Enter the Mini-ITX.com online store

Project Browser

September 05, 2017
Choosing the right DC-DC PSU

August 27, 2015
AMD's Project Quantum

August 13, 2015
The Redstone PC is the ultimate Mini-ITX Minecraft Machine

October 09, 2014
The "Restomod TV"

April 09, 2013
Installing NAS4Free

February 28, 2013
Building an XBMC 12 Home Theatre PC

January 25, 2011
XBMC Guide updated to version 10.0

August 06, 2010
Building a Green PC

February 15, 2010
Building an ION powered HTPC with XBMC

October 10, 2008
The "Cambridge Autonomous Underwater Vehicle 2008"

Mini-ITX Online Store

September 12, 2008
"Florian", the DVD burning robot

September 05, 2008
The "i-EPIA"

May 22, 2008
The "GTA-PC"

April 14, 2007
The "Digg" Case

January 19, 2007
The "ITX-Laptop"

December 07, 2006
The "Tortoise Beetle"

October 02, 2006
The "DOS Head Unit"

August 31, 2006
The "Janus Project"

August 05, 2006
The "Leela PC"

June 26, 2006
Nano-ITX in a Football

May 17, 2006
The "EPIA Alloy Mod"

April 11, 2006
Neatorama's Collection of Case Mods

February 18, 2006
The "Rundfunker"

October 24, 2005
The "ITX TV"

October 06, 2005
The K'nex-ITX

August 05, 2005
The "Waffle Iron PC"

July 21, 2005
The "Supra-Server"

July 18, 2005
The "Mega-ITX"

July 07, 2005
The "Encyclomedia"

May 25, 2005
The "Accordion ITX"

Mini-ITX Online Store

May 16, 2005
The "FileServerRouterSwitch"

May 15, 2005
The "Mini Falcon"

May 13, 2005
The "Bender PC"

May 11, 2005
The "BBC ITX B"

May 10, 2005
The "Frame"

April 20, 2005
The "Jeannie"

March 09, 2005
The "Cool Cube"

January 30, 2005
First Nano-ITX Project?

January 17, 2005
The "iGrill"

January 15, 2005
The "Gumball PC"

December 15, 2004
The "Deco Box"

December 03, 2004
The "TERA-ITX"

October 06, 2004
The "Coealacanth-PC"

September 17, 2004
The "Gramaphone-ITX-HD"

August 26, 2004
The "C1541 Disk Drive ITX"

August 25, 2004
The "SEGA-ITX"

August 13, 2004
The "Quiet Cubid"

August 06, 2004
The "BMWPC"

July 14, 2004
The "Moo Cow Moo"

July 02, 2004
The "Mini Mesh Box"

Full alphabetical archive on right hand side of page...


EPIA MII 12000 Review
Posted on May 18, 2004 Jump to:

Measuring Audio Quality

We chose RightMark Audio Analyzer 5.0 to conduct signal analysis of the EPIA MII 12000, then for occasional comparison using a SoundBlaster Live! card plugged into the PCI port of the EPIA. We would have liked to have used an Audigy but alas, we don't have one.

RightMark Audio Analyzer works by playing known test signals through the output of a soundcard, and recording it at the input of the same soundcard. By comparing these two signals, it spits out results for Frequency Response, Noise Level, Dynamic Range, Total Harmonic Distortion & Noise (THD+N), Intermodulation Distortion (IMD), and Stereo Crosstalk. And nice graphs.

Frequency Response

Frequency response is the measure of signal level as frequency varies. A perfect graph would be flat at 0dB for all frequencies, but in practice most human ears are sensitive in the 40Hz - 15kHz range, and are sensitive to about 1dB, so +/-0.5dB variations are acceptable. In all the graphs, the MII 12000 is shown in white, and the MII 10000 shown in green.

Frequency Response

The EPIA MII had a smooth response curves, unwavering up into the realm of dogs and cats, and in the lower end becoming responsive to -1dB at about 25Hz, even better than the M10000 we tested a year ago. This may have been due to slight test differences, but is impressive nonetheless.

Noise Level and Dynamic Range

The Noise Level test estimates the level of noise in a silent system, i.e. when no audio is present. Lower figures here are better. The Dynamic Range test applies a low-level signal at -60dB and estimates the linearity (which is very important for high-quality sound recording and playback). VIA claims the Six-TRAC audio codec used on the EPIA M and MII can achieve a signal-to-noise ratio of 97 dB when used on a sound card, and 90 dB in the noisier environment of a motherboard.

The MII 12000 measured a Noise Level of -93.5 dBA, and a Dynamic Range of 93.1 dBA. These compare to figures of -91.5 dBA and 91.0 dBA for the EPIA M 10000, and -85.3 dBA and 84.9 dBA for our ageing Soundblaster. It appears the VIA have managed to slightly lower the noise floor and increase the dynamic range of the MII beyond the already respectable figures of the EPIA M. This could have been achieved (even inadvertently) by different placement of components such as amplifiers and capacitors on the MII motherboard.

Total Harmonic Distortion and Intermodulation Distortion

The Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) of a system is measured by passing a 1kHz sine wave through the test chain at almost maximal amplitude and measuring the amount of distortions present at even and odd harmonics (multiples of the original signal frequency) of the sine wave. The figure is given as a percentage - the ratio of the geometric total of all these harmonics to the power of the test signal. But this figure alone does not paint a full picture - "even" harmonic distortions generally sound warmer than the less desirable harsh sounding "odd" harmonics. This is why tube amplifiers can have a high THD and still sound warmer and more "musical" than a transistor based amplifier with a lower THD. This test shows distortions caused by a test tone.

Intermodulation Distortion is a more complex test, measured with two test tones (usually 15kHz and 16kHz), that shows how multiple frequencies interact with each other. An ideal result on a frequency analyser would show just the two signals as peaks above the noise floor, but in practice artefacts are produced at ratios of the original signal. This test shows distortions that aren't present in the original test tone.

The MII 120000 measured a Total Harmonic Distortion of 0.021% and Intermodulation Distortion of 0.124%. These are perfectly acceptable results, comparable to current soundcards.

Total Harmonic Distortion - EPIA 800 with power cable spike

This is a typical THD spectrum plot we took a while back using an EPIA 800. We've marked some areas by way of explanation. Point "2" shows the 1kHz test signal. Point "3" are the first and second odd harmonics, at 3kHz and 5kHz. Point "4" are the first two even harmonics, at 2kHz and 4kHz. Point "1" is interesting anomaly - quite a large bump at 50Hz. Our loopback cable was crossing the power cord and picking up interference from our 50Hz mains power (we moved the cable and tried again...)

Stereo Crosstalk

Crosstalk tests how much signal energy bleeds from one channel into the other. A test tone is played in one channel, whilst the other muted channel is measured to see how much crosstalk occurs. The test is repeated with the channels reversed.

The EPIA MII was much improved over the EPIA M we tested previously, allowing less signal to bleed between the left and right channels - it gave us a Stereo Crosstalk value of -89.1 dBA.

Multichannel audio on the EPIA Ms

VIA's "Smart 5.1" allows the Mic, Line In and Line Out jacks on a motherboard be utilised as 6 channel surround sound audio outputs i.e. Front L/R, Rear L/R and Centre/Subwoofer. If you only have 2 channel audio content, you can enable "Magic 5.1" to simulate 6 channel audio (found in the volume control panel under rear speaker/advanced). If by contrast you have 6 channel audio content to playback, but only 2 speakers, you can use "DUALMAX" to down-mix the audio in hardware.

Audio Listening Tests

We conducted extensive A/B Comparisons with a Pioneer 454 DVD and the MII 12000, using the same stereo MP3 source material. We borrowed the use of a high quality Yamaha amp and B&W speaker system for the task. Our conclusion was that the standalone Pioneer had slightly more sub-bass presence and stereo imaging, but there wasn't much in it - we could only determine this after repeated listens. The Pioneer also had the advantage of a digital cable.

Conclusion -->


Board Finder
Case Finder
Mini PC Finder
Quick Links
Mini-ITX Online Store

Mailing Lists:
Mini-ITX Store

Mini-ITX 101
Mini-ITX History
Advertising

Projects:

Show Random
How to submit
your project

Most Viewed Today

XBMC-ION

ITX-Laptop

Mini-Cluster

NAS4Free

Ammo Box

Accordion-ITX
Aircraft Carrier
Ambulator 1
AMD Case
Ammo Box
Ammo Tux
AmmoLAN
amPC
Animal SNES
Atari 800 ITX
Attache Server
Aunt Hagar's Mini-ITX
Bantam PC
BBC ITX B
Bender PC
Biscuit Tin PC
Blue Plate
BlueBox
BMW PC
Borg Appliance
Briefcase PC
Bubbacomp
C1541 Disk Drive
C64 @ 933MHz
CardboardCube
CAUV 2008
CBM ITX-64
Coelacanth-PC
Cool Cube
Deco Box
Devilcat
DOS Head Unit
Dreamcast PC
E.T.PC
Eden VAX
EdenStation IPX
Encyclomedia
Falcon-ITX
Florian
Frame
FS-RouterSwitch
G4 Cube PC
GasCan PC
Gingerbread
Gramaphone-ITX-HD
GTA-PC
Guitar PC
Guitar Workstation
Gumball PC
Hirschmann
HTPC
HTPC2
Humidor 64
Humidor CL
Humidor II
Humidor M
Humidor PC
Humidor V
I.C.E. Unit
i64XBOX
i-EPIA
iGrill
ITX Helmet
ITX TV
ITX-Laptop
Jeannie
Jukebox ITX
KiSA 444
K'nex ITX
Leela PC
Lego 0933 PC
Legobox
Log Cabin PC
Lunchbox PC
Mac-ITX
Manga Doll
Mantle Radio
Mediabox
Mega-ITX
Micro TV
Mini Falcon
Mini Mesh Box
Mini-Cluster
Mobile-BlackBox
Moo Cow Moo
Mr OMNI
NAS4Free
NESPC
OpenELEC
Osh Kosh
Pet ITX
Pictureframe PC
Playstation 2 PC
Playstation PC
Project NFF
PSU PC
Quiet Cubid
R2D2PC
Racing The Light
RadioSphere
Restomod TV
Robotica 2003
Rundfunker
SaturnPC
S-CUBE
SEGA-ITX
SpaceCase
SpacePanel
Spartan Bluebird
Spider Case
Supra-Server
Teddybear
Telefunken 2003
TERA-ITX
The Clock
ToAsTOr
Tortoise Beetle
Tux Server
Underwood No.5
Waffle Iron PC
Windows XP Box
Wraith SE/30
XBMC-ION

How to submit
your project

Reviews:
CF-S688 E-Note
Cubid 2677R
Cubid 2688R
Cubid 3688
GAlantic GA610i
Hush Mini-ITX
Lian Li PC-402A
Jetway B860T
VIA M 10000
VIA MII 12000
VIA Nano-ITX
VIA Pico-ITX
Sigma XCard
Travla C137

Guides & Tips:
5.1 EPIA Audio
Cubid Tips
EPIA CL Firewall
EPIA COM IR
EPIA SCART
Extra USB Ports
IPCop Gateway
Overclocking
PowerLCD

Drivers:
EPIA  EPIA V
EPIA M  EPIA MII
EPIA CL  EPIA PD
EPIA TC
.

Mini-ITX Online Store

Contact Us

Store: +44 (0) 845 475 8 475

Store enquiries: store@mini-itx.com

Other enquiries: feedback@mini-itx.com

Visit the Store

Click here to enter the online store

Social

Follow us on Twitter!

Join our Mailing List

Copyright: All content on this site is Copyright © 2002-2017 Mini-ITX.com and respective owners, all rights reserved.