5. Test Configuration
In order to test the Asus Xonar D2, we used RightMark Audio Analyzer.
RMAA suite is designed for testing the quality of analog and digital paths of any audio devices, be it a sound card, an MP3 player, a consumer CD/DVD player or an acoustic set. The results are obtained by playing and recording test signals passed through the tested audio path by means of frequency analysis algorithms. A more common mark is also provided for those unfamiliar with measured technical parameters.
For our tests, we used the latest version, v6.0.5.
The new version is the result of two years of development by the best experts in digital audio. RMAA 6.0 raises the bar of comfort and functionality for spectrum analyzers. That's why it is a program of choice for enthusiasts, professionals, and audio magazines around the world; and some manufacturers are developing new devices with the mandatory testing of their quality in RMAA. In short, the program at the moment is a de-facto standard providing quick and easy measurement of technical parameters, without the need to spend tens of thousands of dollars on specialized measurement systems.
For all our tests we used the following system:
- Motherboard: Asus P5K3 Deluxe (0703 Bios)
- CPU: Intel E6600
- HDD: WD 80JB
- Operating system: Windows XP SP2 with all the latest updates installed
- DirectX August 2007 revision
We also took measurements for the on-board sound card on the Asus P5K3 Deluxe motherboard, which is based on the SoundMax AL1988 chipset. This should be a good comparison, to see how the internal sound card compares against a dedicated sound card.
The testing methodology is explained in the RightMark Audio software. In short, we used an external cable to connect the output of the sound card to the input (line). The RMAA software generates signals that afterwards are recorded and analyzed. Moreover, the Asus Xonar D2 allows "internal" recording, using the "ALT" record channel, meaning it performs digitizing without external cabling. Therefore, we have two sets of tests, one with the external cable and one in internal mode.
For each mode we changed the sample rate and set all options as follows: