Which is the best sound card!!

Hey,

I need help on my new build, this is what I've got so far:

Graphics Card: (x2) EVGA GTX 690 Hydro Copper
Processor: Intel i7-3970x
Power Supply: Corsair Digital AX1200i Full Modular
Motherboard: Asus Rampage IV Extreme

Now then, I need more stuff but I need a sound card first. Price doesn't matter as long as it's the best sound card out there...

PS: You can comment if you think the above is a good build or not. But Sound Card first!
48 answers Last reply
More about which sound card
  1. The best soundcard, spec wise, is the ASUS Xonar Essence ST/STX, followed closely by the ASUS Xonar Phoebus/Xense. Other options in that tier include the Creative Titanium HD, HT Omega Claro XT, and Auzentech Home Theatre HD.
  2. why won't the on-board sound be good enough?
  3. I bought a STX for $160, and Swan's M50W for $350. If you get a quality soundcard you need quality speakers and standard mass market crap from Logitech and Altec Lansing will not cut it. And yes, onboard is rubbish once you have a quality setup. Its like your 690, would you be satisfied with a 660? Same with sound. Which sadly is neglected by most gamers.
  4. dingo07 said:
    why won't the on-board sound be good enough?


    Because it's onboard. Xonar STX is your best option.
  5. Bestkid said:
    Hey,

    I need help on my new build, this is what I've got so far:

    Graphics Card: (x2) EVGA GTX 690 Hydro Copper
    Processor: Intel i7-3970x
    Power Supply: Corsair Digital AX1200i Full Modular
    Motherboard: Asus Rampage IV Extreme

    Now then, I need more stuff but I need a sound card first. Price doesn't matter as long as it's the best sound card out there...

    PS: You can comment if you think the above is a good build or not. But Sound Card first!


    what kind of speakers/headphones are you going to use?


    if your only using a cheap $30 set then it wont matter about getting a really good soundcard because you wont be able to hear the difference
  6. shanky887614 said:
    what kind of speakers/headphones are you going to use?


    if your only using a cheap $30 set then it wont matter about getting a really good soundcard because you wont be able to hear the difference


    This is also very important. Steelseries Siberia v2 or some "mainstream" gaming headset won't be able to use something like the Xonar STX's full potential. I'd recommend ATH-M50's and above
  7. But what if he wants to use speakers and not headphones? does the STX have that option?

    It still baffles me why people don't invest in decent sound (luckily the OP is smart). Check out these speakers, so wish I had the money for these to replace my Z5500's...

    http://www.swanspeaker.com/products/products.aspx?cid=5&sid=0&pid=23

    But with Unlimited money you should be looking at an Amp and real speakers.... Damn you!
  8. I bought Swan's M50W which are a perfect match for the STX. They are "real" speakers and I couldn't be bothered spending more on a separate DAC, passive speakers and subwoofer and then putting it together and . . .. meh.
  9. Fair enough.

    I should have said passive and active, that's really what I meant about "real", Swan definitely have good quality by any standards. I can honestly say I'm in the same boat as you, Swan + sound card = ultimate win. Yep, can't be bothered setting it all up either.
  10. So I'm going to use an excellent 5.1 speaker set or anything better (which you could recommend for me) and also the Astro A50 Headset. So I'm going to use both at variable times. I see that most pick the Asus Xonar STX so I might as well go for that...
  11. So Maybe I should get a Logitech Z906 with Astro A50 Headset and a Asus Xonar STX Sound Card? Is that a good Config? What should I get instead?
  12. The STX is stereo only, if you have 5.1 get a DX. I'd pick something better than Logitech.
  13. Bestkid said:
    So I'm going to use an excellent 5.1 speaker set or anything better (which you could recommend for me) and also the Astro A50 Headset. So I'm going to use both at variable times. I see that most pick the Asus Xonar STX so I might as well go for that...


    Ok, hold up now. The STX has both a headphone amp and STEREO out, so that setup wouldn't work with 5.1 speakers. With that type of setup, you want both a headphone amp AND analog 5.1/7.1 out, in which case the ASUS Xonar Phoebus makes more sense, as it supplies both. You could also go with the ASUS Xonar ST (note: PCI) + H6 combo [the H6 card connects to the ST, providing 7.1 analog outputs].
  14. gamerk316 said:
    Ok, hold up now. The STX has both a headphone amp and STEREO out, so that setup wouldn't work with 5.1 speakers. With that type of setup, you want both a headphone amp AND analog 5.1/7.1 out, in which case the ASUS Xonar Phoebus makes more sense, as it supplies both. You could also go with the ASUS Xonar ST (note: PCI) + H6 combo [the H6 card connects to the ST, providing 7.1 analog outputs].



    So what should I swap? The Sound Card or the Speakers?
  15. Well if you have the money, the Swan M60 5.1 speakers are the way to go and I would go for the ASUS Xonar Phoebus. The speakers are around $900 here in Australia but they would leave the Z906's for dead.
  16. The STX is cheaper than the Phoebus in Australia, and is better quality in terms of SNR. ROG overprices it.
  17. Thompaam said:
    Because it's onboard. Xonar STX is your best option.

    Your response is subjective - my question was directed to the OP, not you
  18. I'm just saying if he has the money...

    So people can spend $2000 on home theatre speakers but if they spend more time playing pc games and want quality speakers, it's a dumb idea? Quality pc speakers is a must if you want the best experience. I'm only pushing this view because yes, I have hooked up my pc to my home theatre and screw me dead, I was disappointed with the Logitech's after that...

    Judging by the OP's choice of other pc parts, I'm offering him the best ;)

    So I'm guessing the STX can do 5.1 via an adapter?
  19. Quote:
    There is. You don't know what you are missing. Although I spent $360 on mine. :D
    Sure i do. I would be missing my $900 http://www.freesmileys.org/smileys/smiley-laughing025.gif
  20. pezonator said:
    I'm just saying if he has the money...

    So people can spend $2000 on home theatre speakers but if they spend more time playing pc games and want quality speakers, it's a dumb idea? Quality pc speakers is a must if you want the best experience. I'm only pushing this view because yes, I have hooked up my pc to my home theatre and screw me dead, I was disappointed with the Logitech's after that...

    Judging by the OP's choice of other pc parts, I'm offering him the best ;)

    So I'm guessing the STX can do 5.1 via an adapter?
    I understand what your saying.If he wants to spend that kind of money on that.Hey go for it. I am just saying he could get a kick ass setup for $500-$600 might not be overkill but he be spending far less. ;)
  21. Agreed

    For all intents and purposes, the STX and Logitech z906 will do a very nice job :D
  22. So, this is my final decision. Get the Asus RoG Xonar Pheobus with what speakers? I really need the best speakers out there...
  23. The Swan 5.1 speakers and a DX or the Swan M50W 2.1 and an STX. Logitech are crap, they overemphasize bass at the cost of everything else. No detail in the mid's or high's and no real clarity:

    2.1 - http://www.swanspeaker.com/product/htm/view.asp?id=443

    5.1 - http://www.swanspeaker.com/product/htm/view.asp?id=438

    If you are getting a 690 you want quality sound not mass market crap, so that there is the baseline.
  24. Bestkid said:
    ... I really need the best speakers out there...

    Exactly what is your budget on speakers... because your statement is pretty open ended - not to mention, how much room do you have for speakers? are we talking about having the room for large floor standing speakers that suit home-theater, or simple small bookshelves???
  25. dingo07 said:
    Exactly what is your budget on speakers... because your statement is pretty open ended - not to mention, how much room do you have for speakers? are we talking about having the room for large floor standing speakers that suit home-theater, or simple small bookshelves???
    +1
  26. If you have a large budget and the room for floor standing speakers, hands-down this line is one of the best bang-per-buck out there, particularly the 690DC is exceptional at any spl level - http://www.canton.de/en/hifi/serie/ergo.htm
    and mate those with this subwoofer and you'll never want to leave the room - http://www.sunfire.com/productdetail.asp?id=11
  27. dingo07 said:
    Exactly what is your budget on speakers... because your statement is pretty open ended - not to mention, how much room do you have for speakers? are we talking about having the room for large floor standing speakers that suit home-theater, or simple small bookshelves???



    I don't mind spending over £750 -that is if the speakers are good. Also, I would like bookshelves speaker.
  28. dingo07 said:
    Exactly what is your budget on speakers... because your statement is pretty open ended - not to mention, how much room do you have for speakers? are we talking about having the room for large floor standing speakers that suit home-theater, or simple small bookshelves???



    Or standing speakers. Just tell me the best speakers out there regardless the price.
  29. Bestkid said:
    Or standing speakers. Just tell me the best speakers out there regardless the price.


    There is no such thing as a best speaker. You can pay anywhere between 5$ and 20,000$ or more. And no speaker will sound its best if you don't have a good room that has been well treated acoustically.

    To get the best suggestions you should provide :

    - how much you want to pay
    - what you'll be using them for
    - what kind of room you're in
    - how you're going to position the speakers with respect to you ears

    If you really want the best, get something like this
    except that you'll need 3 more.
  30. - how much you want to pay

    I will pay around £1-£1000


    - what you'll be using them for

    I will use some for gaming, movies and just listening to music.


    - what kind of room you're in

    I'm in a small room with a office in it. Around 4 metres by 6 metres.


    - how you're going to position the speakers with respect to you ears

    If they are standing speakers then ill put them either side on the floor of me. But if they are bookshelves speakers, I'll put them on top of the computer. Or it's 7.1 then I'll put them everywhere.
  31. I got these:

    http://www.swanspeaker.com/product/htm/view.asp?id=443

    Linked the 5.1 version above.

    This soundcard:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829132010

    That soundcard is not suitable for 5.1 as its built for 2.1, you want the DX then or the Phobeus:

    http://rog.asus.com/audio/audio-cards/rog-xonar-phoebus/
  32. I went down this exact path about a month ago. I ended up with a HT Omega eClaro sound card (upgraded the Opamp), connected to a Klipsch DD5.1 Pre-amp, connected to both a ATI AT602 and a Polk PSW10, and the ATI AT602 was connected to Polk Monitor speakers.

    Does it sound nice, yes. Was it worth it? Maybe. I did this because I wanted more accurate sounding music. One of the little headaches I ran into was that I needed to keep all the equipment running if I wanted to use them like computer speakers. What I did not think about was that computer sound needs are sporadic, so you either need to have everything running at all times or have easy access to turn everything on quickly. With component systems, it takes a minute or two to get everything turned on. I am now thinking about getting a second pair of regular computer speakers that I can turn on from my desk (maybe Audioengine's).

    ATI refurbished equipment: http://www.classicaudioparts.com/
    http://audioengineusa.com/


    Asus P9x79 pro i7-3930 64gb 2x512 Samsung 830s, 2x1TB Cavier Black, EVGA GTX650, Seasonic x750, Corsair H80, HAF XM, 2x Blu-ray burners, HT Omega eClaro, ATI AT602, Klipsch DD 5.1, Polk Monitor Series II 40s, Polk PSW10
  33. P.S Going back to your original question, check Audiophile forums for makers of high end sound cards you might not have heard of such as products by Lynx, Apogee and RME. The Onkyo WAVIO SE-300PCIE may be worth considering.
  34. jwl2 said:
    One of the little headaches I ran into was that I needed to keep all the equipment running if I wanted to use them like computer speakers. What I did not think about was that computer sound needs are sporadic, so you either need to have everything running at all times or have easy access to turn everything on quickly. With component systems, it takes a minute or two to get everything turned on. I am now thinking about getting a second pair of regular computer speakers that I can turn on from my desk (maybe Audioengine's).
    Good point. I've just encountered this situation as well. My new system, which I'm just putting the final touches to, has a Titanium HD card going into my sound system which isn't much but sounds pretty nice, NAD 50w amp into KEF Q15s. Then it started to seem a bit ridiculous to have the system on just for windows beeps. My new Dell monitor can have a stereo sound bar that clips onto the bottom of the screen. I decided to buy one just to have everyday cheap sound. I'll fire up the sound system when needed, like for using Sonar X2.
  35. So in conclusion, I should get:

    Asus ROG Xonar Phoebus Soundcard
    Swans M60-5.1


    Will that be enough to produce the best Sound Quality ever?
  36. Bestkid said:
    - how much you want to pay

    I will pay around £1-£1000


    You should be able to get something pretty decent for that kind of money. I'm not sure what people do with the center speaker when running surround on a computer but at least the other speakers should be identical, with bass drivers no smaller that 6" or so (15cm). If you want the house to shake you'll also need a subwoofer, or some really big expensive main speakers, but I prefer not having one.

    I suggest you go to a few hi-fi stores and listen to different systems. Don't go to computer stores and big box electronics stores if you can help it. Speakers all sound different and cheaper ones can sound better _to you_ than more expensive ones.

    I'd stay away from powered speakers, studio monitors or otherwise. A good amp with good speakers will sound better. You really want a good audio system, to which you'll connect the output from your computer.

    Bring along a high quality recording (like a CD, not an mp3) of something you know really well and listen to the same thing on all the systems. Go back a few times to make sure you weren't imagining things.

    Quote:
    - what you'll be using them for

    I will use some for gaming, movies and just listening to music.


    If you're into real-life explosions you'll probably need a good sub-woofer.

    Quote:
    - what kind of room you're in

    I'm in a small room with a office in it. Around 4 metres by 6 metres.


    That a pretty nice sized room. If possible, you should orient your desk facing a short wall, in the middle width-wize, and about 1/3 of the way back from the front wall.

    Place you speakers in a circle as specified by Dolby or DTS standards which you can find on the net.

    I'd put bookshelf-sized speakers on stands so that the tweeters are at your ear level.
    Quote:
    - how you're going to position the speakers with respect to you ears

    If they are standing speakers then ill put them either side on the floor of me. But if they are bookshelves speakers, I'll put them on top of the computer. Or it's 7.1 then I'll put them everywhere.


    Floor-standing speakers have to be pretty big (expensive) to get the tweeters at ear level unless you're slouching in a couch. Try and keep the speakers away from the walls as that will let the sound breathe a bit. There is a real danger using speaker stands in that they can fall over and kill your dog or your baby.
  37. Bestkid said:
    ...Will that be enough to produce the best Sound Quality ever?

    this is becoming a joke...
  38. dingo07 said:
    this is becoming a joke...
    +1 :pfff:
  39. Thanks guys!
  40. So I hve a choice between the:

    Asus ROG Xonar Phoebus Soundcard
    Swans M60-5.1

    OR

    Asus Xonar STX
    swans M50W

    So that's all...
  41. Bestkid said:
    So I hve a choice between the:

    Asus ROG Xonar Phoebus Soundcard
    Swans M60-5.1

    Those are pretty tiny speakers (4"/10cm cones). They will have to be pretty close to your head for the sound to fill your space.
    Quote:
    OR

    Asus Xonar STX
    swans M50W



    Those are even smaller.

    Speakers have to move air (well, presurrize it really) for things to sound realistic. Tiny speakers just can't affect much air. Sure you have a small subwoofer, but that's only for really low frequencies and then again the speaker in a subwoofer has to be more or less huge to be effective.

    I strongly suggest you go somewhere and _listen_ to the differences in systems. You can't buy an audio system on paper, you have to use your ears. You may end up buying a really good sounding stereo system instead of a weak surround system.
  42. So what DO YOU think are the best speakers? I was looking at M-Audio and Alesis earlier.
  43. No offense but are you seriously considering spending thousands of dollars based on blanket statements from strangers ?At least ask for some proof my god!!What are you rich or something ?If so then forget i mentioned it.I am not trying to be a jerk but don't you think it's better to be safe then sorry? I suggest you go to a few stores and test out different ones to find what will serve you best
  44. Mate, I'm russian. And I'm building a home theater for a billionaire -_-. Nothing personal.
  45. If you don't care about the cost (since you've got those awesome hardware), may be a ASUS Xonar Essence ST+H6 is a good choice
  46. Bestkid said:
    Mate, I'm russian. And I'm building a home theater for a billionaire -_-. Nothing personal.

    :)
    If I were a billionaire, I'd hire someone who knew what he was doing...
    :)
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