[wdmaudiodev] Re: Why would you want USB Audio 2.0 in Windows?

  • From: "Bernt" <bernt@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <wdmaudiodev@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 18 Nov 2009 08:54:37 -0600

Hi Frank,


I speak as a sleeping member of this  group, with a lot of customers from
the consumer side - and a lot  of sound card (driver) related support. USB
audio is very popular among consumers who use Audiolense, and also among
consumer who uses for audio without Audiolense. But I generally advice
against it because of the limitations that have already been brought to the
table - and because we have experienced a lot of driver problems with usb


The consumer business case is simple: Everyone have at least one computer.
Many of these are laptops and neither built nor purchased for audio
playback. A usb soud card / usb dac can be plugged into any PC. Not so with
a PCI card. And firewire is only provided by the pro/prosumer manufacturers
and is a dying specie anyway. The threshold of replacing the old CD player
with PC-based playback becomes very low for the users who find an
appropriate usb sound card. And many are intrigued by this proposition.


For some strange reason (I guess it must be the long cable J) the consumer
tends to think that the audioprocessing becomes more sonically detatched
from the PC with a usb card than with an embedded or PCI card. They perceive
that as a good thing because they perceive the computer to be a very noisy
environment (electrically) for audio processing. 


Our customers are basically consumers who are conscious about sound quality.
Their audio investment budgets vary from minimum to several hundred thousand
Euros. The standard usb implementation is not good for audio. The
limitations are not simply about channel count and bit debt. And driver
problems. It is also about the protocol used to transmit the data. It is
basically an SPDIF-equivalent protocol where the clock on the transmitter
(the computer) puts a signature on the sound. SPDIF is an inferior protocol
to begin with. Add to that some added challenges with USB and it stands out
as the worst alternative. Some of the jitter out  of  the PC will manifest
itself in the analog waveform regardless of how the receiver side works. A
couple of consumer/prosumer manufacturers have developed usb interfaces with
asyncron audio transmission. I don?t know the details but I assume it is
equivalent to block processing or  callback based buffer filling where the
clock in the dac is the only one that matters. USB has the potential to
provide bit perfect transmission. As it is today, a high quality non-usb
sound card is required for top quality audio rendering. 


USB sound cards with multichannel / bitdebth capability that reflects the
new waveformextensible standards with regards to channel count and bit debth
would be a huge selling point to the masses. Callback-based audio streaming
would be an added bonus that would bring USB into the picture also amongst
those who pay whatever it takes to get the best possible sound quality.
Computer based hifi has so much going for it, and a good usb audio solution
would lower the threshold of entry significantly.



Best Regards


Bernt Ronningsbakk


 <http://www.juicehifi.com/> Juice Hifi - the home of Audiolense


juice_logo 200                        audiolense_logo 200


From: wdmaudiodev-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:wdmaudiodev-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Frank Yerrace
Sent: 17. november 2009 22:42
To: wdmaudiodev@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [wdmaudiodev] Re: Why would you want USB Audio 2.0 in Windows?


Thank you everyone that responded to my question both on the mailing list
and directly to me. The two primary benefits that most everyone mentioned
were higher formats (sample rate and/or channels) and control notification
(e.g. volume control change notification to host, removing the need to use
HID control and rely on host support). I have some follow up questions.


It seems most of the responses were in the context of pro or ?prosumer?
products. What other classes of product have strong need for this? Is lack
of a built-in Windows driver for USB Audio 2.0 inhibiting development of
products that would appear on the shelves of retail stores (e.g. desktop
speaker systems for the average consumer)?


What is the typical business model for getting Windows drivers developed for
USB Audio 2.0 products that exist today? And why is that model not
sufficient to allow USB Audio 2.0 to thrive?


On your list of gripes or wishes regarding the Windows Vista and Windows 7
audio system, where does this lie? Near the top? Middle? Bottom?


I encourage open responses to the list but feel free to respond directly to
me if you would rather. And as always, thanks very much for your feedback.


Frank Yerrace



This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights.


From: wdmaudiodev-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:wdmaudiodev-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Frank Yerrace
Sent: Tuesday, October 20, 2009 6:24 PM
To: wdmaudiodev@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [wdmaudiodev] Why would you want USB Audio 2.0 in Windows?


There are occasional questions on this list about USB Audio 2.0 support in
Windows. We (the Windows sound team) are curious to hear specific reasons-
scenarios, business, features, etc.- that would be enabled if USB Audio 2.0
support was included in Windows.


Are any of you willing to share this? The more specific you can be, the
better. If you do not want to share with the entire list then feel free to
send a message to me directly.


Frank Yerrace



This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights.


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