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sounds cards

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by Exile_Chavez, Oct 8, 2010.

  1. Exile_Chavez

    Exile_Chavez New Member

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    hey guys, i was wondering 2 things while looksing through today's newegg sale email, and i noticed a really cheap sound card. what i am wondering is:

    1) are sound cards that big and noticable of an improvement, compared to onboard audio,?
    2) and if so which sound cards under 40 bucks are going to make a noticable difference in the sound quality i hear?

    small note for #2, i have a msi 770-c45 motherboard, and a skull candy sgs series headset, in particular the red one
     
  2. overclocker

    overclocker

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    For $40 you will not notice much differents with head phones.
     
    10 Year Member at TPU
  3. streetfighter 2

    streetfighter 2 New Member

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    This has been addressed before.

    The simple facts:
    1) It shouldn't make a noticeable performance difference in terms of computing power whether you're using onboard or not.
    2) The audio quality difference is going to be most apparent with better quality speakers/headphones though the golden rule:
    If you can't tell, then how can you be sure it's better? (Though the placebo effect is a powerful one.)

    I don't know of any good <$40 sound cards. Someone else will have to answer that.
     
  4. Exile_Chavez

    Exile_Chavez New Member

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    how much would it cost for a sound card that i would notice a difference in?

    and on another note, would my system be a little faster since the audio strain is no longer directly on the motherboard?
     
  5. streetfighter 2

    streetfighter 2 New Member

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    I believe both questions were answered in my previous post (but I answered them again anyway):

     
  6. Kursah

    Kursah Moderator Staff Member

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    I noticed a HUGE difference between my rigs' onboard audio and an old used Creative X-Fi Xtreme Music I picked up years ago for around $50. I also noticed a HUGE difference between my onboard audio and a $40 used X-Fi Xtreme Audio. There are some decent cards out there, but in the price range, odds are used will get you more card for the buck. Good thing about sound cards is they seem pretty damn resilient to age.

    I run an expensive Auzentech X-Fi now, but the biggest change was from onboard to the Xtreme Music. If you look around I'm sure you can find one for cheap, I've used it in Windows Xp, Vista and 7, x86 and x64 for the last two OSes. While I love my Auzen, the Xtreme Music had the software, the strong EQ and very good output power. The clarity was a huge change, the highs, lows, just overall sound was massive.

    Don't worry too much about performance with modern rigs, look more for improved sound quality and ability. Some Turtle Beach cards are popular for budget minded consumers, but even a low-end X-Fi or Asus Xonar would do quite well in comparison to most onboard solutions I've heard. Especially with driving heapdhones.
     
    10 Year Member at TPU
  7. streetfighter 2

    streetfighter 2 New Member

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    You are, of course, absolutely right. However I find audio to be quite subjective and when it doesn't matter (to the person in question) it saves money. In a sense:
    If you don't know what you're missing you might be happy to retain the money you get by not knowing. (Though affordable alternatives do exist.)

    This is the kind of thing I was doing a year or so ago:
    http://www.anandtech.com/show/2677/1

    Currently all of my audio is thru HDMI and a rather beefy receiver making a homebrew standalone DAC setup a bit antiquated.
     
  8. Kursah

    Kursah Moderator Staff Member

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    Sounds like you got one helluva setup...I almost went that route...but decided I didn't need or want any of that extra stuff with my PC. I heard some excellent setups, but I realized my Auzen card's HP amp drives my HARX700 and D2000 just fine for my needs for gaming and music. I'm not an audiophile by any means...at least a hardcore one...I enjoy sound the way I enjoy it, which is crisp, clear and powerful...actually considering selling the D2000 to get something different in the future.

    I do agree with your points above, just figured I would state that there is a way on a cheap ass budget to get a very noticeable difference between sound quality, volume and tuning between most onboard audio and an ancient X-Fi Xtreme Music or even Xtreme Audio. Not saying it'll compete with a setup like yours, but for 50 bucks and no extra cables beyond the headphone cable and speaker connections, it's definitely a viable and cheap solution that will get someone improved audio. Though I can only go by my ears and what I've had others here listen to, but the votes were all in agreement with my findings which has me much more confident to even recommend a $50 sound card as a solid upgrade if someone wants improved audio. But again, if people are happy with what they have as you said...saving money never hurt anyone these days. But picking the right pieces when wanting to spend money can make a big difference between noticable and waste of time too. That's a serious article, nice. :D
     
    10 Year Member at TPU
  9. Dent1

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    This thread is a joke, Exile_Chavez without telling us what speakers or headphones you have, how can anyone begin to answer your question.
     
  10. Exile_Chavez

    Exile_Chavez New Member

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    i do believe, in my original post for this thread, i stated my motherboard as an msi 770-c45, and directly after that i stated that i have the skullcandy gaming series headset, and in particular the red one. read the entire thread before making statements like that.
     
  11. Robert-The-Rambler

    Robert-The-Rambler

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    I like the Asus Xonar DS

    ASUS Xonar DS 7.1 Channels 24-bit 192KHz PCI Inter...

    The outputs on this thing get louder a lot faster than my X-Fi soundcards from Creative Labs. I also notice the headphone output sounds better as well. It's great for music and hit or miss for gaming but since you are using a headset I recommend it for the output power. The sound quality is very good.

    The price is $49.99 plus shipping minus a $20 MIR. That aint too shabby.
     
  12. MKmods Case Mod Guru

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    ^ +1 big time!

    I have had MANY sound cards and love my DS...
     
  13. Robert-The-Rambler

    Robert-The-Rambler

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    I have 4 of them!!!

    I have 4 Xonar DS, an X-Fi Titanium, X-Fi Extremegamer, X-Fi Extrememusic, and X-Fi Platinum. I also have an Audigy SE and X-Fi Xtreme Audio in the spare part bin with an original Sound Blaster Live. The loudest output by far is the DS. I'm guessing the voltage is higher on the outputs and it supports 24 bit 192khz over all 8 channels. The chipset in the Xonar DS is rebadged Oxygen HD chipset from C-Media and the op-amps are upgradeable.

    P.S I forgot that I also have the very handy external USB X-FI Surround that I use for EAX 4.0 on the go.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2010

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