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What's a good sound card for listening to music?

Last response: in Components
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September 6, 2011 7:34:16 PM

Preferably a sound card from newegg and around the $50-$150 range.
September 6, 2011 8:24:49 PM

In that range:

HT Omega Striker
ASUS Xonar D1/DX
Auzentech Meridian 2G
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September 7, 2011 3:55:43 AM

Just listening to music? How about the on-board audio..... Unless you're in a sound studio or doing professional recording, the on-board typically does what you need.
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September 7, 2011 4:12:28 AM

mavroxur said:
Just listening to music? How about the on-board audio..... Unless you're in a sound studio or doing professional recording, the on-board typically does what you need.


through crappy little desktop speakers, onboard is fine, won't notice any improvement due to how awful the speakers are. but through a decent amp & a set of floorstanders, it's worth it. like to listen to music most the time when i'm @ my pc & a xonar dx was a great improvement over onboard when combined with a marantz pm-66se & a pair of mission 763's.
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September 7, 2011 4:39:58 AM

I regularly listen to music through my home theater system, and the audio through SPDIF is generally great. Of course you might notice noise if using the analog outputs, but if you're using anything other than crappy desktop speakers, you're probably using digital anyhow. SPDIF or Coaxial.
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September 7, 2011 5:15:51 AM

good point on the spdif, i should really come into the 21st century & get an amp with a digital input, but ye olde gear still works & sounds great, so i'm reluctant to upgrade :)  digital audio signal *should" be lossless, so onboard would be kewl in that case. if still stuck in the past & on analog outputs like myself, then it's worth the cash for a soundcard with better snr.
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September 7, 2011 1:49:37 PM

jpoos said:
good point on the spdif, i should really come into the 21st century & get an amp with a digital input, but ye olde gear still works & sounds great, so i'm reluctant to upgrade :)  digital audio signal *should" be lossless, so onboard would be kewl in that case. if still stuck in the past & on analog outputs like myself, then it's worth the cash for a soundcard with better snr.



only use digital output from the PC, or any other source, if the DAC in the source is worse then the DAC on the amp-receiver.

there arent many receiver that has better DAC then the asus xonar DX, if you want better sound then a soundcards analogue output, then u will have to go into the 1000 and i mean 1000 in british pound.
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September 7, 2011 3:07:25 PM

1: The HT Omega Claro+ is a step up, routhly comparable to the Auzentech Meridian 2G and ASUS Xonar D1/DX, with a higher Signal to Noise ratio.

2: S/PDIF is NOT a good format. For one, you are limited to 2.0 PCM [often limited to 96kHz] and Dolby/DTS formats [both are lossy].

3: These days, soundcard DACs are better then what you would find on most cheap receivers. As such, the best possible output [since the DAC is a major limiting factor] is direct analog out from the soundcard directly to the speakers.
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September 7, 2011 4:52:34 PM

So should I get the HT Omega Claro+? I don't want to pay so much for a sound card, but I'm willing to if the difference between it and the cheaper cards is worth it. Would appreciate it if someone lists a good budget sound card, assuming the difference isn't so great.
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September 7, 2011 8:06:22 PM

^^ In my mind, the Claro+ is too overpriced; the Auzentech Meridian 2G gives the same feature set with only slightly less audio quality. Same reason why I no longer recommend the ASUS Xonar D2/D2X: Great card, but not worth the price.
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