W A R N I N G !

W A R N I N G !

This page is full of non-facts and bullsh!t, (just like the internet and especially forums and other blogs), please do not believe entirely without exercising your intellect. Any resemblance to real things in reality is purely coincidental. You are free to interpret/misinterpret the content however you like, most likely for entertainment, but in no case is the text written on this blog the absolute truth. The blog owner and Blogger are not responsible for any misunderstanding of ASCII characters as facts. *cough* As I was saying, you are free to interpret however you like. *cough*

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Power consumption of 3 PCs

My current desktop - Phenom X3 720 undervolted to 0.75V @ 800MHz and 1.2V @ 2.8GHz, HD5670

Idling - 85W
Linpack - 150W
Furmark + CPU forced 800MHz - 140W
Linpack + Furmark - 190W
Linpack w/o undervolting - 173W
Linpack @ 800MHz w/o undervolting - 107W
Linpack @ 800MHz w/undervolting - 99W

TV rig - Athlon64 3400+ undervolted to 1.1V @ 1.9GHz, 9300GS (a.k.a 8400GS)

Idling - 65W
Prime95 - 80W

Previous previous previous rig - Pentium 4 1.8A Ghz, GeForce2 MX400, factory tuned

Idling - 55W
Load - 70~80W

Monday, December 13, 2010

Where you place your volume control - it matters

Self-loopback of recording interface (TASCAM US-144) -

Except the SNR of TASCAM US-144 is actually around 102-103dB; it is bottlenecked by its analogue out. Strange, I know.

High distortion values, probably from the mic preamp. Fortunately we're only looking at noise today.

Now, an explanation of all the candidates -

- DAC out (no volume control available), software volume control used, input of TASCAM US-144 @ max
- Preamp front headphone connector out, software volume control used, input of TASCAM US-144 @ max
- Preamp at volume required for 1dB, software volume control @ max. TASCAM input @ max
- Preamp @ maximum volume, software @ maximum volume, TASCAM input adjusted to get 1dB

Detailed results here:
Where you put your volume control - RMAA results

As you can see, even though my DAC and it's preamp stage is capable of over 100dB SNR (and possibly bottlenecked by the recording interface), if the input to the preamp is low volume noise gets amplified along with the tiny signal and kills SNR.

The second and third tests are to compare between using software to reduce to volume entering the preamp and using the potentiometer to achieve the same thing. As you can see, there is not much difference. The bottleneck is not the quantization noise that occurs at low digital volumes, but the huge 50Hz hum from the transformer plus other noises.

The first test is to test the typical scenario where one chooses to control volume at the digital source. For this, I put WDM volume @ 25/100 and master @ 6/100 in order to give -1dB with the TASCAM @ max volume. If those scales are linear, I would've lost around 6-7 bits of resolution and added some more noise, but the leftover signal can still theoretically do better than 81dB, which is full of mains hum.

So conclusion - do not output volumes too low from your source, or risk having noises from inside the source dominate.

Unfortunately, sometimes the default volumes of DACs are too loud, I have to put my Windows' volume @ 25/100 and 8-16/100 most of the time, even with my amp @ 9 o'clock.

But does that really matter?

Maybe, not really.

Sneak peek:

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

End of blogging spree

If you noticed, I've been posting regularly, every two days.

I actually tried to make it regular for this month. Had 2 to 4 articles of buffer at any one time.

Well, that's the end of this. Time to study for exams.

This post was completed on 22/11/10

Monday, November 29, 2010

Games and 2GB of RAM

We've entered the age of 64-bit computing. Well, at least most of the new computers have an OS and a processor that are capable of 64-bit computing, but nobody's using it.

And with 64-bit address space, we finally break through the memory limit to use 4GB (otherwise capped @ 3GB by Windows XP, for a somewhat related, somewhat unrelated reason) and 8GB and beyond.

But the performance reviews of games still show that 2GB is the sweet spot for price-vs-performance - games are still happy with 2GB of system ram and increasing further yields much less benefit.

Thinking about the 32-bit Win XP, a reason flashed across my mind.

Windows XP allows each process to use a maximum of 2GB of virtual address space.

And most games are written to be compatible with XP since a lot of people still use it.

So...... 2GB limit it is.

The good part is this shows that current-day programmers can still make efficient programs, if they want to, or have to now.

The bad part is this shows that games are super bloated.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Random thought: Data Volumetric Flow Rate

100Mbps - that's pretty easy to hit nowadays.

If each bit is a physical 1 or 0 that is 1cm tall 1cm wide 1cm long,

That's 100 million of them coming out of the cable every second.

Or 100 thousand litres every second.

Or enough to fill your room in less than a second.

How did they use to be able to store bits on paper and punch cards?

Information explosion, it's scary.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

New marker for measuring show pace?

There are two types of shows

- the type that you can watch while eating, and

- the type that can't

because things happen too fast you will miss something when eating. Yes I do enjoy my food.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Atom netbook? No thanks. Ion netbook at a premium? Even less thanks.

I never liked the Atom. Because when idling the CPU consumes little power compared to the rest of the laptop it doesn't make sense to save, and when things get demanding this dinky little CPU can't get anything done and end up wasting more time - and electricity.

And, ultra-low-voltage (ULV) CPUs have existed long before the Atom.

A heavily underclocked and undervolted "normal" laptop CPU, perhaps twice the power consumption of Atom at idling - translates into minimal system power consumption difference, and delivers over 9000 times satisfactory performance.

But, those babies often came at a premium, and are clocked much slower than their "normal" counterpart (maybe around 50%). And to make things worse, during the Core 2 Duo era when dual cores were getting picked up, those ULV notebooks tended to be single-core, hence providing way less than half the performance of cheaper, "more entry-level" notebooks. Unless you want the dual-core version, which you have to pay an even greater premium. Still, for a businessman needing battery life and looking to get any real work done, this is better than the Atom.

So, I was surprised when I bought this for $699 -

Asus UL20FT. i3-330UM @ 1.2GHz notebook. And from a good brand to boot, not some crap from the other 4-letter-worded brand that also starts with 'A'.

For the first time, I was deciding between a ULV and a "normal" based on their price and the performance they provide - the other contender was a Lenovo i5 notebook, at $850. Less performance for less money - this is a first for a ULV CPU.

What makes the i3-330UM so interesting, is that it is a dual-core, unlike the SU2000-series that are single-core (and have to pay even more extra for the SU4000 ULV dual-core series).

And the other interesting part is due to the current generation of Intel processors - the difference between i3 and i5 is just Intel Turbo Boost, or ITB, and Hyper-Threading, or HT. ITB, in both laptops and desktops, means "I Tun give a Buck". I mean, temporary overclocking until thermal and electrical limits are reached, = no overclocking when you're doing things where performance really counts and the CPU is at full load all da way. And killing battery life in laptops when the reason for ULV is to sacrifice performance for battery life. And in desktops you most likely can overclock further than the safe factory settings anyway, and for all cores.

As for HT, it stands for "How The-hell-is-this-useful-when-my-programs-can't-even-use-more-than-two-cores-properly?" Pretty self-explanatory.

Enough blabbering, lets look at where it all counts - numbers.

Idle with screen off.

Idle screen on. The LED backlight is even more efficient than my current laptop's.

For comparison, I previously tested a N450 netbook, and IIRC it was either 4 or 6W, and I forgot whether the screen was on or off. Either way, idle wattage are measured with com doing absolutely nothing; with light work or background activity power consumption is easily a few watts higher, going over 10W for both. The Atom is hit hard because the CPU has to rev up higher to do any work.

Full load w/Linpack. I remember the netbook being less than 20W - maybe 14-15W or 17W but definitely less than 20W. But it doesn't matter because the Atom is slow as crap anyway.

Now, the Asus laptop actually has a Turbo mode which increases CPU clock by 33% to a decent 1.6GHz. Both cores, I'm guessing permanent, and what's most important is that it can be turned on or off at will - save battery when on-the-go, or more power when plugged-in, it's up to you. Now that's what is useful. Anyway, that's 400MHz for both cores, which is already more than what Intel's turbo does for the lower-end i5's.

That's a big ouch increase in power consumption - increasing voltage for higher clocks almost always hurts performance-per-watt. This is why I'm against turbo and am for ULV in the first place.

It's a 37% increase in total system power. Quite fair for a 33% increase in CPU speed, but remember the CPU only accounts for a portion of the system's total power consumption. The CPU's power consumption probably increased by 50%, or more.

So, you do realize that there are two things to balance when looking for the best performance-per-total-system-watt. I think this configuration achieved it nicely, both in the turbo-ed and non-turbo-ed states. Although an overclock without increasing CPU voltage would be nice, since Intel chips are known to do that easily. But then again, this is a ULV chip, already lower-voltage for the same clock compared to non-ULV counterparts.

Now, lets look at the Super PI results -

Normal mode 35s
Turbo mode 26s

In comparison - my T4200 @ 2.0GHz laptop - 33s

Remember that my T4200 laptop is already undervolted. And this new guy kills it in both performance AND power consumption. And at a slower clock of 1.6GHz; even at 1.2GHz it is pretty close in speed, at less than 2/3 power consumption (and probably almost half if my T4200 wasn't undervolted).

The manufacturer advertised it as having long battery life. I'd expect at least 5 hours, maybe 6.

1.5kg, long battery life, decent performance, $700 with OS

Can you say a better deal?

Oh, and the thing about Ion, is that it provides more graphics processing power, but you don't game on netbooks anyway. CUDA acceleration? Software using it almost non-existent. And as for its best selling-point - acceleration of H.264 decoding - the Intel GMA4500MHD on the i3 CPU can do that as well, so what's the point of getting Ion? Oh yes, Intel is stupid not to include the GMA4500MHD on their Atom processors, and opting for the stupid GMA3150 instead.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

How to destroy your high-end audio equipment

You send it to your local self-proclaimed diy expert and let him do all the "upgrades" possible on this planet.

Inspired by this thread -
How to destroy your high-end audio equipment... - diyAudio

Friday, November 19, 2010

RMAA loop-back test is not a fully valid test for soundcards' relative output performance

Summary: You're not testing the performance of the output of the soundcard, but also that of the input!

Finally something useful and informative after all that previous ranting. Well, this is also ranting, but I have a valid argument.

Loop-back test, people use it to test the performance of a soundcard.

It is useful, for example in recording, to test the performance of the system.

DAC out to ADC in.

That is where the problem is.

You're not just testing the performance of your output, but also the performance of your input. Actually to be precise, you are testing the loop-back performance of your system - how much the sound kills itself when you play it and record it back.

And most soundcards have better DACs than ADCs.

So the ADC becomes the bottleneck, the decider of the score, not the DAC.

So loop-back tests almost always become a test of the input, not the output.

And how does that result matter to people who are buying soundcards just for playback, and choosing soundcards based on output performance?

It doesn't matter a hoot does it.

So, RMAA loop-back test as a measurement of soundcard output performance - Invalid.

How should it be done then? Simple, output to a soundcard with better inputs.

And I'm not the first to notice this - there is an example here:

Loop-back tests do have their use. For example, calibrating your mic and speakers of your recording system. And loop-back sound quailty.

Just not really as a measurement of just output sound quality.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

[Rant][Anime] Kobato. Ep 1

[Warning] This post may trigger flaming reactions for unstable readers

It's not that much valid of a complaint (hence the [Rant] header), but here goes anyway.

I heard the opening song and knew it was sung by Sakamoto Maaya long before.

Halfway through the first episode I started getting curious about the voice actress of Kobato. When she started singing I was curious enough to pause halfway to check.

Her seiyu is Hanazawa Kana.


A relatively new seiyu whom I have some of my attention caught by, primarily because I like the cute voice characters voices done by her.

And when I heard her sing in ep 1, that was the last straw.

Why the hell did they let Sakamoto Maaya sing the opening song?

The song totally misrepresented the show - I thought it was going to be somewhat slow, serious, heartwarming, yet light story. I expected a Mary Poppins. Then I saw a dojikko with a cute voice.

Seriously, wtf?

And no, after watching Ep 2 my opinion hasn't changed - Kobato IS a dojikko.

It's not as if Hanazawa-san can't sing either - she is in Idolm@ster, although in a more recent addition.

And Sakamoto-dono is not even in the show.

Tell me, is it because of Clamp? Tsubasa Chronicles?
(Sakamoto Maaya voiced in and sang the famous theme songs "Loop" and "Kazemachi Jet" for Tsubasa Chronicles, the single CDs (also containing one other song used in Tsubasa Chronicles each) got #7 and #14 respectively on Oricon)
Is it because she was in and sang for Macross Frontier? (Oricon #3)

I'm not complaining about Sakamoto Maaya - she is good in her own rights. In a sense, she is even better because her singing voice is "more normal" compared to other Anime characters, that makes her ideal for the more serious shows expecting non-Otaku audience. (Look at above again, note the high-scores on Oricon. Oh the power of mainstream exposure. Well duh isn't it, statistics. Tsubasa Chronicles and Macross Frontier and not the more deep (as in underground), latenight, Otaku shitz only helped even further.)

But really, her singing does not match Kobato.. At all.

And to hit the jackpot, Sakamoto-dono isn't exactly flawless in her singing, at the chorus she goes flat at the E-flat when going for the fifth interval (meaning from A-flat to E-flat, for those not into music). That is the best way to kill the most dramatic part of the song.

Want to use a person not in the show to sing at least make it perfect, else there is no point isn't it?

Now, lets try to make sense of why this has happened.

The target audience of Kobato., my guess is, young females. Who are into fantasy and daily-life settings/slice-of-life probably...? Who are into trying to grow up and do mature stuff, you know, like, stuff.

Wait, I don't know of any stuff that you can call mature stuff. (Sex-related does not count.)

And young people like to watch older people. Kinda like old people like to watch younger people; we always like things that are not ourselves.

So, an onee-chan (to them) type of voice will work.

But still...

Ok, that's all. This is just my personal opinion.

Now I'll put my flame shield on.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Flame-mode - On

As politically-correct as I try to be, sometimes I just let things break loose.

And when things break loose I'm not afraid of shame - shaming others or letting myself have the opportunity of getting shamed.

I wrote this in a previous post:

"So they can't do anything related to electronic design.

So they do non-electronics-related tweaks instead. And claim it somehow links to the electrical performance of the equipment."

I want you to look at this brand.


Yes, it is the famous, well-known, high-class, Acoustic Revive. And I'm putting it on the grill today.

Look at that page in the link. Look at the product lineup to the left. What do you see?

(words in bracket indicates field of science or technology used)

DEMAGNETIZER WITH MANY USES FOR AUDIO (electrostatics/magnetics)

Ground conditioner (electrical, material science (for the ore))

Negative ion generator
- This ion will purifies the air in the room. The result is, sound waves travels the room well and sound improve remarkably! (Acoustics, and physics in general...???)
- it also emit infrared rays which works as a surface-active agent. This improves transmissivity of the laser beam inside the CD player, which leads to improved sound and picture quality. (Photonics/quantum physics)

Ultra Low-frequency Pulse Generator (magnetism/electromagnetics/environmental science/biology/plus unknown - effects on improving PQ of projector)

Acoustics conditioner (acoustics - under mechanics btw. Mechanical and material science have many interrelated parts)

Speaker stand (probably the same sciences that other speaker stand manufacturers employ, I don't want to argue about this)

Ok, that is a long list, and I'm too bored to carry on. But you get the idea.

If the designer(s) is/are so powderful in such a wide range of sciences why aren't they working in real more-serious jobs that require those knowledge? And why aren't they producing a whole mass of devices employing these technologies instead of producing just one of each and say "Ok, this is good enough, I've done my job, I'll go retire now" or go and research in another field and create something totally unrelated?

And, this one takes the cake -



BTW, there is a saying (more like a common sense) that if a certain tweak or idea for improvement is any good, it would be used already by companies investing billions trying to squeeze an extra drop of performance out of their product. Like the HDD magnet ionizer to improve fuel efficiency of car engines.

Odds of some layman on the street suddenly coming up with something that overtakes trained researchers with loads of budget, are not zero, but fking low.

And as for the FCS-8 Noise filter, the suggested application methods?

I'm staring at one in the face right now. You know the cylindrical cancer lumps on your notebook power cable/USB cable/video cable/heck just as many cable as you can think of? That is the ferrite bead.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Headphones affecting how amps sound? You bet they do!

Transducers are reactive loads

Adding a reactive load to a circuit changes the characteristics of the circuit

Naturally, it will change the output signal, and hence how it sounds.

Ok, so this is a "duh" thing to some of you. But ever tried listening to the difference?

Here is the output from the headphone-out of a US-144, fed to the line-in of ALC888 -


And here is the same output with a MS-1 in parallel -


To the headphone, the line-in with high-impedance does not affect the sound, like how an oscilloscope should not affect whatever it is scoping.

But to the line-in, the sound has changed.

The 'normalized' suffix in the filenames - voltage across line-in is lowered with the low-impedance headphone load in parallel, hence files are normalized to prevent the 'loud effect' from affecting perception.

The amp wants to put out an accurate signal. But by the time it reaches the headphone the headphone sees a different signal instead.

Needless to say, different amps and headphones affect each other differently.

So system-matching between headphone and amp? Yes! And it goes further than just how the sound signature of one compliments the other.

Here's the same test done on iM716 in both 'Bass' and 'HD' settings.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Why is it that, calling people white is a compliment...

...like skin/hair white as snow, Snow White,

(I know there are some of you with albino fetish out there, probably caused by Anime)

But calling people black as soot is an insult?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

"Those who can't do, teach."


"Those who can't do, teach. Those who can't teach, teach gym".

Those that can, do
Those that can't, teach
And those that can't teach teach teachers.

Those who can, do.
Those who can't, teach.
Those who can't teach, administrate.

Those who can, do
Those who can't, teach
Those who can't teach, write about those that do and teach.

Those who can't do, teach.
Those who can't teach, manage.
Those who can't manage, consult.

If you can't work, then teach.
If you can't teach, then administrate.
If you can't administrate, then legislate.
If you can't legislate, then litigate.

In Japan, it goes like this:

Those who can, do.

Those who can't, teach.

Those who can't teach, teach EFL. (English Foreign Language)

Those that can, do...
those that can do better teach...
those that can't do either one, criticize.

-- we now interrupt your entertainment programme with an unnecessary opinion which you don't even care sh!t about

This one is especially interesting as it applies to all of us - we call Justin Bieber and Twilight gay... wait, not a good example, we say (insert Singaporean artist name) is lousy even though we can't sing/compose/act/draw, but we still retain the right to say who in our opinion sucks and who doesn't. It is freedom of choice.
On one hand though, the reason we retain the right is because we are the bosses paying their salary; Bill Gates doesn't care about your whining because he pwnzored your @ss.

The reason Justin Bieber and Twilight do not make an example is because it is easy for anyone to be less gay than them, I think it would be harder to be more g@y than to be less.

See more like this here:


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Online guides and why I hate them

I read that not being precise in the wording of the title helps to dramatize things. By being inaccurate - that is the essence dramatization.

I do not hate all guides - I got a whole tonne of knowledge from the internet. Of course, I process these data and come out with new ones of my own, which I write about and share.

The guides I hate, fall into one or both of the following categories - guides that are written based on second-hand knowledge, and guides that are written by noobs.

You'll be surprised, after reading this post, that if you look around the web you can find a huge number of guides that belong to these two categories.

First, guides that are based on second-hand knowledge.

What are second-hand, or secondary knowledge/info/sources? Those are information that you get from somewhere else, as opposed to info that you get or confirm on your own, which is called first-hand knowledge.

What is wrong with second-hand knowledge? Information dilution and accuracy issues.

You got your info from somewhere. At best you can only repeat 100% of whatever information that is written if you didn't add any of your own. Chances are, you don't get the full 100%.

So if your guide is only going to be less informative and more inaccurate than wherever you got it from, why bother wasting bandwidth and the time of poor suckers who were lured into reading it because they needed genuine help on the topic while you spammed your "guide" on forums as if they are your personal webpages? Just link them to a proper guide instead of taking credit! Oh yes, credit, you didn't get the info on your own so credit where necessary.

Next, guides that are written by noobs.

Recall the definition of newbies - those new in a certain area, and noobs, those that plain suck and think they are pro and hence refuse to learn.
Newbies will never write a guide because they do not think they are good enough. If they think they are good enough but are actually not, they are noobs. Hence noob guides are all written by... erm... noobs.

No need much explanation for this - the guide just sucks.

There is a saying however, that game guides are written by people who get pwned so much that instead of enjoying the game by laughing evilly killing others they find more joy in sharing their unconfirmed theories (read - secondary knowledge) on how to play well. This goes in line with the saying - "Those who can't do, teach".

I'm not against more basic, less detailed guides, because there is always a need for teachers. And having taught before I understand first-hand that you need to teach at the level of the student. For example, getting the guy doing your university mathematics tutorials to teach primary school is impossible. Not that he/she does a good job teaching 20-year-olds either, but you get the idea.

But guides that are WRONG because the author is a noob just pisses me off.

So as you might have realized by now, noob and second-hand guides often overlap.

Oh yes I found a good forum thread on "Those who can't do, teach". I'll extract out the various versions of the saying.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Sighing sighs away happiness

...or so that is this saying. But you only sigh when you're not happy.

Correlation does not mean causality.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

No two snowflakes are the same

...But what about two snowflakes with 95% similarity?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Learning while helping others

That's what is called 教学相长.

I learned today that OPA2228 isn't stable at gains of <5.

So why the f are people recommending them in unity-gain buffer circuits?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Before sensors were installed...

Before temperature sensors were installed, electronics ran at 80 to 100 degree Celsius,

After temperature sensors were installed, people cry when their CPU reach 50.

Before fan speed RPM sensors were installed, fans ran at up to 6000rpm in applications where required,

After fan speed RPM sensors were installed, people whine when they see anything above 2000rpm, even though it may be a 40mm fan which he can't hear shyt over his RAID array.

Customer is always right? Nah.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Quote of the day:

"There are no winners on the internet, but there are those that are less loserish."

Friday, October 29, 2010

Price of internal component - $0.02, price of component wrapped and packaged nicely for external application - $200

A few posts ago I mentioned (but didn't promise, gotcha) I would talk about why all the expensive tweaks are external tweaks.

So here it is.

There are two reasons for this.

First reason - it's not that all (an absolute all) expensive tweaks are external, there are some internal stuff like clock and buffer upgrades also.

But, there are people who do audio tweaks that can't remember v(t) = L di(t)/dt

So they can't do anything related to electronic design.

So they do non-electronics-related tweaks instead. And claim it somehow links to the electrical performance of the equipment.

And internal tweaks usually mean electronics.

So these non-electronic tweaks are usually outside.

Second reason - products must be sold to people who can use them.

Don't laugh - I've seen people asking me how to remove the cover of something

Asking about simple things that can be Googled (that reminds me to write a post about online guides)

On a side note, it is super funny when people ask said kind of question on forums and it gets answered by forummers who know even less than the person asking for help. See this post for my opinion on this.

And people who tend to have the money to buy (and/or be suckered to buy) expensive tweaks are not technicians, engineers, or scientists. Because 1) they know well not to buy, well, at least the real professionals (n. 2. One who earns a living in a given or implied occupation) do, not wannabes, and 2) ever seen a technician/engineer/scientist that is rich? (I'm not counting "engineers" of audio tweaks themselves, those have thrown away their respect for this field, and many are wannabes. Anyway, they only give the illusion of being rich (so you'd think you can believe in them knowing what is good for an expensive system *chuckle*), for if they were really rich they would've spent more money to improve their f***ed-up webpages.)

In short, many people who buy expensive tweaks don't have a toolkit - I blame it partially on the lack of practical DIY knowledge being passed down from fathers to sons, and from mothers to daughters, and soon people won't even know what this is for. The other part is because they are rich and have maids and pay overcharging technicians to do anything.

So, unable to do internal tweaks, they only want to buy external tweaks.

And that's why most tweaks are external.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Rich-poor gap

Jurong Point

A showcase of the rich-poor gap

And overpopulation

And aging population

And foreign worker influx. Especially foreign worker influx. But these will be talked about another time, lets focus on rich-poor gap.

Around Boon Lay MRT station (inclusive of within the station itself and Jurong Point, I can count four stalls selling $2 chicken rice (one of them sells $1.50 actually) or economic nasi lemak, I believe there to be more hidden somewhere.

And opposite is Cavana chicken rice - $4.50 per plate.

And in the basement of Jurong Point, a short street of Japanese cuisine.

And beside that, an area full of restaurants

On the top floor of JP2, a Kopitiam that only has restaurant-like food, and price.


On the top floor of JP2, and more scattered everywhere, are shops you'd find in Orchard road

Beside them, FairPrice Xtra for all your cheap goods


But the best/worse has to be this - there used to be a free space area where tonnes of factory workers would sit around.

Now, that area is replaced with a Wendy's.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Magic Platform

Coming across the Shakti Stone and my previous experience with overheating my Zhaolu gave me a new novel idea for an audio tweak, or "tweak" as you may like to call it -

I present the:

Magic Platform.

It works by increasing the working temperature of your device to decrease ESR of capacitors and increase conductivity of semiconductors (hence involving quantum physics). It is made of high density wood specially processed into pulp form removing defects and irregularity in the process to provide the much-required mass loading and mass damping and makes your equipment more natural. The quantum-mechanical additives in the pulp protects the equipment below it from cosmic rays while the pencil lead blocks nuclear radiation. The wood also balances the feng shui which is otherwise too heavy in huo (fire), jin (gold, also refers to metal), and dian (electricity).

And the effect of this tweak? It sounds warmer. Get it?

Oh, the plastic poles sticking upwards are not part of this product, but another tweak called the Plasticizer which regulates resonances (plastic does not exaggerate the high frequencies too much as with metal resonators) and absorbs charges in the air and store it within themselves to create a barrier field protecting the equipment from interference.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Casing affects sound quality!

All the talk on spikes and footers, coupling/decoupling on solid-state equipment,

without firm theoretical basis and less to say numbers of reality.

Because in Audio Land, anything that you do changes sound quality. And any change in sound quality is for the better.

So spikes, footers, granite slabs, suspension, magic rocks whatever works because it changes the way things vibrate.

Well people "researching" in this field sure left out a very important part.

The components inside the equipment don't float by themselves, they stay still because something is holding them up against gravitational acceleration.

The screws holds them down to the chassis.

The chassis connects the footer to the screws.

So wouldn't the physical properties of the chassis affect more than that of the footer? Considering the length and thickness. And casing panels are known to flex under load, but not the footer.

So the casing is more flimsy than the the footer?

So what is the point of a firm/unfirm/whatever science connection between the equipment and the tabletop when the casing is going to affect more?

Of course, if what your equipment only does is to send high-bandwidth time-critical signals into outer-space, you don't need a good chassis or isolation footers.

Anyway if you want a firm connection use a screw goddamnit.

And some spike footers come with threads for you to replace the original feet of your equipment. But many don't also.

Because people aren't expected to know how to replace the equipment's feet.

And as you might have known all the expensive "tweaks" over a few k are external tweaks. As for the reason why, that deserves a post of its own, I'll cover it next time.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Random chatter: Lets clone something!

When you are bored and you want a project yet there is nothing that you need

Cloning something expensive with half the cost is always satisfying.

So here we go:


I don't think I want to clone anymore.

It's just not fun.

It's just no challenge to clone this because anyhow huntum also can build it cheaper. Maybe it would take some skill to build it for a tenth of the price. But it would be cheaper to buy a ready-made one with the same quality for a twentieth?

BTW this kind if things is the reason why I don't believe in "extreme-end" audio.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

47kohm resistor vs 50kohm pot

Looking around, I chanced upon people looking for exact values of resistors and capacitors, and people who when they couldn't find the values needed combine stuff - e.g. to get a 47kohm resistor they put 2 22kohms and 1 3ohm in series, that kind of example.

Of course, monkey see monkey do that's why.

Well, first thing, an unrelated but important thing to know, is that the exact value of the potentiometer doesn't matter as long as it is within 10k to 100k with 20k/50k often used (and often argued over which is the better one).

The above fact makes it pointless to ponder one situation. Lets get back to topic.

Have you wondered why are electronic components in weird values like 22 and 47?

There is actual science involved!

Remember physics in secondary school/jc (hope you still do), the thing about number of significant figures and decimal places?

If you use 2.2 to add 3.3, you write it as 5.5 and not 5.50?

It's a similar thing in real life.

Resistors and capacitors, have a tolerance of 20%, unless otherwise stated.

So that means a 1.0 can be anywhere between 0.8 and 1.2.

If this is the case it does not make sense to have values of 0.9 and 1.1 right?

Nor 1.2 - 1.2 can be 0.96 to 1.44, still an overlap.

So the next value used is 1.5 - giving a range of 1.2-1.8
Next value? 2.2 - range of 1.76 (1.8 when rounded) to 2.64
Then 3.3 - 2.64 to 3.96
And so on

See the pattern?

Here is a list of available values for various tolerances.

So moral of the story - if your component is 3.3 @ 20% tolerance and you replace it with something 1% tolerance, don't be a gay and look for 3.3 if you have a 3.0 value available, because chances are the 3.3 @ 20% isn't 3.3 in the first place.

Or if you have a 3.0 @ 1% and you want to replace it with a 20% part, don't be gay trying to find a 3.0 @ 20% because you'll never be able to find it, and if you use 3 x 1.0 @ 20% it won't be precise anyway.

In short, just don't be gay.

But there are many opportunities for one to be gay. Like typing this blog. It's hard to cover all.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Conductivity of silver and (hic) gold

I needed to write this someday.

Some people say silver and gold are better for (blah blah), citing better conductivity as the reason.

Reality check time.

Silver's conductivity is 5-10% higher than copper.

But when people buy pure silver cables they buy thinner because 1) it is more expensive and 2) the higher conductivity makes up for the thinner gauge.



The difference in area between wires 1AWG different in gauge is roughly 26%.

So for the same amount of money, you can get thicker copper cable which is more conductive.

Next, gold.

Gold is less conductive than copper.

End of discussion.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

"Once a Soldier, Always a Soldier"

And there is no way out. Until you ROD.

Ad placement win?

Monday, October 11, 2010

I have a bad feeling about this...

FE1006 and FE1007 are first-year Maths I and Maths II respectively.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

"Audiophile quality" or best quality solder?

Audiophile-grade lead-free silver solder.

Vs generic 60/40 or 63/37 leaded solder.

Which gives a better connection?

Share some info - despite the ban on lead leaded-solder is still allowed in military, power, server and other applications demanding high reliability; in fact in some military applications leaded solder is the only type that is allowed to be used.

Around The Interwebs

"The foundation of the HD Audio Opamp is a sophisticated Voltage Differential Amplification network."

Hmm... are there any op-amp with single-ended input? But it wouldn't be called an op-amp by definition.

"without rigid component matching, it would be easy for sonic imbalance to occur."

Let me check Farnell - the most common value of tolerance for resistors is... 1%, at 18574 items.

Maths time - how much is a difference of 1% in decibels?

i.e. what is the difference in decibels between a 1.01V signal and a 1.00V signal?

Correct! The answer is 0.086dB.

Go and hear that.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The $20 wattmeter

$18 from eBay including shipping, $2 for the UK plug bought from SELFFIX.

$0 for the time and anxiety spent on settings this up.

You see, when I bought this on eBay, I told the seller I wanted a type G plug for use in Singapore. Not only did it come without, the sticker on the back of the unit says "110V".

Now who in his right mind would plug this in.

But there are hints - hints that say this thing might be usable with both voltages.

Too impatient for the seller's reply, I decided to uncover the secret.

Finally the pic.

Inside - the chip at the top corner beside the crystal is the energy metering IC ADE7755 - quick Googling of its datasheet shows that it has no issues with working with 230V. Also, the way it measures power by multiplying the current and voltage that it measures means that it has no problem with accuracy with different voltages compared to one that uses only current to calculate power. Why measuring both current and voltage works, if you don't get it, ask your physics/electronics teacher.

The yellow capacitor is rated for 250VAC. There is a single diode hidden behind for a half-wave-rectifier. Also hidden behind the capacitor(s) is a U2 in TO-92 package. 'U' stands for integrated circuit, don't ask me why. This should be the switch-mode power supply (transformerless?).

One thing good about SMPS, is that it can work with a large range of input voltages while ensuring up-to-spec output voltage. With unregulated, changing input voltage changes output voltage in the same ratio and fries things. With linear regulation, the regulators have to drop the extra voltage and fry. With switching power supplies, the PWM duty cycle is reduced so the higher input voltage still results in the same output voltage.

Now the issue is, I can't see the markings on U2. I can only hope that it can withstand 230V. If I were the designer, I would use U2 that can withstand 230V and use it for all models of my product, which is only differentiated with a sticker. And the power plug. Instead of having two versions and needing more inventory.

It is a guess. But a calculated guess.

So I wired up the thing and plugged it in. Nothing exploded.

So it is working.

Now time to have some fun with it.

How accurate this is - with a table lamp (bulb to be precise) rated at 7W, I got between 6.9 to 7.2W. So it's fairly accurate.

These are the power consumptions of my laptop (T4200, 14-inch LED-backlit screen) in different conditions:

Should be 17.8/17.9, the LCD was transiting between the two.

The screen consumes around 1.9W (~2W), bravo.

Note that the liquid crystal part of this screen is "always-on" - I can still see the screen and it changing with the backlight off, but just very barely, and only in the right conditions. The "switch off screen" (Fn + F6) of my Acer laptop only switches off the backlight.

Still, 2W for backlight is worth commenting. (I'm not sure whether it is worth commending.)

Battery removed - I removed the battery and do Linpack with screen on again. The battery has no effect compared to natural fluctuations in wattage.

I played a 1080p H.264 file that was lagging my CPU with 100% load all the time - it used to be just barely able to play with stuttering at the more difficult parts, I think it is due to virus.

Edit: Turns out I disabled ffmpeg-mt for the decoder, and for some reason CoreAVC was disabled, so it was using some unknown leftover codec to decode, which is obviously slower than ffmpeg-mt and CoreAVC.

Edit2: I found the unknown codec - DivX decoder. Yes it is still alive and long forgotten. And for good because their encoder sucks and their decoder is so slow.

ffmpeg-mt is actually not so much slower compared to CoreAVC. Not bad for a free codec.

With easier videos (those that can be played on an Atom, without hardware accelerated H.264 decoding), it was either 23.5W or 24.5W.

Worst case scenario? Probably Linpack, CPU not undervolted, with screen at full brightness.

I need to learn to document things as I move along.

The power that the laptop uses varies probably +-0.5W, which means there could be up to 1W difference between measurements of doing the same things.

Now some other measurements in text... I'm too lazy for more pics

Zhaolu D2.5A idling - 10.4W
Zhaolu D2.5A playing - 11.7W

What? 10.4W doing nothing? No wonder it is this hot.

Sony SRS-D4 w/MX5021 satellites -
Idling - 6.7W
Playing - 6.8W

which is pretty much the same - the readings were fluctuating between those two values anyway. Typical of most amplifiers - you'll only see higher power draw at way higher output levels.

The subwoofer and satellites use less power than the source, bravo.

The computer is the most power-wasting alright; this is a laptop which consumes very little compared to desktops.

And, why bother with overpriced "small" low-power SFF systems when you can have comparable power draw for much more awesome performance, a screen, and a battery so you can bring it out, and is cheaper for the cost of everything?

Friday, October 1, 2010

Around The Interwebs

"Yes, it is class AB buffer circuit for the headphone amp!"

Is that supposed to be special?


Thursday, September 30, 2010

What I learnt today: plastic top + passively cooled case = component overheat

Luckily I realized this before the T_junction reached 125°C. Or did it.

I know regulators have over-temperature shutdown, I don't think op-amps have.

So, er, people with acrylic and wood cases, take note. Have some vents at where the heatsinks are, both for intake and exhaust (due to convection - rising hot air).

Strange thing is even with the top open and a bit of forced airflow, the regulators still get warm.

This experience is cautionary for me - I was thinking of putting a T-amp in a picture frame, transparent side facing up of course.

But then again, these Zhaolu DACs run hotter than my T-amps, way hotter.

It was only until Zhaolu D3 when they realized to bolt the regulators to the casing to use the casing as a heatsink, no more temperature problem ever since.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

"Ask, and you shall receive"

And then, filter what you receive.

Some people answering your question may know less than you.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Collective human performance:

Productivity of a group = productivity of the least productivity individual multiplied by number of members

Intellect of a group = intellect of least intelligent individual

Monday, September 20, 2010

Five months after ATi promised this in Catalyst 10.4:

H.264 Level 5.1 support
ATI Catalyst can now playback 5.1 level streams on all support players

My test file, a 1920x1080 L5.0 and 9 ref frames

Still doesn't work.

Friday, September 17, 2010

A start of another new thing:


Monday, September 13, 2010

Two quotes of the day:

"You see, the problem with an indiscriminantly open mind is it fills up with rubbish." - aardvarkash10

Coincidentally I thought of this quote today before this:

"A clear mind is more important than an open mind."

Quote of the day:

"No matter how rich you are, there is a difference between not being stingy and spending like an idiot."

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Hmm... 2010 JAL Scholarship Japan Research Program

"- Have a Japanese Proficiency Test Level 1 certificate or of equal ability or a strong command of Japanese (lectures and discussions will be conducted in Japanese)."

I got 4 points for level 2 (got fked by the composition part I think... nothing to write) and can listen and read better than probably majority of level 2 people, and I cower at the thought of going to Japan and doing everything in Japanese language.

For the level 1 holders (the real ones, not those who are already at around level 4~6 but trying to pretend not so), ご幸運を祈ります。

Ee, can that phrase be used informally, as in good luck in English and 祝你好运 in Chinese but not really wishing him luck kind of way?

That is something you can't learn from textbook.

Damn, I wish I can one day walk the streets of Japan speaking fluent Japanese.

For now, I'll take my sweet time translating song lyrics.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Another hoot post:

TempoTec Digital March

Notice the sharper photo compared to my previous posts. Yea I finally got something better than handphone camera.

Fully digital card, no analogue output. Has the rare-for-consumer BNC connector.

Uses VIA VT1723 "Tremor" audio controller chip. Two clock crystals, common for VIA chipsets.
While taking this photo I realized both auto and macro focusing weren't working properly all this while. Switched to manual. But the screen on the camera has too low resolution to focus finely so wtf man.

74HCU04 to drive the digital outputs. Pulse transformers for RCA and BNC out (I refuse to use the term "coaxial" in this context as both RCA and BNC are coaxial connectors).

A very neat card, clean of unneeded junk, basic parts but all essential parts for good quality digital out are there.

Poor input and analogue surround output performance of this chip means it will never work well as a HT or prosumer card where input, monitoring, mixing/routing and good analogue output are needed - this is where VIA's Envy chip shines. For plain Jane stereo digital out or AC-3 passthrough, this thing will do the excellent job at a cheap price.

Cheap, how cheap? If I told you how cheap I got it for second-hand, you'll have to kill me.

Quote of the day:

"Do not forget that the price of recabling is not just the cost of cables and plugs, but also includes the cost of expertise, skill and time needed to dismantle and re-assemble the headphone together again properly." - unnamed source


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Pokemon stats: it's uncanny

"The first is always the best" - you might have heard this phrase before

But, (with the help of emulator, save states, and a fast PC) the first Pokemon that I catches more often than not has the best stats without fail.

Save states and 800% speed, that's how RPGs should be played. And with these I can take just a few minutes to catch a few of the same Pokemon to compare. I tend to catch 3-5 depending on how hard it is to encounter one.

More often than not, the first one has the best stats.

If it's not the case, the second one has them.

It's just uncanny.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Monday, August 16, 2010

The more expensive your audio setup, the more difference you hear?

There is a saying that the more revealing your setup is, the more difference you hear.

But from my personal observation it seems that the more expensive your setup is, the more difference you hear.

This graph will explain why it is so:

This is the graph of Sound Quality Index vs price - SQI is a complicated algorithm that takes into account diminishing returns in real measurable performance and exponentially increasing utility (also known as pleasure) attained from having better sound quality that results in a linear relationship against price which makes it easy for normal people to reference to. The blue graph is the theoretical maximum performance attainable while the red graph is the 50th percentile.

As you can see, while performance generally increases with price, so does the difference between the top and bottom performers. So you hear more differences between expensive setups because there are more differences between these setups, not because they are more revealing.

The experience with a few well-known expensive brands helped me come to this conclusion. Generally speaking, starter-level setups (the graph is the price of setup, not individual equipment) tend to sound the same - computer speakers below $200 sound the same, most soundcards sound the same too. Move on to entry-level, a sudden increase in overall SQ, but that's because of better bass and treble extensions, so they still sound the same too. But as the price increases further, I've come across a particular brand of portable lightweight DACs that always sound warm, dark, too bass heavy yet the bass is not well-extended nor controlled enough (a.k.a. boomy) compared to others, regardless of whether it is the brand's entry-level or flagship product. I've come across $400 (SGD) amplifiers that totally mush up the sound compared to starter $100 amps, and a $1000 headphone/preamp that just sounds wrong (hint: 1. It is popular/"popular", and 2. Many users sell it off after a while). Then there was this also popular/"popular" brand of (rebranded from Taiwan product) DAC that sounded totally off compared to others at a DAC shootout featuring DACs from $250 to $2500. Speakers that try to defy the laws of physics, expensive wood enclosures, you name it.

On the plus side, spending a lot is guaranteed to give you better performance than at least the $20 mark. But I'd rather stay close to the blue line then spend more and not reaching it.

*Note: Just in case you haven't realized and/or is unfamiliar with this blog, the above post is a work of non-science. So if you're offended by it instead of being amused, I can only offer my humblest apologies that you're an idiotic sucker who believes everything on the internet. Note again that I said non-science instead of fiction, because, unfortunately to some, my experiences written above are not fictitious.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Saturday, August 7, 2010

If I use a light bulb tester to test my equipment...

...What do I use to test the light bulb tester?

In the same vein, if my multimeter spoils, what do I use to check it?

Marketing, bullshit and reality

"The system even draws less than 35 watts when playing back a DVD, one of the most power-intensive computing applications."


...playing back a DVD, one of the most power-intensive computing applications.

I didn't read wrongly rite?

Maybe that's the most power-intensive computing application that this CPU can handle.

And, if I want play DVD at less than 35W power draw I would by a DVD player.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Mcap by Plexcio

That totally reminds me of Sonicap by Valgrind Audio.

The trademark holders would've sued if they produced enough sales volume to care.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Sunday, August 1, 2010

DIY power conditioner MK-II

Smaller size and better-done.

Cost: $4.50 for line filter (Koba), $4.50 for gang box with face-plate (Ang Mo Supermarket)

$5.80 for a stupid PowerPac brand faceplate and $1.20 for a stupider, low-quality, PSB-uncertified gang box that flexed and cracked as I tightened the screws, from Home-Fix.

I never learn huh...? Never buy anything from Home-Fix.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu

Don't be fooled by how plain it looks. Just watch it.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Pentium 4 cooler on Socket AM2/AM3

I have this

Note the clips, this is revision A with a mounting different from rev. B, and is not compatible with AM2.

I add this

Then I get this

As you can see even when fanless the Ninja still cools better than an AMD stock cooler screaming away at 4000rpm. Just using a fan even if it's a low speed one would increase the cooling performance many times. If the temperatures are to be believed, my X3 720 is idling at the temperature of the surrounding air.

The Pentium 4 was the first (?) platform to use big-ass stock and aftermarket heatsinks, and while CPUs have undergone at least one socket change the powerful coolers of the Pentium 4 era are still, erm, powerful enough to cool the current cooler-running CPUs. It's a waste to see them go to waste, so Thermalright AM2 RM (Rev.B) to the rescue. Use Pentium 4 coolers on AM2/AM3 CPUs. There are also solutions for K8 and LGA775. We just need to wait for LGA1156.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Fun with Phenom X3 720: Undervolting

Cut to the chase:

8hr OCCT + prime95 stable, 3DMark06 stable (two runs)

Temperatures are taken at ~12PM, no air-con.

Idle temperatures - top Core is CPU temp, bottom Core is 8600GT with a Zalman VF700-Al - not as cooling as I thought it was.


Temperatures after an hour of OCCT's LINPACK.

Hot? What hot?

The fan is pretty noisy though at >4000rpm even after undervolting.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Fun with Phenom X3 720: FFDShow vs CoreAVC

Random post.

libavcodec - 43.6fps (43.7 43.4 43.8)

ffdshow-mt - 80.5fps (80.1 80.8 80.5)

CoreAVC - 126.7fps (126.9 126.8 126.4)

libavcodec - the default codec that is used in FFDShow, highly single-threaded
ffdshow-mt - the multithreaded codec in FFDShow
CoreAVC - don't need to explain

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Nutritional supplement store salespersons eat a lot of supplements

Every time I go and buy something, the salesperson is always using it. Obviously that strategy doesn't work in the above scenario.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

EAX5 via DS3D GX on HT Omega Claro (or other CMI8788 cards) using Xonar driver


The AV100 and AV200 processors found on Asus's Xonar line of sound cards are known to be C-Media's CMI8788. Even Asus's drivers say so:

Naturally, at least one person would eventually make use of that fact to install Xonar's drivers on other CMI8788-based cards to get software-emulated EAX5 found on Xonar's drivers.

There are at least two methods to install a driver not meant for the device, I'll touch on one that works (in enabling EAX for non-Xonar cards), and one that didn't.

Changing the subsystem ID in the driver .ini/.inf files

It didn't work, so I won't go into details.

The driver installs, but does not work - Xonar Audio Center does not run, digital out works or doesn't depending on whether you had installed the soundcard's original drivers previously, analog out not tested, no DS3D GX.

Changing the card's subsystem ID in EEPROM

If DS3D GX is enabled through Xonar Audio Center, then that center must be made to work (it has no ini/inf that can be edited). The other method to disguise a card as something else is changing its device and subsystem ID.

Fortunately due to the apparent frequent failure of EEPROM of Xonar series of cards people wrote a EEPROM writer for it:

Xonar EEPROM Failure - AlsaProject

When run the program gives you a list of device IDs with their respective cards' names to write to your card's EEPROM, including Razer Barracuda AC-1.

If your card is PCI, choose a PCI card; if it is PCI-E, choose a PCI-E card.

Asus's naming system - PCI-E versions of the cards have an X at the end of their name - DX, D2X, STX, only exception is HDAV1.3 which is a PCI-E card, with the PCI version being HDAV1.3 Slim

This is where you need to trial-and-error - not all, if any, of the Xonar drivers/IDs work with your card's analog out, digital out worked for me in all cases I tried.

For HT Omega Claro, the one that works is Xonar D1.

After changing EEPROM:

Testing if DS3D GX/EAX5 is working

First there is the above program to tell you what features the card has.

Secondly you can run games that are known to crash with Xonar's DS3D GX (a lot), if your card now crashes the game, congratulations, you have managed to recreate the DS3D GX crashing games part on your card.

Any other suggestions on testing EAX5 functionality are welcome.

Testing your sound card for bit-perfect output - the DTS test - computer version

For people who don't have an AVR/DTS decoder

1) Download a DTS file from above
2) Rename it to .wav, when played you will hear white noise
3) Get Cool Edit (Audacity will not work)
4) Connect SPDIF-out to SPDIF-in of your card (of choice, can be same card, can be different)
Set-up for recording through SPDIF
5) Configure the source soundcard's output - SPDIF sampling rate same as source file, master and/or wave volume max, no effects/filters
6) Play through player of your choice - DS, KS, ASIO, anything
Press play before recording
7) Click the red button to start recording - select the same sampling rate as your source file/card, for resolution if the source is 16-bit select 16-bit, if 24-bit select 32-bit (float) - not verified
8) If done correctly you should see a square wave of -12dB, which is white noise when played back
9) Save as Windows PCM (*.wav) file
10) Rename to .dts
11) Play with your player, if music comes out, DTS test pass

Note - My method is quite different from what most others had said on the internet, particularly the part requiring BeSplit. What's different about my method is that mine works for me and that doesn't, and as can be seen from the replies that also doesn't work for many others asking how to do the same thing.
I will not say that method doesn't work, but if you find that it doesn't work for you, try alternatives.

Results - 44.1kHz/16-bit Stereo source file

Note - the "Xonar D2" (in inverted commas) is actually a HT Omega Claro running on Xonar D2 drivers. It was like this before the test and I did not bother changing it back because the drivers are largely the same, I would not expect any difference between different versions of the driver
C-Media Oxygen ASIO is the ASIO driver for CMI8788-based cards

Player used: foobar2000 unless otherwise stated

Prodigy 7.1 HiFi comes with a flexible clock system that supports [b]auto-detection and changing of sampling rate[/b] or can be locked to a manually chosen frequency, in which case resampling takes place if needed, or it can derive its clock from incoming SPDIF signal.

Prodigy (auto sampling rate unless specified)

Prodigy KS - ok
Prodigy ASIO - ok
Prodigy DS - ok
Prodigy QVE - waveform reduced in amplitude, file not recognized

Prodigy KS (reduced volume in foobar) - file not recognized
Prodigy KS (volume reduced midway) - file stops midway
Prodigy KS (locked frequency =/= 44.1kHz) - foobar returns error
Prodigy ASIO (locked frequency =/= 44.1kHz) - frequency force changed in control panel, foobar proceeds as normal - ok
Prodigy DS (locked frequency =/= 44.1kHz) - frequency remains locked, foobar proceeds as normal, Windows resamples sound, file not recognized
Prodigy QVE (locked frequency =/= 44.1kHz) - frequency forced changed in control panel, foobar proceeds as normal, waveform reduced in amplitude, file not recognized

"Xonar D2"

"Xonar D2" KS 44.1kHz - ok
C-Media Oxygen ASIO 44.1kHz - ok
"Xonar D2" DS 44.1kHz - ok
"Xonar D2" DS 44.1kHz (reduced volume in Windows) - file not recognized
"Xonar D2" Windows Media Player 44.1kHz - ok

Two numbers show combination of source card's output sampling rate and sampling rate selected in Cool Edit

"Xonar D2" KS 48-44 - waveform does not look like DTS
"Xonar D2" KS 48-48 - waveform does not look like DTS
"Xonar D2" KS 44-48 - waveform looks like DTS, file not recognized

Realtek ALC888S

ALC888S Windows Media Player 44.1kHz - ok

Also to be noted: When using Prodigy's internal M-Clock to record others, pops/noise occur at regular intervals. Hows that for the supporters of synchronous reclocking?

Important things to note

- possible to pass DTS test using DS and WMP if all volumes are set to max
- card only passes test if the SPDIF output sampling rate is set to the same as whatever the player is sending it through DS/KS/ASIO - take note if you're not using a card with automatic sampling-rate changing
- Realtek (non-AC'97 version) is capable of passing DTS test

Possible follow-ups

- test with 48kHz and >48kHz source files

And while I'm at it, here's a screenshot of a 192kHz file recorded through TOSLINK for those who still believe it cannot be done

Whether the equipment can do 192/24 or above is up to the parts used. The Prodigy 7.1 HiFi sends and receives 96kHz max, but the Omega Claro and Realtek can do 192.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Converse is not true however.