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An excellent 'current' dedicated Sound Card

Last response: in Components
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June 9, 2011 9:28:56 AM

I'm looking to purchase a set of Corsair SP2500 Speakers, and eventually - when I have the cash - I'm going to purchase a great dedicated Sound Card to drive them, since I can hear crackling line or EMI noise in the On-Board Audio of my ASUS M4N98TD EVO Mobo. (I hear it at the start of Jackson's "Man in the Mirror" as well as various other songs...)

So... what I need is a great high end sound card for my rig, which is 'current', that is, made recently - either close to or during 2011 - with proper Windows 7 drivers that will basically 'just work' without causing trouble. I admit, I was thinking about getting one of the Creative cards, but luckily, you guys saved me; I read that the drivers for said Cards don't work well at all on Vista / Win7. I'm seriously thinking about the Asus Xonar Essence STX... but then I read somewhere else (the Asus support forum) that that card, too, doesn't have up to date drivers, or might blue-screen a system, or something...

Thus, the only 'current' card I may go for is the new Auzentech X-Meridian G2, unless you can rec me something better. Thanks for whatever help you can provide.

Coranth
June 9, 2011 10:11:09 AM

Asus don't normally update their drivers too frequently. Its the same with their other parts as well. But that is a very good card. Also Asus Xonar is something very good as well.
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June 9, 2011 3:07:51 PM

I was in a similar position 2 years ago. I went with something completely different.

I chose an HT-Omega Striker 7.1 card for my system, and it's never let me down. Whether gaming, watching movies, or TV, sound quality is always superb. It uses the C-Media CMI8770 audio chip, which some older (non-X-Fi) Auzentech cards also use. But, the Striker's big brothers (the Claro and Claro+) use the CMI8788, which happens to be the exact same chip the Auzentech X-Meridian has. The difference? The Claro cards have been using it for around 2 years, so their drivers are firmly established. Also, all HT-Omega cards feature Optical audio input/output, not just Coaxial.

Just another option to consider since you're looking pretty seriously at a C-Media CMI8788-based card already.
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June 9, 2011 3:48:06 PM

if ur going to spend a soundcard that high end, would you ratther not spend ur money on upgrading ur speakers? say... after selling ur old ones.

of if were you id probably only get that card for headphone listening. lot of money is put into that card for headphone amp, its opamp, and quality components for stereo listening.
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June 9, 2011 4:00:18 PM

HT Omega, Auzentech, and ASUS are your best bets.

Do you have a price limit on the soundcard you want? If not. given the fact the Corsiar SP2500 speakers are very high quality and use RCA inputs, the best match would be the ASUS Essence ST/STX.
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June 9, 2011 4:06:56 PM

Hey that crackling or "pop" sound can sometimes be fixed in windows, or it can creep up with a soundcard.

Anyway, Asus Xonar, HT Omega, and AuzenTech Bravura or Forte are names thrown around a lot as good cards.
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June 9, 2011 8:05:50 PM

gamerk316 said:
HT Omega, Auzentech, and ASUS are your best bets.

Do you have a price limit on the soundcard you want? If not. given the fact the Corsiar SP2500 speakers are very high quality and use RCA inputs, the best match would be the ASUS Essence ST/STX.


yes but are they such high quality to be paired with an essence? lol i dont think they are.
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Best solution

June 9, 2011 9:29:15 PM

Not to sound like an HT-Omega fanboy or anything, but their Claro-halo and Claro-halo-XT cards have RCA jacks, just like the Essence STX. The halo-XT actually has a daughter-board sporting the standard 7.1-channel 1/8" jacks, in addition to it's built-in amp designed specifically for use with headphones.

I agree with MEgamer. We're talking about a 2.1 speaker system which, while excellent by computer speaker system standards, doesn't begin to compare to proper component monitors/speakers used in an audiophile's home stereo or home theater. What are you really going to use them for anyway, listening to music? Watching a movie in 2.1 or simulated 7.1 (dts Neo PC) from a 2.1 system? For that, I see no need to spend $200+ on a top-tier sound card. Not when there are plenty of sub-$100 cards that perform almost as well.

It's not like you're pairing it up with a $500 Yamaha amp and $1000+ worth of hi-fi speakers. If you were, then yeah, go for it.
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June 19, 2011 3:24:29 AM

Best answer selected by Coranth.
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