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Does anyone have a top of the range soundcard? Or a very good one?

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May 10, 2008 1:28:12 PM

Does having an amazing soundcard make much difference? Thread is open to discussion.
May 15, 2008 10:19:05 AM

It really depends what you're doing and the quality of your speakers. For those with low-end speakers such as Logitech z5500, the difference is very minimal. However if you're using some decent quality speakers such as Monitor Audio RS6, then a high-end soundcard will make a MASSIVE difference to onboard, especially when hooked up to some decent amps.

It also depends on what you're doing. Generally onboard cards are pretty useless for movies due to the lack of advanced audio decoding, whereas the very high end soundcards tend to be able to decode all kinds of different audio types.

So basically, if you've got low-end speakers then just stick with onboard or one of the lower end x-fi cards, unless you want to watch movies with your PC then getting a decent soundcard does make sense. However if you have a decent dedicated audio-setup then getting a high-end soundcard is a must!
May 15, 2008 10:29:50 AM

I have reasonable good SB X-fi elite pro external soundcard and the sound is definitely quite good, but you really have to have good speakers or headphones. With normal computer speakers you can not tell differense as quatumsheep says above. Sound guality is the sum of it's components. One weak link can destroy othervice good system.
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May 15, 2008 2:11:57 PM

I have a Creative SB X-Fi gamer soundcard and a Creative SB X-Fi gamer headset, and it makes a huge difference between the sound card and the onboard sound of my Asus M2N-SLI Deluxe MoBo.
May 15, 2008 4:35:50 PM

Creative SB X-Fi Audio here
May 15, 2008 5:09:39 PM

Auzen X-Fi Prelude 7.1 - Optical output to an NAD T775 (100w RMS x 7) to a matched set of Polk Audio.......


Yeahhhh...... It makes a *real* difference - provided the rest of the system is capable of rendering the improvement. Even if you simply use a good pair of headphones plugged directly into the card.
May 15, 2008 5:17:30 PM

The general consensus appears to be that it does work. however, i'm thinking about writing an article that compares how much the difference is when using high-end audio (Wilson Benesch speakers, Audionet Amp + CD, Nordost cabling etc) , mid range audio (Monitor Audio RS6 speakers + Cambridge Audio 740 amp and CD player) , low end audio (Cambridge Audio 340 amp and CD and Morduant Short speakers) and computer speakers when using onboard or high-end sound.

I believe that as you go further up the scale in terms of component quality the bigger the difference between onboard and high-end will be. I'm really actually tempted to do this.
May 15, 2008 5:21:48 PM

quantumsheep said:
The general consensus appears to be that it does work. however, i'm thinking about writing an article that compares how much the difference is when using high-end audio (Wilson Benesch speakers, Audionet Amp + CD, Nordost cabling etc) , mid range audio (Monitor Audio RS6 speakers + Cambridge Audio 740 amp and CD player) , low end audio (Cambridge Audio 340 amp and CD and Morduant Short speakers) and computer speakers when using onboard or high-end sound.

I believe that as you go further up the scale in terms of component quality the bigger the difference between onboard and high-end will be. I'm really actually tempted to do this.



I'd look forward to tis with great anticipation.....






....and fear (for my wallet). :cry: 
May 15, 2008 10:29:35 PM

I have an X-fi Fatal1ty edition, that i use with my:

Sennheiser HD555's via front heaphone jack on X-fi IO

OR

NAD C352 with Richter Wizards speakers and Richter Krakatoa via RCA out analogue

OR

Denon AVR-1804 with Richter Wizards, rear and centre. with Richter Thor Sub via digital coax off from X-fi IO

I use the heaphones for mainly quiet game play or music (mum and dads room is upstairs and dont appreciate the sub drone). The NAD is used for general music listening and some games (mainly C&C3). And the Denon solution is used for more speakers on music, or movie surround sound.

I believe the biggest jump in audio quality will always be speakers and amps, although onboard to high end discrete sound cards make a noticable difference if your on a budget your best with better speakers then highend sound card hardware.

JasonPCTec h: Why do you not use the Crystaliser? I love it, seems to make music out put through any speaker sound crisper and cleaner. Just my opinion though

EDIT: By the way Richter are Australian owned and constructed, so you guys might not have heard from them www.richter.com.au
May 15, 2008 10:41:08 PM

I've actually had time to do a bit of comparing tonight! I've got an Omega Claro HT in my rig and so far i've hooked it up to my mid-range stereo using that soundcard and the onboard. Well, what can i say? The difference in sound was really rather large! Watching The Lord of the Rings the sound definition given off the onboard was very lacking, whereas the Omega Claro sounded fantastic!

I then proceeded to try it with my friend's z5500 setup, and it appears my original thesis is holding strong. The difference between the onboard and the card itself was nowhere near as large as it was with the Monitor Audios.

I'll be doing some more testing when i get some more time, and eventually i'll probably write up a nice little report. I think it might make an interesting read for you budding sound lovers/audiophiles!
May 16, 2008 12:03:45 AM

x-fi is good but mine died on me. :( 
May 23, 2008 4:11:29 PM

At some point in the future I'm thinking of investing in a Xonar D2X. The audio output on my X-Fi is fine, but I'd like to do away with my last PCI card, and I want the S/PDIF inputs for video capturing work.
June 3, 2008 5:52:00 PM

hey quantumsheep, how do the snheisser pc165 headphones stack up?

another question I had was what would be a real nice 2.1 speaker system, i was going to start looking, but honestly I don't have the knowledge of what is good from what is truly great. I don't have a whole lot of money but I do already posses a Asus d2x xonar pci-e card. Which is nice But I have not been able to use its full potential as far as I know. If you could recommend a nice audio set-up that would be pretty cool.

thnx!
June 9, 2008 3:22:04 PM

FrozenGpu said:
hey quantumsheep, how do the snheisser pc165 headphones stack up?

another question I had was what would be a real nice 2.1 speaker system, i was going to start looking, but honestly I don't have the knowledge of what is good from what is truly great. I don't have a whole lot of money but I do already posses a Asus d2x xonar pci-e card. Which is nice But I have not been able to use its full potential as far as I know. If you could recommend a nice audio set-up that would be pretty cool.

thnx!


Well if you give me a price range then i'll be able to start helping! By saying you want a really nice 2.1 system, you could mean spending anything up to £100,000 or as little as £100! Send me a PM with your budget and i'll be able to give you some decent advice.
!