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  1. #1
    Member JohnnyCNote's Avatar
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    Question Realtek ALC892 Opinions?


    What's the general consensus on the Realtek ALC892 audio chip that's found on some ASUS m/b's? I'm considering options as part of my due diligence in pricing out a possible new PC build. I use the PC for listening to music, and may do some audio editing and/or mixing. I don't do much in the way of recording or capture, at least for now.

    I do have a camcorder and Adobe Premier Elements, but I haven't really gotten into that to any extent. I'm not sure if this involves the soundcard/chip to any degree or not. There doesn't seem to be much in the way of reviews available on the Realtek ALC892, except for a few lines in m/b reviews.

    Eagerly awaiting your wisdom! Thanks . . .

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  2. #2
    I don't have any problems with it. I think it's pretty good actually. My last mobo had the same chipset, but for some reason my current mobo sounds a bit cleaner. While I haven't put it up against any real competition, it makes me question those who believe general use sound cards would be an upgrade.

    Unless you have specific needs or the equipment and speakers to take advantage of a high-end card, I really don't think you need to consider anything else. It's kind of like the difference between a 320kbps mp3 and the actual CD. One is superior, but most can't hear the difference. Your own preferences would come into play at this point.
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  3. #3
    Disabled Pinky's Avatar
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    This discussion, though not specific to the Realtek, covers some of the pros/cons of using onboard audio:

    http://www.overclockers.com/forums/s...d.php?t=705957

  4. #4
    Member JohnnyCNote's Avatar
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    Thanks! I'll check it out . . .

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  5. #5
    Member Sir Barton's Avatar
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    My Asus P8Z68V Pro uses the ALC892 chipset, and I think it sounds very good. Im a big audiophool/junkie and its definitely something I could live with everyday, no intentions to upgrade.

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  6. #6
    Member JohnnyCNote's Avatar
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    Thanks! That sounds like a major endorsement . . .

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  7. #7
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    Might be a little late now, but I just got my P8Z77-v-Deluxe board today, and it has it. Got to say it's really clear. Much better than my old motherboards onboard audio.

  8. #8
    Member JohnnyCNote's Avatar
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    That pretty much makes up my mind, thanks!

    I'm thinking about the ASUS P8Z77-M and an I5-3570K. Right now I have the system below, and have to replace the m/b because it decided to quit. I have a warranty replacement, and just have to get in gear and actually do the deed.

    I was planning to wait for another year, but any excuse to upgrade and I start plotting. I can usually justify things by saying I'm giving the old set-up to my brother. He hasn't had to buy a computer in well over a decade. Lucky him!

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  9. #9
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    ALC 892. It Sucks!

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnnyCNote View Post
    That pretty much makes up my mind, thanks!
    It shouldn't, really!. I have a new Asus 990x EVO board with Realtek alc 892, the sound chip inside is pretty much separated from the rest, so interference is at a minimum, it has 6 (!) connectors, a fancy software to control the chip. So its great! Or is it?
    Well, ...it's not.
    How do I put it, I used to have an old Genius live maker 5.1 PCi board ( or they could have named it just as well: The crapiest dedicated sound card in the world). And since it doesnt work with windows 8, Im stuck with the onboard chip. Which, again, sucks.
    why it sucks:
    1. The connectors are not configurable.
    2. The sound from the rear speakers its like coming from inside a frying pan.
    3. The Dac convertor makes my mp3's sound like a Transformers movie.
    Whoever says buying a dedicated soundboard isnt worth it, doesn't know what he's talking about.
    I have microlab active speakers 48W, Pioneer Amplifier, and Pioneer passive speakers 120W.

  10. #10
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    2 year old thread....

    This old Realtek codec isn't as good as the new ALC1150 one, that is for sure. The 1150 sounds pretty good for the majority of people. Its not until you get into a good set of cans/speakers/setup that most would want to move to a discrete card. And that discrete card should be good to improve upon the ALC1150 codec.

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  11. #11
    Member Ivy's Avatar
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    My HTPC is using a ALC 898 codec and i think it sounds good. 898 got 110 dB SNR, thats a good value, if a higher value can give a truly audible improvement is hard to say, a upgrade would not truly give benefit because the lack is most likely on another spot.
    The other systems got a weaker ALC codec (887 [97 dB], 888 [97 dB] + 889 [106 dB]) but they are not intended to be used with music and movies... just gaming and games are usually pretty weak at the music fidelity... the codec is usually not the weak spot.

    The 892 is only 97 dB SNR, that's clearly on the weak side, same value such as some of the previous ALC codecs, but only high quality systems will truly benefit from a even better codec i guess. The 892 is a rather worse codec but surely sufficient for gaming. I wouldnt use it for movies (exept some Youtube videos) and music though.

    Matter is surely way more complicated than just "codec". The most critical stuff is:
    1. The use of at least 96 Hz sound, even better using 192 Hz, the fidelity/clarity is much higher, especially subwoofer/bass is becoming more precise. Most people are just using some low Hz setting and may use a weak Amp (usually build into affordable PC speakers or headphone) that is not able to support high sound resolution or not able to make proper use of high sound resolution. Those people have probably zero need for better codec... their issue is most likely at another spot. A low Hz codec such as 48 Hz in comparison is sounding like someone is crying behind a frying pan... a muffled non precise sound. But it is almost inaudible when not using high end Amp/speakers because only those devices can make use of truly high resolution.

    2. Attaching a suitable high rated Amp, cheap PC speakers wont fit, it need to be a dedicated Amp device. Maybe even a Preamp included, but there is many good "all in one" Amp available in the higher price range.

    3. Either the use of huge floor standing speakers, else the deep bass below 50 Hz will usually suffer a lot or not even become audible. Or the use of quality bookshelf speakers paired with a dedicated subwoofer that will take over the deep bass frequencies below 80 Hz. The bookshelf build got the advantage of making it easyer setting up a multi speaker system that is usually more affordable and easyer finding a good spot for speaker placement (not to big). Another advantage is that the dependency on the Amp is lower because the subwoofer will have a dedicated Amp, so it wont be taxing the main Amp to much. The main Amp in that term can use more power for the upper frequencies above 80 Hz.

    3. Raw power specs got no meaning and peak specs is without meaning, just dont let it fool you. The only stuff that truly matters is the general quality of the Amp and speakers, nothing else. Loudness itself isnt important, but the possible loudness dynamics in order to produce resolution. A loud "boom boom boom" subwoofer (maybe car sound for freaks) is no use as long as not the required agility in order to shatter the sound input into countless pieces and producing every fragment at once.

    4. The use of highly compressed audio files (MP3 and such) is not giving any benefit for quality, although extremely popular... in term such formats are used i would not place a bet on the capability of the sound, to much missing sound information and not even a super codec would be useful. However, when used together with audio devices of low resolution (MP3 players, most headphones and such) the difference is almost inaudible. MP3 is especially inferior when it comes to very low frequencies because human hearing is not vulnerable to masking at those frequencies, it will simply be removed or simplified by the MP3 as a matter of "low priority", and the bass will usually lack depth, this is noticeable on high end speakers.

    Ultimately and take note, as long as not the entire chain of requirements is sufficient, a single missing part can destroy the entire quality and the codec is probably the least important part of this chain. Sound source (file/CD)---->Audio codec---->Amp---->Speakers

    Headphones in my mind are good for practical use, especially for gamers, but they cant keep up with the audiophile quality of speakers (especially feeling and fullness of sound), so for true audiophile sound i would refrain from using it, but people may have different opinions.

    Another thing i want to say, just as the human eyes, human brain and human nose need training in order to work at the maximum capability, the hearing is not different. Good hearing isnt just a luck of the dice but can be trained or gained too. The industry food is slowly destroying our smelling skills, evolution is depleting the nose because not properly used anymore and it is against the law of nature to support non used parts of the body... and same is for bad music, when music quality is constantly worse the ear will simply degenerate.. The brain will disable hearing of way to frequently used "disturbing frequencies" or "non used frequencies" in order to protect itself from abuse or in order to get ride of wasted ressurces. So just to say... we need quality and agility else we will slowly lose the ability to make a difference and we will become monotone and standardized. Of course, the industry is praising it... so they can produce stuff with low value but still appreciated a lot by the majority, so take care. I'm not even sure which "gap" is bigger, the gap between highly/lowly capable humans or the gap between rich/poor... sometimes it goes hand in hand.


    Quote Originally Posted by EarthDog View Post
    The 1150 sounds pretty good for the majority of people. Its not until you get into a good set of cans/speakers/setup that most would want to move to a discrete card. And that discrete card should be good to improve upon the ALC1150 codec.
    The 1150 is a flagship Realtek sound with 115 dB SNR (outstanding value) and only top of the line discrete sound cards will truly grant better sound i suppose. Still, without a very good high end speaker system... there is most likely no audible difference, it is probably waste of money for most of the users.

    Quote Originally Posted by EarthDog View Post
    2 year old thread....

    This old Realtek codec isn't as good as the new ALC1150 one, that is for sure.
    The difference between 892 and 1150 is like earth and heaven... i would consider it "breath taking" in audiophile terms. Even Realtek got good codecs but the 892 is a mistaken in order to provide a cheaper solution i would say.
    Last edited by Ivy; 03-15-15 at 08:19 PM.
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  12. #12
    "Raw power specs got no meaning and peak specs is without meaning"
    You don't have a clue. I have the 1150 and it is nice (funny enough I have never heard it without the dac). I still have it connected to a 24 bit dac via a toslink cable to my 50w (peak 75) A5+'s (speakers are excellent, btw). As for the op's question, for normal listening, as long as you have decent speakers (thd <=0.05%), you will be fine. If not, get better speakers to begin with. Then if you get any static or feedback from the mobo, at all, or if the connections are not to your liking, get a nice soundcard, and I don't mean Creative. Asus Xonar or m-audio type.
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  13. #13
    Member Ivy's Avatar
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    Ah well, excuse me... i actually mean "high end stuff"; for the low end it may be important to some extend*. In term low end is used i wouldnt even consider looking into the "power of the codec", because codec really is without meaning and it would be always sufficient. A adequate speaker/Amp should be able to reach 100 dB with almost no harmonic distortion, anything above this value can be damaging to the ears, so there is no use and it is already way to loud. However... because human hearing can at some spot have a sensitivity of lower than 0 dB, dynamic range have to be above 100 dB, a serious challenge.

    *Although i think people rarely get what the manufacturer is actually "advertising" (because unknown circumstances, crazy THD or useless peak values); i am not sure how much those specs can be trusted in term not a very reputable true audio manufacturer. For example i know some Phillips ghettoblasters with crazy oversized 50mm tweeters, they are just made for raw dB values at the lack of audio fidelity. Yet many people still think it is important as a party machine or whatelse. Finally, the raw dB output is of very limited meaning, it can be cheated in endless ways if a manufacturer is looking out for... always at the cost of fidelity (waveguide =reduced dispersion, oversized tweeters, decreased resolution, non sustainable peak values). Anyway, you can trust it... i dont, i only trust my senses.

    Btw: Just as i said "raw power specs"; it means power specs without a clear "how it was measured, with every single detail".
    Last edited by Ivy; 03-16-15 at 06:09 AM.
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  14. #14
    Large amplifiers as well as large power supplies (ie 1000w+) work better and cleaner with smaller loads was what I was referring to. If your speakers don't have a clean thd, none of that matters. Which is why I will never buy a stereo amp unless it has extremely low thd, speakers included. Onko does a nice job for not a lot of money. I run my pc, my monitor and now my speakers through my ups not only to negate power outage hiccups, but as well just to make sure there is no line fluctuation. My audio setup cost me half what my entire pc cost, sans monitor. Plus my music is almost entirely in flac. Peace
    Last edited by habbajabba; 03-16-15 at 08:21 PM.

  15. #15
    Member Ivy's Avatar
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    Oh, i guess just about any Amp is working better with a smaller load, "better" in term of low distortion (clipping and such). Honestly, i dont think any audiophile is driving their Amp constantly at max load, maybe for for a few seconds in term of a dynamic value but not as a continuous volume. Regarding the speakers, according to my knowledge under optimal circumstances the Amp should be slightly more powerful than the value a speaker is actually able to handle with very low distortion, this value is usually the RMS value handed out by the manufacturer. RMS usually means it is inside the power handling range with low distortion and a clean sound, so it doesnt mean it cant handle more than that but the speaker will become inaccurate and/or even become damaged over time. However, just as i said, the Amp should be more powerful because a Amp may already cause high clipping even when inside the "RMS" range of a speaker. This clipping is causing a high stress on the speaker and it can cause more damage to the speaker than a Amp that is just "overpowering" a speaker. So the most critical stuff is surely the Amp, and i think any high end speaker, even bookshelf speakers, is able to do a great job nowadays. But when it comes to the Amp there is still many lack and most Amps are rated at 1% THD, a value that is already way to much for clean sound, so the specified "max value" is not realistic.

    The UPS is surely a nice thing, but i do not think it would truly matter for high end Amps (or any other high end PSU), because they got very powerful caps that can handle those "fluctuations" pretty well. Power is never stable, it always need some kind of "dejittering" and for example the HDMI jittering cant be filtered by an UPS, this job can only be done by the Amp itself. Sure, it is never bad to add another security or filtering layer but in term of Hifi a UPS simply is not fully capable. The high end Amps are 15 kg upwards (can weight more than most PCs)... guess why...
    Quote Originally Posted by habbajabba View Post
    Onko does a nice job for not a lot of money.
    I disagree because i once spend around 550 USD on a Onkyo Amp and it was boom after 2.5 years, i wouldnt say it is a "nice job for not a lot of money"... sorry, it is actually a lot of cash for a endurance of only 2.5 year. Even Onkyo puts their pants on the same way as everyone else, perhaps even worse.

    Quote Originally Posted by habbajabba View Post
    My audio setup cost me half what my entire pc cost, sans monitor. Plus my music is almost entirely in flac.
    My audio setup was about twice of the cost of the most expensive PC i ever build, so "half the cost" is not truly much i feel. FLAC is good stuff, i adore such a philosophy, because it would sound somewhat insufficent when people ask for "better codecs" and are usually playing MP3 files...

    Although im not one of them telling others that a good Hifi is same price such as a new Ferrari car. I think good Hifi can be gotten for a high but still affordable price. Still twice the cost of a high end PC in term of multi use (a multi channel setup working great for music, movie and gaming) but totally worth the price... it may last very long as long as no "badaboom Amp gotten".
    Last edited by Ivy; 03-16-15 at 11:14 PM.
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  16. #16
    ∞ dBa Member NiHaoMike's Avatar
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    One of the big problems with mainstream audio amplifiers is that their wattage is "marketing derived", meaning it could be as little as a few seconds at indicated power. The output inductors and PSU magnetics are often where the corners get cut and those also contribute to the amplifier running hot at idle due to increased core and switching losses. (Hence why a good amplifier should not run hot with nothing playing, except tube amps of course.) Surface mount MOSFETs and HVICs have less of a problem as their higher operating frequencies mean there's less reason to cost cut on the output inductors, but the issue of them cutting corners on the PSU are just as bad as before. Variable supply rails also helps a lot (lower supply rails = lower losses) and boosts dynamic range.

    It's too bad that DIYing a purely digital amplifier from scratch is very difficult to do even for an experienced electrical engineer. There aren't even very many modules that accept S/PDIF directly and no easy way to break out HDMI audio into a bunch of I2S or S/PDIF to drive all the channels.
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  17. #17
    Member Ivy's Avatar
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    One thing i noticed is that my old Onkyo receiver during inactivity, means it is enabled but no sound played, was always pretty hot i would say above 40 C constantly. The new Pioneer receiver is barely becoming warm, maybe only marginally higher than ambient temperature when no sound is played. So your statement that a high quality Amp is producing less wastage in a inactive mode seems pretty valid. This is indeed a serious matter because it does'nt only save up power but even the lifetime is increased when a receiver is not heating up to much.

    Another thing i noticed at the Onkyo receiver, many times when i was putting off and on the power button the receiver would start up and all of a sudden it will shut itself off. I had to put it on another time in order to enable it. I think because at some spot there was to less juice in order to supply the internal parts and one of the main caps was in need of "another self-powered power flow" from the wall in order to gain enough juice for a sustainable activity. I assume the caps at some early stage simply was becoming empty and the power was gone before some secondary parts was supplied in a sufficient way. There could be many leakage too... the caps slowly start to become empty in a critical way, and when powered up the caps are unable to refresh from the empty condition on a single "on mode pass through". But anway, things like that is always a hint that there is some quality lack i suppose. I was never experiencing such a issue on my new Pioneer receiver and i think reason is that the caps are sufficiently powered at every single stage, so there is never a critical loss. The power at the wall is surely not a problem even for devices that have a high need for startup power, because it is a 220V line that is able to provide a massive power flow at several thousand W sustained peak value without any loss. It is simply a insufficiently powered receiver, any other reason is not realistic. Onkyo stated themself that the receiver will need lot of "startup power" from the wall and it may lead to troubles at some lines. But the issue isnt the wall... issue is that the receiver is not self sustainable in the "power up stage"... because someone simply was saving up cash... just as hilarious as it sounds.

    So, i just say... dont be cheap on a Amp, it simply will need a certain price, else it may become a hassle. I think currently Pioneer and Yamaha got best reputation when it comes to "affordable receivers" with sufficient build quality.

    It is always a hassle when a receiver always have to be put on and off when used many times a day for small to big things. So i just leave it ON all the time, however... in theory a device can use a input signal detection and as soon as there is no signal it will shut off (that is always done) and as soon as there is a signal it will almost instantly shut itself ON, that is rarely done by any device nowadays but my KEF R400b subwoofer got such a "power mode", it will disable itself and instantly enable when a new signal input. This mode is saving lot of power and is increasing lifetime without the hassle of always having to enable it. The Pioneer receiver is somewhat good at inactivity as it can stay inactive at rather low ressource loss and heat up... so staying enabled all the time is less of a issue. Simply lot of important details most people never think about, but it does really matter in long term and practical use and a strong sign of quality. It is simply not free building supreme power-mode stuff so there is many "saving up" especially for mainstream devices and they even are much "less green" for a lot of reasons.

    In general i think the subwoofers are currently the most advancing Hifi technology... and many of them seems to have supreme solutions, sadly the receiver/amp is not treated with same love and they usually only focus on providing more "lifestyle" features such as Iphone support, countless in and outputs for even the most exotic devices and more of comparable light-watcher issues with lifestyle focus. A subwoofer is not a lifestyle cookie (with the exeptions of some wannabe-subwoofers that are put into certain "movie/PC sets")... it is even against lifestyle because way to disturbing and the manufacturers are truly focusing on making some supreme essential techs away from the "light watcher-utilitys". Sometimes a device can enable the correct philosophy simply because it is to far away from being "light"... and thats why many subwoofers are impressing me. The best subwoofers can match even high priced floor standing speakers at bass reproduction all the way down even to below 20 Hz, at a fraction a matter that was previously unable to be achieved by any device of such a low size that can be several times smaller than many floor standing speakers. Surely the most hilarious "lifestyle related advancement" is the shower speaker, i guess i rather enjoy the clean sound of the water, seriously, yet stuff like this is a big hype kinda comparable to the Iphone flood, i am not using it and guess what... im happy. I rather enjoy a immovable huge Hifi and spend my time with more important stuff rather than having hours of phone calls a day and insufficient lifestyle speakers at every single spot.
    Last edited by Ivy; 03-17-15 at 07:07 AM.
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  18. #18
    ∞ dBa Member NiHaoMike's Avatar
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    It seems like a lot of audio amplifier designers don't know how to design good power electronics. (Such as my old Philips digital amplifier that had an awful lot of cross conduction - it ran hot with nothing playing and put out loads of EMI!) I would like to see a big power electronics manufacturer like Delta or ABB get into the audio amplifier market. Based on my experience with their power electronics products, they could pretty easily build a true 1500W amplifier smaller than a shoebox.

    I think one big reason why most digital amplifiers don't shut off the PWM with no input signal is because they use the same PSU converter for the output stage and the logic, so shutting off the PWM will cause a big cross load condition. That's also another reason to go for variable supply rails since that almost always means a separate converter for the power stage and the output stage on most of those do shut off with no signal. (An easy way to tell is to see if it runs warmer with the volume turned up while playing a silent track.)
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  19. #19
    Member Ivy's Avatar
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    Jun 2011
    Interesting thought and i have to admit is is above my level of knowledge for some parts, so i may not understand all the details. Nonetheless, it is interesting and many details are actually useful in order to judge the quality of electronics, so i can have less hassle on my "audio life" by going through the spots diligently and checking it out.

    I guess lack of knowledge on how to design or simply economical reasons is not always clear, but fact is... there is much better stuff possible in general, especially with nowadays possibilitys. It is not even a matter of having something affordable because in todays economic, the lower the amount of devices the bigger the required margin in order to have it economically "sustainable". Now thats a weak spot of true high end, just a few are buying it and that means the margin have to be huge, so it will never be a "value buy", thats certain. Although i guess, the truly good stuff isnt made by near endless amount of engineers/designers, i think all it takes is a few "certified genii" and some high rated assistants, or as i call it "to many cooks spoil the broth".

    In general i know the issue from many spots as i am a person with near endless amount of interest for almost any stuff. In the past i was trying out lot of RC electonics and then at some point i noticed that it could be done much better if only a few very capable companys and/or people would be doing it. So i was ending the matter because i said to me "the thing is not fine tuned in a way i would enjoy it... or in other words... there is still a long way to go". So i am focusing on other stuff but my general knowledge about tech "in motion" and "possibilitys" is pretty high, so i can imagine a lot of stuff many people may be incapable of. The general issue with world class RC electronics is almost same such as cutting edge Hifi electronics, just a few buyers or people that barely will be able to adore it... so that means the margin have to be extremely huge. In comparison the "mobile/smart phone tech" that was growing into small portable "gasp computers with countless frequencies producing massive EMI" made it to the mainstream for many years already. I guess some poor people may even sell their organ in order to get a Iphone/Ipad (i never heard such a thing when it comes to Hifi), so it got a very wide spectrum of possible customers around the world and this means with todays way how we handle economics, there is a huge bunch of capable developers/designers/engineers working on it day after day and year after year... so it is no wonder it was growing so mature and becoming one of the biggest hype, although it is leaving me cold, not much interest as the almost only thing. Because i am aware what direction the stuff is heading... a lot of people are already suffering and in long term im not sure if it is truly the thing we had a "critical need" for, future will tell and up to the day of truth it will stay a hype, thats clear. So, nope i dont own a smartphone but countless of computers and Hifi and if i want to make a call i use the PC or the good old phone. I just own a very dated Nokia because some company was forcing me to use a authenticator and then i was getting me the cheapest phone i was able to find (it was almost free including free call time) and is is basically inactive the whole time and never used for calls, the only sad tear is that i was unable to get money back for owning it because i demand "smart money".

    Im glad to see that some companys such as Goldenear try to break the "bond" of margin-war that is usually holding high end Hifi back and that they actually can prove that even good Hifi can be build for an affordable price. However, the most critical spot, the Amp, is still holding back this company and i sense a high possibility for improvements, that is so far not done because even one of the the most innovative company is facing some bonds when it comes to this matter. Apart from that, i am not a big fan of radiators... i think a set of active drivers can enable even better results because a active driver is simply more precise although more challenging and expensive to build. Especially i am a fan of force cancellation because i really dont need my inventory to be blasted away or cabinet vibrations (with possible distortions) as a matter of good bass. A matter that may require at least 2 drivers (inertia cancellation) but may also work with "push-pull" (pressure cancellation). But when it comes to natures law, the symetric approach is always supreme... there is a good reason we have 2 ears and why stereo speakers are supreme to mono, and the KEF subwoofer is perfectly symetric, a great design in my mind.
    Last edited by Ivy; 03-18-15 at 07:11 AM.
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    HIFI System:
    Pioneer SC-LX56-S/Front: Klipsch RB61IIx2/Surround: KEF Q300x2/Center: Wharfedale Diamond 10CS/Subwoofer: KEF R400b/Channel 5.1/Power Capacity ~1kW/1kW ~100 dB @4.5m/Speaker @6dB loss ~26-40k Hz. @10-15 dB loss ~15-50k Hz/Audible @80dB ~15-15.5k Hz


  20. #20
    Ignoring the white noise Mutterator
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    Let's keep our dissertations focused on helping the OP.

    If you want to discuss the merits of amplification, start another thread.

    "We have more information and more ways of accessing it than ever, yet seem increasingly less inclined to do so."- Michael Wilbon

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