Realtek ALC888 onboard audio

Discussion in 'Motherboards' started by Sylvanas, Feb 29, 2008.

  1. Bob76

    Bob76 Junior Member

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    Mine works fine with an MSI K9A2 Platinum board (on board ALC888) and a Gigabyte iSOLO 210 series case.
    Note that there are two types of front panel connectors. Older cases came with AC97 front panel audio, which is not capable of detecting headphones and also tend to be more noisy.
    My case has both AC97 and HD Audio front panel connector. Connecting the HD Audio version works well with all functions of the ALC888 chip and has no detectable static with headphones.
    Unfortunately the two types of connectors look identical. The difference is in the pin definitions. I try to attach a picture of the different layouts.

    Front Panel Audio Pin Layout
     
  2. Zap

    Zap Elite Member

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    Bob76, welcome to the forums.

    Just check the picture that Bob76 posted. Different pinouts. Unfortunately, if your case doesn't have the right one...

    Maybe your BIOS has a setting. My Asus P5K-VM board had a BIOS setting to make the pinouts compatible with AC97.
     
  3. positronie

    positronie Junior Member

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    Apologies if this is the wrong place to post this question...!!

    I bought a Dell Vostro 200 MT a few days ago, and it comes with a foxconn D33M 02 mother board, which claims to have a Realtek ALC888 on board, supposedly 7.1 output.

    Now, Realtek's own website says ALC888 says it supports S/PDIF. Where as this Dell Vostro 200 MT has no S/PDIF ports at the back as far as I can see. It has 6 audio jacks, three in and three out I guess.

    I am trying to hook this PC to a Yamaha AV-3101 amp for sound, is there anyway I can get some decent quality sound out of this mother board? Or do I have to buy a sound card with s/pdif (or some other?) port?

    Thanks a million!
     
  4. BassBomb

    BassBomb Diamond Member

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    Mine was much worse than my Audigy2 actually, might be interference

    It would make popping noises in my speakers at higher treble levels and was not even able to output 20kHz. Switch to Audigy and that problem is gone for me :S

    Maybe its my case causing it to have noise or need rma?
     
  5. Blazer7

    Blazer7 Golden Member

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    The ALC888 does support both 7.1 and SPDIF. Sound is actually good on my GA-N680SLI-DQ6. The board comes with 6 audio jacks with jack sensing which comes handy when connecting speakers or other equipment and it also features SPDIF out (optical) & SPDIF in (4pin connector on the motherboard). Unlike many Creative products I never had driver issues even when I used drivers straight from Realtek and not Gigabyte. If your board doesn't have SPDIF that's not because of the ALC888 but rather because of the way the mobo maker decided to implement it.
     
  6. toadeater

    toadeater Senior member

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    All those who think Realtek audio sounds "muffled" should try this SRS Sandbox thing. It installs a driver that augments Realtek audio's output really well. Makes high frequencies crystal clear and the bass thump without getting distorted and muddied in with the midrange. Haven't tried it with games, but it's a huge improvement in media players. Also might want to try DFX and Izotope Ozone if you don't like SRS for some reason.

    http://www.srs-store.com/store...ns/mall/sas-plugin.asp

    If Realtek had any sense they would license this tech and add it into their driver.
     
  7. tenax

    tenax Senior member

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    especially interesting thread for me as i gave up using either my turtle beach or blue gears (with dts and dolby encode/decode on both) due to cutback in number of pci slots and in turn ending up with a board with an 888 chipset..i convinced myself with some eq'ing, saying prayers to the sound gods and titling my head the right way that the realtec chipset was quite good..and kept telling myself that..then one day i was doing a rebuild, put my enspire back in and realized i had been severely kidding myself. i will qualify my next statement by saying that this is relative to movie audio playback experience (a lot of it), experience as a musician (some of it) and experience as a radio broadcaster 27 years of it) and through a pretty high fidelity 7.1 sound system (denon based with nuance and klipsch studio reference speakers) that onboard sound sounds like shite compared to the blue gears or any other good to great add on audio card. i say this with such conviction that i've built 2 systems since that were built around necessity to have multiple pci slots (2 for tv tuner cards, one for my beloved add on sound card) soundstorm was the only onboard audio solution that gave a good add on card the run for the money..period. realtek knows the game they are in..make a "cheap to mobo manufacturer" sound system that will satisfy 75% of the consumers..and that is they keep getting chosen by the manufacturers..cheap, cheap, cheap..and you get what you pay for:)

    nuff said by me:)
     
  8. monohouse

    monohouse Junior Member

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    I did some very basic testing, and have come up with some bad news:

    from my estimations I find a +4 db louder hiss in ALC888 when compared to SBLive 5.1 even if they wrote the ALC888 has 97 db while creative wrote the SBLive has 95 db, and that's not all, unfortunately in my mobo (IP35-E) (and I suspect in almost anyone else's) the chip and the plugs are located near the CPU and after I pumped the volume up, I heard that there is alote of EMI in the ALC888, can hear it when the system is idle, it goes louder when the system is under load, and even louder when moving the mouse especially when moving windows around.

    the SBLive 5.1 is connected to a PCI slot, significantly away from the CPU, however the EMI was heard even there, but it was significantly quieter compared to the ALC888, and you could only hear the idle EMI, moving the mouse or windows around, or increasing load on the system could not be heard (at all) in the SBLive 5.1

    these facts combined put the ALC888 ~6-7 db (AT LEAST) away from the advertised 97 db SNR, and that's just for starters, as this is a subjective test, if you check properly, you will probably find somewhere around 10-20 db of hiss+EMI away from those "97" db

    the SBLive 5.1 card is what ? more than 10 years old, created on august 1998 i think, who would believe it could smoke it that hard, not to mention that the SBLive 5.1 has 64 hardware mixing channels for DS while that ALC888 crap has only 32.

    the fact remains that a 10-years old soundcard (and probably even older) is better than an onboard one from any time period, I wonder how an onboard audio compares to a current soundcard of same time period.
     
  9. BDawg

    BDawg Lifer

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    I went from optical out on an X-Fi Platinum to the onboard sound on my new P45-UD3P (889) and I think the onboard sound is very good.

    My only problem is there is a short pop or crackle after a sound plays in Windows. I haven't noticed ever with music or in game.
     
  10. tcsenter

    tcsenter Lifer

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    That's strange, given most Soundstorm boards used the even more inferior Realtek ALC650 AC'97 codec.

    It is interesting that you went into so much detail to show how PCB design factors such as proximity to and immunity from sources of EMI can influence perceptible audio output quality, then conclude Realtek's published specs for the ALC888 must be significantly overstated.

    Realtek makes the chip, it doesn't control motherboard design. Therefore, the specs for its chip do not include any contribution from poor PCB design. Conversely, Creative Labs does control the PCB and sells the entire card, not just the chip on it. Therefore, Creative's published specs are based on measurement at the card's I/O.

    As you have shown so well, the I/O side of any audio chip is highly vulnerable to inferior design choices in the circuit board on which it resides, be it PCI card or motherboard. There is a wealth of audio-specific PCB design guidance and best practices available to motherboard manufacturers. Realtek can't force them to read it.
     
  11. Zap

    Zap Elite Member

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    Holy thread resurrection, Batman!

    Sure, if you don't have anything playing and crank up the audio with some good speakers, you're bound to hear some anomolies. However, the average person with cheap multimedia speakers that aren't cranked up will not notice anything amiss.

    If you can't hear the difference, no need to buy a separate sound card.

    I currently use onboard audio, and in the garage collecting dust are a couple Creative Labs cards (including an Audigy 2 level card), several VIA chipset cards and a Turtle Beach.
     
  12. bradley

    bradley Diamond Member

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    For those who think the ALC888 sounds bad you can test that theory:

    http://audio.rightmark.org/index_new.shtml

    or you can check these results for an idea:

    16-bit, 44 kHz through Realtek ALC888 on MSI X48C Platinum

    16-bit, 44 kHz through Realtek ALC888 on ECS A780VM-M2

    16-bit, 44 kHz through Realtek ALC889A on Gigabyte MA790FX-DQ6

    For comparison's sake:

    Soundblaster Live! @ 16-bit, 44KHz

    Audigy Platinum @ 16-bit, 44KHz

    My opinion is that the ALC888 and ALC889 more than adequate, especially with proper implementation. It compares fairly decently with my EMU 1212M. In fact, it's amazing the linearity and size of today's audio chips compared to those from a decade ago. The real problem is resampling through the kmixer -- bypassing it probably helps a great deal.
     
  13. Modelworks

    Modelworks Lifer

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    For those complaining about hiss or background noise you can do what I did.
    Get a set of speakers with optical connections.
    I like the behringer MS20/MS40.
    $100 and they come with optical/coax inputs, line level inputs, headphone jack, and zero hiss
     
  14. Zeppelin Heaven

    Zeppelin Heaven Junior Member

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    Quick question:

    Does the ALC888 decode DTS 5.1 without using an external receiver?
     
  15. evident

    evident Lifer

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    x-fi > onboard but onboard still aint that bad. I won't be giving up my x-fi or emu any time soon!
     
  16. Zeppelin Heaven

    Zeppelin Heaven Junior Member

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    anyone?
     
  17. Haruspex

    Haruspex Junior Member

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    Hi, i recently purchased the Logitech G51 and my problem with this soundcard is that even with stereo sources i hear all the speakers. It seems that it does some kind of stereo upmixing which i don't want.

    No matter how hard i searched i didn't find a solution to this and if it's possible to disable stereo upmixing.

    PC Specs

    Win XP SP3 Pro

    Abit IP35 with the integrated Realtek ALC888 HD Audio and with the latest 2.09 drivers from Realtek

    Logitech G51

     
  18. Flipped Gazelle

    Flipped Gazelle Diamond Member

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    In the Realtek Audio Manager is there a checkbox next to Virtual Sound? If so, perhaps uncheck it?
     
  19. Haruspex

    Haruspex Junior Member

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    I carefully went through all available options in Realtek Manager and i can't find any setting that will disable the upmixing. Here are all my available options

    http://img204.imageshack.us/my...?image=realtek1ew2.jpg

    http://img114.imageshack.us/my...?image=realtek2rt6.jpg

    http://img246.imageshack.us/my...?image=realtek3tv2.jpg

    http://img246.imageshack.us/my...?image=realtek4va3.jpg

    http://img210.imageshack.us/my...?image=realtek5mr1.jpg

    I don't mind as a last resort to use even a third party program to disable upmixing if it's not possible with the Realtek Manager and/or with Windows.



     
  20. us3rnotfound

    us3rnotfound Diamond Member

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    Hmm, this is very interesting. I have the GA-EP935C-DS3R, it has the 889 codec or whatever. This whole time I've been using an X fi Xtremgamer, didn't even give the onboard a chance from the get-go. After reading through this thread, I am now using this Realtek onboard codec and will be putting the Xfi up on Ebay :).
     
  21. Geraldo8022

    Geraldo8022 Member

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    the ALC888 on my Biostar TF8200 is actually quite good, but it is not as good as the MAudio Rev 7.1. IMHO
     
  22. Haruspex

    Haruspex Junior Member

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    I just installed Vista Ultimate x86 and not only i solve my issue with the upmixing but the audio in general is noticeable improved.

    The Realtek manager has many more options than XP (which is pretty limited)

    So regards to the topic, I think the sound quality is about the same as the old Audigy Player 1 in XP (although the ALC888 misses some features audigy has) and definitely beats Audigy Player 1 in Vista because Creative drivers really suck. (at least for audigy 1)

     
  23. lvwj

    lvwj Junior Member

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    I've been using my onboard audio sound (Realtek ALC888) with my logitech z-5500 speakers ever since I built my system (which was early this year). The only reason why I didn't buy a sound card then was because I couldn't afford it on my budget at the time. Now I'm thinking about upgrading. Don't get me wrong, I'm satisfy with my sound overall, but I'm just curious about upgrading the onboard audio with a sound card within the range of $100-$175. With all these ravings about onboard realtek, I'm curious if sound cards in this range will noticeably sound better than the onboard's?
     
  24. jace112

    jace112 Junior Member

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    Hi Guys!

    I do have some questions too!

    My mobo is an Asrock AliveNF5-eSata2+ which comes with the regular ALC888.

    I managed to get an SPDIF coaxial output by plugin a cable on the HDMI header (by default this mobo only has 7 analog outputs).

    I can get some signal from this SPDIF output, sent to my Yamaha receiver.

    But DD or DTS doesn't seem to work. I guess it's normal because I don't have the HD version of the ALC888, right ?

    But what does it 7.1 mean anyway ? What kind of signal is really 7.1 if not DD, DTS... ?

    How can I get digital multi channel signal from this ALC888 chipset?

    THANKS

     
  25. nikmabc

    nikmabc Junior Member

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    You might get more responses if you started a new thread.

    I've looked at the manual and it seems the hdmi header is used with some video cards that support audio over hdmi. That said, it does look to have the same outputs as a spdif header, so if you match the pinouts, it seems it should work. Also, the specs label it as hd audio.

    Now the tricky part, what program are you using to play your video? Programs like windvd and powerdvd are probably standalone programs---they don't use filters from another party. These programs have their own audio adjustment. There should be an spdif or pass through option. Next is the sound card, digital audio, spdif out, etc. should be turned on. I think most receivers will detect a dd or dts audio output and adjust. Also, most receivers are flexible in the assignment of their digital inputs. In the case of my Onkyo, it auto detects between the analog and digital, but I need to manually set which digital input to use---opt1, op2, or coax.

    With Nero Showtime, I couldn't get the spdif setting to work, but the pass through setting worked.

    If you are using a program that uses a filter like ffdshow, it needs to be set for spdif or pass through.

    If you are trying to play hd videos with hd audio tracks(these are hd dd and hd dts audio tracks), then there are other potential problems. See the link below for the scoops on hd audio.

    http://www.highdefdigest.com/news/show/1064