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Windows 7: Digital Audio

08 Aug 2015   #1
michael diemer

Windows 7 x64 SP1
 
 
Digital Audio

I have a powerful new computer for music creation, with a Steinberg audio interface, pro monitoring speakers with subwoofer, etc. However, I spend a lot of time on my old rig, and sometimes try out music software there, or even fool around with Linux (currently using Zorin). I must admit to being confused about digital audio,
Realtek drivers, Microsoft HD Audio, etc. So, first of all, is MS HD Audio the same as Realtek? Second, the onboard audio has various output jacks for speakers, woofers and headphones. Are any of these digital audio? for example, SPDIF? When I look at the sound utility in Zorin, it gives SPDIF as a choice. But when I choose it I get no sound. I know this is a digital format, but I assume I need a special cable for it, right?

Any light shed on this subject would be most appreciated! Thanks,

Michael


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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08 Aug 2015   #2
fireberd

Windows 10 64 bit
 
 

I have a recording studio (I use Sonar).

If you are serious into recording audio you will abandon the PC sound cards for a "real" recording interface unit.

However, if you have Realtek sound hardware, the Realtek drivers are the preferred. The Windows installed High Definition Audio Drivers are only generic, basic function, drivers.

There are two types of audio output available on many PC's. Analog and Digital. The Analog is the traditional type used to drive "Computer" Speakers. The digital outputs can be two different types. "Coax" (uses an RCA type connector and coax cable) and "TOS" (Optical, light wave, that uses special Optical cable). You can't connect a digital output to standard analog computer speakers. There are some special computer speakers that use digital. Generally, the digital output is used to connect to a surround sound system or something similar.

Studio monitor speakers usually have several different inputs but rarely have a "digital" input.

When I use my recording DAW (Sonar), I use a USB connected recording interface unit, a Roland Studio-Capture. The Studio-Capture has 12 analog preamps and inputs for instruments or microphones (or line inputs). The Studio-Capture also has analog outputs for headphones and line outs that I use with my JBL LSR308 studio monitors. The Roland also has S/PDIF coax digital (but I'm not using it currently).
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Aug 2015   #3
michael diemer

Windows 7 x64 SP1
 
 

Thanks, firebird. I do have the UR-22 on my music rig. I just wanted to be able to have decent sound on my secondary machine with Linux, in case I ever decide to go that route (like, when Windows 7 is no longer supported - I don't trust any Windows later than that). The best would be to plug in my (USB) Ur-22, like I do when I'm on Windows on that machine. But Steinberg doesn't make drivers for Linux, so I'm forced to use the on-board sound. It's just for fooling around, but still, you always want the best sound possible.

BTW, I also use Sonar (8.5.3).
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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09 Aug 2015   #4
fireberd

Windows 10 64 bit
 
 

I'm using the new Sonar Platinum. I have upgraded to Windows 10 (from 8.1) and all is well after Roland upgraded their drivers. I've done some recording and no problems.

If the hardware (and applications software) is compatible, Win 10 will work fine, even better latency than Win 7 (or 8.1). However, if the hardware is marginal for Win 10 I would avoid it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Aug 2015   #5
michael diemer

Windows 7 x64 SP1
 
 

Better sound for Linux solved. Last night I hooked up my M-audio studio monitors to the onboard sound on my old computer, they sounded great. Only problem, they don't have much bass. Which is why I have a Mackie subwoofer on my new computer. But I don't have a cable to connect that to my old computer. So here's what I did: I have Klipsch Pro Audio Computer speakers, which I once used in my music creation. They have a nice little subwoofer. I connected the left (power) satellite speaker to the sub, but did not wire in the speaker coax wires as I don't want them to play. I needed the left speaker connected to the sub and then to the computer sub output, so I could control the sub with the dial on the left speaker. I have the monitor speakers connected to the LR speaker output, through a splitter. The result is very good sound when I'm using Linux. Now, if I wanted to use A DAW on Linux, I would of course need an audio interface that works on Linux, with Asio drivers or their equivalent. But this at least shows excellent sound is possible on Linux, so that if I do want at some future time to use Linux for music creation, it will be possible.
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