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Soundcard...neccesary or blowing my money?

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  • Sound Cards
  • Computers
  • Components
Last response: in Components
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March 9, 2011 1:15:15 AM

Hey there. Building my first computer and am going to be running with a logitech z5500 5.1 surround sound system. This will be a sandy bridge p67 build and I was wondering if the on board sound will be good for this system or if I should invest in a sound card? And if so what card would you recommend? Thanks!

More about : soundcard neccesary blowing money

March 9, 2011 1:30:41 AM

There are countless 'onboard vs sound-card' threads, check the search function.
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March 9, 2011 1:42:01 AM

Quote:

If your using a digital connection and your using a receiver/amp and your mobo got a digital output then it wouldn't make a difference.


If it wasn't so sad it would be funny.
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March 9, 2011 2:07:03 AM

Quote:
eh? So connecting your receiver to a soundcard via a digital connection will sound better than connecting your receiver to your onboard via a digital connection?


No, it won't.

But using a soundcard that can perform Dolby Digital Live encoding will provide *functionality* that you do not get with onboard digital connections!

Really, I'd genuinely like to explain this to you if you're not getting this, and if you're open to listening.
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March 9, 2011 2:34:32 AM

We're not talking about Analog, Digital, DACs, that is all irrelevant to my point. I'm not discussing the method of transport between PC and audio system.

What it comes down to is that a soundcard that offers Dolby Digital Live can encode 5.1 audio for digital out, which onboard audio simply cannot do.

So when you say it makes no difference whether you use onboard or a soundcard for digital connections, you're missing the crucial point that you will not get surround (5.1) audio from a game without Dolby Digital Live (or DTS Connect) functionality, which only a soundcard with DD Live can provide.

If you really don't get this, help me to help you understand by pointing out which bit you're not clear on.
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March 9, 2011 2:51:40 AM

Jay, take from someone who has bashed his head against that wall to many times. Best to try to explain your point to the op and ignore those who think they know what they are doing.

Al, the Z5500s are ok speakers. The sub is overpowered, and the satellites are so so. You are however getting to the point where a SC could make a difference. Will you have to skimp on anything to afford it? If you have to get less ram, or a weaker CPU, etc, then I'd skip it. Actually I'd skip it entirely and build your PC using onboard. A SC is an easy thing to add. Try the onboard and see if you like it. If it works and sounds good, spend that $$$ on a new game or two.
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March 9, 2011 9:17:02 AM

4745454b said:
Jay, take from someone who has bashed his head against that wall to many times. Best to try to explain your point to the op and ignore those who think they know what they are doing.

Al, the Z5500s are ok speakers. The sub is overpowered, and the satellites are so so. You are however getting to the point where a SC could make a difference. Will you have to skimp on anything to afford it? If you have to get less ram, or a weaker CPU, etc, then I'd skip it. Actually I'd skip it entirely and build your PC using onboard. A SC is an easy thing to add. Try the onboard and see if you like it. If it works and sounds good, spend that $$$ on a new game or two.


No I won't have to skimp on anything. Have about $200 max that I could spend on a sound card and I want the absolute best possible sound I can get with my speakers. A lot of people have told me that with an analog connection sound card is the way to go. If I did end up going this way are there any cards you'd recommend? Keep in mind this is a gaming pc as well.
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March 9, 2011 10:44:38 AM

You're asking the wrong guy. I had so many ear infections as a kid that I can't use the phone on my right ear. My current computer audio consists of whatever onboard I have on my Foxconn X38 board and a CHEAP pair of headphones I picked up from amazon. I can hear/recognize good audio when I hear it however.

I still say try whatever you have onboard first and see if you like it. Putting in an audio card if you want to later is no problem at all. And because you have $200 to spend on a SC that means you already have an 2500K, at least 4GBs of ram, and at least a GTX560/6870?
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March 9, 2011 11:00:08 AM

My recommendations have not changed much. Basically comes down to budget/needs more then anything.

Low End:
ASUS Xonar DG

Budget:
ASUS Xonar DS

Mid-Range:
ASUS Xonar D1/DX
HT Omega Striker

High-End:
Auzentech Prelude
Auzentech Meridian 2g
ASUS Xonar D2/D2X
HT Omega Claro [Non-Halo line]

Top-Tier:
ASUS Essence ST/STX
Auzentech Forte
HT Omega Claro Halo [and varients]

If you can give specifics on your setup, I can probably point you toward a specific segment/card. I will say that most anything above the mid-range will probably be a little limited by the Z5500's [good solid speaker set, but not high-end].
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March 9, 2011 3:51:26 PM

Quote:
Dts live is as old as the hills 99,9 percent of all the receivers can do it.

When using a digital interconnect, the PCs sound card will pass the surround sound signal directly to the receiver to decode the audio and play it through your speakers.


Dadiggle, we're almost there. This will be my last post on the issue, other readers can look into this issue themselves and determine which is correct:

Dolby Digital Live, and DTS Connect are ENCODING technologies. Receivers cannot do it, don't do it, and even if they could it would be pointless. Receivers DECODE the Dolby Digital signal, and it's transparent to the receiver what the source was (direct pass-though, or re-encode).

The purpose behind Dolby Digital Live is to ENCODE a multi-channel signal for digital transmission. Without this multi-channel encoding, you are limited to 2 channels over a digital connection, unless the SOURCE is multichannel (e.g. a DVD)

so let's take this:

>>When using a digital interconnect, the PCs sound card will pass the surround sound signal directly to the receiver to decode the audio and play it through your speakers.

Correct for a sound card with DD Live. For onboard/motherboard digital out, you will only get 2 channel audio, unless the SOURCE is multichannel (e.g. a DVD).

Try it for me. Assuming you have a motherboard with a digital audio out (you don't post your hardware specs...) use your digital connection to the receiver, and try to get 5.1 audio from a game. You won't be able to. But try, please try, and then you'll understand the limitation that I've been trying to explain to you.
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March 9, 2011 4:05:26 PM

4745454b said:
You're asking the wrong guy. I had so many ear infections as a kid that I can't use the phone on my right ear. My current computer audio consists of whatever onboard I have on my Foxconn X38 board and a CHEAP pair of headphones I picked up from amazon. I can hear/recognize good audio when I hear it however.

I still say try whatever you have onboard first and see if you like it. Putting in an audio card if you want to later is no problem at all. And because you have $200 to spend on a SC that means you already have an 2500K, at least 4GBs of ram, and at least a GTX560/6870?


Yes sir. 2500k, 8 gb ddr3, dual gtx 560 ti.
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March 9, 2011 4:17:49 PM

gamerk316 said:
My recommendations have not changed much. Basically comes down to budget/needs more then anything.

Low End:
ASUS Xonar DG

Budget:
ASUS Xonar DS

Mid-Range:
ASUS Xonar D1/DX
HT Omega Striker

High-End:
Auzentech Prelude
Auzentech Meridian 2g
ASUS Xonar D2/D2X
HT Omega Claro [Non-Halo line]

Top-Tier:
ASUS Essence ST/STX
Auzentech Forte
HT Omega Claro Halo [and varients]

If you can give specifics on your setup, I can probably point you toward a specific segment/card. I will say that most anything above the mid-range will probably be a little limited by the Z5500's [good solid speaker set, but not high-end].


Asus P8P67 Pro mobo
Intel i5 2500k Sandy Bride Processor
G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600
MSI GeForce GTX 560 1 GB DDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x 16 Graphics Card N560GTX Ti Twin Frozr IIOC (dual)
Windows 7
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March 9, 2011 6:38:33 PM

^^ I meant your audio setup, and what your primary purpose for it is [gaming, movies, HTPC, etc].

If its just direct to your Z5500's, I recommend an analog setup [analog > digital].

Best all around option is probably the HT Omega Striker. For movies/music playback, I'd reccomend the ASUS Xonar D1/DX. For pure gaming, I'd point you toward the Auzentech Forte. All great cards, just tuned slightly differently. [IE: ASUS has the best movie/music playback due to the specific audio ranges it focuses on, where Auzentech enhances low-frequency audio you frequently encounter in games]
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March 9, 2011 6:46:25 PM

Oh lol my bad. Yes it will be direct to my Z5500s. Gaming will be my top priority, then movies/videos.
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March 9, 2011 6:53:42 PM

So you think I should go with the Auzentech forte?
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March 9, 2011 7:44:29 PM

Best answer selected by Al Capwn069.
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March 9, 2011 11:38:02 PM

This topic has been closed by Buwish
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