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Best option for USB Soundcard?
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Mkilbride2599
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Default Best option for USB Soundcard? - 11-17-2012, 05:01 | posts: 17

So, I use Speakers VIA HDMI Audio on my GPU, to a A/V Receiver, with actual 5.1 speakers, not PC speakers.

It's pretty awesome and glad I finally went that route after so many years. Much worth it.

However, I still want to use my headset; and my only option would be to use Onboard at this point. (My A/V Receiver had a Headset jack, but I'd need an Adapter, and then also no CMSS3D which I love, Virtual does not compare, plus no mic jack...so yeah.)

I have a Creative X-Fi Titanium Professional sound card. However...no free slots, anywhere. Except right next to the CPU cooler. So to make it fit into the slot, I had to slightly pull at the CPU cooler and sink it in. Really tight fit and I believe the CPU cooler is even pushing against the card...

So the "X-FI" light, isn't fully lit up, even after I tried to reposition it many times. Seems there isn't much I can do there, it was my only free PCI-E slot. it kinda blinks even. Obviously not being fully powered, I can't get anything but noise out of it in Windows. Only noise.

Guessing trying to jam it in that tight fit is a no go, eh? I thought so from the start, but had to try...

So that leaves me with the option of using Onboard...or, while not ideal, some sort of USB Sound card, which I understand to be pretty bad, but still better than Onboard.

I mainly game, but I also watch alot of movies. However, I will probably only game with the Headset...so yes, mainly gaming. I want to do Creative because I love CMSS3D, I know some think it's nothing big, but it really works well.

I know of the Recon3D series.

If I could get my sound card to work, that'd be awesome, but it seems a DH-NH14 in this one case, is not awesome. I could switch to a H100 I guess, but that's also a pretty penny...

I have the Sennheiser PC350 Headset, I have had it for 2 years, and got it for 99$, and I feel it was a fair price for what is basically HD555+ Clip on Mic.

I have not done the Hero mod, because I am a chicken, but I did order Velour earpads for it and it's much more comfy. Seriously, Pleather sucks, the feeling on the skin is awful...the velour pads feel more natural.

So as far as I can tell; I can switch out my CPU cooler to a H100, which seems to get about the same results, but requires alot more effort as well, or...get a USB soundcard, just for my headset.

I thought of a Desktop mic as a possible solution, but really, with my speakers going loudly, could barely hear me...and alot of backround noise, obviously. Not ideal for the only FPS I'd want to use it for.

I plan to fiddle with my sound card more, but I hope USB Sound cards have come some ways since I last heard of them.

Thank you.
   
 
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nikavelli
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Default 11-18-2012, 14:14 | posts: 405

Can we get a TL;DR? Not exactly sure what you're asking..
   
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ROBSCIX
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Default 11-18-2012, 19:58 | posts: 16,175 | Location: Guru3D Audio Lab

If your PCI-E slot is blocked by a card. You can get an extension cable to allow you to put the card in another slot if you have one free.
   
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Mkilbride2599
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Default 11-18-2012, 22:58 | posts: 17

Extension cable?

See, the slot is... "free", as I described in my post...just that getting the card in is...tough, getting it out is harder, and the X-FI light seems really dim compared to the Brightness it's supposed to have, so I imagine I might not be getting the card fully in the slot, even though I tried for hours.


What about these extension cables? They interest me...


This?

http://www.amazon.com/HOTER-PCI-E-Ex...xtension+Cable

It's a PCI-E x1 slot that is available, at the top of my Mobo, this is it:

http://www.asrock.com/mb/overview.as...20professional

Please don't bug me about the Fatality name, I did not think it was any better or anything like that, I just got it on a huge sale.

So if I got a cable like the above...


Then I would what, put my sound card...outside my case? Cause kinda having a loose part in there is a scary thought.

I am happy at the thought of having not to go USB though...

I also would like to obtain a type of amplifier for my PC350's, they always sounded like they needed abit more power.

Last edited by Mkilbride2599; 11-18-2012 at 23:26.
   
 
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ROBSCIX
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Default 11-19-2012, 00:51 | posts: 16,175 | Location: Guru3D Audio Lab

The extension cables are common in the SFF type systems. Look them up and see if they might work for your application.
   
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Mkilbride2599
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Default 11-19-2012, 02:43 | posts: 17

Alright, but I was asking of the above cable I linked is the proper type?

Reviews says it is, but I'd like to hear your word on it.

http://www.amazon.com/HOTER-PCI-E-Ex...xtension+Cable
   
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ROBSCIX
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Default 11-19-2012, 03:14 | posts: 16,175 | Location: Guru3D Audio Lab

Yes, that should work. However, you still need an empty slot in the case, where you can put the cable and care to work. I mean it will connect to your PCI-E slot and to your card but you still need to fasten the card to your case. Have a look and see if it is possible or not.
   
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Mkilbride2599
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Default 11-19-2012, 04:08 | posts: 17

Hmm, there is a free PCI-E slot. It's just the card itself is a pain in the ass for the reasons I mentioned above, but that tiny cable I may be able to get in...

As for where to put the card, I honestly have no idea...I can't see any place to just put it...I read someone recommends some zip ties and tie it to the side of your case lol...

But I like the idea alot better than a USB Soundcard, and pretty much find the idea of using Onboard impossible.

Just for kicks...I decided to plug my headset into the Onboard, just to see, and yeah, it works...but man does everything sound so bad! It all sounds hollow, and like the speakers on a tablet or something, which they surely did not sound like on my Sound card. That or my actual 5.1 speakers have spoiled me to an insane degree.

(I read the PC350 was HD555 drivers though, so still not low quality cans...)

Any suggestion for driving the headphones that is say 50$ & under? I'd appreciated it, thanks.
   
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ROBSCIX
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Default 11-19-2012, 04:49 | posts: 16,175 | Location: Guru3D Audio Lab

I do not think the PC350's use the same drivers as the impedance are different and that to me says different drivers.
   
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Mkilbride2599
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Default 11-19-2012, 04:59 | posts: 17

Ah, it was just what a Sennheiser service rep told me when I asked about the drivers in the PC350's, but they might just have taken a random guess.

Any thoughts on a Amp 50$ and under?
   
 
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Default 11-19-2012, 06:54 | posts: 5,455 | Location: Michigan,usa

Amazon has a Fiio E11 amp for around 50 that should work, but if you can save up to 75 dollars. You can get a used Fiio E9 amp which would be a great choice off amazon.
   
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Mkilbride2599
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Default 11-19-2012, 07:20 | posts: 17

Coming from you audiophiles here, just how much of a difference do you think a properly powered headset can make?

Also say I was to get such an amplifier as the E9, what cables would I need to connect it to my soundcard? I also imagine I'd need some extension cables for the mic.

Last edited by Mkilbride2599; 11-19-2012 at 07:24.
   
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ROBSCIX
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Default 11-19-2012, 15:40 | posts: 16,175 | Location: Guru3D Audio Lab

If your headphones require a headphone amplifer, you can notice a big difference because without it the cans are never really operating as they should.

Most headphone amps use standard RCA type inputs and depending on your card you would have either RCA inputs or the more common 3.5mm Mini headphone jack.
So, if you have the mini jack, you need 3.5mm minijack to dual RCA cable.
You can get them at monoprice for geat prices, you should also be able to pick up the mic extension cable also. - Female to male 3.5mm cables.

Actually, I will just look them up for you so you havce a better idea of what you need.

Here is a premium gold plated 3.5mm to dual RCA 6 foot cable and it is only $4 -> Link
You can get ones that are more generic for under $1, but I figured this seems to be a good quality cable for good price.

For your Mic extension, I could only find a stereo extension cable but it should still work fine. 6 ft for $0.67. Have a look here-> Link
If you need different lengths, just look through the pages, most of their cables go up 75ft and beyond.
Hope that helps.
   
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Mkilbride2599
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Default 11-19-2012, 18:52 | posts: 17

Thanks man.

Guru3D is still King. I'll put that Amp on the backburner, I'm going to wait for the Riser cable to come in, then see how that works, and eventually get the Amp, as I always thought it felt like they were just a little underpowered. I don't know, sometimes it felt "hollow", on a rare occasion.

I will also look into attempting the Hero mod.
   
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Mkilbride2599
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Default 11-21-2012, 05:51 | posts: 17

Well, the card...is still not working...so I;m at a loss. The extension thing is awesome...had no real place to put iot, but the card won't work. I even set it to default, turn off my Receiver...nothing.

I am using the latest PAX drivers...trying to figure out what could be causing this. The card could be dead...annoyingly. But I can't see why.

I mean;

It worked...I took it out, put it in a safe place for months, plug it back in, and now no work? Maybe I'll try creating a new boot, just as a test bed to see what is causing this.

Checking closer, I sometimes notice the X-Fi light flickering, going brighter, then dimmer. It sounds power related, but I have plenty of power to go around for just a Sound Card...Truly bothersome what could cause this.

The card may simply be dead...frustrating.

Last edited by Mkilbride2599; 11-21-2012 at 05:57.
   
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Default 11-21-2012, 18:30 | posts: 535 | Location: U.S.

If I were you, I would ditch the card and start looking into some external solutions. GenClaymore provided some fine examples. I would go a step further and ask what kind of budget you're working with (if you decide to go this route).
   
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Default 11-21-2012, 18:52 | posts: 4,298 | Location: Australia

Why not just get this, cmss3D and everything
http://www.scorptec.com.au/computer/40407-sbxfi-s51-pro

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Mkilbride2599
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Default 11-21-2012, 19:57 | posts: 17

Thought bout that, hence the topic, but I read bad things about USB Sound cards, so wanted some opinions. So I wasn't sure.

Would also like a built in amp if I do get a new card, but oh well. Either the card is bad, or the PCI-E slot is, but I still find it so odd that the card is detected by Windows as A-OK...so hmm.

I found it on Amazon for 46$ and free 2 day shipping....but I'm not sure.

I heard it's worse than PCI-E Soundcard and just BARELY above Onboard...if it's just BARELY above, I don't think it's worth 50$.


Also, looking at this, it has what I want, except no CMSS3D...and also it says the one you linked does not have CMSS3D.

http://www.amazon.com/Creative-Sound.../dp/B004275EO4

This is the only one with EAX & CMSS3D support:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0044DEDC0

And it doesn't look that good.

Last edited by Mkilbride2599; 11-21-2012 at 20:11.
   
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heymian
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Default 11-21-2012, 20:15 | posts: 535 | Location: U.S.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mkilbride2599 View Post
Thought bout that, hence the topic, but I read bad things about USB Sound cards, so wanted some opinions. So I wasn't sure.
You're probably thinking of the USB modules that come with those "gaming" headsets, which are not high quality at all. I was referring to external boxes like the Fiio's, which will produce better sound quality over your X-Fi.
   
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Default 11-21-2012, 20:18 | posts: 1,900 | Location: AZ

http://us.store.creative.com/Creativ...B004275EO4.htm


my brother has this and it sounds really good plus you don't get the noise that you get from pci-e card.....I think a USB sound card offers better isolation from the electrical interference inside your PC's case

Last edited by bobdude; 11-21-2012 at 20:22.
   
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Default 11-21-2012, 20:24 | posts: 4,298 | Location: Australia

This is from creative website:

http://asia.creative.com/products/pr...&product=17751

I dunno, maybe it doesn't
   
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Default 11-21-2012, 20:28 | posts: 4,298 | Location: Australia

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobdude View Post
http://us.store.creative.com/Creativ...B004275EO4.htm


my brother has this and it sounds really good plus you don't get the noise that you get from pci-e card.....I think a USB sound card offers better isolation from the electrical interference inside your PC's case
Cool, but I think most cards do have grounding, so it's all good. Both options are good and for what they are, usb might be the way to go in this situation.

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Mkilbride2599
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Default 11-21-2012, 20:39 | posts: 17

I looked at the PAX driver website and it turns out only the Creative USB 2 go has CMSS3D.

The HD or Non HD of the Xi-Fi Pro does not have any form of Surround Sound Headphones.


http://www.amazon.com/Creative-Labs-.../dp/B0017QQQAE

I found this; it's an older model, but there are some issues(Besides being double the price):

EAX 4.0 Max, and no Hardware Acceleration. Also no DTS or Dolby Digital support.

Last edited by Mkilbride2599; 11-21-2012 at 20:46.
   
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Default 11-22-2012, 02:33 | posts: 405

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mkilbride2599 View Post
EAX 4.0 Max, and no Hardware Acceleration. Also no DTS or Dolby Digital support.
EAX has been dead for years. Hardware acceleration makes no difference with modern CPU's.
   
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Mkilbride2599
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Default 11-22-2012, 03:46 | posts: 17

Agreed, not a big deal with EAX, not many games even use 5.0, as for HA, nice for some older games.


But no DTS & no Dolby Digital kinda sucks. I did happen to read a review, over at HardOCP, I don't really go to their website much, but they had the -same- headset as I do, PC350, not even the PC360, and they claimed to have had both a Titanium HD PCI-E and USB and regularly switched between them, claiming the USB sounded almost the same, just a littler quieter, and most likely needed a stronger AMP. Encouraging as they did a lot of in depth tests about SnR, noise levels, and whatnot...all seemed green. I have reservations about it.

Going to try a few more things...see what's up, and hope for the best.

What I can't understand is WHY Creative doesn't make a USB Sound Card with CMSS3D, EAX 5.0, and DTS / DDL, and Headphone amp. Then place it @ the 125$ price range...it'd sell like hot freaking cake.

Last edited by Mkilbride2599; 11-22-2012 at 03:54.
   
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