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Which Soundcard?!?

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February 18, 2006 7:08:39 PM

Hey,
im buildin a new pc soon and im lookin around for a gd soundcard.
im lookin for sumthin capable of supportin 5.1 surround and im not too particular about wich brand but i was hopin of sumthin reliable

ne help wud b useful :p 

More about : soundcard

February 18, 2006 9:49:41 PM

If all you want is 5.1+, not knowing what else you might wan't, I'll suggest the Chaintech AV-710; it's around $20 online, and has a bitperfect SPDIF optical output as well as very respectable Wolffsen DACs for stereo output, and 3 line-out jacks for 7.1.
February 18, 2006 10:24:51 PM

get a creative card - Audigy 1/2/4 or XFi - top dogs for desktop pc sound, nothing else.
Related resources
March 2, 2006 12:35:15 AM

Audigy4,,about $75-80 bucks,,from Circuitcity,bestbuy, or straight from Creatives website.
I got one,,quite happy with it.
March 2, 2006 12:59:35 AM

Astralite knows what he is talking about, DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY on a creative card. I own an Audigy 2 and a Chaintech AV-710 Via Vinyl Audio, and I have to say for twenty dollars you get a card that sounds way better with music than any Creative card save the new X-fi (-whatever it is called). The card is just as good at reproducing sound as my creative card in games although there is some negligible performance hit. I have done my own testing with both cards and only found an insignificant fps advantage to the Audigy 2, depending on the game.

Creative is really lax on the driver support, Via is better concerning drivers.

You also get an optical cable with the Via card, which itself is almost worth the 20 dollars.
March 2, 2006 5:54:50 AM

Quote:
Astralite knows what he is talking about, DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY on a creative card. I own an Audigy 2 and a Chaintech AV-710 Via Vinyl Audio, and I have to say for twenty dollars you get a card that sounds way better with music than any Creative card save the new X-fi (-whatever it is called). The card is just as good at reproducing sound as my creative card in games although there is some negligible performance hit. I have done my own testing with both cards and only found an insignificant fps advantage to the Audigy 2, depending on the game.

Creative is really lax on the driver support, Via is better concerning drivers.

You also get an optical cable with the Via card, which itself is almost worth the 20 dollars.


Try some better speakers or earphones first before BS'ing

There is a huge diffrence and im not talking performance

Onboard sound (and cheaper sound chips) suck big time i aint going back (even an old Soundblaster128 card is loads better)

Big example - listen to the UT2004 nvidia intro logo with onboard and then with a creative card - any subs will distort where as the same speakers with an audigy will hold the frequencies aswell as push more bass and trebble - very notable.

Geez
March 2, 2006 7:52:08 AM

Quote:
Astralite knows what he is talking about, DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY on a creative card. I own an Audigy 2 and a Chaintech AV-710 Via Vinyl Audio, and I have to say for twenty dollars you get a card that sounds way better with music than any Creative card save the new X-fi (-whatever it is called). The card is just as good at reproducing sound as my creative card in games although there is some negligible performance hit. I have done my own testing with both cards and only found an insignificant fps advantage to the Audigy 2, depending on the game.

Creative is really lax on the driver support, Via is better concerning drivers.

You also get an optical cable with the Via card, which itself is almost worth the 20 dollars.


Try some better speakers or earphones first before BS'ing

There is a huge diffrence and im not talking performance

Onboard sound (and cheaper sound chips) suck big time i aint going back (even an old Soundblaster128 card is loads better)

Big example - listen to the UT2004 nvidia intro logo with onboard and then with a creative card - any subs will distort where as the same speakers with an audigy will hold the frequencies aswell as push more bass and trebble - very notable.

Geez

The Chaintech AV-710 is not an onboard soundcard, it's a PCI soundcard equipped with VIA Envy24HT, just like the M-Audio Revolutions.
March 2, 2006 12:19:29 PM

creative stuff is not that great imho... my nvidia on board sound beats my old audigy 2zs or whatever
March 2, 2006 12:38:12 PM

Quote:
creative stuff is not that great imho... my nvidia on board sound beats my old audigy 2zs or whatever


You wish!
March 2, 2006 12:39:19 PM

Quote:
If all you want is 5.1+, not knowing what else you might wan't, I'll suggest the Chaintech AV-710; it's around $20 online, and has a bitperfect SPDIF optical output as well as very respectable Wolffsen DACs for stereo output, and 3 line-out jacks for 7.1.


I read a review somewhere a while ago about that card and according to the review it was actually quite a nice little card for the money. If you have the hundred bucks or whatever for the X-FI it's probably the best though.
March 2, 2006 3:23:59 PM

don't argue my humble opinion... I think my onboard sound is better than my audigy 2zs that I use to have. I did not say better than yours. just my 2 cents
March 2, 2006 4:50:06 PM

great topic to get the flames out...

some codecs do sound better than the older creatives, and if you dont have the money that $20 card may do just fine. if you have around $100 though that x-fi is the shiznit, hands down. Search it out here on tom's.

I am not a creative champion I just like dedicated processors in sound, and while there is a performance gain with the proc in the creative cards, it is not much. Regardless, if you want stability get any creative. I have owned many and the drivers are not updated much because they are just plain solid to begin with. period. always compatible with everything which is more than i can say about most other codec based chips.

any add-in card will sound better than onboard though just because of background interference on the motherboard that is not on the add-in card.

Get what you can afford though to get off of the onboard sound. My philosophy with computer components is buy the max that you can afford and it will last the longest...

...there, that is my two bits.
March 3, 2006 11:52:36 AM

This is for apache...

Maybe you should read or do a little research about what you are talking about before you flame someone. The chaintech is a dedicated sound card, not onboard, yet I will put onboard sound with the VIA envy chip up against the Audigy 2 I own and I bet it will be close. Yes there is a huge difference between the (dedicated) cards, the chaintech sounds better than the creative. Maybe you should listen to someone who owns both cards and has them on his rig right now and I can easily tell the difference in winamp concerning music.

Geez is right
March 3, 2006 12:02:32 PM

can i get the link to that chaintech sounds good
March 3, 2006 10:16:21 PM

Quote:
This is for apache...

Maybe you should read or do a little research about what you are talking about before you flame someone. The chaintech is a dedicated sound card, not onboard, yet I will put onboard sound with the VIA envy chip up against the Audigy 2 I own and I bet it will be close. Yes there is a huge difference between the (dedicated) cards, the chaintech sounds better than the creative. Maybe you should listen to someone who owns both cards and has them on his rig right now and I can easily tell the difference in winamp concerning music.

Geez is right


Go read some nice articles about signal distortion and sound level and quality then come back to me with a humble apology.
March 4, 2006 2:51:15 AM

while i don't have a problem with either manufactures but in this case you will get what you pay for.

The chaintech will do a good job for most people and does so at a relatively inexpensive price.

The creatives are good cards but come at a premium.

The card i am currently using i love to bits and is not a creative card or chaintech.

if you can find it. i think it's pretty cheap right now is the HDA X-Mystique 7.1 it has all the features you would want in a 5.1+ card plus one special feature not found on many cards. DDE, it can encode.upmix any input signal into a Dolby Digital 5.1 signal which is great for my uses. But again you get what you pay for the more money you spend the better it will be. also you need to take into account that regardless of how much $$$ you dump on a soundcard if you have cheapy speakers the sound won't improve that much. Right now i love my setup but thats just my personal opinon.

for those that care:

HDA X-Mystique
Sony STR-DE697 Amplifer
Yamaha NSP 107 6.1 Speakers
March 4, 2006 3:02:53 AM

Quote:
This is for apache...

Maybe you should read or do a little research about what you are talking about before you flame someone. The chain tech is a dedicated sound card, not on board, yet I will put inboard sound with the VIA envy chip up against the Audigy 2 I own and I bet it will be close. Yes there is a huge difference between the (dedicated) cards, the chain tech sounds better than the creative. Maybe you should listen to someone who owns both cards and has them on his rig right now and I can easily tell the difference in winamp concerning music.

Geez is right


Go read some nice articles about signal distortion and sound level and quality then come back to me with a humble apology.




who cares... how does it sound? if it sounds good it is good... if need numbers to tell yourself it sounds good great. You want a apology funny
March 5, 2006 7:51:32 AM

Quote:
Quote:


Go read some nice articles about signal distortion and sound level and quality then come back to me with a humble apology.


Well for analog, I *could* understand a difference, but the Wolfsenn DAC is reputedly 106db SNR, so if you have any links to articles about how it fails to stack up against the cards you prefer.

For digital--which I use--I'll take a dedicated digitaljack to a minijack plus conversion anyday.
March 5, 2006 10:48:54 AM

Hey will that 20$ Chaintech soundcard sound better than my onboard card. I have intel 915GLVG mobo. I am also gonna upgrade to ASUS P5DR1 VM mobo as it has the PCI-e x16 slot which my current mobo doesn't( has only x1 slot :cry:  ) How will this chaintech card do against this mobo? I have altec lansing 251 5.1 speakers. They should sound good in music and games.
March 6, 2006 5:02:13 AM

an audigy or xfi would wip the cards mentioned here
March 6, 2006 10:40:10 AM

Quote:
Hey will that 20$ Chaintech soundcard sound better than my onboard card. I have intel 915GLVG mobo. I am also gonna upgrade to ASUS P5DR1 VM mobo as it has the PCI-e x16 slot which my current mobo doesn't( has only x1 slot :cry:  ) How will this chaintech card do against this mobo? I have altec lansing 251 5.1 speakers. They should sound good in music and games.


Since you may or may not have been reading, to rehash the entire thead:

First, any PCI solution is going to have a lower noise floor than onboard.

Second, Creative cards are gaming oriented "effects" cards. The Chaintech supports up to EAX2, the Audigy EAX3, Audigy 2 EAX4, and the X-FI EAX5. The differences between these revisions, I am unfamiliar with, and I presume any non-industry insiders would be.

Third, M-audio/Chaintech and other Envy24 based solutions will be cleaner for music, particularly with more resolving speakers. The primary artifacts associated with 48KHz resampling are IMD distortion, which comes up as high frequency ringing. With the 251s, they have tweeters, but its hard to say if you will actually hear any differences or not musically.

$20 will go a long way, but if you have $75 and don't think you will upgrade for a long time, the X-Fi might serve you better--if you play games more than you listen to music.
March 6, 2006 10:54:35 AM

Thanks a lot buddy. :) 
March 6, 2006 12:56:40 PM

good wrap-up astrallite. If that doesn't help someone looking for a sound card answer then nothing will. :) 
March 7, 2006 3:05:20 AM

It seems most of us have forgotten the NF2 Soundstorm onboard solution. It offered great onboard sound with low CPU utilization, almost as good as the best Creative card and better than the other cards at that time. If you go back a few years, Tom's has a good article/test of them. Why was it dropped from the NF3 and NF4 boards? Personally, I think Creative paid off nVidia, to remove the most threatening competition to Creative's monopoly. I have a four computer family (wife & 2 kids). I have two old boards with Soundstorm, and I'm getting by fine with my old Santa Cruz card. I also like my old Herculese Fortisimo 7.1 card (no longer available -- why?), now in my son's computer. Sure, Creative is today's leader, but I wonder if Creative is as bad as Microsoft and Intel regarding monopolistic practices.
March 7, 2006 3:37:49 AM

I don't think anyone has forgotten it per se. I think DDL solutions generally fit a general audience (HTPC with traditional loudspeakers and receivers).

I'm under the impression that very few PC users use regular speakers as they do require a bit more space to use properly then multimedia speakers.
Even most multimedia speaker setups like "$50 Creative 7.1" setups involve lining all 7 speakers in a row on a table like a bunch of clock radios. I think that the multimedia sound industry is more milking people with a interest in lining their table with cool looking gadgets than sound quality per se.

If you look at the DDL market, it's rather small. (Although one poster in this forum for some reason compared the X-mystique to the X-Fi and called it the Creatives "next closest competitor").
March 7, 2006 4:05:11 AM

well yes this is true. and at the time the only reason i went for the x-mystique over another creative card was the DDL since i wanted to hook it up to my Home Theatre via Fiber Optic and was the only way i could get 5.1 audio in anything other than DVD's :)  but if thats not a plan for you then by all means get the creative card. But i do also feel that creative is starting to get to that ole microsoft feeling of ruling a particular world of computing :) .
March 7, 2006 4:36:29 AM

:D  I have to agree with you that Creatives is getting in the the Microsoft feeling. Developping their X-Fi, having the EAX and having to use their decoder to be able to hear that...isn't that monopoly? What for you will need EAX if you hear it all with Dolbly Digital Surround and DTS?

I love my X-Plosion 7.1 from Auzentech which can encode both Dolby Digtital AND DTS +++ their quality of sound is increadible. Read their review, and stop talking about Creative. It's only brand. They had great reviews, and I do believe they are real audiophiles.
March 8, 2006 1:13:56 PM

I mentioned Nv earlier. It was a good chip and would have competed directly with creative if they had released it on a seperate card. (it was even a dedicated proc!) Nv said that the market would not support them and pulled out, which meant that they pulled out of making the chip. I liked it on my nf2 board but background interference could still be heard (really bad when using the onboard USB), so I put in a creative. No matter how good the chip is, if it is on a mobo it will never perform as good as an off-board solution.

Reality is, creative had no need to pay them off... there is just not enough market to go around because not enough of us are buying dedicated chips. We would all rather listen to AC97 codecs. IMO that soundstorm chip on a seperate board would have rocked creatives world.
March 17, 2006 11:27:23 PM

Quote:
Hey,
im buildin a new pc soon and im lookin around for a gd soundcard.
im lookin for sumthin capable of supportin 5.1 surround and im not too particular about wich brand but i was hopin of sumthin reliable

ne help wud b useful :p 


try www.m-audio.com

excellent cards i run two of them.
March 17, 2006 11:30:57 PM

Geez[/quote]

The Chaintech AV-710 is not an onboard soundcard, it's a PCI soundcard equipped with VIA Envy24HT, just like the M-Audio Revolutions.[/quote]

i have two m-audio sound cards. best purchase i've ever made. i used to use creative cards a lot.
March 21, 2006 3:48:32 PM

Contrary to what alot of people say ,dont buy anything BUT a creative card. it may suck the boingers but' it's the industry standard, everyone will support it in the foreseable future.
March 21, 2006 11:56:45 PM

Most of the other cards described here are EAX2 compliant so its not a real issue. Besides, if by *support* you mean by *new features*, then it doesn't really matter if you buy a Creative or non-Creative card *now*, since neither card will be able to use these new "supported" features that a newer Creative card has in the future.
!