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Which Sound Card?

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August 28, 2010 6:32:39 AM

Thanks in advance!

My sound card is very old and I'm in the market for a new one. First and foremost, Creative doesn't and will not have decent driver support for my old Audigy 2 ZS. = ( It appears creative has slipped quite a bit in the market.

I've been out of the sound card loop for some time and thought I would ask the community what is the best sound card for Windows 7. Yes, I play games, but I'm not looking for a $200 sound card. Top of the line may be too much, however middle of the road would be great for me. Music, games and solid Windows 7 driver support is what matters to me.

I deeply appreciate any recommendations you guys may have. Many thanks!



Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 2X3GHZ
Asus Maximus Formula Motherboard
4X1GB Gskill DDR-2
BFGTech GeForce 8800 GTS OC 2
Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS
WD Caviar Black Edition 1TB
Windows 7 Ultimate 64-Bit

More about : sound card

a b $ Windows 7
August 28, 2010 7:28:04 AM

I am running a XFI Pro and an Audigy 2 Platinum on two Rigs and both are Win 7. I have had no problems with these cards or the drivers. ASUS make quite a nice card. One important thing to remember is to buy a PCI Express 4.0 Sound Card and avoid PCI cards. This will allow you to avoid the PCI slot issue that turns up in Rigs with SLI or Crossfire. You cant put in the sound card because it often blocks the flow of air to the second GPU. As I say my Creatives work well and have been stable under Win 7. However that is a matter of preference.
a b $ Windows 7
August 28, 2010 8:46:29 AM

Uhmmm, duh? Why would creative have drivers for a piece of hardware that old? Was XP even released when the A2zs came out?

What makes you think you even need a card? Onboard has come a long way, and if your just gaming I doubt you even need one.
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a b $ Windows 7
August 28, 2010 12:33:30 PM

I just replaced an Audigy 2 ZS on a Win7 1156 platform.
I managed to get the Audigy working ok(not to the level it was on my XP though) and it sounded much better then the ALC889 btw.
I took a chance and replaced it with a $35 Auzentech X-plosion(on sale less then half price) which has Win7 64 support.
The benefits were clearly evident much tighter bass and cleaner highs and less muddy mids.
I think your best bet would be an Auzentech Bravura.
$96.16 after mir US price
http://www.ncixus.com/products/49090/AZT-BRAVURA/AuzenT...
$79.99 after mir Can price
http://ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=49090&vpn=AZT%2D...
If you want to spurge a bit the Forte is a step up from the Bravura i have one in my main rig(excellent)
it's a better buy then the Bravura at the moment if you live in the States
AuzenTech Forte Low Profile PCI-E 7.1 Sound Card PCI-E Dolby Digital Live Headphone AMP
$112.65 after mir
http://www.ncixus.com/products/35596/AZTXFF7105551/Auze...
Btw the Forte has every feature the best Creative card has plus more(seperate headphone amp) and at a cheaper price.
August 28, 2010 6:30:37 PM

I'm also in the market for a sound card to go with my stereo system and future headset(looking at the pc 360).

I've heard lots lots and lots of debate around the topic. From an alc 889 will beat an x-fi extreme gamer to sound cards are retarded and useless to Any sound card will make minced meat of any onboard. I'm lost really. I just want good sound for gaming/music/movies. I'm I would spend around 70-80 maybe even a 100. I'm looking at the auzentech x-raider. Is it good?

Btw on topic I hear the home theatre HD from auzentechis a very very good card and worth every penny. If you want the best look no further. However I would spend more money on the rest of system assuming you game or do anything else intensive otherwise nevermind.
August 28, 2010 7:44:14 PM

The best sound card out there is the Asus Xonar Essence STX (especially if you own a set of high end stereo speakers and/or some mid to high range audiophile headphones).. For pure gaming though, the X-Fi chip is more value for money.. Thus the Auzentech line of cards will fit the bill most appropriately.. Davecon has explained them nicely so I'll leave it to that.. Lastly, a dedicated sound card has been and will always be better compared to the onboard solution.. If you can afford one, go for it..
August 28, 2010 8:42:13 PM

Onboard sound has come so far that they can playback everything up the 24 bit range and even 7.1 audio support.

Still dedicated sound cards has less fluctuation in sound quality and has many cool gimmicks.

The most important gimmick the Creative CMSS-3D or the Dolby Digital alogorithms which can simulate surround sound through a pair of 2.1 speakers or headphones. It is surprisingly good on headphones, not so much for stero speakers. They can also convert 2.1 sound sources to 5.1 which is alright.

I don't think sound cards are a good source of value but if you got a $400 set of speakers then why not. If you have a set of stero speakers, then you probably don't need it. If you were to get one, the creative X-Fi titanium is much cheaper than the Asus Xonar and has most of the features you would want.
a b $ Windows 7
August 29, 2010 12:10:50 AM

Somebody_007 said:
I'm also in the market for a sound card to go with my stereo system and future headset(looking at the pc 360).

I've heard lots lots and lots of debate around the topic. From an alc 889 will beat an x-fi extreme gamer to sound cards are retarded and useless to Any sound card will make minced meat of any onboard. I'm lost really. I just want good sound for gaming/music/movies. I'm I would spend around 70-80 maybe even a 100. I'm looking at the auzentech x-raider. Is it good?

Btw on topic I hear the home theatre HD from auzentechis a very very good card and worth every penny. If you want the best look no further. However I would spend more money on the rest of system assuming you game or do anything else intensive otherwise nevermind.

The Raiders a decent card i wouldn't spend more then $40 for one though.
The Bravura and Forte are the only decent cards in Auzentech's line-up for gaming and do everything else very well plus they have dedicated headphone amps.
I would buy this HT Omega Striker 7.1 Channel PCI Sound Card 24BIT DTS Dolby Digital Live S/PDIF IN/OUT Coaxial over a Raider -$59.99
http://ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=22973&vpn=STRIKE...
US price-$56.07
http://www.ncixus.com/products/index.php?sku=22973&vpn=...
August 29, 2010 4:57:03 AM

Thanks for the recommendations, guys!

So, it comes down to this for me. Again, games, music, Win 7 64-bit support. And concerning the latter, I can't even plug in head-phones in the back of the card due to creative driver's not supporting it. Again, I hae lost some faith in creative and the evidence saddens me.

At any rate, it appears we are down to the Asus card, or the Azune card. Hmm... Decisions, decisions. Any insight as to why I should choose one over the other?

Again, thanks guys!

a b $ Windows 7
August 29, 2010 6:50:46 AM

I still vote onboard. I haven't heard of any reason yet why you need a card at all. What speakers or headphones are you using? Do you even have anything that will make use of the sound output that a card can provide?
August 29, 2010 8:51:40 AM

yeah agreed. If you don't have a bose setup or better you are far from needing a sound card.
a b $ Windows 7
August 29, 2010 9:33:42 AM

Bose isn't the best, and Logitech or Boston Acoustics make speakers that would sound better on a card. One of those $50 sets from online I'm not so sure about.
August 29, 2010 10:38:28 AM

Yeah bose is overrated bu I just gave it as an example because even their cheapest sets are high quality maybe bad price/performance and reasonably quiet but they are high quality nonetheless. But there are many better brands like the ones you mentioned(although logitech has lots of cheap crap) and canton(which I have), epos, harman kardon and many more. Bose has pretty bad value so I'd ovoid them unless you get good discounts.
August 30, 2010 6:42:55 AM

Trust me, I would love to go onboard sound. I don't. Because when I do, my games and music are noticeably muffled and sound like arse. LOL.

Forgive me for not posting this earlier, but my speaker system is a Logitech http://www.amazon.com/Logitech-Z-5300e-THX-Certified-28...

Again, many thanks, friends!
August 30, 2010 6:57:02 AM

Those are pretty good speakers.. The Auzentech Bravura or the Asus Xonar DX should nicely complement them.. Take your pick..
a b $ Windows 7
August 30, 2010 11:22:30 AM

^+1 i have a set of those and those cards are excellent.

Best solution

a b $ Windows 7
August 30, 2010 12:35:18 PM
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As always: I will not recommend Creative

My choices are the same as always (in increasing performance by brand):
ASUS: Xonar D1/DX, Xonar D2/D2X, Essence ST/STX
HT Omega: Striker, Claro
Auzentech: Prelude, Forte

My overall recommendations for someone not willing to break the bank are the HT Omega Striker and ASUS Xonar D1/DX.
September 6, 2010 3:07:37 AM

I deeply appreciate the time and effort guys! I have it narrowed down to two cards. Both the most recommened here. I will keep everyone updated.

Again, many, many thanks, my friends!
September 6, 2010 3:08:41 AM

Best answer selected by crimsonking.
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