I'm interested in determining what factors lead to on-board sound on motherboards sounding worse than dedicated sound cards, and how one could predict whether certain motherboards would sound equal or comparable to a good sound card.
For example, here are a couple of motherboards I have:
Via CN 10000: On-board audio: "Via VT1618 Multi-channel AC'87 codec" Asus P5N32: On-board audio: "ADI 1988B 8 -Channel HD Audio CODEC"
And their on-board sound things both crackle, pop, and have bad treble when compared to a Sound Blaster Live 5.1 plugged in to the exact same motherboard, running Linux, using the emu10k1 driver. In all tests I was outputting to a set of Klipsch Pro Media Ultra 5.1 speakers.
Why might this be so? Specifically to that test, and in general?
How would one determine if this motherboard, for example, is comparable to a Sound Blaster Live 5.1?:
VIA VB8003 Mini-ITX Mainboard: "VIA VT1708B 8 channel HD codec"