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Comment Windows XP pushed me to Linux (Score 1) 136

At the time, I was running Windows 98 on my PC, and wanted to move to Windows XP, which had just been released. Unfortunately, the drivers for my sound card and some other hardware was not available for XP (or even Win2K), so I figured "why not try out this Linux thing instead?"

I had had some limited experience with Suse 6.4 some time earlier, but from reading about the different distros, I decided to pick up Mandrake 8.2. I downloaded the whole CD set and even printed covers and everything for them. From there, I've used Debian, Gentoo and Arch. I'm pondering trying out PC-BSD next, it seems pretty nifty, and I'm getting too old to constantly tinker with my main desktop OS.

I lasted a year or so running Linux exclusively (and playing a LOT of Quake 3) before I buckled and added a Windows partition again. I'm pretty well satisfied with Windows 7/10, actually. Very good OSes, if you must run Windows apps.

Comment Re:Suck it, Neil (Score 1) 574

Yeah, but I like stuff like Tangerine Dream, or obscure psytrance bands from Sweden, where there IS no 'lyrics' and the sound is literally the only thing.

No, the sound quality isn't the only thing. You're forgetting the melody and musicianship, which are completely unrelated to the distribution format.

I prefer fancypants 192K (or 96K: same to me, frankly) 24 bit, to vinyl. Unhesitatingly (though there are times when the vinyl mastering helped the sound of the record, and just taking the master tape wouldn't give you as good of a mix).

But I prefer both to CD quality, except when the vinyl's real noisy.

Why do you prefer 192kHz 24bit to CD quality? Which benefits do you percieve over the very same track in CD quality, that isn't down to simple remastering?

Honestly, I like LPs too, because while they're clearly inferior to the CD format, they're good enough, I like the tactile experience, and the large album artwork is killer.

Comment Re:I'm sure this isn't about Young vs Trump, right (Score 1) 574

Speaking of HX Pro and Dolby noise reduction etc., it's amazing how much sound quality was improved over the original specification.

Try and listen to an original spec Type I compact cassette with no tricks, and then compare it to a Type IV metal cassette with HX Pro and Dolby C, the difference is absolutely mindblowing. Some serious engineering went into those systems. Back when I worked at Bang & Olufsen, I chatted with some of the engineers who worked with Jørgen Selmer Jensen (who invented HX Pro), and it's still considered one of the greatest achievements of the company.

Comment Re:Who? (Score 1) 574

You should get a turntable again and relive the memories. Depending on your outlook, you can then be amazed at how dragging a needle across a ridged piece of plastic can actually produce good quality sound, or be amazed at how big of a leap in sound quality CD was over the LP.

I have a small vinyl collection going, and I generally buy new releases from my favorite bands on LP. Not because of the sound quality, because while it's perfectly acceptable, it's clearly inferior to digital, especially with the pops and clicks and statis. I do it because it's a more tactile format, and because I love the big cover art and funky colored LPs you can get. Usually there's a download code for Bandcamp etc. included, so I can have the music on my PC and MP3 player as well.

Comment Re:Monster Business School (Score 1) 288

My point is that even the cheapest analog cables sound exactly as good as the expensive alternatives, they meet the specs. Longevity and build quality is a completely different matter, but can still be had inexpensively.

The HDMI cable you mention is a different matter, where the cheap ones simply don't meet the actual specs. Buy the cheapest cable that meets the specs you need.

Comment Re:Monster Business School (Score 4, Informative) 288

There are still plenty of analog connections around. Headphone jacks, RCA outputs and so on. None of them sound any better through Monster cables than through cheap dollar store cables, and they never did.


Note that by far the largest difference was stereo crosstalk, and that has a lot more to do with cable geometry than with price or "quality". You can make any cable measure exceedingly low crosstalk by physically separating the wires, but no one can head crosstalk at -84dB anyway, so it's pointless.

Comment Re:Glad to hear it... (Score 1) 204

2 FPS is a bit of an exaggeration, but yeah GTA V absolutely at the ragged edge of what is possible on those systems. It wasn't so bad on my 360 when I initially played it, what a ride that was. But after seeing and playing it on a beefy PC, it feels so lacklustre going back to the horrendous scenery pop-in and framerate issues.

And I even have it in the best possible configuration: Install disk on the HDD and play disk on a fast USB stick, but it still doesn't eliminate the pop-in.

Comment Re:PC is the only one that counts (Score 1) 204

Personally, I liked the reduced hand-holding of FONV. It was like "you've made a character, now here is the game. Figure it out", and I love that sense of discovery, exploration and experimentation where you don't really know what's going on at first, so you have to put a little bit of effort into it.

Comment Re:Presumably the bug count... (Score 1) 204

Can I interest you in some fine $400 audiophile wooden knobs?

To be fair, the fancy-pants dedicated chipsets in consoles actually do something, since they offload certain types of processing from the main CPU. Having stuff like dedicated DSP chips on board can help a CPU that is otherwise middle-of-the-road perform a little better. Less CPU used for stuff like sound processing means more CPU left over for AI etc.

But too much of a specialized architecture just makes it harder to program for. The PS3 with its Cell processor is notoriously hard to program for, leading most games on the platform to underperform in comparison to what is theoretically possible.

On the other hand, if you know what you're doing, you can do crazy stuff on specialized architectures. Metal Gear Solid 4 and Metal Gear Rising both look and play amazingly well and run fluidly on the PS3. Before that, Resident Evil 4 on the GameCube was an absolutely amazing achievement, when you consider the modest specs it ran on. But you have to really put some effort into understanding the architecture and work with it.

These days, it's so much easier to just generalize everything, which is why the PS4 and XBOne both feature x86-64 CPUs from AMD, off the shelf PC processors. A trend Microsoft started with the original Xbox and its modified Pentium III CPU.

So it's certainly not an exaggeration to say that today's consoles are simply under-specced non-upgradeable PCs.

Comment Re:I still want one (Score 1) 172

Even worse, they specifically show someone putting a Batteriser on a battery that is running low, and magically the battery meter is full again!

Well yeah of course it is, since battery meters go by remaining voltage. So if you boost it back up to 1.5V, of course it's going to read full. Massive marketing red flag right there.

Comment Re:Presumably the bug count... (Score 1) 204

HDMI audio, seriously? PC monitor speakers are a joke at best. the Realtek ALC887 chipset on most of these motherboards doesn't have the power to drive even a decent set of speakers or headphones. USB headphones are popular because they sidestep the issue of under-powered on-board audio but few of them can even get close to the quality of a discreet sound card paired with a good set of headphones.

Most monitors with HDMI/DisplayPort inputs provide an analog line level output to connect to a proper stereo or active speakers. DACs these days are hella good, ven the ones built into PC monitors.

Realtek onboard audio can drive any speakers just fine, since they provide line level output, not amplified output. So of course they'll drive any amplifier or active speakers just fine. And onboard audio will drive a most headphones directly just fine as long as you're not using some wonky high-impedance audiophile wanker headphones. And if it's not loud enough, just get a cheap (O2 or FiiO) headphone amp and stop worrying about dedicated sound cards.

Unless you have very specific input/output or driver feature needs, there is absolutely no reason to buy a dedicated sound card.

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