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Thread: Is the sound quality on new soundcards noticably better than older ones?

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    Is the sound quality on new soundcards noticably better than older ones?

    Hi guys, just after your thoughts please.

    Got an old Creative Labs Audigy 2 soundcard inside my PC and I don't really have any issues with it if I'm honest but as I say it must be over 5 years old now and is easily the most neglegted component inside my PC.

    As I use my PC a lot for listening to music I was wondering if the latest 'X-Fi' series of soundcards made by Creative are any better than my aging Audigy2 and if I could really expect to notice an improvement?

    Have heard people recommend the "Creative Soundblaster X-Fi Xtreme Music" and if anyone has any thoughts on this card I'd really apprecaite hearing from you.

    Thanks in advance




    .

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    Re: Is the sound quality on new soundcards noticably better than older ones?

    I don't think that there would be such a great deal of difference, between the A2 and the x-fi, to make it a must buy. If you're happy with the A2, then stick with it (no sense in spending money unless you have to). If your A2 breaks, then definately look at the Creative x-fi range, though many are saying that the AuzenTech are worth the money (along with ASUS Xonar).

    I was using onboard sound for years, I thourght that because my hearing isn't great it didn't matter too much, someone bought me an x-fi xtreme music and the difference is tremendous. I can now make out sounds that I didn't even know were there. The difference between the onboard and the discrete is great, but if I had had the A2, I may not have noticed too much difference.

    Hope this makes sense.

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    Banhammer in peace PeterB kalniel's Avatar
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    Re: Is the sound quality on new soundcards noticably better than older ones?

    Depends what source you're getting your music from, and what you are using to play it back.

    Source and speakers account for I'd say at least 90+% of the sound quality. So if you're playing from CDs it won't make a different. If you're playing on usual computer speakers it won't make a difference.

    Where it will make a difference is if you are using poor quality mp3s on good quality speakers. Shame on you if that is the case, but if it really is, then the X-Fi can do some funky stuff to reduce some of the problems you get with bad quality mp3s.

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    Re: Is the sound quality on new soundcards noticably better than older ones?

    Cheers for the insight guys. I'm using 5.1 Logitech X-530's to playback my MP3 collection that I ripped from both vinyl and CD. I only gave this some thought as it was the soundcard is the only component inside my PC that I've never thought about upgrading. I'd heard there was some feature you could apply on the X-Fi extreme's that could make low quality MP3's sound much better but I guess you have to hear it to beleive it! Maybe my speakers need upgrading too to warrant getting a better\newer soundcard?

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    Banhammer in peace PeterB kalniel's Avatar
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    Re: Is the sound quality on new soundcards noticably better than older ones?

    What bit-rate did you rip the mp3s at?

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    Re: Is the sound quality on new soundcards noticably better than older ones?

    Sorry to jump in here - if you use onboard but via coax or optical to an external amp, does that have any bearing on sound quality?

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    Re: Is the sound quality on new soundcards noticably better than older ones?

    Kalniel - V0 usually but there are some old ones that vary between 128, 160, 192 etc

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    Re: Is the sound quality on new soundcards noticably better than older ones?

    The 'feature that makes low quality MP3 sound much better' (Crystalizer) works, in my opinion, like an equalizer. I am not a fan of it, but it's worth a try if you do buy it (some people do like it).. I just would not buy an X-Fi for that (better if you can try it somewhere).

    Where the X-Fi improves significantly though, is the resampling algorithm - it's generally seen as a weakness in the Audigy series and prior. Furthermore, in the 'Audio creation mode' (which you are recommended to use for music playback), it no longer resamples at all.

    The other feature I like, is the CMSS implementation on the X-Fi (which is different/improved from the A2ZS). It's mainly relevant if you use headphones for games/movies.

    In my opinion, the X-Fi is a worthwhile upgrade to the Audigy 2, but you need to consider how much importance you put in audio. It's not as night and day as going from onboard to X-Fi or even onboard to Audigy 2. But I do not really think that it's similar.

    That said, I am not familiar with the X-530 (but really, I do not think that would matter too much).

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    Re: Is the sound quality on new soundcards noticably better than older ones?

    Quote Originally Posted by kalniel View Post
    So if you're playing from CDs it won't make a different.
    disagree with that....sorry Kal.

    Nearly everyone I know uses the CD/Optical drive in their PC via the ribbon cable or sata lead. These, by their very nature, are data, not analogue sound. They need converting.

    The sound card make a difference, and with headphones worth under £50 you'd be able to tell the difference in a sound card.
    The creation of any analogue sound to go to your amp, from a digital source, also makes a difference, and the sound card is the tool for this job. So not just music, but games,...and games have music and atmosphere as well as effects and bullets so the sound card makes a difference there.

    My £0.02

    Quote Originally Posted by Advice Trinity by Knoxville
    "The second you aren't paying attention to the tool you're using, it will take your fingers from you. It does not know sympathy." |
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