Author Topic: Frequency range of PC soundcard (nVIDIA MCP61)  (Read 3161 times)

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Offline TB-AV

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Re: Frequency range of PC soundcard (nVIDIA MCP61)
« Reply #15 on: April 04, 2012, 05:56:19 pm »
Quote
Maybe we should ask that guy with the ultrasonic bath

That's not the same thing. You are asking, or I thought your were, what the audio bandwidth is of the D/A converter.

The card and drivers can sample from 1 to 44.1 or 48 or 96 or 192K however high they go up to. Certainly they go to 48K.

But having your DA do that is another story. You might find what you are looking for in the user manuals for a few motherboards that use that card or chipset or whatever it is.

I would not expect a high bandwidth DA converter.
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Offline jacksroadhouse

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Re: Frequency range of PC soundcard (nVIDIA MCP61)
« Reply #16 on: April 04, 2012, 05:59:57 pm »
Mainboard manuals is a good idea. Need to look some of those up.

But honestly, TB, one day you really need to get that joke thing down ;) :D

Offline TB-AV

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Re: Frequency range of PC soundcard (nVIDIA MCP61)
« Reply #17 on: April 04, 2012, 06:11:05 pm »
Yeah, I know... but still..... I'm really not sure if you are trying to figure audio bandwidth, in which case I'm not sure whats wrong with a pair of ears for that or if you are doing some other thing.

It still remains...

The frequency of the card is driver dependent.

the practical frequency of the analog output is what you can hear

If you want more than that you really need to measure it. Even those test from that other site only tested 40 to 15K.

I'm sure there are some test tones on the 'net somewhere.

Suppose I told you I found specs that stated 20 - 20K +/- .5db   or 10 to 35K +/- 3dB  or 40 - 15K +/- .001dB 
Would any of that be all that helpful?


ETA:nVIDIA has really good tech support. If you email them with specifics, they could probably tell you exactly what you want to know.


Also ... as Majik posted above... won't this tell you everything you are looking for.
http://audio.rightmark.org/products/rmaa.shtml

« Last Edit: April 04, 2012, 06:32:58 pm by TB-AV »
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Offline jacksroadhouse

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Re: Frequency range of PC soundcard (nVIDIA MCP61)
« Reply #18 on: April 04, 2012, 06:57:10 pm »
Also a good idea, I'll do that.

And: I'm not trying to solve a specific problem, I'm wondering what I can do with this setup. I'm extremely hesitant to give an example, because you'll probably talk me out of it ;)

Okay, I'll go in: say my soundcard does 30 kHz (fat chance), then I should be able to comfortably (as in: even if they lied) send e.g. a 20 kHz signal through any piece of equipment that I suspect of cutting or distorting high frequencies. If I understand you right, I could even use the same soundcard to record the result and then check it with whatever I can find. Even my DAW should do (analysis or to make it audible again), or that software osci that Andy mentioned. Or I could send it through something with a VU meter (if the meter registers freqs that high, would have to test that first) and simply check if something comes through (I know, I know, can't tell useable signal from noise/junk that way, but still). With SweepGen it would be easy to check the freq response of gear (that's quite a handy little tool).

Haven't thought it through all the way yet.

 One candidate would have been the EQ pedal I bought recently and that I sent back for excessive crappyness. Would have been nice to have checked whether my impression that it cut off the higher frequencies was right or not. Another candidate would be my mixer. I'd love to know how much of that excessive freq resp really make it to the main out, after EQ, compressor, effects unit and all the rest. Yep, it's pretty much academic, but I'd still like to know ;)

And that's just one of my current ideas.

As for Majik's suggestion: tried that and from what I can see (or not) it's a yapogsicubifbdi *


But again, I'll contact support and see if they can tell me the official specs. But that'll have to wait till tomorrow. Off to shower-then-wardrobe-then-pub right now. Open stage tonight.

Cheers!



* = yet another piece of great software I can't use because I'm f*c*in blind, damn it

Offline Scooter Trash

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Re: Frequency range of PC soundcard (nVIDIA MCP61)
« Reply #19 on: April 04, 2012, 07:18:06 pm »
I'm curious about why you're concerned with frequencies that are outside of the human hearing range.
Anything that does 20-20K should be OK. I'd be more interested int the frequency response and THD. Usually filters are used to limit the upper and lower frequencies to keep things between 20 and 20K so your amp and speakers aren't using them.
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Offline TB-AV

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Re: Frequency range of PC soundcard (nVIDIA MCP61)
« Reply #20 on: April 04, 2012, 07:56:46 pm »
That's what I don't understand.

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Offline misterg

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Re: Frequency range of PC soundcard (nVIDIA MCP61)
« Reply #21 on: April 04, 2012, 10:43:59 pm »
how do you set up probes for that thing?

If I'm using the signal generator I usually just plug an amp. etc. into the line out with a 3.5mm -> 1/4" adaptor lead. Input usually goes to line-in via a dummy load I have with a suitable attenuator to bring the level down to ~0.5v. Sometimes I just use a microphone.

I have a couple of capacitors to eliminate DC from signal and earth for these signals after I killed one sound card working on a valve amp  :-[.

For other stuff, I have a 3.5mm stereo -> 2x RCA (phono) adaptor and I just make up probes with RCA plugs on as and when I need them. You do need to be quite carefull not to overload the soundcard input. Ironically, I have a real scope I can check things with before connecting the PC.

It keeps me amused for hours :)

@Jacksroadhouse - Visual analyser has a pink noise function (not sure if that's what you were asking).

Andy

Offline old-and-in-the-way

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Re: Frequency range of PC soundcard (nVIDIA MCP61)
« Reply #22 on: April 04, 2012, 11:28:17 pm »
The obvious answer to the question originally posed is that CD quality recordings have a sample rate of 44.1kHz.  The sampling theorem tells us that there must be at least two samples per cycle, giving us a maximum possible signal frequency of 22.05kHz.  In practice this will be lower (since a 22.05kHz signal would have its amplitude heavily attenuated if the sample points do not coincide with the peak and trough, which is very likely).

If you assume sound cards are designed for "CD quality" recording and reproduction, then 20kHz is an absolute, hard limit for any card that samples at 44.1kHz.  If you know your sample rate is higher than this, then you may be able to revise these numbers.

At the lower end, there is a signal power issue for sampling and a quantisation issue for reproduction.  The samples making up a sinusoidal signal will be jagged and jaggedness is high frequency noise.  This is removed by hardware smoothing, but as the signal frequency is reduced the smoothing effect is less effective, unless the smoothing algorithm adapts to low frequency signals, which is quite difficult to do well, and therefore expensive.  Chances are, for a consumer/gamer soundcard, 20Hz is a fairly solid lower limit (it's just not worth them putting the effort into capturing or reproducing sounds that you cannot hear).

If your theoretical maximum frequency is greater than 23kHz then your lowest frequency MAY be lower than 20Hz, otherwise, don't count on it.

Offline misterg

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Re: Frequency range of PC soundcard (nVIDIA MCP61)
« Reply #23 on: April 05, 2012, 12:04:17 am »
OK, empyrical data:

I've just checked my little Asus netbook using the sine wave generator in Visual Analyser and my 'scope.

The maximum frequency VA allows me to set is 20,480 Hz (which I guess is linked to the DA sampling rate supported by the soundcard).

I get a nice, clean, uniform amplitude sine wave from <5Hz to just under 20KHz.

Below 5Hz there is some output but the amplitude gradually drops off - to pretty much nothing at 1Hz.

At the high frequency end, the signal develops some jitter at ~20kHz which becomes worse as the frequency gets higher.

I've no idea what chip set the netbook uses (it's an Asus Eee) but I can't believe it's anything special.

If I get a chance tomorrow, I'll do the same thing with the SB Live! card in my big PC.

Andy


Offline Drubbing

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Re: Frequency range of PC soundcard (nVIDIA MCP61)
« Reply #24 on: April 05, 2012, 01:15:45 am »
Also a good idea, I'll do that.

And: I'm not trying to solve a specific problem, I'm wondering what I can do with this setup. I'm extremely hesitant to give an example, because you'll probably talk me out of it ;)

Okay, I'll go in: say my soundcard does 30 kHz (fat chance), then I should be able to comfortably (as in: even if they lied) send e.g. a 20 kHz signal through any piece of equipment that I suspect of cutting or distorting high frequencies. If I understand you right, I could even use the same soundcard to record the result and then check it with whatever I can find. Even my DAW should do (analysis or to make it audible again), or that software osci that Andy mentioned. Or I could send it through something with a VU meter (if the meter registers freqs that high, would have to test that first) and simply check if something comes through (I know, I know, can't tell useable signal from noise/junk that way, but still). With SweepGen it would be easy to check the freq response of gear (that's quite a handy little tool).

Haven't thought it through all the way yet.

One candidate would have been the EQ pedal I bought recently and that I sent back for excessive crappyness. Would have been nice to have checked whether my impression that it cut off the higher frequencies was right or not. Another candidate would be my mixer. I'd love to know how much of that excessive freq resp really make it to the main out, after EQ, compressor, effects unit and all the rest. Yep, it's pretty much academic, but I'd still like to know ;)


So you're looking for a solution so you can go in search of a problem?

This is very much a weekend project for a bored acoustics engineer, with a lab at their disposal. A very much longer one for someone who isn't. I understand you might want to check FR of speakers and FX, but generally, crap products are poor at reproducing certain freqs, depending on their FR biases. Also, measurements of FR with things like speakers, are not easily reproducible to decent tolerances, even from lab to lab with professional quality set ups to do so.

You'd have to know the rating, tolerances and reproducibility of individual freqs of the other products using the card too. Good luck in finding any gear to do that too. A home project, where you're not even sure of what and how you're measuring stuff isn't going to be helpful, or accurate.

An EQ pedal is probably an even bigger worm can to start with, given they are designed to mess around with incoming freq's - it's quite easy for such products to make things sound bad.

That's a lot of guitar time gone MIA.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2012, 02:05:07 am by Drubbing »

Offline misterg

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Re: Frequency range of PC soundcard (nVIDIA MCP61)
« Reply #25 on: April 05, 2012, 01:36:45 am »
...That's a lot of guitar time gone MIA.

Guilty as charged  :-[ ;D

Andy

Offline jacksroadhouse

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Re: Frequency range of PC soundcard (nVIDIA MCP61)
« Reply #26 on: April 05, 2012, 07:19:43 am »
It's fascinating what a purely technical question, that could be answered with two figures, can lead to, isn't it :)

@Sooter, TB: I'm not really "worrying" about those inaudible freq. I simply want to know what my soundcard can do and take it from there. And as for testing equipment: I use a lot of pretty-cheap-but-nice stuff, and I'd like to know how far away reality is from it's technical specs, at least in general terms. For a lot of my stuff I don't even have the relecant specs, so it would be nice to find out. Well, when *I*'m hearing a loss of upper range in a pedal without even listening for it, chances are that it's max freq is far, far away from 20k and probably closer to 12k (or something). And that's something I need to know to do what I want to do, since my own ears are not that good, but other people's may be. As for 25k freq: I distrust technical specs per se (25 years in IT is tough schooling), so I like to have some "headroom". If it says 25k, then 20k should be a safe bet. If it says 19k, then 19k is not a safe bet. At least, that's my reasoning.

I also learned recently on this very forum, that freqs above the human hearing range can actually have a negative impact on sound quality (something about speaker distortion, if I remember correctly). Which makes me wonder abput a thing or two...

@old-and-in-the-way: I'm not really assuming anything, I'm asking a technical spec of my soundcard. But what you wrote is still interesting, thanks! ;)

@misterg: that's interesting. I wouldn't have thought a soundcard like that even reached that high/low. If my card does by and large the same, I can at least use it up to 19kHz, which would do fine for most of the things I'm thinking about atm.

Also, thanks to you guys obtuse ol' me just realised why there's hardly any chance it'll go much higher than 20 kHz (D/A sampling rate, of course). Sorry that took so long, feeling a tad dense right now.

@Drubbing: trust me, time is the least of my problems in life. I'm also not writing my dissertation, I'm fooling around with my equipment because
1) it's fun
2) I found that this way I learn more about sound than any other way (that's available to me)
3) by pushing equipment to the limit I learn those limits and what gear does when it gets close to them. I get a better feeling of what I can do with what (like: don't use a cheap eq pedal designed for electric guitar on acoustic guitar, because it'll mess up your tone, but do use a cheap-but-good delay pedal, because it'll sound really nice). This also helps me to identify the myths esp. in life sound reinforcement, of which there seem to be many, and it helps me to save money.
4) because I'm jumping out of my skin with boredom and need something interesting to do after my fingertips call quits for the day (and NO, I'm not looking for helpful suggestions how to occupy my time more productively ;) )


Thanks to all you guys!! Even if I'm still without my technical specs, this has been really interesting :)

Cheers

Jack

Offline Drubbing

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Re: Frequency range of PC soundcard (nVIDIA MCP61)
« Reply #27 on: April 05, 2012, 08:17:21 am »
It's fascinating what a purely technical question, that could be answered with two figures, can lead to, isn't it :)

@Drubbing: trust me, time is the least of my problems in life. I'm also not writing my dissertation, I'm fooling around with my equipment because
1) it's fun
2) I found that this way I learn more about sound than any other way (that's available to me)
3) by pushing equipment to the limit I learn those limits and what gear does when it gets close to them. I get a better feeling of what I can do with what (like: don't use a cheap eq pedal designed for electric guitar on acoustic guitar, because it'll mess up your tone, but do use a cheap-but-good delay pedal, because it'll sound really nice). This also helps me to identify the myths esp. in life sound reinforcement, of which there seem to be many, and it helps me to save money.
4) because I'm jumping out of my skin with boredom and need something interesting to do after my fingertips call quits for the day (and NO, I'm not looking for helpful suggestions how to occupy my time more productively ;) )


Thanks to all you guys!! Even if I'm still without my technical specs, this has been really interesting :)

Cheers

Jack


I get it, a lot of people love to tinker. I'm not one of them. I doubt I'll ever buy an aftermarket pup for example. I did get into audio for a while, but at the buck-bang end with headphones. So your #2 and #3 were done through listening, rather than hood popping.

The simple answer is: considering it's onboard PC sound, ie stock, then it's not much chop and probably not worth measuring. THe best PC sound can offer is basic and noise free. Get an aftermarket card instead at around $50-100. Then you've something technically reliable and aurally competent. So long as your speakers aren't duff, you'll notice a difference.


Offline jacksroadhouse

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Re: Frequency range of PC soundcard (nVIDIA MCP61)
« Reply #28 on: April 05, 2012, 08:48:10 am »
@Drubbing: not the point. I'm not looking for a better soundcard. Just looking to find out what my current one can do (my gear shopping list is pretty long already anyway, and there are more important things on it than this ;) ).

nVIDIA support Germany & US was a bust. The knowledge base doesn't even know my chipset (couldn'T fine anything else either) and the rest spells "unless you bought it at our own shop, just p*** o**. Very politely, though.

I think I'll try that mainboard/chipset manual thing. I have a mate who I believe smokes them or something, I'll ask him about it. Come to think of it, he might even have something to just measure the darn thing.

Cheers

Jack

Offline Drubbing

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Re: Frequency range of PC soundcard (nVIDIA MCP61)
« Reply #29 on: April 05, 2012, 09:16:21 am »
I realise that, but as I said, as a stock card, it's far less about what the numbers are, and more about how well they produce the Freqs they have. With onboard, the answer is not very well. Your ears are the best judge there, not what their spec sheet says.

If you're that bored, I've a lawn that needs mowing and some grouting...

 

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