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Sound card advice for logitech z5500 speakers

Last response: in Components
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August 16, 2011 5:20:14 PM

Hi guys,

I'm rather clueless when it comes to sound cards etc, so I thought I'd try my luck here :) 

I recently got a new rig (i5 2500k and ASUS P8P67 Pro motherboard) and am now on the verge of buying Logitech Z5500 speakers (since I heard great things about them). I heard that onboard cards aren't very optimal for good sound quality though. As I'm actually spending a little over my planned budget to buy these speakers, should I also invest in a sound card, or will the onboard one serve me fine?

Although I'm not an audiophile, I'd still like to get good quality surround sound from movies and games. So if anyone with knowledge of this could please let me know whether my onboard will suffice, or if I should buy a sound card (and which one of course). The cheaper the better, although I guess I could splurge if there will be a massive difference in the quality.

Thanks in advance.

More about : sound card advice logitech z5500 speakers

August 16, 2011 11:16:45 PM

Creative sound blaster xfi fatality or if want cheap creative sound blaster audigy
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August 17, 2011 12:01:50 AM

honestly unless your an audiophile you probably wont notice the difference.

try the onboard and if it sounds bad get a dedicated card. most likely the onboard audio already supports 5.1 or 6.1 surround. for better sounding onboard audio (probably another audiophile thing) , if the mobo has optical connector you can run that to a nice receiver and that would probably go farther in sounding good than a dedicated card.

imho the big advantage of a dedicated sound card is offloading the sound processing from your cpu to the sound card, freeing up some cpu cycles. hence the sound blaster 'fatality' pro gamer sound cards that probably net you 1 extra fps in your video games :) 

my wife's hp laptop has dolby thx and it sounds great imho!
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August 17, 2011 7:03:27 AM

Thanks for the replies guys. I guess I'll just buy the speakers and check if the quality is decent. There is very little variety of sound cards being sold in my country anyway. I did, however, find a good deal for this:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Creative Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS 7.1

Looks like an old, but good card. Could anyone please tell me whether it'll produce better quality sound results than the P8P67 Pro's onboard card? Thanks.
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August 17, 2011 9:16:06 AM

I have SB Audigy Value and it's better than my P8P67 Pro's onboard: everything is more clear, crispy and the bass is great... very powerful yet clear and sharp.
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August 17, 2011 10:07:07 AM

So the SB Audigy series can give me good surround sound gaming/movies?
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August 17, 2011 10:29:46 AM

Yes .. Sound very clear and run smooth
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August 17, 2011 11:48:03 AM

That card is old. If you run vista/Win7 its not a good idea to run those because the drivers don't work well. (You'll lose support for EAX, which was one of their main selling points.) People like the Z5500 because they have MONSTER bass. If you're into classic music they will drive you nuts. The satellites aren't very good either. Not bad, but not good either. Try them with the onboard first. You'll probably think it sounds fine.
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August 17, 2011 12:07:30 PM

Quote:
That card is old. If you run vista/Win7 its not a good idea to run those because the drivers don't work well. (You'll lose support for EAX, which was one of their main selling points.)


You're right, and I should've mentioned it... though, there's the "Creative Alchemy" application that returns EAX support to games.
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August 17, 2011 12:56:54 PM

And from what I've read, it can be hit or miss. Better to just grab an X-Fi or someone else's soundcard.
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August 17, 2011 3:09:35 PM

I won't really be listening to music on those speakers. They're mostly for gaming and watching movies. This X-Fi card is available here:

http://www.amazon.com/Creative-Sound-Blaster-X-Fi-Xtrem...

Seems pretty old as well, but is the only X-Fi available here (at the moment at least) and it's rather cheap too. Will this do the trick with EAX etc?

I was going for the Z5500 because there's a lot of good feedback about the set online. They can also hook up to my PS3 and Xbox 360, which makes them even more appealing (don't have a home theater setup with my TV since it's in my room too). Does anyone maybe have any other suggestions for speakers, or are these fine?

Thanks again for the help everyone. :) 
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August 17, 2011 3:12:55 PM

1: EAX is dead, and even Creative admits it
2: The Audigy soundcards are obsolete

At the sub $100 price range, these are my top options:
1: ASUS Xonar DS (~$40)
2: ASUS Xonar D1/DX (~$80)
3: HT Omega Striker (~$70)

Moving up a bit, you have the Auzentech Meridian 2G (~$120, which is a steal).

If you MUST have an X-fi card, I recommend either using ASUS' built in EAX 5 emulation, or getting an Auzentech X-fi model [if you can find one, the Auzentech Prelude is still a good card].
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August 17, 2011 3:16:42 PM

I don't even know what EAX is, nor do I have a clue what the benefits of an X-Fi card are! So I'm ok either way, really.

Thanks for your card suggestions though. Unfortunately, the two Creative cards I mentioned are the only ones immediately available to me over here. I'll try to import one of the ASUS cards if possible I guess and stick to my onboard till then.

Any comments on the speakers?
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August 17, 2011 3:53:40 PM

^^ EAX is basicaly an audio standard that was used to add extra effects in supported games. It was an extension to Directsound.

In Windows Vista, directsound was changed so it was no longer hardware accelerated. As a result, EAX no longer worked. Creative came up with a workaround that basically mapped EAX Directsound calls into OpenAL calls [OpenAL is still hardware accelerated], which allowed EAX to work, but there are some issues due to the mapping of Directsound to OpenAL.

Either way, because of the changes to Directsound, no games in the past 3 years that I know of used EAX. I think Bioshock was the last game with EAX support.

As for the speakers, the Z-5500's are OK. Good, not great. The built in Dolby/DTS decoders does allow them to be used with the PS3/360 though,which is a plus if you go that route.
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August 17, 2011 4:17:15 PM

Thanks for the clarification gamerk316 :) 

Out of curiosity, what speakers would you classify as great? I always thought Logitech was the top brand, at least when it came to PC sound systems.
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August 17, 2011 8:20:13 PM

^^ I'm more versed in headphones then speakers personally. I generally stay out of speaker discussions for that reason.
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!