Re: looking for a cheap soundcard that works under RH9

From: Jules Dubois (
Date: 01/03/04

Date: Fri, 2 Jan 2004 16:05:32 -0700

On 1 Jan 2004 19:05:58 -0500, in article
<news:bt2cl6$6k3$>, Dan Hitt wrote:

> To clarify a point here (about which i think i might get a different
> idea from Jules?),

Different, perhaps, but not necessarily correct.

> a USB sound box [...]

Oh. I wondered why you were asking about USB hubs... but you weren't.

> is a separate unit in a separate
> enclosure with a separate power supply and separate everything else
> except that it connects to your computer over a USB cable, and you
> play sound by sending USB packets from your computer, out over the
> cable, to this separate box a few feet away?

That's my understanding of USB sound.

> If this is the case, it would seem that it would be bound to generate
> much, much better sound because it would be shielded from all of the noisy
> digital signals in your computer.

I think the idea of transmitting digital signals out of the RFI soup inside
the computer case is appealing, at least in principle. I also think that
given the uses most people have for the computer's sound, it's irrelevant.
To produce (this kind of) audio, there must be a D/A stage somewhere, and
its quality may (or may not) have the greatest effect on sound quality.

My problem with bargain-basement analog sound was exactly the effect you
describe, where the sound card acted as an antenna. There's no guarantee
that a USB box (with its digital input) will produce better sound than a
properly-designed, conventional sound card (with its analog output).

> But you would have to have software on your computer to
> play the box.

Yes, although the same could be said for conventional sound cards. A few
years ago, when I first heard of USB audio, it had the significant
disadvantage (under Windows) of using in excess of 50% of the CPU.

"[O]bviously Linux owes its heritage to Unix, but not its code.
 We would not, nor will not, make such a claim."
-- Darl McBride.  CEO, The SCO Group.  August 2002.