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Thread: Is it worth it ?

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    Is it worth it ?

    Never bothered about sound cards and speakers before (just got 2 rubbish speakers at the moment) but the x-fi card sounds tasty. Using AC97 off the mobo currently so toying with an upgrade.
    Is it worth going for it and if so which speakers (2.1 or 5.1) do you think will make the best choice.

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    Senior Member kalniel's Avatar
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    Depends on your audio fidelity (how picky you are!)

    If you're happy with how things are then cool. Upgrading the sound card + speakers can give you slightly clearer sound and may give you a few extra fps in games, depending on how slow your CPU is.

    Personally I think it's worth it, but not to the extent of getting an x-fi. An audigy 4 is a good improvement over AC97 and far cheaper.

    I'm also asking about speakers in this thread:
    http://forums.hexus.net/showthread.php?t=69832

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    nice one thanks. I didnt know if it was worth upgrading to some quality stuff because I cant say as I have heard the sound quality from dedicated speakers and card. I know its probably down to the users taste but has anyone upgraded and thought this is well worth the money.

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    Senior Member kalniel's Avatar
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    I upgraded from AC97 to Audigy 2ZS, and I thought the difference in quality/performance was worth perhaps 30 quid at most.

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    Anthropomorphic Personification shaithis's Avatar
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    It all depends on a lot of things....

    How good is your hearing? Do you appreciate the sound of a decent sound system? Can you even tell the difference between high-end and low-end sound? Will you be listening with a quality amp and speakers or high-end headphones?

    Some people are very finicky about sound, like me , others find sound is just sound....
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    Not really into the sound side very much. Love tinkering with overclocking but would like to see what a good sound card and speakers would do. Not fussed yet about headphones.

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    I think speaker upgrade has been worth it myself. I'd say stick with your mobo AC97 chip but definetly get better speakers if yours are the sub £10 ones..

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    I went from a Soundblaster Live! and hi-fi with 50W speakers to a SB Audigy 2 ZS and high quality 5.1 headphones and I can honestly say I noticed a massive difference.
    Quote Originally Posted by Agent View Post
    ...every time Creative bring out a new card range their advertising makes it sound like they have discovered a way to insert a thousand Chuck Norris super dwarfs in your ears...

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    If you do get a sound card don't get creative!

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    root Member DanceswithUnix's Avatar
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    If you play games, you should find this Anandtech benchmark interesting:

    http://www.anandtech.com/mb/showdoc.aspx?i=2719&p=13

    Just check the frame rates for the AT8 motherboard they are reviewing, they have on-board sound, a couple of sound cards (including X-Fi) and no sound at all. There are some other motherboard in there which for this discussion you can ignore.

    Basically your frame rate can drop 10% from a rubbish AC97 setup to an expensive X-Fi card. Having said that, I personally went with a cheap OEM Audigy sound card as that should be quite fast enough and I am a cheapskate

    In terms of sound quality, I can't hear much difference between the Audigy and motherboard ALC-850 sound with dead expensive Sennheiser headphones (not that I have particularly tried). If I wanted true sound quality, I think I would spend the money initially on water cooling to remove the background noise, otherwise I won't hear any difference in the sound card.

  11. #11
    I need a coffee jamena's Avatar
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    if you want the benefit you need to upgrade the entire audio setup.

    1 - good source audio (mp3 can alter the way stuff sounds depending on the bitrate etc)
    2 - good soundcard/decoder/link (either maintain the digital audio channel to the output, or use high quality DAC to convert to good analog outputs.
    3 - a good amplifier (no good having a nice signal if the amp only distorts it again )
    4 - good speakers (as 3)

    whether or not you want/need 5.1-7.1 depends entirely on the source audio. Movies etc with good 5.1 audio will benefit somewhat with a good speaker placement in a given room. On the whole I am happy with stereo! ymmv. A soundcard helps free some system resources (as mentioned above) and offers you more/better sounds in games. Good stereo reproduction helps in games for directional stuff, but then for this headphones are infinitely better than speakers (for the same money).

    For transferring audio data from one medium to another (cd-minidisc-mp3player etc) start with the best/origianl and try to keep the processing line digital to avoid adding noise

    Go have a listen at a friends

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    Thanks for the advice chaps. Some very interesting points. I will mull it over.
    It seems a lot of money for a slight gain.

    pp05 why dont you like creative?
    Last edited by Tin Ribs; 15-03-2006 at 06:33 PM.

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    Simply put they are not worth the hassle unless on likes trawling the net to fix pc problems coming from sound cards. There drivers are poo and the product doesn't do or is anything as good as they claim. There support is rubbish and if you look at their forums 90% of problems are with their drivers.

    If you ever do get a card go with a company that has good drivers, good support. Santa cruz/turtle beach are pretty decent or stick with ac97.

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    Ok mate message received. Might take a look at Turtle Beach if I can find any in the UK

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    I need a coffee jamena's Avatar
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    I've not had any problems with creative cards or drivers myself

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    I've never had a single problem with any of my Creative cards.. I've had the very odd driver glitch with EAX in *some* games, but that's about it, nothing that I havn't come across before with Graphics cards and Creative do driver updates to resolve problems and work with developers that support EAX.

    And the X-Fi is a fully featured audio processing unit, designed purely for the purposes of processing audio, as such, it's 450Mhz odd freqnecy is like running a 3Ghz P4, which is stupidly fast at working with audio.

    Bearing that in mind exclaiming that nobody should purchase a Creative sound card is just silly.
    Quote Originally Posted by Agent View Post
    ...every time Creative bring out a new card range their advertising makes it sound like they have discovered a way to insert a thousand Chuck Norris super dwarfs in your ears...

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