Return or spend a lot on a good sound card for 7.1?

I bought the Razer Tiamat 7.1 from Newegg as it seemed like a decent deal at $137. The research I did was kind of mixed but I loved the look of it and in the end decided I'd give it a try. I was an idiot and bought a PCI sound blaster audigy se sound card which won't even fit and needed a PCIe sound card. My motherboard is the MSI Z77 MPOWER LGA 1155 which does happen to have the right connections and on-board sound for me to hook up the Tiamat to it so while I screwed up with the cheapo sound card I bought I was able to hook it up to my motherboard.

I downloaded the Razer surround sound utility which helped. The problem is when I'm in 7.1 mode I hear a humming/buzzing which I've read is from not being grounded or some such. I've tried all of my USB ports and hooked the USB connector into my cell phone adapter thing and tried plugging it strait into the surge protector. No matter where or how I supplied power with the USB connector I keep getting the buzzing/humming noise.

Aside from the noise the sound the sound quality in stereo mode isn't that great when listening to music. It sounds a bit muffled and the bass isn't good at all. 7.1 demos are great and the sound quality is good. This is when I understand the draw of 7.1 and the experience it can potentially give.

My dilemma is now do I just return the Tiamat and crappy sound card I got and go back to my Sony MDR-V6 or do I invest in a Xonar STX or another expensive sound card to try and make this purchase be worth it. I do see the potential but so far I am unhappy but I can understand attributing that to just using on-board sound.

Do I spent another stack of cash on a sound card or do I bite the $36 and return the headset and sound card and go back to my MDR-V6 which has astonishing stereo sound. I am a gamer and would love for the Tiamat 7.1 to enhance my experiences playing games but not if my stereo sound quality is going to bite the bullet because I also love listening to music as well. I did consider just keeping my MDR-V6 and use that for stereo music and the Tiamat for games but do enough games even take advantage of the true 7.1? Will they in the future? I plan to get an Oculus Rift so I thought the 7.1 would be great for the future of virtual reality gaming.

I could use some advice on what I should do based on my circumstances. Will it be worth investing in an expensive sound card? Is that buzzing/humming from the poor ground and how can I stop that as that's ultimately going to ruin the experience if I do get the expensive sound card. Any suggestions will be much appreciated.
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  1. I think I'm just going to return it. Too many people are saying the sound quality just isn't top notch. Getting an expensive sound card probably isn't going to change that completely. They're also too expensive just to keep around waiting to use them only every once and a wait for specific things...
  2. Best answer
    the buzzing is likely do to electrical noise from your onboard sound. adding a soundcard would eliminate the noise.

    as far as the razer being a decent set... it is average at best.

    a soundcard may help out with your other headphones as well. virtual surround is almost as good as surround headphones and you can use that on your stereo set you have now.

    no need for a $100 soundcard. many options for a much lower price.
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