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Gaming Sound Card

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April 23, 2012 9:16:42 PM

Greetings. I am building a new PC and have all the parts picked out but a sound card. I have not kept up with sound card technology so I am looking for help.

What I am looking for--

I will be using my PC mainly for games, and some movie watching. Most of the time games. Any and all types.

I need a card that can support my current speakers. (Creative GigaWorks S750 700 Watts 7.1) So I need a 7.1 card.

Motherboard I will be using is ASUS Rampage IV Formula LGA 2011 Intel X79 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard.

So I need a PCI Express sound card.

I will be using headphones if I play a shooter game like Call of Duty or BF3 just so I can be talking to my team mates. But I will use the speakers if I do not. Game like Skyrim, D3, WoW, etc. I will use the speakers.

Can I get a recommendation on a card I can buy to fill these needs. I have noticed Creative is introducing a new line of cards. Recon3d. I have read about these ASUS cards and HT cards.

I am not a major audiophile. I do not have a stereo receiver to connect anything to. This will be sound card into mother board, speakers into sound card set up.

I just want my games to sound loud and good when using speakers, and sound good and give good directional sound when using headphones.

Thanks for any help.

More about : gaming sound card

April 23, 2012 9:38:54 PM

The Rampage IV Formula board has 8 channel audio onboard. Is there something you want that the onboard audio can't provide?
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April 23, 2012 9:42:47 PM

Is the onboard audio going to provide better sound and sound effects as a sound card ? I am unaware of what quality onboard audio has now a days. I am running a very old PC that I built when Half Life 2 came out. =)
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April 23, 2012 10:06:50 PM

You absolutely dont't need a sound card, the rampage formula IV board has amazing sound quality, rather use the money on other parts :) 
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April 23, 2012 10:28:43 PM

Humm. On board audio has gotten that much better? What about all those EAX sound things? or this XFI sound stuff? Will sounds be produced just as good with my speaker set up? Sounds coming from say my right and behind me will actually sound that way?
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April 23, 2012 11:04:04 PM

It's gotten much better than the ac 97 days, although some boards still have mediocre sound (I'm looking at you Realtek).
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April 23, 2012 11:11:10 PM

Still, what about some of these fancy sound technologies stamped on these sound cards? Will I be losing out on sound quality while playing these games?
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April 23, 2012 11:55:29 PM

asus dx1 perfect for ya.
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April 24, 2012 4:48:06 AM

Add-on sound card will have a better sound, despite what anti-sound card people say...

However, they also have a point - you typically you feel the difference in sound with sound card, if your speaker/headphones are average or above...
as I think is your case with your speakers...

just my 2c
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April 24, 2012 5:14:04 AM

Having used onboard sound and having a Creative X-Fi Extreme Gamer sound card with Logitech Z5500 speakers, I can honestly say there is a big difference in sound quality, it sounds alive instead of being dull and boring.

I'm not sure which card to recommend, I'm hoping the ASUS ROG sound card isn't too far off. I've heard the new Creative Recond3d cards don't have the driver problems the X-Fi series had. What I do know is that the ASUS cards use a PCI to PCI-E bridge on all their PCI-E cards which is not good in some way or other (read in a review somewhere, sorry don't have a link).

good luck!
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April 24, 2012 12:10:22 PM

^^ The bridge ASUS/HT Omega/Auzentech uses for their PCI-E models is done by necessity. The only downsides are the requirement of an extra power connector the PCI varients of the cards don't need, and incompatabilities with some nvidia motherboards. Neither are huge issues.

As far as the Recon3d line goes: As far as I'm concerned, the entire lineup is utter crap compared to whats already out there. The X-fi's were better, even without their HW accelerated features.
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April 24, 2012 2:25:31 PM

I recently put a Xonar Essence STX in one of my rigs and the difference between it and ASRock's onboard sound is night and day. Night and Day. I'd say that anyone that can't hear the difference my have Tinnitus or some other hearing loss. The imaging and soundstage is incredible. Even my low-endish Sennheiser HD595's sound incredible with this card. Asus has re-affirmed my belief in discreet audio cards with this piece of kit.
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April 24, 2012 6:00:52 PM

^^ You are the first person I know who would call any Sennheiser "low-endish". Then again, most people here would consider a set of Z-5500's "super high end"...
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April 24, 2012 6:07:14 PM

gamerk316 said:
^^ You are the first person I know who would call any Sennheiser "low-endish". Then again, most people here would consider a set of Z-5500's "super high end"...

LOL. I remember when I had a set of Z-5500's back in '07...they were fun...the bass could kill the bacteria on the walls. ...but they were definitely for personal fulfillment, as they were quite directional.
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April 24, 2012 6:08:19 PM

gamerk316 said:
^^ You are the first person I know who would call any Sennheiser "low-endish". Then again, most people here would consider a set of Z-5500's "super high end"...



Depends on how much of an audiophile you are. For hardcore purists, any speaker (singular) less than $600 is low end, and many spend thousands on their systems (some are in the 5 digit range). I personally use a pair of JBL LSR's + Sub for speakers, and don't really notice a difference between my Audigy 2 ZS and the SoundMAX card using digital outputs with PCM.
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April 24, 2012 6:13:51 PM

sk1939 said:
Depends on how much of an audiophile you are. For hardcore purists, any speaker (singular) less than $600 is low end, and many spend thousands on their systems (some are in the 5 digit range). I personally use a pair of JBL LSR's + Sub for speakers, and don't really notice a difference between my Audigy 2 ZS and the SoundMAX card using digital outputs with PCM.

Na....digital out may not be that noticable and while the Audigy 2ZS is not a bad card its a few generations back. What is feeding the the JBL's?

I notice with the Xonar Essence that I can greatly localize voices in Metro.... ...the sound of the Xonar is really impressive to me.
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April 24, 2012 6:32:03 PM

halcyon said:
Na....digital out may not be that noticable and while the Audigy 2ZS is not a bad card its a few generations back. What is feeding the the JBL's?

I notice with the Xonar Essence that I can greatly localize voices in Metro.... ...the sound of the Xonar is really impressive to me.


I'm somewhat ashamed to say this thing but it puts out a respectable sound, and uses the WM8805 digital receiver chip. I probably will replace it with a Cambridge Audio DacMagic at some point. I bought it back in 2005, so it is getting up there, I just haven't had the desire to upgrade really. I haven't heard the Xonar, but I was looking at getting one, and decided against it thanks to the fact the HD6870 blocks one of my three PCIe x16 lanes, and the other is taken up by the NIC.
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April 24, 2012 6:39:14 PM

sk1939 said:
I'm somewhat ashamed to say this thing but it puts out a respectable sound, and uses the WM8805 digital receiver chip. I probably will replace it with a Cambridge Audio DacMagic at some point. I bought it back in 2005, so it is getting up there, I just haven't had the desire to upgrade really. I haven't heard the Xonar, but I was looking at getting one, and decided against it thanks to the fact the HD6870 blocks one of my three PCIe x16 lanes, and the other is taken up by the NIC.

Don't be ashamed, I one of these to hook up to my MBP to drive headphones on the go...its actually not bad at all. These little pieces can be surprisingly good.
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April 24, 2012 6:58:52 PM

It's sort of sad in the sense that I have nearly $1000 in speakers connected to a $30 DAC, but c'est la vie. You are right though, they can be surprisingly good. I was actually considering getting that at one point.
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April 25, 2012 10:15:48 AM

sk1939 said:
It's sort of sad in the sense that I have nearly $1000 in speakers connected to a $30 DAC, but c'est la vie. You are right though, they can be surprisingly good. I was actually considering getting that at one point.

Its the sound that's important...not the costs (at least that's what try to tell myself). :) 
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June 29, 2012 8:37:33 AM

Peenutts said:
Greetings. I am building a new PC and have all the parts picked out but a sound card. I have not kept up with sound card technology so I am looking for help.

What I am looking for--

I will be using my PC mainly for games, and some movie watching. Most of the time games. Any and all types.

I need a card that can support my current speakers. (Creative GigaWorks S750 700 Watts 7.1) So I need a 7.1 card.

Motherboard I will be using is ASUS Rampage IV Formula LGA 2011 Intel X79 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard.

So I need a PCI Express sound card.

I will be using headphones if I play a shooter game like Call of Duty or BF3 just so I can be talking to my team mates. But I will use the speakers if I do not. Game like Skyrim, D3, WoW, etc. I will use the speakers.

Can I get a recommendation on a card I can buy to fill these needs. I have noticed Creative is introducing a new line of cards. Recon3d. I have read about these ASUS cards and HT cards.

I am not a major audiophile. I do not have a stereo receiver to connect anything to. This will be sound card into mother board, speakers into sound card set up.

I just want my games to sound loud and good when using speakers, and sound good and give good directional sound when using headphones.

Thanks for any help.


I have same motherboard and just finished a new pc build using it. Sound is good, not impressive. I ran an x-fi fatality in my old pc and its no contest. Sound card with crystalization blows board away in games (esp bf3) and music. It's steak versus bologne. To many people on here have an opinion who have never used a sound card. Ignorance is bliss.
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