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zassou

monitor's built-in "sound card" sounds terrible

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Posted · Original PosterOP

this is a useless rant but out of curious, i tried my monitor's built in sound card (or dac?), and it's bad...

almost all modern high end monitors comes with audio output. audio acceleration is intergrated into modern gpus, so it functions as a digital soundcard. and monitor and or TV part is the DAC.

 

my monitors are dell u2414h, it's pretty well-equipped in terms of io, a rather high end model for its time. i have nothing to complain on its visual quality, audio however, is not. the 3.5mm output sounds murky and cramped and it feels like im listening to low bitrate mp3 instead of high fidelity loseless flac tracks and spotify streaming i'm playing.

(im using flac tracks, but i cant tell the difference between spotify and loseless)

 

===

 

i have a pair speakers and headphone: edifier s2000pro and philips shp9500. compared to the monitor dac is my motherboard's built-in ALC 1150 solution. (i always believe desktop built-in audio nowadays is so good, that can rival serious hifi boxes)

 

my first test track is "coward" from the ost of movie interstellar: https://open.spotify.com/track/74WwGZ5latu7pnSMkJztsp

it's so obvious that, on my headphone, immediately at the beginning of the track, there is very little range, like inside a small room, almost cant tell where the instruments are. also the bass is limited, i think it cut off a sizable chunk of hertz there. especially the drums from 1:30 feels metronome beeping as supposed to drums.

 

on the speaker side, edifier boxes are known for their rich, warm theme but often thin on details, no matter what low bitrate garbage you put in there, it will make it sounds good. however i do find out somethings not quite right. it makes the "monitor track" sounds, again, way better than headphone, but still, there is no area, everything cramped insde of your skull, murky.

 

the second track is "tetsujin" from the matrix: https://open.spotify.com/track/7lnTzVtcGkEFwMHcw8MNjl

this is a high-dynamic track, especially the first half. my philips cans' attention to detail reveals even more of the monitor's quirks, it compresses the dynamic range. and somehow i noticed the monitor is struggling to reach high frequencies (0:45 the "high hats"). the bass is there, quite rumbling in fact, but it's very shallow, like covering the drumface with a pillow.

 

to the speakers, the lack of dynamic range really shows when it meets the "massive" 5 inch drivers. while edifier's mysterious tech tried to make it sound good, the monitor simply not giving the low frequencies my speakers needed. makes the track sounds like 2000s' rmvb rips.

 

 

on the volume side, i can pump the onboard audio to the max and still sounds okay on headphones (the output level of the green jack is quite low imo). the monitor is louder, and it started to distort at 50 ish (altho is already quid deafening). i tried the same tracks on my pixel phone, and it sounded okay, things are there, just not as good as my motherboard. now i wonder if my monitor's dac is worse than those cheap spdif dac boards on amazon, and whether or not it's a good idea to game on hifi grade fibre optic dacs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


why everybody post the spec of their rig here? i dont! cuz its made of mashed potatoes!

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30 minutes ago, zassou said:

i wonder if my monitor's dac is worse than those cheap spdif dac boards on amazon

your monitors dac is a cheap dac so , yea....

nobody uses desktop monitor speakers or dac anyway, it's usually just an epoxy blob on the board anyway thats there just for convenience sake and not so actually sound good.

any portable cassete walkman will obviously have a better driver in it that a epoxy blob

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TLDR

 

But no monitor is going to have a good sound card, just use and external dac. 


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17 hours ago, zassou said:

this is a useless rant but out of curious, i tried my monitor's built in sound card (or dac?), and it's bad...

almost all modern high end monitors comes with audio output. audio acceleration is intergrated into modern gpus, so it functions as a digital soundcard. and monitor and or TV part is the DAC.

 

my monitors are dell u2414h, it's pretty well-equipped in terms of io, a rather high end model for its time. i have nothing to complain on its visual quality, audio however, is not. the 3.5mm output sounds murky and cramped and it feels like im listening to low bitrate mp3 instead of high fidelity loseless flac tracks and spotify streaming i'm playing.

(im using flac tracks, but i cant tell the difference between spotify and loseless)

 

===

 

i have a pair speakers and headphone: edifier s2000pro and philips shp9500. compared to the monitor dac is my motherboard's built-in ALC 1150 solution. (i always believe desktop built-in audio nowadays is so good, that can rival serious hifi boxes)

 

my first test track is "coward" from the ost of movie interstellar: https://open.spotify.com/track/74WwGZ5latu7pnSMkJztsp

it's so obvious that, on my headphone, immediately at the beginning of the track, there is very little range, like inside a small room, almost cant tell where the instruments are. also the bass is limited, i think it cut off a sizable chunk of hertz there. especially the drums from 1:30 feels metronome beeping as supposed to drums.

 

on the speaker side, edifier boxes are known for their rich, warm theme but often thin on details, no matter what low bitrate garbage you put in there, it will make it sounds good. however i do find out somethings not quite right. it makes the "monitor track" sounds, again, way better than headphone, but still, there is no area, everything cramped insde of your skull, murky.

 

the second track is "tetsujin" from the matrix: https://open.spotify.com/track/7lnTzVtcGkEFwMHcw8MNjl

this is a high-dynamic track, especially the first half. my philips cans' attention to detail reveals even more of the monitor's quirks, it compresses the dynamic range. and somehow i noticed the monitor is struggling to reach high frequencies (0:45 the "high hats"). the bass is there, quite rumbling in fact, but it's very shallow, like covering the drumface with a pillow.

 

to the speakers, the lack of dynamic range really shows when it meets the "massive" 5 inch drivers. while edifier's mysterious tech tried to make it sound good, the monitor simply not giving the low frequencies my speakers needed. makes the track sounds like 2000s' rmvb rips.

 

 

on the volume side, i can pump the onboard audio to the max and still sounds okay on headphones (the output level of the green jack is quite low imo). the monitor is louder, and it started to distort at 50 ish (altho is already quid deafening). i tried the same tracks on my pixel phone, and it sounded okay, things are there, just not as good as my motherboard. now i wonder if my monitor's dac is worse than those cheap spdif dac boards on amazon, and whether or not it's a good idea to game on hifi grade fibre optic dacs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well, It is a very cheap DAC chip, with a cheap, crappy power supply and analogue section.

 

It's output is relatively okay, provided it is powered well. Which it probably isn't.

 

image.png.45d91513737d87d2902d5ae300dfb4de.png

 

It's SNR is also very low (93-94dBA)

 

Plus, I suspect that it isn't shielded very well, So it's hardly going to perform it's best.

 

 

17 hours ago, zassou said:

whether or not it's a good idea to game on hifi grade fibre optic dacs

 

You can absolutely game on "HiFi Grade" DAC's. I game quite regularly with my Chord DAVE, Which is a $12,500 DAC. Having good game audio is amazing, especially for games like Assetto Corsa, ROTTR, GTA etc. Where the audio is relatively important.


If you have any questions about ultra high end audio (Or any speakers or speaker gear!), don't be afraid to shoot me a message, or mention me.

 

Yes my audio stuff is 800,000 USD, I'm a dedicated audiophile/mastering engineer

 

(If you want to see my audio stuff, check my profile, it's too much to list here.)

 

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