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Good sound card/speaker combo for under 220$

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July 19, 2010 11:44:47 AM

Hello, I'm looking to get a good combination of a new sound card (Mine is integrated) and a set of speakers.

My budget at the moment is 220$, If I need to I can get it a bit higher but i'd prefer to stay around there.

Logitech Z-2300 2.1 speakers - 140$ - http://www.amazon.com/Logitech-Z-2300-THX-Certified-Spe...

Creative Labs SB0880 PCI Express Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium Sound Card - 95$ - http://www.amazon.com/Creative-Labs-Express-Blaster-Tit...

I was thinking those two together would put me at 235 which I can do, however then I ran in to

Creative X-fi titanium fatal1ty - 125$- http://www.amazon.com/Creative-Labs-SB0886-Titanium-Pro...

That would put me a little over budget but If its a good sound boost then I'll be willing to do it.

I could also get cheaper speakers?

Any recommendations on other sound cards? (I have no clue about em)



July 19, 2010 12:06:54 PM

The fatal1ty pro version is basically the same exact card as the regular titanium the pro version has a little added X-RAM which should add a little extra performance for gaming , but if you are not a huge gamer and just want a good sounding card the regular Titanium will be just fine paired with the Logitech speakers will be a nice set up.

ASUS Xonar line cards are great cards too.
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July 19, 2010 12:13:19 PM

If you enjoy gaming and movies then a good 5.1 set of speakers are what you should be looking for.. You can get the logitech Z-5500 digital or the klipsch pro media 5.1 (if available) and pair it up with your onboard sound for now and later get a good sound card.. If you need the sound card in any case then you can lower down on the speakers a bit and get the logitech X-540.. If you are a music enthusiast then a good 2.1 setup (like the Z-2300 as selected by you) will do good.. For the sound card, I'll recommend the Asus Xonar DX (Xonar D1 in case you need to setup the sound card on a PCI slot)..
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July 19, 2010 3:56:54 PM

Why bother with Creative? Might as well get a good soundcard for your money...

Soundcard: HT Omega Striker ($89) or ASUS Xonar DX ($89). You can move up to an Auzentech Prelude/Forte though for a bit more, if X-fi support REALLY matters to you...

As for speakers, you might want to move up to 5.1 (Logitec X-540's or Z-5500's)
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July 19, 2010 4:42:20 PM

saaiello said:
The fatal1ty pro version is basically the same exact card as the regular titanium the pro version has a little added X-RAM which should add a little extra performance for gaming , but if you are not a huge gamer and just want a good sounding card the regular Titanium will be just fine paired with the Logitech speakers will be a nice set up.

ASUS Xonar line cards are great cards too.

^+1 couldn't agree more.
Too bad you missed out on the Auzentech Forte sale at NCIX which ran for about a month.
The Forte can be had for@ $100 when on sale and can't be beat at that price.
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July 19, 2010 6:41:25 PM

How is the sound quality of the 540s when compared to the 2300s?

And I primarily use a 5.1 surround headset for serious gaming, this would be for more casual use, watching movies, playing rpgs, music.

And also, If i got 5.1s i wouldn't be able to get them behind me at all, only on the desk.
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July 19, 2010 6:59:26 PM

Guys, don't recommend $350 speakers when the OP wants to spend only $220. Geeze. Anyway, I have X540s and they're very good. Crisp sound, suprisingly loud bass from the tiny 5.25" sub (seriously impressive). I really recommend these as low end 5.1 speakers.
Also, as for putting the surrounds behind you, I've been either just putting them on the ground behind me when gaming or on a small wheeled table thing. Works well enough.
However, given that you have a surround headset, the 5.1 speakers might be more than you need. I think the Z2300s will have a lot more bass to them which you might want for the music.

Mobo sound is fine, but there is a noticeable (I thought so at least) improvement going to a dedicated card. If your headset is USB though, I wouldn't bother. But if it's got a mini jack or full jack, then it will help at least a bit.

The AuzenTech cards are really great, in particular the Bravura and Forte are nice and have special DJ Quality headphone jacks with very high quality opamps. I have a Bravura for 7.1 audio (external) and it's so great, works in every game and movie I've tried so far. The Forte is slightly more expensive and gives just slight benefits in quality. The Xonar DX and X Fi Titanium don't have special headphone outputs, and IMO since you game with headphones I would definitely get a card with special headphone output.

I hear the Omega Striker is good but I don't know enough about it to really say.
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July 19, 2010 7:15:39 PM

454xalucard said:
How is the sound quality of the 540s when compared to the 2300s?

And I primarily use a 5.1 surround headset for serious gaming, this would be for more casual use, watching movies, playing rpgs, music.

And also, If i got 5.1s i wouldn't be able to get them behind me at all, only on the desk.

I have two friends that own those speakers and have listened to those sets extensively.
The 2300's are a good 2.1 set-up but i've heard better the Klipsch Pro-Media 2.1 but they are out of your price range.
You could do much worse then the Z-2300's which like i said are pretty good.
The X540's might be the best for your budget if you want 5.1.
Hard to beat for the price and performance and sound surprisingly good.
Also the reg. X-FI Titanium is probably the best match anything below that in Creative's line-up isn't as good.
If you could hold off and shop around for a sale the Auzentech Bravura and Forte are the best imo.
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July 19, 2010 8:39:39 PM

Hmm alright, I think 5.1's are a no go for me cause I don't have much extra space around my desk (There's a door right behind me). My headphones by the way are connected through digital for sound and usb for voice (Tritton Ax720).

What about some 523's? http://www.amazon.com/Logitech-Speaker-System-Z523-Subw...

Sub isn't as big and it isn't THX certified (Although i heard thats just a marketing scam).

I actually would like some nice bass, but I won't be making it that loud, as my room mates will kill me.

(Edit) Ahh I just noticed 540s are only 13$ more, but still 5.1 will be hard to fit as i said before, thats why I was leaning to the 2300

(Edit) So, I could always do a 5.1 setup like this guy has, have 2 of the speakers directly to the left/right of the center, and then the other 2 on the far right/left sides of the desk?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_tY4YiXC-nY
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February 11, 2011 3:37:57 PM

This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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February 21, 2011 1:28:47 AM

Best answer selected by 454xalucard.
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