ASUS Prepares PCIe x1 Sound Card
Anh Tuan Huynh
March 23, 2007 11:29 AM
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Xonar EMI shield concept
Xonar D2K at CeBIT, image courtesy of VR-Zone
ASUS readies its upcoming Xonar D2 and Xonar D2K PCI and PCIe x1 sound cards
ASUS last week at CeBIT demonstrated its
sound cards. The upcoming Xonar-series spawns two variants, the D2 and D2K in PCI and PCIe x1 interfaces. Dolby Digital Live and DTS Connect multi-channel audio encoding technologies are available for digital multi-channel audio. The Xonar-series also features 7.1-channel analog outputs for those that prefer analog to digital.
Early reports claim the ASUS Xonar-series feature an Analog Devices audio DSP, however, ADI denies any involvement in the sound card.
“I checked with our sales team and there is not an ADI part in this unit,” said Sandra Perry, product line manager, SoundMAX, DSP Division.
ASUS also touts Dolby Pro Logic IIx, Dolby Virtual Speaker and Dolby Virtual Headphone technologies for multi-channel upconverting and surround sound with stereo speakers and headphones. ASUS rates the Xonar-series with an 118dB playback and 115dB recording signal-to-noise ratios. The upcoming Xonar-series sound cards support 24-bit/192 KHz playback and recording resolutions and ASIO 2.0 as well.
ASUS internal testing reveals the Xonar-series is capable of low total harmonic distortion rates. The Xonar-series has 0.000006% THD on all eight analog outputs and the single line input, between the frequencies of 20Hz to 20 kHz. ASUS also equips the Xonar-series with an EMI shield and touts it provides “stable audio quality.”
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3/23/2007 4:29:19 PM
There is really no such thing as a digital circuit. Digital circuitry is just analog- with brackets of voltages cordoned off as 0's and 1's. If the air has static, or the cable runs too long and experiences voltage drop, or the internal wires are not balance and properly shielded from one another- there can be inductance which changes the voltage values above of below their norm and changes your 0 and 1.
3/23/2007 4:58:55 PM
Yes, the signal can be garbled off the board, but as long as those 'brackets' are maintained the signal goes through 100% accurate. It's all or nothing, the only requirement is that the cable be at least good enough quality and low resistance enough that the weak low voltage signal can be picked up on the other end.
If 5 volts is the minimum threshold to be a '1' and you send 0010 in pulses of 0.5 0.5 5.5 0.5 and you get a noise on the line and end up with 0.6 0.7 6.9 0.3 , in digital its still 0010 despite the noise. This is why digital systems have been used in computers from day one.
Thats not exactly how the signal is encoded in digital but it gets the point across. Any signal is analog by definition of the word 'signal' but the encoding method is digital and there is a threshold between a '1' and a '0' along with things like error correction, checksums, differential transmission to cancel mutual noise, etc. Things you don't have with raw analog.
On a analog transmission if you get noise like that, you just shifted all your hues, saturation, etc. and you can't get consistent result, esp. with the way color is encoded as phase and frequency. With digital everything is just evenly spaced strobes at a fixed frequency with a fixed amplitude.
With digital, the color grey is still 128 128 128 even with moderate signal noise as the digital encoding scheme can still pick up the swings even with significant noise. With analog you dont even know there is noise to begin with, you just end up with 135 123 140 on the other end instead of 128 128 128.
I'm simplifying it alot, but thats the basic idea.
The biggest problem with digital HDMI cables is impedance mismatching where you have connectors, couplers, etc.
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