I have some free time today. So it’s the time to do some of my hobby: audio.

Today I have a Grado SR80 headphone and my old FireWire sound card, Terratec Aureon FireWire 7.1. This is a nice old sound card. It has Phono/MM stage and also can act as D/A without the necessary of a PC. I fire it up and get somehow dirty sound from my Grado. I clean up the headphone connectors with my favorite contact cleaner called Brasso. Problem solved.

Next, I download the latest driver from Terratec website. After installing it, somehow my Aureon’s Master LED blinking after 3-5 minutes playing sound and starts producing cracking noise. I don’t know why. I open up the Aureon and check for any failure inside but can’t find any. Everything seems ok!


Then I suspect the problem is on the driver. I search for my optical cable, the I hook up the Aureon to my onboard Realtek ALC660 via optical cable. Voila, everything runs perfectly over 30 minutes with no cracking or error sound. So now I’m sure that my Aureon (physically/hardware) is ok.


But the digital out sound from this Realtek is so poor. It alters all the data streamed to the digital out. I can adjust the volume, the EQ, and even the environment! Crazy. Digital out should remain as-is and not altered.

I will look for solution for this case. I simply can’t live with this onboard sound.