RightMark AudioAnalyzer is a free audio testing tool that takes the place of a bench-top full of equipment, including spectrum analyzers, tone generators, and test records. It can test the analog and digital signal paths of most any audio device, especially sound cards but also CD and DVD players, MP3 players, and recording devices. Using your sound card as a reference, it can evaluate other sound cards as well as audio devices connected to your sound card's inputs and outputs. It can even self-test audio cards that can handle separate inputs and outputs simultaneously. Several of its modes require a high-quality sound card as a reference, such as real-time tests of external audio equipment. You'll need to be able to connect devices to your card for testing, and to connect your card's output to its input for the complete sound card test. We used stereo mini-jacks connected through our system's front-panel MIC and SPKR jacks.
RightMark Audio Analyzer (RMAA) has a basic but efficient user interface with the fairly novel method of displaying the program's options and test settings in a central tree view labeled Tests and options. Drop-down lists above the main view displayed all our available playback and recording devices, including not only those for internal devices but also our external sound card, HDMI output, and optical outputs, with controls for selecting sampling and frequency rates and an option to enable 192 KHz modes for those cards that can handle it. A pop-up displayed all our sound card's supported modes. A series of buttons along the bottom of the interface started tests and opened the WAV generator, WAV analyzer, and spectrum analyzer.
RMAA produced a wide range of test signals, frequency sweeps, and tones to test our card's frequency response, distortion, crosstalk, phase response, and other parameters. We could select tests individually, and even select options in individual tests. You don't need speakers to use RMAA, but the audible tones do a great job of testing your playback chain front to back. RMAA includes sample test signal files, too. RMAA is highly recommended for testing high-quality audio cards and devices.