What sound card should I buy?

Hello, I just received my brand spankin' new computer and I must say, I'm in awe. Everything is working out flawlessly and getting great performance!

But I have a problem. I am using a 2013 ed Astro A40 headset which is a few months old which is currently plugged in my motherboard ( Asus Maximus V Gene) and the sound quality I'm getting is terrible. Well maybe not terrible, but I will often get "screaching" noises in my headset when I first pull up a vid or when gaming. I am coming from an old rig where the astro a-40 headset was set up on a Auzentech x-plosion audio card and I have noticed the sound quality difference immediatly. It just sounds horrible compared to that.

Unfortunatly I don't have space to plug in the old auzentech card on this board because of a beefy gtx680 right above it. So yeah... I need a new one that will fit in a pcie 2.0 x4 slot.

So what I am looking for is a soundcard around the 100$ price ranges, that will fit in pci-e 2.0 x4 slot and that has a SPDIF out (TOSLINK) so it can be plugged on my astro a40 mixamp. It is mostly going to be used for gaming, but also for watching the occasional movie and listening to music. X-fi would be nice but isn't necessary. I had my eyes on the auzentech x-fi forte, but I am unable to order them anywhere here in canada all the places are out of stock.
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More about what sound card
  1. Well, if you are going to use optical, there really isn't any reason to go crazy on a soundcard, since the A40's will be the main driver of audio quality.

    Anyway, the main options that have SPDIF output are teh ASUS Xonar DSX and ASUS Xonar DX. [DSX supports DTS encoding, DX supports Dolby. I forget if the A40's support DTS or not...]
  2. Any Asus card, but the xonar st version if you can afford it.
  3. ^^ Again: There is no reason to purchase the ~$150 ST(X) when using optical, as the soundcard isn't going to do a lot of audio processing. Its a waste of money.
  4. I decided to go with the new creative soundblaster z, its been getting some pretty good reviews and wa son special at 89$ Did I make a good choice? Seems like all review sites agree that its a really nice sound card for the price.
  5. Spec wise, it replaces the DX at that price point, but I'm very wary due to Creatives issues with their drivers. I'm also looking for more detailed reviews on teh card (specifically, some Rightmark tests).
  6. Alright thank you, I'm going to keep this thread alive and give you my personnal feedback once I get the Z card in. Ty for the replies!

    I also like the fact that it is red and has a led on it... will be sexy in my cooler master haf-x on the asus maximus v gene :)
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