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Soundcard Advice

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#1
I am a music producer and have my sound production kit seperate from my games PC...
Basically I know my stuff as far as music production sound cards are concerned but not the gamer level cards for average PC's

Im looking to connect my Logitech Z5500 5.1 speakers to my gaming rig.
-I want all the different EAX effects for games
-I want Dolby Prologic & DTS

-Optical and Co-Axial connects...
-windows vista / XP compatibility

All suggestions welcome, im feeling itchy as its payday and if i get good responses now I will order it now :D
 
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#2

OrbitzXT

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#3
I have the same exact speakers for my home and gaming PC, and am building a new computer tomorrow. I bought this sound card and will be my third time using it in a build. It is perfect via the Optical cable no matter which Windows you like to use, XP or Vista. Its stable, no crashes.

bluegears b-Enspirer 7.1 Channels 24-bit 192KHz PCI Interface Sound Card

It also comes with an optical cable. I also killed one by accident by giving it a static electricity shock, I sent an email to the RMA department and they responded in a matter of hours the same day telling me where to send it. I had a brand new one back sealed in the box in 2 weeks.
 

OrbitzXT

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#4
As for EAX, I think Creative has a monopoly on the newer versions but its not worth buying Creative for.
 
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#5
Creative blows, and most of the time the EAX is garbled on games or it does nothing for gameplay.
 
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#6
I have the same exact speakers for my home and gaming PC, and am building a new computer tomorrow. I bought this sound card and will be my third time using it in a build. It is perfect via the Optical cable no matter which Windows you like to use, XP or Vista. Its stable, no crashes.

bluegears b-Enspirer 7.1 Channels 24-bit 192KHz PCI Interface Sound Card

It also comes with an optical cable. I also killed one by accident by giving it a static electricity shock, I sent an email to the RMA department and they responded in a matter of hours the same day telling me where to send it. I had a brand new one back sealed in the box in 2 weeks.
that looks good, thanks... as personally i dont wanna break the bank with this as its only going to be for games not work and if its optical out i wont lose any sound quality through the AD/DA's if its a cheap card...

Only problem is that I have an account with overclockers.co.uk that I always use (before you tell me horror stories about them, Ive never had any issues with them before and am a happy customer of theirs).
 
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#7
Here are my two cents worth on the subject of sound, i used to LOVE Creative, but EAX is not really selling point for me anymore, that is really all they have going for them, in fact if you use Vista EAX is irrelavent because it does not work properly, you have to get there program called alchemy to run in the background and change the signal from EAX to like openAL and direct sound,

it sounds like a lot of hooey to me, i personally will not buy from creative anymore...
i bought an audigy Platinum EX about a year and a half ago, and i think it is starting to die... so i will be in the hunt soon enough....


There you go, take it for what it is worth
 
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#8
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#9
that looks like a pretty decent card actually. i used to have a c-media chipset on my last motherboard and was very pleased with it. the one i had did 3d mixing and all that crap and it sounded really good, if you ask me, if you have a decent sound system, and im guessing you do, then you will have good sound.. i will start looking at sound cards also, and let you know if i find anything worth looking at
 

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#11
That card that Sinew posted is nice, but the reason I didn't choose it was because I couldn't connect it to my Z-5500's via Optical cable.
 
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#12
I am a music producer and have my sound production kit seperate from my games PC...
Basically I know my stuff as far as music production sound cards are concerned but not the gamer level cards for average PC's

Im looking to connect my Logitech Z5500 5.1 speakers to my gaming rig.
-I want all the different EAX effects for games
-I want Dolby Prologic & DTS

-Optical and Co-Axial connects...
-windows vista / XP compatibility

All suggestions welcome, im feeling itchy as its payday and if i get good responses now I will order it now :D
TBH, if EAX is a big selling point for you the only two options I can recommend are the Creative Xtreme Gamer Fatal1ty Pro or the Auzentech X-Fi Prelude. Both are also apable of dolby decoding, only the Auzen Prelude is capable of dolby encoding, though. Both cards are amoung the fastest audio cards on the market as well.

But, issues arise if you intend to run Vista. Although EAX can be enabled through the workaround of both the OpenAL API and the ALchemy drivers, it's still a workaround. There is no direct support for EAX, or any hardware acceleration in Vista. Although these cards have a range of issues as well, no audio card right now is problematic free in WIN Vista, so . . .

If you're looking for even better sound quality and good overall audio creation quality as well, I'd also recommend the X-Fi Elite Pro.
 

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#13
I am a music producer and have my sound production kit seperate from my games PC...
Basically I know my stuff as far as music production sound cards are concerned but not the gamer level cards for average PC's

Im looking to connect my Logitech Z5500 5.1 speakers to my gaming rig.
-I want all the different EAX effects for games
-I want Dolby Prologic & DTS

-Optical and Co-Axial connects...
-windows vista / XP compatibility

All suggestions welcome, im feeling itchy as its payday and if i get good responses now I will order it now :D
Get a real amp pluged in to it with some real speakers... As for a amp and speakers to choose i cannot say as you should know what i like is more likely different than you.

Maybe a nice SONY Amp or ONKYO with DTS and connect it to the rear of the PC.
 
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#14

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#15
Is there a major difference between a lower end X-Fi card and a higher end one?

I just ordered http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829102017 this weekend..seemed like a good price for an X-Fi Optics
I've heard more bad than good about that one...hell when it first came out Creative didn't even officially support it! Dunno if they do now...but last I checked that version is an Audigy sourced chip or something...it does not have the actual X-Fi chip on board...bummer too because I almost snatched it in hopes of a PCI-e 1X X-Fi sound card.

I hope the support and overal quality of the card have improved, it has a decent price point...I hope it is worth it now.

:toast:
 
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#16
Well last night i got itchy fingers and went for this card: http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=SC-001-AS&groupid=701&catid=11&subcat=
Asus Xonar D2X 7.1 PCI-Express Sound Card

I think itll work well, has vista 64bit drivers and i couldnt find anyone saying anything bad about it.... also it is PCI Express X1 so can fit above my graphics cards if I go Crossfire :)
Does open al, direct X sound & eax

(Also i finally bought Vista 64bit... will hook it all up this weekend! )
 

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#17
The best Creative alternative out now that's under $100 is the HT-Omega Claro (not to be confused with the Claro Plus)

But if you want all EAX effects + Dolby, it's Auzentech Auzen X-Fi Prelude 7.1 for you. Though I'd recommend the former.
 
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#18
Get a real amp pluged in to it with some real speakers... As for a amp and speakers to choose i cannot say as you should know what i like is more likely different than you.

Maybe a nice SONY Amp or ONKYO with DTS and connect it to the rear of the PC.
I got serious studio monitor speakers, thats not what I want it for, only gaming and the occasional dvd...
I have Tannoy Reveal 5a Active studio monitors & a large pair of Mackie 824active studio monitors (as my main monitors)... this will drop pretty much any piece of home AV equipment as they are studio quality, built in amps and high spec, but I use it in my music production and not for my gaming rig.
 

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#19
I got serious studio monitor speakers, thats not what I want it for, only gaming and the occasional dvd...
I have Tannoy Reveal 5a Active studio monitors & a large pair of Mackie 824active studio monitors (as my main monitors)... this will drop pretty much any piece of home AV equipment as they are studio quality, built in amps and high spec, but I use it in my music production and not for my gaming rig.
Well Studio monitors speakers sound differant than Hi Hi speakers which is why i don't use computer speakers as i find missing sounds even more so in the 100-400Hz area of sound.

But like i said it depends on what you like. typically Technics for classical music but like SONY more upbeat type music and TEAC for fast paced music as they had a tighter base that kepted up.

I hate blobby sounding base lol. And i love a base that will travel up\down though a room. Thats why i regreated selling my old tannoys back from 1983 NOW they were what real speakers were about with there white cone with rubber reflex and a unique tweeter( which was used a lot back then) which was made of cloth .


But as i keep saying depends on what you like you might even like a flat sound or a blobby kinda base or even a sharp sound. I my self did not have the option were i live now but if you can get out and check some hifi gear out DO IT and make a day of it. Well thats if you can afford it and all.
 
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#20
Is there a major difference between a lower end X-Fi card and a higher end one?

I just ordered http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829102017 this weekend..seemed like a good price for an X-Fi Optics
with that card in question? Yes, there is a major difference even between that card an a Xtreme Gamer model.

Ther hardware is completely different.



@twicksisted - if you wouldn't mind posting some feedback on the Xonar after you've got it installed. I haven't heard much on their PCIE card yet.
 
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#21
with that card in question? Yes, there is a major difference even between that card an a Xtreme Gamer model.

Ther hardware is completely different.



@twicksisted - if you wouldn't mind posting some feedback on the Xonar after you've got it installed. I haven't heard much on their PCIE card yet.
what does that translate into as far as performance is concerned? the before mentioned card doesnt rely on the CPU to do its processing does it? Thats the only reason I got the dang thing, cause I heard X-Fi have their own processing capabilities.
 
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#22
what does that translate into as far as performance is concerned? the before mentioned card doesnt rely on the CPU to do its processing does it? Thats the only reason I got the dang thing, cause I heard X-Fi have their own processing capabilities.
they do, except for the Xtreme Audio. The Xtreme Audio card uses a Creative chipset instead of the X-Fi audio processing unit, which means that all actual sound processing is still done by the CPU itself. There is also a big difference in the number of hardware voices the cards are capable of, and a staggering difference in the number of software voices (due to the hardware architecture of the X-Fi APU).

With a good dual or quad core CPU, you won't really notice any actual performance differences in-game. What performance the APU brings to the table, though, is how fast it can process the audio files and play them back. Having the workload off of the CPU doesn't slow the CPU down at all.


My honest recommendation, if possible, would be to return the card for an Xtreme Gamer; you'll more than likely be a lot happier with it's abilities. Not to say the Xtreme Audio is a bad card . . . it just isn't deserving of the "X-Fi" branding.
 
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#23
they do, except for the Xtreme Audio. The Xtreme Audio card uses a Creative chipset instead of the X-Fi audio processing unit, which means that all actual sound processing is still done by the CPU itself. There is also a big difference in the number of hardware voices the cards are capable of, and a staggering difference in the number of software voices (due to the hardware architecture of the X-Fi APU).

With a good dual or quad core CPU, you won't really notice any actual performance differences in-game. What performance the APU brings to the table, though, is how fast it can process the audio files and play them back. Having the workload off of the CPU doesn't slow the CPU down at all.


My honest recommendation, if possible, would be to return the card for an Xtreme Gamer; you'll more than likely be a lot happier with it's abilities. Not to say the Xtreme Audio is a bad card . . . it just isn't deserving of the "X-Fi" branding.

hmm, I appreciate the tip. yes the game I play has ridiculously high processor requirements and I want to do all I can to help alleviate my CPU. just a little disappointed in the X-Fi for now. would you reccommend any other brand cards that would perform well/do their own processing?

edit: im dumb just read the above recomended cards
 
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#24
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#25
hmm, I appreciate the tip. yes the game I play has ridiculously high processor requirements and I want to do all I can to help alleviate my CPU. just a little disappointed in the X-Fi for now. would you reccommend any other brand cards that would perform well/do their own processing?

edit: im dumb just read the above recomended cards
well, in the sub $100 range, I can second btarunr's recommendation on the HT Omega's - good quality card's for their price.

But, if you're looking for a soundcard that is capable of handling all audio processing on it's own, you're pretty much stuck with the X-Fi lineup; unless you're willing to pay for an Auzentech Prelude, which makes use of the same X-Fi APU. I tend to not recommend the Xtreme Audio to other users, simply because you're not relly getting an X-Fi; and asides, the price of an Xtreme Gamer is not much more comparitively. If you can find an Xtreme Music still for sale on ebay or elsewhere, they tend to run the same price (or slightly more) than the XG, but offer improved versatility as well.

Aside from those, though, sound cards that make use of chipsets all require some amount of processing on the CPUs part - to what extent varies greatly by the chipset chosen for the card, and accompanying DSPs and other components. They're still faster than onboard solutions, and require less CPU processing, though. A good recommendation if you can find it at a nice price: Razer's Barracuda AC-1. Fast, not as fast as an X-Fi, but provides slightly better audio quality - so it's a bit of a trade off either way.