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SoundCard Advise Needed!

Last response: in Components
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July 25, 2012 9:46:19 AM

So yea, recently bought the Asus Xonar D2 (for gaming purposes) and i haven't opened it yet. I am not sure wether this soundcard was the best pick.
I still have 3 days to return it to the shop and exchange it for another one.
The following cards are available at the shop:
Asus Essence STX
Asus ROG Xonar Phoebus
Asus D1 (not sure if still available).

I currently have the Asus P8Z68-V PRO motherboard.
I am interested in swaping my D2 (PCI)for the Phoebus (PCIe) but i do not know on which slot i have to install the Phoebus on (if ever i get it), and i do not want it to affect the bandwidth of my GPU from x16 to x8.

1/ Should i exchange my soundcard for one of the above? (Will be used for gaming).
2/ On which slot on my mobo do i have to install PCIe souncards, and will it affect my GPU performance?
3/ I currently have a Steelseries Siberia, is it a good headset for an Asus soundcard?
I have the option of getting the Asus volcan headset, maybe the Razer Tiamat 7.1, the Tritton AX720, and thats probably all (local shop).
What headset would be ideal with the soundcard chosen?

EDIT: I have read that the D2 was made more for movies and entertainment purposes rather than gaming. However the Phoebus was made for gaming.
But the fact that it is a PCIe souncard frustrates me, and also that i do not know in which exact slot of my mobo it will go in, aswell as i am not sure if it will affect my GPU.

Maybe if someone could post a picture showing me where a PCI soundcard and where a PCIe soundcard should go on my Asus P8Z68-V PRO motherboard it would be really nice.
a b Ĉ ASUS
July 25, 2012 12:06:57 PM

The Phoebus is more gaming oriented, but personally, the specs between it and the D2 are near indistinguishable, and the new driver control software on the Phoebus is slightly less functional in some areas. In any case, its hard to argue against either.

As for headset, I always recommend an audiophile stereo headset. If you want surround, use Dolby Headphone. "Real" surround headsets almost always run into quality problems as a result of undersized drivers.
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July 26, 2012 12:55:03 AM

Alright, but the Phoebus and the Essence STX contain an amp. The D2 doesn't, is it going to make any noticeable difference?

As a headset i was also thinking about the Sennheiser PC line (more for gaming) or the HD line (more for professional) and get a clip on mic.
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July 26, 2012 4:08:57 PM

While the Phoebus is definitely being marketed as a gamer card it is far more. The Phoebus also has excellent quality sound for home theater and music audio. At a time when so many manufacturers are making cards geared towards only some of the three major uses (gaming, home theater and music) this is really refreshing.

Just because I primarily use my card for music and home theater doesn't mean I don't want quality on those rare occasions when I do game.

The Phoebus also has the first native PCIe chipset so it doesn't need a separate bridging chip for PCIe. this is important since PCIe is better/faster than PCI which is being fazed out. Already there are many boards that no longer have a PCI slot.

All is not good though. Many users of the Phoebus have reported driver issues. This isn't surprising though since this is a brand new card with a brand new type of chipset. It is my hope that Asus continues to fix their driver issues with this card and if I was in the market for a new soundcard at the moment I might buy this card with that in mind!

As far as the PCIe slots on your board you have two small blue PCIe x1 slots on either side of your larger blue PCIe x16 slot. You can use either of these two for a PCIe sound card although, most likely your video card is covering the lower PCIe x1 slot so you will only have the top one available.

Using the PCIe x1 slots will have no effect on your PCIe x16 slots. It will not change it to x8 like using your 2nd PCIe x16 slot will. :sol: 
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July 27, 2012 12:02:03 AM

Best answer selected by benceh.
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July 27, 2012 12:06:10 AM

@Idonno Thanks alot ! I'm probably going to exchange my D2 for the Essence ST (PCI) since there is an amp. And the soundcard will only be used with headphones.

Yes, alot of the new gen. motherboards don't support PCI anymore, but a few of them still do. So hopefully it won't be too much of a problem in the future. (It's not like i was going to upgrade my motherboard each 6months).
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July 27, 2012 12:45:14 AM

Good luck, the Essence ST and the Essence STX are both great choices for your intended usage.

My top pick for your intended usage however is the HT | OMEGA Claro Halo. While not quite as pretty as the Essence ST(X), I still think it's the best, mainly because HT | OMEGA's sound cards tend to have less driver issues and if you ever decide you would like to add 7.1 analog you can add the XT extension board W/Swappable OpAmps for all outputs.

Another interesting fact is that the Asus AV100 audio processor is in reality, a re-badged C-Media CMI-8788 chipset so for all intents and purposes all three cards have the same audio processor as well as swappable OpAmps for headphones and/or stereo speakers and all three have headphone amps.

However all three of these cards are so good I doubt their would be any noticeable difference. They're all great cards. :sol: 
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July 27, 2012 9:41:45 AM

@Idonno Okay, thanks alot. Wouldn't have been able to get an OMEGA card as my local store doesn't sell any. The choice is fairly small.
Anyways, good to know i didn't do a bad choice, thanks!
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