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Tom, do some sound card reviews or comparisons

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November 14, 2000 3:11:26 PM

please!
We have more than just video cards in our computers.
November 14, 2000 6:17:34 PM

I agree. I've been wondering for ages now what differences there really are in sound cards and which ones are worth getting these days. Since I trust Tom and co. to be unbiased in most things, I'd really like to see the review from these great people.
Anonymous
a b U Graphics card
November 15, 2000 3:27:15 AM

Yep I agree, actually it was going to be my first post topic! Hercules have just released two cards that look set to topple Creative from their post as the Soundcard manufacturer. I'm desperate for a review of these cards and how stable/reliable the drivers are in Win2k.
Related resources
Anonymous
a b U Graphics card
November 15, 2000 10:31:14 AM

Yes, I'd also like to see soundcard reviews here, come on Tom! :) 

-----
First Norwegian with a GUS :D 
November 16, 2000 6:25:12 AM

Yeah, one big sndcards review would be nice. I would love to read about how they compare in quality, driver support and price. I belive that SBLive isn't everything :) 

P.S: GUS rulez !!
Anonymous
a b U Graphics card
November 16, 2000 2:47:14 PM

You guys are so right! Tom does test about GPU to CPU and some MP3 drives that I can only dream about! Tom forgets that we all have and need a good Sound Card!!!

Iron Man the tough nerd!
Anonymous
a b U Graphics card
November 17, 2000 1:45:31 AM

In Tom's defense -- are you all crazy, I am but thats beside the point! What will they test, how well the drivers loaded? Video cards have tangible qualities that can be reported about with some degree of acurracy. Visual quality being one(monitor dependent partly) and speed being the other(tide into the system as well)

With sound the most you can hope for is, "didn't hear any substantial white noise". Nothing is going to make a pair of [-peep-] speakers sound good, and a poor soucre does not do a good set of speakers any justice. Hearing is such a subjective process that is hard to report. I for one don't see the value in it other then the report of component quality and features.



Take Care.
If money was no object, how could you spend it!
November 17, 2000 2:20:26 PM

He could do a review noting the features.
He could also report on how easy it is to install and to use.
Also, reports on possible problems with various chipsets would be helpful.
And finally, yes I would like to know if the sound quality sucks or not. I would sooner take Tom's opinion over the manufacturer's advertising on the side of their product''s box.

I truely believe that the reason that Creative Labs has such crappy technical and customer support is because there are not enough quality web sites putting out criticism to a large public audience.
Creative Labs are considered the best because they have been around a while and have no real competition. This sense of invincibility allows them to dictate what happens in the sound card market and the direction it take while treating their customers like sh*t.
Look what happened to 3dfx, their only real competition was ATi, they tought they were unstoppable until NVidia came along and knocked them on their ass. And because of this competition, there has been major advancements in graphics cards and technology.
The same thing is currently happening with Intel and AMD, it will take AMD longer to dethrone Intel because of Intel's sheer size but it is happening. And we the consumers benefit the most because they are forced to come out with better technology faster and cheaper.
When I bought my first computer 6 years ago Intel was the only real chip maker I bought a P120 and it was the best. For the next three years processor speeds only increased to 300MHz, that sucks.
For the last year and a half, since AMD really got serious, speeds have jumped from 450MHz to 1.2GHz and its all due to competition.

I think there is a lot of progress to be made in the sound card section of the market and it can be forced to be made by competition.
Reviews and critiques of sound cards can help to force this competition.

Thanks for listening
Anonymous
a b U Graphics card
November 19, 2000 3:58:43 PM

I agree with Bubba. I am a newbie in this field of building and there are so many Soundblaster cards to choose from it's too confusing to know which way to go. I am not a gamer at all, so I kind of hate spending $100 for a card when the PCI 512 might be all I need rather than the MP3 + 5.1
November 20, 2000 11:10:15 PM

I also would like to see some sort of sound card comparison. Besides, the Geforce comparisons are getting kind of old....you can purchase the MX or the other one...you know the one costing 5 or 6 hundred bucks... And...if Tom's started a revolt...maybe somebody would put decent sound onboard....nah...nevermind..I don't like anything onboard.

Take Care
Atman
November 21, 2000 3:55:32 PM

I think a comprehensive list with pro's and con's would be benificial. It would help people like myself to make informed decisions. I also would like to hear Tom's general opinion on how much it really matters.
Anonymous
a b U Graphics card
November 21, 2000 4:04:40 PM

yea, do some comparisons, please!!:) 

Duron@1gig, KT7, Alpha.
Anonymous
a b U Graphics card
November 21, 2000 11:22:59 PM

yes a sound card test among the top ones say, sound blaster live and diamond monster sound 300 or 400.
the speed of the sound card and it's impact on system resources(how much does it slow down the comoputer) should be not much more work for tom since he is already testing systems and games with the sound turned off.
just turn it back on for next test and identify sound card used. see how much performance drops with which sound card.
i think that there is a test at tweak files to test the speed of your sound card but it looked complicated and i didn't have time to explore it.
imagine know that if you got the right sound card that q3a woould give you more framerates and the game would respond better. unless you are an audiophile the monsters and lives both sound ok/the same
November 23, 2000 2:26:45 AM

Awesome idea!
I would love to see a very extensive review by tom on soundcards. But please dont limit it to windows as it must take into consideration other OS in the market like Linux and so on.

This idea is the best i have heard on the new board yet.

Why do I use LINUX ? Cause its the BEST OS
Why do I use Windows? Cause its the BEST Nintendo..
November 23, 2000 8:02:40 AM

I understand what Crazy Mck is saying...but I have built 3 computers now, and still look for a good (reliable) review of sound cards and have yet to find any. I'm one of those gamers who really wants to be immersed in the game not only by high quality video but sound as well. I realize sound cards pale in comparison to videocards in terms of price but still do I spend $100.00 or more to get sound that makes me look behind me to see if I'm really gonna get shot? I've really come to value Tom's input so I tend to look here for ALL my HARDWARE questions...
Anonymous
a b U Graphics card
November 27, 2000 9:10:57 PM

Actually, there are good performance measurements of a sound card. You can measure dynamic range and Signal-to Noise Ratio when recording, Latency, etc. And MOST OF ALL... problems with the VIA chipset... pops, crackling, etc.
November 29, 2000 6:19:07 PM

I want to see a sound card comparison too.

There are numerous things that could be tested:
1) Recording quality
2) Playback quality
3) Quality of devices (line in/mic) heard but not recorded
4) System stress
5) Errors prone to the card
6) Features
7) Difficulty to set up
8) Features
9) Software packaged with the card (I.E. CD player software, recording software, etc.)
10) Features
11) Price
12) 3D gaming sound capabilities
13) MP3 recording/decoding capabilities

Thirteen seems a good number to stop at. :) 

- Sanity is purely based on point-of-view.
Anonymous
a b U Graphics card
December 3, 2000 4:13:46 AM

Grrrr.
New Athlon 1.1G on K7V has given me a lot of trouble. Now I have uninstalled the MX300 software and it is running like a dream. A silent dream. The only reason I bought Thief2 was because of the awesome surround sound through the MX300. Well can't do that now. Just logged on to see if I can find a more compatible soundcard. But can I find a review anywhere? Of course not. That would make it too easy wouldn't it?
Anonymous
a b U Graphics card
December 3, 2000 5:29:46 AM

It's about time Tom started focusing on hardware other than the CPU and GPU. The soundcard is what made gaming so damned fun on computers. My first soundcard was a Sound Blaster Pro Basic which cost me $189.00, it was only 8 bit, but it was in Stereo. Nothing like playing Wolfenstein 3D with your stereo hooked to your computer or Wing Commander II with the speech pack. Those were the days.
Anonymous
a b U Graphics card
December 3, 2000 7:17:00 AM

I heartily agree, it's incredibly difficult to find any useful information on the web concerning sound cards, at least compared to the processor, video card, or motherboard.

Someone mentioned the GUS and that it rules, to which I can only say YES! I still have mine (in GUS MAX form), and would be using it today if it was supported in Win98. I paid $200 for it about 6 years ago, and at the time it was far better than any Soundblaster product, way ahead of it's time. But I digress..

People have mentioned lots of good things to test on soundcards. Of particular intrest to me would be the installation/compatibility. For instance, reading through the info provided by retailers (either local or online), you'd have no idea that any soundcard based on the Vortex2 chipset (ie MX300, many Turtle Beach cards, and others...) are NOT COMPATIBLE with Athlon chipsets. This according to Turtle Beach support. Nice of people to tell you that BEFORE you buy it! Of course, I've read a great deal of negative comments regarding use of the SB Live! on Athlon boards as well.

A feature list would be great too, as it can be rather difficult based solely on a brief product description, to tell whether or not a sound card has the specific input/output that you are looking for. Some online vendors are better at detail than others, but even the best could use a little improvement.

Cheers,

Aaron
Anonymous
a b U Graphics card
December 3, 2000 9:46:35 PM

GUS as in Gravis UltraSound, I remember all the hype surrounding it before it came out, I used to talk about it on the Prodigy message boards. At that time there was a war between Pro Audio 16 and SoundBlaster. I remember I had to buy a specific CD-ROM drive just to work with my SoundBlaster Pro card.
December 21, 2000 7:42:39 AM

The crazy thing is, Tom already looked into hardware that is not PC related at all, like MP3 players and PDAs, which may be of no interest to anyone of us at all...

Actually, I wonder if Tom reads these forums. If he does, he may be considering a test by now!


<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by lrmv on 12/21/00 10:43 AM.</EM></FONT></P>
December 23, 2000 10:25:23 PM

Subject: Re: Tom, do some sound card reviews or comparisons
This is a very good subject to talk about, but lets not nuke this thing. This is a forum, we are a huge experience pool ourselves.

I have had the Turtle Beach Montego A3D XTream 64-VOICE PCI for about 8mo, It installed perfectly the first time with the included driver disk, and has worked flawlessly in all games I have used i.e. UT, Heavy Gear, Mech War3, etc. CD's. MP3's all sound great. I think I paid about $40 for it at a local store.
I guess this is all I really want from my sound card.


I am planning to build a complete new system for myself and turn this over to my daughter, could someone pass on some advice on a reliable 4-channel card for my new system. I was leaning toward the monster M400 but I heard it may not be the most system friendly card around, I want to play my games, not troubleshoot them.

Thanks all
Anonymous
a b U Graphics card
December 31, 2000 9:31:02 PM

I think that the people have spoken Tom, how about it huh, huh,huh? Are we there yet, Are we there yet, Are we there yet?

"Its full of stars!"
Anonymous
a b U Graphics card
January 2, 2001 3:10:27 AM

I reckon if Tom keeps any sort of eye on the forums he'd be aware now of our DESPERATE NEED for some sound card reviews...

In the meantime I'm going to follow Simtis' lead and share some of my sound card experience. Hopefully the rest of you guys will too.

I own the original Diamond Monster Sound and i have to say that it has made me completely disillusioned with modern sound cards. Personally the only time I can tell the difference between it and a goold 'ole SB16 is when i run the helicopter demo which makes the sound whiz around my head. No game has given me any clues as to what (if any) special stuff this piece of hardware is doing, and i've played just about every big game to come out on PC in the last 5 years. Furthermore, I can't pass any of the blame to my speakers because my PC is hooked up to a kick-arse Sony Stereo which supports 3D, Dolby Surround etc....

Can anyone convince me otherwise? I've built a few high-end systems with SB-Live! cards without much variation on this theme.

Maybe we should all go spend $5 on SB-16 cards and forget about Sound Card reviews ;-)
January 2, 2001 3:11:59 AM

I notice a huge difference with my X-Gamer. The EAX helps alot........
January 2, 2001 1:13:26 PM

I don't think Tom reads this forum. This thread is almost 2 months old now and still no review of sound cards. Actually, as a site for reviews go, Tom's is pretty sad. He only puts out a new review once or twice a week at the max.
Sites like Gamer's Depot or Sharky's Extreme put out some kind of new review every day, sometimes a couple a day.
Tom does good quality reviews, I just wish he would do a few more and expand his topics a little.
What do you think he does all day?
January 5, 2001 4:49:51 PM

Well there is on Problem the creative 10k1 audio processor is the fastest out. So every other creative always win. i hear a new chip coming out soon. I like the idea that sound card reveiws. Maybe there is better cards.

ATI RADEON 32MB DDR RULE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
January 5, 2001 9:46:16 PM

Hey all check this out!!!!

<A HREF="http://www.gamersdepot.com/hardware/sound_cards/philips..." target="_new">http://www.gamersdepot.com/hardware/sound_cards/philips...;/A>

If this guy ain't getting paid too much or just biased (as me for Creative's sole dominance) I'd buy it today. Well I hope he isn't.

I did see a test quite a while ago shich did test CPU usage and impact on games. But as in this review can a card really bring out the surround. I didn't get my Klipch's just collapse my house!!!

I wonder if Tom is qualified to give an opinion on audio quality. It is in the ear of the beholder for one and some have an ear and some have "coliflower".

Please post any reviews you find.



<b> Fragg at will!!! </b>
January 6, 2001 1:56:07 AM

I don't think Tom will do any sound card reviews. He mainly reviews things based on benchmarks - and mainly sound cards have to do with sound quality; not benchmark scores. (Except CPU Utilization, but why would he bother doing a whole freakin' review just for that?)
January 16, 2001 11:14:55 PM

People, email him because I don't think he will read your posts.

Visit my site at www.coolgames4u.com
Anonymous
a b U Graphics card
January 17, 2001 9:37:31 AM

Ah, now we're getting to the point - what do we want to see in a sound card review? I would like to add technical specs to the list, such as impedance etc. For example, I connected 1000W PMPO Sony speakers (6 ohm impedance) directly to my Sound Blaster AWE64 (4 ohm inset), without any amplification. The result is pretty good, it must be due to the AWE64's internal amp. I reckon most people would connect the sound card's outlet to their hi-fi's amp, which would result in far better sound quality, but if you have the necessary specs and components to spare you can use stand alone amps and speakers. It all adds to the fun ;-)
January 18, 2001 10:17:17 AM

I have a SBLive! and always have minor problems in some games with the sound crackling and cuting in and out or not hearing some sounds. But Creative has no competition as far as compatability all the way back to the first SoundBlaster -which, in turn was compatable with the Adlib card (Adlib was the first sound card as I remember). So if you buy a SoundBlaster you know you don't have to worry about compatability with EVERYTHING that has sound, and I like that a lot -just wish that graphics cards were the same!

I do wish that Creative would "re-cook" their drivers and provide more up-to-date and complete downloads.

Things are getting stale in the sound business. Stale has given us compatability though.

When things move slower it gives the software developers time to catch up which in turn gives us all a better working product. The thing I really HATE right now is that everyone is rushing sooo fast to be the first with a better graphics card/mobo/cpu/chipset/OS etc. that they put things on the shelf before they even WORK! AAAAAAHHHHHHHHH! I can't take it anymore!!!! I would wait a YEAR longer for something that WORKS!

Competition (at a responsible speed) gives us innovation and better drivers though...

Here's one more vote for a review!

:wink: :cool: :wink: :cool: :wink: :cool: :wink: :cool:
:smile: <b><font color=green> Have a day </font color=green></b> :smile:
January 22, 2001 10:49:17 PM

i need a sound card review. got a vortex 2, and would like something that is just as good, but uses less cpu, and actually have updated drivers once in awhile! also need eax, a3d, etc.
!