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ASRock details next-gen A-Style Purity Sound tech

ASRock details next-gen A-Style Purity Sound tech

ASRock's A-Style Purity Sound mates a Realtek ALC1150 codec to a pair of TI amplifiers to create a direct-drive, high-quality audio system, the company claims.

ASRock has released details of a new on-board sound technology it claims may make those who decry anything except a high-priced discrete soundcards listen twice.

Dubbed A-Style Purity Sound, because that's not complete gibberish at all, the system is a combination of hardware and software designed to offer a higher-fidelity listening experience than the average on-board sound chip bundled into motherboards. Taking the form of a shiny box mounted to the motherboard - a metal shield to reduce the effects of electromagnetic interference on the audio quality, the company claims - the device joins a Realtek ALC1150 audio chip located under the shield to a Texas Instruments NE5532 differential amplifier for the main speaker outputs and separate NE5532 amplifier for use with headphones.

The reason for the two-amp design, ASRock explains, is to support high-impedance headphones and drive the audio output directly without the capacitors normally used for the job. The result, the company claims, is audio output with less distortion and more fine detail - although it has yet to offer anything other than subjective analysis to support this claim. One thing the company can legitimately state is that all components support a 115dB signal-to-noise ratio (SnR) in the digital-to-analogue process, a 5dB increase over most on-board audio systems.

Using the Realtek ALC1150 and bundled software, the system supports 7.1 channel output and DTS Connect, allowing PC audio to be encoded and output via S/PDIF as a DTS digital stream - albeit in 5.1-channel form only - along with simulated 7.1-channel output via DTS Neo:PC.

The Purity Sound technology joins ASRock's other A-Style technologies, including a HDMI input option for pass-through video, on-board 802.11ac Wi-Fi, a waterproof conformal coating - something that may please extreme overclockers who use liquid nitrogen or other condensation-forming cooling methods - and the company's Home Cloud storage system. Details of these latter features, however, have yet to be released.

ASRock isn't the only manufacturer looking to change the reputation of on-board audio chips, however: the company faces competition from the like of Biostar's Hi-Fi Z77X, which packs Puro Hi-Fi Technology - a design that, like Purity Sound, includes a built-in amplifier, although one lacking the capacitor-free direct-drive functionality of ASRock's design.

ASRock has promised to include the A-Style technologies on its next-generation Intel 8-series motherboards, meaning buyers should have something to see come Intel's Haswell launch at Computex in June. More details are available on the company's microsite.

24 Comments

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Stanley Tweedle 3rd May 2013, 12:03 Quote
Pretty sure I used to build circuits with NE5532 back in the 80's. Not exactly an expensive opamp at less than £1.

My Auzentech X-Meridian 2G has better opamps.
mi1ez 3rd May 2013, 12:04 Quote
Surely most EMI noise will come from the motherboard side of the chip rendering the shield useless?
GuilleAcoustic 3rd May 2013, 12:14 Quote
this is pure marketing .... better buy a dedicated USB DAC with head-amp (well, it's not the same price).
flibblesan 3rd May 2013, 12:56 Quote
Hopefully bit-tech can get one of these boards and put those claims to the test?
monkiboi 3rd May 2013, 13:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
Dubbed A-Style Purity Sound, because that's not complete gibberish at all

Am I detecting a hint of cynicism Mr Halfacree?
Corky42 3rd May 2013, 13:30 Quote
Seem like better on board audio is being push by a lot of manufactures of late. Gigabyte is also releasing details of there AMP-UP on board audio, with changeable op-amp and creative based hardware.
GuilleAcoustic 3rd May 2013, 13:59 Quote
Sound quality is not only about DAC and I/V stage. You need a great power circuitry (L-C Pi filtering, etc.), efficient and smart grounding, etc. This will be a small improvement, but will still be far from high quality audio.
Stanley Tweedle 3rd May 2013, 14:56 Quote
"Ti NE5532 headset amplifier" << Sales bollocks. 5532 is a very bog standard low-cost op-amp.
Gareth Halfacree 3rd May 2013, 16:39 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by monkiboi
Am I detecting a hint of cynicism Mr Halfacree?
From me? Shurely shome mishtake. ;)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stanley Tweedle
"Ti NE5532 headset amplifier" << Sales bollocks. 5532 is a very bog standard low-cost op-amp.
I think ASRock's point is that it has a *separate* amplifier for the headphones, not that the amplifier itself is anything special. I say "I think," because it's not being terribly clear on *why* A-Style Purity Sound is better than all the rest.
Corky42 3rd May 2013, 18:34 Quote
Every time i read A-Style, i cant help thinking it 's some new line in ladies fashion :)
fluxtatic 4th May 2013, 08:16 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stanley Tweedle
"Ti NE5532 headset amplifier" << Sales bollocks. 5532 is a very bog standard low-cost op-amp.

Maybe, but can you even name the op-amps used in the motherboards around your house now? Sure, Burr-Browns are nice, but odds are good what most motherboards are using are some $.05 junk. (Not that I'm defending ASRock, but any step up in onboard quality is good by me, since I'm too cheap to splash out on a discrete card.)

Also, no love for Asus having hopped on (or possibly started) the better-onboard-audio bandwagon? Wasn't it a year or so ago they started bringing out some ROG boards with an isolated audio plane and a corner of the board where all the audio hardware was gathered, with a fairly sizable trace-free gap isolating it from the rest of the board?
SAimNE 4th May 2013, 19:36 Quote
This board seems rather pointless overall... it's never going to outdo the high end sound cards in the market, and for normal people highend mobos already had a more than decent audio feedback for movies/gaming/music/w/e. This is a device that would only matter to audiophiles and audiophiles ALREADY OWN THE SOUND CARDS.... if they make a new system with this board, they would simply transfer their already owned epic sound card to the pci slots and use that... they would never even bother with onboard when they know it wont match up.... so yeah, not sure who this is marketed at.
[USRF]Obiwan 6th May 2013, 11:47 Quote
Maybe they should have used the new OPA1662 amps from TI.

But I would be very impressed if they had used BurBrown amps.
Gareth Halfacree 6th May 2013, 11:51 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by [USRF
But I would be very impressed if they had used BurBrown amps.
I'm buying the first motherboard to use thermionic valves. Plus a windowed case.
GuilleAcoustic 6th May 2013, 12:00 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
Quote:
Originally Posted by [USRF
But I would be very impressed if they had used BurBrown amps.
I'm buying the first motherboard to use thermionic valves. Plus a windowed case.

Tubes needs very good shielding and an almost perfect volatges, even the position and orientation of each chokes toward the others is important .... this is so pointless inside a computer case.

The PSU is the most important stage inside an high grade audio amp, and this is even more important when using a valve to amplify the audio signal.
Gareth Halfacree 6th May 2013, 12:03 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by GuilleAcoustic
Tubes needs very good shielding and an almost perfect volatges, even the position and orientation of each chokes toward the others is important .... this is so pointless inside a computer case.
T'was a joke, lad, a joke. Although anyone serious about valve amplification can enjoy modern features with glowing glass thanks to Samsung.

Either that, or just build the entire damn computer from valves. (Note: this, too, is a joke, as well as being entirely possible.)
GuilleAcoustic 6th May 2013, 12:18 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
Quote:
Originally Posted by GuilleAcoustic
Tubes needs very good shielding and an almost perfect volatges, even the position and orientation of each chokes toward the others is important .... this is so pointless inside a computer case.
T'was a joke, lad, a joke. Although anyone serious about valve amplification can enjoy modern features with glowing glass thanks to Samsung.

Either that, or just build the entire damn computer from valves. (Note: this, too, is a joke, as well as being entirely possible.)

I'm a tube lovers and rush in every time I read such sentence :D ... ... AOpen made a motherboard using valves (that's why I over reacted :p)

http://www.ixbt.com/multimedia/apen-tube/art4-web.jpg
Gareth Halfacree 6th May 2013, 13:47 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by GuilleAcoustic
AOpen made a motherboard using valves (that's why I over reacted :p)
I... I have no words. I made what I thought was an obviously ridiculous suggestion and it turns out to be a real product. Right, stop the planet, I wanna get off.
GuilleAcoustic 6th May 2013, 14:01 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
I... I have no words. I made what I thought was an obviously ridiculous suggestion and it turns out to be a real product. Right, stop the planet, I wanna get off.

I so understand you :(. Technology is full of ridiculous implementations :'(
Stanley Tweedle 6th May 2013, 14:40 Quote
My Auzentech X-Meridian 2G has opamps sockets so I can upgrade them. I know one of the asus designs allows that too. I like my 2G so much that I wooden buy a mobo unless it had the PCI slot for my soundcard.
GuilleAcoustic 6th May 2013, 15:33 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stanley Tweedle
My Auzentech X-Meridian 2G has opamps sockets so I can upgrade them. I know one of the asus designs allows that too. I like my 2G so much that I wooden buy a mobo unless it had the PCI slot for my soundcard.

That is a great feature that can either upgrade the sound quality or allow you to choose the opamp that best matches your tastes (depending on the kind of music for example).
Stanley Tweedle 6th May 2013, 15:36 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by GuilleAcoustic
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stanley Tweedle
My Auzentech X-Meridian 2G has opamps sockets so I can upgrade them. I know one of the asus designs allows that too. I like my 2G so much that I wooden buy a mobo unless it had the PCI slot for my soundcard.

That is a great feature that can either upgrade the sound quality or allow you to choose the opamp that best matches your tastes (depending on the kind of music for example).

Yup, I reckon so. I haven't upgraded mine yet. The default opamps are better than the 5532 Asrock are using on their mobo.
Corky42 6th May 2013, 18:04 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corky42
Seem like better on board audio is being push by a lot of manufactures of late. Gigabyte is also releasing details of there AMP-UP on board audio, with changeable op-amp and creative based hardware.

IDK anything about audio so maybe you guys can say if the two op-amps that are going to come with Gigabyte are any good ? or is it just like people have suggested with the ASrock more gimmick/marketing than of any actual use ?

A Burr Brown OPA2134 Op-Amp chip, and an extra chip – a TI Mouser LM4562NA.
Other op-amps will be available costing between $1 and $20.
Gigabyte use Nichicon capacitors which are specially designed for audio applications.
Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi (20k2) Sound Core 3D chip
Cheapskate 8th May 2013, 01:09 Quote
I don't get the fascination with analog outputs on a computer...
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