PCIe audio cards: what is tob be preferred with FreeBSD 8.0/9-CURRENT?

Alexander Motin mav at FreeBSD.org
Sun Jan 24 21:45:41 UTC 2010

O. Hartmann wrote:
> Well,
> At this very moment I utilise a M-Audio 5.1 PCI-audio board with which
> I'm really satisfied. My next box doesn't have PCI slots at all (ASUS
> P6T6-WS Revolution) and due to the fact I'm using Windows 7 sometimes
> for recreational gaming, I'd like to have a moderate expensive audio
> board with the workstation which is supported by FreeBSD 8/9. In the
> past - means two or three ywars ago, I had problems with Soundblaster
> PCIe boards, so I was recommended avoiding those and choosing the more
> elabotrated M-Audio cards for the PCI bus.
> At this moment, I look for the Soundblaster X-Fi range of PCIe cards,
> but I'm not sure whether they are supported by FreeBSd 8/9. Any
> suggestions?

I would first test on-board HDA codec, placed on that motherboard. They
are free and usually work with FreeBSD just out of the box, using
snd_hda driver. Now snd_hda and snd_uaudio are only two drivers
supporting multichannel playback. If you need analog connection, snd_hda
can usually provide multichannel 24bit/192kHz playback. But also it
supports digital SPDIF I/O, including AC3/DTS pass-through. Together
with SPDIF-connected external audio receiver, even simple HDA codec
could become very interesting high-quality choice.

Personally I am completely fulfilled with combination of simple Realtek
HDA codec, digitally connected via SPDIF to Marantz SR4001 receiver,
loaded to the full-sized Eltax 7.1 speaker set. Previously I was using
Creative Audigy2 ZS, but now it just collecting dust in my table. It
works, but I really don't need it.

PS: If you want to look cool, you may use optical SPDIF connection. :)

Alexander Motin

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