your hearing to lose quality. Can you actually hear the difference in quality - I can only hear the difference in volume between older drives which affects the quality, but this is not caused by interference etc.

Mmm… do you hook hifi speakers+amp to PC?

Originally posted by Truman
[B]It depends on the CDROM/DVDROM drive being used. Most of the old drives have bad quality analog output and also lower than the standard volume output - therefore equates to more noise ratio when you turn up the volume of the PC speakers.

If you got newer drives like my DVD Tosh 1502, the analog playback sounds just the same as the digital playback.

One bad thing about digital is that it uses the power of your PC (well a tiny percentage) to manage the data samples and sometimes you might get repeated playback of samples if the PC is busy. Analog playback of a track is PC independant - doesn’t matter if PC is bad ass busy doing deeds for you. :bow:

[/B]

Well, I don’t have an old drive (I use my brand new recorder as the reader) but doesn’t the perfomance of my sound card matters at all?!? :confused: Anyway, I wanted to mention that the analog playing mode consumes more CPU than the digital mode.

Anyway, I wanted to mention that the analog playing mode consumes more CPU than the digital mode.

That’s taking the joke… you should do your test again…

That’s not possible!! Analog playing is actually the CDROM/DVDROM drive playing the track without passing audio samples to PC. The PC software player tells the drive what track to play and the drive plays it on it’s own accord without any further PC intervention - no more CPU power being used - except for display of remaining/current playing track time. How did you do your test?? You got some strange drive or system??

I tell you why this is impossible… you can do this test yourself, if you have a drive which has play audio button on the front panel then remove the IDE or SCSI cable and go into your PC BIOS or boot into DOS. Now put in an audio CD and press the play button. Behold the CD starts playing music! This is how analog play mode works - independant of PC - it consumes 0% CPU - you can’t top that with any other playing mode!!

With digital mode the PC software player keeps needing to tell the drive to pass audio samples for all sectors of the track (streaming) through the IDE or SCSI cable and also telling the sound card to play the samples - using CPU power.

Originally posted by Truman
That’s not possible!!

I was thinking the same. You should test it again RedHatted.

Originally posted by dansmug

I was thinking the same. You should test it again RedHatted.

I can’t right 'cause I’ve got a bunch of other programs running and my CPU usage remains at 90-95% with both of the modes… I’ll check it later and tell you… :stuck_out_tongue:

I’ve checked it again and the analog consumed more CPU usage… Don’t know what’s happening… :frowning: But let’s forget this and get back to our subject. My cousin is an expert in these stuff and he keeps telling that analog audio is better than digital. He explained me that with some technical terms that I’m not able in the moment to translate. How can I support my opinion to him that Digital audio is better than analog?? :confused:

Invite your “expert” cousin to this forum and we’ll prove him wrong.

I know lots of people who believe to be experts…

No, he really is an expert (but sadly he is an expert from the past :a ). I can’t get him on this forum, he is way too busy!

Several cases can occur :

Good analog playback on good analog soundcard
Bad analog playback on good analog soundcard
Good analog playback on bad analog soundcard
Bad analog playback on bad analog soundcard
Good analog playback on good digital soundcard
Bad analog playback on good digital soundcard
Good analog playback on bad digital soundcard
Bad analog playback on bad digital soundcard
Digital playback on good analog soundcard
Digital playback on bad analog soundcard
Digital playback on good digital soundcard
Digital playback on bad digital soundcard
Skippy digital playback (bad on whatever soundcard).

Seriously, if analog is better than digital (and in theory, it’s kind of wrong, since both can be perfect), don’t listen to CDs, since CDs are digital !

In practice, the data on the CD can pass through some devices that will decrease sound quality :

1 The CD ROM drive DAC
2 The Soundcard DAC
3 The soundcard ampli

Using digital playback, or analog playback with a digital cable, you can bypass the device 1, therefore having a better sound, and go through 2 and 3 only.
However, using an analog sound card (such as the SB 64, for example), and analog playback, you bypass device number 2, and go directly from 1 to 3.
If you’ve got a digital soundcard, as it is nearly always the case nowadays, the device 2 can’t be avoided since it’s between the CD input and the line output on the soundcard. Therefore don’t hesitate and go for digital playback (2-3), unless it skips (clicks in the sound). In the latter case, use analog plaback with a digital SPDIF cable, if your drive and soundcard support it.

I think that your expert refers to the Lp as being an analoge medium.
Some people like the sound of the record more then a cd (cd to clean)
But there is a way of truth in it: Reading an lp doesn’t need some kind of electronics to convert the music opposite to a cd where the da converter makes the difference.
On the other hand the turntable is very important: rumble and the rotation speed.
This has been a debate with no winner because it is just what you like best.

and some people prefer vacuum tubes to IC’s…

Originally posted by Truman
[B]@godzilla525, don’t take it wrong way (neutral question), but I’d like to ask…

Wow, you’re that worried about the quality playback on a PC. For one, the PC makes noise which already causes your hearing to lose quality. Can you actually hear the difference in quality - I can only hear the difference in volume between older drives which affects the quality, but this is not caused by interference etc.

Mmm… do you hook hifi speakers+amp to PC? [/B]

I’ve been known to be really picky about some things :)…

I try to keep the fans turning as slow as possible to keep acoustic noise down to a minimum. My soundcard (Terratec EWX 24/96) keeps the analog traces in the middle layers of the PCB, using the outer layers as a couple of large ground planes and common-mode choke coils to keep RFI out of the signal. Motors generate EMI, which need ferrous (e.g. iron, steel) shielding. Fans and drive motors generate a lot of EMI. One would think that since the CD-ROM is encased in steel that EMI wouldn’t be a problem, BUT… If the DAC in the CD-ROM drive isn’t adeqately filtered and separately regulated and shielded (most aren’t, they’re often included on the same silicon substrate as the noisy digital controller/interface IC), noise from the electronics and the motor will get into the signal.

Even on bad days my soundcard has better than 96dB S/N (it also does not resample), so it’s ideal for me to play CDs digitally through it.

I’ve listened to my Matsushita SR-8585 DVD-ROM drive through an analog connection before. It has a high frequency rolloff starting about 10-12kHz. I don’t know what my LTR-32123S is like, but my old LTN-302 CD-ROM and especially my HP 8200a CD-RW injected all sorts of noise into the signal, which is pretty much unnoticeable unless I use headphones. I do have ‘heavily-modified consumer-grade’ hi-fi stuff connected.

Analog is way better than digital as long as you’re playing back a near-exact reproduction of the original waveform. The problem is that for analog to approach that level, a lot of careful engineering is required along with extremely high-precision (not to mention fidgety) equipment. Neither of which are cheap or even affordable to a significant enough market segment to make the effort worthwhile. Add to that the fact that there is no error detection and correction code in the analog world, which is something that would be needed to obtain optimum signal reproduction under adverse conditions.

I have my PC connected with my stereo, so I was wondering if the quality of the cd played in my PC would be better (or worse) than my stereo’s player. Right know I have a shitty soundcard but I plan to buy the Live! (5.1) soundcard (if I find the money :(). Any suggestions for a soundcard?

Originally posted by RedHatted

if I find the money :frowning:

Any suggestions for a soundcard?

That’s at issue

Suggestion --> Audigy 2

All this is reminiscent of the “discussions” (read: arguments) still raging about the merits of vacuum tubes vs. I.C.'s. :slight_smile: Many audiophiles claim that in order to hear music at it’s best one should play L.P’s (probably stored in a pyramid when not in use to keep them pure) using a valve amp. with oxygen free cables (I STILL have a problem with this one :wink: ) and gold connectors.
Only analogue signals, of course, none of this digital crap!

As to whether analogue is better than digital, unless you’re listening to your music in an anechoic chamber, using carefully selected components (read: lots of money), and you have very good hearing, I seriously doubt you will notice the difference. Bear in mind, also, that if you’ve been exposed to high levels of noise while growing up (e.g. concerts, nightclubs, playing so-called modern music very loud), then the chances are very high that your hearing has deteriorated anyhow.

At the end of the day, it is largely subjective - if you’re happy with what you’re recording (and playing) then that’s really all that matters. Use good source material, not MP3, copy as CDDA/wave and enjoy.

P.S. if you’re playing it back through small PC-type speakers, then anything, no matter what, is going to sound crappy regardless :smiley:

@dik

If you’re addressing it to RedHatted then it’s just a waste of time,
'cos he doesn’t have a clue whatcha talking 'bout.

Usually, for CD playback and good sound quality, Terratec EWX and M-Audio Audiophile 2496 are often advised.