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Best sound card under 100$

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  • Music
  • Creative
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Last response: in Components
September 26, 2011 3:42:35 PM

I've been looking up several sound cards, and apparantly Creative is soon releasing their Recon3D sound cards. Should I wait for these to come out? And does anyone have a suggestion for a great sound card, for music specifically under $100? The Recon3D sound card is very new, costs 98 euros here in Belgium. Any advice on it?

Here is the link to the Recon3D:
I hope it is intended for music! I do not know a lot about sound cards, so your help would be great. By the way, I currently have a Logitech Z906 speaker system.

More about : sound card 100

September 26, 2011 3:48:51 PM

I wouldn't even consider the Recon3D; the specs are horrible; low SnR [102dB; even onboard manages 109 dB these days], no OpenAL acceleration [software effects only], etc. The cards are outclassed by onboard hardware. Simply a case where Creative can go "Its got a quad core" to generate sales.

Best cards for under $100:
ASUS Xonar D1/DX
HT Omega Striker
September 26, 2011 3:52:48 PM

For those interested:

If anything, competes against the ASUS Xonar DG in terms of quality/features.
Related resources
September 26, 2011 3:59:17 PM

I will use a digital-optical cable, I see the Asus Xonar cards use an adapter for that? I assume that would degrade the sound quality slightly?
The HT Omega Striker has 2 digital optical ports though. And thanks for the chart ^
How does the HT Omega Striker compare to the Auzentech Xplosion?
September 26, 2011 5:37:17 PM

There shouldn't be any degregation going between coaxial and optical.

The Striker and Xplosion are actually based off the same exact C-Media chipset [CMI8770], and have the same exact feature set [near as I can tell]. Striker is more supported at this point though, and I would expect Vista/7 drivers to be more up to date on the Striker. Should be virtually identical though.
September 26, 2011 6:15:30 PM

I see that my speaker system has inputs of both digital: optical and coaxial. Which one would you recommend? Or is it the same quality?
September 26, 2011 7:16:44 PM

Both have their pro's and cons; optical has length requirements and the wire can't take sharp angles, but is immune to RF interferance. I'd go optical if given the choice.
September 26, 2011 7:30:44 PM

OK. I think I will go with the Xonar D1, because the HT Omega Striker seems completely unavailable here in Belgium or even Europe. I guess the adapter included with the Xonar D1 for digital-optical is good quality? Besdies that, I am planning on getting this optical cable:

What do you think about my choice? :) 
September 27, 2011 4:34:31 AM

^^ D1 is fine, just make sure to have a free PCI slot. Also worth noting the D1 lacks DTS encoding [Dolby Digital is fine though].

The Coax->Optical connector is just a cheap non-powered converter. Does the job. Shouldn't cause any signal degregation.