... [3D] sound quality in games deteriorates with on-board audio even with basic EAX 2.0 standard. This is for sure ... from Realtek according to ... Analog Devices as reported by Techreport: http://www.techrepor...ard-eax/index.x?pg=1
Gee, I didn't even know what EAX-2.0 3D sound was until I read that very interesting article. Your ears do tell you direction. For example, if you're out hunting, and you hear a shot, you know which direction it came from if you were paying attention.
As the article points out, though, they can't say whether the failure of the Realtek-based solutions to support EAX occlusions and obstructions correctly is the fault of the Realtek sound chip or its driver. (EAX occlusion effect is where the sound of a source in the 3D field diminishes when another 3D object passes in from of it.) My guess
is that this is a problem with its driver. The driver isn't scheduling service of all the 3D effects as it should.
If you have a motherboard with a Realtek sound chip, I would go to their website and download their latest driver if your 3D game isn't behaving right. Understand, manufactures are under pressure to get their latest technology out the door, so PC hardware typically ships with partially functioning drivers. I think this audience already knows that.
Yes, if you're a bit of an audiophile or a gamer, a separate card is always better. With the on-board sound chips you're playing the Russian roulette, you can have good results or you can end with a terrible sound ...Are you sure that goes for an audiophile with Intel HD audio? I've only read the specs, but those do seem pretty good (8 channels at 192KHz/32bit, Dolby Pro Logic IIx...). Might not have super EAX support for the gamerz, but it seems decent enough.
There's nothing wrong with the specs. In fact, the spec are soooo good that engineers laugh at them. Think about 32-bit sound for a moment. 10*log10(2^32)= 96 dB. Ha, ha, now tell us your $4000 sound system can reproduce 96 dB correctly. I would be impressed if it could reproduce 50 dB successfully (30 dB would be more realistic). An analog FM radio station is limited to 15 dB per channel by the FCC; otherwise, it hogs the broadcast spectrum.
What the specs don't tell you about the motherboard (or daughter sound card)--and perhaps they should--is how much of that 96 dB is digital noise from the host computer. If your motherboard's audio circuits are laid out correctly, noise won't appear until the 50 dB level, and your 30 dB sound system won't know the difference. If the audio circuits are laid out poorly, noise might appear at the 30 dB level and a $2000 sound system will hear that.
When you build your system, always shoot for a balanced design. If you spent thousands on your audio system, then why do any
A/D conversion inside the host computer? Will you hear a difference if you take the audio conversion outside "the box"? Probably not
, but your ears might be better than mine. It's really about doing a balanced design; remember a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.