Q. Dear Mr. Know-It-All,
Should I upgrade my OS/2 system to the SoundBlaster 64, or is there something
In my opinion, Crystal Semiconductor
(http://www.crystal.com) makes the best
sound chips at this time.
One of their newest chips, the 4237B, is on the Crystal Computer (no
affiliation) Crystalizer TidalWave128 sound card
and on the NewCom NewClear 3D Wavetable sound card
One source for the card is J3 Computer Technologies
A word of caution on NewCom: I rate their product support
Crystal Semiconductor supplies the OS/2 driver for any board with a 4237B, and
you should get the driver directly from them since thats where the most
recent version will be (when I checked, Crystal Computer still had a driver
link to the older version and NewCom didnt have a link at all).
ftp://ftp.cirrus.com/pub/drivers/audio/ and get the cwos2201.zip driver
package (also read relnotes.txt in that same directory).
If youre really into this, the Crystal Semiconductor 4237B and 4238B
(the other option) are almost identical; the 4237B supports SRS
3D sound (http://www.srslabs.com)
and the 4238B supports QSOUND 3D sound
See the two chips data sheets if youre curious (go to the Crystal
Semiconductor site and select Other Crystal and CrystalClear
Products, then look at the block diagrams).
Incidentally, the latest recording studio technology is 20 bit audio at a 96
KHz sampling rate.
It used to be 16 bit audio at a 48 KHz sampling rate; consumer audio was and
still is 16 bit audio at a 44.1 KHz sampling rate.
The conversion ratio was 160 to 147, or
, and converting
a professionally recorded studio performance to the consumer rate resulted in
some fidelity loss due to the sampling rate conversion.
The higher rate will improve this, even at the slower consumer playback rate,
due to less conversion error.
The 20 bit audio will have less of an improvement, since the lowest bit of the
target (consumer) recording is already dithered to improve the
sound quality (the dithered bits have an average of half a bit,
which is closer to the analog average of bits 17 through 20 which are
truncated during the conversion).
For a neat 20-bit all-digital-audio recording studio control board, see
For a professional 20-bit audio recorder, see
Curious or in doubt, ask Mr. Know-It-All.
He gets email at MrKIA@SCOUG.COM.
Mr. Know-It-All lives in Southern California.
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