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I need help with computer audio

Last response: in Components
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September 1, 2011 8:44:02 PM

Hello, I recently started getting into really high end audio after hearing some amazing headphones and speakers I decided that music is so much better with audiophile quality gear so I picked up a pair of Klipsch image x10i iem canalphones which sound amazing and picked up a pair of bose companion speakers (please all bose haters don't post anything negative) and they sound amazing but I am currently using the onboard realtek sound card that came with my GA-X58A-UD3R motherboard.

I was wondering if I would benefit from a new sound card for these Bose speakers and these Klipsch x10i headphones, they are higher end and I would like to enjoy using them with my computer and not just my ipod, I know that with your average 20-80$ pair of headphones you might not notice a difference but I have read that a decent sound card would probably make a difference with really high end gear.

I hardly know anything about sound cards because I have always used onboard sound cards except for the sound blaster 5.1 oldschool pci cards from back in the day. I would like a sound card with really good software, I do plan on spending some money on a high end home theater system made by Klipsch in the near future so it would be nice to have a sound card to be able to use my computer as well as my TV because I keep them both in the same room.

Any help would be great!

Thank you

Would there be a difference between the realtek onboard on my Gigabyte 1366 board and an old soundblaster live 5.1?

More about : computer audio

September 1, 2011 10:01:22 PM

You can get the Asus Xonar DX (on PCIe) or Xonar D1 (same card on PCI). You will notice the difference. Stay away from Creative.
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September 1, 2011 10:13:00 PM

I appreciate your response, I am glad you told me to stay away from creative. I read that onboard sound has gotten a lot better with newer motherboards and that's what made me curious if I would notice a difference, I don't hear any static through speakers or headphones even at max volume. I figure that now because I have this higher end equipment I want to make sure I get the most out of it. Would It be better if I put in my pci sblive 5.1 card in the mean time? Or would the onboard realtek be better then that really old card? Would it be better if I got a headphone amp?

Thanks again for your help.
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September 1, 2011 10:26:06 PM

You will see a LARGE difference between the lower end and motherboard sound cards compared to the DX or D1. For an even better experience, there are better Xonar cards, specially suited for whatever you want to do.

Most people on this board suggest Asus' line of sound cards because they have great sound quality, working software, a fair price, and in some cases, the best sound quality you can get. Also, some have replaceable op-amps for tailoring the sound to just how you want. Tell us your budget for a solid recommendation.
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September 4, 2011 6:36:11 AM

I'd second the Xonar DX, I use it and it's a nice card. Definitely a difference between that and Realtek onboard audio.

They have a better one out than the DX but it costs more. Either way, I hear that Asus is better than Creative for numerous reasons.
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September 5, 2011 1:32:03 AM

I've auditioned the Asus Xonar cards as well as the Creative X-Fi's. I'm not sure what I did wrong but I preferred the the X-Fi in XP, Vista, and Windows 7. The Xonar had great sound, as did the X-Fi. However, the X-Fi had a more robust software front-end. Very early in Vista there were some driver problems with Creative and they got an extremely bad rap...and it was well-deserved. BUT THEY RESPONDED by making better and better drivers until they were pretty much rock-solid...but by then the damage had been done. They'd earned a bad rep and many enthusiasts, via word-of-mouth avoided them like the plague, which is really too bad. Again, I don't know what I've done wrong but I've had no problems with the Creative solutions.

So, when I auditioned the Xonars, while the sound was great, I didn't care for the software utilities as much as Creative's offerings.

I'd say try BOTH and decide for yourself.

I know my perspective may be unique in this forum...but then again, I tend to go against the grain. :heink: 



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September 7, 2011 6:53:19 PM

Also, I've heard a well constructed argument from a fellow about how Creative has been engaging in a sort of "planned obsolesence" with their cards. While pretty much everyone does this, apparently they do it worse, with older cards being more finicky and even not supported or somewhat. I've also heard that Creative has been losing it in terms of innovation when compared to Asus or other sound card manufacturers.

Of course, this is all just rumors I've heard, so feel free to refute them, because I'm not positive about them either. Still not good to be hearing though, so it makes you wonder.
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September 8, 2011 5:24:31 PM

Yeah, see, so who knows. They've been good card makers for a long time I think, like you said, I think a large part of their bad hype has been through word of mouth.

Whatever card would probably be fine, however, I have heard that generally the Xonar DX is a tad bit better for music that the X-fi.
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September 8, 2011 7:20:47 PM

codet74 said:
Yeah, see, so who knows. They've been good card makers for a long time I think, like you said, I think a large part of their bad hype has been through word of mouth.

Whatever card would probably be fine, however, I have heard that generally the Xonar DX is a tad bit better for music that the X-fi.



That doesn't surprise me at all. The Xonar's...all 10+ current models of them...are generally very good cards.
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