I currrently own a Creative Audigy 2 ZS and have had nothing but driver problems in XP. The EAX effects would suddenly stop working, like Rock, Disco, Country, etc.... Kind of like the built in EQ effects. I loved the Rock setting.
I now have Vista but the Rock setting is missing from the EAX environment settings. I can't customize any settings. So I am forced to used EQ settings in my player...I use media monkey because of the media library management. Also CMSS2 is missing.
I am looking to upgrade to something new and want to stay away from Creative. Their drivers always gives me problems. And also they don't make the gigaworks speakers anymore which is a shame. They were the best computer speakers on the market. A great value compared to hi-fi home stereo products costing over $1000. Now the only option seems ot be the Logitechs or maybe Klipsche. But both are only 5.1 and not 7.1. Creative is going downhill fast jsut like GM is. They ride their reputation out and sell based on their name for way too long while the quality of their products suffers. Others catch up to them and by then it's too late...their reputation has been tarnished.
So the options include the following. Asus Xonar HDAV 1.3 Deluxe and the Azuntech X-Fi Home Theatre HD. There is also Turtle Beach, M-Audio, Creative X-Fi, etc... I'm looking at PCI-E cards mainly to have them future proof. Why not? Unless for some reason PCI is better for which I read once that PCI soundcards are better cause they can handle more bandwidth or something like that. Also I will use the soundcard for games, music, and movies. 7.1 using a digital out to a high-end receiver and high-end homemade speakers. Basically a $5000+ custom sound setup. No computer speakers. No recording whatsoever. I have other equipment for that.
Which sound card would you guys recommend or not recommend.
Sounds to me like you like effects and good software suites. I'll say right now, avoid Auzentech cards then. They're great cards (I have one, the X-Plosion 7.1) if you just want something to output dolby digital live or DTS live out to a reciever. But if you want something to really manipulate sound with and have no driver problems, then these cards aren't for you. They have shoddy software and the drivers are not that great. Especially in Vista 64 for some folk.
The Asus Xonar series have some fantastic cards. You can check out the HT Omega too.
Now, if you REALLY have the cash, you could get a ASUS Prelude...but I think thats a but overboard for most people...
Isn't the prelude made by Azuntech?
After reading that Asus cards emulate EAX 5.0 which would be good for gaming, I think I'll try those out. Also I always hear that the Asus cards just plain work, no hiccups or anything. People are still whining about issues with the new Creative cards and also Azuntech. Toms also uses Asus in their high end $4000+ gaming machines cause it's the only card that actually works all the time no questions asked. Asus it is.
Auzentech X-Fi Prelude worth it's weight in GOLD , one of the best sound card to date. They addressed a lot of the drivers issues and now it's working like a dream. The quality of the sound it's just A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.
I tried it, but the Prelude still had the sound issues that all X-fi's have on my 790i, so its not an option for me. From my limited experiance, it does sound better even then that Razer Barracuda, which is saying a lot.
And yes, I mean Auzentech for the Prelude, not ASUS.