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Xonar DX or Meridian 2G For Gaming

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October 22, 2011 6:40:04 PM

I am in the market to upgrade my legacy X-fi extreme gamer and have narrowed the field down to the Asus Xonar DX and the Auzentech x-meridian 2G. The card will be used for gaming only on a Klipsch 5.1 analog speaker system. The Meridian looks to be a bit higher quality, but a little tougher to get a hold of. Does anyone have any recommendation between these two cards? (Or a better one even.) I'd like to stay under $200, but I'm willing to spend more for a quality gaming sound card. Thanks!

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a b 4 Gaming
October 22, 2011 7:54:22 PM

Auzentech Forte is superior to both for gaming.
http://www.guru3d.com/article/auzentech-xfi-forte-71-so...
NCIX sells Auzentech.
http://www.ncix.ca/products/?sku=35596&vpn=AZTXFF710555...
Sold out on US site.
Both cards you've mentioned are very good cards though and would be fine.
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October 22, 2011 8:20:34 PM

davcon said:
Auzentech Forte is superior to both for gaming.
http://www.guru3d.com/article/auzentech-xfi-forte-71-so...
NCIX sells Auzentech.
http://www.ncix.ca/products/?sku=35596&vpn=AZTXFF710555...
Sold out on US site.
Both cards you've mentioned are very good cards though and would be fine.


Thanks Davcon. I'll take a look at the Forte as well. The Auzentech cards seem to be harder to find than the ASUS cards; hopefully this is an indication of higher demand instead of lower support due to end of life for the cards.
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October 22, 2011 8:39:44 PM

i had a creatibe xfi extreame audio then got a asus dx1 big difrence worth the money.
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a b 4 Gaming
October 22, 2011 8:45:14 PM

culgor said:
Thanks Davcon. I'll take a look at the Forte as well. The Auzentech cards seem to be harder to find than the ASUS cards; hopefully this is an indication of higher demand instead of lower support due to end of life for the cards.

I run a Forte and for $120 there's really not much out there that can match it.
It works fine in a Win7 64bit system mine is about 2yrs old(no issues)
I've owned a few Creative cards in the past which were good in their day 95/98/XP.
Replaced an Audigy 2 ZS with a Auzentech X-Plosion(discontinued recently) and the difference in sound quality was immediately evident.
Good card if you can find one(got mine for $35) same audio chip as the HT | OMEGA STRIKER 7.1 which cost double.
Meridian 2G is an excellent card for the price ($150)same audio chip as top of the line Omega's and some Asus costing more.
http://www.auzentech.com/site/support/comparison.php
The DX is an entry level 7.1 card big improvement over onboard though.
I'd probably by the Striker(sale under $60) over a DX though.
I lucked out on finding the X-plosion.
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October 22, 2011 8:52:44 PM

to be honist a feal speakers have got a major factor in it no matter wot sc ya buy.
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a b 4 Gaming
October 22, 2011 8:58:09 PM

boabs said:
to be honist a feal speakers have got a major factor in it no matter wot sc ya buy.

^+1 so true bro!
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October 22, 2011 9:25:37 PM

boabs said:
to be honist a feal speakers have got a major factor in it no matter wot sc ya buy.


My Klipsch 5.1s are great. I keep looking for replacement speakers and without going into the home theater space there really isn't much out there that can compete.
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October 22, 2011 10:26:35 PM

Forte is sold out or back ordered everywhere in the US. Looks like I will go with the Xonar DX due to availability unless there are any other suggestions.
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October 24, 2011 12:17:20 AM

I'm gonna have to stick my foot into this conversation. Sorry. Just being an audiophile... ;) 

Davcon may remember this... I was in the same position sometime earlier this year... might have been a year ago... maybe two... but that's not important. I decided to go with the X-Fi Forte, and it was one of the best purchases I've ever made. I swear, that thing is more valuable to me than my HD 5770 - The sound quality it puts out is amazing for the price. Auzentech may be a small company, but they put some of the best components available into their cards, and it shows. Problem is their limited availability.

Since that year, I'm now the owner of both the Forte and Xonar DX, so I can really give you my honest opinion from experience. The Forte, to me, has a distinctively deeper, richer sound than the DX. The DX has a slightly nicer driver setup, although is lacking the headphone amp and swappable OPAMPs that the Forte has, which is actually the reason I bought it. ;)  I'd have to give the sound quality edge to the Forte (The DX is really more of a general-use card), although there's something else to keep in mind.

In your case, the X-Meridian 2G is your best bet. I've had the pleasure of listening to it in person from a friend of mine - Sound quality is right on par with the Forte. The thing is, though, that it's centered around being surround-sound friendly, which appears to be exactly what you want. The two cards are essentially on the same performance bracket, with a few notable differences: The Forte uses the PCI-express interface, while the Meridian is more surround-sound centered on the PCI interface. Basically, take your pick between the two. :) 

Edit:
I forgot... if you do buy the Xonar DX, keep in mind that you need a 4-pin Floppy Power cable to power it. That's basically the main reason I avoided it at all costs... I didn't feel like redoing my entire wiring job to put in an entry level soundcard. That power doesn't even go to the audio processor; it goes to the PCI-to-PCIe bridge Asus used on it. They made it awfully inefficient when they used that bridge chip to turn the C-Media PCI-based chipset into a PCI-Express based card.

God, I just can't stop... :pfff: 
Another note is that the Forte is the best card for gaming out of all three of your options because of its hardware-based design; the Xonar DX is software-sided.
http://www.guru3d.com/article/auzentech-xfi-forte-71-so...
http://www.guru3d.com/article/auzen-xmeridian-71-2g-sou...

Look at what you did to me, Davcon... :heink: 
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a b 4 Gaming
October 24, 2011 12:41:39 AM

Hehe:)  i bet you hate me for it!
Thanks for chiming in matt your input is very much appreciated since you have first hand experience with the DX as well.
culgor you could wait till the Forte is restocked or go with the Meridian.
You'd be hardpressed to find better cards at their pricepoint.
I don't know of any.
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October 24, 2011 1:00:26 AM

Not a problem. It's fairly clear that Asus was shooting for general use sound cards up until their top tier. They're not bad, it's just that there's nothing that stands out as being exceptionally good, either. They put out some really nice sound, but when you listen to the Forte or Meridian, you see that they're capable of putting out even nicer sound.

I'll second that opinion. Glad to be of some help. :) 
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October 24, 2011 2:30:38 AM

With recomendations like this I am bummed I can't find a forte! I am going to keep digging around for a Forte, and if I can't find one I'll get the Meridian. Thanks for the great advice guys.
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a b 4 Gaming
October 24, 2011 4:42:24 AM

The Forte I think is not being produced anymore. Its was a good card for its time, and the first that had a powered amp. Analog output quality took a hit though, especially compared to the Auzentech Prelude...I'd rate both the ASUS Xonar D1/DX and Auzentech Meridian 2G about the Forte in analog quality.

That being said, being based on the X-fi chipset, the Forte did offer superior bass. Thats the one thing that always has bugged me about C-media based designs...

Also, can we stop the Hardware/Software nonsense, since theres a LOT of mis-information going around? Having a hardware DSP is nice, but not essential, especially since we've moved on from the Pentium 4 era of CPUs...
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a b 4 Gaming
October 24, 2011 4:47:53 AM

Also, FYI, the Forte is basically replaced by the Bravura, though you do lose EAX 5.0 support [for how much that matters anymore...]
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October 24, 2011 5:04:51 AM

Found one. I ordered it bundled with an IO Drive from Auzentek's site. They got a little more out of me than I wanted to spend, but I got the card I want!
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October 24, 2011 5:05:20 AM

Best answer selected by culgor.
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October 24, 2011 5:19:15 AM

gamerk316 said:
Also, FYI, the Forte is basically replaced by the Bravura, though you do lose EAX 5.0 support [for how much that matters anymore...]


Will the Bravura be as good for gaming as the Forte? I'll update my order if it is at least as good so I can have a newer model with better support.
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a b 4 Gaming
October 24, 2011 12:29:22 PM

Should be; its the same chipset, after all.
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a b 4 Gaming
October 24, 2011 2:39:11 PM

culgor said:
Will the Bravura be as good for gaming as the Forte? I'll update my order if it is at least as good so I can have a newer model with better support.

It's close to the Forte and twice as good as a DX.
I've seen Bravura on sale for $75/80 quite a bit i wouldn't pay more then $100 retail for it.
http://www.guru3d.com/article/auzen-bravura-review/1
http://www.guru3d.com/article/auzen-xmeridian-71-2g-sou...
The Bravura doesn't have the same chipset as the Forte.
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a b 4 Gaming
October 24, 2011 4:30:46 PM

This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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