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Best sound card for my 2.1 speaker system

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March 15, 2011 7:33:55 AM

Hey, it's been an year since I have bought my Sony SRS DB500 2.1 speaker system and while it produces great sound with the onboard Realtek ALC888, I have been wishing more and so I want to give a try for an audio card for these speakers.

I mainly do gaming and music, gaming being the majority.

I have shortlisted some of the good sound cards here -

Asus Xonar D2X
Asus Xonar Essence ST
Auzentech Forte



I would be using my 2.1 system for 3-4 years more so I want the best sound quality from them using these sound cards.

So, what should I buy ? Which one is better ?

Thanks.
March 15, 2011 11:20:42 AM

At this point, I'd be hesitent with the D2X, its REALLY starting to get on in years. The Xonar Xense is probably a better alternative to the D2X at this stage...

The Essence ST is probably the best card on the market right now, but costs more then most mid-range GPU's these days; the Forte is the most balenced of all the cards, and the most tuned toward gaming frequencies.
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March 15, 2011 1:37:12 PM

As someone who is also looking for a new sound card at the moment, I can share some of what I've found out.

First, the above poster is right that the D2/D2X are getting on in years but I don't think sound card technology has evolved that much. I still think they are solid choices. I've been looking at the D2/D2X or the HT Omega Striker or Claro. The Essence ST is nice, but too pricey in my opinion.

As for the Auzentech Forte...I hate to say this but I advise you to avoid it. I have one in my current system. When it worked, it was amazing. One of the best cards I'd ever heard. However, it suffers from some very well known distortion issues and some other problems. These issues have no "concrete" solutions at this time. The only solutions are "duct tape" solutions and I as well as many others have found Auzentech support to be lacking, to say the least. There are quite a few who have had no issues, but in my opinion, the risk is not worth it. It's a great card, ruined by some pretty bad problems.


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March 15, 2011 2:45:32 PM

Hellhawk said:
As someone who is also looking for a new sound card at the moment, I can share some of what I've found out.

First, the above poster is right that the D2/D2X are getting on in years but I don't think sound card technology has evolved that much. I still think they are solid choices. I've been looking at the D2/D2X or the HT Omega Striker or Claro. The Essence ST is nice, but too pricey in my opinion.

As for the Auzentech Forte...I hate to say this but I advise you to avoid it. I have one in my current system. When it worked, it was amazing. One of the best cards I'd ever heard. However, it suffers from some very well known distortion issues and some other problems. These issues have no "concrete" solutions at this time. The only solutions are "duct tape" solutions and I as well as many others have found Auzentech support to be lacking, to say the least. There are quite a few who have had no issues, but in my opinion, the risk is not worth it. It's a great card, ruined by some pretty bad problems.



Thanks for the advice.. I guess I might be going with the Essence ST since my Audio Technica ATH M50 should be arriving within a few days and I'm gonna get the most out of it through the Essence ST as they are both for audiophiles.

One question though, I would be getting serious improvement in sound quality through my Sony SRS DB500 2.1 speaker system, right ?
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March 15, 2011 5:23:00 PM

The essence will be great (may I say must) for high end headphones.. It won't bring any major benefits though if you are using desktop speakers..
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March 15, 2011 5:31:05 PM

The main issue with the D2X is that newer cards like the Xense have simply passed it by. And the D2X was hard to recommend in front of the Forte in the first place...Should really drop to the $120-$130 range.
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