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AuthorTopic: Terratec Aureon 5.1 Fun and Sound Card summary  (Read 1901 times)

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Terratec Aureon 5.1 Fun and Sound Card summary
« on: August 21, 2005, 06:07:57 PM »
The CMI8738 based Aureon 5.1 Fun was succesfully tested with the CMI8738 AHI driver. I've added digital out support in version 5.7 of the driver (on OS4depot), however I couldn't get the digital in to work, even after copying the same register settings as found on the PC. I've contacted Terratec on this, so I hope they can help.

The Aureon 5.1 PCI (20 euro) is the same card as the Aureon 5.1 Fun (40 euro), however, the Fun comes bundled with PC software and has a gameport on a separate add-on plate which takes up a PCI slot. Both cards have 3 stereo outs, mic in, line in and optical digital I/O. I tested the sound quality compared to the SB Live and a Sweex (9 euro) card with the same CMI8738 chip. The Aureon sounded a tiny bit better than the Sweex, but both were a bit 'dull' (less high frequencies) compared to the Live. This is confirmed by the popular Rightmark Analyzer test which you can find here:
http://audio.rightmark.org/test/c-media-8738-1644.html.
However, I'm testing on a good HiFi system, so if you have so-called 'PC speakers', you probably won't notice much.

Sound card summary

Confused about all the chips and cards that are supported on the AmigaOne? I'll try to give a summary on each chip/card and their possible quirks.

* Creative SoundBlaster 128 (also known as SB AudioPCI97, SB PCI, SB Vibra, SB128 and SB64(V) ). These cards use one of Ensoniq ES1370/1371/1373, Creative CT5880 or Ectiva 1938. These are all supported by Ross Vumbaca's SB128 AHI driver. Cheap card and depending on the codec used, it can sound reasonable.
Quirks: these chips are a bit slow and there have been reports of stutter here and there.

* The Terratec 512i and lots of other old cards use a fine ForteMedia FM-801 chip with an AC97 codec. Cheap cards, probably not available anymore, but come with working digital out. A bit better than SB128's mostly.
Quirks: pity they don't make them anymore!

* The Sweex 4.1 (7 euro), Sweex 5.1 (9 euro), Hercules Muse, onboard chip of the MicroA1, Terratec Aureon 5.1 Fun and Aureon 5.1 PCI all use the CMI8738 chip. This chip is both an audio controller and codec. Very cheap cards. If you don't want to spend lots on a soundcard and mostly play mp3's, don't hesitate to buy a Sweex. You want digital I/O with that? Buy the Aureon 5.1 PCI. The CMI can do bit-for-bit exact copying on 44.1kHz, unlike the SB Live or Audigy cards that always convert the sample rate to 48kHz first!
Quirks: Digital in doesn't work yet.

* Creative SoundBlaster Live! and Audigy 2. Sigh, so popular, so much trouble. There are no public docs on the emu10k1 and emu10k2 chips that these cards use. The chips always convert to 48kHz. Creative has so many different models and only the chips with device ID's 0x0002 and 0x0004 are supported, but you won't know until you buy. The SB Live! 24-bit may not work. The Audigy LS uses a totally different chip and does not work. The Audigy2 has no Mixer support, because it works differently and I spent a lot of time already trying to get it to work without luck. The emu10kx cards happen to be the only cards that cause the A1 to freeze when used with (heavy) network activity. There is no solution as of yet, if ever. We'll know a bit more what it causes when and if new hardware comes out. If you or a dealer are going to build a new A1 system, please use an alternative card like the Aureon 5.1 PCI if you were going to put in a SB Live originally.

The next generation from the Creative stable, the X-FI chips, have even more power than the emu10kx series. They are even proud to say that this power will be used for even better sample rate conversion! Guys and girls, stop buying Creative cards, they are no good.
Quirks: yeah, right!


Finally, the good cards!
The following cards are based on the Envy24HT audio controller. Different codecs are used on the cards, but they are all much better than the previously mentioned cards, and hence more expensive:

* Terratec Aureon 5.1 Sky (discontinued) and 7.1 Space. Excellent card with digital I/O. Uses a Wolfson WM8770 codec.
RMAA link: http://www.sergei.pp.fi/aureon.htm
Product link: http://sounden.terratec.net/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=149
Quirks: I couldn't get the digital in to work, perhaps later. Also, the CD and Aux inputs are hard to configure/program, so they don't work yet fully.

* Terratec Phase28. Semi-pro card with quarter inch balanced connections, coaxial digital I/O and MIDI in/out. Uses a Wolfson WM8770 codec. Great for the musicians among us! I also have the Phase88 working, but that's for eXtream!
RMAA link: http://blokoss.perso.cegetel.net/enceintes.htm
Product link: http://audioen.terratec.net/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=7
Quirks: None!

* M-Audio Revolution 7.1. A bit like the Aureon 7.1, excellent card. Uses AKM codecs. I've seen RMAA graphs that were good but the Aureon 7.1 was slightly better. The Revolution 5.1 should work as well, but is untested.
Product link: http://www.m-audio.com/products/en_us/Revolution71-main.html
Quirks: None!

* ESI Juli@: Stereo in/out with balanced and unbalanced connectors, digital I/O and MIDI. Excellent stereo card. Uses AKM codecs.
Product link: http://www.esi-pro.com/viewProduct.php?pid=43&page=1
Quirks: analogue monitoring does not work, will be solved later.

Companies that are supportive are Terratec and ESI/Egosys. M-Audio and Creative were silent.

eXtream Audio currently has minimal drivers for the Envy24HT and CMI8738, but all of the above should be supported at release.

I hope this helps!

Davy Wentzler