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new rig - need advice on soundcard

Last response: in Components
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August 30, 2013 3:49:05 AM

Hi everyone,

I'm building a new system, and I need your advice choosing the soundcard that would best suit my specific needs / setup. I'll try to sum up all the facts as much as I can:

The setup:

- the rig itself: Mid-tower case (cooler master or equivalent) + ASUS Z87-Pro + i5 4670K + 1 and later 2 (SLI/XFIRE) GPU's (GTX 760 DCUII OC / HD 7950).

- it will be plugged to a Yamaha HTR-6140 receiver, which outputs sound in 5.1 (in DD, various Yamaha proprietary modes and a nice "straight" mode that basically outputs the sound exactly as it's received from the source, be it DTS or anything else) through speakers but is capable of 7.1 through headphones ("silent cinema" function, which does a great job at "spacialising" the sound)

- headphones: sennheiser hd 555


My needs / concerns :

- i would like a card that outputs sound in 7.1 for gaming, but that is most of all good for music listening (sound clarity); I also don't care about it having a headphones amp or not.

Basically, since the sound is going to run through the receiver, which is already capable of amplifing the sound (I think I never even got at half the max volume), what matters to me is to get the best sound quality (not level), to complement the receiver.

- it has to be compatible with the Z87 chipset, and fit into one of the pci-e slots (i don't really understand how this various pci/pci-e kinds of slots apply to a sound card :??:  ) even with an sli setup i.e. two big GPU's (I'm thinking form factor)

- Obviously it has to be reliable and as hassle-free as possible when it comes to drivers support / compatibility etc.

Thanks for reading, and it goes without saying that any help would be very appreciated :) 

More about : rig advice soundcard

August 30, 2013 5:07:43 AM

you dont need a soundcard, just use the hdmi output from your graphics card and connect it to the receiver. you will get far better sound quality this way then using any soundcard.

use the headphone output on the receiver also, it should have an amp built in for it anyway.
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August 30, 2013 5:51:41 AM

mauller07 said:
you dont need a soundcard, just use the hdmi output from your graphics card and connect it to the receiver. you will get far better sound quality this way then using any soundcard.

use the headphone output on the receiver also, it should have an amp built in for it anyway.


Really? I thought that the soundcard would be much better as all the hardware is dedicated to the sound :??: 

does that hold for the music as well, or only games?

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August 30, 2013 5:57:56 AM

nope for any sound, since the output from the pc to the receiver is all digital over hdmi, it can output the sound to the receiver in full 198khz 7.1 at 16, 24 or 32bit.

no sound processing is done on the graphics card it just passes the digital audio stream out over the hdmi so what you hear on your av receiver is what the pc is outputting.
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August 30, 2013 6:05:45 AM

the digital to analogue converters and amps in your av receiver will also usually be far superior to most soundcards.
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August 30, 2013 6:10:44 AM

mauller07 said:
the digital to analogue converters and amps in your av receiver will also usually be far superior to most soundcards.


Probably, but I was thinking that the sound coming to the receiver from the source, be it pc/ps3 or whatever has to be as "clean" and pure as possible, because it would only help the receiver deliver a better sound...

I wouldn't be able to listen to music using the GPU's HDMI output would I ? Then it would be either soundcard output or mobo's one right?

EDIT: sorry I hadn't seen your previous post...
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August 30, 2013 6:38:41 AM

all of your system sound is passed out over hdmi so that means everything.

stick a hdmi cable into the pc and into the amp and give it a try, just go into recodring devices and set the hdmi output as default, also change the settings on the hdmi output, should be able to select 198khz 7.1 24bit. i think it also will only display outputs that your receiver can process.
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August 30, 2013 6:46:54 AM

I'll give it a try as soon as I have the rig put togheter. :) 

With the same setup, would it then make a difference if I got a mobo that has a better onboard sound chip, like the maximus VI hero for e.g. (http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/MAXIMUS_VI_HERO/ ), which has a "supreme fx" chip and some other fancy stuff, or would it be the same reasoning as with the dedicated sound card (no difference or even worse sound).

My guess is no since it is the mobo's component that are upgraded with comparison with regular mobo's, but could you confirm please?
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August 30, 2013 6:58:55 AM

well if your sending all your sound to your receiver and will be using the hdmi then you dont really need to worry about sound on the motherboard, just buy a motherboard for other features that you want.
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August 30, 2013 7:04:50 AM

Great, thanks a lot for your answers and for saving me at least 50€, really appreciated your help !!
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