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Thread: Onboard audio or Audigy 2 ZS?

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    Resident Hexus Folder Golden Dragoon's Avatar
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    Onboard audio or Audigy 2 ZS?

    My new motherboard has got a Realtek ALC889 codec onboard, and it claims to be high def, have dolby home theater etc.. and I am wondering if I could omit my Audigy 2 ZS (which I have been meaning to upgrade so I could use my front pannel connectors) and run with the onboard without any noticeable loss in quality, it will be outputting to a Cambridge Audio A1 combined with a pair of acoustic solutions PF500 floor standing speakers.

    TLDR: Has onboard audio reached the level of the Audigy 2?
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    Re: Onboard audio or Audigy 2 ZS?

    To answer your TLDR question: I would say so in digital terms (i.e. if you were running digital out, then I'd say go with the onboard stuff).

    In analogue terms - I'd think the Audigy would still be better, though I have no facts to back that up. Is an XFi in budget?

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    Re: Onboard audio or Audigy 2 ZS?

    The audigy 2 zs is quite old now isn't it?

    The ALC889 is probably the best onboard audio that realtek do, and considering the age of the Audigy I don't think there will be much difference between the sound. The DACs have similar SNR of 108dB.

    If the reason for dumping the audigy is for convenience as well as audio quality I'd probably say do it because the loss of audio quality will be negligible if at all. The onboard sound seems to be capable for what you need. However you can always test it yourself, use the onboard straight after the audigy and see for yourself whether there is any audible difference.

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    Re: Onboard audio or Audigy 2 ZS?

    A1 does not take digital input, so you want the best line level analogue output you can, which I think will be the Audigy 2ZS. I've compared the 2ZS to some earlier Realtek onboards and it was quite a lot better - it's not all about SNR! If you're taking the effort to put it into a decent amp and speakers (compared to desktop fare) then a quick back to back comparison is worthwhile.

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    Re: Onboard audio or Audigy 2 ZS?

    Thats what I was thinking, the audigy has a certain "warmth" to it's sound that I couldn't get using the integrated chipset on my X48 mobo, I am not an audiophile by any means, but I have always found pc speakers to be rather harsh, hence my setup.
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    Re: Onboard audio or Audigy 2 ZS?

    IMHO Audigy 2 ZS will be better. It's way better then Realtek ALC888.

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    Re: Onboard audio or Audigy 2 ZS?

    I'm running Audigy 2 ZS into Klipsch ProMedia 5.1 system now... which are one the best computer speaker systems ever made. Before getting the above I used the 2ZS into my audiophile system... and tested on some other very hi-end audiophile systems and found it as good as audiophile sources. These tests were done on mine and friends audiophile systems... some worth £2000.00 +... using DVD source because we found it hard to believe it was as good as it is.

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    Re: Onboard audio or Audigy 2 ZS?

    Just one thing I'll point out. I'm using an old Audigy 4 Pro in my system at work. The driver package is the same as the Audigy 2 for Windows 7 64-bit, and on the Audigy 4 it refuses to record from any input properly. Even recording internal audio is impossible. It records perhaps a couple of milliseconds of audio, then a couple of milliseconds of nothing, leading to a horribly stuttery sound you can't do anything with.

    I'm not saying the Audigy 2 will be the same, but if it is and you intend to record any audio at all, then I'd stick with the Realtek to be honest (or perhaps keep it enabled).

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    Re: Onboard audio or Audigy 2 ZS?

    Quote Originally Posted by this_is_gav View Post
    ... Even recording internal audio is impossible. It records perhaps a couple of milliseconds of audio, then a couple of milliseconds of nothing, leading to a horribly stuttery sound you can't do anything with.
    Have you tried recording at a lower sample rate and bit depth?

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    Re: Onboard audio or Audigy 2 ZS?

    Quote Originally Posted by this_is_gav View Post
    Just one thing I'll point out. I'm using an old Audigy 4 Pro in my system at work. The driver package is the same as the Audigy 2 for Windows 7 64-bit, and on the Audigy 4 it refuses to record from any input properly. Even recording internal audio is impossible. It records perhaps a couple of milliseconds of audio, then a couple of milliseconds of nothing, leading to a horribly stuttery sound you can't do anything with.

    I'm not saying the Audigy 2 will be the same, but if it is and you intend to record any audio at all, then I'd stick with the Realtek to be honest (or perhaps keep it enabled).
    It is the same, I'm using one right now and have to use the Realtek input for the mic.

    Creative have known about the bug for years now and their forums are full of people moaning about it.

    They won't / can't fix it.
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    Re: Onboard audio or Audigy 2 ZS?

    Never had any problem recording on the audigy @ 16bit 48k never really tried at any other settings as my mic isn't exactly top of the range
    Having had a chance to test them both in the same system, there is a difference in quality, but not as much as I had feared, certainly good enough for my needs and the convenience of having the front outputs means I will put up with the slight degradation of sound quality, at least until I can get a PCI-E 1x card at some point in the future.
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    Re: Onboard audio or Audigy 2 ZS?

    Quote Originally Posted by Golden Dragoon View Post
    Never had any problem recording on the audigy @ 16bit 48k never really tried at any other settings as my mic isn't exactly top of the range
    It's not a mic issue. It's the inability of the sound card to use any input correctly. You would have noticed if you were affected by it, so perhaps your card is working fine. Are you on 64-bit Windows 7?


    Quote Originally Posted by DDY View Post
    Have you tried recording at a lower sample rate and bit depth?
    Ohhh yeah. Tried the lot. Different programs, settings in the programs, settings in the Audigy control panel (can't remember what it's called at the moment), settings in the Control Panel sound properties bit.

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    Re: Onboard audio or Audigy 2 ZS?

    Yup 64bit Win 7, as I said though I never tried higher setting as it would have been a waste as my mic is quite frankly ****e
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