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Need Soundcard with EAX 3: Audigy2/4 or X-Fi?

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April 5, 2008 10:18:30 PM

What I use my comp for now soundwise:
-Movie/TV watching
-Lots of music
-UT2004 with plans to move to other games utilizing 3d audio - maybe newer FPS but I doubt I'll need positional audio to work perfectly, though that is a possible concern.
-Yelling at people over the internet (using a cheap, bad mic that needs replacing)

UT2004 uses EAX which my Asus p5K-E's onboard audio doesn't support properly. This is unacceptable and the main reason for the move to discreet audio. If memory serves UT only needs EAX 3 support which means an audigy 2-4 would work great. A nice bonus is that I could get one with a 5 1/4 i/o bay like I've always wanted and plugin musical equipment for the hell of it. No I am not currently a musician I'd buy a better input if I was cutting an album.

The main reason I'd like a 5 1/4 bay i/o panel is so that I could use a nice $55~ prosumer mic made for musicians... for yelling at people over the internet. I'm not willing to shell out more than $60 for this whole sound setup, I've got expensive headphones and microphones to buy so I aint springing for the fat1dick $100+ solutions.

I'm curious am I missing anything here in the difference between the audigy 2/4's and the new X-fi gamer cards MPC likes so much. If theres a real big gain to be had I'd pay the $90 or so for the x-fi, but by and large I don't think there is one really. I listen to lots of music yeah but I use logitech z-530's and integrated seems to do well enough for now.

I'm also a bit confused about the practical differences between the audigy 2 zs pro and the audigy 4... the 2 has to resample anything that isn't 24bit audio I gather? Or is that just for input?

Oh yeah I'm still using Windows XP Pro and will continue to for the foreseeable future. I know Audigy users are being asked to pay for Vista driver support and wondered how that was turning out for them with sound quality and modability etc. I know some of the appeal of an audigy was all the softmodding/community support you can get.

More about : soundcard eax audigy2

April 5, 2008 11:23:43 PM

you can get eax 3.0 on a $25 card

XFi start at about $60

looks like Asus is making thier own chips. I might try them given the Vista fiasco.
April 6, 2008 12:10:23 AM

The $60 XFI's are not REAL XFI's, they dont even use the XFI drivers. I think you should go for the XFI extreme gamer. Its ~$90, and is the cheapest REAL XFI you can get. I dont have any personal experiance with the XFI's, but I have read that they do actually sound better then the Audigy cards.
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April 6, 2008 12:15:30 AM

Just avoid creative cards. There's rumors going that they cut driver support when it came time for people to move to Windows Vista and then threatened the guy that was releasing drivers to make their cards work that they'd cut support for. So you know.....
April 6, 2008 1:04:39 AM

I know all about that grad, they threatened the guy for breaking licensing agreements for them, considering they probably stand to lose alot of money if they break their contracts with dolby etc I cant rightly blame them for that.

Creative for the entirety of my pc hardware career (01- present or thereabouts) has been the best soundcard solution out there short of spending thousands. Yes they've had driver bugs and scandals out the wazoo but unless theres another manufacturer of discreet audio chips that I still don't know about its what ill buy. I'm not interested in one that offloads chores to the CPU on principle.

Suicide I already said I don't really care for the supposed small difference in quality between the DAC's/engines of the audigy and X-Fi as I dont have studio monitor grade speakers. I do care if I'm being gipped out of 24 bit sound quality though.
April 6, 2008 1:41:07 AM

Just curious, can you even hear a difference? It's not like graphics card. There is only so much human ears can detect. :p 
April 6, 2008 2:02:50 AM

looks like you have to pay that much for something good.
April 6, 2008 2:09:17 AM

How is that $90 card better than onboard? :p 
April 6, 2008 6:56:25 AM

dagger said:
How is that $90 card better than onboard? :p 

Who are you asking?
April 6, 2008 7:12:37 AM

I say HT Omega Claro, sounds better, has more features, and actually has functioning drivers.
April 6, 2008 7:58:46 AM

Try real X-fi as was mentioned before. It has better vista support than with older Audigy series, where the support has been really bad so far...

And yes, there is difference in sound guality between onboard and disgrete soundcards, but you need really good speakers (forget all those plastic gamespeakers in here) or use high guality headphones ...
I use Genelec monitor speakers, but they cost allmost as much as one computer / one speaker... And you need from 2 to 5 of them...

April 6, 2008 7:58:56 AM

Id definately go for the Asus, hands down a much better solution, and youll have a continuing driver support. You see, buying a soundcard is sort of a dead end scenario. Once you buy one, youll more than likely never need another again. I think Craetive knows this, and they got creative and quit supporting older products with driver support. Asus wont do that. I wouldnt go Creative currently, until they show theyll actually support their products. After all, buying a soundcard is like buying a fridge, its a lonhg term scenario, and since theres a newer windows os coming in a year or two, why let Creative make your next purchase obsolete?
April 6, 2008 9:34:37 PM

0p3n said:
I say HT Omega Claro, sounds better, has more features, and actually has functioning drivers.

I'm not spending that much on a sound card. I made that quiet clear above. In addition it does not seem to support EAX3, which I noted as a requirement in the threads title.

hannibal said:
Try real X-fi as was mentioned before. It has better vista support than with older Audigy series, where the support has been really bad so far...

And yes, there is difference in sound guality between onboard and disgrete soundcards, but you need really good speakers (forget all those plastic gamespeakers in here) or use high guality headphones ...
I use Genelec monitor speakers, but they cost allmost as much as one computer / one speaker... And you need from 2 to 5 of them...

Did you even try to read what I posted?

JAYDEEJOHN said:
Id definately go for the Asus, ...etc


Did you see the part where I said I was using XP and would continue to do so? You know... in the first post?

------------------------

Maybe I should clarify: I'm interested in Creatives solutions. I'm not ruling out other brands, But you all aren't even trying to pay attention to the budget I listed above. If there were a $50~ discreet solution that was on par with the X-Fi or Audigy 4 I'd be willing to listen. To my knowledge there isn't though, so please just make way for someone who knows about the Audigy and X-Fi line enough to give me some useful advise.
April 6, 2008 9:58:18 PM

If you run XP, have high quality speakers, good source material and an ear for acoustics the X-fi will give you a superior experience in mp3 playback and general and demanding gaming sessions, over almost any card available.

I have used almost every sound card made by Creative and others, the X-fi (real X-fi's not the crippled models) have given me the most transparent sound stage yet, inner voices previously buried are clear and distinct, plenty of headroom and low distortion. Say what you want about the drivers I won't disagree but when they work as intended you get a great deal of post-effects and DSP to play with to suit your tastes.

Again, XP+X-FI+Gaming+ Good Gear = sonic goodness.
April 6, 2008 10:07:48 PM

So a vote for and positive review of the X-Fi's, thank you. Have you used the Audigy 2/4's though?
April 6, 2008 10:43:06 PM

Isn't EAX 2-5 one of the features Creative disabled in the Vista drivers for the X-FI card? If so, and you want to use Vista, you would need to use one of Daniel_K's drivers to get EAX 3 to work in any game.

EDIT - I neglected to see that you will continue using XP. Might as well get a Creative card then.
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