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I know this is over-stated, but would a soundcard be necessary?

Last response: in Components
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March 15, 2010 4:15:54 PM

First off, I'm sorry for asking this question, as I know its been asked a lot. Personally, however, I haven't been able to find a clear answer.

I have a surround sound system (Logitech), and would definitely want to take full advantage of it. I haven't been able to figure out if on-board sound is good enough for the job, and if it is, awesome, but if it isn't, I wouldn't mind spending a little bit of money on a soundcard.

Currently, I have a Creative Audigy 2.

For a new build, what is the better option? Transfer the card, use on-board, or get a new card?

More about : stated soundcard

March 15, 2010 4:26:15 PM

If you have higher end speakers and/or an actual mid~fi to hi~fi system which you are hooking your computer up to, then yah - maybe you can hear the difference. Though if your system was mid~fi or better, then you'd be inclined to simply send the audio out over a digital connection and use the (superior) dedicated circutry of the the stand alone sound system.

For typical desktop usage, onboard is fine.
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March 15, 2010 7:02:13 PM

If you wanted more DSP effects, you might want to consider some of the discrete sound cards although some of the onboard cards are excellent today.

As far as sound quality alone, unless there is some sort of electrical noise issue going on your motherboard, you aren't going to be able to tell the difference on Logitech speakers.
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March 15, 2010 7:16:05 PM

as long as you get a $50-$100 sound card then it will give you 100 times better sound than any on board chip.

i did the same thing when i built my new PC i just used my creative Audigy sound card with it but later got a new HT Omega striker and the sound was 10 times better than the audigy

for your surround sound setup i recommend you look into any of the HT omega or Asus Xonar sound cards

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March 15, 2010 7:21:10 PM

While a new sound card is not necessary, it is quite nice if you have sensitive ears and/or good speakers.
I would recommend trying your onboard codec first, the newer ones are actually fairly passable.
If you decide it sounds to muddy you can always pick up a dedicated card later.
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March 15, 2010 10:28:51 PM

Well, I have the Logitech Z-5500... I don't know whats the considered really, mid? hi? I do want to hook it up via a digital connection, that's for sure. What would you guys recommend?
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March 16, 2010 3:52:24 AM

If your onboard has digital optical output then you don't need a new sound card.
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March 16, 2010 6:46:50 AM

@Captain - My main reason for wanting a sound card is gaming... actually, my priorities are in the following order: gaming, movies, music. I looked around for reviews on the Omega Striker, seeing as you suggested it, and many say its not that great for gaming. Whats your experience?
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March 16, 2010 4:11:36 PM

truthfully i just use for for music and do not have a surround sound system for my PC so you could try to see the other models HT omega has and also look at reviews for several models of the asus xonar:

here are some links

HT | OMEGA CLARO Plus+ 7.1 Channels 24-bit 192KHz PCI Interface Sound Card

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

HT | OMEGA Claro Halo XT PCI Interface Sound Card w/ a built-in HI-FI Headphone Amplifier - Retail

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

ASUS Xonar D1 7.1 Channels 24-bit 192KHz PCI Interface Sound Card - Retail

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...

ASUS Xonar DS 7.1 Channels 24-bit 192KHz PCI Interface Audio Card - Retail

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1682...
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March 16, 2010 8:54:36 PM

I looked a lot into the subject, I read a lot of forum posts, I read a lot of reviews... and I'm STILL not sure whats the best option!

My absolute main priority is gaming, and for that, everybody seems to say an X-Fi sound card is a must. However, I'm unclear as to whats would serve me better - an X-fi chip with EAX support etc, or an ASUS/Omega chip for better sound quality...

Whats the tradeoff? Whats the difference in games? Whats the difference in everything else?
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March 16, 2010 9:29:09 PM

mainly sound quality now, since most sound processing is done by the CPU...
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March 16, 2010 11:41:37 PM

soulicro said:
I looked a lot into the subject, I read a lot of forum posts, I read a lot of reviews... and I'm STILL not sure whats the best option!

My absolute main priority is gaming, and for that, everybody seems to say an X-Fi sound card is a must. However, I'm unclear as to whats would serve me better - an X-fi chip with EAX support etc, or an ASUS/Omega chip for better sound quality...

Whats the tradeoff? Whats the difference in games? Whats the difference in everything else?

Forget EAX, unless you have a favorite game that uses it. Creative itself has stopped providing a list of EAX games on its site because it's too depressing for them how short the list is. EAX is a thing of the past. The APIs are starting to handle special effects. As for the rest of the sound manglers, the only one I find interesting is Dolby Headphone, like in the ~$100 ASUS Xonar D1. That attempts to make a faithful reproduction of the 5.1 sound field in two headphone speakers. You have to hear it to believe it. There's an explanation with some demos here.

Generally speaking, and this is boilerplate, put your money into speakers and/or headphones, unless you're happy with what you've got. The difference in sound per dollar there will be a "hundred times" what you'd hear by going from on-board to a sound card. A word of advice about headphones: test them yourself on your own head before buying, and be ready to spend a bundle. The sh**/sweet line for headphones is pretty high.
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March 17, 2010 12:11:28 AM

soulicro said:
I looked a lot into the subject, I read a lot of forum posts, I read a lot of reviews... and I'm STILL not sure whats the best option!

My absolute main priority is gaming, and for that, everybody seems to say an X-Fi sound card is a must. However, I'm unclear as to whats would serve me better - an X-fi chip with EAX support etc, or an ASUS/Omega chip for better sound quality...

Whats the tradeoff? Whats the difference in games? Whats the difference in everything else?



funny, for the last 2 years i heard people do nothing but bitch about how crappy creative cards are now because of there drivers. im not really one of them as i had been using creative cards since the SB16 and never ran into any problems with them.

if your really paranoid about how the sound is going to be for your games then be prepared to read loads of more reviews and don't trust customer reviews cause you don't know how much they really know and could be rating a product down for the fact that they don't know how to get it working right. all the cards high end cards people recommend for gaming you find will just have a small percentage in sound increase decrease between them.
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March 17, 2010 12:36:13 AM

captaincharisma said:
as long as you get a $50-$100 sound card then it will give you 100 times better sound than any on board chip.



Not true, in fact unless you are an audio FREAK (Like me :)  ) and you have really great speakers there is not much difference. And mobo integrated sound is getting better and better. The problem is if you dont do your research on what card to get.

So in fact yes, ALMOST always dedicated is better, but to most users, it really isnt worth the pricetag and the benifit is smaller than most people think.

If you do in fact have money that you are willing to spend on a sound card then great and you want the most out of those really expensive speakers, then more power to ya! Otherwise just leave it to the mobo. :lol: 

Hope that helps somewhat :D 

:bounce: 
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March 17, 2010 12:47:29 AM

I agree. As long as the onboard is competently designed and there is no serious EMI radiation issues, it should be almost impossible to tell the difference in a double blind test. The main benefit is some types of sound processing and DSP effects, or additional connections.

I have a ~$6,500 2.1 setup in my room (Usher Be-718 bookshelf speakers, 1000W ICEPower Amp, Onkyo receiver, SVS SB-12+ subwoofer, heavy duty studiotech speakerstands) and I doubt I could ABX the difference, and I have VERY sensitive ears (to the point I have my PC in a closet with 6lbs of dynamat sound proofing).
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March 17, 2010 1:32:17 AM

gidgiddonihah said:
Not true, in fact unless you are an audio FREAK (Like me :)  ) and you have really great speakers there is not much difference. And mobo integrated sound is getting better and better. The problem is if you dont do your research on what card to get.

So in fact yes, ALMOST always dedicated is better, but to most users, it really isnt worth the pricetag and the benifit is smaller than most people think.

If you do in fact have money that you are willing to spend on a sound card then great and you want the most out of those really expensive speakers, then more power to ya! Otherwise just leave it to the mobo. :lol: 

Hope that helps somewhat :D 

:bounce: 


yea....pretty sure he would notice a difference if he is uses his surround speaker with onboard and then with a mid to high range sound card. iyet again i noticed a big difference from going from my audigy 2 to my omega striker that anyone would be able to point it out
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March 17, 2010 6:07:43 PM

The Audigy 2 uses a very low quality interger based resampling algorithm. If you mess up the sound like that of course it's easy to hear the difference.
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March 17, 2010 8:54:20 PM

thats true but the audigy 2 still had better sound than the onboard sound that my 2007 build had.
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March 17, 2010 10:13:33 PM

depends how good your speakwers are, if u are got good speaker more difference ull find, but then again, if the soundcard ur getting isnt somewhat high end, then again you wont find no difference.
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