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Which sound card is the one for me?

Hello, I'm trying to choose a sound card, but I don't know much about the technology or the market. I would like a sound card that plays music pristinely, has Dolby Headphone, and would work well with a quality speaker system. Also I would like to be able to plug in a MIDI keyboard and with the appropriate software turn my computer into a synthesizer. I do play games often, but with a sound card I would buy it 95% for my music. My budget is $200, but the less expensive the better.

If anyone has any suggestions I would appreciate it.

-Sean
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  1. Best answer
    Ok read this on connecting a midi keyboard to computer.
    http://www.musiconmypc.co.uk/art_keyboard_connection.php

    Then go to the link in my sig for sound card advice but on the lesser side of the $200 budget I would suggest an ASUS DX or an Creative X-Fi Titanium. But there are many cards out that offer great sound quality.

    Some Options For you

    ASUS Xonar D2X $179.99
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829132005
    This is a great deal for this caard it offers alot of options and gives great sound quality.

    If you are looking into trying to make some music with different sources this M-Auidio card offers alot of options for connectivity and with the proper softeware its like haveing a studio in the privacy of your home.
    M-AUDIO Delta 1010LT 24-bit 96KHz PCI Interface 10-In-10-Out PCI Virtual Studio $189.99
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829121011

    M-AUDIO Audiophile 2496 $99.99
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829121120
    I dont know much about this card but it does have a midi port hool up not sure on its sound quality though some bad reviews I have read about this card.

    ASUS Xonar D2 7.1 $149.99
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829132001
    This is basically same card as the D2X except this uses just a regular PCI slot instead of the PCIE x1 like the D2X uses this would be my choice of card and just connect the midi using a USB convertor.

    http://www.miditousbcable.com/
    The cable convertor shouldnt run you more than $20 and would be your best option since most soundcards these days do not have midi ports on them anymore.
  2. Haha I've had your sound card advice post up in another window to refer to for the last 6 days. This was spot on advice, I'm going to grab the Xonar D2. What do ASUS' "Essence" cards have over their D2 cards just out of curiosity? Also, thanks very much for the help, I appreciate it.
  3. seanr111 said:
    Haha I've had your sound card advice post up in another window to refer to for the last 6 days. This was spot on advice, I'm going to grab the Xonar D2. What do ASUS' "Essence" cards have over their D2 cards just out of curiosity? Also, thanks very much for the help, I appreciate it.

    The essence cards have the built in headphone amps and are more geared towards the analog aspect more then digital. True audiophiles hate digital. Anything digital is compressed and processed where as analog is raw and untouched when you have high quality audio files like FLAC and using some serious headphones the sound is just amazing. The true test for sound quality of your setup is when you can leave the EQ off and just listen to the raw music and it sounds perfect.

    The D2 is an excellent choice.

    The Headphone AMP is only really needed when using some very expensive audiophile headphones.

    Edit: Noticed the D2 comes with a daughter card for MIDI input.
  4. Would a pair of headphones like the Sennheiser EH350 constitute buying the headphone amp, or are we talking about the 1/2 grand professional studio headphones?

    Sennheiser EH350 : http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16826159421
  5. Nope the D2 will be just fine for those phones.
  6. Just for my own learning purposes, you can buy external headphone amps that would perform on par with the built-in ones on the Essence models correct?
  7. Yes but they are not cheap and to be honest you will probably get better amps if you buy them externally.

    http://www.headphone.com/headphone-amps/amplifiers.php
  8. One last question, for purely music use what headphones would you suggest for around $100?
  9. Sorry but I dont know alot about good headphones I never liked having headphones on.

    Start another thread asking about headphones I know there are alot of people on here that will be able to help you out with that more then me.

    Good Luck
  10. seanr111 said:
    One last question, for purely music use what headphones would you suggest for around $100?


    Technics headphones are nice. Or Bose.
  11. Best answer selected by SeanR111.
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