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Thread: Sound cards

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    Sound cards

    Currently got onboard sound - never considered buying a sound card. Is somethinf from creative for about £35 worth it for just listening to music? Is the quality better? Or is it normally bought for the features such as compression/encoding?
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    Re: Sound cards

    I have a cheapo Creative xtrememusic (cringe at the name) and I think it was worth it. I hear things I didn't hear before and I find the virtual 3D with headphones useful in FPS games. As with music the difference is noticeable and again, in my opinion worth while. Beware of creative drivers though, they can be quite unique.

    What card were you thinking of buying?

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    Re: Sound cards

    No idea, seen a few for about £30. I don't game btw/
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    Re: Sound cards

    Depends on your current onboard audio if you're going to hear a difference

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    Re: Sound cards

    It's good for onboard i think. It's a brand new motherboard.
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    Re: Sound cards

    If you use spdif out there is zero difference between on-board and a £200 sound card. Your motherboard appears to have the ALC889 Realtek chip, which provides pretty decent sound quality. For analogue outputs most discreet cards will provide an improvement, but the difference is subjective and dependent on the quality of your other components (speakers/amplifier). If you decide to go discreet, a second hand Asus Xonar DX/D1 would be in your budget and the best option for music.

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    Re: Sound cards

    I dont think that you will notice TOO much difference then. However, I am not personally an audiophile.

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    Re: Sound cards

    yeah, I only have a pretty good pair of speakers, not like they are being 'bottlenecked' as it were.
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    Re: Sound cards

    Its the old story here Nibbler. Think of the chain.. start with the actual mp3. If it's encoded below 128Kb's nothing will make it sound good. Then your sound codec will come into play, then your amplifier and then speakers. Plus anything else it goes through.

    I have a M Audio Delta 44 card as I use SONAR and REASON in my studio. Has inputs and outputs, but also plays any CD better than up to around 700 quid CD players. But then I also have the outboard to match. My point being that, unless you are really an audiophile, I would also say the Realtec will do you fine. Spend your 30/40 pounds on upgrading your amp or speakers. And encode at VR bit rates using LAME. And use EAC to rip CD's. WMP is an average solution at best for these tasks.

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    Re: Sound cards

    Well I have a £70 pair of headphones which are very good quality (and I am choosy about this) so I could always just use them
    I cannot tolerate less than 128kbs either
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    Re: Sound cards

    Well then, seems like sound does matter to you then. Good man! Then take the advice above on that second hand one, a discrete card would probably help if you have decent outboard.

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    Re: Sound cards

    Quote Originally Posted by The Fish View Post
    Well then, seems like sound does matter to you then. Good man! Then take the advice above on that second hand one, a discrete card would probably help if you have decent outboard.
    hmmmmmm the thing is I'm not doing it because current sound is bad, just because I am assuming it is. Poor quality annoys me, but to be honest it's pretty good quality. I got speakers that actually punch above their weight IMO.
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    Re: Sound cards

    Well then, compare before you spend is my advice. Find a decent system, or go to a shop if all else fails, and compare using the same mp3/WAV.

    You may be assuming its rough and its fine. What are your speakers then/ And phones?

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    Re: Sound cards

    Phones are Creative aurvana live - best £68 I ever spent.
    Speakers are altec lansing 2.1 which although very basy, are ok on minimum bass. Treble seems pretty darn good for £30 set.
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  21. #15
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    Re: Sound cards

    £35, used or new?

    There isn't anything new out there for £35 that performs any better than your on board. If you don't mind delving in to the used market, there are reasonable cards going for around £35, notably the X-Fi or Xonar series.

    However and without intending to rain on your parade; I have to say - the relatively low end speakers and headphones you've got wouldn't benefit much from a £35 (used) sound card just for music, I would personally save up for some nicer gear.
    Last edited by DDY; 22-09-2010 at 10:07 PM.

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    Re: Sound cards

    To be honest, my headphones aren't low end. It's the same drivers that the Denon 1001s use. Gets great reviews and I feel they are top quality. Speakers are low end fair enough.
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