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Desktop vs. Laptop soundcards

nelmr

Active Member
Well, here is my Dell desktop response prior to calibration (using the front mic and headphone jacks):



I find this more disturbing then my laptop which again, is the following:



The reason I measured my desktop is that I have an office system (that will soon be getting my SVS 20-39). I thought it would be better to use the Desktop for measurements, but now I'm not sure. With it calibrated do you see any reason not to use it?

UPDATE: Here is the calibrated response vs. the non calibrated:



The below 10hz stuff isn't that big a deal, but what is up with the dip between 100 and 500hz? Even calibrated it dips about 0.5dB
 

soundhound

Well-Known Member
The soundcards in desktop computers generally aren't all that great, but yours seems to be particularly screwed up, or there is something wrong with the measurement. In any event, if you're really concerned about audio quality on your PC, you should upgrade your soundcard. I use the ASUS Xonar Essence, but there are a number of others in all price brackets worth considering.
 

nelmr

Active Member
soundhound said:
The soundcards in desktop computers generally aren't all that great, but yours seems to be particularly screwed up, or there is something wrong with the measurement. In any event, if you're really concerned about audio quality on your PC, you should upgrade your soundcard. I use the ASUS Xonar Essence, but there are a number of others in all price brackets worth considering.
I'll keep that in mind, but I'll probably just use the laptop to make measurements. I don't notice any issues when listening to music though.

The build in sound card has a pretty low noise floor as well as seen in the graph below (note I modified the calibration file to roll off below 3hz and above 20khz as you can see the calibrated response in this graph also):



This is compared to the laptop which is much higher:

 

soundhound

Well-Known Member
The Y axis numerical legend is kind of goofy in the program you're using. Usually "0dB" is set to be the reference level for the test such as having it equal 1 volt, with the noise so many dBs below that, like this:

 

nelmr

Active Member
I had the wrong setting on the desktop, here is the correct 1/48th octave RTA with noise shown. The other graphs was the "spectrum" setting.

 

soundhound

Well-Known Member
You should still have the "0dB" point be your reference voltage or reference dB level. Without the reference, nobody can tell how far down the noise is.
 

nelmr

Active Member
soundhound said:
You should still have the "0dB" point be your reference voltage or reference dB level. Without the reference, nobody can tell how far down the noise is.
I'm not sure how to do that with this program. All graphs with a mic are what the actual SPL measured is (after mic level calibration). And I agree with no mic attached (and just a loop back from the output), I'm not sure what the SPL level means. I just know it is lower than the other PC.
 

Flint

Dog Faced Pony Soldier
Superstar
I've never seen a measured response like that on a sound card. I've seen uneven responses and higher noise floors, but that one looks wierd.

Are you certain there are no DSP settings turned on with your Desktop? Check to make sure there isn't something going on, and set the sound properties in Windows to the most obvious settings for flat audio - there are settings for headphones, satellite speakers, enhanced sound, and so on (depending on your sound card driver and software).
 

nelmr

Active Member
Yep some DSP was on. I found out when trying to calibrate SPL, almost all volume levels were somewhat similar despite adjusting the signal SPL by 10-20dBs. I forgot that I had my wife's niece over last week and she was watching a movie on the PC. I turned on the "Loudness Equalizer" setting so she could easily hear. I bet that setting has something to do with the measured responses. When I get some more time, I'll try to re-measure and see if the response changes. My bet is that it will.

Good catch Flint.
 

Towen7

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Moderator
If I may... It's REW or Room Equalizer Wizard available for free download at Home Theater Shack.
 

soundhound

Well-Known Member
Towen7 said:
If I may... It's REW or Room Equalizer Wizard available for free download at Home Theater Shack.
Oh.... I actually have an early version of the program, fooled around with it a bit, but never did anything with it.
 
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