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Should I use onboard sounds or older Sound Blaster Audigy 2?

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February 14, 2012 6:27:12 PM

I am building a new machine, and am going to be using an ASUS P8Z68-V LX Z68 LGA1155 motherboard. It appears to have decent onboard sound. I also have a Creative Labs Soundblaster Audigy 2, which I purchased a good 8 years ago or so ($50 at the time I think). I am wondering which one will produce the best quality sound (or won't it matter), and which will use the resources on my PC most efficiently.

Any help would be great! Thanks, Jamie
February 14, 2012 6:56:36 PM

Short version: it won't matter.

Longer version, the creative card will have a slightly better signal to noise ratio (106 db vs probably around 95db for onboard). But you might have issues with the drivers. They'll use the same amount of resources.

My advice, try the onboard. If you here hissing from your speakers, try the Audigy.
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February 14, 2012 7:05:03 PM

Cool, thanks
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February 14, 2012 8:16:06 PM

I have the Sound Blaster Audigy SE and it is much much much cleaner and crisper sound over the onboard sound.
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February 14, 2012 8:16:40 PM

MagicPants said:
Short version: it won't matter.

Longer version, the creative card will have a slightly better signal to noise ratio (106 db vs probably around 95db for onboard). But you might have issues with the drivers. They'll use the same amount of resources.

My advice, try the onboard. If you here hissing from your speakers, try the Audigy.

Do you run a sound card personally ?
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February 14, 2012 9:59:08 PM

I have two machines: one with an x-fi titanium and one with onboard sound.

A while back, the x-fi started crashing(on any openAL games), so I removed it and used onboard. I didn't notice a huge difference except that the onboard was noisy (much noisier than my other machine's onboard.) I tried the x-fi again after upgrading to windows 7 and it stopped crashing on openAL. Now I'm happy with it.

I've got my x-fi hooked up (via analog 7.1 direct inputs) to a Harman Kardon AVR 1600 and a set of energy micro RC 7.1 speakers (I added two.) My onboard sound computer is hooked up to a pair of powered Bose 2.0 speakers. They sound about the same for music, but the x-fi is great for surround.

I notice a huge difference between the two onboard audio chips. Both are on Asus mobos and the one that sounds worse was on a much more expensive board, so go figure.
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February 14, 2012 10:05:12 PM

MagicPants said:
I have two machines: one with an x-fi titanium and one with onboard sound.

A while back, the x-fi started crashing(on any openAL games), so I removed it and used onboard. I didn't notice a huge difference except that the onboard was noisy (much noisier than my other machine's onboard.) I tried the x-fi again after upgrading to windows 7 and it stopped crashing on openAL. Now I'm happy with it.

I've got my x-fi hooked up (via analog 7.1 direct inputs) to a Harman Kardon AVR 1600 and a set of energy micro RC 7.1 speakers (I added two.) My onboard sound computer is hooked up to a pair of powered Bose 2.0 speakers. They sound about the same for music, but the x-fi is great for surround.

I notice a huge difference between the two onboard audio chips. Both are on Asus mobos and the one that sounds worse was on a much more expensive board, so go figure.

So Creative X-fi hooked up to a quality Harmon Kardon amp receiver sounds the same as 2.0 desktop PC speakers hooked up to on board sound gotcha and are them the companion 2 Bose speakers ?
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February 14, 2012 10:33:23 PM

Only for music. The energy set is better, but it's made for movies and surround; they are just too small for music. Yes, it's Bose companion 2.0 and they aren't great but they aren't bad (depends on the type of music you listen to). If I was buying today I might try creative t20s, but frankly any powered computer speakers (under $100) aren't going to be great.

Ideally for music, I'd use a pair of much larger speakers (4" woofer at least), and no sub.

Usually game sound quality isn't great, so about the only improvement is good surround.
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February 14, 2012 10:46:15 PM

MagicPants said:
Only for music. The energy set is better, but it's made for movies and surround; they are just too small for music. Yes, it's Bose companion 2.0 and they aren't great but they aren't bad (depends on the type of music you listen to). If I was buying today I might try creative t20s, but frankly any powered computer speakers (under $100) aren't going to be great.

Ideally for music, I'd use a pair of much larger speakers (4" woofer at least), and no sub.

Usually game sound quality isn't great, so about the only improvement is good surround.

OK I can agree with you there but onboard sound is terrible compared to even a low end dedicated sound card and I have owned the Bose companion 2.0s and the creative T20s basically I have owned all the best PC speaker sets on the market since before the Logitec Z5500s came out tell now almost. The bose 2.0s where OK and by that I mean they do have great sound quality but only at low volume and they lack anything that could be considered decent as far as bass goes on 2.0 stereo speakers plus they just lack power. The Creative T20s are Epic they have lowed relatively poerful crystal clear sound cause of the tweeters GREAT mid drivers and the bass is OK but that is the only area where I would have wanted just a bit more Enter Creative T40 which is just to more mid range drivers so double T20s which will be my next speaker set for PC for a while.
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February 14, 2012 11:18:55 PM

I didn't put a lot of thought in the Bose 2.0. I needed an extra set of speakers that day, and that's what they had at the store. My biggest issue with them is they are temperamental about bass. They sound great for acoustic music and so-so for everything else.

If you want good music computer speakers try m-audio or corsair. But I went over to my brother's last year and he had a set of Polk floor standing speakers that put all of mine to shame (I think they were $250 a piece). If you want good music speakers, get big woofers.

The harman kardon avr 1600 is nice, but I'm going through the pre-amp for 7.1 so it doesn't do much but power my speakers. I've used it through HDMI off my video card, (which let's the avr process the sound) but it sounds worse as it overstates the bass. (It's the best option for the money if you want 7.1 direct inputs)

I will say I love the crystalizer on the x-fi (I set it to around 35%).

The point I was trying to make is that not all onboard is equal. Some is actually okay, so try it out first, but if it stinks throw a sound card in there. The audigy is really outdated though. I'd recommend one of those $25 xonars (DG I think)

I try to recommend cost effect solutions. When I do things for myself I tend to blow a lot of money.
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February 14, 2012 11:38:58 PM

MagicPants said:
I didn't put a lot of thought in the Bose 2.0. I needed an extra set of speakers that day, and that's what they had at the store. My biggest issue with them is they are temperamental about bass. They sound great for acoustic music and so-so for everything else.

If you want good music computer speakers try m-audio or corsair. But I went over to my brother's last year and he had a set of Polk floor standing speakers that put all of mine to shame (I think they were $250 a piece). If you want good music speakers, get big woofers.

The harman kardon avr 1600 is nice, but I'm going through the pre-amp for 7.1 so it doesn't do much but power my speakers. I've used it through HDMI off my video card, (which let's the avr process the sound) but it sounds worse as it overstates the bass. (It's the best option for the money if you want 7.1 direct inputs)

I will say I love the crystalizer on the x-fi (I set it to around 35%).

The point I was trying to make is that not all onboard is equal. Some is actually okay, so try it out first, but if it stinks throw a sound card in there. The audigy is really outdated though. I'd recommend one of those $25 xonars (DG I think)

I try to recommend cost effect solutions. When I do things for myself I tend to blow a lot of money.

I just picked up the Audigy SE locally cause it was $30 and the only one available and I didn't want to wait 5 days for a sound card to ship while being stuck with on board sound but I might upgrade to Xonar everyone is saying how great it is me I have only used the Creative Sound Blaster I have tried them all less the new HD on the market and like you say that Crystallizer is very nice for music and even movies I like it and I dont think I want to forgo it even for the mighty Xonar and Oh yes I know the Audygy SE doesn't have a Crystalizer but I want one.
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February 14, 2012 11:56:31 PM

Try the sound card first it will sound better, but if drivers are an issue use onboard. By the way your not going to hear much of a difference with low quality speakers like Bose, Creative, or any PC speaker system. I can personally attest to this as I have a pair of Yamaha NS-A100XT floor standing speakers with a PolkAudio sub all being feed by a Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS to an A/V receiver and I can definitely tell a difference especially with 24-bit FLACs/ALACs

Bose is just marketing garbage. B.O.S.E.=Buy Other Sound Equipment.
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February 15, 2012 12:00:13 AM

whooleo said:
Try the sound card first it will sound better, but if drivers are an issue use onboard. By the way your not going to hear much of a difference with low quality speakers like Bose, Creative, or any PC speaker system. I can personally attest to this as I have a pair of Yamaha NS-A100XT floor standing speakers with a PolkAudio sub all being feed by a Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS to an A/V receiver and I can definitely tell a difference especially with 24-bit FLACs/ALACs

Bose is just marketing garbage. B.O.S.E.=Buy Other Sound Equipment.

You need an AMP/Reviver to run those speakers mitigating a sound card so please stop it.
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February 15, 2012 6:07:39 AM

fistoffoo said:
You need an AMP/Reviver to run those speakers mitigating a sound card so please stop it.


Good point Fistoffo! My words exactly. First you say you need something, then you say it doesn't matter unless you have audiophile level equipment.

Save that type thing if someone asks "What is the best?"
If they ask "Will it work?" try and save them money. (best bang for the buck)
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February 15, 2012 6:27:59 AM

MagicPants said:
Good point Fistoffo! My words exactly. First you say you need something, then you say it doesn't matter unless you have audiophile level equipment.

Save that type thing if someone asks "What is the best?"
If they ask "Will it work?" try and save them money. (best bang for the buck)

No your just playing semantics now buy nice try LOL.
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February 15, 2012 12:58:51 PM

I will try the soundcard first - can't hurt. If it work, and sounds good, I will stick with it.

Thanks
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February 15, 2012 1:16:17 PM

Some older Audigy cards don't work in Win7 AFAIK.
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February 15, 2012 1:17:25 PM

Hadn't thought of that. Thanks
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February 15, 2012 1:20:24 PM

But yes, it won't hurt if you try it ;) 
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February 15, 2012 4:44:56 PM

FinneousPJ said:
Some older Audigy cards don't work in Win7 AFAIK.

Mine does flawlessly and much more so than the on board thanx.
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February 15, 2012 4:49:01 PM

MagicPants said:
Good point Fistoffo! My words exactly. First you say you need something, then you say it doesn't matter unless you have audiophile level equipment.

Save that type thing if someone asks "What is the best?"
If they ask "Will it work?" try and save them money. (best bang for the buck)

Ok sorry but to be fair and honest although I have never messed with amp/receivers much but I think that an amp/receiver hooked up to a sound card could be good because then the sound signal was pre up graded with less noise and the other effects and such that say an x-fi Creative cards can offer like crystalizer further adding to the quality of sound on top of what the amp/receiver is capable of.
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February 15, 2012 5:34:52 PM

@ Fistofoo and Magicpants: do you know what a sound card does? Please explain how would a receiver mitigate a sound card. Fistofoo your last point is correct and shows that your not just spreading FUD around...
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February 15, 2012 5:40:10 PM

whooleo said:
@ Fistofoo and Magicpants: do you know what a sound card does? Please explain how would a receiver mitigate a sound card. Fistofoo your last point is correct and shows that your not just spreading FUD around...

If it is a digital signal I think it would completely bypass the sound card all together but if the amp is hooked via analog connections then it is all good.
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February 15, 2012 10:17:29 PM

If it's digital it does not bypass the sound card but it nullifies MOST of the advantages for one. My connection is analog so a sound card is a significant advantage in my case.
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September 30, 2012 1:19:17 AM

fistoffoo said:
Ok sorry but to be fair and honest although I have never messed with amp/receivers much but I think that an amp/receiver hooked up to a sound card could be good because then the sound signal was pre up graded with less noise and the other effects and such that say an x-fi Creative cards can offer like crystalizer further adding to the quality of sound on top of what the amp/receiver is capable of.



I have my audigy2 card hook up on my Panasonic amp/receiver and connected to old Toshiba floor speakers (you know those big speakers before they start to label them all sort of crap name)

Sounds is great and very clear, got tons of power that ROCKS THE HOUSE when applied with just 1/4 of power.
That i play games or listen to movies or listen to mp3....am an happy camper and with cash in my pocket.

Boss, harmon K....Ah!! as if you can barely notice the difference in quality with lower brands...you JUST pay for the privilege of having a brand.


This case follows the cardinal rule in computer: ""quality, speed, or power will ALWAYS BE at the maximum of the LOWEST component in the chain.""
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September 30, 2012 1:19:23 AM

fistoffoo said:
Ok sorry but to be fair and honest although I have never messed with amp/receivers much but I think that an amp/receiver hooked up to a sound card could be good because then the sound signal was pre up graded with less noise and the other effects and such that say an x-fi Creative cards can offer like crystalizer further adding to the quality of sound on top of what the amp/receiver is capable of.



I have my audigy2 card hook up on my Panasonic amp/receiver and connected to old Toshiba floor speakers (you know those big speakers before they start to label them all sort of crap name)

Sounds is great and very clear, got tons of power that ROCKS THE HOUSE when applied with just 1/4 of power.
That i play games or listen to movies or listen to mp3....am an happy camper and with cash in my pocket.

Boss, harmon K....Ah!! as if you can barely notice the difference in quality with lower brands...you JUST pay for the privilege of having a brand.


This case follows the cardinal rule in computer: ""quality, speed, or power will ALWAYS BE at the maximum of the LOWEST component in the chain.""
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October 27, 2013 2:03:21 AM

Y`all lost me there with sticking amps onto your computer sound cards.

It would be nice if it was all just a little bit simpler. This is gaming and not nucelar physics, after all.

I have chosen to not install my Audigy Fata1ty X-fi card and buy a set of Creative Evo Zx wireless headphones with inbuilt sound chips.
Supposedly, they are brilliant.
I will keep my bose speakers for a bit of this and that while the headset is charging.

http://us.store.creative.com/Sound-Blaster-EVO-ZX-Wirel...

I think someone wanted something like that for an answer.

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