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What sound card should i get? X-Fi or Barracuda

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February 13, 2008 4:06:02 AM

What sound card is better. Creative X-Fi ExtremeGamer, or Razer Barracuda AC-1.



Razer Barracuda AC-1 - http://www.razerzone.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=2_16&products_id=41


Creative X-Fi ExtremeGamer - http://us.creative.com/products/product.asp?category=1&subcategory=208&product=15853



Keep in mind i can get the Razer Barracuda AC-1 for $100, and Creative X-Fi ExtremeGamer for $85. From eTailers. Things im looking for are performance, making my MP3's (128kbps-320kbps) sound better, overall much better sound qaulity, making headsets have virtual 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound. If anoyone has any links comparing the two in sound qaulity id realy apreciate those. :D 


Thanks in advance.

More about : sound card barracuda

February 13, 2008 5:44:27 AM

Wow to bad you missed the woot.com sale on the Razor.
It sold for $55 shipped.
February 13, 2008 5:58:37 AM

always go with Creative x-fi, soundblaster is the best.
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February 13, 2008 5:03:58 PM

inspecter71 said:
always go with Creative x-fi, soundblaster is the best.


Why is it better? Thats what i want to know.
February 13, 2008 5:29:14 PM

I have an X-Fi ExtremeMusic (similar to Extreme Gamer) and I couldn't believe the sound quality over my on-board audio. The headphone option absolutely recreates surround sound from simple stereo headphones. I had bought some expensive 5.1 speakers but now I just use the headphones because of the high quality (I know exactly where gunfire is coming from) and the attached microphone makes it easier to communicate with my team in games like Battlefield 2142. Not saying the Razor isn't good, but I know the X-Fi series is excellent. I can't believe the people who spend hundreds on GPUs for gaming but don't get a good sound card. They are missing out on so much...
February 13, 2008 5:51:09 PM

You may also want to check out the ASUS xonar (may of spelled wrong). I just read a review of it with the Barracuda and it pretty much won most of the categories. I am getting ready to purchase the PCIe version.
February 13, 2008 7:20:29 PM

This is a bad comparison. You're comparing an expensive Razor card ($150 at Newegg) to a medium priced X-Fi ($81 at Newegg). The Razor does well in some things, but has suffered in other areas out of proportion to what it should be capable of, especially considering its normal price. Last I read, and I admit the situation may have changed since I read, the Razor has yet to come up with 64 bit drivers or EAX 5 support.

I don't mean to indicate that the Creative card you listed is great, since its a much cheaper card under normal pricing. The big thing here is that Creative usually has better support than Razor, both in drivers and in needing to talk to someone about problems.
February 13, 2008 8:06:18 PM

I would not agree on the driver front. They Used to have excellent driver support but feel they really dropped the ball on the 64 bit ones. As for EAX 5 I dont think you will ever see that on any card but a creative since they would want way to much money to license it out.
February 13, 2008 8:08:07 PM

Whenever a thread like this comes up I feel the need to chime in that the difference between onboard and any sound card will pale in comparison to the difference between Logitech (and anything similar) and *REAL* speakers and a receiver... which can be had for the same price as a soundcard and a set of logitechs. A nice set of Senheisers is nice too.

-mcg
February 13, 2008 8:31:46 PM

If you're using Vista you should probably try the Razer.

If I remember correctly, you need some special Razer headphones to really benefit from the Razer sound card.

As for X-Fi XtremeMusic, I'm using it with Logitech Z-5500 speakers and it's great. Well, it better be, I paid $300 for those speakers. However, if your source files are mp3s at 128 kbps don't expect much. IMO for best results you need 256 kbps mp3s or some lossless format (wav, flac).
February 13, 2008 8:49:17 PM

i would buy a X-Fi
February 13, 2008 8:55:28 PM

Personally id get the Fatal1ty XGamer, this way you get the X-RAM as well as the IO panel connnector if you need it in the future and you should be able to get it for near the same price as you can get the Razor
February 14, 2008 5:00:59 AM

chookman said:
Personally id get the Fatal1ty XGamer, this way you get the X-RAM as well as the IO panel connnector if you need it in the future and you should be able to get it for near the same price as you can get the Razor



Id love to get that card but i just dont have the extra $40 (i barely have the extra $20). Because i only have about $400. And need to upgrade my video card, using a BFG 8500 GT 256MB right now. I was thinking to get the EVGA 8800 GTS 512MB from newegg for $290. so that brings me up too $390. So i heard sound cards are a must have for a gaming machine so id figure id get one in my price range which is a maximum of $100.



Since i seen the that the Razer Barracude AC-1, and Creative X-Fi ExtremeGamer were both right down my alley. Id find out from the experts (you guys) which is the best. I noticed that the X-Fi has sample rate of only 96KHz, while the Barracuda is 192KHz. Is that a major factor of the qaulity?
February 14, 2008 11:24:59 AM

drunkalien6 said:

Since i seen the that the Razer Barracude AC-1, and Creative X-Fi EtremeGamer were both right down my alley. Id find out from the experts (you guys) which is the best. I noticed that the X-Fi has sample rate of only 96KHz, while the Barracuda is 192KHz. Is that a major factor of the qaulity?


Actually X-Fi supports 192Khz for playback but only in stereo. But there is no point for such high sampling anyway. There are no audio files recorded in surround at 192kHz unless you are a very very demanding music producer who records them himself. But then you would not be using a sound card for £50 or even £150. More so towards £1500...
As a reference: CD quality is 16 bit at 44.1kHz, DVD quality is 24 bit @ 96kHz. Gaming audio is compressed audio with even lower sound quality.

inspecter71 said:
always go with Creative x-fi, soundblaster is the best.

drunkalien6 said:
Why is it better? Thats what i want to know.


It depends what you are looking for...
But I would find it hard to justify choosing razer over Sound Blaster.
Reasons:

(1) Sound Blaster is known quality in audio. That means they design actual chips and write drivers and software for it.
With e.g. Razer or Xonar cards generic chips (the same as found on motherboards) are used. Creative Labs (this the company behind sound blaster) also makes professional audio equipment branded E-Mu (I use it) They are experts in sound. Sound Blaster are cheaper cousins of those professional cards.

(2) Sound Blaster cards are actually designed and manufactured from scratch by one campany.
With Razer cards the chip is bought from company A, implemented by company B, with some software technology from company C, all branded/sold by company D. If there are issues - it's most likely nobodys call.

(3) Vista. Sound Blasters are the only sound cards giving surround sound in direct X 9 or older games in Vista.
Unlike some other product they support OpenAL , new API used by some games in Vista. Vista's direct X10 is not compatible with Direct X 9 that is used by many games.
Despite this mess with Vista, Creative came up with stable Vista drivers.
It took long (too long) so you can see discussions about how bad the driver was, but as for now bugs are reported to be sorted out.

For anyone bothering to use Vista - read this, might be an eye-opener:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2008/jan/31/micros...

Turas said:
I would not agree on the driver front. They Used to have excellent driver support but feel they really dropped the ball on the 64 bit ones. As for EAX 5 I dont think you will ever see that on any card but a creative since they would want way to much money to license it out.


(4) X-Fi setting are very flexible. You can tweak it so that it pushes the best performance from even cheap logitech speakers (with EQ, CMSS etc) or you can zero all enhancers if your speakers are not lacking in frequency response and dynamics.

Well, there is EAX 5 card NOT from Sound Blaster out there allready:
http://www.auzentech.com/site/index.php

If you are looking for a sound card for general multimedia use such as movies, games, music Sound Blaster X-Fi is the best choice at present. And it is much more affordable then other sound cards. Save money and buy better speakers.

February 15, 2008 1:37:33 AM

I prefer HT Omega, I have the Claro card of theirs and it is better than my old X-Fi XtremeMusic soundcard and is better than my friend's Barracuda. It sounds richer, the drivers dont fail and it supports DTS and Dolby Live Decoding. You can also change out the OPAmps for even better sound. It also has Coax and Optical ports and the ability to plug your computer case's audio ports into the card which was not possible with the soundblaster card. Overall I think it is just better. Also using vista, you dont get gimped features like you would with Soundblaster or even Razer, every feature with this card is accessible in XP and Vista. I guess though if all you do is gaming, then get the X-fi, but multimedia I would definitely get the HT Omega Claro or Claro+

Product Webpage:
http://htomega.com/claro.html

Newegg:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
February 15, 2008 10:37:37 PM

The main difference between the two cards is hardware processing.

Creative still maintains a firm hardware processing presence, and all the others just produce a glorified i/o card to the processor for the sound. Which dont get me wrong, is great for things that require dolby processing, or something similar. But not great for games.

In vista, they removed their direct sound, but they have the ALchemy progect going for them. And now most game studios who value sound are switching to openAL, which takes advantage of hardware sound processing without ALchemy.

And Xram is great if the game takes advantage of it (For instance, lost planet, URT3, quake wars, ect...)

In some games, hardware processing can result in an insane amount of FPS gain (10fps) and others only a few. But aside from that, the 3d sound enviroment is going to be worth every penny if you're an audiophile.
February 17, 2008 7:30:39 PM

Razer Barracuda AC-1 Gaming Audio Card

The Razer Barracuda HP-1 Gaming Headphones
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