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Sondigo Inferno 7.1 PCI Soundcard

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BioSniper 12th October 2006, 10:29 Quote
My main gripe with the review is with the graphs for X-fi and Realtek, they are the same blue!
DougEdey 12th October 2006, 10:35 Quote
I would strongly not reccomend using BS4 as a sound benchmark in the future, it plays havoc with several iterations of the Nforce based soundcards.
Bindibadgi 12th October 2006, 10:46 Quote
Well, I dont use an nForce based board. It was meant as a subjective comparison and the only game which was non-EAX I had to hand.

Bio: point noted, I may change the colour later.
Lazlow 12th October 2006, 11:23 Quote
Great to see a new company bringing out a great product. I've had many problems with older creative products, which meant that I stuck to onboard sound as there were no decent alternatives - until now.
tylerpestell 12th October 2006, 11:49 Quote
Competeing companies are always better for the consumer. I am tired of Creatives dominance in the soundcard market. I think I will be getting this card.
DougEdey 12th October 2006, 12:09 Quote
Bindi: I mean that if it can cause problems with some soundcards, it may cause problems with others :P
_DTM2000_ 12th October 2006, 12:11 Quote
I'm sorry, it's one of my pet hates...There's no such thing as a "Base Guitar", it's a "Bass Guitar", the same as "Bass Drum", "Drum and Bass", "Trebble and Bass", "Sub-Bass" and "Mid-Bass" etc. :p

Goog product though and a good review. :)
Bindibadgi 12th October 2006, 13:09 Quote
Corrected. You're of course right it should be Bass. It's one of those things I know and should have used but is not second nature and spell check doesn't pick it up.

Doug: If I'd had had problems then I would have either used something else or reported it. It's a soundcard review, not a motherboard or game review.
kenco_uk 12th October 2006, 13:14 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by _DTM2000_
I'm sorry, it's one of my pet hates...There's no such thing as a "Base Guitar", it's a "Bass Guitar", the same as "Bass Drum", "Drum and Bass", "Trebble and Bass", "Sub-Bass" and "Mid-Bass" etc. :p

Goog product though and a good review. :)

While we're on the subject, it's Treble :)

I'd agree that the X-Fi is an incredible card and that it does indeed have its faults. Getting it to run on an NForce4-based board can be (and was for me) a pain in the derriere. However, when it decided to play ball, the quality is amazing. You can suddenly hear more of the music/sound effects. Imo worth the effort/money.
_DTM2000_ 12th October 2006, 13:55 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by kenco_uk
While we're on the subject, it's Treble :)

Doh.. Well spotted :D
Bindibadgi 12th October 2006, 14:51 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by kenco_uk
While we're on the subject, it's Treble :)

I'd agree that the X-Fi is an incredible card and that it does indeed have its faults. Getting it to run on an NForce4-based board can be (and was for me) a pain in the derriere. However, when it decided to play ball, the quality is amazing. You can suddenly hear more of the music/sound effects. Imo worth the effort/money.

Plus the fact that Creative offer about 3 software updates before giving up on a product and the software isn't as easy to navigate. Having said that, OCUK are doing a Music Xtreme OEM X-Fi for £50 now, which is a bit of a kick in the nuts for Sondigo. No word on it's real world S/N ratio or software support but it does have the "24 bit crystaliser" though.

Im gonna use this card til Wil shouts at me that they want it back. Im hoping everyone will forget about it :o
JADS 12th October 2006, 15:15 Quote
Creative make good hardware, but are sorely let down by their marketing department making promises they can't deliver on and frankly atrocious software that appears once in a blue moon.

I'm not convinced however this will be the 'solid competition' needed to force change. :(
jeff_vs 12th October 2006, 18:25 Quote
I recently picked up an AuzenTech XPlosion 7.1. It has the C-Media CMI8770 which is also a Dolby Live/DTS Connect chip. I really like it. This board looks to be spec'd better than the AuzenTech. I will take these over anything creative puts together any day.

I can't speak much about the noise levels, as I have never actually hooked up speakers to the output jacks. I always use it in Dolby Live or DTS Connect mode, or in direct S/PDIF pass through with a toslink. Anyone with an external receiver (or Logitech Z-5500 speaker set, like myself) NEEDS this card or the AuzenTech. It is THE piece to finish your HTPC.

Supposedly DTS Connect has a higher bitrate that Dolby Live, but I can not tell any difference. There is a small amount of cross talk on the channels in these modes. If you play a sound out of one speaker and disconnect that speaker, you will hear the sound faintly out of the other channels. I'm not sure if this is a DTS Connect/Dolby Live upconverting issue or a channel separation issue with the Z-5500. Either way, it's barely worth mentioning, makes no audible difference unless you're specifically testing for it.

The C-Media software is a bit cheezy looking, but it gets the job done, and done very well WITHOUT ADS FOR FREAKIN' CREATIVE CRAP floating around. I remember the first time I installed my Live! 5.1 card, there was a Nomad ad right at the bottom of the control panel applet. That's just WRONG and I will never forget it!

I'm not a big gamer, so the EAX issue has never come up. The most recent game I've played is Descent III. (Yee haw!)

Buy this card (or the AuzenTech).
Jeff
Cthippo 12th October 2006, 18:44 Quote
Does this thing have linux drivers out? The lack of drivers for my X-fi is one of the last hurdles keeping me from going full time on linux. I know that Creative has "promised" linux drivers for Q2 07, but I'll believe it when I see it.
Tyinsar 12th October 2006, 20:03 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by tylerpestell
Competeing companies are always better for the consumer. I am tired of Creatives dominance in the soundcard market.
Quoted for truth - I hope these guys do Really well, but given the history of competitors I'm not holding my breath.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bindibadgi
Plus the fact that Creative offer about 3 software updates before giving up on a product ...
Quote:
Originally Posted by JADS
Creative make good hardware, but are sorely let down by their marketing department making promises they can't deliver on and frankly atrocious software that appears once in a blue moon.

I'm not convinced however this will be the 'solid competition' needed to force change. :(
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeff_vs
...WITHOUT ADS FOR FREAKIN' CREATIVE CRAP floating around. I remember the first time I installed my Live! 5.1 card, there was a Nomad ad right at the bottom of the control panel applet. That's just WRONG and I will never forget it!...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cthippo
Does this thing have linux drivers out? The lack of drivers for my X-fi is one of the last hurdles keeping me from going full time on linux. I know that Creative has "promised" linux drivers for Q2 07, but I'll believe it when I see it.

Note to Creative Liars Labs: see the trend in those posts - personally I haven't bought "Creative" since Sound Blaster Live "upgradeability" promises proved to be... um, untrue.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeff_vs
...I'm not a big gamer, so the EAX issue has never come up. The most recent game I've played is Descent III. (Yee haw!)

Buy this card (or the AuzenTech).
Jeff
Sadly Creative has an edge there (I still won't but from them though)
dom_ 12th October 2006, 21:08 Quote
Only thing i thought was
"I was using a decent pair of headphones (Sennheizer HD215) for the testing but I also put it through some basic £10 "TEAC PowerMax" speakers and some £10 Sony in-ears. You can easily tell the quality difference the more you spend, even over that of the "geek pride" element that extenuates the "awesome" effect of any major purchase."

You talk about ASIO but don't explain how much of a benefit it is if you download drivers for your media player. Cutting out the k-mixer is such a bonus.

Is this really a good enough test system to test the sound quality? I know we are not talking Hi-Fi here but still a better system would enable you to hear all the differences in quality.

But otherwise you went into great detail. A comparison between more Hi-Fi cards such as e-mu or m-audio would have been useful too.

Oh and its Sennheiser.
Firehed 12th October 2006, 22:05 Quote
$150? Eek. I think I'll have to hang on to my AuzenTech card (rather, swipe it from home the next time I'm there). Anyways, it has some desirable features and was a great review. But what a silly name... anyone else keep reading it as "sondingo" or something to that effect?
Aankhen 13th October 2006, 00:16 Quote
Glad to see some competition for Creative.
Quote:
and whilst audiophiles will naturally turn their nose up because it's "not a separate"
What is a "separate"?
Nature 13th October 2006, 01:46 Quote
Bindibadgi...

Please change your avatar.

Thank you,
Nature
mclean007 13th October 2006, 10:27 Quote
Quote:
The codec is coupled with 117dB SNR DACs which provide an effective SNR of ~110dB. This compares to the Creative SoundBlaster X-Fi Xtreme Music, Platinum and Fatal1ty soundcards at 109dB and the Elite Pro at 116dB.
I'm no audio / electronics whizz, so can you please explain this? I understand the concept of SNR and dB, but why does a 117dB SNR DAC "provide an effective SNR of ~110dB"? And are the quoted figures for the various X-Fi models supposed to correspond to the "DAC" SNR or the "effective" SNR? In other words, does the Inferno compare most closely with the Xtreme Music / Platinum / Fatal1ty at 110/109dB, or with the Elite Pro at 117/116dB?

Would be much appreciated if someone could enlighten me - as I say, my understanding of this sort of stuff is pretty rudimentary! Thanks
Bindibadgi 13th October 2006, 10:27 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aankhen
Glad to see some competition for Creative.

What is a "separate"?

A separate is something like a Hi-Fi box that does one specific function. People stack them up so you can have stuff like a tuner, decoder, amp, DVD player etc. Some come with more than one function but basically it allows you to tailor your Hi-Fi setup for your exact needs.
Someone else will probably explain it better.

Dom, I know SFA about ASIO's mate, I had to put a lot of research into the article for the detail so what you've just told me is fresh.

Minimum specs are a P3 800 and 256meg ram, so I think a dual core CPU with 2GB of ram is more than enough ;)

Unfortunately I didn't have any other soundcards to hand, nor the real expertise and time to look at more cards than what I had :( In a way it sort of helps I'm not an audiowhore because you know if I can hear a difference then others will be able to get even more out of it.
specofdust 13th October 2006, 15:13 Quote
Intresting review, I'll be considering this card for my upcoming(he hopes) HTPC.
Bindibadgi 13th October 2006, 15:28 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by mclean007
I'm no audio / electronics whizz, so can you please explain this? I understand the concept of SNR and dB, but why does a 117dB SNR DAC "provide an effective SNR of ~110dB"? And are the quoted figures for the various X-Fi models supposed to correspond to the "DAC" SNR or the "effective" SNR? In other words, does the Inferno compare most closely with the Xtreme Music / Platinum / Fatal1ty at 110/109dB, or with the Elite Pro at 117/116dB?

Would be much appreciated if someone could enlighten me - as I say, my understanding of this sort of stuff is pretty rudimentary! Thanks

Because Sondigo provided me with a graph of the exact SNR of each of their outputs with the minimum of about 108ish and max is 113ish, so on average you can say about 110. The DACs themselves, under perfect circumstances, are rated at 117 but obviously with the quality of PCB and motherboard power noise (that does vary between PCs) causes an average value the end user see's to be around 110dB.

Creative will probably never provide a real value electing the PR to speak for itself and you can sure as hell bet the values that they show are the optimum-capable rather than real world. Ive read someone on the Creative site claiming 135(!) and then click a link and it's magically down to 116!?
dom_ 13th October 2006, 17:52 Quote
Thanks for the reply.
All you need to know about ASIO is that when you have a card that can handle it download the asio.dll for winamp and marvel at a massive increase in sound quality for no real effort.

I appreciate you saying your not an audiowhore and thus any difference you hear must be great, but if you used a better pair of headphones of better speakers you would be able to hear the differences even more and more differences you would not have heard before.
mclean007 13th October 2006, 17:53 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bindibadgi
Because Sondigo provided me with a graph of the exact SNR of each of their outputs with the minimum of about 108ish and max is 113ish, so on average you can say about 110. The DACs themselves, under perfect circumstances, are rated at 117 but obviously with the quality of PCB and motherboard power noise (that does vary between PCs) causes an average value the end user see's to be around 110dB.

Creative will probably never provide a real value electing the PR to speak for itself and you can sure as hell bet the values that they show are the optimum-capable rather than real world. Ive read someone on the Creative site claiming 135(!) and then click a link and it's magically down to 116!?
Great. Thanks!
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