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soundcard choice help

Discussion in 'Audio, Video & Home Theater' started by Knoxx29, Jul 21, 2014.

  1. Knoxx29

    Knoxx29

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    Hi all.

    I want to buy a soundcard and been honest I don't have a clue where to start, can someone
    Give me some advices to choose a good soundcard?
    Thanks a lot
     
  2. FreedomEclipse

    FreedomEclipse ~Technological Technocrat~

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    Knowing how much you're prepared to spend would be a good start
     
  3. Knoxx29

    Knoxx29

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    200-250€ would be a good amount
     
  4. FreedomEclipse

    FreedomEclipse ~Technological Technocrat~

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    you wont need anything remotely close to 250euro unless youre an audiophile....

    A decent all rounder would be a Creative SB-Z/ZX

    For headphones only Creative SB-Z ZxR would be great. If youre more into movies & music than gaming the a Xonar STX is one of the best sounding cards out there.


    If youre a gamer its best to stick to Creative cards because Asus's release drivers once in a blue moon & dont include any fixes or tweaks to get their soundcard working better with older/newer games. Ive had a Xonar D2X & an STX, eventually i just could stand the random audio anomalies, glitches & clipping when it came to gaming. Contrary to popular belief Asus's EAX emulation doesnt actually work very well at all. Regardless of EAX supported titles though, I still had random audio anomalies.
     
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  5. Knoxx29

    Knoxx29

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    So if I got it right that's mean, for movies and music (Xonar STX) for Gamers (Creative) so that's mean that there's not a soundcard good enough capable to have both solutions just in one?
     
  6. Dent1

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    You'd be better off spending that much on speakers, and only €50 on a soundcard.


    I had those exact same abnormalities with my old Creative.

    EAX works on my Xonar


    Knoxx29, have you thought about buying a good amp and some bookshelf speakers or studio monitors?
     
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  7. Knoxx29

    Knoxx29

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    I already have good speakers, that's why I want to get a soundcard
     
  8. Knoxx29

    Knoxx29

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    I have at home the Logitech Z906 and for the moment i think it's good enough, it costed 330€
     
  9. FreedomEclipse

    FreedomEclipse ~Technological Technocrat~

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    Define 'Old Creative'

    Not on mine, I had bad audio clipping in L4D, TF2, CS:S & Killingfloor

    I could hear footsteps, gunfire, sounds of a fight/battle taking place echoing (through many walls in CS:S) in CS:S & guildwars. Hell, it would even cause a CTD in CoD1 when i had EAX turned on in the settings - even with 3D emulation turned on.

    ARMA II started off OK then for some reason the sound just ended up being real loud and distorted and nothing i could do in the games options could fix the problem. my speakers were turned down but the audio coming through them was still loud & distorted, I tried reinstalling the sound drivers = didnt fix. I installed 3rd party Brainbit drivers = didnt fix

    Switched soundcard to SB-Z = everything is now fine again & has been peachy since.


    This is also a good option providing you already have a second GPU that has HDMI out that can function as a soundcard. Optical works too but HDMI supports higher bit-rate for blu-ray obviously.

    the Creative SB-Z sounds great, though the STX is much higher fidelity due to the ops and Burr Brown DAC used.The SB-Z ZxR has this but thats more of a premium audiophiles soundcard. you need to use that with headphones or monitor speakers. the ZxR wont do 5.1 unless its via Optical/TosLink & even then it will bypass all the stuff that makes the soundcard soundgood
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2014
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  10. Knoxx29

    Knoxx29

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    None of those soundcards qualify.

    The soundcard that comes integrated with the Asus V Formula it's good enough plus my sound system together they do a great job
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2014
  11. Dent1

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    Logitech Z906 are good PC speakers, but the PC market has always had a low standard as far as PC speakers, the quality isn't very good compared to entry level home theatre or audio recording speakers. This is the route I would go to improve audio. The soundcard won't help much. As Freedom Eclipse pointed out your GPU has HDMI so make use of the higher bitrate and additional supported HD formats on Blu-ray.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2014
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  12. FreedomEclipse

    FreedomEclipse ~Technological Technocrat~

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    So what do you want out of a soundcard then? If you want to blow money for the sake of blowing money then get a XFi Titanium HD, though you still wont be able to do 5.1 unless you Optical/TosLink and like i said, that bypasses all the stuff on the soundcard that makes the sound 'sound good'. it wont sound any different then just plugging it in to your built in soundcard.

    According to a quick google of the soundcard that comes with the Asus V Formula, it seems that its not a 'real' X-Fi. Under the shield is just a realtek chip. Many people havent bothered with it and one person even went with a cheap Xonar DG which he claims is better than the Supreme FX X-Fi 2. the Supreme FX card is nothing more then the standard built in sound with a software overlay that makes it sound a little fancy.
     
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  13. Knoxx29

    Knoxx29

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    i just wanted a soundcard that would be fine with games,music,films ect, but as i can see there is no too much choices out there, btw best solution for me its to build my own custom system
     
  14. FreedomEclipse

    FreedomEclipse ~Technological Technocrat~

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    Like i said, the SB-Z or ZX is a great all rounder, my music still sounds good though the Xonars always sounded a little better. To me Xonars always had a little more upper end 'sparkle' when it came to music & movies but that doesnt mean that the SB-Z/ZX is a shitty card and a bad buy. Going back to a creative card was one of the best choices i ever made.

    If you already have decent bookshelf speakers then go with a Denon AV unit with a HDMi pass through (as you dont have a second graphics card to function as a soundcard) You got your pioneers, Yamaha's, Onkyo's, Sony's & Panasonics but ive only heard great things about Denon's & Onkyo's. Ive not heard of anyone using a Yamaha AV hooked up to a PC but it shouldnt sound any different than the others.
     
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  15. Knoxx29

    Knoxx29

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    if i dont sell my gtx 580 i can keep it as a soundcard
     
  16. CJCerny

    CJCerny

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    I think we need to start over.

    OP, how do you have your Z906 speakers connected to your PC?
     
  17. Knoxx29

    Knoxx29

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    its still in the box i havent connected, i just got it last week
     
  18. CJCerny

    CJCerny

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    Does the soundcard on your motherboard have a digital out, either optical or coax?
     
  19. Dent1

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    Yes, but it won't work with the Z906.

    The Z906 speakers doesn't have HDMI- . This is a huge problem. Goes back to what I was saying earlier about PC speakers having limitations. Not just sound quality but features.

    However the Z906 speakers does have digital coaxial and digital output, so you'll be wanting to connect it to your Xonar Phoebus's or motherboard's optical out (SPDIF). I think this is the best alternative for you if you plan on keeping the speakers.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2014
  20. Knoxx29

    Knoxx29

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    Can you recommend me some good speakers with HDMI?
     
  21. Knoxx29

    Knoxx29

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    I have to check, but I think it should
     
  22. CJCerny

    CJCerny

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    First, don't worry about the HDMI thing for now. The only thing advantage that HDMI has over using the optical output of your motherboard's soundcard directly to the Z906 is that HDMI will transmit the hi-def sound tracks on Blu-ray disks and the optical won't. If you don't playback Blu-ray discs on your PC, it is not a concern.

    Second, we want to keep this simple. Start at the beginning, with the simplest setup and see if you are happy. To do this, connect your Z906 to the optical out of your motherboard's sound card. That will give you stereo games, stereo music, and Dolby Digital 5.1 from DVDs. You can use the "Effect" button on the front of the Z906 to spread the stereo sound from games and music to all the speakers. Just make sure to properly set the level of the speakers using the "Level" button on the control box of the Z906 so that all the speakers sound equally loud once you have positioned them according to where the manual tells you to.

    If you are not happy with this setup, the next level would be to get a sound card with the Dolby Digital Live feature and connect its optical output to your Z906. That will give you true 5.1 game sound.

    The final level is to ditch the soundcard and use the HDMI out of your video card and connect it to a home theater receiver. You would then need to purchase traditional speakers to go with that home theater receiver.

    As I mentioned above, start simple. You may find that connecting the digital out of the motherboard's sound card to your Z906 meets all of your sonic needs. The Z906 is capable of faking 5.1 sound from stereo sources and will also decode 5.1 sound from DVDs, so there's at least a chance that you will be satisfied with it if you position the speakers correctly and set their volume levels correctly.
     
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  23. Dent1

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    I agree with Knoxx29, keep your Z906 speakers and connect and use it's digital output. I think this is a good starting point. I don't think you're experienced enough to appreciate anything better. Then in a few years when you've outgrown the audio quality then look into a home theatre system. But I get the feeling you'll be more than happy.

    The only thing I'd add is, I would rather use the Asus RoG Xonar Phoebus Solo than the Supreme FX on board. but that's a personal opinion.
     
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  24. CJCerny

    CJCerny

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    The most important part of any 5.1 sound setup is actually getting the speakers positioned correctly and getting the sound levels set correctly. You can spend a lot of money on soundcards and speakers and home theater speakers and whatnot if you don't have the basics right, you are wasting your time and money. OP, start simple and get those speakers properly located and leveled once you have them connected to your motherboard's onboard sound card. I suspect you will be happy with what you already have.
     
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  25. Knoxx29

    Knoxx29

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    Thanks for the Infos, that was my final conclusion, Z906 + Xonar Phoebus solo...
     

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