Buy Aopen Cobra AW-850 6 Channel Pci Sound Card - 5.1 6-Channel - 16-BIT - Wavetable: Internal Sound Cards - Amazon.com FREE DELIVERY possible on eligible purchases. This page contains drivers for Cobra AW840 manufactured by Aopen™. Please note we are carefully scanning all the content on our website for viruses and trojans. This and other Sound Cards drivers we're hosting are 100% safe. Vendor: Aopen™ Device: Cobra AW840.
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Our readers already know sound cards on the YMF724 and the YMF744 chipsfrom Yamaha. The market, however, offers many boards also on the last chipof the series - the YMF754. One of such boards, AW754 from AOpen (www.aopen.com.tw)will be considered today. Here, we will touch some issues that were missedin the previous reviews both on the YMF7x4 chipset series and on soundcards as a whole.
The card we managed to put our hands on was an OEM variant (in a packetwith only a CD).
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This is the lightest and cheapest board variant. There is no a digitaloptical output though there is a place for it (an optical output can be found only on the AOpen Pro/Deluxe models). In fact, thisboard can be completed with a daughter board from AOpen with digital inputsthat connect to S/PDIF in. At least, my board properly worked with alldigital inputs, and there were no any blockages in drivers.
|Audio controller||Yamaha YMF754 (DS-1E)|
|Audio codec||SigmaTel STAC9708|
|Audio linear outputs||four (two per front, two per rear)|
|Digital outputs||none for this model; one optical for AOpen Pro/Deluxe models)|
|Digital inputs||two, one is intended for daughter interface board|
|DVD sound track reproduction||soft downmixing for 4 channels (e.g. in Power DVD, WinDVD)|
|MIDI synthesizer||676 XG instruments in 2 MB nonexpensible bank, hardware 64 voices polyphony, software 1 voice Sondius-XG|
|MIDI effect-processor||soft, XG reverb, chorus, variations|
|Sound processing in real time mode||quite noisy echo/reverberator for mic-in|
|Game 3D interfaces||support via Sensaura: DirectSound3D, A3D 1.0, EAX 1.0|
What's interesting inside the YMF754?
The audio chip YMF754(named DS-1E) is a high efficient audio controller (in terms ofthe AC'97 standard) for the PCI bus. The chips consists of two separatefunctional blocks - PCI Audio and Legacy Audio (such scheme is typicalfor the whole 7X4 series):
The PCI Audio block provides 64 voices polyphony for the hardware XG wavetable synthesizer (the bank is the same as in the whole 7x4 series, i.e. appr. 2 MB which can be easily unpacked up to 6 MB) and effects (reverb, chorus, variation) realized in drivers. The same block provides DirectSound acceleration.
The Legacy Audio unit supports different additional functions. Such asa FM synthesizer, Sound Blaster Pro compatibility, support of the MIDIport (MPU401) and joystick. All these functions are supported in a 'clearDOS', according to Yamaha, theoretically without a need in any drivers.
The YMF754 is designed in a full accordance with the Intel AC'97 standard.That is, it connects with the AC'97 codecs through the AC-Link bus, andallows using different variants for board layout - both with one stereooutput and with two (onto the front and rear speakers).
Do not ask us what chip is better at reproduction - the 754 or724/744, Vortex or EMU10K.
None of these chips can not reproduce music, and influences the reproductionquality only indirectly (if only chip don't kill quality of sound initially in digits). The matter is that the last three years all new sound chips are separatedfrom the converters (ADC and DAC) with a digital bus AC-Link:
So, the question on comparison of sound quality, say Live! vs. Vortex2,in general can be converted into the question: 'What sounds better - SigmaTelor SigmaTel?' :) More competent investigation how different elements ofthe digital-analog chain influence the sound quality with precise quantitativemeasurements will be considered in my nearest articles.
The 744 and 754 support either one stereo codec or two stereo codecs,or one 4-channel codec (like on this board). It means that 6-speaker boardon the 7X4 is impossible. By the way, the AC-link frequency due to theAC'97 standard is fixed at 48 KHz. So, all signals of different frequencies(22, 32, 44,1 KHz etc.) on the chips output are converted in a single 48KHz speed. This frequency was set by Intel when developing the specificationwith DVD orientation. All AC'97 codecs run at it.
In theory, it doesn't make problems to convert 44.1 to 48 KHz without resampling (according to the experts, such mode is set in some relatively expensive receiver-transmitters). It's necessary to put a buffer on the receiving part and to transmit 44.1 with a higher speed, and then in the codec to 'assemble' the signal. But they don't use this scheme in cheap sound cards. Once interpolated with good mathematics on modern DSP locating in audio-controllers, and adding pseudo-noise you can reach rather fair results which should not be audible even on average Hi-Fi acoustics. For seven most popular frequencies which are derivative from 44.1 and 48 such converting (SRC - sample rate converting) is earnestly recommended by the AC'97 to implement hardwarely, on the level of a pair audio controller/audio codec.
Let's consider the construction of a modern codec and what it allowsconnecting inside and outside the computer:
As you can see, all analog out/inputs come to the codec. It means thatit is the codec that first of all determines how the card sounds.
As for digital outputs (both electrical RCA S/PDIF and optical Toslink), despite the shown Intel scheme, the drop cable usually goes from an audio controller, i.e. a sound chip. And in this case, the signal goes from the 77-th pin of theYMF754 to theplace for the connector. Unfortunately, the given board modification doesn'thave such. I tried to solder it myself(in fact there should be an opticaloutput), but the SBLive!4830 connected by such a strange way couldn't seethe signal.
That's why it's more reliable to buy a board with a factorymounted digital output.
Let's, however, come back to our YMF754. Where is it better than itspredecessor in terms of electricity? Like the 744, it supports the IEC958standard of the digital interface SPDIF. Unlike the YMF744B (DS-1S) chip,the 754 supports the direct record from the SPDIF In, and at the same timeit doesn't take SPDIF In resources when the Zoomed Video Port is operating.Besides, Yamaha states a considerable difference in power consumption.It turned out that the 754 consumes much less energy even at usual operations,not taking the Standby mode.
The DS-1E supports PC/PCI and D-DMA protocols for DMA emulation in thestyle of the SB Pro on the PCI bus. Besides, it supports an old systemof interruptions that use the ISA bus and the Serialized IRQ protocol.It ensures support for all games in DOS and says that the chips was workedout 3-4 year ago when it was actual. But as for me, it wouldn't play underDOS; you'd better do it in Windows, in DOS-window, with a more pleasantlysounding of the integrated in the card XG MIDI-synthesizer (if you havea General MIDI option in the game).
Installation and complete utilities
Enough of theory until it is too boring.
Since the card can never be called a Hi-End product, I got preparedto the fight with drivers, just for case. Surprisingly, none of the driver's partcaused a trouble. And after rebooting, when entering the Windows thereappeared the following screen:
It means that you can immediately check the acoustics connection and card'sworking capacity.
hetray showed me a proprietary AOpen sign, which I want to say some wordson. It's no secret that many companies try to embody something unusualin their utilities. Well, this was the first utility for the last yearin the tray which I didn't desire to chuck out.
Take, say a standard utility DS-XG Audio Config from Yamaha calledout when choosing the option AW754 Config, accessible also from the ControlPanel (note that the shown picture, for the space to save, is an animatedGIF, for viewing you should enable this option in the browser):
The most interesting is the proprietary utility AOpen AW754 AdvancedOptions that contains settings and diagnostics of digital in/outputswork (here, we also used the animated GIF):
Note a convenient possibility to check whether new drivers were releasedwith just a double click:
And in case a new driver is found, the utility suggests downloading itto your computer (selecting the server out of the list):
Shortly, it is a good service for little money.
Testing the sound quality
Now you know that sound quality is determined mainly by the codec and itsanalog part on the board (mainly, linear buffers, operational amplifiersand capacitors). The codec used on the board turned to be our old friend- the SigmaTel STAC9708.Well, if they weren't afraid installing this codec in the Aureal SuperQuadDigital and not so long ago released Creative SBLive! Platinum 5.1, thereis a chance that sound from the codec wouldn't differ much from the moreexpensive sound cards. The codec layout is made to be minimum, what carriesboth highs and lows.
Below you can see a spectrogram of comparison of the AOpen AW754 andmy reference SBLive! Value 4830 (the Creative CT1297-TAT codec and thePhilips 1330A - front and rear correspondingly). Rewriting of the signalvia the codec's mixer. The [email protected] dB sinusoid was created in the SoundForge4.5.
The spectrogram shows that noise floor of the codec of the AOpen AW754is located very close to that of the Live codec which is in the DigitalOnly mode (when adding pseudo-noise to the signal).
I'm not going to make measurements from the linear output to the linearinput, since the input characteristics of the ADC would damage quite agood DAC. Judging even by the specification, the Signal-to-noise Ratio(EIAJ CP-307) is: D/A 85 dB A, A/D 75 dB A.
When listening to the AW754 we haven't noticed any artifacts. The boardshowed rather decent sounding on the wooden speakers Radiotechnika S-30B(30 W RMS at 8 Ohm, 50-20000 Hz +-10 dB) and the amplifier ODA-102 (two-piece,transistor, 10 W). If you have something similar or at least not betterin sounding than the wooden system of the entry level, this card will bea nice choice for you.
Further tests on the Onkyo TX-DS484 receiver (DD5.1, DTS, DACs 24bit/96KHz, 5x75W RMS 6 Ohm, 5Hz-100KHz +0..-3 dB) and english Hi-End speakers JPW ML510i (2x75 W RMS, 6 Ohm, 89 dB/W per meter, 60-22000 Hz +-3 dB)
didn't reveal any troubles. Sound nuances of the AW754 from the linearoutput were dull and flat like that of the most computer sound cards (thesound went out simultaneously from the computer and in digital form, forcomparison, at the instant commutation of the signal source from the remote-controlon the receiver). I wish I could have given a digital signal and assessedthe quality of work of the hardware SCR integrated into the 754 chip.
Unlike many top manufacturers, AOpen supplied its product at least witha evaluation version of the WinDVD (at least, the test sample hadit). The sound track in DVD movies was well decoded by the soft playersWinDVD 2.2 and PowerDVD 3.0. There was nothing to complain about in termsof sound. But today, I think, it's already time to see 6-speaker solutionsin this price niche.
A bit on game possibilities of the card. As an any normal man, I don't care how many bitshave codecs on the board if it plays mono and makes noise. Or how manyDirectSound streams it supports if the sound is like from a gramophone.Here, the quality of 3-dimensional sound in games was determined by oneword - Sensaura. If you know it, you'd understand me. The others wouldhope that in a cheap solution one can combine all popular 3D interfaceswithout performance and quality sacrifice. As for me, I prefer only onegame where the EAX 1.0 via the Sensaura algorithms checks itself perfectlyand outperforms the well-known A3D on the Vortex2, with its unfinishedemulation EAX. The game is Crusaders of Might & Magic (by the way,made quite dull). In order to enjoy 3-dimensional effects you have to downloada demo from the Internet (it looks like Diablo 1, but in 3D). Those of you whopossess a full version of the game should come to the second or third stagesince only there you might see dynamic actions and only there we couldestimate EAX technology.
Together with this card we received standard demo programs from Yamahawith wide-known collections of XG MIDI-files. Besides, you can find themat www.yamaha-xg.com. Once againI want to summarize XG MIDI sounding in the YMF7x4 based card series. It'scool for home, for your family (karaoke, DOS-games) and for beginning home musicians.
Despite the fact that I started testing this card without great delight,the AOpen AW754 surprised me quite pleasantly, and deserved the mark closerto 'must have' than to 'must die'.
Aopen Sound Cards & Media Devices Driver Download For Windows 10 64-bit
- The last chip of the 7X4 series from Yamaha
- Convenient utilities from AOpen
- Not the worst codec STAC9708
- Good hardware MIDI for such card
- Decent soft on the CD
Aopen Sound Cards For Desktop
- Absence of the digital output (this model)
- The Sondius-XG technology works only in Win98
- Lack of possibility of any extension with digital outputs
Resume: this product is an excellent budget solution. Maybe, the most universal for such sum.
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