I am 100% hard charging audiophile with a question. Clearly, we are at a techo-tipping point on sound. Integrated isn’t half bad. Have 2 new high end systems. Didn't buy sound cards initially for 2 reasons. 1) Wanted to see if Creative made good on the “ X-Fi Titanium HD.” Dead air. No surprise. 2) To give integrated sound a go. Done. While good, it isn't great. Can't fine tune it.
I need good advice on buying a sound card. $200 US ~ Need a card that will make both Yo Yo Ma and the Rolling Stones sound superb. All in between too. Lots of jazz.
I use both headphones (Zalman) and a 7.1 speaker system. PCI-E. OS-Win 7-64X.
Fine tuning is the key.
1) HT Omegas-Interesting
2) Asus Xonar Essence-STX Headphones only or good for both?
3) Auzentech-a few options, but their connection to X-Fi drivers concerns me
Help me make this call. Everyone has an opinion. Please remember-all high quality audio -no games.
I'd probably recommend the Asus Xonar D2 for that use. As far as I know, the Essence is basically a headphone-oriented card, although I don't have any hands-on experience with it. The HT Omega is also a good choice, although they use a PCI slot, not a PCIe.
With a 192khz sample rate and PCIe x1 interface at $175, I'd say they're your best bet. I'd avoid Creative if I were you, and even though the X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty looks like a good deal, it's been extremely problematic from what I've read.
I probably would recommend the Omega Claro Plus, too, as it's basically the same as the Xonar D2. It's really personal preference. The Claro Halo series is the equivalent of the Xonar Essence, but as I said, I don't really know that much about it or its uses.
I have a Fatal1ty X-fi champion series, best sound output I've ever heard. But. I haven't tried the omega, and the sound blaster on windows 7 did create some issues I had to work through. Now that I have spent some time configuring and installing everything correctly.. it is just fine. And just a few days ago they released an update. So it is being worked on. I picked the sound blaster because its the most used brand and the way game makers are in such a rush to get their games out, there are sound driver incompatability with some sound card and components on new releases, if they aren't mainstream.
The X-FI Titanium HD has been released in Asia so far.
Any Asus Xonar are very good by all accounts i've read.Some driver issues.
I run an Auzentech Forte and have experienced no issues whatsoever.
Their drivers install flawlessly even after pulling the card out for some interior cleaning it fired right back up.
Try that with a Creative not so good.
Thanks for your recommendatiions. My ears appreiciate it. After a maddening experience with Creative I cant go back for a second round. While they did put out a press release in Jan on their 2 new HD cards, the only evidence of their existence is below.In Asia. Why tell the world they are coming soon. A marketing ploy that has cost them dearly as many are not amused.