Need help form choosing BEST soundcard

Hello Everyone.

Here my story: Ive been using Sound blaster for years from 3 models soundblaster, xtremegamer and the LAST ONE Faltality Champion ( ABSOLUTELY LAST FROM creative, no more business with that crappy company)

Faltality Champion sound card sound is better ( not so much better from his brother xtremegamer) but now im on Win 7 x64. I have a problems with (whenever) i using it digital output (optical cable) i have to enable DDT or Dolby Digital Live (DDL) encode to 5.1 to my Onkyo Amp do the rest to 7.1 Energy Colossus loud speakers.

Guess what ? It prevents my PC from auto sleep, my habit is watching movie before sleep so after the movie end it gone sleep. But now it will stay the next day until i shut it down. And my rig is contained so much things to eat up my electricity bills ( 1000W ABS tagan PSU, 4870 x2, 4 HDDs and extreme overclock q9450 ~ 3.6 GHZ) . If i manual click sleep---> it will sleep but its not F$%ing waking up.... all i do after is the painful reset/power button to wake it up. Yeah !
I ve tried every drivers from creative web but none of them worked, contacted cust support ----> 6 business days i got a random answer giving me bunch of beta drivers ( none of them i didnt try) and tell me wait till the next update and its been about 3 months still doing Sh!t on their website.

Im sick of this sh!t and about to smash this b1tch up, replace another brand that will not prevent my pc perform sleep.

So i have in mind
ASUS Xonar D2X

ASUS Essential


or Claro Halo ( seems Halo still has old chipset same with Claro+, but with some make up to be Halo)

SO, if any of you have experience with 2 those cards or have some good brands then please type down your opinon, thats help me a lot and remember DO NOT STAY AWAY FROM SOUNDBLASTER, U HAVE TO RUN AS FAST AS U CAN FROM CREATIVE.

Im not playing game no more (maybe a little of starcraft 2) all i need is a supreme sound for my music. Price around 200 - 400$

other thoughts:

I never complain about the sound quality of Faltality Champion(cuz i never used different band than Creative so i dont know is it the best sound quality or not)


Maybe this one fit me better :
16 answers Last reply
More about need form choosing soundcard
  1. I like the Asus D2X I have heard nothing but great things about it.
  2. For a supreme music card, my vote's with the Asus Essence STX.
  3. Well, if you're using the optical connection, then most of the soundcards will come out equal. You *might* want to look at the cards which use HDMI output though, such as the Xonar HDAV 1.3 and Auzentech HTHD.

    Assuming you want DTS encoding and not just Dolby Digital, I'd recommend either the HT Omega Striker, ASUS Xonar D2/D2X, Auzentech Forte, HT Omega Claro+/Halo, or ASUS Essence ST/STX. I know, a long list, but all are solid cards that match up VERY well against eachother. Any particular features that are important?
  4. @ gamerk316 : yeah, for digital output its a MUST to have DDT DDL encode, otherwise it will be crappy, ( remember since ur playing music on PC, u haave to have somthing make it 5.1 output , its not like u play music or dvd, bluray , it has 5.1 or 7.1 itself. Default optical out put only plays stereo.
  5. ^^ YAY! I don't have to explain about Optical Encoding now!

    My point was that one of the cards I generally recommend, the ASUS Xonar DX, lacks DTS encoding, hence why I left it off my list.

    The majority of cards are equal when it comes to output quality over the optical output. The HT Omega Striker is probably the best price/performance of the bunch, though you can make a case for the ASUS Xonar D2/D2X and Auzentech Prelude due to X-Fi support.

    If you want a powered amp (say, for headphone use), then you'll want to look at hte Auzentech Forte, ASUS Essence ST/STX, and HT Omega Calro+/Halo.
  6. thanks gamerk316

    I think im gonna buy an ASUS D2X, Striker might be good but like u said it doest have X-Fi so that a huge missing, and its a old card so maybe not support win 7 x64. Thats a reason why i get rid of my Faltality Champion due to lack of driver support and stupid customer support.
    And about amp power for headphone i never pay attention to cuz i never temp to try, i love hearing music from my Onkyo and 7.1 Energy loud speakers.
  7. Just remember, ASUS Cards fully support EAX 1+2, and have software emulation for EAX 5.0. Modes 3+4 are currently unsupported, and given how EAX isn't used much anymore, I wouldn't expect support anytime soon. Only Creative and Auzentech have full X-fi support, and even then, you have to go through Alchemy to get it working...
  8. @ gamerk316

    I just looking through the specs of 3 card D2X, Essential ST and STX

    - D2X have both internal decode (both DDL and DTS) hardware
    - ST and STX dont have DDL, only DTS hardware

    But ST ( im choosing over DTX cuz the price higher a little so might be better ?) have more feature then D2X, or is it newer than D2X ??

    oh, no... im wrong ST and DTX have same chipset AV100, D2X have AV200 ..... god ... so confusing.... so D2X is newer card ???
  9. EAX i think its about to retire LOL
  10. The D2/D2X are older then the ST/STX. All of these models should include both Dolby Digital and DTS Encoding. None of these cards support DD/DTS hardware decoding.

    I can't stress that above point enough; we can all blame the movie industry for the almost total lack of hardware decoders these days...If you need a decoder for either format, take a hard look at the ASUS HDAV 1.3 and Auzentech Home Theatre HD.

    Back to topic, the ST/STX's main improvements over the D2/D2X are improved output quality of the stereo RCA ports (The ST/STX went RCA over AC97) and the powered headphone amp. For most users, the D2/D2X is sufficent for hooking up to HT equipment.

    I make a very minor note: The D2X is known to not play nice with nforce motherboards; something about how the PCI->PCI-E bridge chip causes some sort of compatability problem. I can vouch for a D2 on a nforce motherboard though. .

    If you want a REALLY detailed description of the differences between the cards, I'd advise you to head over to the Guru3d sound forum, and look up ROBSCIX; he's their audio guru, and could probably recite all the differences between cards at the top of his head. Even I get confused about the fine points between individual cards these days...
  11. Of those choices I'd pick Xonar because I've never heard of the other brand lol.

    However, definitely check out AuzenTech Forte. I have the slightly cheaper Bravura and it's great, but the Forte has a couple extra features that make it a very very nice card and easily competes with the best (<$200). If you really want the best AuzenTech Hometheater HD is a top dog for sure.

    EAX doesn't matter much, most games aren't using it any more and even if they are, Alchemy AL does the same thing. Plus most games are just using Direct Sound which most cards support. My Bravura also has DTS, some have Dolby, some both but those are only really useful when you have the signal going to a good receiver.
  12. I too vote for the Essence (Essential as typed by OP).. Especially when considering a stereo speakers and/or headphone setup as the primarily listening gear.. For gaming and/or multi-channel usage, the D2X is the more better card..
  13. For headphones, there's a couple important considerations. First is are they multichannel or stereo, and second is how much impedance are they. For the latter, any good multichannel sound card should work. For the former, you need a powerful card sometimes. Probably most stereo headphones are around 50ohm impedance, but really good ones are a lot more. I have Sennheiser PC350s and they are 150ohm so I need a powerful headphone opamp. The card I use, AuzenTech Bravura, can handle up to 600ohms on the headphone amp so it's absolutely great for headphone set ups... I don't know the specs on other cards here but I do know a lot of them don't have that much power.
  14. I've said it before and I'll say it again: I don't like the Bravura. Bad price (D2X is a better deal, and too close to the Forte), and close to false advertising in my mind (Due to being an X-fi chipset, which according to spec is EAX 5.0 capable, but only supporting EAX 4.0 and below). If you need the amp, the Essence, Forte, and HT Omega Claro+/Halo are better all around cards, in my mind.
  15. if your amp supports HDMI audio then just use your graphics card to output audio.

    if u must get a soundcard, then u gonna have to look for some very gd soundcard, in order to hear sound quality improvement over your receiver, this is that im assuming that u already have a decent onkyo amp.

    "Im not playing game no more (maybe a little of starcraft 2) all i need is a supreme sound for my music. Price around 200 - 400$"
    the asus xonar essence will be a very gd buy. theres still an optical connection so u still have a choice of surround. if u want better quality stereo sound, then go for teh essence, if u already have a good onkyo amp, then just use your graphics card,

    jsut so you know, u need a quite high end receiver to be up to par with the essence.

    but then again, u like movies...
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