Philips PSC724 Ultimate Edge

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HotHardware Test Bed and Rightmark Audio Analyzer 5.3

HOW WE CONFIGURED THE TEST SYSTEM:

We tested the Philips PSC724 Ultimate Edge on an i865G based Intel D865GBF motherboard, powered by an Intel Pentium 4 3.0CGHz CPU. The first thing we did when configuring this test system was enter the BIOS and loaded the "High Performance Defaults". Then we set the memory to operate at 400MHz (in dual-channel mode), with the CAS Latency and other memory timings set by the SPD. The hard drive was then formatted, and Windows XP Professional with SP1 was installed. When the installation was complete, we installed the Intel chipset drivers and hit the Windows Update site to download and install all of the available updates. Then we installed all of the necessary drivers for the rest of our components and removed Windows Messenger from the system altogether. Auto-Updating, System Restore, and Drive Indexing were then disabled, the hard drive was de-fragmented and a 768MB permanent page file was created. Lastly, we set Windows XP's Visual Effects to "best performance", installed the benchmarking software and ran all of the tests.

HotHardware Test Rig
Our Testing Toy...
Hardware:

Processor -

Mainboard -
   
Video Cards -

Memory -


Audio -



Hard Drive -


Optical Drive -





 

Intel Pentium 4 3.0CGHz

Intel D865GBF

ATi Radeon 9700Pro

1024MB Kingston HyperX PC4000
CAS 3
 
Philips PSC724
Sound Blaster Audigy2 ZS
 
Western Digital "Raptor"
36GB - 10,000RPM - SATA
 
MSI XA52P 48x24x48x
Plextor 48x24x48x
Lite-On 16x DVD-ROM

Software:

Operating System -

Chipset Drivers -

DirectX -

Video Drivers -

 

 

Windows XP Professional SP1 (Fully Patched)

Intel INF v5.0.1006.0

DirectX 9.0b

ATI Catalyst v4.4


Rightmark Audio Analyzer 5.3
Replace


In the following sections you can find the test results of the Ultimate Edge versus a Sound Blasters Audigy 2 ZS.  Both of these cards feature similar specifications and should square off nicely during testing.  If duplicated, results may vary slightly due to difference in cables, cleanliness of contacts and electromagnetic interference.  In all cases we have tried to eliminate any of these possible circumstances and used brand new high quality shielded audio patch cables.

Lastly, you may note the Ultimate Edge has results for 24bit / 192kHZ, while the Audigy 2 does not.  This is because the Audigy 2 is unable to record signals beyond 24bit / 96kHz.  On the other hand, it is able to output signals at 24bit / 192 kHz.  However, do to our choice of testing each card independently using an external loopback (line-out to line-in), we where unable to record these results.

General Summary:

This section covers a general summary of the entire testing process that we preformed on both of the soundcards. The in-depth coverage of each test, with available graphs, is located in further sections.

Philips PSC724 Ultimate Edge - Summary

Test

16bit/48kHz

24bit/48kHz 24bit/96kHz 24bit/192kHz
 Frequency Response (from 40 Hz to 15 kHz), dB: +0.03, -0.10 Excellent +0.03, -0.10 Excellent +0.03, -0.11 Excellent +0.03, -0.11 Excellent
 Noise Level, dB (A): -85.9 Good -86.3 Good -88.0 Good -88.1 Good
 Dynamic Range, dB (A): 85.1 Good 85.4 Good 84.9 Good 85.0 Good
 THD, %: 0.037 Good 0.037 Good 0.037 Good 0.039 Good
 IMD, %: 0.056 Good 0.057 Good 0.056 Good 0.057 Good
 Stereo Crosstalk, dB: -63.8 Average -63.8 Average -63.9 Average -63.8 Average
 General Performance: Good Good Good Good

 

Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS - Summary

Test

16bit/48kHz

24bit/48kHz 24bit/96kHz
 Frequency Response (from 40 Hz to 15 kHz), dB: +0.03, -0.08 Excellent +0.09, -0.13 Very good +0.01, -0.08 Excellent
 Noise Level, dB (A): -95.6 Excellent -97.6 Excellent -98.5 Excellent
 Dynamic Range, dB (A): 94.8 Very good 96.4 Excellent 98.0 Excellent
 THD, %: 0.0064 Very good 0.0064 Very good 0.0034 Very Good
 IMD, %: 0.0081 Very good 0.0077 Excellent 0.0088 Very Good
 Stereo Crosstalk, dB: -86.8 Excellent -87.3 Excellent -88.6 Excellent
 General Performance: Very good Excellent Excellent


Focusing mainly on the 24bit / 96kHz results, we can see that the Sound Blaster acquired the best overall rating. The PSC724 stayed competitive in most areas, but the numbers where lacking in others.  Overall, the most evenly matched test was the Frequency Response.  Both cards turned excellent results across the board, with only a very small margin separating the two.  The second test, Noise Level, is where the Philips started to drop behind.  The Sound Blaster put forth a processed signal that was nearly void of excess noise, which in turn topped the Philips' result by about 10 dB.  Continuing the trend into the Dynamic Range portion of testing, the Audigy 2 held its lead over the Philips once again by about 13 dB.

The last half of the tests exhibited similar results.  Throughout the THD (Total Harmonic Distortion), IMD (Intermodulation Distortion) and Stereo Crosstalk analysis the Sound Blaster continually held the lead over the Philips.  Though the Audigy 2 was the leader in this round of tests, there are still a few areas to consider before we make our final verdict.

Frequency Response:

Frequency response is defined as "a measure of the effectiveness of an instrument to transmit signals applied to it in terms of their incidence."  To simplify the definition, it is the ability of the soundcard to process signals without changing the relative loudness or adding distortion. Consequently, the smaller the difference between the lowest and highest value, the better the sound quality.

Philips - 16bit/48kHz

Philips - 24bit/48kHz Philips - 24bit/96kHz Philips - 24bit/192kHz

 

SB Audigy 2 ZS - 16bit/48kHz SB Audigy 2 ZS - 24bit/48kHz SB Audigy 2 ZS - 24bit/96kHz

 

 

Philips PSC724 Ultimate Edge - Frequency Range

 

16bit/48kHz

24bit/48kHz 24bit/96kHz 24bit/192kHz
  Response Response Response Response
From 20 Hz to 20 kHz, dB: -0.39, +0.03 -0.38, +0.03 -0.39, +0.03 -0.39, +0.03
From 40 Hz to 15 kHz, dB -0.10, +0.03 -0.10, +0.03 -0.11, +0.03 -0.11, +0.03

 

Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS - Frequency Range

 

16bit/48kHz

24bit/48kHz 24bit/96kHz
  Response Response Response
From 20 Hz to 20 kHz, dB: -1.81, +0.03 -0.82, +0.09 -0.28, +0.01
From 40 Hz to 15 kHz, dB -0.08, +0.03 -0.13, +0.09 -0.08, +0.01


Noise Level:

Noise is "the amplitude level of the undesired background sound." In this instance it represents the amount of "hiss" that is produced during processing.  Keep in mind that the amount you hear over your speakers is partially related to cabling, dirty contacts, and electromagnetic inference caused by your computer, not totally derived from soundcard.  In reference to the numbers below, keep in mind that the lower the number (they are negative, so actually the bigger), the better.

Philips - 16bit/48kHz

Philips - 24bit/48kHz Philips - 24bit/96kHz Philips - 24bit/192kHz

 

SB Audigy 2 ZS - 16bit/48kHz SB Audigy 2 ZS - 24bit/48kHz SB Audigy 2 ZS - 24bit/96kHz

 

Philips PSC724 Ultimate Edge - Noise Range

 

16bit/48kHz

24bit/48kHz 24bit/96kHz 24bit/192kHz

Parameter

Left Right Left Right Left Right Left Right
RMS Power, dB: -83.7 -83.1 -83.7 -83.2 -86.6 -86.5 -86.4 -86.2
RMS power (A-weighted), dB: -85.9 -85.9 -86.2 -86.3 -88.0 -88.0 -88.0 -88.1
Peak level, dB FS: -67.0 -67.0 -67.6 -67.2 -66.5 -67.1 -67.7 -67.1
DC offset, %: -0.00 -0.00 -0.00 0.00 -0.00 -0.00 -0.00 -0.00

 

Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS - Noise Range

 

16bit/48kHz

24bit/48kHz 24bit/96kHz

Parameter

Left Right Left Right Left Right
RMS Power, dB: -94.3 -94.2 -96.4 -96.4 -89.7 -89.5
RMS power (A-weighted), dB: -95.6 -95.5 -97.6 -97.5 -98.5 -98.3
Peak level, dB FS: -80.5 -80.5 -83.1 -82.0 -74.8 -75.9
DC offset, %: 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00


Dynamic Range:

Dynamic Range is "the ratio of a specified maximum possible level of a parameter to the minimum detectable or acceptable value of that parameter." Clearing this up a little more, it is the range from the lowest to highest possible volumetric signal that the soundcard can output.  Thus, the larger the number, the better.

Philips - 16bit/48kHz

Philips - 24bit/48kHz Philips - 24bit/96kHz Philips - 24bit/192kHz

 

SB Audigy 2 ZS - 16bit/48kHz SB Audigy 2 ZS - 24bit/48kHz SB Audigy 2 ZS - 24bit/96kHz

 

Philips PSC724 Ultimate Edge - Dynamic Range

 

16bit/48kHz

24bit/48kHz 24bit/96kHz 24bit/192kHz

Parameter

Left Right Left Right Left Right Left Right
Dynamic range, dB: +83.3 +82.9 +82.2 +81.7 +83.0 +82.0 +83.7 +83.7
Dynamic range (A-weighted), dB: +85.1 +85.2 +85.4 +85.4 +84.9 +84.9 +85.0 +85.1
DC offset, %: -0.00 -0.00 0.00 0.00 -0.00 -0.00 -0.00 -0.00

 

Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS - Dynamic Range

 

16bit/48kHz

24bit/48kHz 24bit/96kHz

Parameter

Left Right Left Right Left Right
Dynamic range, dB: +93.7 +93.5 +95.3 +95.2 +89.8 +89.7
Dynamic range (A-weighted), dB: +94.9 +94.8 +96.6 +96.4 +98.3 +98.0
DC offset, %: 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00

 

Tags:  C7, mat, EDGE, Philips, ultimate, IPS, TIM, ULT, Ultima, IP, IM

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