Hifi buffs told Iyonix audio is good enoughBy Ian Chamberlain. Published: 10th Sep 2005, 00:01:15 | Permalink | Printable
Castle investigates glitches, audiophiles scramble for gold plugsAn Iyonix user has recently discovered an issue with his computer when playing audio above a certain frequency. Barnsley based Lee Shepherd first noticed a "crackling" noise when he played a version of the song Blue Savanah through his HiFi to test the RISC OS 5 powered computer which he bought from CJE earlier this year. He told Drobe that it seemed to get worse with higher frequency audio.
The self-confessed HiFi buff contacted Castle and arranged to receive a replacement motherboard. After installing the new board, Lee was disappointed to find that the sound output was worse than before and the machine sometimes even failed to boot. It was decided that Castle would return the original board, which had by now been repaired to remove a soldering fault.
Lee continued to run tests on his Iyonix, which uses an AC97 chip - a budget quality part used in many PCs - to deliver sound output. When playing a sample known as an "audio sweep", which starts with a low pitch and raises the pitch to test different frequencies of sound, Lee claims he could still hear "crackling" artifacts.
Earlier today, Castle's John Ballance said, "We were not aware of the issue and we have been investigating Lee's observations".
Mr Ballance believes that the subtle interference is caused by a timing error in the Iyonix hardware which may or may not be resolved by a software update. Apparently the problem can be replicated on all Iyonix PCs.
He went on to say that although Castle will continue to investigate, ultimately HiFi quality sound cannot be expected from the on-board sound chip. He also remarked that it is an opportunity for a 3rd party to provide drivers for a PCI sound card that would suit Lee and other users who require high quality audio output.
The issue has not been noticed by the majority of other users, despite the machine having been in the hands of customers since the end of 2002. Iyonix user Michael Drake said, "Since I got the motherboard fix, I've been happy with the sound output of my Iyonix."
Castle have recently supported efforts by Simon Wilson to bring 3D acceleration to RISC OS. "What's disappointing about this market is that fewer and fewer people are prepared to have a go," John added, referring to the lack of drivers developed for the Iyonix's PCI interface. He invited users to contact Castle if they need help developing drivers to bring new hardware to the Iyonix.
Despite the issues with audio output, Lee said he will be keeping his Iyonix, as he says he would be "lost without it".
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