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Thread: Decent soundcards..

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    Decent soundcards..

    Is it actually worth buying a decent soundcard nowadays? Just bought some new speakers and before hand I was using a creative sound card which supported my 7.1 speakers.. but now I have no need for the soundcard and so just use the default Realtek ones on the motherboard.
    Will I really notice any improvement if I buy another sound card? Or will the onboard one be just as good?

    Cheers,
    Adrian

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    Re: Decent soundcards..

    Quote Originally Posted by XA04 View Post
    Is it actually worth buying a decent soundcard nowadays? Just bought some new speakers and before hand I was using a creative sound card which supported my 7.1 speakers.. but now I have no need for the soundcard and so just use the default Realtek ones on the motherboard.
    Will I really notice any improvement if I buy another sound card? Or will the onboard one be just as good?

    Cheers,
    Adrian
    Ive made do with onboard for so long, eventually bought a set of 5.1 speakers and a xonar pci-e dx card and I was blown away with the difference so my opinion yes you would notice a difference especially in some new games with EAX 5.0 etc

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    Re: Decent soundcards..

    Definately, I'm using the original Audigy and it sounds so much better than my onboard on a p35 motherboard! Plus I guess it takes a bit of strain off the processor .
    "I Don't mind Lobster. It's like you could, you know... Punch... A lobster. I wouldn't eat anything I couldn't punch"


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    Re: Decent soundcards..

    I remember back in the days of my old epox 8rda+ that had hardware dolby decoder built into the southbridge not just codecs like they do today that was pretty good, tbh im back onto onboard at the minute until i can afford some nice THX speakers

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    hexus.zombeh! format's Avatar
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    Re: Decent soundcards..

    Out of interest, if I was to buy a creative gamer card, would that still be good for music?
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    Re: Decent soundcards..

    i've had audigy, x-fi and xonar

    xonar is waaaaaay better, but for music. If you're looking for a gaming card that does music well too, then the auzentech prelude is your best bet.

    Just for music a xonar would be my choice or the cheaper emu-0404

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    Re: Decent soundcards..

    Prelude -£120 !!
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    Re: Decent soundcards..

    Nowadays it's just not worth splashing out on a sound card if you don't have a specific use for it e.g. gaming or sound recording. Modern motherboards feature great onboard audio which rivals most if not all sound cards under £40. You would probably notice a difference if your speakers were good enough between a £60 sound card and onboard audio but even so, the difference is minimal.

    Sound cards these days have very little effect on overall system performance since modern machines are fast and multi cored. I reckon it's better to leave the sound card out to save on power if you don't need it.

    The only gaming cards I can recommend are the Creative X-Fi Titanium series, if you lack PCI-E slots go for the X-Fi Xtreme Gamer. The X-Fi Titanium is pretty handy for those with digital speaker connections too, it's able to encode DTS and THX.

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    Re: Decent soundcards..

    I have a set of logitech Z4s which are for music, and steelseries 5H (headset) for gaming.
    I play CS:S a lot, TF2, any big FPS or RPG that comes out too WIll be playing L4D lots too I'd imagine.
    If I'm not gaming then there is music playing hehe.

    Is it worth me getting a soundcard?

    If so, which one?
    ~'Armaments, universal debt, and planned obsolescence--those are the three pillars of Western prosperity'~ Aldous Huxley




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    Re: Decent soundcards..

    Quote Originally Posted by format View Post
    I have a set of logitech Z4s which are for music, and steelseries 5H (headset) for gaming.
    I play CS:S a lot, TF2, any big FPS or RPG that comes out too WIll be playing L4D lots too I'd imagine.
    If I'm not gaming then there is music playing hehe.

    Is it worth me getting a soundcard?

    If so, which one?
    I'd recommend you get a sound card like the X-Fi Titanium series. I've had a poor experience with ASUS Xonar cards for gaming (especially with new titles), such that I've sold my Xonar DX and gone for a Titanium which I'm very happy with. I'm using a Steelseries 4H for gaming by the way.

    Listening to music with both X-Fi and Xonar on my Sennheiser 595 is an absolute joy, far better than onboard sound. Which is another thing I forgot to mention, a soundcard matters more when you're using headphones. - Which is why I carry a E-MU 0202 USB with my laptop, the E-MU 0202/0404 is great for music but the X-Fi/Xonar is cheaper.

    EDIT:

    One last thing - avoid the X-Fi Xtreme Audio cards like the plague, these are sorta 'fake' X-Fi cards, useless for gaming.
    Last edited by DDY; 18-11-2008 at 01:01 AM.

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    Re: Decent soundcards..

    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/149668

    Good for gaming and music?
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    Re: Decent soundcards..

    Quote Originally Posted by format View Post
    http://www.ebuyer.com/product/149668

    Good for gaming and music?
    Absolutely, the same one I've got.

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    Re: Decent soundcards..

    Is that the cheapest it can be had?

    e: and it works well with vista?
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    Re: Decent soundcards..

    Quote Originally Posted by format View Post
    Is that the cheapest it can be had?

    e: and it works well with vista?
    There are only a few cheaper (£5-£10) alternatives like;

    ASUS Xonar DX
    ASUS Xonar D1
    Creative X-Fi Xtreme Music
    Creative X-Fi Xtreme Gamer

    Both X-Fi Music and Gamer are older models with the EMU20K1 chip, the Titanium uses the new EMU20K2 which supposedly fixes several bugs as well as introducing native PCI-E support.

    The X-Fi Titanium is only £10 dearer than the cheapest alternative, I'd pay that much more for a newer and less bug ridden card.

    All cards work well with Vista, got mine running on Vista x64 now.

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    Re: Decent soundcards..

    The Xonar is £100+ (the proper one) but it has no problems with newer games, it just doesn't support EAX 5.0. The fact is the xonar series is the card to get especially for music and multimedia in general, with the best one on the market being the HDAV 1.3 (and most expensive)

    If you're really serious about music, you'd keep any soundcard and basically use it as a transport and use an external DAC and then to an amplifier. I have an external DAC (the Zero DAC/amp) and the Xonar is actually better even after opamp upgrades on the dac..

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    Re: Decent soundcards..

    Interesting! Cheers guys.

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