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What's the best soundcard you ever owned and why

Last response: in Components
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Best SoundCard of all time?

Total: 0 vote

  • Asus Xonar variants
  • 0 %
  • Creative X-Fi variants
  • 0 %
  • Auzentech variants
  • 0 %
  • Turtle Beach variants
  • 0 %
  • M-Audio variants
  • 0 %
  • HT Omega variants
  • 0 %
  • Other
  • 0 %
October 29, 2011 12:57:09 PM

I'm sure this question has been asked over the years, but since there's new entrants there's new answers.

So, here we are in Fall '11. What's the best soundcard you've ever owned and why? ...and do you still use it?

For me, believe it or not it was the X-Fi. I never had notorious driver issues and the Creative driver's functionality was great, for me, (in particular, I loved the .wav recorder's functionality and interface). ...and, yes, of course I've had an Asus Xonar (Great sound but the drivers were kinda meh back in '08, IMO).

So...how about you?

More about : soundcard owned

October 29, 2011 1:39:43 PM

Quote:
Hardly anyone uses a soundcard as they are really just an accessory.


I can't say I agree with that. I'd think if you just want really clean audio or consider yourself an audiophile chances are you're not using onboard sound on a PC. I think its more likely that such folks are either using a discreet audio solution or sending the signal out digitally to a receiver/pre-amp.
October 29, 2011 2:40:41 PM

Have to agree with 384-bit that sound cards are a Niche market now. I know hard core enthusiasts will have discrete cards along with anyone in the creative sectors. But without any figures I would feel comfortable betting on over 90% of computers use on board audio.

In answer to the posters question the best card I have ever owned was a Creative Labs Sound Blaster 16 AWE back in the early 90’s. The reason is quite simple at the time the only onboard ‘sound’ was the PC speaker at it made such a massive difference to my PC, it was beyond comparison. I don’t still use the card for two reasons 1. I no longer have ant ISA slots, and 2. My on board audio is better than that card for what I need.
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October 29, 2011 2:57:59 PM

After having used and built a lot f PCs over the years I decided to use get a couple Macs for this cycle, so that what I use now. I've always considered myself an audiophile. I know I've had some clean sound from discrete cards and have had some noise when using on-board audio (sometimes you have to be using good headphones to hear the noise onboard sound can deliver). I even hear noise when listening to my headphones via my Mac Pro's headphone jack. Often, this noise increases when the CPU spins up. However, the audio delivered my Beyond Cute headphone Amp is crystal clear with no audible noise. ...same experience I had with my Creative SB Lives! and X-Fi's.

I think unless you've got decent output you may not even be able to tell the difference and that is why a lot of folks feel their on-board sound is good enough.
October 30, 2011 5:33:22 AM

I've never thought of changing my soundcard before but i'd go with Asus Xonar variants :D 
October 30, 2011 7:41:15 AM

halcyon said:
I can't say I agree with that. I'd think if you just want really clean audio or consider yourself an audiophile chances are you're not using onboard sound on a PC. I think its more likely that such folks are either using a discreet audio solution or sending the signal out digitally to a receiver/pre-amp.

16x6=96
That's for 16bit music. Onboards what have dacs with a snr of 98 where no noise will be added to the signal only when you jump to 24bit. Do audiophiles listen to it on Stadium level or do they use cans? I agree a soundcard is needed but that's to power your cans with its Headphone amp. That's all why the avg gamer buys them for headphones.

Otherwise we use the digital connection to a receiver or analog connection to a Soundsytem/amp or those lil pc speakers.
October 30, 2011 8:42:26 AM

Going to point out that Auzentech, HT Omega, and ASUS ALL use C-Media made chipsets...I believe Turtle Beach does as well.

So its really between:
Audigy Chipset
X-fi Chipset
C-Media based Chipsets
October 30, 2011 8:50:09 AM

gnomio said:
16x6=96
That's for 16bit music. Onboards what have dacs with a snr of 98 where no noise will be added to the signal only when you jump to 24bit. Do audiophiles listen to it on Stadium level or do they use cans? I agree a soundcard is needed but that's to power your cans with its Headphone amp. That's all why the avg gamer buys them for headphones.

Otherwise we use the digital connection to a receiver or analog connection to a Soundsytem/amp or those lil pc speakers.


A discreet soundcard is isolated from the other motherboard components and this, at least up until '09 for me, provided lower noise. I think that's the big benefit of a discreet card. Now if you happen to have a motherboard that has great shielding an a good audio chipset then voila!

gamerk316 said:
Going to point out that Auzentech, HT Omega, and ASUS ALL use C-Media made chipsets...I believe Turtle Beach does as well.

So its really between:
Audigy Chipset
X-fi Chipset
C-Media based Chipsets


True, but I think drivers can make a difference in actual sound quality and overall experience too (Creative proved that for many), which is why I listed out the options. (I thinks MouseMonkey was the one that killed the poll?)

!