PDA

View Full Version : SoundStorm Barely Better Than Integrated Audio?


Pages : [1] 2 3

GamerGuyX
11-04-04, 02:47 PM
Visiting this forum I always seem to hear everyone talking about how good SoundStorm is as an audio solution for gaming. Some (if I remember correctly) even said that they prefer SoundStorm over even Creative Labs' audio solutions. Imagine my suprise when I read THIS (http://forums.sudhian.com/messageview.aspx?catid=18&threadid=67242&enterthread=y) over at the Sudhian forums (yes I do post there). All that I really seemed to read was how bad SoundStorm was. More specifically, a member their known as Reflex-Croft has said that SoundStorm is a feature that no high end user would want (!). Also, he has made it seem like Dolby Digital itself is not needed and no professional would care for it.

Now here's my point to this thread. Can you guys clear his whole thing up for me? I am just really confused here. Is SoundStorm really that great or is Reflex-Croft right and its just a feature that really isn't needed? :confused:

-=DVS=-
11-04-04, 02:49 PM
Better then any other Integrated sound but not as good as let say Audigy 2 , my opinion anyways.

saturnotaku
11-04-04, 04:33 PM
Here is my understanding:

When using standard analog speakers, Soundstorm is an average at best solution. Maybe slightly better than most Realtek and other integrated solutions (except the ALC 850 that's on many nForce3 boards).

But when using digital outputs, Soundstorm is by far the best integrated solution and is in many opinions superior to most PCI add-in cards.

Again, that's just my understanding of this whole thing.

Cota
11-04-04, 05:03 PM
As a soundstorm user I think its a nice audio solution with better sound quality than any other integrated audio. But it really can't match even a soundblaster live, much less an Audigy.

That is until you use Dolby Digital output to a dolby digital receiver.

Then its the best of the best of the best. No other even comes close in sound quality, not the audigy2 nor turtle beach santa cruz or M-audio revolution.

So good that Dolby Labs themselves have developed their own "soundstorm" standard known as Dolby digital Live. There are chipset manufacturers implementing this technology including Intel, VIA and nVidia.

I already mentioned this on this thread

http://www.nvnews.net/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=39742

MUYA
11-04-04, 05:51 PM
I use the Soundstorm's Digital out from SPDIF to connect to my Dolby Digital receiver and bore the pants off my neighbours. :p

GamerGuyX
11-04-04, 06:00 PM
Well what about Reflex-Croft's comment where he says that "DD is NOT lossless, you lose audio fidelity with it, so high end setups won't even consider it." He makes it sound like Dolby Digital is crap... I always thought that Dolby Digital was awesome (at least that's what my ears tell me)!

Cota
11-04-04, 08:11 PM
Dolby digital is not lossless nor DTS for that matter and the first is still the most popular sound system used in THX movie theathers and DVDs. Thats gotta mean something.

superklye
11-05-04, 11:44 AM
I thought the fact that it was digital meant it was superior...if anything analogue would be lossy converting from a digital source (CD/MP3/WAV) > analogue. Maybe I'm wrong.

Graphicmaniac
11-05-04, 12:02 PM
i don't remeber where but a lot of months ago i have read an article where a website has benchamrked a game using soundstorm, creative soundblaster, and integrated one


the soundstorb was really competitive on par with the creative solution, i think it was the audigy 1..... maybe 2 i've forgot

Nitz Walsh
11-05-04, 06:50 PM
i don't remeber where but a lot of months ago i have read an article where a website has benchamrked a game using soundstorm, creative soundblaster, and integrated one
Well that's the thing - performance of a sound card is rarely called into question.

Regardless if the analog quality of Soundstorm is not up to par, its the performance which some (well, me) want. Crank up the channels and DirectSound 3D effects with an AC97 solution, and your frame rates will suffer a large hit - especially if you use EAX emulation. That alone makes comparing it with your usual crap AC97 ridiculous.

CaptNKILL
11-05-04, 07:02 PM
I love my Soundstorm. It is by far the best sounding sound card\chip I have. I have a few integrated AC97 chips, a Live! 5.1, Vortex 2 2500 and a Santa Cruz. None of them come close to this thing. Music sounds MUCH better. Having the full EQ is great. The drivers are awesome. Game performance is great. 3d sound works in every game I have tried (Santa Cruz could barely even attempt any 3d sound... it was terrible).

And most important of all (for me) this chip encodes Dolby Pro Logic through a single analog jack, which my reciever requires for Surround sound (theres a whole thread on this). I have yet to find any other sound solution that does this.

Smokey
11-06-04, 06:34 AM
I thought the fact that it was digital meant it was superior...if anything analogue would be lossy converting from a digital source (CD/MP3/WAV) > analogue. Maybe I'm wrong.

My understanding is this. All sound we hear is analog, so anthing digital like cds, dvds etc have to eventually be converted to an analog signal so that we can hear it. Digital gives you a larger sapce in which to manipulate sound before its converted to analog. If you are using analog outputs with SoundStorm, then you are using the DACs of say Realtek, which arent of great quality. Any digital out is only carrying the digital signal to an exterior source for decoding, so the final quality will depend on the DACs used on that external source. This is why Soundstorm may sound better in some cases compared to say an Audigy, the DACs on the external decoder may be of higher quality than that used on the Audigy.

As for gaming, AFAIK, Soundstorm is the only digial solution that can encode 3d sound into a 6 channel digtal source so that then the external decoder can decode that into a 6 channel analog output, other digital outs, only carry a 2 channel digital signal to the decoder. Now in terms of gaming sound quality and performance, we cannot really compare apples to apples when comparing to an Audigy line of soundcard, simply because no other soundcard supports anything higher than EAX2. Any gaming peformance comparisions can only be made with EAX2, I dont know about anyone else tha owns an Audigy, but I use EAX3 over EAX2 whenever I can......and yes, to me there is a big difference between the two.

If anything I have said is incorrect or not 100% correct, feel free to correct me, as I said, this is my understanding :)

AIW Guru
11-06-04, 03:26 PM
Well what about Reflex-Croft's comment where he says that "DD is NOT lossless, you lose audio fidelity with it, so high end setups won't even consider it." He makes it sound like Dolby Digital is crap... I always thought that Dolby Digital was awesome (at least that's what my ears tell me)!

He's correct. Soundstorm uses Dolby DICE which is NOT lossless. It rolls off frequencies about 17Khz for example. You're better off with a set of quality DACs. Soundstorm is much hype and little substance.

AIW Guru
11-06-04, 03:29 PM
I thought the fact that it was digital meant it was superior...if anything analogue would be lossy converting from a digital source (CD/MP3/WAV) > analogue. Maybe I'm wrong.

There's no such thing as digital speakers. You can't hear digital. Soundstorm ends up analogue eventually too, it just uses the converters in your Receiver to do it rather than the converters on your soundcard. The only difference is that the receiver has to convert a lossly; flawed signal.

Cota
11-06-04, 04:43 PM
He's correct. Soundstorm uses Dolby DICE which is NOT lossless. It rolls off frequencies about 17Khz for example. You're better off with a set of quality DACs. Soundstorm is much hype and little substance.

So I guess that means every movies that uses Dolby digital just plain sucks right?

AIW Guru
11-06-04, 05:25 PM
So I guess that means every movies that uses Dolby digital just plain sucks right?

No. DICE is used to compress 5.1 into SPDIF which can regularly handle only stereo. DD is fine as long as you use the appropriate 3 analogue leads and not try to compress it into a single SPDIF lead that can't handle it. Unfortunately, that's what soundstorm is and it kind of sucks.

Cota
11-06-04, 06:32 PM
DICE is used to compress 5.1 into SPDIF which can regularly handle only stereo.

the statement is kind of true depending on how you interpret it.
DICE compresses any 2~6 channel audio, like DS3D or EAX2 into dolby digital in real time and sends it to an external decoder via SPDIF. EVERY DVD PLAYER ON THE FACE OF THE EARTH USES SPDIF FOR DOLBY DIGITAL OUTPUT(or DTS for that matter).

DD is fine as long as you use the appropriate 3 analogue leads and not try to compress it into a single SPDIF lead that can't handle it

And how exactly are you supposed to route a dolby digital signal through 3 analog leads??? Only way is SPDIF.

Unfortunately, that's what soundstorm is and it kind of sucks

If I were you I would really dig around a bit and understand what DICE is about.

DolbyDigital is a compressed format and its encoded at either 448 kbit/sec or 384 kbit/sec data rates (i think DICE use the latter) so wether its compressed in realtime with DICE or pre-compressed like a DVD it has to use SPDIF for digital output.

AIW Guru
11-06-04, 08:37 PM
And how exactly are you supposed to route a dolby digital signal through 3 analog leads??? Only way is SPDIF.

Obviously the soundcard in the PC decodes it and then sends the 5.1 (6 channels=3 analogue leads) to the receiver which does no decoding.

so wether its compressed in realtime with DICE or pre-compressed like a DVD it has to use SPDIF for digital output.

Right. Which is why SPDIF is useless for multi-channel audio. DVD Movie audio is NOT audiophile grade sound. You would never use it in place of even a CD for example. For music applications, SPDIF is only good for Stereo.
Amongst other limitations that I'm not versed on, DICE rolls off frequencies above 17Khz. That's a pretty nasty thing right there and something that you don't have when you just use the three analogue leads (ie. not soundstorm)

Cota
11-06-04, 09:00 PM
Obviously the soundcard in the PC decodes it and then sends the 5.1 (6 channels=3 analogue leads) to the receiver which does no decoding.

No game has dolby digital audio, I don't know how are you going to decode something that's not there.

BTW the nforce doesn't do hardware dolby digital decoding only encoding.

If you don't have a dolby digital receiver then forget about soundstorm, but if you do then its the only way to go.

Right. Which is why SPDIF is useless for multi-channel audio. DVD Movie audio is NOT audiophile grade sound. You would never use it in place of even a CD for example. For music applications, SPDIF is only good for Stereo.

Soundstorm is for games, since when you need audiphile grade sound when listening to bullets and explosions?

AIW Guru
11-06-04, 09:04 PM
No game has dolby digital audio, I don't know how are you going to decode something that's not there.

BTW the nforce doesn't do hardware dolby digital decoding only encoding.


Yes, exactly. It (the PC) would decode DVDs and encode games and music. Sorry for not specifying both. I take it now you know exactly what I mean.

Soundstorm is for games, since when you need audiphile grade sound when listening to bullets and explosions?

No. Soundstorm is for everything. It encodes ALL of your audio including music (except the protected stuff that you can't hear at all through SPDIF) to 5.1 and as such is a bunk POS.

Cota
11-06-04, 09:45 PM
have you even listened a soundstorm setup?

I have an AN7 coupled with a RCA dolby digital receiver and games, dvds and music (which you can listen in plain stereo if you want to) sound awesome. It replaced an Audigy2 with creative 6600 speakers.

AIW Guru
11-06-04, 09:58 PM
How does it sound above 17Khz? :angel2:

CaptNKILL
11-07-04, 03:33 PM
How does it sound above 17Khz? :angel2:
How many people can even hear differences in frequencies that high?

LTech221
11-07-04, 04:03 PM
While I think Soundstorm is a great solution if you use the Digital out, I don't think its the best. Granted, for gaming its great, but for music. I tend to find myself not liking it as much as my revo. I have a A7N8x-e Deluxe hooked to a Klipsch DD-5.1 decoder and Gigaworks S700 speakers & Beyerdynamic DT250-80 headphones to switch between the soundstorm, Revo, Audigy 1 & onboard CMI8738, but i dont even touch that. Sound quality wise I would place the revo far ahead the other 2 for music playback. Gaming and movies I think the A1 and SS are = performance wise, never had any real issues with slowdown, unless I use the revo for gaming. And the whole thing with DVD players using SPDIF, those movies are already encoded from a master source. Soundstorm will encode from any source be it MP3 or whatever it is. So your taking an already lossy source and re-encoding real time to 5.1. To me thats jut like the audigy's taking a 44.1 khz signal and resampling to 48khz then back to 44.1. I think for pure soundquality, it would almost be close to an Audigy 1, above an SB Live. For most people however, if they do use the soundstorm digital out, it should be great & better than pretty much all the other onboard setups.

Cota
11-08-04, 12:30 PM
How does it sound above 17Khz? :angel2:

I've been looking for information regarding your statement that DICE cuts off frequencies above 17khz and have found nothing. According to dolby labs, Dolby digital encodes frequencies from 20hz to 22khz.

I played a braveheart cd with and without dolby digital encoding and noticed no difference in audio quality. So if DICE cuts frequencies above 17khz (or even 22khz) I can't tell.