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Hi end sound card recommendation

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September 16, 2012 9:14:40 AM

I knew this day would come. It is time to upgrade the computer and the new boards (I am considering) do not have PCI slots, so now I need to find a sound card with PCI-Express slot. I am looking for something that is comparable to the cards I have now (Auzentech Meridian 7.1 with upgraded opamps and Bluegears B-Enspirer). Both cards are connected to the original Klipsch Pro-media 5.1 speakers (it is important to note that this speakers have front, rear and sub stereo miniplug connectors). I avoid sound cards by Creative because their drivers/software causes me problems.

I am assuming that something comparable will be around $200. If there is something less expensive that meets my needs, great. If it costs a little more, I am OK with that to. I just want a similar or better experience.

I primarily listen to music (wide variety). I will occasionally watch movies/TV. I am not a gamer.

What do you recommend?



Links to current products for your convenience
http://www.bgears.com/b-enspirer.html
http://www.auzentech.com/site/products/x-meridian.php
http://www.klipsch.com/promedia-5-1-computer-speaker-sy...

Thank you!

J




September 16, 2012 8:44:24 PM

For creative have you used PAX drivers?

http://www.paxyoursoundout.com/Home/


If you're using those speakers for music and movies a good quality sound card won't help you; you should just use on board.

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September 16, 2012 11:23:44 PM

edogawa said:
For creative have you used PAX drivers?

http://www.paxyoursoundout.com/Home/


If you're using those speakers for music and movies a good quality sound card won't help you; you should just use on board.




Interesting. Let's say I want to upgrade the speakers to something better. What would you recommend?

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September 17, 2012 1:12:49 AM

jwl2 said:
Interesting. Let's say I want to upgrade the speakers to something better. What would you recommend?


A sound card where you're not spending a lot, but is good:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...



One of the following will be an excellent choice as well, keep in mind for these, you should be listening to music in loss-less audio format such as .flac with good speakers\headphones; mp3 would make the whole experience worthless.

http://www.amazon.com/PCI-Express-XONAR-ESSENCE-STX-90-...


http://www.amazon.com/Xonar-Essence-24-bit-192KHz-Inter...

You will need to use coax or optical for 5.1 with these sound cards.


Speaker systems, that's a tough thing to recommend I'd suggest you look around Newegg. You can buy receivers, speakers, and subs for a better speaker system than the one you have or just buy a all in one.

http://www.newegg.com/Store/SubCategory.aspx?SubCategor...

http://www.newegg.com/Store/SubCategory.aspx?SubCategor...

http://www.newegg.com/Store/SubCategory.aspx?SubCategor...


Just as an example speakers like these: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

How much you want to spend though is a key factor, honestly though a new sound card won't benefit your current speaker system, I highly doubt you would even hear a difference between on board and a sound card on those.
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September 17, 2012 4:37:12 AM

This is your best choice for a PCIe sound card with 5.1 analog connections.
The HT | OMEGA eClaro 7.1
http://www.htomega.com/eclaro.html
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

It has analog connectors (3.5mm) for up to 7.1 surround as well as a digital optical connector.
It also has ASIO, Xear 3D, Magic Voice, DD Live, DD Virtual speaker, DD headphones, DD Pro Logic IIx, dts connect, dts interactive, dts neo-PC, Swappable op-amps and rock solid drivers.

I use this sound card with Klipsch ProMedia Ultra 5.1 PC speakers and I couldn't be happier. About the only thing this card lacks is a headphone amp but it's pretty loud without it. It's loud when plugged directly into the cards front or rear headphone port and even louder when plugged into the Klipsch control pod, so I don't see this as an issue.

As far as upgrading your speakers, There are not any consumer grade 5.1 PC speakers that will out shine the ones you already have. There are some professional grade 5.1 studio monitors designed to be used with PC's but the cheapest set is around $1,800 and they jump up to around $5,000 or more after that. if you want to go this route I suggest looking at Blue Sky's offerings here: http://www.sweetwater.com/c404--Blue_Sky--Studio_Monito...

You could go with a home theater system but you would have to spend about $300 or more on speakers alone just to equal the quality of sound that already comes out of your Klipsch ProMedia 5.1's and you will still need a amp or receiver. :sol: 
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September 17, 2012 6:38:54 AM

edogawa said:
A sound card where you're not spending a lot, but is good:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...



One of the following will be an excellent choice as well, keep in mind for these, you should be listening to music in loss-less audio format such as .flac with good speakers\headphones; mp3 would make the whole experience worthless.

http://www.amazon.com/PCI-Express-XONAR-ESSENCE-STX-90-...


http://www.amazon.com/Xonar-Essence-24-bit-192KHz-Inter...

You will need to use coax or optical for 5.1 with these sound cards.


Speaker systems, that's a tough thing to recommend I'd suggest you look around Newegg. You can buy receivers, speakers, and subs for a better speaker system than the one you have or just buy a all in one.

http://www.newegg.com/Store/SubCategory.aspx?SubCategor...

http://www.newegg.com/Store/SubCategory.aspx?SubCategor...

http://www.newegg.com/Store/SubCategory.aspx?SubCategor...


Just as an example speakers like these: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

How much you want to spend though is a key factor, honestly though a new sound card won't benefit your current speaker system, I highly doubt you would even hear a difference between on board and a sound card on those.




edogawa,

I asked you the question about the speakers because I wanted to see where you were coming from - and your answer makes sense. Going for component level speakers will certainly make much better use of a sound card's capabilities. This is not the intent for this box. What I am looking for is good sound for that range. I am by no means an audiophile, but I do notice the difference between onboard sound and sound cards. The sound cards I have seem to pick up more notes/sounds then on board systems and my goal is maintain or slightly improve that.

The Klipsch's I have work fine for the tiny space the computer resides, so it makes sense to keep them if I can. I am open to upgrading. I did try Bowers & Wilkins MM-1's, but while they perform better in the high and mid range, the low end is noticeably missing - and hard to get used to. If something of this ilk exists that also handles the low end, I could be tempted to replace my speakers.

Idonno suggested the eClaro and that may be the best option for me. The technology of that card is similar to what I have now. To your point, if I can get my needs met with a lower cost option, that is great. What is out there that offers similar quality to the eClaro? Are there any upstarts like Auzentech or Bluegears where just a few years back that I should consider? Are the ASUS cards just as good?

Thanks,

J

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September 17, 2012 6:43:24 AM

Idonno said:
This is your best choice for a PCIe sound card with 5.1 analog connections.
The HT | OMEGA eClaro 7.1
http://www.htomega.com/eclaro.html
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

It has analog connectors (3.5mm) for up to 7.1 surround as well as a digital optical connector.
It also has ASIO, Xear 3D, Magic Voice, DD Live, DD Virtual speaker, DD headphones, DD Pro Logic IIx, dts connect, dts interactive, dts neo-PC, Swappable op-amps and rock solid drivers.

I use this sound card with Klipsch ProMedia Ultra 5.1 PC speakers and I couldn't be happier. About the only thing this card lacks is a headphone amp but it's pretty loud without it. It's loud when plugged directly into the cards front or rear headphone port and even louder when plugged into the Klipsch control pod, so I don't see this as an issue.

As far as upgrading your speakers, There are not any consumer grade 5.1 PC speakers that will out shine the ones you already have. There are some professional grade 5.1 studio monitors designed to be used with PC's but the cheapest set is around $1,800 and they jump up to around $5,000 or more after that. if you want to go this route I suggest looking at Blue Sky's offerings here: http://www.sweetwater.com/c404--Blue_Sky--Studio_Monito...

You could go with a home theater system but you would have to spend about $300 or more on speakers alone just to equal the quality of sound that already comes out of your Klipsch ProMedia 5.1's and you will still need a amp or receiver. :sol: 



Idonno,

Thanks for the comments. It is very helpful that you have similar speakers. I was not sure if anything better in the consumer space had come out or there was something in between. The eClaro does look like a good option. HT had some quality issues a few years back - I am gathering your experience with this newer card has all been positive?

J
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September 17, 2012 9:18:01 AM

jwl2 said:
I am gathering your experience with this newer card has all been positive?

Yes, It's been 100% positive. I'm not a gamer either and it seems that most of the newer PCIe cards mid-level and up that have analog 5.1 are geared mostly towards gamers whereas the audiophile grade cards have only stereo in analog.

IMO the eClaro is the rare PCIe analog 5.1 that is also an audiophile grade card and it has the specs to match. Don't let the size fool you this is an excellent card. :sol: 
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September 17, 2012 6:19:14 PM

jwl2 said:
edogawa,

I asked you the question about the speakers because I wanted to see where you were coming from - and your answer makes sense. Going for component level speakers will certainly make much better use of a sound card's capabilities. This is not the intent for this box. What I am looking for is good sound for that range. I am by no means an audiophile, but I do notice the difference between onboard sound and sound cards. The sound cards I have seem to pick up more notes/sounds then on board systems and my goal is maintain or slightly improve that.

The Klipsch's I have work fine for the tiny space the computer resides, so it makes sense to keep them if I can. I am open to upgrading. I did try Bowers & Wilkins MM-1's, but while they perform better in the high and mid range, the low end is noticeably missing - and hard to get used to. If something of this ilk exists that also handles the low end, I could be tempted to replace my speakers.

Idonno suggested the eClaro and that may be the best option for me. The technology of that card is similar to what I have now. To your point, if I can get my needs met with a lower cost option, that is great. What is out there that offers similar quality to the eClaro? Are there any upstarts like Auzentech or Bluegears where just a few years back that I should consider? Are the ASUS cards just as good?

Thanks,

J


I understand where you're coming from, but to be completly honest, that sound card is to high end for those speakers, but I would recommend something like:

http://www.amazon.com/ASUS-Channel-Sound-Card-XONAR_DG/...

You really need to take into account that in a tiny space 5.1 won't be as effective unless you're setting it up properly too. If you're listeing to music alot, you should be using stereo, and for movies, stereo will still be good for movies too, but no surround sound. You should take consideration into a nice quality sound card+good quality bookshelfs; music will much more enjoyable.

You could get one of those high end sound cards, but I just can't see a justification for that. Think about this though, you can buy a good sound card and bookshelfs and then later buy more speakers for surround if you feel like you really want surround still. I've tried and used several all in ones like you own, and compared the onboard to high end sound card with the speakers, barly heard any difference. I just don't want to see you throw away cash if it doesn't help.


If you do decide on a high end card to use with those speakers regardless of what I have said, a very nice card would be the ASUS Xonar Essence ST; I like it more than the HT. If you played games I'd say use the Titanium HD, but you don't so the Essexne ST is a good option.

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Best solution

September 18, 2012 3:33:16 AM

I love Asus products. I have an Asus motherboard, 3-24in Asus monitors, 2-Asus DVD burners, Asus BluRay burner, Asus over clocking station, Asus notebook, Asus netbook and more but, when it comes to sound cards I buy HT l Omega.

Besides the excellent quality of these cards some other reasons I choose these over Asus are:
1.) With the exception of Asus's new Phoebus all of Asus's top offerings lack analog 5.1 connectivity. If you ever think you may want 5.1 and you also want quality 5.1, analog is what you need.

2.) HT l Omega has far less driver issues than Asus. On Newegg 4 of the 5 HT l Omega cards have 5 egg reviews and the other has 4. Of Asus's 11 internal sound cards only one has a 5 egg review. Their newest card and one that I'd really like to like (the Phoebus) only has 3 out of 5 eggs.

When it comes to sound cards both HT l Omega and Asus make excellent hardware but, if you read the reviews, driver issues are the biggest reason Asus loses to HT l Omega in the Newegg ratings.

I won't even go into Creative their driver issues are legendary!

I tried the Titanium HD, I didn't like it at all.

The Xonar Essence ST is PCI you would need the STX for PCIe but neither has analog 5.1 and optical is severely lacking for anything other than stereo.

The Xonar Essence ST/STX have the ASUS AV100 Audio Chipset which is just a re-branded C-Media CMI8788 Audio Chipset, which is what the eClaro has.

Your current set up WILL BENEFIT from this card and if you want you can also upgrade your RF & LF speakers with some reasonably priced book shelf speakers. Your amps optimal speaker resistance is 6 ohms but going up to 8 ohms wont hurt it and you will still have plenty of power for small bookshelf's (up to 5.25in woofer), just don't go for a lower resistance speaker like 4 ohms or you could damage the amp.

If you had a garbage speaker system like the logitech Z-5500's I wouldn't advise any thing but on-board sound (actually the trash) but you don't, you have a very nice system.

Finally this idea that if you like to listen to quality music you should only have stereo is dumb. While stereo definitely has it's place, I listen to all kinds of music. I have tons of music DVD's as well as some CD's recorded in 5.1 surround. Then there's TV shows and movie DVD's/files as well as the rare but, occasional game.

I like my audio to sound great no mater what I'm listening too and there's no reason you cant have the best of all worlds! :sol: 
Share
September 18, 2012 3:58:07 AM

Idonno said:
I love Asus products. I have an Asus motherboard, 3-24in Asus monitors, 2-Asus DVD burners, Asus BluRay burner, Asus over clocking station, Asus notebook, Asus netbook and more but, when it comes to sound cards I buy HT l Omega.

Besides the excellent quality of these cards some other reasons I choose these over Asus are:
1.) With the exception of Asus's new Phoebus all of Asus's top offerings lack analog 5.1 connectivity. If you ever think you may want 5.1 and you also want quality 5.1, analog is what you need.

2.) HT l Omega has far less driver issues than Asus. On Newegg 4 of the 5 HT l Omega cards have 5 egg reviews and the other has 4. Of Asus's 11 internal sound cards only one has a 5 egg review. Their newest card and one that I'd really like to like (the Phoebus) only has 3 out of 5 eggs.

When it comes to sound cards both HT l Omega and Asus make excellent hardware but, if you read the reviews, driver issues are the biggest reason Asus loses to HT l Omega in the Newegg ratings.

I won't even go into Creative their driver issues are legendary!

I tried the Titanium HD, I didn't like it at all.

The Xonar Essence ST is PCI you would need the STX for PCIe but neither has analog 5.1 and optical is severely lacking for anything other than stereo.

The Xonar Essence ST/STX have the ASUS AV100 Audio Chipset which is just a re-branded C-Media CMI8788 Audio Chipset, which is what the eClaro has.

Your current set up WILL BENEFIT from this card and if you want you can also upgrade your RF & LF speakers with some reasonably priced book shelf speakers. Your amps optimal speaker resistance is 6 ohms but going up to 8 ohms wont hurt it and you will still have plenty of power for small bookshelf's (up to 5.25in woofer), just don't go for a lower resistance speaker like 4 ohms or you could damage the amp.

If you had a garbage speaker system like the logitech Z-5500's I wouldn't advise any thing but on-board sound (actually the trash) but you don't, you have a very nice system.

Finally this idea that if you like to listen to quality music you should only have stereo is dumb. While stereo definitely has it's place, I listen to all kinds of music. I have tons of music DVD's as well as some CD's recorded in 5.1 surround. Then there's TV shows and movie DVD's/files as well as the rare but, occasional game.

I like my audio to sound great no mater what I'm listening too and there's no reason you cant have the best of all worlds! :sol: 



Asus does make quality products, can't go wrong with them.

Also, I'm curious to what didn't you like about the Titanium HD, was it drivers, sound quality?

If it was drivers, they don't have driver issues anymore on newer products, at least not as bad; I use PAX drivers and they work fantastic. http://www.paxyoursoundout.com/Home/


Most music is recorded in stereo, so listening to music on stereo speakers is always best, unless you have a song\s recorded in 5.1 or 7.1 then using full surround sound is a great choice.
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September 18, 2012 4:07:53 AM

On the sound card front: ASUS <> Auzentech <> HT Omega. They use the same EXACT C-Media chipset for all their cards (specifically, the CMI-8788). All three companies have direct competitors feature wise and quality wise for each market segment for the most part.

For example, ASUS has the D1/DX, HT Omega has the Striker. ASUS has the D2/D2X, Auzentech has the Meridian 2G, and HT Omega has the Halo+. Same cards, just with a few modified features and slightly different audio signatures.

Full feature list for all ASUS Cards:

http://event.asus.com/multimedia/xonar/find.htm

Figure out what you want from this, then look at the competing HT Omega/Auzentech options.
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September 18, 2012 4:09:24 AM

jwl2, the easiest option would probably to try out one of the sound cards such as the
essence ST/STX or Claro and see if you even hear a difference then decide if you want to keep the sound card or buy some new speakers.


http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

You should have plenty to think about now too, but you would benefit from something better speaker system wise.


Take a look here too if you're interested: http://www.head-fi.org/products/category/sound-cards
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September 18, 2012 5:06:56 AM

edogawa said:
jwl2, the easiest option would probably to try out one of the sound cards such as the
essence ST/STX or Claro and see if you even hear a difference then decide if you want to keep the sound card or buy some new speakers.


http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

You should have plenty to think about now too, but you would benefit from something better speaker system wise.


Take a look here too if you're interested: http://www.head-fi.org/products/category/sound-cards


edogawa,

I am stuck buying a new sound card (no PCI slots on the new computer) and I am open to new speakers. What is a little confusiing is that I asked the same question on several boards and you are in a small, but rather adamant minority that insists that the Klipsch's are poor speakers. Where you differ from the others is that you opt for component speakers, so I am curious. What is it that you thinki I should be looking for to take advantage of the sound cards? - (your speaker links went to sections, but not products). I am not looking for a specific product recommendation per se, but more of a sense of what I should be looking for and why.

I like the surround capability because I do watch films and I have some music that takes advantage of it. I would mind a small set, but I also do not have room for much larger equipment.

Most folks share Idunno's opinion - especially those that own the speakers. It could be pride in ownership - 10+ years ago, these were considered the best PC speakers and there does not seem to be anything out there (in that category and range) that has improved on them in a significant manner. The HT eclaro may be the most economical option that meets my original objectives, but if you can think of a combination of products (card/speakers) that provides a noticeable bump up within a couple hundred or so, it is worth considering.

Thanks,

J
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September 18, 2012 5:23:51 AM

edogawa said:
Asus does make quality products, can't go wrong with them.

Also, I'm curious to what didn't you like about the Titanium HD, was it drivers, sound quality?

If it was drivers, they don't have driver issues anymore on newer products, at least not as bad; I use PAX drivers and they work fantastic. http://www.paxyoursoundout.com/Home/

Most music is recorded in stereo, so listening to music on stereo speakers is always best, unless you have a song\s recorded in 5.1 or 7.1 then using full surround sound is a great choice.


With the Titanium HD it was sound quality and driver issues at first. When I say sound quality it's not that the potential wasn't there, I could tell that it was but, until driver updates solved it I had allot of snap, crackle and pops. Driver updates completely eliminated that but, switching any type of mode was always buggy.

It took about 9 months all the while using beta drivers for creative to issue a final version. Had I known this ahead of time I would not have ever bought it. That was completely unacceptable.

I also wanted to have analog 5.1 and Digital coax or optical is a poor substitute. While it may be fine for stereo it cannot carry enough info to match analog 5.1 for sheer quality plus if you have a good sound card you will want your card doing the digital decoding not cheaper DACs on your speakers amp.

As far as the "Most music is recorded in stereo" thing yea, I agree with you but just because you have a 5.1 system doesn't mean you can't listen to it in stereo or 2.1. The problem is if you limit your system to stereo or 2.1 you miss out on everything that is intended to be listened to on more channels. Sure you can employ something like Dolby virtual speaker but, that's not as good. Why not have the best (that you can afford) of all worlds.

And finally yes, Asus has excellent hardware when it comes to sound cards but, the eClaro is just as good and it has similar specs, the same audio chipset, more conectivity, more features and rock solid drivers to boot. My experience has been that there is never even the slightest conflict, freeze, jitter, hang or anything for any reason. I've been playing with sound cards long enough to know that this is a rare accomplishment! Asus also doesn't have any high end PCIe solutions with analog 5.1 besides the 2-card one that comes with the headset.

IMO if you want an audiophile grade sound card with the best type of surround sound (analog) in a PCIe package the HT | OMEGA eClaro is the card to get. :sol: 



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September 18, 2012 5:32:50 AM

jwl2 said:
edogawa,

I am stuck buying a new sound card (no PCI slots on the new computer) and I am open to new speakers. What is a little confusiing is that I asked the same question on several boards and you are in a small, but rather adamant minority that insists that the Klipsch's are poor speakers. Where you differ from the others is that you opt for component speakers, so I am curious. What is it that you thinki I should be looking for to take advantage of the sound cards? - (your speaker links went to sections, but not products). I am not looking for a specific product recommendation per se, but more of a sense of what I should be looking for and why.

I like the surround capability because I do watch films and I have some music that takes advantage of it. I would mind a small set, but I also do not have room for much larger equipment.

Most folks share Idunno's opinion - especially those that own the speakers. It could be pride in ownership - 10+ years ago, these were considered the best PC speakers and there does not seem to be anything out there (in that category and range) that has improved on them in a significant manner. The HT eclaro may be the most economical option that meets my original objectives, but if you can think of a combination of products (card/speakers) that provides a noticeable bump up within a couple hundred or so, it is worth considering.

Thanks,

J



Regarding the speakers, I guess the best way to explain it would be this way: Honda makes good cards and perform well, but they are not Porsche's.

I'm only making suggestions here, but I am taking into consideration many factors, such as your small room, what you do a lot, and what would possibly make you the most satisfied. Room size can affect surround sound unless balanced properly and even the environment can have an impact on acoustic performance from windows to furniture and so on.

You can buy good speakers for a little extra money just for a much more enjoyable experience. Something like this would be good for starting for bookshelf speakers: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Then you could get a sub and a receiver and expand to surround if you're happy, there are lots of choices you can do.

A good option to(if you have a GPU that can) is running audio through GPU(pass through) directly to a receiver/amp and then you won't need a sound card.

So it would be GPU>RECIEVER>SPEAKERS

http://www.head-fi.org/ would be the best place to find what would be best for you in their forums. They can give you a lot of recommendations there that would suit your needs.
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September 18, 2012 5:38:20 AM

Idonno said:
With the Titanium HD it was sound quality and driver issues at first. When I say sound quality it's not that the potential wasn't there, I could tell that it was but, until driver updates solved it I had allot of snap, crackle and pops. Driver updates completely eliminated that but, switching any type of mode was always buggy.

It took about 9 months all the while using beta drivers for creative to issue a final version. Had I known this ahead of time I would not have ever bought it. That was completely unacceptable.

I also wanted to have analog 5.1 and Digital coax or optical is a poor substitute. While it may be fine for stereo it cannot carry enough info to match analog 5.1 for sheer quality plus if you have a good sound card you will want your card doing the digital decoding not cheaper DACs on your speakers amp.

As far as the "Most music is recorded in stereo" thing yea, I agree with you but just because you have a 5.1 system doesn't mean you can't listen to it in stereo or 2.1. The problem is if you limit your system to stereo or 2.1 you miss out on everything that is intended to be listened to on more channels. Sure you can employ something like Dolby virtual speaker but, that's not as good. Why not have the best (that you can afford) of all worlds.

And finally yes, Asus has excellent hardware when it comes to sound cards but, the eClaro is just as good and it has similar specs, the same audio chipset, more conectivity, more features and rock solid drivers to boot. My experience has been that there is never even the slightest conflict, freeze, jitter, hang or anything for any reason. I've been playing with sound cards long enough to know that this is a rare accomplishment! Asus also doesn't have any high end PCIe solutions with analog 5.1 besides the 2-card one that comes with the headset.

IMO if you want an audiophile grade sound card with the best type of surround sound (analog) in a PCIe package the HT | OMEGA eClaro is the card to get. :sol: 



If you think your experience with the Titanium HD was bad, man you should have seen the trouble with an extreme music card I had years ago from creative, terrible experience. :cry: 

That was one thing I was a bit saddened by with the Asus cards is the lack of analog 5.1 or 7.1. :( 

eClaro is one nice card though, can't deny that.
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September 18, 2012 6:25:06 AM

edogawa said:
Regarding the speakers, I guess the best way to explain it would be this way: Honda makes good cards and perform well, but they are not Porsche's.

I'm only making suggestions here, but I am taking into consideration many factors, such as your small room, what you do a lot, and what would possibly make you the most satisfied. Room size can affect surround sound unless balanced properly and even the environment can have an impact on acoustic performance from windows to furniture and so on.

You can buy good speakers for a little extra money just for a much more enjoyable experience. Something like this would be good for starting for bookshelf speakers: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Then you could get a sub and a receiver and expand to surround if you're happy, there are lots of choices you can do.

A good option to(if you have a GPU that can) is running audio through GPU(pass through) directly to a receiver/amp and then you won't need a sound card.

So it would be GPU>RECIEVER>SPEAKERS

http://www.head-fi.org/ would be the best place to find what would be best for you in their forums. They can give you a lot of recommendations there that would suit your needs.



Ok - I will give it a try along with the eClaro. Is this the matching sub: Polk Audio PSW10 10-Inch Monitor Series Powered Subwoofer? Should the backs be Monitor 30s? What would be the center?

J
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September 18, 2012 6:40:31 AM

jwl2 said:
Ok - I will give it a try along with the eClaro. Is this the matching sub: Polk Audio PSW10 10-Inch Monitor Series Powered Subwoofer? Should the backs be Monitor 30s? What would be the center?

J



Yes, that is. I would suggest testing out the sound card first then deciding on new speakers and a sub; eClaro should be a good investment. Head-Fi can point you towards speakers that will be best for your what you listen to, speakers and headphones can sound very different.


A center would be this:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


There is a audio section here too that can help you with more advanced things if needed:

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/forum-6.html

This is also useful to read: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/58350-6-guide-audio-b...
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September 18, 2012 9:46:41 AM

edogawa said:
A good option to(if you have a GPU that can) is running audio through GPU(pass through) directly to a receiver/amp and then you won't need a sound card.

So it would be GPU>RECIEVER>SPEAKERS

Stupid comment removed :pt1cable: 
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September 18, 2012 2:44:46 PM

edogawa said:
Yes, that is. I would suggest testing out the sound card first then deciding on new speakers and a sub; eClaro should be a good investment. Head-Fi can point you towards speakers that will be best for your what you listen to, speakers and headphones can sound very different.


A center would be this:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


There is a audio section here too that can help you with more advanced things if needed:

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/forum-6.html

This is also useful to read: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/58350-6-guide-audio-b...




edogawa,

The eClaro makes sense because it is roughly the same card I have now with a PCI-E connection and it will work with both the Klipsch's and Polks.

I am curious about your idea of using the video card. I saw Idunno's response to that idea and had the same question. Moreover, assuming it works, what does that change in terms of what I would be looking for in a video card?

Thanks

J

P.S. Your posted NewEgg links do not work (I can figure out the products by hovering over the link and viewing the URL in the bottom of the browser. The forum seems to convert them to point inward
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September 18, 2012 9:24:57 PM

jwl2 said:
edogawa,

The eClaro makes sense because it is roughly the same card I have now with a PCI-E connection and it will work with both the Klipsch's and Polks.

I am curious about your idea of using the video card. I saw Idunno's response to that idea and had the same question. Moreover, assuming it works, what does that change in terms of what I would be looking for in a video card?

Thanks

J

P.S. Your posted NewEgg links do not work (I can figure out the products by hovering over the link and viewing the URL in the bottom of the browser. The forum seems to convert them to point inward


Ah yes, sorry about the links, I am not sure why they are not working, I will just post names of products.

As for the video card, I believe any 400 series and above Nvidia card will have a pass through for audio. I personally plan to do this myself this year, it would eliminate the need for a sound card as long as the receiver has a good quality DAC. Another highly beneficial thing to this is there is no interference to your sound card/audio from the PC so you're sound will not be affected from PC hardware.

What happens is all applications would bitstream the audio(up to 7.1) through HDMI from through your GPU digitally and it would all be decoded on the receiver end. I know lots of people do this on their PCS and I plan to do it myself because it's a great idea. So the HDMI cable should be plugged into the receiver and act as a sound card. The video would be sent through the receiver on the same cable to and out the HDMI out on the receiver to monitor.

So you would have no need for a sound card, and a receiver that will offer more versatile options over a sound card with limited inputs\outputs; plus you won't need to deal with sound card issues and receivers come with lots of cool features these days.
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September 19, 2012 3:56:51 AM

Quote:
Unless something has changed with the newer video cards that I'm not aware of the HDMI audio only works when accompanied by corresponding video. So trying listen to music through HDMI without directly related video content won't work (your desktop and audio player don't qualify).


Well I guess I need to apologize for this dumb comment "edogawa" is 100% correct this does work. In fact I was hooking up my old PC directly to a 52" TV through my HD 5750's HDMI connection 3 or 4 years ago so where this brain fart came from I have no Idea but , I think it had something to do with somehow confusing a blueRay + HD dolby protection issue. Regardless it was a stupid mistake and I was wrong. :pt1cable: 

"edogawa" is also correct in stating that you can use your video cards HDMI connection and run it directly to a receiver/amp for your sound. Even though I don't like digital optical or coax for any thing above stereo, HDMI can pass through much more information so larger multi-channel sound will retain it's quality.

This is a good idea from "edogawa" since you can take the $200 you save on a sound card and put it towards a receiver. The end result will likely cost more but it has much higher potential as long as you have the cash and room. :sweat: 
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September 19, 2012 4:44:33 AM

Idonno said:
Quote:
This is a good idea from "edogawa" since you can take the $200 you save on a video card and put it towards a receiver. The
Quote:


I think he means sound card, but yeah, the end result will be well worth it in the end, but it may cost a bit more.
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September 19, 2012 5:38:25 AM

edogawa said:
I think he means sound card, but yeah, the end result will be well worth it in the end, but it may cost a bit more.




Thanks edogawa and Idonno. The receiver idea is interesting. I will have to figure out to make it fit in the space I have to work with. I will make sure the new video card can handle it. Another project for another day.

I bought the Polks last night. Thought I would try the sound through these first before going all in.

I appreciate all your help.

J
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September 19, 2012 5:50:31 AM

Yea, save $200 on the sound card is what I meant. :pt1cable: 
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September 23, 2012 12:12:20 AM

jwl2 said:
Thanks edogawa and Idonno. The receiver idea is interesting. I will have to figure out to make it fit in the space I have to work with. I will make sure the new video card can handle it. Another project for another day.

I bought the Polks last night. Thought I would try the sound through these first before going all in.

I appreciate all your help.

J


No problem, good luck man!
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October 5, 2012 11:59:50 PM

Best answer selected by jwl2.
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!