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Sound Card and Speaker selection.

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August 14, 2006 12:36:44 PM

I'm thinking about using this Sound card LINK

and I need help picking a 3 piece speaker set under $200 (USD). I will be using the PC for gaming, casual music listening, CD burning, and voice convo's.
I need to know if there is anything significantly wrong with that card, and what 3 piece speaker system will utilize all of it's capabilities.

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/category/catego...
August 14, 2006 2:38:54 PM

Thanks for the reply. If anyone has any criticisms of the card.. feel free.
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August 14, 2006 5:14:02 PM

Quote:
any particluar reason your not looking at the creative range.

on speakers if gaming is a concern perhaps a cheap 5.1 system may be benficial. what sort of games are we talking about cause if not FPS then the klipsh that halycon suggested would be good,=.


I was asking myself the same thing when I read his post. Creative tend to make the best gaming sound cards. They're also quite good for Music and Home Entertainment needs.

As for speakers, perhaps a cheaper set of speakers would better match that Turtle Beach card. It's not a powerful APU (Audio Processing Unit) and infact is about as powerful as an SB Live! 5.1 (EMU10K1) where gaming is concerned (acceleration of Direct3D and EAX 1 & 2).

Perhaps a Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS would be better suited to your needs? It's about the same price too.
TigerDirect

It's certainly the better product for your needs.
August 14, 2006 5:38:05 PM

Audigy 2 ZS and ProMedia 2.1's make a fine combination for your budget. I have them both and I'm very happy about them.
August 14, 2006 6:57:11 PM

I live in an apartment so high quality audio isn't really viable, or needed. I'm not deaf or really picky when it comes to Audio. When I got this Dell a few years back one of the first things I did was hook my sub up to my 1000W amp and blow it out. Only 1 speaker has really worked every since and it hasn't bothered me much, at least not enough to spend 40 bucks to replace the 2.1 set.

I’m really feeling biased against the creative APU's right now. The only reason I’m getting an APU at all is because I don't think the integrated sound on nvidia mobo's is very good (and that is what Ill prolly get). If there is nothing really wrong with the sound card then there really isn't a reason not to get it, unless I can get something better or the same for the same or less amount of money. The "it's just better" argument really won't do it for me with sound cards.

Has anyone had a turtle beach sound card? I wouldn’t think so since this in an enthusiast forum. I’m a bit of an enthusiast myself, but overkill isn't always tasteful. It's like me asking about a watering pot to use on my flowers in my apartment and someone suggesting I use a pressurized water sprayer.. Darn I ramble and rant when I'm tired.

On the games.. I mostly play RTS and RPG. I may try an FPS with the new rig, but I've always liked to play my FPS on console systems.

/Edit Ahh yeah this is why I decided agaisnt Creative
http://forumz.tomshardware.com/hardware/Boot-Problem-Au...

The games I play most are Shadowbane and Rome Total war. I turn game audio all the way off for shadowbane so I can concentrate on ventrillo, and most of the noises in RTW are just annoying.. lol I don't see where having the best in audio equipment is that necessary for gaming. It may be nice to have, but really... I'd rather invest that money into a set up for my TV, or on my monitor.
August 14, 2006 7:14:57 PM

the Audigy 2 ZS is better then the Turtle Beach you're looking at for games, music and Home Entertainment. What it lacks is a 5.1 digital connection. But for Analog audio and 2.1 digital connection it offers a superior SnR ratio as well as Superior DAC's and performance in games.

It takes less up less CPU time then the Turtle Beach resulting in higher Frames per Second in games (VERY important for games that are quite intensive like F.E.A.R, Oblivion etc).

The fact that I state that it's better is because it is a better card. There's nothing you're doing with your PC which warrant going for the Turtle Beach rather then the Audigy 2 ZS. Hell even the price is similar.
August 14, 2006 7:24:03 PM

Read my edit please.

I really don't feel like going through the trouble to set up 5.1 when I can't turn it loud enough to enjoy it. It would be a real hassle running cords accross my bedroom, and one of the corners I would want to put a speaker in has a window in it.. It's just not the best option for me and I don't even want it right now. I may upgrade in the future when I buy a house in a year or two.

Right now I just want to be able to tell whats going on in games, and be able to sample music before I burn it.

I may deside to go with the Audigy 2 ZS depending on how you respond to my edit. The problems those guys were having in the other thread seem pretty serois.
August 14, 2006 7:43:25 PM

Quote:
Read my edit please.

I really don't feel like going through the trouble to set up 5.1 when I can't turn it loud enough to enjoy it. It would be a real hassle running cords accross my bedroom, and one of the corners I would want to put a speaker in has a window in it.. It's just not the best option for me and I don't even want it right now. I may upgrade in the future when I buy a house in a year or two.

Right now I just want to be able to tell whats going on in games, and be able to sample music before I burn it.

I may deside to go with the Audigy 2 ZS depending on how you respond to my edit. The problems those guys were having in the other thread seem pretty serois.


Everyone is bound to run into problems at some point. It may have been the drivers he was using (he may have been suing the creative software that came with the soundcard). Problem with doing that is that earlier Creative drivers had a bug with SMT and SMP (Mutiple cores) using the latest drivers from Creative's website fixes that.

It could have also been the nForce4 drivers he was using... he may have again been using older drivers that came with the motherboard... instead of the latest drivers.

Many people (including myself) have had zero issues with Creative cards in general. The only issue I've ever had is the SMT/SMP issue I highlighted above and the Creative SB Live! issue I had with my VIA Apollo Pro Chipset based board back in the day. It's been smooth sailing since then really.

More people don't have issues vs. people that do. Just look at how many of us are displaying Creative cards in our sigs and compare that to the amount of creative problems threads.... see.... normally it's user problems.. other times it's defective hardware (sound card or other hardware).
August 14, 2006 7:48:03 PM

Quote:
....you are sounding more noobish and faboyish every moment.


I am noobish when It comes to sound cards. I have never spent much time researching them. That’s why I am asking for advice. I don't know how I can be fanboyish (?). A fanboy is someone who likes a brand name they will by their products not matter what. I on the other hand am saying I don't feel confident buying a product that several people are having issues with. The forum post concerning a few people does have an affect. It isn't THE deciding factor though.
August 14, 2006 7:56:08 PM

Quote:
....you are sounding more noobish and faboyish every moment.


I am noobish when It comes to sound cards. I have never spent much time researching them. That’s why I am asking for advice. I don't know how I can be fanboyish (?). A fanboy is someone who likes a brand name they will by their products not matter what. I on the other hand am saying I don't feel confident buying a product that several people are having issues with. The forum post concerning a few people does have an affect. It isn't THE deciding factor though.

You have to be careful.. some people will swear against Creative and will promote cards that don't offer a single gaming advantage as the solution to your needs.

I'm being 100% honest, unless you're looking to build a 5.1 Digital Sound system (Optical or Composite) then the Turtle Beach card has NOTHING to offer you above the Creative Audigy 2 ZS. Some people have had problems, but then again looking around more people are running Creative cards then any other brand. Which itself points to the superiority of Creative branded products when it comes to gaming, Music and Home Entertainment.

If you would have required DDL and DTS Encoding I would have recommend an Quzentech Xplosion. But for your needs, the Audigy2 ZS is your best bet.
August 14, 2006 8:29:00 PM

[/quote]Good advice guys. I plan to go with the Audigy 2 ZS as of now.

Quote:
sorry, but if you are noobish like you say why do you not listen to what we are telling you. i understand you want to have many opinions but you claim you do not like creative apu's at the same time saying you know little about soundcards

then you say you want a card that doesn't even have a apu. could you please watch what you say. if you have a question, ask it don't make assertions about a piece of hardware that you have no back up for and then sound surpirsed if someone gets annoyed with you.


I am listening, but I'm challenging also. It's part of the decision making process. If I just said OK off the bat I wouldn’t have learned as much. I would just be a mindless zombie. Would you rather me just go with whatever you suggest, or learn something so I can decide on my own next time?

My claim that I don’t like creative apu's was based off of something it didn't just come out of thin air.

I guess you have me with the assertion part.. I did assume Sound Card = APU. I guess it was just the way I interpreted that post. I am in no way surprised you got/are annoyed with me. :roll:

/Edit
Here is where I got the assumption about the APU.
Quote:
...that Turtle Beach card. It's not a powerful APU (Audio Processing Unit) and...
August 14, 2006 8:35:19 PM

In all seriousness, whether you're a noob or not, Creative cards are the cards to be had for gaming because of the impact that they have on performance. However, not only to the majority of contemporary Creative based cards offer increases in performance, they just plain sound good.

If you're going to do more music listening than gaming, then perhaps a non-Creative card may be a better solution for you. You have to remember that Creative cards are generally "Jacks-of-all-trades, Masters of 1". As I audition these Logitech Z-5500's this afternoon, for the first time, using one of my X-Fi's, using EAX and CMSS3D, I'm reminded of the power of Creative sound cards, as a solution. What I hear sounds really good to me, and its largely due to the X-Fi's authority as a sound card.

As you said, you're looking for a somewhat balanced card, Creative-based solution offer that.

However, that doesn't mean that if you go with another great card, say a Turtle Beach M-DDL or a Chaintech AV-710 you'll be disappointed. You'll simply not get the APU boost that you may have had with a SoundBlaster-type.

Make no real mistake, most Creative-card owners are quite satisfied with their SoundBlasters of various types. ...and, realistically, since there's more of the SoundBlaster types out there there's bound to be more noted problems. ...overall, though, I believe the folks to be having any problems are in the minority.

Keep in this forum, you'll get a lot of varied opinions, and I've just given you yet another. ...and I do hope you decide that audio is worth non-blown speakers. ...if it's not, then looking @ various audio cards seems rather pointless to me.

...now, back to the sub-bass radiation....
August 14, 2006 8:37:07 PM

You have every right to get whatever sound card you get. I think if you're just going to listen to music then you might as well go even lower in price. IMO, the most basic advantage (and most widespread) of MOST add-on cards to MOST integrated cards is that add-ons are less prone to noise caused by the interference of neighboring components.
Please note I'm speaking in general here, I know there are expections. Your money is your money, in the end. I myself won't buy anything Creative except for the huge exception of sound cards. Why? Everything else I've had that's been Creative has broken, and I just got gunshy. None of the Creative sound cards I've ever installed on a system though have broke down on me, and they have outlasted most of the systems they were on. Just to take into consideration.
Just to make your argument stronger, I would suggest you back up your opinion on the Creative APU's with some facts or info?
August 14, 2006 9:19:43 PM

Like Halcyon said the Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 is a good speakers set and I far as I know it still rated the best 2.1 PC speaker on the market.

I wonder if you have time to check on speakers. ‘Coz if you do, why won’t you try the active monitoring speakers as well. Like the book shelves type together with the Klipsch ProMedia 2.1. that'll give you an idea of what you need.

Any sound card you buy is better that the built in on if you use the analog output. Optical or Coax digital output are good option to have on a card.

You have to be concern because $250 US will be your money well spent for audio card and speakers system, you’ll have good sound quality if they’re match correctly.

These guys here provably know more than I do, but everyone has its own listening preference.
August 14, 2006 9:21:15 PM

Ive used both turtle beach and Audigy 2 GS soundcards.

The TB card has better sound quality -- although I had it hooked up to my home theater system so the speakers were much better quality than most PC speakers. (your mileage may vary here).
it was Cheap! I saw a TB card and a SB card on the shelf nexto each other at a store: SB: $200 TB: $40. no brainer at the time.

But when asking it to do positional audio my FPS games (UT in this case) slowed to an absolute crawl. Attempts to get updated drivers directed me to their site where nothing had been done in several Years.

the Audigy 2 card I have now cost Much more than the TB card, but I saw an immediate improvement in game performance just due to sound processing performance. The new card also played DVD audio at a nice high sound quality so that was an added bonus.
August 14, 2006 9:39:27 PM

A lot of people knock the Creative cards, but they definitely have a right-to-life, IMO, especially for gaming.

Just curious, when you say the Turtle Beach card sounded better, what kind of differences did you notice (ie, better mid-range, better bass, smoother highs)? I'm quite interested in getting the best sound for music at the cheapest price from my PC so if a $50 sound card is going to blow my X-Fi out of the H20, musically, it gets serious consideration.
August 15, 2006 1:24:51 PM

Quote:
A lot of people knock the Creative cards, but they definitely have a right-to-life, IMO, especially for gaming.

Just curious, when you say the Turtle Beach card sounded better, what kind of differences did you notice (ie, better mid-range, better bass, smoother highs)? I'm quite interested in getting the best sound for music at the cheapest price from my PC so if a $50 sound card is going to blow my X-Fi out of the H20, musically, it gets serious consideration.


I'll be honest with you.. the only sound card I own that offers comparable sound quality for Music playback to my X-Fi is my Auzentech Xplosion DDL sound card. But then again it's not doing much LOL. It's connected VIA a digital out (Optical) to my Logitech Z-5500's so the 5500's are actually decoding the Digital Audio (built in DAC's).

In the end I enjoy the sound quality effects emulated by the Crystallizer. So I don't really use the Auzentech that much anymore.

No $50 sound card compares to the sound quality of an X-Fi... no matter what anyone tells you. You can believe me, or invest in a $50 sound card and find out first hand... that's up to you.
August 15, 2006 1:54:52 PM

Quote:
A lot of people knock the Creative cards, but they definitely have a right-to-life, IMO, especially for gaming.

Just curious, when you say the Turtle Beach card sounded better, what kind of differences did you notice (ie, better mid-range, better bass, smoother highs)? I'm quite interested in getting the best sound for music at the cheapest price from my PC so if a $50 sound card is going to blow my X-Fi out of the H20, musically, it gets serious consideration.


I'll be honest with you.. the only sound card I own that offers comparable sound quality for Music playback to my X-Fi is my Auzentech Xplosion DDL sound card. But then again it's not doing much LOL. It's connected VIA a digital out (Optical) to my Logitech Z-5500's so the 5500's are actually decoding the Digital Audio (built in DAC's).

In the end I enjoy the sound quality effects emulated by the Crystallizer. So I don't really use the Auzentech that much anymore.

No $50 sound card compares to the sound quality of an X-Fi... no matter what anyone tells you. You can believe me, or invest in a $50 sound card and find out first hand... that's up to you.

Hmmmm...I don't know, I'm skeptical of that, the Chaintech AV-710 or the Montego DDL are nice cards. Just because Creative is charging way too much for its X-Fi's no longer makes me think they're offering the best sounding gear. ...but I've only my X-Fi's and SB Live! as a reference. ...and to be honest, my ancient SB Live! gives my X-Fi's a serious run for the money when it comes to 2-channel sound (using the KX-Project drivers, that is) in subjective listening. ...but I know its S/N and THD+N don't spec as well as the X-Fi...but the card cost $60 less.
August 15, 2006 2:05:30 PM

Quote:
A lot of people knock the Creative cards, but they definitely have a right-to-life, IMO, especially for gaming.

Just curious, when you say the Turtle Beach card sounded better, what kind of differences did you notice (ie, better mid-range, better bass, smoother highs)? I'm quite interested in getting the best sound for music at the cheapest price from my PC so if a $50 sound card is going to blow my X-Fi out of the H20, musically, it gets serious consideration.


I'll be honest with you.. the only sound card I own that offers comparable sound quality for Music playback to my X-Fi is my Auzentech Xplosion DDL sound card. But then again it's not doing much LOL. It's connected VIA a digital out (Optical) to my Logitech Z-5500's so the 5500's are actually decoding the Digital Audio (built in DAC's).

In the end I enjoy the sound quality effects emulated by the Crystallizer. So I don't really use the Auzentech that much anymore.

No $50 sound card compares to the sound quality of an X-Fi... no matter what anyone tells you. You can believe me, or invest in a $50 sound card and find out first hand... that's up to you.

Hmmmm...I don't know, I'm skeptical of that, the Chaintech AV-710 or the Montego DDL are nice cards. Just because Creative is charging way too much for its X-Fi's no longer makes me think they're offering the best sounding gear. ...but I've only my X-Fi's and SB Live! as a reference. ...and to be honest, my ancient SB Live! gives my X-Fi's a serious run for the money when it comes to 2-channel sound (using the KX-Project drivers, that is) in subjective listening. ...but I know its S/N and THD+N don't spec as well as the X-Fi...but the card cost $60 less.

In subjective listening it's hard to differentiate any Creative card or any other "high end" dedicated sound card. Only people with an ear to sound can really notice a difference. I cannot notice a difference between my Live!, Audigy and Audigy2... but I do notice a difference with the X-Fi. That's mainly due to the Crystallizer, which I enjoy.

My Auzentech Xplosion sounds the same as my on-board Realtek card when using my Optical Out to the Z-5500's. Only when I use the DDL encoder do things sound better then my on-board sound. This mainly due to the accuracy of the signal when splitting it to each channel.

I dislike using the Auzentech for gaming, it really doesn't sound as good as my X-Fi Fatal1ty even when using the Dolby Digital Encoder/Decoder feature.

I suppose the best system con-fig would be one where I use the Auzentech card for the music and movies and use the X-Fi for my gaming needs. But as a jack of all trades, the X-Fi's performance in games and it's relative comparable sound in music and movies makes it the better card.

My ol' Audigy 2 even makes for a better sound card then my Auzentech for my needs. I just cannot go without playing Battlefield 2, Lineage II, UT2004, F.E.A.R, Prey, Quake 4 and WoW.
August 15, 2006 8:35:37 PM

Evil where the heck are you comming from?? Nothing you have had to say has anything to do with the context of this discussion. Im not asking about the best, and no one is talking about it.
August 15, 2006 9:16:33 PM

Quote:
Evil where the heck are you comming from?? Nothing you have had to say has anything to do with the context of this discussion. Im not asking about the best, and no one is talking about it.


Halcyon brought in the X-Fi and he and I were discussing it over Digital Out cards from various manufacturers.

Pretty much the conversation progressed into a larger conversation. Pretty much, if you read through the conversation you'll be able to better understand where the Audigy 2 ZS stands with respect to the usage you wish to make of it.
August 17, 2006 8:00:55 AM

i would like to let everyone know that i am not biased towards or against creative


i own an auzentech xplosion and it is really a great card. the thing is, i dont think that this card is right for the OP.

i needed the xplosion for dts or ddl (it is the only one with dts so i got it) because i wanted a digital connection to my receiver.

creative makes solid cards, but if you want a digital connection, they just simply DO NOT MAKE A SOLUTION.

if you arent goin digital connection, i would recommend creative. probably an xfi series as ive seen in some benchmarks that they way outperform the audigy (i cant comfirm this and i might be wrong, so dont flame me)
(they are close in price too)

i would probably recommend the xtrememusic to the OP.

creative just dominates this market because a) they spend big bux on ads and such

and b) becuase it is a smaller market than others such as video cards so creative is able to push out smaller brands

but other companies make great hardware too. kind of like ipod right now dominating the mp3 market-(they are a good product, but they arent necessarily the best for everyone)
!