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What is the best sound card money can buy?

  • Thread starter Monkey_Business
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Monkey_Business

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#1
I've been told that the highest-performing sound card money can possibly buy right now is the "Auzentech Prelude." But that was probably someone's opinion and not technical fact. Which sound card will give you the best possible sound in games? I almost bought a Fatal1ty X-Fi champion edition, but I decided not to after reading horror stories about how crappy and buggy the drivers are.

The Fatal1ty X-Fi is $150 and the Auzentech Prelude is $200. Which will give me better quality sound in games? I doubt the drivers for the Auzentech Prelude seem like they were programmed by a 12 year old.
 
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#2
Whatever you do dont get a creative card you will regret it if you do
 
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#4
What's wrong with creative? Which sound card do you recommend I get?
Creative's drivers fail hard and have done for years (advertised features don't work etc). As for suggesting a card i'm sure someone with a broader knowledge of sound cards can provide a wider perspective however i'm finding my asus xonar d2x as good if not better sound wise than my old x-fi platinum in games and far better when watching films/listening to music.
 
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#5
Onboard soun is pretty amazing on some onboard motherboard. Now they changed the technology and btter handle the chipsets feature. I got an onboard 8.1 on mine. plus optical audio plus dvi plus hdmi... for 100$
 
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#6
The Creative cards do work better in some games that can take advantage of EAX 5.0, but that's about it. My Elite Pro is about the same as a PCI Fatality (except with a better signal to noise ratio) and I am very pleased with it, especially for the price I paid. I haven't experienced any of the bugginess that seems common with the X-fi series so maybe I'm lucky (still working primarliy in XP). I like the Asus Xonar Essence series a bit -it's ideal when hooked up to a receiver or speakers with a digital input (TOSLINK). I haven't heard how it sounds in person yet though but if I was to change my card, that's the one that gets my interest the most.
 
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#8
fatality Xfi,s work just fine you have to use the daniel K software pack 2.0 you get all the features and they function
 
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#9
Hey Monkey Business, what kind of sound setup do you have? Is it a 2.1 system, 5.1, headphones?
 

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#10
On-Board FTW!!!! down with creative and up with Realtek!
 

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#11
ive been using the Creative Fatality X-fi Titanium Pro

and its been kickass and everything im using surround sound, Crystallizer everything.
 
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#12
On-Board FTW!!!! down with creative and up with Realtek!
Doesn't your board have an X-Fi supreme or something like that?

Edit---Oh yeah. See it in your system specs "Supreme FX"
 

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#13
Doesn't your board have an X-Fi supreme or something like that?
Yes but it came with the board. i would go out of my way to buy a creative card. Also i have had small issues with this built on card giving too much bass and distorting on some songs. i have used the equalizer to tone it down but still some problems. I wished it had a normal realtek sound device on it. I have had that type of onboard sound for a long time and had ZERO problems with it.
 
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#14
Doesn't your board have an X-Fi supreme or something like that?
FACE! :nutkick:

Haha just playin'. Seriously though, yeah it is sad how Creative has been going at it the past few years. I don't know what the absolute "top" model is but I believe I heard there is an impressive new Auzentech coming out soon. Wish I could find/remember more details.
 
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#15
Yeah i can't tell any difference from on board to sound card but thats just me
 
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#16
The Supreme FX is only a AD1988B on a riser card so no.

The Omega is a still a good card on the cheap if you can find it used.
Auzentechs X-Fi cards are also pretty good just don't buy creatives X-Fi cards, Auzentech uses better components and sound better, and the driver support is a good bit better, I had one and loved it, had a X-Fi fatality and hated it.
 
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#17
I took my Elite Pro out for a while (Elite Pro doesn't have an SPDIF out header) and used my onboard sound for so I could hook it up to my graphic card and send it to my tv via HDMI... It was short lived -the Realtec got the job done but there was a noticeable difference in the quality of the sound.

The Omega is a nice card!
 

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#18
The Supreme FX is only a AD1988B on a riser card so no.

The Omega is a still a good card on the cheap if you can find it used.
Auzentechs X-Fi cards are also pretty good just don't buy creatives X-Fi cards, Auzentech uses better components and sound better, and the driver support is a good bit better, I had one and loved it, had a X-Fi fatality and hated it.
Well see some asus boards come with that PCIex x1 slot card but this board has is built on the motherboard.

Just did some research and its a soundmax chip with the X-FI software installed.
 
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#19
i see, i didn't know soundmax still made chips anymore, does it sound good.
 

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#20
it sounds good but some reason the bass settings are crappy cause i can lower them with the equalizer but it still distorts on some songs when it has some heavier than normal bass parts in the song. I dont know if its the X-FI software or what
 

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#21
Yeah, brandon, that's a software issue. It's part of the reason I don't like creative so much...cards are muddy, but can be fixed with Crystalizer, but this screws some bass up.

To Monkey...the prelude is a better card, but is still X-FI based, AFAIK. It's not really the cerative hardware that sucks, but the software, and any card that has an X-FI chip uses creative's software.

I normally recommend the ASUS D2X...it's a great card. But truly, it depends on what your config is...if you use headphones alot, there's a card for that, or HT use, a card for that, as well as normal use cards, both from X-FI and other chipsets.

Audio cards have gone specialized, in the high-end. No such thign as a good "all around'er".
 
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#22
As an actual card and not an add-on module (ala computer soundcard lol), I'd recommend you the M-Audio Audiophile 192. Currently doing a sound engineering course, and the M-Audio stuff I'm using seems to be great, and works synonymously with the Pro Tools system, the standard in Sound Production in all the great studios all over the world from Abbey Road Studios to Skywalker Sound Studios to mention a few. For the games that have Dolby Digital support, send it through the TOSLINK or SPDIF connection passthrough's for complete digital glory and/or switch inputs on your reciever / amp to analog for those games that don't. Happy gaming :)
 
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#23
My vote goes to the Asus D2X. I did have a X-fi Titanium sometime ago and I had the strangest problem with it were the sound would switch channels on its own. Couple weeks ago I put in the D2X and everything sounds phenomenal now and no weird switching of the channels. I now feel like I'm in Rapture w/ the D2X.
 

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#24
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#25
Yeah, brandon, that's a software issue. It's part of the reason I don't like creative so much...cards are muddy, but can be fixed with Crystalizer, but this screws some bass up.

To Monkey...the prelude is a better card, but is still X-FI based, AFAIK. It's not really the cerative hardware that sucks, but the software, and any card that has an X-FI chip uses creative's software.

I normally recommend the ASUS D2X...it's a great card. But truly, it depends on what your config is...if you use headphones alot, there's a card for that, or HT use, a card for that, as well as normal use cards, both from X-FI and other chipsets.

Audio cards have gone specialized, in the high-end. No such thign as a good "all around'er".
The closest thing to an "All rounder" will be the Xonar D2X :p
For analog output few cards rivals the Xonar Essensce STX, so I guess that will be a good choice for headphones etc.