I would like to get some help swimming through all this techno-babble. What do all of the technical specifications of a sound card mount up to? Does SNR (signal-to-noise-ratio) mean louder sound or clearer sound? Do the KHz mean louder sound or clearer sound?
What should I be looking for in a sound card if I want louder sound?
From what I could siphon from all the tech stuff I came to the conclusion that I have to choose between these 2 budget cards : Audigy SE and Audigy 2. Either one of them will be better than what I have right now which is a Creative Sound Blaster Live! 5.1
What I would like to know is either what I need to look at from the tech specs to decide what means sound quality and what means pure audio volume or which should I get from either the Audigy SE or the Audigy 2.
SNR is a reference to the clarity of the sound, the higher the SNR the less background noise there is, if its got a low SNR and you turn up the volume quite a bit you will hear a buzz in the background.
The KHz range is its frequency range, if it goes from 100 Hz-20KHz it will miss the really low end, same if it only goes to like 12KHz it will miss the high end, as long as it goes from 20Hz-20KHz it will cover the full spectrum of human hearing.
If you want louder sound, that is all on the speakers, if you want more volume you will need to get a speaker system with higher wattage, you probably want to get something with a distinct sub woofer box if you want pure volume
I had the Audigy SE, its not great, the onboard sound on my M4A79T is slightly better, if you are going to get a sound card expect to pay at least 60 to get a notable difference, but if you cant tell the difference between super high sound quality and mid range sound quality i would stick with integrated and get a bigger speaker system.
Hello, hunet315 and thank you for your answer. I don't want louder sound on all speakers, all I want is louder sound on my headphones, a pair of Philips SPH2000 which my current card, Creative Sound Blaster Live! 5.1 can not hold. The speakers sound great but the volume is low and since my budget isn't big (it's very low, actually) I don't want to pay for a headphones amplifier or whatnot. Just the card itself. What happened to the old Sound Blasters on ISA which could power 24W un-ammped speakers without a hitch?
So just louder sound on one of the outputs. My choices are either an Audigy SE, an Audigy 2 or a Creative X-Fi.
I sure chose my poison, didn't I?
Thank you for your answers, guys! Just found out that Xonar DG is THE ONLY card with proper headphones amplification. Why is it that only one manufacturer ever thought that maybe when you spend that much money on a card you expect it to be loud?...
Most lower end sound cards assume that they are going into a cheaper 2.0, 2.1 or 5.1 system that has its own built in amp, and you can plug headphones in there and that amp will take care of the, it also lets them extract some extra money out of you if you really want a headphone amp.
Why go through all the trouble? The amp is gonna eat space, at that price it's not going to be very good, it's gonna eat power too (one more cord in the socket). The cheapest and least bothersome solution : buy the Xonar DG and just be done with it. Thank you for your answer, hunter 315.