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Soundcard for my z5500 Speakers

Last response: in Components
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May 19, 2011 11:40:27 PM

Hello everyone i need a new soundcard mostly for gaming and to work properly with surround in games with my z5500 speakers . Im a newbie at sound card and have never bought one but i have been looking at the new soundblaster titanium HD but that one is designed for stereo sound and not 5.1 surround am i right ? Im not sure what to go for :S so much to chose from so i hope u guys can help me out alot appreciated.
May 19, 2011 11:51:01 PM

Also i looked at this card Creative X-FI Titanium Fatal1ty Champion and it was prety expensive but would it be better for me to get that one instead of the titanoum HD one ? I am willing to pay if this card is better than the titanium hd
May 20, 2011 1:29:15 AM

What's your budget?
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May 20, 2011 5:39:34 AM

Im willing to pay alot i just need some suggestions on great cards for my system :) 
May 20, 2011 2:22:07 PM

For the Z5500's, you should connect via analog. The best cards for multichannel analog right now are:

HT Omega Claro [and Halo/XT varients]
Auzentech Meridian 2G

Other cards are capable, but more geared toward 6.3mm headsets [Auzentech Forte, ASUS Xonar Xense, HT Omega Claro XT], and others are simply replaced by newer model cards [the ASUS Xonar D2(X) is basically replaced by the Auzentech Meridian 2G].

For more budget oriented users, the top options are the ASUS Xonar D1/DX and HT Omega Striker.
May 20, 2011 2:25:51 PM

Great reply thank you i will definatly check them out .

If there are any other good cards please let me know ;D
May 20, 2011 2:58:02 PM

Also i checked the store for the cards u recommended but they wasnt there so i have to look in a other store but i also looked at the creative x fi titanium fatality champion and that is not that good soundcard for surround speakers ? it says its designed for games and thats what i want but is it mostly designed for headsets ?
May 20, 2011 3:05:49 PM

gamerk316 mentions some good cards,personally i wouldn't spend more the $150 on a card for Z5500's.
Canadian prices.
Auzentech X-Fi Forte 7.1 - $140
AuzenTech X-MERIDIAN 7.1 2G - $150
ASUS Xonar Essence STX - $170
Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium HD - $140
HT Omega Claro Plus - $140

Budget card
Auzentech X-Fi Bravura - $120
ASUS Xonar DX - $80
May 20, 2011 3:27:52 PM

I read about the meridian 7.1 2g and it looks good so its a good choice to go for it ? :D  If it gives proper surround sound specially for gaming i will be happy . Thanks for helping me out btw guys
May 20, 2011 5:32:11 PM

The 2G is the newest card on the market right now thats based on the C-Media line of chipsets [ASUS and HT Omega], as opposed to the X-fi chipset [Creative]. One of the highest quality cards out there right now, while still supporting all the features that digital users would need. The only thing it doesn't have is a dedicated 6.3mm headphone amp...

As for the X-fi being "gaming oriented", its called "Marketing". Once upon a time, when EAX was the audio standard, all audio was hardware accelerated, and when we all used Pentium 4's, yes, the X-fi was clearly superior for gaming. Now, its basically an aged chipset thats outperformed by newer parts. The only X-fi based chipsets I can recommend at this point are the Auzentech Forte and Titanium HD, both of which are geared more toward dedicated headphone users, and thus a different product then what you need.

The only thing to note is that when not using an X-fi chipset, you lose EAX 3-5 support. Not that many games use EAX anymore, but there are some people which would argue that a few extra effects outweigh better all around audio quality.

[And yes, I'm still working on my long promised audio guide; I might actually get my soundcard guides done first at this rate...]
May 21, 2011 8:43:42 PM

lol just copy and paste of all the thing u have sed this and yesteryear. :) 
May 21, 2011 8:51:19 PM

Yeah thanks for the help , btw the EAX thing isnt really important ? I dont understand this properly does EAX just make extra effects for the sound but it doesnt make the qaulity of the sound beter ? I having hard time to decide to buy the meridian g2 lol because some ppl didnt reccomend it and some did recommend it and there are many ppl recommending different cards this is really confusing to me , but i just care for the sounds in games so does anyone here have tried the meridian card ? Does it make alot of difference than onboard sound ? Is it worth it ? Sorry for asking so much lol but i have never bought soundcard before and im not sure how big of difference it is
May 22, 2011 8:51:00 PM

ye pretty much- extra effects.

u'd be better off with asus GX engine, which also restores direct sound lost from vista and windows 7 audio architecture,

by restore i mean emulate.
May 22, 2011 8:55:57 PM

im not sure how much difference ur gonna get with the z-5500, i dont think the z-5500 drivers (sub and sat) are exaclty fast and light, and have correct timing.

timing is one crucial factor to resolution and detail.
May 23, 2011 12:06:19 PM

Quote:
does anyone here have tried the meridian card ? Does it make alot of difference than onboard sound ? Is it worth it


In order, no, yes, and yes.

Most of the soundcards on the market not made by Creative use the same exact chipset, just with different connectors and features unlocked; the Meridian 2G isn't that different then my older ASUS Xonar D2, so despite the fact I haven't personally used the card, I have a good idea what to expect out of it. With a decent set of speakers, a soundcard makes a significant difference compared to onboard audio.

Right now, for multichannel analog audio, the Meridian 2G is the best card on the market. Most of the cards that are above it are focused on either analog stereo output, or driving high quality [6.3mm or 1/4"] headsets, and thus aren't the best buys to pair with a Z5500.

Quote:
Yeah thanks for the help , btw the EAX thing isnt really important ? I dont understand this properly does EAX just make extra effects for the sound but it doesnt make the qaulity of the sound beter ?


EAX basically added effects to supporting games. Problem is, since DirectSound is no longer hardware accelerated, games have stoped using it, and most of the features contained in EAX are now a part of most games audio engines. [The last game I can think of that used EAX was Bioshock in 2007].

EAX is basically a legacy spec these days, and unless you have a ton of older games that use EAX, its not really worth considering as part of your buying decision.
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