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I need a good sound card

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November 3, 2011 10:02:22 AM

:hello:  I might buy a sound card and im wondering which one is the best for a reasonable price. I hear the xonars are good but im not sure whether to buy a 20quid sound card or an 80quid one. Ill probably use http://www.scan.co.uk/shop/computer-hardware/all/soundc... so if anyone can recommend a good sound card for a decent price then go ahead.

Ill mostly be gaming with 2.1 speakers,maybe at some point ill upgrade my speaker system but not for awhile. It needs to be PCI which i guess there is no different from PCI-E?

Thanks.

More about : good sound card

November 3, 2011 11:23:55 AM

I've got the Xonar DG 5.1 PCI card (the 20 quid one) and am very impressed. It has a headphone amp, and good sound enhancing controls via software. The virtual surround modes work very well also (5.1 and 7.1).
PCI and PCIe are two different forms.
If your 2.1 speakers are regular PC speakers, you will hear a huge difference from onboard with this card.
November 3, 2011 11:37:02 AM

For less then $100, the top options for PCI are:

ASUS Xonar DG
ASUS Xonar DS
ASUS Xonar D1

The DG is geared more toward headphone use; I recommend at least the DS if you do not need a powered amp.

For less then $150 on PCI:

Auzentech Prelude [hard to find, as no longer produced]
Auzentech Meridian 2G
ASUS Xonar D2 [likely overpriced]
HT Omega Claro+
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November 3, 2011 11:40:54 AM

Are they proper sound cards that dont use the cpu for the audio?, i bought a creative one awhile back(sent it back) not knowing it still used the cpu like onboard does.
November 3, 2011 12:30:22 PM

Any component is going to use the CPU to a certain extent. But, yes, these are true sound cards with their own audio processors.
November 3, 2011 12:47:50 PM

jockey said:
Any component is going to use the CPU to a certain extent. But, yes, these are true sound cards with their own audio processors.


Is this the one you are on about? http://www.scan.co.uk/products/asus-xonar-dg-51-pci-sur... Im guessing it has a line in port on it, i need my ps3 to run through the line in and my headset will be using front panel since it has that.

That card only got 1 star out of 3, but the OEM one on that site got 3/3 and its the same :s
November 3, 2011 12:58:52 PM

That's the one. I'd give it 3 stars. Here's a link from Asus UK site.
http://uk.asus.com/Multimedia/Audio_Cards/Xonar_DG/
You can download the manual in PDF form from here. Yes it has a line in port. It doubles as a mic input if you don't connect your cases front panel to it, which you should.
November 3, 2011 1:07:22 PM

jockey said:
That's the one. I'd give it 3 stars. Here's a link from Asus UK site.
http://uk.asus.com/Multimedia/Audio_Cards/Xonar_DG/
You can download the manual in PDF form from here. Yes it has a line in port. It doubles as a mic input if you don't connect your cases front panel to it, which you should.


So just to make sure, i can run my ps3 sound through my line in port and have it playing back on my pc, and have my headset, audio and mic running from front panel. Does the sound card show line in playback volume in the options or does it only have line in recording volume?

Thanks.
November 3, 2011 1:09:13 PM

Again, I wouldn't recommend the DG for non-headphone output.

As far as the CPU and Audio, most DSP effects are handled via the CPU these days, as the CPU is more then powerful enough to handle the workload. The main advantages of a soundcard is increased enhancement capabilities [Upmixing, Virtualization, etc], and clearer quality audio.
November 3, 2011 1:12:32 PM

gamerk316 said:
Again, I wouldn't recommend the DG for non-headphone output.

As far as the CPU and Audio, most DSP effects are handled via the CPU these days, as the CPU is more then powerful enough to handle the workload. The main advantages of a soundcard is increased enhancement capabilities [Upmixing, Virtualization, etc], and clearer quality audio.


Do you have any recommendations off http://www.scan.co.uk/shop/computer-hardware/all/soundc... :) 
November 3, 2011 1:42:20 PM

I have the Xonar D2X, which is the PCI-E version of the Xonar D2. It's a very good card, mostly for the quality of the audio. I was affraid the difference in audio quality would be little, considering it's a very personal thing, but I'm glad to have gone through with the puchase because it's a very big improvement from the onboard Realtek.

I believe if the D1 inherits the same characteristics as the D2 (and my D2X), it will be a great card too. My advice for you is: go with the D1, it will be a huge improvement from onboard. Consider the D2 only if you find a decent deal (bought mine at 140USD).

November 3, 2011 1:56:26 PM

^^ Agreed. I had a D2 at one point, and while a VERY good card, its not worth the extra $40-$50 over the D1.
November 3, 2011 2:02:57 PM

MadCatz900 said:

Ill mostly be gaming with 2.1 speakers,maybe at some point ill upgrade my speaker system but not for awhile. It needs to be PCI which i guess there is no different from PCI-E?

Thanks.

Looking at PCI.
November 3, 2011 2:14:53 PM

Does the xonar D1 have line in on the playback volume part, like i said i need my ps3 connected to line in and playing through my pc. I couldnt see line in on some video i just watched unless its called "wave" on the xonar D1 audio center software.

Thanks.
November 3, 2011 4:42:20 PM

I believe the D1 shares its line input with the mic input. The D2, HT Omega Claro+, and a few other mid-tier cards have dedicated line-input ports.
November 3, 2011 8:32:04 PM

I think ill go for http://www.scan.co.uk/products/asus-xonar-ds-71-pci-sou...

The problem i have is it says

"Front-Panel Header:
Intel HDA front-panel compatible and supports HP jack-detection and automatically switch audio output from back-panel to front"

Im not sure if that means you can only use one port at a time, i need to use the rear line/mic port for my ps3 sound and front panel for my headsets audio and mic. Does anyone know if its possible to use both or can you only use 1 port at a time.

Thanks.

Best solution

November 4, 2011 10:55:12 AM
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That affects the output. FP headphone jack will mute the rear speaker output. Line in on rear will still be functional. This is the same configuration as the Xonar DG on my system, I've tried it and it works fine.
November 13, 2011 11:10:32 PM

Best answer selected by MadCatz900.
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