Help with sound card choice

Discussion in 'Soundcards, Speakers HiFI & File formats' started by traft, Apr 17, 2009.

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  1. traft

    traft Member Guru

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    Right now i'm using my onboard HD audio but I really want to get a sound card. My last motherboard allowed audio jack retasking do sound cards allow that? I have my TV as a second monitor when I watch things and I hate have to plug and unplug the audio for it evertime. Movies and videos I use audio connected to tv, standard use non-serious gaming I use my monitor's speakers, and when I play games seriously mainly FPS I use my headphones. I don't plan to use any big sound systems just these three I just want a sound card that I can hopefully have all three plugged in without changing plugs and have better performance then onboard. I'm gonna start saving the money up to buy one but i'm not sure what will be good for what I want.
     
  2. saintzin

    saintzin New Member

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    x-fi music

    i got an x-fi music and it really shines, especially over onboard audio. im assuming you have realtek HD like almost everyone else. the X-fi is GREAT for headphones too as it have some great positioning of the sounds. plus you need a creative card to enable EAX, which is superdope sound quality.

    the music version is the same as the 200 dollar x-fi just without the front head unit. it sells for around 50 to 60 bucks.

    check pricewatch.com and creative.com for refurb'ed x-fi musics.

    btw, i registered on here just so i can tell you how awesome the x-fi is.

    id also like to plug the logitech z-2300's i have, that mofo can kick! 400 watts in 2 speakers and a sub. the bass with the x-fi is crystal clear and u can really tell different bass frequency's. i found some refurb'ed ones on pricewatch from amazon's outlet store. they were 50 bucks.

    EDIT : yes u can re arrange the audio jacks from software
     
  3. traft

    traft Member Guru

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    I'll look into that... thanks
     
  4. GenClaymore

    GenClaymore Ancient Guru

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    Actualy there are better cards out there thats better then Creative X-FI, which are the Auzentech X-Fi Prelude/Forte offers better sound quailty and components and other features like swapable op-amps.
    The forte offers a headphone amp.

    Now as for Eax, you dont really have to have a creative X-FI for eax as I mention Auzentech prelude and forte, But Asus Xonar's DSGX's does pretty good job at emulating eax3-5. over time do to driver updates and what not got improved.

    For pure audio quailty I would recommand either HDAV or STX, the STX has a headphone amp also, it does has muiti plugs on it for more then one audio device plugged into it. While the HDAV none deluxe has Two audio plugs(RCA with RCA to 3.5mm) and HDMI for HDMI audio. The deluxe has the H6 board which offers more analog plugs.

    STX/HDAV has swap-ble op-amps but on a bigger scale as you can also swap out the op-amps in both cards I/V Dip8 socket besides there buffer Dip8 socket with many diffent op-amp combos.

    So ask your self, do you care about having actualy EAX3-5 or emulated eax3-5 and or do you want pure audio quailty. as both HDAV and STX offer higher sound quailty over the other cards. But it up to you what fits you needs and wants.

    I know you prolly on a budget so the Auzentech Forte is 149-169 on newegg if you must have actual EAX3-5 support then its what I recommand over creative's X-FI as it offer higher sound quailty and a headphone amp thru a headphone plug. while having muiti analog connections thru its adaptor.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2009

  5. Cyrosis

    Cyrosis Ancient Guru

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    I'd say the Auzentech is only worth the extra money if you need the headphone amp, and you really only need that if you have audiophile grade headphones. The X-fi, and many other quality sound cards are up to a point where the human ear pretty much can't tell the difference. The dynamic range and noise floor of these cards are all beyond human hearing ability, and the frequency spectrum's are within about a 1/4db of each other in every test, which is another thing humans can't even come close to hearing. Personally, I'd rather use an X-fi even if it is technically of lesser quality than the Auzentech, as it has all the analog plugins on it without the adapter.

    With that said, speakers or headphones will always play a much bigger role in sound quality than the soundcard.
     
  6. GenClaymore

    GenClaymore Ancient Guru

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    Your actually wrong, you basic telling me I dont hear a diffents between my HDAV and the prelude I had.You do hear the diffent depending on what headphones and speakers your using. Of course you dont with cheapo 20 dollar speakers and dollar store headphones.

    Before I started changing op-amps I heard the improvement right away when I went from my Prelude to my HDAV13. So to say its up to a point where human hearing cant tell is a lie. You might not cant tell, But I sure as hell can. It was the first thing I noticed off the back.

    yes the forte would offer higher sound quailty over creative X-FI so theres more reason to grab it over Creaive X-FI other then the headphone amp, because of the components they used on it including the LMA4562 Op-amp is what makes the forte the over all better sound quailty card. While creative uses cheap audio components and op-amps.

    When I went from a XFI Xtreme music to a Auzen prelude I notice it and it was lot, so your theroy is wrong.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2009
  7. traft

    traft Member Guru

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    Well speakers are crappy built into old flatpanel monitor but they are just for standard use. Gaming I have Altec Lansing Gaming headset was around 50-60 dollars two years ago has SRS with a control switch for surround sound that uses one AAA battery. As I said before i'm not going to get high quality speakers and subwoofer if anything i'd get new headphones.
     
  8. GenClaymore

    GenClaymore Ancient Guru

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    That case grab a Auzen X-FI Forte and use it headphone amp and have option to change op-amp to a even higher quailty one in the future.
     
  9. Cyrosis

    Cyrosis Ancient Guru

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    I don't deny you fully believe you hear some huge difference, but the placebo affect plays a bigger role in sound card upgrades than pretty much anything else IMO. I don't expect you to believe me of course, and I don't really care if you do, so no silly debates needed.

    For the OP, get whatever has the connections you need that is in your budget, and don't pay any attention to sound quality. Even if the sound card made a worthy difference, the speakers you are using don't warrant it. :)
     
  10. ROBSCIX

    ROBSCIX Ancient Guru

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    If, you think the Creative X-Music is the height of PC audio you have alot to learn about soundcards and PC audio.

    "Don't pay attention to sound quality?"

    Are you for real?

    I think you need to do much more research into the subject.

    You can hear the difference between a Auzentech card and a Creative X-fi fairly easy.
    There are many around here who upgraded from a CL X-Fi to a Prelude and never looked back.

    TO the OP, grab yourself the soundcard that fits your needs the best and you quickly understand why most of us don't bother with onboards.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2009

  11. traft

    traft Member Guru

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    If i save enough money i'll prolly get a auzen otherwise i'll just get a creative for budget.
     
  12. Cyrosis

    Cyrosis Ancient Guru

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    I told him not to pay attention to sound quality because his speakers are low quality, and he would never be able to tell the difference between basically any sound card on the market.

    I really don't need to do research on audio mate, I have been composing, mixing, and engineering music for close to 8 years, and own thousands in equipment. If you read everything I said, the statement was quite simple, the sound card is the least important thing in the audio chain once you reach a particular level. After the level is reached, and the X-fi is plenty well into that level, than your speakers, headphones, and lets be honest, your ears, and source materiel are thousands of times more important, as the difference between a $100 sound card and a $600 one is so minuscule its ridiculous. All of this is the same as people claiming they can pick out particular amps in double blind tests, and that monster cables will magically make your audio better. As I said, I don't expect you guys to believe me, but once you know enough about how the human ear work, and audio in general, than you pretty much know that most people are just raving about a placebo.
     
  13. BangTail

    BangTail Ancient Guru

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    DSGX is not a comparable alternative to EAX. (ArmA, GRAW 2, PRMM are nowhere near as good under DSGX, to name a few).

    I certainly would not rate DSGX as "pretty good". It's passable.

    If you are buying a card for majoritively gaming purposes, stick with the Auzentech Forte.

    It's a far better choice for gaming IMHO. I tried 2 different Xonar's for gaming but the Forte surpasses them in gaming scenarios.

    The Xonar may well be better for audiophile purposes, I'm not debating that.

    Eth

    @ Cryosis - Amen to your previous post. I couldn't have said it better.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2009
  14. GenClaymore

    GenClaymore Ancient Guru

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    The OP is buying new headphones so sound quailty is important, as he said he not buying new speakers Just headphones. I dont belive you because I went from Prelude to my HDAV13 and got a huge boost in sound quailty, And then you are wrong about there being no sound quailty diffents going from sound card to sound card. Saying you mix audio for x ammount of years do not mean your automaticly right. Because you are not, as you basic telling any one who switched from a creative X-FI to a prelude X-FI that there hearing things and a placbo effect. Which it isnt, you sound like this poster in another forum that tried to tell me that changing op-amps was placbo effect with nonsense reasoning.

    Robscix is right ask the people who switched from Creative X-FI to preludes/Forte and those that switched from preludes to STX/HDAV, we will tell you same thing. Its not a placbo But you can think whatever you like,But sitting here telling op lies about its all placbo effect tells me. You dont really know what your actualy saying and need to research. Having skills in mixing audio for years do not mean you know every thing in audio hardware. Because you dont, as I know people that compose music yet dont know that much in audio sound cards. The ammount of years arguement is used as leverage but it dont mean a thing as I can say the same thing using computer building. Heck I even know a DJ which doesnt have hardware knowage in sound cards etc etc, I sure you get the point.

    The only thing you are right about is buying higher end headphones and speakers and using them with lower end sound cards and onboard and same for buying higher end sound card and using dollar store headphones and 20 dollar speakers,But having mid-high speakers and using mid-high sound cards Together, you sure as hell will notice a sound quailty improvements even if it a pair of so called gaming 30+ dollar headphones, unless you are deaf or have ears stuff with cotton.

    Ehtne I didnt say it was a replacement for a X-FI, to me DSGX works pretty well in all of the games I played,But I didnt say it was perfect as There only a few that I have to turn off for. But There are room for improvement as it gets improved in the drivers. You dont have to always buy a creative card or a X-FI chipset for gaming,Thats why DSGX is a alt choice incase you dont want a creative card. I played GRAW2 and it works pretty dam well enough for me to play it. as I could careless if it isnt perfect as long it working.

    Thats why I rated it like I do, of course you not gonna rate it like that too, same with other people. But I just explaining why I did. But I did suggest Forte if he wants actualy EAX3-5 since most people tend to do unless they dont care or want another option.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2009
  15. Cyrosis

    Cyrosis Ancient Guru

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    Of course it doesn't, but there isn't anything making you right either. ;) Also, just to clarify, I said the quality difference would be minuscule, not non existent.

    As far as placebo affects go, I think tests like these speak for themselves.

    http://www.engadget.com/2008/03/03/audiophiles-cant-tell-the-difference-between-monster-cable-and/

    Anyway, we can just agree to disagree.
     

  16. ROBSCIX

    ROBSCIX Ancient Guru

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    Join the club, many of use here have been mixing, recoding etc for years and have closets full of gear. I have most of the newcards on my desk long before they are released and I am currently using a prototype soundcard and much of my gear is usually NDA.
    Spouting you own this gear or that gear and have been doing this or that makes little difference, People will judge you based on your post and information you provide.
    -In short, what gear you own, tells nothing about what you know about audio, sorry. You have to prove to the people reading yout posts, that you know what your talking about. So far it is not looking too good for you.
    So your saying there is no difference from say a Creative X-fi X-Music, which is the cheapest X-fi of the bunch, entry level has since been discontinued sounds as good as a modern Prelude, HDAV 1.3 or Essence STX?
    Unless you have actually tested this hardware then you really have no idea do you?

    No, this is not the same at all, amps just boost what signal is there. The source influences the signal to a great extent.

    Sorry but your way off on this one.

    Many people here have moved from the X-Music to newer better cards, so you telling them the cards sound the same just show them you really have no clue what your talking about.

    Also, what does "Audiophiles can't tell the difference between Monster Cable and coat hangers" have to do with sources components?
    We aren't talking about speaker cables or interconnect we are talking about source.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2009
  17. GenClaymore

    GenClaymore Ancient Guru

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    eh... cables and sound cards are two diffent things.I swear you sound alot like this dude on this other forum. Which was spouting the same bs.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2009
  18. Cyrosis

    Cyrosis Ancient Guru

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    It just shows how much placebo will influence people, and since that is my entire point, I think it has a lot to do with it.

    Than hopefully you don't mind sounding exactly the same as everyone else that opposes the view, so what is your point exactly?

    As I said already, agree to disagree, so just let it go, I don't expect or care if you believe anything I said.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2009
  19. ROBSCIX

    ROBSCIX Ancient Guru

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    Sure there is a point where plecebo can influence people but thinking there is nothing better sounding after a Creative X-Music is way off base.

    Have you actually looked at the components on that card? -It is basically the same output section as found on a Audigy 2.
    Which is to say, poor DACs, cheap filters and jelly bean opamps. There are many soundcards better then that card.

    If this is what you think great but you are mistaken.

    If I was you I would let this one go.
     
  20. Cyrosis

    Cyrosis Ancient Guru

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    I never said there was nothing better than an X-fi, there is plenty that is much better technically, but neither of you seem to be paying any attention to what I actually said. So if I must repeat myself again, it's that the difference any human can discern is so minuscule it's just not worth any extra money IMO, and most of the technical superiority is just not within human hearing ability, so it is rather pointless. Of course if a person has already sunk 4k on speakers, has them properly calibrated, chosen a proper crossover based on sub placement etc, than sure, spare no expense on the source, but just face it, computer speakers suck, so 99% of the people who have a sound card like this aren't hearing a single thing it's doing. The other 1% may have some nice bookshelf speakers hooked up to their PC, and they can benefit from that tiny little pointless difference it offers.

    besides, I already posted that I don't care to debate this, but than you both misrepresented what I actually said, and I won't stand for misquoting.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 18, 2009
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