Ive been thinking about my speaker/sound card setup and im in the market to replace my card. I currently have a SB XFi XtremeGamer Fatal1ty Pro series card with the Logitech Z5500 speaker system. Ive had no problems with this setup but ive had it for a couple years and wonder if im missing out on better quality music through optical or w/e.
I would like to try to get the best sounding music possible to either headphones or the system but i dont know that much about what to look for in a sound card as far as specs. Ive heard of ASUS, Ausentech along with others. Im not worried about the price of the card either.
I guess my question is should i be looking more at Auzentech, or Asus cards and any good suggestions as if i should go optical from the speakers or line in or w/e?
Personally, I think the sound quality is better when you use analog outs on the Creative cards. Switching to digital, to me, makes the sound slightly less punchy. So you should try the switch and see if you like it, the cables are cheap. It won't be a big difference.
Auzentech and Asus both have some great cards. On paper they have better specs than the creative cards, but I'm not sure you will hear a big difference other than slight bias at certain freqs. This is kind of standard with any av equipment, and why people are partial to some brands over others.
i use 5.1 on 7.1 systems because most audio is mastered to 5.1 in dvds and tv broadcasts. The extra 2 channels are there in blue rays though. The settings in the control panel will still ask if you want to output to 2, 4, 5.1, or 7.1. The reason to keep it 5.1 instead of 7.1 if you don't have the extra speakers is to make sure positional and rear audio get processed to go out the rear channels. Thats why you'd select 5.1 in your options.