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Thread: Sound card and speakers vs just speakers.

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    Sound card and speakers vs just speakers.

    I'm looking to upgrade my sound from onboard AC97 with 2.1 (and sometimes medusas) to 5.1. After discovering the sound enhancer in iTunes, I can't go back to mp3's without it, and I imagine that new speakers/soundcard will do far more than this does. Also, I want a 5.1 speaker setup for better immersion in games. I've been waiting for the day where bullets whizz past in games the same way they do in "Saving Private Ryan."

    I am aware that a reasonable amount has to be spent to achieve both good 5.1 and good quality sound, so I am willing to spend money. However, I don't want to spend more than is necessary. I don't really need volume, if that has any bearing. And before I'm verbally assaulted for mentioning 5.1 and music in the same post, I do intend to keep the music run at 2.1, don't worry.

    Basicly my question is: to fulfill my requirements, do I need to buy an X-Fi (£80) and £150 speakers (Logitech z-5400's are the ones that come to mind: http://www.overclockers.co.uk/acatal...itech_166.html ) or an Audigy 4 and Logitech x-530's, or (£30 card and £40 speakers) or just £150 speakers?

    Just got paid today so any prompt response would be greatly appreciated with an eye to buying stuff to come Monday-Tuesday.

    Cheers, and sorry for the wall'o'text.

    Fluff_eei
    I've completed tetris...

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    YUKIKAZE arthurleung's Avatar
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    I would say £150 speaker + £30 card

    Audigy2 / Audigy4 is already very good. If you want the last bit of quality you would not spend £150 but £300+ for high quality speakers. IMO X-fi will be useless without good quality speakers.
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    Righto. Might look at the z-5400's and the Audigy 4. However I was drawn to the mp3 upmixing feature of the X-Fi. Is this actually good/useful or is it just good advertising speak? I see you have the Megaworks THX550 5.1 speakers. Do you have any idea how much better these would be than the z-5400's? Anyone else know about the X-Fi or have an opinion?

    Fluff_eei
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    one of my colleagues got an X-Fi and he was a strong believer in onboard sound. He says the quality going from the onboard to X-Fi was unbelievable. I can't speak for the Audigys, but the X-Fi is a good card.

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    I've heard. I'd be really interested to hear how people who've gone from Audigy 4 or Audigy 2zs to X-Fi have found the experience, what they think of the improvement in music/positioning/ingame-sound quality? Thanks for the really quick responses by the way.

    Fluff_eei
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    surely spend the extra £35 and get the top banana logitechs the z5500's? I can heartily recommend them, although you do need a good card to get the best out of them. Id say the audigy 4 would be suited nicely (was a straight toss up between the A4 and my current card for me). If your more into music and movies than games then id consider the HDA mystique i have (although good luck finding stock) in games it only supports upto EAX2 but tbh thats plenty, better than supporting loads of EAX features and having crackly old sound imo.

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    No, I'm definitely most into games, then music and finally movies. On Overclockers.co.uk the z-5500's are £60 (edit: Ok so they're £202 from scan, that's still £50) more than the z-5400's, quite a lot of money in my opinion. What is the difference apart from potential volume?

    So a second call for Audigy 4. I'm still holding out for someone who's gone from A4/A2zs to X-Fi.

    Fluff_eei
    Last edited by FLuff_eei; 28-01-2006 at 01:49 AM.
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    Amazon.co.uk is your friend for the z5500's, especially with free delivery. Im not sure of the differences myself apart from they look much better and are more proven than the z5400's i mean when i was looking i found no reviews for the z5400's so just plumped up the extra £35 to get the 5500's which are astonishing, maybe the 5400's would have been this good but for the price difference id rather not risk it.

    Also may i suggest to order from the soundcard from elsewhere aswell, ocuk havent got the best reputation if something goes up the creek.

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    I have had many good experiences with OcUK, and feel kinda loyal to them, whereas one of the guys at scan was pretty darn rude to me down the phone. However if I got an X-Fi they're just too expensive from OcUK. £190 for the speakers does look good. Anone with z-5400's got an opinion on how good they are, or someone know what's so great about the z-5500's? Plus still hoping someone out there has upgraded from Audigy to X-Fi and can say what they think.

    Good night all, cheers.

    Fluff_eei
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    Quote Originally Posted by FLuff_eei
    I've heard. I'd be really interested to hear how people who've gone from Audigy 4 or Audigy 2zs to X-Fi have found the experience, what they think of the improvement in music/positioning/ingame-sound quality? Thanks for the really quick responses by the way.

    Fluff_eei
    I was using a Aud2zs, hacked to an Aud4.
    I then went to a X-Fi after Scan kindly decided to give me one for kicking their butt at UT2004 ( ).
    In all honesty, i noticed little difference.
    A friend who went from OB sound to his X-fi noticed a huge difference (so did i on his system), but you would expect that. To be fair, the Aud 2zs/4 range are very good cards. Im using high-end speakers, so i would have hoped that I would have seen a bigger gain.
    Dont get me wrong, the X-fi is without a doubt the best home-user soundcard i have used, but if you have a Aud2zs/4, there is little point in upgrading for the sound alone. You may be swayed by other accessories like the Live bay if you dont already have it, or the remote controls for instance.

    As for the mp3 up mixing - if your talking about making a 2 channel source into a 5.1 one, then the creative cards have done this since the Live! range. Its called CMMS.
    Quote Originally Posted by Saracen View Post
    And by trying to force me to like small pants, they've alienated me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Agent
    As for the mp3 up mixing - if your talking about making a 2 channel source into a 5.1 one, then the creative cards have done this since the Live! range. Its called CMMS.
    IIRC hes talking about the 24 bit crystaliser thingy which supposedly makes 16bit sound sources like cd's sound like 24 bit recordings via some clever algorithm.

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    Anyone seen my opteron?

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    That seems a very good price. Yeah, I meant the 24-bit crystaliser thing. For £65 I might just get the X-Fi, and get the £190 z-5500 from Amazon (although if anyone knows the difference between these and the z-5400 I'd be very greatful). Thank you very much to everyone who's posted, been a real help.

    Fluff_eei
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    Right, here's the deal. After much looking around etc. I have come up with two very different options (price wise). I can either get the Creative 6060's and an Audigy 4 for £100, or the Logitech z-5500 and Creative X-Fi for £260. That's £160 difference. Do you guys think that's worth it? I'm kind of hoping some of you say yes, the z-5500's look absolutely lovely.

    Fluff_eei

    P.S. I know double post etc but this is a new point, and it'll never get read/answered otherwise! Cheers guys.
    I've completed tetris...

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