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New soundcard

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by Black Flag, Jun 15, 2013.

  1. Black Flag

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    I want to replace my onboard sound card with a better one. For gaming, movies and multimedia.
    The last time I had bought a sound card was in September of 2006, the X-Fi Xtreme Music. Because of bad drivers support of Creative I have retired it on December of 2009 and from then I was using only the onboard sound card.

    I want to know which is the best to select, the Asus Xonar D2X or the Sound Blaster ZX?
     
  2. jgunning

    jgunning

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    Personally I would go the Xonar only because I have used that in the past and it has been amazing. Plus its very cheap considering! =)
    Plus I have heard nothing but good reports for the Xonar from numerous others even here on TPU..

    Hope this helps!

    J :toast:
     
  3. shovenose

    shovenose

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    Just built a friend's audio production and gaming rig with this sound card:
    Creative Sound Blaster Z 70SB150000000 Sound Card ...

    He loves it so far, I tried it out it was great sounding :) The included software and drivers actually worked which was surprising - Creative generally has lousy drivers, but not this time :) I highly recommend it.
     
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  4. Jack1n

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    Depends on what kind of audio setup you have(headphones,5.1speakers,7.1speakers).
     
  5. RealNC New Member

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    I'm quite happy with the audio coming from my Xonar D1. The Dolby Headphone functionality seems to actually work.

    However, one problem with Asus is that they never release new drivers. For over two years now, they didn't release a single driver update for my Xonar, even though there are still many problems with their GX (fake "EAX 5") implementation. Fortunately I'm not playing any game that would benefit from GX (or at least I don't think I do,) so it's OK with me. But if you expect good driver support in general, you might be better off with a SoundBlaster (even though they're quite overpriced for what they offer,) as Asus doesn't seem to be committed at all in this regard. It feels a bit like "here's your card, and here's a driver you'll be using the rest of your life" :p
     
  6. Black Flag

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    Thank you for your answers. :)

    The only objection I have for the Xonar, is that is a 5.5 years old hardware. The quality of Asus is unquestionable, but the ZX I want to buy has gold plated connections and components, also has optical output and input and I think that ZX has come to compete with D2X. I can find zx at 119.00 € (158.00 $) and the D2X at 140.00 € (186.80 $).
     
  7. DinaAngel

    DinaAngel

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    i would recomend ASUS Xonar Essence STX
    http://www.asus.com/Sound_Cards_and_DigitaltoAnalog_Converters/Xonar_Essence_STX/
    but the Oamp i suggest u swap out to the newer ones, its not too difficult to swap out as its not soldered, it means u can swap out a few bits without worries
    http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/digital-line-level/216694-choosing-op-amps-essence-stx-i-v-stage.html
    alot of different ones u can swap to but i havent read thru that one but uknow its easy to google it.

    but u doesnt hafto swap anything the card is one of the best newer cards
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2013
  8. FreedomEclipse

    FreedomEclipse ~Technological Technocrat~

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    If youre more of a gamer, I recommend getting either a Creative fatal1ty titanium pro or a SB-Z

    Ive had 2 high-end xonar's (D2X & STX) and had the chance to test a 'cheaper' Xonar DG.

    For music & movies - there are no better soundcards then the Xonar's. however they suffer from extremely poor driver support from Asus. Even though tweaked 3rd party drivers alleviates some of the problems encountered, it doesnt fix everything.


    If you like to game, stick with a Sound Blaster Z - you wont be sorry. I downgraded from an STX earlier in the year and I couldnt be happier
     
  9. Mindweaver

    Mindweaver Moderato®™ Staff Member

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    Your current motherboard has a supreme FX III correct? That's pretty much a low to mid Xonar.. I've not used a Supreme FX III card, but it looks to be a pretty decent card. What are you trying to achieve here? Do you want a better headphone amp or what? If it's the amp then cadaveca (TPU Reviewer) say's the Sound Blaster Zx has the best headphone amp on a soundcard right now. :toast:
     
    Crunching for Team TPU
  10. Black Flag

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    I only want better sound when gaming and when watching HD Blu-ray movies. I have a 5.1 setup (z506), but I will buy later this summer the z906 speakers to connect them through optical cable. I've noticed bad quality of sound in some movies and games. The motherboard has a Realtek HD sound chipset (ALC889 codec) with Creative's software.
     
  11. Frag Maniac

    Frag Maniac

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    Both have gold plated mini plug jacks, and those are the ones to worry about wear wise. I've had the cheap color coded plastic ones break and/or fail connection before.

    Optical vs Coaxial is splitting hairs really, neither are as clean sounding as using lossless, multichannel PCM audio via HDMI. IF you can get that to work it's a better alternative. For that matter such connections are typically for doing a pass through to a receiver. You can do the same with most any MB that has optical or coaxial out.

    The main problem I have with Creative's latest cards is they do all the sound tailoring via that Sound Core DSP, which is likely why many say they suck for music. If you look at the actual circuit board it's missing the nice opamps and such that other cards have. Granted the driver issue is something to be concerned about, but I don't see Creative doing much better really.

    At $130 for the Creative I would consider spending a bit more on a receiver and forget the sound card option. If you buy at the right time of year you can get entry level name brand receivers starting at around $150. The only thing there is you have to make sure you can connect your speakers to it.

    Don't worry about matching wattage, you can always set a volume limiter, most modern receivers have them. It's usually just a matter of whether the sub will connect when using ones made for PC. If you can connect the sub to a receiver it would likely be done via the stereo audio inputs using an RCA splitter cable combined with a single RCA cable.

    http://www.monoprice.com/products/p...=10236&cs_id=1023603&p_id=6261&seq=1&format=2

    http://www.monoprice.com/products/p...=10236&cs_id=1023603&p_id=2680&seq=1&format=2
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2013
  12. Black Flag

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    I will buy the ZX, I decided it. I will not go to Asus because is a 5.5 years old sound card. Also I think the processor of the Z series of Creative is better than the previous Recon3D. Also for the first time I don't read for driver issues because of Creative.
     
  13. refined sugar

    refined sugar New Member

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    I'd use the onboard chip or gpu-audio via digital output. Better spend your money for an external amp / video receiver with DA-Converter and closed headphones. Using PCIe gaming soundcards via analog output is sensless spend money compared to onboard chips in present days and you have a not needed plus in power consumption. The promises of getting a better gaming feeling is just a marketing trick I think. I was playing audio-based multiplayer targeting a long time with usual stereo with good headphones. If you wanna go Pro go for RME or more expensive external stuff. But sure, it depends on your needings. ;)
     
  14. techtard

    techtard

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    Do newer versions of Windows even do hardware sound acceleration anymore? I've been toying with the idea of upgrading my onboard too, but I don't know if it will be worth it.
     
  15. awesomesauce

    awesomesauce

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    I didnt read all the tread but.. i can say.
    it not cause the card is older it's worse.. It not working like that in the audio world. And i think the creative card are also over priced.
     
  16. FreedomEclipse

    FreedomEclipse ~Technological Technocrat~

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    There is rumours floating about (or just idle chit chat) that M$ are trying to or at least planning to bring Directsound/hardware acceleration. Last time i heard anything about it was probably about a year ago though. I cant seem to find a link to that anymore.

    IMO an upgrade is still great idea but you might want to save for an AV receiver and some bookshelf speakers.
     
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  17. techtard

    techtard

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    Yea, it's just idle speculation on my part right now, I blew through my yearly budget with new PC parts and watercooling stuff over the past few months.

    I'll probably end up getting a receiver and just running the audio from my video card. Here's to hoping lady luck deals me a great hand next time I'm playing poker with the boys! :D
     
  18. FreedomEclipse

    FreedomEclipse ~Technological Technocrat~

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    Ive heard of some bandwidth issues that cause a lot of stuttering and bad 3D performance when using a single GPU to output sound & video. Your mobo has a built in HDMI port, I suggest you use that instead.
     
  19. Aquinus

    Aquinus Resident Wat-man

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    If you're eventually going to be going with optical, if you're motherboard has it, don't upgrade. The audio device has little impact on the optical signal since there is no DAC on the board being used. The DAC is on the receiver end when you use S/PDIF.
     
  20. Black Flag

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    I was a happy owner of Audigy's and X-Fi's in the past (also SB16, SBAWE32, PCI64, PCI128). But I don't think that my on board sound is better than the ZX, even with my analog z506 speakers.

    I intend for buying of Xonar D2X, but this card has old drivers and I read about problems of the soundcard's software after some time, that the programs won't start and stuff like that.

    If I buy and external amplifier which costs around 170.00+ €, I must also buy and some decent speakers for the 5.1 setup. So the cost will exceed the 300.00+ € of budget. So I believe it's not a good and suitable idea for me.

    I think I have to change the sound card at first and then if I buy the z906 speakers we'll see for the improvement over the sound experience.

    I'm still thinking of it, which card to select, but I can't find a review which compares the ZX directly with the D2X. Only personal opinions for other users in the hardware forums.
     
  21. FreedomEclipse

    FreedomEclipse ~Technological Technocrat~

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    depends which is more important to you. Xonars sound great but directional audio when it comes to games can be hit or miss. some older games also dont like the EAX emulation very much and for most of them will cause a lot of issues with audio clipping or hearing footsteps, gunfire from half way across the map - these are just a few of the anomalies when picking up a Xonar.

    Ive had issues with TF2, KF, Guildwars, CS:S. BF2, L4D/1&2. so if you play any of these games and have EAX or hardware acceleration enabled. Be prepared to suffer all sorts of random sound anomalies.
     
  22. Black Flag

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    Just installed the ZX! Quality is amazing compared to the X-Fi MB 2 (ALC889 Codec). Bass is better, voice is crystal! Gaming experience is awesome! It reminds me the days of X-Fi Xtreme Music (2006 - 2010).
     
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  23. Frag Maniac

    Frag Maniac

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    As for optical or coaxial pass through via the MB or a sound card, there is one difference. Many sound cards that support DTS encode it via such outputs, whereas the MB won't. The DTS site shows about 45 games that currently support it, and that's not including older games.

    Some like The Last of Us are console exclusives though. Most notably some current examples on PC are, Metro Last Light, Bioshock Infinite, Remember Me, GRID 2, Crysis 3, Far Cry 3, Hitman: HD Trilogy, MoH Warfighter, AC 3, Doom 3 BFG Ed, and Borderlands 2.

    http://www.dts.com/consumers/entert...=20120628-20130628&q=Games&at=#recentReleases
     
  24. techtard

    techtard

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    Had a little money to burn and also ordered a Soundblaster ZX, along with some Sennheiser headphones.
     

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