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ATTN All converter experts
Old 22nd December 2010
  #1
Lives for gear
ATTN All converter experts

Which of these is the better converter ?

CS5381 ADC or PCM4220
Old 22nd December 2010
  #2
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cinealta's Avatar
 

The analog front-end and design is more determinant of the sound quality than whether you use a Cirrus Logic or TI (or Crystal, Burr-Brown or AKM for that matter).
Old 22nd December 2010
  #3
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by cinealta View Post
The analog front-end and design is more determinant of the sound quality than whether you use a Cirrus Logic or TI (or Crystal, Burr-Brown or AKM for that matter).

Thanks Cinealta, I appreciate the information. I will break it down specifically.

I have a Sound Blaster Titanium HD PCI e card. This is their audiophile card. It has far superior components than other Sound Blaster cards.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...0titanium%20hd

I also have an Asus Essence ST PCI card which is Asus' flagship audiophile card.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-014-_-Product

These cards feature the following components:


The Titanium HD uses:
ADC: PCM4220
DAC: PCM1794

The Asus Essence uses:
ADC: Cirrus-Logic CS5381
DAC: PCM1792A

I will be using one of these cards as my converter interface when recording vocals. I will run my preamp through one of these cards.
For this purpose, which of these has the better ADC? The Essence Cirrus Logic or the Titanium's PCM4220?

Thanks to anyone who could offer any help.

Last edited by Krush411; 22nd December 2010 at 08:00 AM.. Reason: Correction
Old 22nd December 2010
  #4
Lives for gear
 

You could try to look up specs for the two converters - s/n ratio, dynamic range, freq response.... if they're published. That might give you better insight into the full picture of the whole unit, instead of just the chips, which seem to be more and more interchangeable....
Old 22nd December 2010
  #5
Gear Addict
 
soypancho's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Krush411 View Post
Thanks Cinealta, I appreciate the information. I will break it down specifically.
That's still the most accurate answer to your question. The quality of the components each sound card uses to interface with that chip tend to have a more noticeable effect on the converter quality than the difference of two relatively similar chips themselves. This is why buying an external clock or sending an interface into Black Lion Audio can improve the performance of a converter.

The point is that Chip A may be technically better but sound worse in practice because Sound Card B uses a better analog components to interface with their chip. The only person who can give you a qualified answer is someone who's used both of these sound cards in a similar application, not just the converter chips in question. Even then, their idea of what sounds good may differ substantially from yours.

The only way to find out for sure is to pick up the ASUS and try it alongside your Creative card. Chances are that it will be a minimal difference relative to the impacts of mic placement, the source, the OTHER analog front end consisting of a pre, cabling, etc, and your room. Hope this helps.
Old 22nd December 2010
  #6
Registered User
This is all a bit pointless. Any internal PC soundcard is compromised. Forget the specs - they lie, basically.

The converter chip is almost the least important part. The clock stability, analog circuitry (influenced enormously by the quality of power supply) and SHIELDING (or total lack thereof) are more important. With noisy power and signal and unstable clock, there will be a LOT of jitter. Very probably there will also be ground loop hum, and clicks and pops. Inside a PC is a VERY noisy place, electrically.

This is a bit like asking which cheeseburger is the ultimate fine dining experience. Who cares ... cheap soundcards are cheap soundcards. Use them for their intended purpose, or if you want quality audio, get an external standalone converter. The price difference alone will tell you there are some major differences ...

So just record some test tracks and use whichever one sucks the least.
Old 25th June 2012
  #7
Gear Nut
 

The analog section of the ASUS is well-sealed and isolated.
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