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New computer - BEWARE Motherboard Audio!!!

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JonUrban

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Well, my big monster desktop that I assembled myself some years ago started locking up. It had serious USB issues that were getting worse so I decided it was time to make a new one. As most of you old timers know, the days of desktop computers have come and gone, and the days of retail computer stores that sold stuff like CompUSA and Computer City are long gone, as are the weekend "computer shows" that showed up every month or so at local hotels and convention centers. Other than a few mom and pop computer holes in the wall, most everything is now newegg and amazon, but that's cool. I can deal with that.

So I started researching and ordered all the stuff - Motherboard (Made sure it had 5.1 output jacks), Big ass power supply, tower, super fast SSD, fast RAM, decent CPU (I am not looking for overclocking gaming speed, but I got an unlocked one just because). I was going to go with the motherboard video, but decided on a lower tier graphics card. So everything shows up, I put it all together slowly (in the old days I would have pulled an all-nighter). Carefully checked everything, plugged in fans and kept the internal wiring under control and it booted fine! Loaded Windows 10 Pro and began reloading software. I had to transfer licenses of AutoCad (for work), Adobe, and some other stuff. Most of the audio software wasn't an issue. In fact I was happy that I would be free of all of the old versions that were still installed on the old machine.

So, dragged it upstairs to connect it to the speakers and integrate it into the QQ Headquarters, plugged in the 5.1 audio cables, loaded Sound Forge 12 and went to set the channel assignment. BOOM! CRASH! WTF! Guess what. Even though the motherboard has 5.1 discrete output jacks, it only has a STEREO audio capability. There is some sort of enhancement for headphones, but no discrete 5.1 audio. Going to Windows Sound Settings, the old setup your speaker app had no selection for 5.1 or anything, stereo was it. I searched and Google'd and sure enough, that's the way they do it now.

THAT SUCKED! So, I had no choice but to order a Sound Blaster Audigy PCIe RX. Just like old times, a Sound Blaster.

So, sorry for the tale of woah, but I figured I could vent here and if anyone else is crazy enough to build their own computer here in 2019, think of this as a heads up. This is the motherboard I used: https://www.asus.com/us/Motherboards/ROG-MAXIMUS-XI-HERO-WI-FI/
 

DuncanS

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I used to build all my own Desktops as it was fun, you got exactly what you wanted, and it worked out cheaper. But I've bought the last 2 ready built, an Acer i5 a few years back and last year a Dell i7.
 

edisonbaggins

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John, I recently built a discrete surround mixing workstation - Win 10 with Sonar Platinum as my DAW.
I'm not sure whether my:
ASRock X470 Master SLI/AC AM4 AMD Promontory X470 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.1 HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard has discrete surround, but I can try to test that.

But, what I did, because it ought to have better sound quality anyway, is I bought a $100 Focusrite Saffire and a $20 firewire PCI-E card. 6 analog outs.
 

Spock

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Aah - AutoCad - I used that for over over 20 years - electrical engineering. Over 10 years since I've used it now. Excellent program!!

Sorry about your analog 5.1 output. Only hdmi here - optical before that. Always used a multichannel receiver for surround music.
 

Spock

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I used it for around a decade, around a decade ago! Electrical design.
Cool - my first project in 1986 was some electrical installation in the Volvo car factory in Torslanda, Gothenburg, Sweden - a really big building - about 8 discs and an half hour to load in the pc. Used 2 screens - one monochrome for commands and a 50kg 22" or 24" crt screen for graphics :ROFLMAO:

And using MS-DOS it was a lot of work making the correct autoexec.bat to get the pc to perform to its best.
 

edisonbaggins

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Cool - my first project in 1986 was some electrical installation in the Volvo car factory in Torslanda, Gothenburg, Sweden - a really big building - about 8 discs and an half hour to load in the pc. Used 2 screens - one monochrome for commands and a 50kg 22" or 24" crt screen for graphics :ROFLMAO:

And using MS-DOS it was a lot of work making the correct autoexec.bat to get the pc to perform to its best.
AutoCAD 2000 was considerably easier to use for my design work. For 3D, I preferred miniCAD/Vectorworks. Been poking around Solidworks a little, lately.
 

jimfisheye

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You really have to read between the lines shopping for computer supplies nowadays.

A few things have changed.

Used to be that next years model was always bigger, better, faster than last years. That ended around 2010 actually. You can buy something faster alright but you can also buy trimmed down models with about as much power as a phone. You don't need a 4k video editing system to browse facebook after all and they sell to that audience. Such machines have all the modern buzzwords. i7 CPUs and GB's more ram than you'll ever see used but they feature cheap build quality and they'll thermal throttle down to circa early 2000's speeds. And then break in 2 years. BTW, everyone wants to talk about RAM. 8 - 16GB is plenty for most things. You should be more interested in the SSD. THAT's the biggest advance in accessories in the last 10 years and what makes the biggest difference in system performance.

Apple has left the building. Seriously. The post Jobs machines (2013 - present) have Dell build quality. I'm a long time Apple user and I recommend to stay with their flagship 2011/2012 machines. Anything newer is a big downgrade. (I agree that sounds weird! I'm dead serious.) The $4000 on up models might be slick on the surface and get a half GHz or so faster CPU speeds but they have a 3-5 year life. Not the 20 year+ life machines they used to be by a long shot.

If you really need a raw 4k video editing system (ie. a $3000 - $6000 kind of system), build your own and go Hackintosh or Linux.

Otherwise it's a very good time to be a scavenger. Pick up a Jobs-era Mac and put a new SSD in it.
Get a proper audio interface for your audio system. Don't rely on a built-in logic board audio interface for home theater. Interfaces are available with the I/O that suites your needs and they're very affordable. You absolutely don't want logic board audio with analog outputs!
If you go for Windows, be prepared for a lot of techy DIY! Probably all the koolaid and all but I'd stay away. (Obviously said Apple koolaid has gone bad and they aren't going to be having the likes of me write their brochures nowadays!)
OSX 10.13 is still surprisingly still solid and even recommended (my favorites are currently 10.6.8 and 10.13.6 actually). Hopefully 10.15 will turn out to be a bug fixed 10.14. We'll see. But the end of OSX being kind is very near.
Linux and DIY build will be the way forward unless a new player emerges. It's Unix based just like OSX and will be comfortable. I don't think Apple will ever make a comeback and there's little chance Windows will ever become a reasonable choice.

Don't buy anything from Worst Purchase no matter what you do!

There's a lot to like though nowadays. Very high powered computers can be scared up for just a few hundred bucks. SSDs are super affordable and large HDD storage is stupid cheap now. This is now truly a golden age for home theater and audio.

But that's all just, like, my opinion, man. :)
 
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JonUrban

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I think some of you are missing the point of this computer. It's not really used as a playback device, it's used as a conversion machine and manipulator/matrix decoder that I use to create stuff for the car and the "real" audio system.

My audio editors in the old PC used the 5.1 inputs of the old ASUS motherboard to assign channels to so that I could playback the wav or flac files on the PC and listen to the results, modify them if needed, then create the DVD-A, DTS-CD, or now the 5.1 .flac files that I play in the car and the audio system downstairs.

When I fired up Sound Forge, the first thing it looks for is where to put the audio. If there are no "channels" for the audio to go, you can't really work with a multichannel file. The ASIO interface needs 6 places to send the audio.

The Audigy drivers will create the 6 channels the software needs.

At least, that's how I've done it for almost 20 years. But then again, I'm clearly old school.
 

jimfisheye

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Good info, 'jimfisheye', and you can be sure I went "all in". I have dual Samsung M.2 SSD's in a raid array. They attach right to the motherboard. I did get fast RAM, and an i7-8700K Intel (no AMD for me). This thing will be pretty quick. First PC I ever built with a liquid CPU cooler.
Well, that sounds on point. :)

I'm still looking for an excuse to upgrade CPUs in my Mac Pro. Installing two 4.something GHz 6 core CPUs (for total 12 core) sounds like a fun day. But I still can't max out the original 3.33GHz 8 core system (2x 4 core) even with 300+ channel mix projects with 24/96 audio mixing to 5.1! It just idles most of the time.

SATA3 connected SSDs still give you over 500MB/s throughput FYI. This is not a bottleneck!

A few years ago I thought I was going to eventually see new Macbook Pros with say, 2 M.2 slots and such. So very wrong...
I still kind of miss playing with the water cooled G5's.
 

Snood

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Good info, 'jimfisheye', and you can be sure I went "all in". I have dual Samsung M.2 SSD's in a raid array. They attach right to the motherboard. I did get fast RAM, and an i7-8700K Intel (no AMD for me). This thing will be pretty quick. First PC I ever built with a liquid CPU cooler.
Snood still no trust Liquid cooling :eek:
 

jimfisheye

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Snood still no trust Liquid cooling :eek:
It's a good idea to keep an eye on it once in a while.
I used to buy G5's off Ebay for pennies on the dollar (from people who didn't keep an eye on them) and refurbish them. Now I buy the 2011 model Macbook Pros that had the bad AMD GPU for the 2nd "graphics card" for those pennies and hack the firmware to treat it as a single GPU machine. :D There's your hot tip for the day.
 

MrSmithers

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That sounds like a real pain in the arse Jon, sorry about that... Soz I have to admit I'm not that super tech-savvy in knowing all this stuff but I have been taking note of all the recommendations for running media from a computer on QQ and it's very helpful! Currently I'm using my Mac laptop over dlna but I'm thinking of getting an intel NUC and using HDMI as per Homer's recommendation... Basically want to merge my HD with a 21st century Marantz 4400! A bit more research (and funds!) required... It's the holy grail of finding a system that can play every format, gapless - without needing too much power...

4d1231ed69868a627f9f602a07ae3e40.jpg!
 

JonUrban

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Snood still no trust Liquid cooling :eek:
It's a good idea to keep an eye on it once in a while.........
Here's a picture of the inside as I was checking it out during first boot and O/S install. You can see the liquid cooler.
So guys, what should I do with regard to maintenance/watching this thing. Are they prone to dripping? :eek:
I have ZERO experience with them. I bought mostly Corsair stuff which was rated fairly well.

New PC inside.jpg
 

sjcorne

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Here's a picture of the inside as I was checking it out during first boot and O/S install. You can see the liquid cooler.
So guys, what should I do with regard to maintenance/watching this thing. Are they prone to dripping? :eek:
I have ZERO experience with them. I bought mostly Corsair stuff which was rated fairly well.
Damn. The biggest pain for me in doing quad conversions is waiting for the album-long 96/24 .wav file to fully load into Audacity. It can take anywhere from five minutes to like half an hour! I bet you don't have that problem with this thing...
 

jimfisheye

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Yeah, basically inspect for leaks.

The old G5's had the CPU section on the bottom of the tower. There was an absorbent pad on the bottom. Feel it with your finger every now and then. You want to feel dryness. Damp = action needed! Actually the p/s was on the very bottom underneath so there was opportunity for excitement if you had a problem.
If you hear slurping sounds, don't blow that off!! Means there's air in the lines... and the liquid that's supposed to be filling them is elsewhere.
 
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