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Time for Better Sound!

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by Kursah, Sep 18, 2007.

  1. Kursah

    Kursah

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    Well, like the title says, I have decided to go beyond on-board sound. Granted my LTB headset does sound great, I got to hear my buddies X-fi with his turtle beach headset and I gotta say it was great! I don't want to spend an arm and a leg for a sound card, but I want something that will do decently for me. I like good sounds in movies, games, and with my music/mp3's. I know my on-board Soundmax sucks on the P5B Deluxe in comparison to actual sound cards, so I'd like some recommendations please.

    Currently, I'm considering this:
    Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeGamer 7.1 Channels 24-bit 96KHz PCI Interface Sound Card - Retail
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829102006
    $79.99 w/free shipping

    Since I'll only be using my 5.1 headset and my 2.1 speakers, it should suffice quite well (I use a splitter for the main channel so when I want to use my speakers, I don't have to unplug anything). I know it's not 192khz sound quality, but I'm sure 96khz will devastate my current setup. I just want some thoughts. I haven't used an add-on sound card since the 90's (lol!), but this one seems decent. I know X-Fi isn't the most loved out there, but on the other hand it is loved due to the sound it creates, I know drivers aren't the best, neither is support and I am not planning on going back to Vista, I may wait out for the next MS pOS before I change from XP again.

    What I expect:

    Good sound quality, 5.1+ channel support, EAX support, decent price (no more than $100 incl/ s&h). I was hoping to find good card in the 50-60 dollar range, but alas, I do not see one that reviews very well in that range. This one is fairly well reviewed, and has it's issues, but everything does. Is this card worth it? What's better? I'm asking for your help TPU, I want better sound! :toast:
  2. pbmaster

    pbmaster New Member

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    Whatever you do, don't get the X-Fi Xtreme Gamer or the Xtreme Audio...if you're going to get an X-Fi, start with the Xtreme Music. My friend has that one and he loves it.
    Kursah says thanks.
  3. Kursah

    Kursah

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    Just out of curiosity, why not the Xtreme Gamer? I found one on Ebay for approx $60 with s&h brand new. Seems like a good deal. I will look into the Music version. I just wanna make sure I get one good for movies/tunes/gaming that supports EAX (is it worth it?), and full surround sound capabilities. Thanks again pb!

    Also it doesn't have to be an X-fi, I just want something that is better than on-board, for a decent price point...any suggestions open!
  4. Namslas90 New Member

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    Good luck, you might be better off with this one; cost more but you get what you pay for;

    http://auzentech.com/site/products/x-fi_prelude.php

    Lots of probs with the creative version.:toast:
    Kursah says thanks.
  5. pbmaster

    pbmaster New Member

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    NP man, any time. I haven't had any direct experience with the Xtreme Gamer, but I did use the Xtreme Audio for a time...it actually cut my game performance down and bit while sounding worse!! TBH, I haven't found anything I like better than my 5 year old Sound Blaster Live! It's not even 24 bit!!
  6. Namslas90 New Member

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    Good choice pbm, Even a $30.00 Audigy SE will greatly improve sound over onboard.:toast:
    Kursah says thanks.
  7. pbmaster

    pbmaster New Member

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    Thanks man, I just don't want him to buy some pos card he's not going to like, ya know?
    Kursah says thanks.
  8. Kursah

    Kursah

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    Thanks for the responses so far guys! I'm trying to find the Music X-Fi version. I like that Auzentech card, but considering it costs more than my x1950pro did, that's a hard bill to swallow at the moment, $100 is my max for the budget on the sound card issue right now. I am just hoping I can get a good card or at least decent for that price.

    I think I will sway away from the Xtreme Gamer and keep looking, so please keep recommendations coming! I did see that Audigy SE for 29.99 at Newegg, I will keep it in mind! Again thanks!

    :toast:
  9. ktr

    ktr

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  10. Kursah

    Kursah

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    I like the looks of it! And that price point is definately easier to swallow! Thanks KTR!
  11. Kursah

    Kursah

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    Well, do please keep the suggestions coming, I will not be buying a card until tomorrow after work so that I can have time to make sure I'm getting what I want, but I want suggestions for researching and so far they've been great!

    So what do you guys think? Should I go for that X-Fi eXtremeMusic? 69.99 + $7 s&h, it's OEM, but that's fine with me.
  12. Kursah

    Kursah

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    Well I just ordered the X-Fi eXtremeMusic, couldn't find a deal anywhere else so thanks KTR! And thanks everyone else for their suggestions and help! I read a few pro and consumer reviews on this sound card and it seems it will fit the bill for me quite well, and in a price range that doesn't sting at all!

    :toast:
  13. ktr

    ktr

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    No problemo...

    The extreme music = fatal1ty - xram

    while xram = pointless

    therefore extreme music = good.
  14. Kursah

    Kursah

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    That's what I read about from quite a few users! I liked the sound of the Xram feature when Creative described it, but from the end-user point of view it seems too much of a gimmick that had no real proof of performance increase for the price point. Turns out the X-fi my buddy has is the Xtreme Music as I found out today, that pretty much sealed the deal for me, and he payed about $20 more a few months ago for his! :D

    Thanks again KTR and everyone that helped me out! :rockout:
  15. Kursah

    Kursah

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    Well I've had this SB card in for a couple of days now, Fry's got that card here asap! I paid for 7-day ground and got it in 2 days air via DHL! Now if Newegg could do that...hehe.

    It's a huge difference between my on-board! Thanks again for the link KTR, and thanks to everyone else that gave their opinoins, I'm glad I asked instead of went on with my original plans! I'm lovin the better sound, sound quality, clarity, and everything about this card! Plus since it was OEM it came with no driver disks, documentations, which I expected, but I found a site that has Drive Disk ISO's for all Creative SB cards from Live! to X-Fi. Has so many tweaks and options, took some messing with what booted and didn't to make me content, and some of it's definately bloat-ware, but it's fun to play with for sure! Makes this LTB 5.1 headset sound good, but now I want a better headset, I just don't have $150+ as of yet, and for $70 these are pretty damn good.

    :toast:
  16. ktr

    ktr

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    Frys.com warehouse is right next to a major DHL center.
  17. Kursah

    Kursah

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    Well what would you recommend I upgrade to from my current headset? My Logitec X230 2.1 speakers are plenty for stereo use. I like the 5.1 option, I like my buddie's turtle beach headset, they have 4 speakers in each cup in comparison to my 3 (main speakers are used for Front and Sub channels). My biggest beef with these LTB's is the bass defeat they have, which isn't too bad, but is noticable after about half volume where bass is as loud as it gets, it's enough to vibrate the cups somewhat, but they do sound damn good overall, can't really complain, now I just want more hehe. I was thinking a sennheiser set, haven't seen too many that have integrated mic, which as much as I game online now is a requirement. Any suggestions as a future reference? It'll probably be a month or two before I'll have the budget for a really good set, but I'm figuring a budget starting at $100+ maybe $150.
  18. hat

    hat Maximum Overclocker

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    Once you start using a sound card, if you ever switch back to your onboard audio you will notice a difference, the sound will be kind of muffled, dull...

    //I will never buy another sound card again though, because onboard sound is improving, and by the time there are no PCI slots (my card is PCI), the difference between onboard sound today and future onboard sound will be insurmountable.
  19. Kursah

    Kursah

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    True, but I'm sure someone has a trick up their sleeve for a good performing, small PCM based, still better than on-board PCI-e 1x card. The one on Newegg isn't even supported, they're just selling it, which I thought was lame.

    I do agree on-board has come a long ways, and it's sad to say that the Realtek in my G/F's Abit AS8 is better than my P5B due to overall quality and lack of issues. But this card made a huge difference! Plus they're getting so much better, and with dual/tri/quad cores coming out now and sooner than later, it seems that an actual sound processer may not make a big difference anymore as it did when the x-fi first came out. Even then I don't think it made a huge difference. And the sound quality of on-board will get better undoubtedly.

    I'm still scanning for a really good 5.1 headset, it's kinda hard, and the ones I have sound really good, it seems the more I use the card the better it sounds. I'm listening to all my music again because it sounds so good! I'm hearing things in songs I never knew was there, and that's base-rate 128k MP3's! CD's are a different story as-well-as DVD movies, man, I didn't know how much better it was till I heard it for myself!

    :toast:
  20. hat

    hat Maximum Overclocker

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    Yeah I noticed a big difference in music too. When I use my sound card, I hear the guy playing the guitar in the beguinning of My Sacrafice by Creed, but with onboard audio I don't hear shit, or I think I did but it was very muffled...
  21. ktr

    ktr

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    I too am looking for a sweet ear muffs of a headphone.

    I was looking at turtlebeach, both there hpa2 and ak-r8...and they both look nice. But look at the reviews out there, so mixed. Dunno which one to get.

    But over all they are the same...ak-r8 has a built in sound card, while the hpa2 does not.
  22. hat

    hat Maximum Overclocker

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    I would go with the ak-r8 then, because you are using onbord sound. If it was me, I would go with the hpa2 since I already have a sound card.
  23. Kursah

    Kursah

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    I'm not big into the USB ones, I want the 3.5mm AC-97 style, but the USB built-in amps are better than on-board from what I've read, so it's a good deal, just make sure you disable your on-board sound card. The only consistent complaint I've noticed about the Turtle Beach's is one of the ear-cups falling of on a certain model I almost bought, that's not cool. That's why I purchased the LTB's, they're great I must say, but LTB will lose out if they keep using the bass management or whatever they call it. There should be a switch for those that don't want it, maybe they use it to keep distortion down, they claim it's for better sound (I'm assuming less distortion) and less damage to ear drums from loud bass. Like I said it'll be a while before I replace these, and even so, I won't be getting rid of these. The mic is very touchy though, it has no boom, built into the LH ear cup (so is vol up/down, sound mute buttons), but it doesn't perform background noice silencing very well, and like I said it can be touchy. Still works great in vent for me.

    If you are looking for a good headset on a budget for voip gaming, movies, music, they're great, but I know there's better, and I want them...just at what price am I willing to pay...
  24. p_o_s_pc

    p_o_s_pc F@H&WCG addict

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    I find am offended by that... Why wouldn't you want him to buy a pos? :laugh:
    Crunching for Team TPU
  25. p_o_s_pc

    p_o_s_pc F@H&WCG addict

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    I don't know how the USB sound cards came into this but... I have and am using a USB sound card and it is a LITTLE better than onboard it stopped the lag in games and gave me a higher score in the 3D mark series
    Crunching for Team TPU

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