New Computer,New Soundcard,New Problems,Need Help!

  Big L 266 18:35 14 Jan 2009

Hello there.

My new computer is an HP TouchSmart IQ510.My new usb-based soundcard is a Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi 5.1 which is linked via a cable to my Arcam amp which is then fed into my two Mission tower speakers both bought in 1995. I have an option to play my sounds via a Cyberlink Power DVD V.7 which was a free extra with the Creative.The method of conversion is complicated and I don't believe worth the effort. Contained on the hard-drive are all 36000 songs from over 1500 cds bought since 1985 to the present. My old computer which has packed up had a Creative Sound Blaster Audigy 4 Pro inbuilt soundcard which cannot be transferred.

The new external Creative Soundcard has been successfully installed and can only be worked by altering the settings within the TouchSmart to get it to play on the hi fi. This in itself isn't a problem. My questions are as follows and for which any help and advice would be highly appreciated.

1.Although the Creative itself has improved the sound quality no end over the onboard soundcard on the HP TouchSmart,I feel that it lacks a certain 'oomph' even though the quality is excellent. Do you know of any additional software I could purchase to bring that extra 'oomph' back into playing my music on this hi fi system please? I would prefer something Dolby encoded which has an equaliser onboard and wonder if such is available as a additional download.

2.Happy as I am with the Creative package,do you believe it is time to upgrade my Arcam amp? If so,what kind of amp would you think suitable for a computer-based hi-fi system? (The speakers will not be changed as I don't have the money for a new pair.) I am open to all suggestions as to makes and prices for the amp.

3.I've noticed that my new HP occasionally 'jumps' when playing some audio tracks from the Creative much in the same way as it does when listening to BBC Radio 2 online. Is there any connection beween the 'jumping' of my own music and radio broadcasts?

I thank you for reading this and look forward to hearing from you with any help, suggestions and recommendations.

  Big L 266 18:38 14 Jan 2009

My HP TouchSmart IQ510 operating system is Windows Vista Home Premium 64 bit with all updates put in yesterday. Thank you.

  canarieslover 19:48 14 Jan 2009

How are your tracks encoded? If they are MP3's then I doubt that an upgrade to your amp will benefit you unless they are encoded at high bit rates. It may even highlight deficiencies in the tracks that have been caused by compression. That same compression is probably what you are describing as 'lack of oomph' in the playback. Try encoding some tracks as .wav and see if that makes any difference.

  Big L 266 21:11 14 Jan 2009

Hello. All the tracks were uploaded at 192kbps via wma format in my old computer.These were then downloaded to my external hard drive also at 192kbps via the wma format,and then copied back from the external hard drive to this HP also at 192kbps in wma. All I believe may be needed is a piece of hi fi software containing Dolby which acts as a link between Creative and my amp.

No tracks were encoded in mp3 which is by its very nature a most disappointing sound. Does this help you at all?

Thank you very much for your help.

  canarieslover 09:52 15 Jan 2009

I have also tried wma and found that it works better than MP3 at lower bit rates (<128bps) but at higher bit rates I found MP3 to be better. All compression systems are much more suited to portable players rather than HiFi hence my suggestion not to upgrade. I have not been able to find Dolby encoding software for Windows though there are some for Linux. Probably a better upgrade than your amp would be the Creative X-Fi Titanium which features Dolby encoding. This would mean opening your computer to install as it is an internal PCI-Express card. Check that you have a slot of that type first that you can use. As for skipped playback I only get that happening if I use CD for something else at the same time.
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P.S. I still play my CD's in the conventional way through HiFi.

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