Audio Issues/Questions

Audio Issues/Questions

Post by Jim Balso » Wed, 15 Jun 2005 00:51:03



        I am planning to RIP my CD collection onto a few very large drives
and would ultimately like to connect a Solaris box upto my stereo for
playback.

        The problem with connecting up a Solaris box to what I consider a not
quite a hi-end home stereo system are the following:

        1) I won't have a graphical monitor to connect to it.
        2) Sound card support

        To work around problem 1, I will have a dumb ascii terminal to use to
log in/out and traverse the file systems. But, I know that everytime I boot up
my SPARC box I need to bring up sdtaudiocontrol application to do the
following:

        - Disable the internal speaker.
        - Enable the external speakers on the "line out" jack.
        - Set the volume to 100%

        How big of a problem is this? Not too bad as I can always jump onto
another Solaris box and remotely login to handle this task. But I'm thinking
of the wife here as that is rpobably going to be distatefull to her being a
Windows person and all.

        So my question is, is there anyway to setup the audio driver on
Solaris such that when the machine is booted up, is there anyway to have
these specific values be the default such we won't ever even have to
remotely login the box to set these values?

        Now for problem # 2.

        A little different. We could use the headphone jack splitter to run
into the let and righ channels on the pre-amp. I've tried this and it works,
but the sound quality is not the same as popping in a CD into the CD changer.
Using the headphone jack, the music sounds flat and it's not something I find
pleasurable. But it's not so bad. I mean, If I wasn't A/B'ing the 2 side by
side, I may not have know that the audio was flat when using the headphone
jack on the Ultra 60.

        So, is there any support at all for higher end audio cards on a
Solaris SPARC box. Not a X86 system. And by a higher-end audio card, I
mean an audio card that has left/right jacks on the back of it designed to
be connected to a stereo system as opposed to an audio card that has
headphone jacks. I believe that these jacks are called RCA jacks?

        Any info appreciated.

Thanks, Jim

--
---
Jim

 
 
 

Audio Issues/Questions

Post by Jim Balso » Wed, 15 Jun 2005 01:32:35



Quote:>         2) Sound card support

        Just browsed throught the Solaris x86 HCL and I seemed to have
completely forgotten about http://www.opensound.com. I heard of these guys
back in the 90's but today when I needed them, I had forgotten about them.

        With these drivers I might be all set with problem #2.

Jim

--
---
Jim


 
 
 

Audio Issues/Questions

Post by mr_peter_steven.. » Wed, 15 Jun 2005 01:42:52


Unless you are doing it for a project for learning or a wee bit of
experimentation and don't mind frustrations and an empty feeling of
non-completenes, it's not worth wasting time with this whole
dead-horse-* session as it is more trouble than it is worth.

You can get CD-players that will play mp3 files on cd-r by opening most
cereal packets these days, and as unix has teachy-fied me over the
years, it is better that a product does one thing really well, rather
than a lot of general things badly, so a dedicated appliance would be a
whole lot better.

If you are sure you still want to do it, I would recommend dumping the
Sun and getting hold of a second hand SGI O2 or Octane machine from
ebay, as they come with all the audio stuff onboard and pre-sorted.

Good luck!

P.

 
 
 

Audio Issues/Questions

Post by Jim Balso » Wed, 15 Jun 2005 03:55:05



Quote:> Unless you are doing it for a project for learning or a wee bit of
> experimentation and don't mind frustrations and an empty feeling of
> non-completenes, it's not worth wasting time with this whole
> dead-horse-* session as it is more trouble than it is worth.
> You can get CD-players that will play mp3 files on cd-r by opening most
> cereal packets these days, and as unix has teachy-fied me over the
> years, it is better that a product does one thing really well, rather
> than a lot of general things badly, so a dedicated appliance would be a
> whole lot better.
> If you are sure you still want to do it, I would recommend dumping the
> Sun and getting hold of a second hand SGI O2 or Octane machine from
> ebay, as they come with all the audio stuff onboard and pre-sorted.
> Good luck!
> P.

        Thanks for the input, but I have no intention on playing MP3's on
a somewhat-hi-end home audio system. This machine, whether it be a Solaris box
or not, is going to be playing WAV files.

        I've already somewhat made up my mind that if it's not going to
be a Solaris box doing this work, then it'll be a used MAC G4 machine as
I know that I'll most likely have success there with software and drivers etc.
But I've got a Ulyta 5 sitting here doing basically nothing so I'm going
to put it to use.

        But for now, I'm still barking up the Solaris tree, and I think
the OSS drivers will be able to provide me with what I need, I think. I
sent them email asking some questions. Have yet to hear back.

Jim

--
---
Jim

 
 
 

Audio Issues/Questions

Post by Stefaan A Eeckel » Wed, 15 Jun 2005 04:02:31


On 13 Jun 2005 09:42:52 -0700


> If you are sure you still want to do it, I would recommend dumping the
> Sun and getting hold of a second hand SGI O2 or Octane machine from
> ebay, as they come with all the audio stuff onboard and pre-sorted.

And a fan so loud you can't hear the music :-)

--
Stefaan
--
As complexity rises, precise statements lose meaning,
and meaningful statements lose precision. -- Lotfi Zadeh

 
 
 

Audio Issues/Questions

Post by KJ » Wed, 15 Jun 2005 06:39:02



> On 13 Jun 2005 09:42:52 -0700

>>If you are sure you still want to do it, I would recommend dumping the
>>Sun and getting hold of a second hand SGI O2 or Octane machine from
>>ebay, as they come with all the audio stuff onboard and pre-sorted.

> And a fan so loud you can't hear the music :-)

That IS the music!

EH?

 
 
 

Audio Issues/Questions

Post by Logan Sha » Wed, 15 Jun 2005 08:24:37



>         Now for problem # 2.

>         A little different. We could use the headphone jack splitter to run
> into the let and righ channels on the pre-amp. I've tried this and it works,
> but the sound quality is not the same as popping in a CD into the CD changer.
> Using the headphone jack, the music sounds flat and it's not something I find
> pleasurable. But it's not so bad. I mean, If I wasn't A/B'ing the 2 side by
> side, I may not have know that the audio was flat when using the headphone
> jack on the Ultra 60.

If you're going to use this with anything like a high-end system, you
owe it to yourself to get a decent sound card.  Unfortunately, many
consumer cards are utter *when it comes to sound quality.  Even
name brands are famous for horrible things like always running the
D/A with a 48 kHz clock and then doing sloppy hardware sample rate
conversion if you play sound at a different sample rate, such as if
you play 44.1 kHz audio from a CD!

So, if you care about your sound quality (and the very fact that you've
noticed a difference probably indicates you probably should care), you
probably want to go with a pro-quality card.  Luckily, there are some
very high quality cards to choose from these days since in a lot of
cases the personal computer has replaced the multitrack tape machine.

Here's a nice list of audio cards whose sound quality has been
objectively measured:

        http://www.veryComputer.com/

Unfortunately, the list is a bit out of date and doesn't have all
the newest cards on it.  But, it does give you an idea of which
manufacturers are good and so on.

Please note that if you are dealing with a pre-amp that has RCA inputs,
then if you are looking at buying a pro-quality audio card, you want to
be sure that it has consumer-level outputs.  Some pro cards have only
XLR outputs, which run at a higher voltage and thus won't be directly
compatible with the input of your pre-amp (unless your pre-amp has
balanced inputs, which isn't totally impossible, but which is uncommon).
Some of the lower-end pro cards have both.  For example, M-Audio makes a
PCI card called the Audiophile 2496 which has consumer-level RCA outputs.
They also make several USB and Firewire A/D and D/A converters, including
one called the Transit that might be good for your purposes.  That is,
assuming that SPARC Solaris can do USB audio output (I've never looked
into that).

On other possibility is to get any old sound card that is supported
by SPARC Solaris and has a digital output (such as S/PDIF) and then
run the digital output into an outboard D/A converter.  As long as
your sound card doesn't mess up the data before it goes out the
digital out (which *IS* possible with junk sound cards) and as long
as the sound card's clock for its digital out doesn't have jitter
problems, you should be able to get very high quality sound out
of the outboard D/A converter.  This might be a more complicated
route to go, but the advantage is that it might buy you more
compatibility with SPARC Solaris because it might enable to use
cards that have a good digital output but a cruddy D/A.

   - Logan

 
 
 

Audio Issues/Questions

Post by Jim Balso » Wed, 15 Jun 2005 20:31:46




> >         Now for problem # 2.

> >         A little different. We could use the headphone jack splitter to run
> > into the let and righ channels on the pre-amp. I've tried this and it works,
> > but the sound quality is not the same as popping in a CD into the CD changer.
> > Using the headphone jack, the music sounds flat and it's not something I find
> > pleasurable. But it's not so bad. I mean, If I wasn't A/B'ing the 2 side by
> > side, I may not have know that the audio was flat when using the headphone
> > jack on the Ultra 60.
> If you're going to use this with anything like a high-end system, you
> owe it to yourself to get a decent sound card.  Unfortunately, many
> consumer cards are utter *when it comes to sound quality.  Even
> name brands are famous for horrible things like always running the
> D/A with a 48 kHz clock and then doing sloppy hardware sample rate
> conversion if you play sound at a different sample rate, such as if
> you play 44.1 kHz audio from a CD!
> So, if you care about your sound quality (and the very fact that you've
> noticed a difference probably indicates you probably should care), you
> probably want to go with a pro-quality card.  Luckily, there are some
> very high quality cards to choose from these days since in a lot of
> cases the personal computer has replaced the multitrack tape machine.
> Here's a nice list of audio cards whose sound quality has been
> objectively measured:
>         http://www.veryComputer.com/
> Unfortunately, the list is a bit out of date and doesn't have all
> the newest cards on it.  But, it does give you an idea of which
> manufacturers are good and so on.

        The good people at OSS got back to me an recommended I the Creative

external what they call an External I/O Hub with infra-red receiver.

        So this is the card that I'll be researching over the next month
or so while at the same time I slowly get the Ultra 5 up and running
(there's something wrong with it).

        It appears that this card is 'hi-end enough' judging by the cost,
but I still need to look at some reviews on this card. Thanks for the link.

--
---
Jim

 
 
 

Audio Issues/Questions

Post by Logan Sha » Thu, 16 Jun 2005 15:36:40



>    The good people at OSS got back to me an recommended I the Creative

> external what they call an External I/O Hub with infra-red receiver.

Creative Labs is one of the manufacturers that has produced cards
which screws with the sound by doing hardware sample rate conversion.

Here's an article that confirms that the Audigy 2 ZS still does
the sample rate conversion:

        http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/oct03/articles/audigy.htm

It says:

        As on the original, however, there were still characteristic
        ripples at the high end at all other sample rates, where ASRC
        (Asynchronous Sample Rate Conversion) had been employed

"All other sample" rates means other than 48 kHz, so that means
if you play back your 44.1 kHz CD audio, you will be getting this
distortion.  Granted, from the graph at that site, it less than
a decibel total variation in frequency response, so it probably
won't sound that bad.  But it still is needless distortion.

Personally, I would avoid this card.  I think what you are mostly
paying for is the multichannel inputs and outputs (for surround
sound), the DSP, the remote control, etc.  None of these improve
the sound, and some of them make it worse.  As far as I can tell,
this is a consumer card and the emphasis is squarely focused on
things other than sound quality.  You can quite likely get a
better-sounding card for less money, although it won't have as
many features.

   - Logan

 
 
 

Audio Issues/Questions

Post by KJ » Thu, 16 Jun 2005 19:33:58




>>     The good people at OSS got back to me an recommended I the

>> Comes with an
>> external what they call an External I/O Hub with infra-red receiver.

> Creative Labs is one of the manufacturers that has produced cards
> which screws with the sound by doing hardware sample rate conversion.

> Here's an article that confirms that the Audigy 2 ZS still does
> the sample rate conversion:

>     http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/oct03/articles/audigy.htm

> It says:

>     As on the original, however, there were still characteristic
>     ripples at the high end at all other sample rates, where ASRC
>     (Asynchronous Sample Rate Conversion) had been employed

> "All other sample" rates means other than 48 kHz, so that means
> if you play back your 44.1 kHz CD audio, you will be getting this
> distortion.  Granted, from the graph at that site, it less than
> a decibel total variation in frequency response, so it probably
> won't sound that bad.  But it still is needless distortion.

> Personally, I would avoid this card.  I think what you are mostly
> paying for is the multichannel inputs and outputs (for surround
> sound), the DSP, the remote control, etc.  None of these improve
> the sound, and some of them make it worse.  As far as I can tell,
> this is a consumer card and the emphasis is squarely focused on
> things other than sound quality.  You can quite likely get a
> better-sounding card for less money, although it won't have as
> many features.

>   - Logan

The M-Audio Revolution 7.1 (VIA EnvyHT chipset) is what I use and has
great sound once you get it configured.
 
 
 

Audio Issues/Questions

Post by Jim Balso » Thu, 16 Jun 2005 22:57:28





> The M-Audio Revolution 7.1 (VIA EnvyHT chipset) is what I use and has
> great sound once you get it configured.

        What drivers for the M-Audio card did you use? Are you using SPARC
or X86? And what version of Solaris.

        I agree that I would prefer sound quality over bell and whistles.

Jim

--
---
Jim

 
 
 

Audio Issues/Questions

Post by KJ » Fri, 17 Jun 2005 01:14:50






>>The M-Audio Revolution 7.1 (VIA EnvyHT chipset) is what I use and has
>>great sound once you get it configured.

>    What drivers for the M-Audio card did you use? Are you using SPARC
> or X86? And what version of Solaris.

>    I agree that I would prefer sound quality over bell and whistles.

> Jim

I've got it working with AMD64 (x86) Solaris 10 with the OSS drivers.

NOTE:  CDE works great with the OSS drivers, but you'll need to do the
following to make JDE work as per Dev Mazumdar at 4-Front Tech (makers
of OSS):

For JDS, you need to do this:

mkdir /dev/sound
ln -s /dev/audio /dev/sound/0
ln -s /dev/audioctl /dev/sound/0ctl

Now log out from JSD and log back in and it should work ok (we haven't
tested the Revolution 7.1 on JDS) but if you still get the system
crashing, try this:

Download
http://www.tux.org/~ricdude/esound-0.2.8.tar.gz

Copy /usr/lib/oss/include/sys/soundcard.h /usr/include/sys/soundcard.h

Now extract esound sources and run
./configure --prefix=/usr/sfw
make
make install

Reboot and run soundon and now it will work

The above steps configure Esound used by JDS for OSS support.

 
 
 

Audio Issues/Questions

Post by Jim Balso » Fri, 17 Jun 2005 01:47:45







> >>The M-Audio Revolution 7.1 (VIA EnvyHT chipset) is what I use and has
> >>great sound once you get it configured.

> >       What drivers for the M-Audio card did you use? Are you using SPARC
> > or X86? And what version of Solaris.

> >       I agree that I would prefer sound quality over bell and whistles.

> > Jim

> I've got it working with AMD64 (x86) Solaris 10 with the OSS drivers.

        OK, thankls. If I choose to get this card, this could be great advice.
I have not yet chosen the audio card though as I want to read some reviews
first.

Jim

--
---
Jim

 
 
 

Audio Issues/Questions

Post by KJ » Fri, 17 Jun 2005 07:13:45








>>>>The M-Audio Revolution 7.1 (VIA EnvyHT chipset) is what I use and has
>>>>great sound once you get it configured.

>>>      What drivers for the M-Audio card did you use? Are you using SPARC
>>>or X86? And what version of Solaris.

>>>      I agree that I would prefer sound quality over bell and whistles.

>>>Jim

>>I've got it working with AMD64 (x86) Solaris 10 with the OSS drivers.

>    OK, thankls. If I choose to get this card, this could be great advice.
> I have not yet chosen the audio card though as I want to read some reviews
> first.

> Jim

Best of luck to you.

As for the sound quality of the M-Audio Revolution, it's even better
than my old Santa Cruz, but config w/ Solaris could be better.  It's
still a relatively new chipset, so perhaps installations will get easier.

Perhaps you can find a more common card that sounds good and installs
easily?

BTW, I NEVER buy anything from Creative - utter garbage.

 
 
 

Audio Issues/Questions

Post by KJ » Fri, 17 Jun 2005 11:36:43









>>>>>The M-Audio Revolution 7.1 (VIA EnvyHT chipset) is what I use and has
>>>>>great sound once you get it configured.

>>>>     What drivers for the M-Audio card did you use? Are you using SPARC
>>>>or X86? And what version of Solaris.

>>>>     I agree that I would prefer sound quality over bell and whistles.

>>>>Jim

>>>I've got it working with AMD64 (x86) Solaris 10 with the OSS drivers.

>>        OK, thankls. If I choose to get this card, this could be great advice.
>>I have not yet chosen the audio card though as I want to read some reviews
>>first.

>>Jim

Just did another fresh install of Solaris 10 (I'm still learning it) and
 the installation of the OSS driver went great and works well.

Very easy setup this time.

Apparently some of my prior network settings made JDE not work...it may
not have had anything to do with the OSS driver at all.

M-Audio Revolution 7.1 may be a contender for you.