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Looking for a good soundcard

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February 11, 2012 10:49:28 AM

Brand new to this stuff, never bought a soundcard in my life.

Not sure what I am looking for, but I want a really nice sound.

My onboard is pretty crappy right now.

I'm a metal head, so I am all about a nice clear sound.

This is the site I am buying from, they're cheapest in Australia:

http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPa...

Any help would be much appreciated. :D 

More about : good soundcard

February 11, 2012 2:10:01 PM

What's your budget?
February 11, 2012 2:46:46 PM

davcon said:
What's your budget?


On that site? Under 200 bucks
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February 11, 2012 6:06:06 PM

^I second that, as usual. Of everything I see there, the Auzen X-Fi Forte and X-Meridian 2G are two of my favorites. Asus cards aren't bad, but Auzentech's drivers are a lot more stable, at least in my experience with the two.

The X-Fi Forte and X-Meridian 2G are basically on the same tier of cards, but with different purposes:

X-Fi Forte:
+ PCI-Express x1 Interface
+ Revamped Creative Drivers
+ Headphone Amplifier
+ Quality-weighted front stereo output
- Surround needs a breakout adapter for all outputs
- Slightly lower quality on surround channels

X-Meridian 2g:
+ Designed for 7.1 Surround
+ High quality filters & replaceable OPAMPS on all channels, no real 'weighting'
- PCI Interface
- Stock C-Media drivers

The X-Fi Forte is definitely designed more for people who use headphones, 2.1, or maybe 5.1 surround setups, but it gets a little inconvenient when you want to run 7.1 off of it. The X-Meridian 2G is definitely centered around full 7.1 surround output, and is probably the more flexible of the two cards, but the bad part is that it runs off of the aging PCI interface... not sure how much longer it's going to be around, honestly. Like I said, it all depends on what you plan on using it for.

Going out of the way of what I just said, though, I'd definitely recommend the X-Fi Forte; I have one personally and it's easily the best sub-200 dollar sound card I've ever listened to. Everything seems solid, and it's just a great multi-purpose card as long as you don't plan on running a full 7.1 surround system off of it. In that case, I'd go for the X-Meridian. Otherwise, I recommend going with the Forte.
February 11, 2012 11:22:10 PM

The Forte is getting old though. I'd buy the Auzentech HTHD ahead of it now.
February 11, 2012 11:46:11 PM

True, but the problem is with its price; if we're talking $250, I'd much rather buy an HT Omega Claro Halo or Xonar Essence. It has its uses, and is an amazing piece of hardware when you can make use of it, but it's hard to justify when you compare the price to other flagship sound cards. That's my only problem with it. Now, if it were a $160-80, then there'd be no question that I'd buy it, but as of right now, I just feel that there are better alternatives.
February 12, 2012 12:24:08 AM

Thanks guys, I am liking the Auzentech X-Fi Forte 7.1, but as someguynamedm mentioned, it runs of the aging PCI interface. Could you recommend and alternative?
The alternative is a USB soundcard right?

Best solution

February 12, 2012 1:02:51 AM
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The Auzentech X-Fi Forte 7.1 was released in Jan/Feb of 2009 if you want to call that old,i don't.
Auzentech HTHD was released in July 2009 on the same 20K2 X-Fi based processor.
You don't need a HTHD to listen to music it's for home theatre.
The Meridian 2G is the PCI based card not the Forte which is PCI express 1.1.
Neither slot is going away soon.
Out of all the cards in Auzentech's line-up the Forte is the most versatile and powerful for gaming and music.
If i hadn't chose the Forte i would have bought the Bravura.
I'd still buy either one over the Meridian for my purposes.
http://www.auzentech.com/site/support/comparison.php
Note the Prelude was discontinued in 2009 = the Forte replaces it.
February 12, 2012 1:05:12 AM

davcon said:
The Auzentech X-Fi Forte 7.1 was released in Jan/Feb of 2009 if you want to call that old,i don't.
Auzentech HTHD was released in July 2009 on the same 20K2 X-Fi based processor.
You don't need a HTHD to listen to music it's for home theatre.
The Meridian 2G is the PCI based card not the Forte which is PCI express 1.1.
Neither slot is going away soon.
Out of all the cards in Auzentech's line-up the Forte is the most versatile and powerful for gaming and music.


Ahhh, okay.

Thanks. Going to buy the Auzentech X-Fi Forte 7.1 :D 
February 12, 2012 1:09:18 AM

-Sylvan said:
Ahhh, okay.

Thanks. Going to buy the Auzentech X-Fi Forte 7.1 :D 

The Forte will work properly on any slot on your board.
Just don't use your main gpu slot lol!
February 12, 2012 1:49:05 AM

Good choice... I think you'll like it. :) 
February 12, 2012 9:41:19 PM

Well it may be to late for the OP but in case someone else in need of the same info stumbles across this thread I'll put it out there anyway.

First off the I'm not picking on Auzentech X-Fi Forte 7.1 as a recommendation. I'm only offering another opinion another based on the op's stated preference for great sound in music. QUOTE "I'm a metal head, so I am all about a nice clear sound."

Second, although my rig is quite capable, I am not a gamer. I use my PC for all around use, audio/video editing and only rare but occasional gaming. I also love watching rock DVDs encoded with good 5.1 sound and good portion of those DVDs are heavy metal.

My sound card of choice is the "HT | OMEGA eClaro 7.1 Channels PCI Express x1 Interface Sound Card" "7.1 Channels, 24-bit, 192KHz, PCI Express x1, W/swappable Op-amps. This is the only new PCI Express x1 Sound Card that has a 5 egg customer review average on Newegg.

This card is priced at $184.99USD about $50 more than the Auzentech X-Fi Forte but if music reproduction is your thing and your somewhat of an audiophile (audio snob) like me its worth it!

The HT | OMEGA eClaro is centered around music. It does have "Xear 3D" which is similar to X-Fi for games, although any hard core gamer will tell you X-fi is better for games. Since I'm an audiophile not a gamer I'll concede that point to the gamers.

I use a Klipsch ProMedia Ultra 5.1 Multimedia Speaker System with an upgraded amp, upgraded center speaker (PSB), upgraded front L/R speakers (infinity's) and with the HT | OMEGA eClaro (W/upgraded Op-amp) connected to it, AC/DC - Live At Donington (or any other music) has never sounded so good. :D 
February 19, 2012 7:37:28 AM

Best answer selected by -Sylvan.
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