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Does *ANY* sound card out there support Case front audio?

Last response: in Components
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August 6, 2006 2:34:39 PM

Hello... I have seen lots of hack sites and forum topics on cluging the Sound Blaster Audigy Z and others to actually get the front panel audio cables in a computer case to work. In my case (pun intended) I have a Nexus Breeze with a 10-1 Front panel audio connector for microphone and headphone jacks. The supplied 10-1 connector it seems fits flawlessly into most modern motherboards but in my searches for a sound card I have yet to find one that actually supports such a thing. Here is a link for a marvlously complicated cluge that includes buying gold pins, a connector, and soldering your own adapter:

http://audigy2zshowto.blogspot.com/

Now maybe I am being picky here but the fact that a great many cases these days actually ship with 10-1 front panel audio connectors I would expect that somebody, somewhere, would produce a sound card that actually had an adapter on the card that such a cable would fit into. In my searching I have yet to find *any*, not Creative, Azuntech, Diamond, Turtle Beach, that actually has the feature. The 10-1 connector in my case is a solid piece (not multiple loose connectors) and rather than having it flopping around in my case being useless it would be nice to be able to actually use it without having to settle for on-board sound.

Anyone out there encountered a sound card that actually has this? The audigy has a nice, proprietary one that fits nothing this side of a Dell manufactured in house.
August 7, 2006 3:59:32 AM

That is what I thought unfortunately. And since Creative has a lock on the sound card market with all the others being mere periphery players I guess the kluge or the built in sound is the only option. Shame. If someone were to actually manufacture a cable bridge for the Sound Blaster Audigy I think they would get plenty of sales. As the method is already down only the manufacturing would need to be tackled.
August 7, 2006 7:36:04 AM

I use to work tech support and the hardware test lab for Creative. There are several reasons they "claim" to not want to support the front panel connections of most case manufacturers, but their biggest reason is that they don't trust those to have quality interconnects. To me, it is probably market share reasons to introduce their front panel options.

Personally, I haven't owned a Creative card sine the SBLive! they gave me just before I quit (I graduated from college and got a real job....nothing wrong with working for them). I still have that card in a box somewhere, but I haven't used it in a couple of years (mostly because I like the front headphone jack to work right).

On a side note: I'm a bit of an audiophile, and my house is full of high-end, quality audio gear. Most of my speakers are Paradigm, but I also have some Onyx, Mirage, and B&W. I mostly run Adcom, Pioneer Elite, and Krell amps and receivers; so I've paid my time in research and audition.

The point I'm really trying to make is: aside from "virtual" accoustic treatments, Creative has not much more to offer. I run my main computer in stereo with on-board Realtek ac97 pushing a HK stereo receiver and Paradigm Mini-monitors + a MK 10" sub. The relative THD of the onboard audio compares to any Creative card, and it cost me nothing. I can also use the front audio ports to connect my Sennheiser headphones in order to not disturb the family.

I guess if you want to analog connect some of the cheap (but not inexpensive) multi-channel, mini speakers systems available, the multi channel outs on the Creative are useful. I find that I can invest the same amount of money on something like I mentioned above and blow their audio experience out the door. Besides, with todays audio algorithms, 2 channel stereo components (with precise placement) can duplicate most multichannel audio positioning.

YMMV
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August 7, 2006 9:25:04 PM

the only reason i have found for the need for audio on the the fornt of the case on a pc is so you can listen to music and what not though headphones not to be amplified over and over agian, so you can opt re activating the ac 90 on your mother board and use that as it provide pefectly ok sound for headphones unless the reason for getting the sound card was to take the strain off the cpu.

do thisonlyif you dont care about sond quality or cpu strain.
August 7, 2006 9:51:33 PM

Or perhaps you want to use a headset/mic combo and not have to unplug your speakers every time you want to do so. This happens to be my predicament at the moment...

However, even though I own a creative sound card, I don't use it. Why? Sound quality isn't really any different than my onboard, and the SB card noticably increases boot/load time on my PC. When I put it in and the windows load process took a lot longer, I took it back out.

I find it interesting that a company won't give customers something they want because they don't trust other company's products it might be used with.
August 7, 2006 10:13:13 PM

I have a soundcard here that supports front panel audio. It's a HP soundcard/modem :p 
August 7, 2006 10:29:30 PM

I don't even know if it supports direct sound, but what I do know is, the phone jacks and gameport are on the card...so I'm thinking about installing it in place of the modem I use to send faxes...just to add a gameport!
August 7, 2006 10:49:20 PM

I have given up looking for one. I prefer the sound of an add in card vs. onboard audio, but I specifically bought a case with front side i/o and I want to use it.

I use a boom/desktop mic for gaming, a headset for skype and late night gaming, and speakers for music. Crawling around to the back side of the computer to swap between the three is a PITA, so I just stick with my onboard audio.

I'd definately pay for a creative to frontside audio bridge/connector. Anyhow, good luck on your search.
August 7, 2006 10:59:56 PM

The "best" it supports is probably A3D 2.0 :p  Hey, I have a couple Vortex2 cards here.
August 8, 2006 7:40:34 AM

Yeah I think my next upgrade will include onboard sound. I definitely want to use the microphone and headphone jacks in the case and crawling around behind the system is a major pain. Even the best kluge jobs with the Audigy produce strange results, such as speakers still playing full blast when you plug in the headphones (crawl around and unplug them I suppose?).

I really don't like the creative notion that I must sacrifice one of my 5 & 1/4 inch bays and pay extra for something that is already in the case. I suppose I could even forgive this if there was some way to plug in the audio connectors into the creative bay hog. But *no* they know best in their eyes and who cares if you have to have the case door hanging open so as to access their far more superior ports.

Thanks everyone for reminding me why I hate creative (that and the fact they try to charge you for drivers if your cd gets damaged - as if those are useful for any card but theirs).
!