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Santa Cruz vs Soundblaster Audigy

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April 28, 2002 4:38:27 AM

I'm shopping around for a new sound card and I've decided between these two. Which one is overall better? Are there any benchmarks out that compare the two cards?

Thx.
April 28, 2002 6:33:05 AM

I got the audigy and it wouldn't install on my computer no matter what I did. I had a month long email conversation with creative which fixed nothing. I got the santa cruz and it installed right out of the box in about 3 minutes. It took me longer to physically put the card in and flip my computer back up than it took to install everything.

both cards sound the same to me (my roommate bought my audigy off of me, it workes on his computer) The general impression I got from reading reviews was that the santa cruz sounded better with music and the audigy did better in games. Try searching google.com for something like "santa cruz and audigy reviews"

Hope this helps.
MStakem
April 28, 2002 7:20:00 AM

Yeah, that's basically what I've been hearing that each card has different perks and downsides.

The Santa Cruz:
-Superior driver support
-Better sound quality with less noise

The Audigy:
-Better sound in games
-Built-in firewire port
-Terrible drivers
-Hardware conflicts galore

It's a tough choice.
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April 28, 2002 8:01:55 AM

If you're going to use XP be aware I wasn't able to get firewire working in XP but it could have just been me. They worked fine on my roommate's 2k.

MStakem
April 28, 2002 11:32:08 AM

Windows XP is not as stable is Windows 2000. I try it on 3 systems (one belong to me and other two belong to friends) and we all have some problem with it.
April 29, 2002 2:37:09 PM

Audigy worked fine for me on a p4 on a Asus P4T with Win XP pro and i used a DVD burner on the firewire port with no problems at all.

That said, i now own a Herc GTXP and its definitely clearer sound but there's a very small amount of detail lost in the music on winamp with the MAD plugin as the audigy could use 24bit playaback and the GTXP can only use 16bit. For Games the sound is just as good on the GTXP as the audigy and the positioning is prolly a lil better but the reverb and EAX effects are not as pronounced as on the audigy, they're there but not as noticable. Overall they're both great cards.

Now if your wondering why the heck i'm talking about GTXP its cause its the same exact thing as as a Santa Cruz cept it has a really spiffy breakout box....

nVidiot: Message board Troll employed by nVidia to terrorize aTidiots.
April 29, 2002 4:33:06 PM

Quote:

the audigy could use 24bit playaback and the GTXP can only use 16bit.

There's one mistake here. Also the comment is very misleading.

First of all, the GTXP and Santa Cruz support 20-bit decoding and 18-bit encoding, I believe, but definitely not just 16-bit.

Secondly, MP3s are encoded in 16-bit so you can get better quality out of them.




:wink: <b><i>"A penny saved is a penny earned!"</i></b> :wink:
April 29, 2002 6:49:45 PM

Also, the Audigy can't actually do 24-bit, as pointed out in many reviews.

<font color=blue>If you don't buy Windows, then the terrorists have already won!</font color=blue> - Microsoft
April 29, 2002 7:50:08 PM

i'm really tired of all the debating on this stuff, i dont udnerstand the difference technically, what i do know is that with the MAD plugin in winamp, the audigy will use the 24bit setting and gain a small measure of detail over the GTXP which freaks out and produces only fuzz when set over 16bit. Nuff said, thats how it works period, i dont care whats technically correct and incorrect thats what works and thats how it sounds. And i'm not sayin that makes the audigy better for music...it doesnt...its offset by the fact that the audigy has alot more extra noise too, as in static and fuzz whatnot especially at really low or really high volumes.

Get it in your head that i'm not dissing the GTXP, i'm keeping it over the audigy for christ's sake. That said, the audigy can do a few minor things the GTXP cant. Not a bad mark for the gtxp...it just doesnt have those minor features.

That said, i'm gonna ask this here again cause i cant get an answer anywhere it seems. Is the GTXP6.1's breakout box's headphone jack amplified and or up to what impedance of headphones can it drive without an addon amplifier. I'm looking into getting some nice headphones but i need to know the answer to this first.

nVidiot: Message board Troll employed by nVidia to terrorize aTidiots.
April 29, 2002 10:16:39 PM

Quote:
its offset by the fact that the audigy has alot more extra noise too, as in static and fuzz whatnot especially at really low or really high volumes.

I don't hear any noise from my Audigy OEM even at *full* volume on my Promedia 5.1s. Would you elaborate on this?

Quote:
the GTXP6.1's breakout box's headphone jack amplified

Not sure about the impedance rating on the GTXP, but a headphone jack is by definition amplified. But if the power for the breakout box is coming from the computer, chances are it won't be rated to handle the high-impedance headphones like the more expensive Sennheisers (300 Ohm).

Ritesh

<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by ritesh_laud on 04/29/02 05:29 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
April 29, 2002 11:43:36 PM

Sorry, Hercules' website is down, and I'm not sure where else I'd look.

<font color=blue>If you don't buy Windows, then the terrorists have already won!</font color=blue> - Microsoft
April 30, 2002 2:10:22 AM

This was a funny problem with the audigy, it didnt always show up but mostly raised its head with mp3's and cd's. It was usually difficult to hear which means it wasnt a problem but sometimes if the music was light / quiet you could hear a background fuzz or static which was really annoying, i know it was the audigy and not my z-560 speakers or my headphones cause this fuzz is TOTALLY NONEXISTANT with my GTXP...like i said though, was never a show stopper, and rarely noticeable if you weren't listening for it.

FatBurger, the herc site didnt even say when it was online, i've looked there. I wouldn't ask if i hadn't looked-)

nVidiot: Message board Troll employed by nVidia to terrorize aTidiots.
April 30, 2002 3:07:03 AM

I know, I'm just saying that's why I'm not giving you an answer, in case you thought I was ignoring you.

<font color=blue>If you don't buy Windows, then the terrorists have already won!</font color=blue> - Microsoft
April 30, 2002 5:57:48 AM

Like Ritesh, I dont have this problem either.

One thing to check is the mic is muted and any other inputs not being used.

Athlon XP 1700+,KT266A,Geforce3, Audigy.. 'nuff said.
April 30, 2002 12:43:55 PM

Yes it's important to mute unused ports. I have an AWE32 feeding into the Line In of my Audigy and I always keep it muted unless I play a DOS game. If I unmute it, I get a hiss even at relatively low volumes. At high volumes it's an unbearably loud whine, like maybe a Delta HSF? :)  The AWE32 has the dirtiest sound of any card I've ever used except perhaps the original Sound Blaster.

But as soon as I mute that sucker, everything is dead quiet even at high volume.

Ritesh
April 30, 2002 4:15:16 PM

nope nope nope and nope. I'm in the habit of muting everything i'm not using, i'll even go so far as to unplug the cd player input if i'm not using it which i incredibly rarely do. I usually just rip all my cd's to 320 // 44khz mp3 and listen to em that way with winamp/Mad plugin. This problem was definitely audigy, it was on the live too, but like i said its usually VERY hard to hear it-) So, if you dont notice it, good, dont listen for it, and you'll be happy enough. any kind of fuzz or static at all is 100% non-extistent on my equipment with the GTXP, its dead silent between song tracks even.

I'm thoroughly convinced now that the GTXP is in fact a better choice than the audigy value wise and quality wise for music, and about the same value/quality for games.

edit: I finally found the answer to the GTXP headphone jack question, it is NOT amplified per say...and is meant for 32ohm impedence or less headphones.

nVidiot: Message board Troll employed by nVidia to terrorize aTidiots.<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by williamc on 04/30/02 12:21 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
April 30, 2002 8:05:45 PM

Quote:
I finally found the answer to the GTXP headphone jack question, it is NOT amplified per say...and is meant for 32ohm impedence or less headphones.

Then it's not a headphone jack, it's just a Line Out. A Line Out is simply an unamplified signal meant to run to an external amplifier, and will only drive the tiniest of headphones. Either Hercules is indulging in shady marketing calling it a "headphone jack", or we're talking about two different jacks on the breakout box.

Ritesh
May 1, 2002 2:35:53 PM

I'm gonna take audigy and smash it over your head.

If its meant to plug a headphone into it and is labeled as such then its a headphone jack. There's an aux line out next to it. Headphone jacks don't have to be amplified and in fact amplified headphone jacks are extremely rare which why so many places sell headphone amplifiers! I only ever heard of one sound card that actually did have an amplified headphone jack and i believe it was a Terratec 6fire something...for around 300 bucks with the amplified breakout box.

edit: herculees doesnt do any marketing at all... hell their website is only up half the time and they dont even include a manual with the GTXP, all you get is a card, breakoutbox, cable, and driver cd.

second edit: the cheapest headphone amp i know of that comes assembled is 150 bucks, so i woulda been shocked if it did actually have a decent amp in there.

nVidiot: Message board Troll employed by nVidia to terrorize aTidiots.<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by williamc on 05/01/02 10:39 AM.</EM></FONT></P>
May 1, 2002 5:28:44 PM

That's odd, my GTXP came with a manual.

<font color=blue>Hi mom!</font color=blue>
May 1, 2002 6:37:38 PM

Quote:
If its meant to plug a headphone into it and is labeled as such then its a headphone jack. There's an aux line out next to it.

Your statement only proves my point. Why would there be two identical jacks next to each other and labeled differently? There are two obvious answers:

1. They are *not* identical. One is amplified, that being the headphone jack.

2. They are both identical (unamplified). Which means the labeling is misleading, it should just be "Aux Line Out 1" and "Aux Line Out 2". But this time, we'll skip the term "shady marketing" and just call it "a Hercules f*ckup".

Quote:
Headphone jacks don't have to be amplified and in fact amplified headphone jacks are extremely rare which why so many places sell headphone amplifiers!

This statement is just plain wrong. About every headphone jack on a boombox or stereo system is connected to an internal amplifier powered by the power cord at the wall. Headphone amps are mainly for purists who don't trust the internal amplifiers in their systems, so they connect the headphone amp to the *Line Out* of the stereo and amplify it from there.

Quote:
the cheapest headphone amp i know of that comes assembled is 150 bucks, so i woulda been shocked if it did actually have a decent amp in there.

If you think you need to spend $150 to get a amplified headphone jack, some salesman's been working you over good. You can drive over to your local Best Buy and pick up a $20 boombox that comes with a headphone jack (amplified by definition).

Ritesh

P.S. If you manage to learn something about amps instead of talking about smashing sound cards over my head, I may actually respond to your next post.
May 2, 2002 2:23:07 PM

Fatburger, Herculees released a new GTXP......GTXP 6.1...I'm just baffled that they dont even have it on their site yet...

Picked it up at compusa 2 weeks ago now for 130 bucks. Came with version 4.57 or something drivers. Thats the one i have...and it came with just the card, box, cable, cd, warranty card,and cert of authenticity.

nVidiot: Message board Troll employed by nVidia to terrorize aTidiots.
May 2, 2002 2:28:29 PM

Okay, maybe we should realize i'm saying there's a difference between a little bit of amperage to drive el cheapo headphones and AMPLIFIED to drive real headphones with good quality sound. that headphone jack on the GTXP is a headphone jack cause when you plug the headphones into it thats where sound starts coming out of-PPPP The gtxp software utility recognizes the connection there and auto switches itself over to put sound through the headphone jack instead of the speaker out jacks on the back. You can leave the headphones plugged in if you want and just use the software utility to switch between headphones and speakers, it wont do both at once though as there's not enough power coming off the pci card to drive even elcheapo headphones AND get a quality signal to the speakers as i understand it. Who the heck would want both at once though...anyhow, thats why its called the HEADPHONE JACK.

I dare you to tell me a pair of Sennhieser HD580's or 600's would sound like more than crap on a 20 dollar boombox... We're talking about two entirely different worlds of sound here.

nVidiot: Message board Troll employed by nVidia to terrorize aTidiots.
May 2, 2002 3:35:50 PM

Quote:
I dare you to tell me a pair of Sennhieser HD580's or 600's would sound like more than crap on a 20 dollar boombox... We're talking about two entirely different worlds of sound here.

Actually I have a Sennheiser 600HD (I thought it was a 560 but I just checked, it's a 600HD), and they sound fine in my old Sony crap boombox from 1992 or thereabouts. They sound about the same as when plugged into the headphone jack on my stereo receiver (a nice Harman-Kardon unit), but with just a little more hiss! Try it, you'd be surprised. Those boombox headphone amps are a bit noisy but they can drive the high-impedance headphones just fine.

Ritesh
May 2, 2002 5:27:10 PM

like i said...we in two different worlds... i'm glad yer happy

nVidiot: Message board Troll employed by nVidia to terrorize aTidiots.
May 2, 2002 7:27:50 PM

It's the exact same hardware, the drivers just support virtual 6.1 surround.

<font color=blue>Hi mom!</font color=blue>
May 2, 2002 7:46:49 PM

cool-) want me to host the drivers somewhere?

edited: now the board says i'm enthusiastic, i wish it would make up its mind.

Hey, FatBurger, can i have the custom title "nVidiot"?

nVidiot: Message board Troll employed by nVidia to terrorize aTidiots.<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by williamc on 05/02/02 03:50 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
May 2, 2002 10:25:25 PM

They're available for download, I've got them sitting at home. v3 and up, IIRC.

And how would I give you a custom title? I'm just another member, like you.

<font color=blue>Hi mom!</font color=blue>
May 3, 2002 2:18:27 PM

It was a joke...heh. I think board titles are a funny thing. Where are those drivers available for DL at? Not on the hercules site... all i see there is version 4.10 which is not the version my driver file says it is. My driver file claims its version 4.57 which i don't see on the net. Just curious where you find that stuff.

nVidiot: Message board Troll employed by nVidia to terrorize aTidiots.
May 3, 2002 5:13:53 PM

4.57? That might be interesting, I can host it for download (though it'll be slow), if you can get it to me somehow. Try sending to the email in my profile and/or jwfatburger@attbi.com, at least one of those should be able to handle a larger attachment.

<font color=blue>Hi mom!</font color=blue>
May 6, 2002 3:22:53 PM

was gone for the weekend, i'll email it tonight if i can manage to get jus the drivers off the cd.

nVidiot: Message board Troll employed by nVidia to terrorize aTidiots.
May 6, 2002 7:30:40 PM

Thanks, you should be able to.

<font color=blue>Hi mom!</font color=blue>
!