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Sound Card to AV Reciever

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June 22, 2006 10:58:23 PM

I have a $1800 7.1 surround sound setup and would like to know what sound card will:
a: ) enable digital passthrough to allow my reciever

b: ) allow good surround sound for gaming (i play mostly AoE III and Oblivion)

c: ) not make my speakers sound like ones built into a monitor

d: ) allow me to play movies off my hard drive in 6.1 doldby digital or dts

d: ) wont empty my wallet


I have seen many soundcards that have analouge minijacks with 2 channels going through them. I can't understand how decent quality can come from the same jack in a portable casette player

If anyone has ANY information on any of these subjects, it would be GREATLY appreciated. I have spent alot of time looking through different reviews, but each review seems to be slanted in a particular direction.

More about : sound card reciever

June 22, 2006 11:36:37 PM

Quote:
I have a $1800 7.1 surround sound setup and would like to know what sound card will:
a: ) enable digital passthrough to allow my reciever

b: ) allow good surround sound for gaming (i play mostly AoE III and Oblivion)

c: ) not make my speakers sound like ones built into a monitor

d: ) allow me to play movies off my hard drive in 6.1 doldby digital or dts

d: ) wont empty my wallet


I have seen many soundcards that have analouge minijacks with 2 channels going through them. I can't understand how decent quality can come from the same jack in a portable casette player

If anyone has ANY information on any of these subjects, it would be GREATLY appreciated. I have spent alot of time looking through different reviews, but each review seems to be slanted in a particular direction.



Ahoy ,there Dimmy; Almost any good quality sound card will ,that has a digital/optical output,for your receiver's digital/optical input, it's called a S/PDIF and it means Sony.Philips,etc,etc,,it's like a line out,your receiver does the rest.There are two types, one is coaxial and , the other is optical,most mobo's with built-in sound have them as well....Hope this deconfuses you a little,enjoy....:) )
June 22, 2006 11:49:43 PM

Seeing that you have a $1800 setup I would want a really nice sound card to take advantage of it. I personally would get the creative X-Fi Elite Pro but its around $400. It's the top of the consumer sound card line and is built using professional sound card components. It nicely fits all of your critera above with perhaps the exception of emptying wallet.

At the very least get an X-FI fatality. I mean come on..you already spent $1800 on your sound setup!! 8O 8O. It would be sacraligious at this point to go for a mid to low end sound card. 8) 8)
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June 23, 2006 12:41:29 AM

Thank you for your adivce dokk and pockep. I am a newbie to the world of soundcards, but am not in the AV realm. I am using my mobo's (p5nn32 sli deluxe) optical s/pdif output... but it sounds like complete crap.

I've spent the last four hours reading reviews, HTPC DIY articles, ect. I was wondering if any of you know anything about the M-Audio revolution 7.1

Thank you you two, for your insight and quick responces!!!
June 23, 2006 1:22:07 AM

Don't bother with the M-Audio revolution.

Despite the name, the SNR performance and many other audio technical specs are actually below what creative are putting out.

I'd heartily recommend a X-Fi.

The upmix surround for music and 3D sound etc is VASTLY superior to Dolby Pro-Logic II etc that your reciever might kick out - I know because I've compared it to Dolby PL2 - so I would recommend connecting the analogue outputs too so that the card can do the surround sound processing for certain tasks.

As far as I know if you select SP/DIF passthrough or similar you would lose any processing work done card-side - which is actually very good for some tasks.

For DVD's where you want to let the reciever do this work then you can of course use a digital optical output if your kit supports it (or coaxial if not).

Definitely go for the X-Fi, although I have heard that the DAC's are better on the Elite Pro - but use the analogue outputs from the card not the breakout box.
June 23, 2006 2:15:58 AM

Creative products and the X-Fi are over priced and over rated. For what you're asking the M-Audio 7.1 Revolution will perform admirably...and no effing break boxes!!!!!

Good luck!
June 23, 2006 2:39:56 AM

Quote:
As far as I know if you select SP/DIF passthrough or similar you would lose any processing work done card-side - which is actually very good for some tasks.


Definitely go for the X-Fi, although I have heard that the DAC's are better on the Elite Pro - but use the analogue outputs from the card not the breakout box.


Thank you both for your advice. After reading more online, I think I will go with the M-audio Revolution 7.1 like Dave siad

I read in a Review of the Revolution 7.1 that the Creative Cards dont use the full ability of their DAC's

I have also read that the X-fi is better for gaming then most..if not all cards. However in the same article it said it diddnt have the same audiophile quality as many others.

I was also wondering about the revolution's gaming capability.... I'm completely clueless when it comes to gaming sound... so any help would be appreciated!!!

Thank you soo much for all of you guyses help here at TG forums... I have never had this kind of feedback anywhere else!! Thankyou!!
June 23, 2006 5:03:29 AM

Quote:
I have a $1800 7.1 surround sound setup and would like to know what sound card will:
a: ) enable digital passthrough to allow my reciever

b: ) allow good surround sound for gaming (i play mostly AoE III and Oblivion)

c: ) not make my speakers sound like ones built into a monitor

d: ) allow me to play movies off my hard drive in 6.1 doldby digital or dts

d: ) wont empty my wallet


I have seen many soundcards that have analouge minijacks with 2 channels going through them. I can't understand how decent quality can come from the same jack in a portable casette player

If anyone has ANY information on any of these subjects, it would be GREATLY appreciated. I have spent alot of time looking through different reviews, but each review seems to be slanted in a particular direction.


I would buy a Blue Gears X-mystique or a Turtle Beach Montego. Both of them have dolby digital live (dolby digital real time encoding) as well as passthrough for movies. This should be the most painless solution as you will never have to change cables.
June 23, 2006 6:09:06 AM

i agree about either the X-Mystique or Montego DDL, both use the same chipset (CMI8768+ i think), and are both excellent choices for surround gaming
June 23, 2006 6:57:43 AM

Okay, thank you to all who have posted... I never expected this kind of traffic on my thread!!!! All of your advice is appreciated!!!

I have been doing alot of research sence my last post... and have learned that almost all cards RESAMPLE the audio to a lower quality before outputing it. Cards that dont resample are (apparently) very uncommon.

I was first looking the M-audio revolution, but learned it had crappy drivers. Now I am strongly concidering annother card that uses the ENVY24HT chipset, the Audiotrak Prodigy 7.1

If anyone has any knowledge or experience with this card I would love your comments

Thank you everyone at TG forumz!!
June 23, 2006 8:08:26 AM

Windows KMixer automatically resamples, so onboard is always 48KHz.

Creative cards always resample all analog sources to 48KHz, because they are too cheap to add native 44.1KHz sampling.

Envy based cards can have native 44.1KHz analog sampling.

All DDL cards have KMixer disabled and have bitperfect playback on stereo and passthrough sources, except gaming, which is 48KHz native.
June 23, 2006 9:27:51 AM

Quote:
I have been doing alot of research sence my last post... and have learned that almost all cards RESAMPLE the audio to a lower quality before outputing it. Cards that dont resample are (apparently) very uncommon.

Quote:
Creative cards always resample all analog sources to 48KHz, because they are too cheap to add native 44.1KHz sampling.

This is the main reason I say Creative cards are over rated and over priced.

Quote:
I was first looking the M-audio revolution, but learned it had crappy drivers. Now I am strongly concidering annother card that uses the ENVY24HT chipset, the Audiotrak Prodigy 7.1

The M-Audio driver support isn't the best, they do not release a lot driver updates, but the most recent release 1.0.28 works well for me, no issues, they just work.

Quote:
If anyone has any knowledge or experience with this card I would love your comments

Quote:
I was also wondering about the revolution's gaming capability.... I'm completely clueless when it comes to gaming sound... so any help would be appreciated!!!

I've got an M-Audio 7.1 Revolution in both my HTPC and my gaming machine. First got it for the HTPC as a lark and only because it had a digital coax out, but soon after, I realized I made a happy mistake. Nice crisp clear sound from any and all movies, music, video, etc...it just works and with very minimal cpu usage (1-2%). With my gaming machine, when a game (Max Payne2, CoD2, MOH series) would load up, right as I could begin to control the character, the game would stutter with frame skipping and audio going staccato, and then it would "catch up" and play like nothing happened. This stuttering behavior stopped when I switched from the Creative Audigy2 over to the M-Audio 7.1 Revolution. No lie, true story...

Don't let the M-Audio driver support scare you off, look at Creative's history of crappy driver support and everyone sops up the X-Fi with a biscuit. However, if you can find a Audiotrak Prodigy 7.1, try it out, I've read some excellent reviews about that card. Truth is, you can buy an Revolution and a Prodigy for the same price as a high end X-Fi!!!!

Good luck!
June 23, 2006 10:32:07 AM

Quote:
also it is microsofts direct sound drivers which allow surround sound not anything a sound card offers.


well... im going to assume thats right, since im really not positive myself... but if something is reencoded in a format by a sound card, such as encoded in 5.1 channel AC-3, (not just left as standard 2 channel PCM) and sent over a digital signal to an external decoder to resolve ... doesnt that bypass microsofts surround sound configuring?... and leaving just the external decoder to handle it?... just wondering

edit: ...though now that i think about it, i guess you have to turn on spdif passthrough to allow the external decoder to handle it, i think... nevermind, lol... from what im aware though, sound cards other than creatives are permitted up to EAX 2.0, for licensing reasons (i think)
June 23, 2006 5:12:15 PM

Quote:
since you are using an the digital out i aint sure how much the individual qualities of the cards matter. the analog sampling rate may be set at 48khz but the digital output on creative cards can be set to 96 if that is of any help.


Okay....So lets say that I do buy one of the ENVY24HT based cards (Revolution or Prodigy), then shoudl I use the analouge outputs or the digital??

if ANYONE has had ANY experience with analouge bichannel minijacks... please explain to me how they work. How do I connect the minijack to a reciever with standard RCA inputs.

OR, if i connected it using S/PDIF, then would it not matter that the the ENVY24HT doesnt resample... because I wouldnt beusing the DACs (Digital Analouge Converters)... The whole thing would be digital... so why would that matter???

So if I do buy an ENVY24HT.... To get the best sound quality, should i connect it using S/PDIF? or Analouge? Or S/PDIF passthrough?
Is there a difference between regualar S/PDIF and S/PDIF passthrough??


If I did buy an x-fi, and used a digital output, then would it still resample??

The Xtreme Music has a digital minijack, so would I not lose anything using a minijack/fulsize adapter, because its a digital signal??

I feel stupid asking this... but what exactly is ASIO????

Alot of queseteions, I know, but I cant seem to find any oppinions on them anywhere on the internet. The guys over at AVForum dont know jack about computers... and google just returns alot of fanboy sites...

Thank you to EVERYONE who has posted, and I hope that anyone else thats having my problem (it doesnt seem like THAT uncommon of a problem) can read this thread and get the same help I can!!
June 23, 2006 9:20:04 PM

Quote:
Seeing that you have a $1800 setup I would want a really nice sound card to take advantage of it. I personally would get the creative X-Fi Elite Pro but its around $400. It's the top of the consumer sound card line and is built using professional sound card components. It nicely fits all of your critera above with perhaps the exception of emptying wallet.

At the very least get an X-FI fatality. I mean come on..you already spent $1800 on your sound setup!! 8O 8O. It would be sacraligious at this point to go for a mid to low end sound card. 8) 8)


X-Fi is nice, but I'm not sure it's actually the best...that's just Creative's marketing, and I admit, I fell into the trap myself. ...but as I delve deeper into AudioPhile facts, I'm slowly being brought into the light. You may want to consider cards by M-Audio and Terratec as well. A Google search will reveal much more than I can here.

X-Fi is good...and it is the easy-to-get, easy-to-have solution. Heck, you're local supermarket might have them in the same isle as blank CDs...but there's a world beyond X-Fi that many don't know about.... Like I said, Google M-Audio and Terratec and look at their product line's audio specs against the mighty X-Fi...and you may be surprised.
June 23, 2006 9:58:08 PM

Quote:
X-Fi is nice, but I'm not sure it's actually the best...that's just Creative's marketing, and I admit, I fell into the trap myself. ...but as I delve deeper into AudioPhile facts, I'm slowly being brought into the light. You may want to consider cards by M-Audio and Terratec as well. A Google search will reveal much more than I can here.


Agreed...it's alot of marketing. I should rephrase and say at the very least thats what I would get but there are other options (if very very few) out there. And thats the big problem is lack of true competition.
June 23, 2006 10:02:58 PM

---TIME TO SHARE MY HOURS OF RESEARCH---

PC sound is run through a program called kmixer, which is part of windows

kmixer resamples EVERYTHING, to one samplerate, reducing the quality of all audio coming out of a PC

the purpose of kmixer is to mix all audio output together, so it can all be played at once( ex. a windows notification beep sounding while you are listening to music)

The only ways to bypass kmixer are to use either Kernal Streaming or ASIO

ASIO was originally developed for professionals, while Kernal Streaming was developed by microsoft. They are both only offered in select applications

Winamp and Foobar support both, while iTunes only supports Kernal Streaming with a plugin

Sound cards that support ASIO/Kernal Streaming are usualy expencive, but it is the only way to get bit perfect audio output form a pc.

creative cards resample everything, so it doesnt sound as good as a card that can output bit-perfect

ENVY24 cards all support asio, and can output bitperfect.

Prodigy is a great card, mosly because of the drivers.....

but a cheap chaintech ($22 usd) can be flashed to think its a prodigy, if you only want to use the digital output

So if gaming isnt a high priority, this is deffinately something to concider.

AV Science fourum has a huge 32 page thread on this subject

here is the link

I'm not pretending to be knowledgeable on this subject, I'm just trying to consolidate some information for others who have my same problem. I would strongly recomend going to the AVS thread for questions.

Thank you again to everyone who has helped me at TG FORUMZ!!!!!
June 23, 2006 11:10:35 PM

People are a little behind the times here; the automatic resampling to 48khz has been completely changed in the X-Fi cards. It features very, very sophisticated lossless conversion that only an audio processor as powerful as the X-Fi could accomplish.

Alternatively, you can lock the core into 44.1khz in creation mode.

AND they support bit-matched recording and playback.

They also have a very good ASIO implementation - I know, I've used it in plenty of Semi-Pro applications (Cubase SX, Wavelab etc).

Also, the internet is full of proper, TECHNICAL audio tests that show the sound playback and recording quality from the x-fi beats the revolution

I really do wish people would stop perpetuating this myth that creative sucks, the M-Audio Revolution 7.1 is actually a very dissapointing card - given that it is marketed as a beginner audio creation solution, and yet its Signal-To-Noise ratio and other stats are good but worse than a consumer level sound card in the X-Fi AND the revolution has none of the audio acceleration capabilities. If you really want to look at M-Audio, the Audiophile performs better in terms of sound quality.
June 23, 2006 11:29:55 PM

I don't like heards :) 

But seriously, I think its important to remember what the X-Fi is. It is the most powerful and versatile soundcard EVER, not just a one-trick pony.

I've owned anything from ISA Wavetable 3D (remember those?) to SB Live to M-Audio Audiophile to nForce and I'm quite confident the X-Fi is my fave ever.

I will concede that the DAC's on the cheaper X-Fi's won't be as good as on the Revolution, but I'm 99 percent sure they are better on the elite pro version.

Oh, and for you purists...

Creative own E-mu. Wait until the E-mu bring out a soundcard based on the X-Fi core... if they ever do. You can be sure it will have mastering-grade DAC's and sound the shizz.
June 24, 2006 12:04:36 AM

I'm not trying to bash Creative here. I have no doubt they are the best gaming cards, or that the x-fi is the best sound card core on the market.

And I will admit that the thread I was reading spans a few years, up to current day, so some of the information on it may be outdated.

I also know that there are ALOT of people that hate Creative, and there are ALOT of people who think any other sound card is a waste of silicon.

This feud is alot like ATI vs Nvidia... Alot of people feel strongly one way or the other, and dont care if one side comes out with the god of all cards, they will still hate it.


If anyone has any comments that can be backed up by links to other forums, or even better, Sound Card data pages from a reputable source.... They would be of much help.

I will admit I havent payed much attention to Creative for my current sound card purchace, and this is not because of any slanted oppinion, its just because the only x-fi cards that I can afford simply DONT have S/PDIF output, thats not being output through a minijack.

I think everyone can agree that a card with a digital out minijack will sound worse then a card with a fulsized S/PDIF output... 1st rule of AV is the fewer connections the better, so I dont want to mess with any adapters

I never expected this thread to get the kind of traffic it has, and thank you to all who have posted!! I still havent made up my mind as to which card to buy, and am looking foreward to everyone's oppinons!!!
June 24, 2006 7:39:24 AM

Quote:
well, well someone who doesn't just follow the herd. nice to see. i never fully trust anyone who hates creative. i have heard too many people say they never use the cards but then they always know they are bad. also the people who say the drivers are buggy then when pushed admit they used an original SB live from 5+years ago and nothing since.

tbh i don't care as the x-fi and the audigy 2 zs before it did everything i need it to.


The only folks still using only an SB Live! are likely people who just don't really care too much about audio...especially when you can get an Audigy SE for almost free. ...but an SB Live! is actually not a bad card and renders music fine considering the quality of the speakers that most people have.
June 24, 2006 7:45:56 AM

Quote:
that is the one thing i don't like about the x-fi. it dont have an optical on the card. i own the audigy 2 notebook and it has an optical out and in albeit in mini jack form. i don't know why they didn't use this appproach to fit an optical out onto the xi-fi.


I doubt and measurable signal stregnth is lost using the minijack S/PDIF adapter http://us.creative.com/products/product.asp?category=1&...

I think they didn't include this connectivity on the card itself because of the space TOSlink I/O and Coax I/O ...but since this adapter is drivin digitally, again, I don't imagine there's much degradation in signal by passing through it.
June 24, 2006 5:44:51 PM

Okay, I have finaly found the perfect card for my needs.... I was a disbeliever at first, but after reading many posts, threads, and reviews, this is my perfect card...

Chaintech AV-710

the real suprise is IT RETAILS ON NEWEGG FOR $23!!!!!

it has bitperfect audio output, and will sound the same as the prodigy when only using a digital output. however, the DACs suck, and it doesnt have a digital input.

It just does one thing, very, very well

Here's the Link to Newegg

I'll be buying the card soon, and if anyone has anyquestions, feel free to post here or PM me. I'm assuming alot of people are having this problem, because this post had over 700 views at the time I wrote this.

Thank you for all your help, if you need me I'll be listening to bit-perfect music!!! :D  :D  :D 
June 24, 2006 6:36:10 PM

glad you got something that fits your requirements at that price :) 

I guess I'm spoilt as I have an X-Fi Platinum, which has drive bay with

Digitial Optical IN/OUT
S/PDIF IN/OUT
MIDI IN/OUT
AUX IN
Headphone OUT w/Preamp
Stereo Jack Line IN w/preamp

...as well as the speaker output connectors etc on the rear of the card
June 24, 2006 6:40:51 PM

Don't be modest now, Dave, tell us what you think. :D 
June 24, 2006 6:53:49 PM

Quote:
...I have an X-Fi Platinum, which has drive bay...


a drive bay...hahaha...nothing like cables sticking out of the front of your machine so you can use connect with a digital coax or optical cable...not very feng shui in a home theater pc...
June 24, 2006 7:00:25 PM

lol Halcyon... I just mentioned my setup because people were saying that the X-Fi didn't have full digitial I/O. Wanted to point out that it may be true for the standard but not the higher end models :( 

Anyway, my PC isn't a home theatre PC its for games, listening and recording... so I personally consider the separate drivebay a virtue. Its more in line with professional studio gear, which will generally have a plethora of connections at the rear but often has front inputs too for easy access.
June 24, 2006 7:10:50 PM

Quote:
lol Halcyon... I just mentioned my setup because people were saying that the X-Fi didn't have full digitial I/O. Wanted to point out that it may be true for the standard but not the higher end models :( 

Anyway, my PC isn't a home theatre PC its for games, listening and recording... so I personally consider the separate drivebay a virtue. Its more in line with professional studio gear, which will generally have a plethora of connections at the rear but often has front inputs too for easy access.


:)  Ha. I really like the Platinum too, had it for about a week, but $200 just bothered me when I had an X-Fi XM sitting in my Dell rig that was NEVER gonna be used. Still, at least Creative has started selling the drive-bay breakout seperately ($80) for those that already have an XM. If I need digital I/O I'll prolly pay the $15 for the module that plugs into the rear.
June 24, 2006 7:28:24 PM

My sb live 5.1's and audigy 2's all sound the same, on a $2000 set of JBL Studio speakers and $1200 stereo.

SPDIF's are digital therefor it won't matter if they are optical or coaxial, mini or not. Differences in cable are mearly symantecs; there is no difference.

For two channel sound, if you have a goode enough pre-amp/receiver you will get just as good of sound from a digital input as you will from an analog minijack from any current audigy/live/xi-fi/m-audio.

Creative drivers suck, but the cards work fine. I've ordered an M-audio, we'll see how it does. Just don't use integrated sound and make sure you have levels set right and anything else will sound great. Unless you do a lot of music composition/midi etc, you don't need to worry about asio or directbit stuff, latency or lack thereof is the only advantage there.
June 25, 2006 12:21:02 AM

if you want to spend that much on a card, go ahead Dave.....

I dont understand why someone would pay 200 bucks for kmangled audio.... And i never understood the importance of the drive bay

DOES ANYONE SERRIOUSLY EVER USE THE DRIVE BAY FORANYTHING OTHER THEN HEADPHONES????

drivebays are only good for portable stuff, because alot of people have cases that hide the drive bays when the case is closed anyways...

--what must be going through creative's heads--
"we'll put a digital output on the drivebay, so all of our customers who HAPPEN TO BE CARRYING A HOME THEATRE IN THEIR POCKET can hook it up"

really... maybe I'm worng, I've never had one. But post if you have one and actually use it!!! :D 

(waiting for Dave's reply)
June 25, 2006 9:08:04 AM

Now, don't be too harsh on the drive bays.

If I can coax my soul into getting a Firestone Spitfire DAC+Firestone Beyond Cute headphone amp than the digital output on a the drive bay would have some use. Would it be worth $80 when I can achieve the same thing for $15? Hull no!

Again, I say it's messed up that you can get the goofy drive bay seperately but you can't get the worthy X-Fi EP's soundcard without the breakout box? Maybe Creative will realize the stupidity of this and correct it. ...and we'll have "X-Fi Iridium". :D 

The drive bay is not a bad idea, its just not worth $80...at all.
June 26, 2006 5:51:08 PM

dimwhited

The drive bay inputs are primarily used for music creation, for the second line/mic input, MIDI in/out, and Aux IN (eg, sampler).

If you don't need these, then you wouldn't understand the convenience of a drive bay or external breakout box, which prevents much fiddling of wires behind the case. If you do need them, then you will appreciate them. I do.

Digital out at the front is useful for those who own a minidisk recorder in particular, but also ADAT or digital hard-disk recorder.

You could easily spend alot more than $80 on a mixer and cables/adapters, whereas the drive bay has a simple preamp for the line/mic input as well as the MIDI IN/OUT and other useful things.

A breakout box or drive bay is NOT there just to save you moving your arm two feet further to plug in your headphones.

Thats my two cents.
June 27, 2006 1:17:38 AM

DaveUK

...
Wow... I never thought of that. Now that you say that, it does make ALOT of sence. I can deffinately understand the appeal for you, and whoever else has that situation, but it is FAR from a mainstream problem (in my oppinion). I find it odd that Creative's upgrade from extreme music is a drive bay that will only serve a perpose for a unique set of individuals, apposed to the mainstream. Maybe it is Creative's (brilliant) marketing scheme, but I would much rather have the card with built in xram then the breakout box.

Also, I think it has an appeal for people with cases that have fourteen drivebays or whatever.... If I had a case like that.............

hahaha, I'm loving the possibilities.

Anyways, Dave's two cents really answered my question... but does anyone know any more mainstream uses for the drivebay? or why Creative uses it as their first upgrade from xm?
June 27, 2006 8:30:29 AM

I see the drive bay's SPDIF I/O and upfront headphone jack the draw for the everyday consumer. Why it doesn't look great having cables permanently running from the front of your case, it doesn't look any worse than having cables running to the fron A/V jacks on a receiver or TV.

Being able to run straight digital to a Pre-Amp/Receiver or receiver AND being able to use the included remote control goes some distance to improved convenience and utility. $80 worth? That, you'll have to answer my friend.
June 29, 2006 4:46:14 PM

Quote:
I find it odd that Creative's upgrade from extreme music is a drive bay that will only serve a perpose for a unique set of individuals, apposed to the mainstream. Maybe it is Creative's (brilliant) marketing scheme, but I would much rather have the card with built in xram then the breakout box.


You only get the extra 64mb of "x-ram" on the Fatality and Elite Pro Options. Of course all x-fi's have (according to creative) "A completely re-engineered game audio processing engine utilizing the Creative X-Fi Xtreme Fidelity audio processor."

As far as their marketing scheme its pretty straight up. Basically you get more features built in with each step of the ladder you take up the product line. The top of the line card Elite Pro has everything all the other cards have plus extra goodies. So you're not getting deprived of anything if you are going for the top card.
June 29, 2006 5:26:52 PM

Quote:
Seeing that you have a $1800 setup I would want a really nice sound card to take advantage of it. I personally would get the creative X-Fi Elite Pro but its around $400. It's the top of the consumer sound card line and is built using professional sound card components. It nicely fits all of your critera above with perhaps the exception of emptying wallet.

At the very least get an X-FI fatality. I mean come on..you already spent $1800 on your sound setup!! 8O 8O. It would be sacraligious at this point to go for a mid to low end sound card. 8) 8)


Don't do it. It's a complete waste of money. If you're looking for the best sound for non-gaming, SB is NOT the way to go. I'd get an m-audio card.
It is better for Surround Sound AND music....and EVERY review that compares them says as much.

If you want the best for gaming, then the cheapest X-Fi is the best way to go. Aside from a front panel all the x-fi's sound the same. The extra memory on the X-Fi elite pro will argely go unused...who the heck writes support for a card that 99% of gamers aren't going to buy?

Figure out what your primary use is and buy that card. No matter what, you'll probably be able to get the card for under 100 bucks if it's an SB and not much more than 100 bucks (maybe less) if you get the m-audio.
June 29, 2006 5:30:06 PM

Quote:
Windows KMixer automatically resamples, so onboard is always 48KHz.

Creative cards always resample all analog sources to 48KHz, because they are too cheap to add native 44.1KHz sampling.

Envy based cards can have native 44.1KHz analog sampling.

All DDL cards have KMixer disabled and have bitperfect playback on stereo and passthrough sources, except gaming, which is 48KHz native.


As I recall, they resample all of their digital input as well. So if you had a DAT source going into the card, it'd resample it (regardless of the sampling rate of the recording).
June 29, 2006 5:33:37 PM

Quote:
o.k firstly take every bad comment about creative with a large grain of salt. some of it might be based on truth but most is just biased.


BS. The reviews I've read all give the X-Fi points where it deserves them (gaming) and takes them away where it's lacking (music and HT).

All digital outputs are not the same. Creatives have a history of not being completely quiet. M-Audios are always silent. And I have both, so I say that from experience.
June 29, 2006 6:11:36 PM

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I find it odd that Creative's upgrade from extreme music is a drive bay that will only serve a perpose for a unique set of individuals, apposed to the mainstream. Maybe it is Creative's (brilliant) marketing scheme, but I would much rather have the card with built in xram then the breakout box.


You only get the extra 64mb of "x-ram" on the Fatality and Elite Pro Options. Of course all x-fi's have (according to creative) "A completely re-engineered game audio processing engine utilizing the Creative X-Fi Xtreme Fidelity audio processor."

As far as their marketing scheme its pretty straight up. Basically you get more features built in with each step of the ladder you take up the product line. The top of the line card Elite Pro has everything all the other cards have plus extra goodies. So you're not getting deprived of anything if you are going for the top card.

...well, ...that's not quite true. The X-Fi ElitePro used Audiophile grade DACs while the lower three models use typical consumer-grade chips. I believe the S/N ratio is higher for the EP while the THD and IMD are lower. I said before, I think Creative should offer this card alone, without the X-gimic (X-Ram) and breakout box.
June 30, 2006 3:27:01 AM

Quote:
.well, ...that's not quite true. The X-Fi ElitePro used Audiophile grade DACs while the lower three models use typical consumer-grade chips. I believe the S/N ratio is higher for the EP while the THD and IMD are lower. I said before, I think Creative should offer this card alone, without the X-gimic (X-Ram) and breakout box.


Technically you're right. But you really dont get deprived of much if anything depending on how you look at it. Personally I like the xtra ram and the box. Thats just me though.

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Figure out what your primary use is and buy that card. No matter what, you'll probably be able to get the card for under 100 bucks if it's an SB and not much more than 100 bucks (maybe less) if you get the m-audio.


He already did that..you need to read further up. I misunderstood what he wanted in the first place. I stand corrected.
June 30, 2006 3:59:41 AM

Quote:
Windows KMixer automatically resamples, so onboard is always 48KHz.

Creative cards always resample all analog sources to 48KHz, because they are too cheap to add native 44.1KHz sampling.

Envy based cards can have native 44.1KHz analog sampling.

All DDL cards have KMixer disabled and have bitperfect playback on stereo and passthrough sources, except gaming, which is 48KHz native.


As I recall, they resample all of their digital input as well. So if you had a DAT source going into the card, it'd resample it (regardless of the sampling rate of the recording).

Creative has touted bitperfect digital playback on two of their products, the Audigy 2 ZS and the X-Fi.
July 1, 2006 5:12:19 AM

Quote:
Creative has touted bitperfect digital playback on two of their products, the Audigy 2 ZS and the X-Fi.


I thought that Creative always resampled their output to 24-bit so it could add all of creative's DSP stuff.... which DEFFINATELY isnt bit-perfect

can anyone show a link of any reliable sorce that says a creative card can be bit perfect??? if one is, then I'll box up my chaintech and go buy a SB right now, at one oclock in the morning......
July 1, 2006 5:20:24 AM

Why would you spend ~$75 for the a neglible upgrade?

The Crystalizer increases the noise floor from -96db to -144db, which is upsampling, not resampling. Resampling happens by default, Crystalizer on or off, to 48KHz. While this adds HF artifacts, the X-Fis resampler is a lot better than previous ones--although Creative still hasn't given a good reason *why* resampling must be done.

Why do you need someone else to show you proof? If you are in the market for the X-Fi, google the features yourself.
July 4, 2006 5:39:49 AM

i have googled the xfi

I havent read ANYTHING about it outputing bitperfect

I've been on wwaayy too many forumns about it

and I havent heard of ANYONE being able to play a dts cd through one


I asked for proof, because I havent found any. Maybe I havent been looking hard enough, but I dont really care that much, I already have a card. If you knew where you read that xfi can output bitperfect, I was hoping you would share, not be a prick about it
July 4, 2006 6:36:24 AM

To those of you suggesting that he get an X-fi:

Keep in mind he's saying he has an $1800 7.1 speaker system. I did a lot of research when I got my bookshelf speakers, and I found out that unless your card supports DDL you can't get true surround sound through any digital output (SPDIF on creative cards, for example) unless your source is surround sound. The optical/spdif digital outputs on any of creative's cards are only pass-throughs.

If you wanted to game...unless your game supported Dolby Digital sound, which from what I am told there are very few, you would only get stereo sound. If you are watching DVD Movies with Dolby Sound, then you could get up to whatever your source movie was...be it 5.1 or 7.1 sound.
July 4, 2006 7:19:16 AM

Quote:
i have googled the xfi

I havent read ANYTHING about it outputing bitperfect

I've been on wwaayy too many forumns about it

and I havent heard of ANYONE being able to play a dts cd through one


I asked for proof, because I havent found any. Maybe I havent been looking hard enough, but I dont really care that much, I already have a card. If you knew where you read that xfi can output bitperfect, I was hoping you would share, not be a prick about it


"ASIO 2.0 support at >>>16-bit/44.1kHz<<<, 16-bit/48kHz, 24-bit/44.1kHz 24-bit/48kHz and 24-bit/96kHz with direct monitoring."

Problem Solved.
July 23, 2006 3:28:42 AM

just wanted to let everyone know that I have my card outputting bit-perfect, and it sounds AMAZING
July 23, 2006 4:22:09 AM

I've never seen connecting a computer to a home stereo work very well and sometimes it's actually damaged one or the other to some degree. RCA or SPDIF jacks should be ok but I'd avoid it if possible. If you're only using if for pass through then why not just go straight from player to reciver. With the entrance of Klipsh into the computer speaker market I have not owned a home stereo system. I updated the wife's sound card to a X-Fi xtreme music paired with some Klipsch 5.1's and it sounds better than the Denon home system I used to own. The only thing I've considered is upgrading the sats from the 5.1 to some of their home theater speakers someday. I advise against my customers connecting the comp to a reciever.
July 23, 2006 4:26:22 AM

I've conected dozens of home theaters to computers, with all possible connections. I personally prefer rca's to the preamp in's on most modern receivers, but I've never had anything get damaged.

I've had a Pioneer vsx-505s at home hooked up to a computer since 1996 with no probs and I've used it most everyday since I set it up. Started with a Gravis Ultrasound and moved on from there with every imaginable card, integrated or otherwise.
July 23, 2006 4:41:26 AM

Hehe you guys may like this.

I have had a Marantz 2220b powering a pair of Technics SB-CR77 3 way speakers (that from the 1970s) hooked up to my computer for the last 2 years and I have not done any damage to either system (this is on audio integrated to the mobo BTW). It sounds pretty darn good for using a receiver built in 1975 and running on board audio.
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