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X-FI Titanium HD worth the money?

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June 7, 2011 8:24:56 PM

Hi,

For a long time, I've had the idea in the back of my head to buy a new sound card. I'm quite satisfied with it the onboard one (from the XPS 410), but then the argument 'you don't know what you're missing' comes into play. I was thinking of buying the X-FI Titanium HD card since it offers high quality stereo audio (I don't care much about surround). Currently I'm using a pair of Audioengine2 speakers in front of me for games and internet and a mcr-e300 system behind me for background music (and thus occasionally switching between the two sets). In addition I might use it with a virtual instrument sampler (Kontakt). I'm currently using my laptop for that since I cannot get the ASIO4ALL driver to work. The laptop works perfectly fine, it's just a bit less elegant. I'm not using headphones a lot, since I mostly use them in combination with my iPod.

So considering the mentioned speakers and activities, do you think it's worth upgrading my sound card?
Thanks!

EDIT: Am I right that there's no option on the Titanium HD to switch between outputs? It offers several outputs, which is great, but does that mean they would 'activated' at the same in that case? I won't go as far as to say it would be a dealbreaker, but it would make reconsider it for sure, especially because of the high pricepoint.

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June 8, 2011 1:40:48 AM

Generally, it won't make much of a difference, I think. If you have the money to burn, then go ahead, but I think your speakers will still be the bottleneck in sound quality.
June 8, 2011 12:20:34 PM

Well, if your only interested in stereo, then I'd take a very long hard look at the ASUS Essence ST/STX. In that relm, its king.
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June 8, 2011 2:30:19 PM

Quote:
Well, if your only interested in stereo, then I'd take a very long hard look at the ASUS Essence ST/STX. In that relm, its king.

I'm not sure.. it looks like a very good card but I'm not sure if it's the right card for me. Basically I only need two analog outputs for two sets of speakers that can be switched between easily, and a good DAC of course. Seeing the Essence ST/STX I'm not sure if I need all those features. But perhaps it comes with the territory. Still, if there'd be a (much) cheaper card with just the 'core tasks' I might go for that. I did see BTW, that the Essence supports software switching, although the software seems rather clunky from what I've read.

EDIT: I've found some card that might be more suitable for me, but so far none of the better ones seem to have 2x2 rca outputs. It seems like I'm the only one interested in wanting to switch between speakers...
June 8, 2011 10:45:48 PM

yes ur speakers are a big bottleneck. upgrade ur speakers b4 considering a soundcard of that high calibre.
June 9, 2011 8:24:00 AM

Do you mean the audioengine 2 speakers? Surely they can't be that bad when they end up on no. 2 here: http://reviews.cnet.com/best-pc-speakers/

The other two speakers might be not the best around, but to be honest I tend to use them for music because they sound a bit more solid.

In any case, if the standards of the soundcard are really so high that my speakers will not be good enough, I'll probably leave it as it is. I don't have an abundance of money unfortunately...
June 9, 2011 3:43:14 PM

well when ppl say bottleneck, they are comparing to other components that makes it a bottleneck, teh audioengine onn its own a very gd speakers, theres gd review on up stereophile.

but comparing it to the titanium HD u gonna need something taht can resolve more details, so taht you will actually hear a difference whn compainrg to say.. a asus xonar DX(a good card)..

headphones usually provide more details, per price then speakers, but for headphones u get a "headstage"( soundstage for headphones), so its quite hard to pinpoint where the sound is, cos the perceiving soundfield axis is through both of your ears.
June 9, 2011 4:03:14 PM

Most soundcards don't support multiple analog outputs for multiple devices; most support analog AND digital outputs to two different speakers, but not to two different analog devices. To my knowledge, the Titanium HD is the ONLY soundcard with support for output for two seperate analog devices.
June 9, 2011 4:12:41 PM

Well, I´m happy to buy anything ´below´ Essence STX if that means that my audioengine will not be the bottleneck. I´m not planning to to replace the speakers anytime soon and it will save me quite some money by not having to replace the speakers for better ones and a more expensive sound card.

So it looks like I'll have to find a soundcard that is a bit below the STX and offers good stereo sound with analog output (pref. RCA).
June 9, 2011 8:10:06 PM

I don't think any other cards besides the Titanium HD and Essence ST/STX offer RCA as outputs, though its literally $0.99 to get an RCA->3.5mm converter cable.

For analog, if your not willing to shell out for a Essence ST/STX, the best all around bet is probably the Auzentech X-Meridian 2G [you'll need that afore mentioned RCA->3.5mm converter cable].
June 9, 2011 9:24:16 PM

Thanks! Yes, you're right about RCA (bit silly of me). I checked the X-Meridian 2G, and it's less than 20 bucks (=euros) cheaper than the Xonar ST/STX. So in that case I would probably prefer the Essence ST/STX.

It seems to me that if you want decent audio quality, you'll probably have to go for the more expensive cards, i.e. there is no mid-segment card that offers comparable analog sound with the features stripped of. If this is indeed the case, I feel I'd rather get the Xonar, even when my speakers are a bottleneck (if I decide to buy one of course). That only raises the simple question, is the upgrade in sound I'll hear worth the money?
June 11, 2011 2:47:14 PM

are the audio engines RCA only? cos if so, it doesnt really matter whether u get a soundcard that only has 3.5mm jacks, convertors doenst usually affect the sound quality that much.
June 11, 2011 2:48:52 PM

KeyMs92 said:
Thanks! Yes, you're right about RCA (bit silly of me). I checked the X-Meridian 2G, and it's less than 20 bucks (=euros) cheaper than the Xonar ST/STX. So in that case I would probably prefer the Essence ST/STX.

It seems to me that if you want decent audio quality, you'll probably have to go for the more expensive cards, i.e. there is no mid-segment card that offers comparable analog sound with the features stripped of. If this is indeed the case, I feel I'd rather get the Xonar, even when my speakers are a bottleneck (if I decide to buy one of course). That only raises the simple question, is the upgrade in sound I'll hear worth the money?


jsut for DAC wise, im not sure... however stereophile are completing on the speakers for very gd response, and detail. .... sound cards (mid end) are usulally worth the money because of teh additional feature and effects, plus encoding abilities from DTS and dolby.
June 11, 2011 3:41:45 PM

Yeah, I see. Well, I guess I'll leave it as it is for now. Perhaps buy a better cable (I'm using a rather bad one currently).
!