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Thread: Soundcard Upgrade

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    Soundcard Upgrade

    Hey guys I'm looking to upgrade my PC this X-mas and was thinking my sound would be the first port of call.

    I currently use the integrated sound on my system (check my system specs out on the left) with some Logitech Z4 speakers and a Speedlink Medusa NX Stereo headset.

    I was thinking of getting this - http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Creat...speaker-output

    I've seen it for around 70ish quid and thats around about my budget really, is the fatal1ty version loads better for 90+ quid? Are there any other cards people would recommend over this?

    Merry Xmas guys,
    Guppy.

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    Re: Soundcard Upgrade

    Theres another thread thats current atm about soundcards. But like I've said there, I personally rate the Asus Xonar cards (and I've had a creative X-Fi card).

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    Re: Soundcard Upgrade

    Yeah I think I'll be going for either the creative titanium or the asus xonar d2x. Does creative still have those driver problems cause im using win7 x64 so i dont want to be messing around with drivers and software?

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    Re: Soundcard Upgrade

    Quote Originally Posted by Guppy View Post
    Yeah I think I'll be going for either the creative titanium or the asus xonar d2x. Does creative still have those driver problems cause im using win7 x64 so i dont want to be messing around with drivers and software?
    There were driver problems in Vista x64 at first, I've had none with 7 x64 so far.

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    Re: Soundcard Upgrade

    Quote Originally Posted by Guppy View Post
    Does creative still have those driver problems cause im using win7 x64 so i dont want to be messing around with drivers and software?
    I wouldn't go for the ASUS Xonar cards then. The first 64-bit Windows release for the Xonar DX actually stopped 32-bit processes from starting properly! You had to close an exe file in task manager or apply a patch (which was supposedly for Vista). Of course, to find that info or download the patch, you needed a web browser... and Firefox couldn't open... thankfully Microsoft gave us both 64-bit and 32-bit browsers.

    Thankfully, when the drivers do work (and of course, an new driver has been released since those early days) they work well.

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    Re: Soundcard Upgrade

    Quote Originally Posted by this_is_gav View Post
    I wouldn't go for the ASUS Xonar cards then. The first 64-bit Windows release for the Xonar DX actually stopped 32-bit processes from starting properly! You had to close an exe file in task manager or apply a patch (which was supposedly for Vista). Of course, to find that info or download the patch, you needed a web browser... and Firefox couldn't open... thankfully Microsoft gave us both 64-bit and 32-bit browsers.

    Thankfully, when the drivers do work (and of course, an new driver has been released since those early days) they work well.
    Well if they both have working software and drivers now then it seems it doesn't matter which card I choose. Maybe I'll flip a coin or something to decide. Thanks guys.

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    Re: Soundcard Upgrade

    Quote Originally Posted by this_is_gav View Post
    I wouldn't go for the ASUS Xonar cards then. The first 64-bit Windows release for the Xonar DX actually stopped 32-bit processes from starting properly! You had to close an exe file in task manager or apply a patch (which was supposedly for Vista). Of course, to find that info or download the patch, you needed a web browser... and Firefox couldn't open... thankfully Microsoft gave us both 64-bit and 32-bit browsers.

    Thankfully, when the drivers do work (and of course, an new driver has been released since those early days) they work well.
    Xonar DX working perfectly for me in W7 64 with the drivers downloaded from the Asus site

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    Re: Soundcard Upgrade

    They work perfectly now, but not when Win 7 RTM was released to Technet, and for a week or more afterwards. There is (or was at the time) a huge thread on it on the ASUS forums.

    It's the reason those who've been around for a while try not to go with Creative - slow driver updates, waiting around for ages after a new OS is released (7 doesn't really count), then waiting months and months more for all the features to be available. I guess in the defence of ASUS, at least they had a driver out.... it just broke the rest of the system.

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    Re: Soundcard Upgrade

    If you're stuck between the X-Fi and the Xonar D2/D2X, get the Xonar.

    It's an amazing soundcard... they sound so much better than any X-Fi card I've ever heard, including the Platinum and the Titanium.

    ASUS's drivers are quite good, too; they're much more stable than Creative's official ones, but that problem can be solved; there are many custom drivers around, like the Youp Pax and the daniel_k drivers.

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    Re: Soundcard Upgrade

    Just my opinion but when people upgrade the soundcards on their computers when using speakers that are under £200 its not money well spent! And buying a £70 sound card for £50 speakers doesnt seem right to me.

    I have my computer connected to a cambridge audio 540a and bowers and wilkins 602 s3 speakers via cambridge audio interconnects and ixos speaker cable. I got my set up as a great deals on ebay (paid about £180) and I would bet that it sounds a hell of a lot better than a set of logitech or similar speakers and a soundcard. (for the same price also at second hand)

    I guess there is aesthetics in that some people would not want hifi speakers but imo buying a new soundcard with cheap speakers is not the way to get the best sound from your system. I am not a fan of 2.1 computer speakers the sound is not nice and the bass is usually horribly flabby.

    Basicly what I'm saying is imo if you want sound quality then a pc connected to a hifi set up is going to be better than dedicated computer speakers and a new sound card.

    Maybe if the soundcard provides support for gaming applications then yeah but imo the speakers are the most important by a long shot.

    Sorry if this seems a bit like a rant I'm not moody really! Merry christmas everyone!

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    Re: Soundcard Upgrade

    These compact speakers look good for the price:

    http://www.superfi.co.uk/index.cfm/p...roduct_ID/2768


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    Re: Soundcard Upgrade

    Quote Originally Posted by CAT-THE-FIFTH View Post
    These compact speakers look good for the price:

    http://www.superfi.co.uk/index.cfm/p...roduct_ID/2768
    They may well be but call me old fashioned but I'd take an amp and speakers over that any day. Hifi equipment is great second hand.

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    Re: Soundcard Upgrade

    Quote Originally Posted by no_numb View Post
    They may well be but call me old fashioned but I'd take an amp and speakers over that any day. Hifi equipment is great second hand.
    I have listened to the Audica MPS1 and they have great sound quality for their size and the price they are selling at now.

    An amp and speakers take up a lot more space and TBH you need to have a decent source to make the most of the amp and speakers you have. Unless you are running an external DAC(or have a suitably decent quality high end soundcard) off your computer you are wasting the potential of any half decent amp and speakers IMHO. If you also don't have your music files encoded at a high enough bitrate too it does not help with sound quality too!! Also another factor is listening distance(and height too) too and the proper positioning of speakers. If you toe the speakers in you need to be a couple of meters in front of the speakers to get the optimal soundstage for the speakers and if you have your computer in a small office or room it is not really that practical to be having a couple of large standmounts or floorstanders cluttering the room and not being properly positioned IMHO. With loudspeakers I tend to be weary of buying them secondhand unless I could examine them beforehand. You really cannot tell if someone has overdriven a pair and caused damage to the crossovers or the drive units.

    For listening to music on a computer I tend to prefer headphones. I use a pair of Grado headphones through a dedicated headphone amp and hopefully I can get a TC7510 or DacMagic DAC at some point too.


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    Re: Soundcard Upgrade

    Quote Originally Posted by CAT-THE-FIFTH View Post
    I have listened to the Audica MPS1 and they have great sound for their size.

    An amp and speakers take up a lot more space and TBH you need to have a decent source to make the most of the amp and speakers you have. Unless you are running an external DAC(or have a suitably decent quality high end soundcard) off your computer you are wasting the potential of any half decent amp and speakers IMHO. Also another factor is listening distance(and height too) too and the proper positioning of speakers. If you toe the speakers in you need to be a couple of meters in front of the speakers to get the optimal soundstage for the speakers and if you have your computer in a small office or room it is not really that practical to be having a couple of large standmounts or floorstanders cluttering the room and not being properly positioned IMHO. With loudspeakers I tend to be weary of buying them secondhand unless I could examine them beforehand. You really cannot tell if someone has overdriven a pair and caused damage to the crossovers or the drive units.

    For computer listening I tend to prefer headphones. I use a pair of Grado headphones through a dedicated headphone amp and hopefully I can get a TC7510 or DacMagic DAC at some point too.
    Whilst I understand what you are saying I'm afraid I have to disagree. I have a fairly decent cd player connected to the amp as well and although there is a noticable difference between the pc quality and the cd quality I still feel in most cases the money would be better spent on better speakers rather than upgrading the soundcard. I have bought a lot of second hand hifi equipment and I am yet to have a fault with anything. A lot of people who are selling are more than willing to give a home demo and if you buy from somewhere like av forums then generally you know its been treated quite well.

    I do agree though that in a lot of cases an amp and speakers is not the most practical of things. Instead of upgrading my soundcard I would definately get an external DAC like the beresford you mentioned. Infact its something I might well look into again. But what i really think is that spending £70 on a soundcard or more on a DAC for the logitech speakers which cost £50 is not the best use of money. I think source quality coming from computers only really becomes something to spend money on when you have spent a bit more on your speakers (or amp and speakers)

    Headphones can be good and I have a decent pair of senns but you cant beat a nice meaty pair of speakers IMO. If I'm listening loudly then I want to feel the music which you dont really get from headphones. However I am lucky in that I am in a situation where I can listen to speakers loudly which I appreciate many people are not.

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