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Best Sound Card

  • Sound Cards
  • Performance
  • Computer
  • Components
Last response: in Components
July 15, 2001 10:42:57 AM

What is the best quality and performance sound card?
What's the best value sound card?
I'm building a new computer and i'm in need of advice.

More about : sound card

July 15, 2001 11:02:37 AM

I've just got a M-Audio Audiophile 24/96. Cost about £176.
It's a 24 bit card instead of the usual 16.
It's worth it.


<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by agni on 07/15/01 12:14 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
July 15, 2001 11:13:03 AM

Below are the replies I got when asking the same question on the news groups

Please see

Turtle Beach cards are known for low signal-to-noise; a problem in computer
audio. I have the Quadzilla and have been very happy with the sound
quality. I also use the digtal-out to record to minidisc, so that is a
plus. I have not done much recording direct to PC, though, so I can't give
you help there.

I really like the MOTU stuff, esp. the 1296 or the old standard 2408mkII. they
have great sound, great headroom and can be routed any way till sunday. yeah
they cost abit more, but if it ever breaks you can have the whole thing
replaced for $50. doesnt that rock?!!!

Depends somewhat on what you're looking for, but the M-Audio 'Audiophile
24/96' would be a good place to start. Stereo analog inputs and outputs,
spdif inputs and outputs (independent of the analog ins, for a total of
4-in/4-out), all operating at up to 96KHz. It's the audiophile-targeted
little brother of the Delta-series studio cards, which are pretty highly
regarded. Available for under $200 at pro music dealers. I got my Delta 66
from who seem pretty good, but there are other sources as

Hope this helps.

<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by agni on 07/15/01 12:14 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
Related resources
July 16, 2001 6:07:20 AM

Cannot help you much here, cos I am still using MX300. Best I have tried till now for games and MP3 sound. I dont think you need performance out of sound cards now as current CPU power blows everything out of the water compared to 2-3 year old once when it was an issue, heh
But every body this days are saying Turtle Beach Santa Cruz is good, when MX300 will die, I will go with that one,... I think, hehe

Post, we'll do the "search"... :wink:
July 18, 2001 2:27:27 PM

I give a strong vote to the Philips Acoustic Edge. It sounds great, has 5.1 sound, doesn't have any compatibility problems that I've run into, and costs about $50 less than the SBLive Platinum 5.1. For note: I ran into some DMA issues (hard drive corruption) with the SBLive Platinum 5.1 with the 686B southbridge in my A7M266 that are not cured by any current driver patches or BIOS upgrades. Putting in the Philips card cured the problem completely.

Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please. - Mark Twain
July 18, 2001 3:30:13 PM

Yes I agree.
The Acoustic Edge sounds great.

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July 19, 2001 1:00:50 AM

96 KHz and 24 bit? Wow, impressive. You could have some of the best digital rips of vinyl records available (without getting crazy of course).

I think I may get one with my next computer, but does it do dolby digital encoding/decoding, and more importantly, will it run my games? hehe.

Lyrics. Wasted time between solos.
July 21, 2001 2:44:27 AM

I'll give a third endorsement for the Acoustic Edge. I think it sounds great and haven't run into any problems with mine. Plus, it's cheap compared to some of the other high end sound cards.

<i>Real knowledge is to know the extent of one's ignorance.</i>
July 27, 2001 10:51:06 AM

After seeing this thread, I'm looking at buying a Philips PSC706 Acoustic Edge... only about $60!

Question: How well is the Philips supported by popular games?
August 3, 2001 3:01:48 PM


SoundBlaster Live Cards aren't all they are cracked up to be, unless you like crackling sound...

I really, really like two cards. Both are based on the new Cirrus Logic Chipset:

Hercules Game Theatre XP
Turtle Beach Santa Cruz

Both are basically the same card. Same engine, same 6 channel capabilities, same MP3 Hardware Accelleration, etc...

Each one has it's own specific benifit over the other:

Hercules GTXP - Has an absolutely excellent external breakout box with every input and output known to mankind, including Optical and Coxial digital connectors, Gold-Plated RCA's (fully rigged for 5.1 sound), 4 USB ports, 1/4" Microphone and Headphone Jack's with separate volume controls, etc...

The bad - The card has no internal SPDIF connector.
The drivers (2.0 for Win9x, 2.02 for Win2K) are dandy if you are running Win2K or Win9x. However, SOME people have had trouble with the Hercules drivers if the computer has more than 256MB of RAM installed.

Unfortunately, if you are running Windows XP, you are completely totally out of luck. The current Win2K drivers will not work, and it was only 2 days ago or so before a Hercules Tech finally released some company information about this. NO drivers until at least October AFTER Windows XP is released. That sucks.

The REALLY bad - The GTXP has been removed from both Best Buy's and CompUSA's SKU list. I have NO idea what this is supposed to mean, but it can't see it as being good...

Cost - $150 or thereabouts.

Turtle Beach Santa Cruz - Again, the same basic reference Cirrus Logic Chipset and Card. Has an internal SPDIF connector and several others the Hercules does not.

Windows XP Beta Drivers that WORK JUST FINE!

Overall Driver quality seems to be much, much better even though it is obvious that both cards drivers are based on the same Cirrus Logic reference drivers set. Sort of like the same thing you see with nVidia video cards.

The sound quality of both of these cards is outstanding. IMHO, they are substantially better than the SoundBlaster Live Cards.

CPU utilization is no problem at all and is nearly non-existant. Hardware MP3 Accelleration/Playback (with a supported player application) makes that even less of an issue.

I had to remove my GTXP and buy and install a TBSC due to the Windows XP problem with the GTXP drivers. Again, the beta TBSC drivers work perfectly in Windows XP.

GTXP owners are EXTREMELY ANGRY at Hercules right now, and for good reason. We have world-class hardware sitting on a shelf because we can't use it. In fact, Hercules overall attitude concerning drivers for this card is very poor.

And, no. The TBSC drivers won't work with the GTXP. Been there, tried that :) 

Right now, my overall vote for the BEST sound card on the market is the Turtle Beach Santa Cruz.


No breakout box - HOWEVER, the TBSC duplicates most of the GTXP's features with jacks on the back of the card, including full 6 channel sound, AC3, digital output, etc... The main difference is the lack of the 4 USB ports.

Cost - $79.95 at CompUSA