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Thread: soundcard advice.

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    soundcard advice.

    At the moment I use onboard sound from my M3a78-EM, through my siberias. Not really totally happy with it ... particularly in games. Positionally I don't think it is very good for hearing footsteps and stuff in games.

    So I have been thinking about getting a soundcard which will hopefully improve it a bit. I was looking at external solutions because I have a custom cooler on my graphics card which I believe interferes with the top PCI-E slot ... but I could probably do some jiggery pokery.

    Budget is basically as little as I can get away with but I understand that to get something better than my onboard sound I might have to spend a bit ... ideally around 55-60 quid but could maybe stretch to closer to 80, certainly not near the 100 mark ... would this be enough to get something significantly better than my onboard sound?

    Was thinking about maybe the Creative X-Fi Surround 5.1 Pro THX Certified External Sound Card.

    Or the siberia usb soundcard

    Also this creative external soundcard

    This is just a pci one ... could it be any good.

    Or should i go for a pci-e one. There are alot of pci ones still on the market and they are slightly cheap than the pci-e ones ... is it worth the saving, I want this to be the last soundcard I buy for a really long time!

    Any recommendations or input are welcome.

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    Re: soundcard advice.

    Are you going to be using headphones or speakers?

    For PCI cards, I'd suggest the Xonar DG (especially if using headphones). As an alternative to that X-Fi Xtreme Gamer, I'd suggest the OEM Creative X-Fi SB0770. It has pretty much exactly the same capabilities and sound quality as the Xtreme Gamer you linked to but costs about £30 new. Search SB0770 on ebay to find it.

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    Re: soundcard advice.

    I think the Asus Xonar D2X is supposed to be one of the best ones around ? Top end of your budget though.
    Kalniel: "Nice review Tarinder - would it be possible to get a picture of the case when the components are installed (with the side off obviously)?"
    CAT-THE-FIFTH: "The Antec 300 is a case which has an understated and clean appearance which many people like. Not everyone is into e-peen looking computers which look like a cross between the imagination of a hyperactive 10 year old and a Frog."
    TKPeters: "Off to AVForum better Deal - £20+Vat for Free Shipping @ Scan"
    for all intents it seems to be the same card minus some gays name on it and a shielded cover ? with OEM added to it - GoNz0.

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    Re: soundcard advice.

    Xonar D2X is PCI-E so that's ruled out. The D2 is basically the same card but pci.

    The Xonar D1 and DS are both pci cards in the OP's price range. Plenty of choice really. My recommendation hinges on with what headphones or speakers the OP will be using.

    For a gamer using headphones there's not much to beat the DG, even at the top of the price range.

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    Re: soundcard advice.

    Quote Originally Posted by Uriel View Post
    Xonar D2X is PCI-E so that's ruled out. The D2 is basically the same card but pci.

    The Xonar D1 and DS are both pci cards in the OP's price range. Plenty of choice really. My recommendation hinges on with what headphones or speakers the OP will be using.

    For a gamer using headphones there's not much to beat the DG, even at the top of the price range.
    Why
    Kalniel: "Nice review Tarinder - would it be possible to get a picture of the case when the components are installed (with the side off obviously)?"
    CAT-THE-FIFTH: "The Antec 300 is a case which has an understated and clean appearance which many people like. Not everyone is into e-peen looking computers which look like a cross between the imagination of a hyperactive 10 year old and a Frog."
    TKPeters: "Off to AVForum better Deal - £20+Vat for Free Shipping @ Scan"
    for all intents it seems to be the same card minus some gays name on it and a shielded cover ? with OEM added to it - GoNz0.

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    Re: soundcard advice.

    As stated in the first post, he has a custom cooler on his graphics card that will make accessing the PCI-E slot difficult. Hence the preference for external or pci soundcards.

    For gaming, I wouldn't recommend anything external as you can get more fully featured internal solutions for the money.

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    Re: soundcard advice.

    Xonar DG would be a great improvement, especially for headphones. All but the latest X-Fi cards are natively PCI, so any PCI-E versions use a bridging chip. This doesn't seem to have any negative effects in practise, but in theory I'd want to eliminate as many steps as possible.

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    Re: soundcard advice.

    I had spotted the xonar DG, and thought the onboard amp or whatever it is called sounded good just wasn't sure if it would be any good! Terbinator I did look at the D2X, it's good and if money wasn't a problem I may have bought it already but as Uriel points out it's gonna be a PITA to get in my case and slotted into my motherboard. I also think it maybe has features I do not require.

    Basically I only really want a soundcard for games with a stero headset on to improve things slightly because it is a little tinny and not good for hearing footsteps at the moment. When using my 2.0 speakers I don't really care too much as I am perfectly happy with my onboard sound atm, so as long as the soundcard isn't worst than that I am not too fussed .

    Final 2 short questions, shoudl I go for the xonar DG or DS ... is the DG more suited to my needs? Also I bought a pair of siberias recently as my generic headset broke. I am really pleased with them as the sound is a slight improvement over my generic pair and they are alot more comfortable, would my siberias be an ok headset to go with the DG? Or is their a headset that would go better with the DG than my siberias ... it woudl have to be significantly better to jusitfy the cost since I only just got my siberias and I doubt any other headset is anywhere near as comfortable as them!

    oops final question do you think that newer motherboards for sandy bridge and bulldozer (am3+) when they come out will still have legacy pci slots?

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    Re: soundcard advice.

    It sounds like the Xonar DG will be more suited to your needs. The DS is a very good card but lacks an amp or Dolby headphone. The main disadvantage of the DG compared to the DS is its lack of support for 5.1 encoding over optical but it sounds like you don't need that anyway.

    I think PCI will be around as an option for a long time to come. While some boards may omit it or make it difficult to access it, there will be others that allow it to be used.

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    Re: soundcard advice.

    Hi mate, all the ATI 5xxx series cards support high quality sound. I use mine on a media center, i tried all kind of cards including the Xonar DS.,

    In the end a £30 5450 provided me wih DTS-HD Master audio. I know it isnt the answer you are looking for but a new graphics card, like a 5650 or something would fall in budget and provide spdif output for sound. bug improvment
    I am the gadget man!

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    Re: soundcard advice.

    chavo don't i need to use a hdmi cable for that though? ... don't really think that would be suitable for me. Although if you can clarify how it would work with headphones it might be an idea.

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    Re: soundcard advice.

    interesting thread has given me a few ideas
    Last edited by Flibb; 05-12-2010 at 08:44 PM.

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    Re: soundcard advice.

    After reading all the posts on here have decided to get a xonar DG. See how it works with my siberias, if I am still not happy may get a pair of PC 350s ... not positive though and if that doesn't work just gonna have to give up and blame my ears haha.

    Thanks to everyone that replied.

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    Re: soundcard advice.

    Sorry to hijack your thread but I was also considering the DG and was wondering if it was a good fit for my Kave's? I read it has an onboard headphone amp but the Kaves are USB powered anyway. Its probably a daft question but would this affect their use at all?
    Also as they are hardware 5.1 is the Dolby Headphone still useful?
    As you may have guessed my knowledge on such things is limited to say the least!

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    Re: soundcard advice.

    Quote Originally Posted by george1979 View Post
    Sorry to hijack your thread but I was also considering the DG and was wondering if it was a good fit for my Kave's? I read it has an onboard headphone amp but the Kaves are USB powered anyway. Its probably a daft question but would this affect their use at all?
    Also as they are hardware 5.1 is the Dolby Headphone still useful?
    As you may have guessed my knowledge on such things is limited to say the least!
    Won't affect the Kaves - the headphone amp on the Asus cards is only for headphone output. 5.1 output is not amplified (even assuming the Kaves use USB power for amplification, could simply be for lighting things up ). Dolby Headphone isn't especially useful no, as it's for emulating multiple speakers on a 2.0 setup - you'll be plugging the Kaves into the 5.1 output.

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    Re: soundcard advice.

    Just thought I'd mention that on my old Speedlink Medusas, running them as stereo headphones with Dolby Headphone sounded better than their normal 5.1 mode. The Medusas had a switch that changed them from 5.1 to all drivers running together as stereo headphones though.

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