I have no idea where to start looking for sound cards. Im getting Klipsch 5.1 speakers and I was wondering what sound card i should get as my current one doesnt support the speakers. The only guidelines are that I want to be economical, but I also dont want to buy something that makes me realize I should have spent more.
You already got yourself a great set of speakers, the soundcard is relatively not that important unless you are a serious gamer who wants absolute 3D gaming position. If this is the case then go for Hercules, Phillips, Turtle Beach. Creative may be a bit high in price. If you don't mind at all, on board ALC650 is also sounds good on Promedia.
You never know how stupid you are until you have done something stupid enough for you to realize it.
I would recommend the Creative Audigy 2 in standard trim. I bought this to replace my Live! 1024 and when combined with my Altec Lansing 621s I couldn't believe the sound quality difference. Plus the CMSS function that gives stereo MP3s a pseudo 3D surround sound is amazing.
I wouldn't agree with people who say that your speakers are cool and therefore you needn't worry too much about your sound card - the speakers can only put out good quality sound if that is what they are being fed.
Last note about the Audigy 2 is that it is THX certified and supports EAX, EAX2 and advanced HD and retail comes with Soldeir of Fortune 2 and Hitman 2. It supports DVD-Audio playback but you must have Win XP for this.
4.77MHz to 4.0GHz in 10 years. Imagine the space year 2020
This is completely wrong. Good sound may be greatly dependent on good speakers but good sources (and good amplification) are also very important. In a PC sound card, the audio chip (the DSP) and especially the DAC (Digital to Analog converter) can strongly affect the sound coming out. Also, low-quality low-bitrate compressed formats cannot automagically turn into CD quality goodness by a $400 sound card. So, the whole audio chain is important, from source files, source media, the signal processing, the conversion to analog form and [finally] the speakers.
The same holds true for any other audio equipment. No two [non-identical] CD players sound the same. Digital is digital? Think again
I agree with you to certain cricumstances, yeah it's true that a $400 do sound very good but not many people will get such professional sound card. And I said relatively, normal user without much cash like me just simply can't afford. I'm talking more on normal end user sound card like TBSC, Audigy2 and so. It's more like a for common usage. Let me give an example here: we all know that Radeon 9800 Pro is the best graphic card out there but what monitor should we purchase for it? a 42" plasma screen that'll cost me $3999? I know this plasma display is very good but who the hell will get one if he is not that rich? So, basically if the guy is considering whether to hook the Promedia on a Hercules or Creative sound card then I think you'll say the same thing since they are pretty much the same except for prices.
I disagree. I'm not a fan of Creative at all. Not only have I had compatibility and quality issues with creative cards. Right now I'm a fan of Guillemot (very fine cards for the price), the M-Audio Revolution 7.1 (much finer than the Audigy 2 series IMO), and if you just want music and video quality and not gaming, the RME line of cards just cannot be beat by anything period. However, RME cards are priced accordingly. The Revo is about $100 US, the RME about $300, and the Guillemot maybe around $50-60 or so.
Out of the bunch, based on what speakers you have, I would choose the Guillemots. If you plan on upgrading the speakers to something really nice in the future, then get the Revo, and if you want to get a high-performance surround sound setup with $10,000 in audio equipment, get the RME. I'm getting the RME for my music and movies, and using the Soundstorm onboard for my games.
oh, you got me
Before I purchase A7N8X Deluxe I am considering getting Hercules Game Theater XP 7.1 but after my purchase of mobo I give up the sound card because I ain't rich. I'm not an American, when I worked as part-timer in my home country my salary is only about $1200 per month (about USD$300), I can't even buy a Radeon 9700 Pro because it is priced at $1500+ in my country which is more than my monthly salary. I can purchase my current system is mainly due to "sponsorship" from my dad. So that time I really done a lot of studies on sound card in order to decide whether I need a sound card. Believe me, I didn't say sound card sux, I just feel that if that guy want a "economical" sound card then he should stay at any normal sound card available on market (which sound quality is above average of course), or even ALC650 on board but not a $300 RME. To me a sound card more than USD$100 is too expensive. (I said he can get any sound card available remember that.) And if I'm rich enough I would certainly get RME plus Harman Kardon AVR plus Bose tower speaker but that just a dream for me.
We're not talking about the price here. All I'm saying is, if you want better than ordinary sound, you don't solely depend on good speakers, you get a good source too. If he's comfortable with onboard sound, then good, so be it. But if he wants [much] better quality, then there are a wide choice of solutions available from $30 to $infinity. Fortissimo3 from Hercules and Creative Audigy are good budget recommendations. At ~$100, both Creative Audigy2 and M-Audio Revolution 7.1 are rather fine cards (24-bit cards, very nice DACs, great music performance on the Revolution specially, great gaming performance and 3D sound especially on the Audigy2). At $250, there's TerraTec DMX-6Fire 24/96, etc., etc.
If you want to know what I mean about different sound cards having a very large effect on the sound coming out of identical speakers, check out and search Tech-report.com and read their subjective auditions of various sound cards out there (they've got 3 articles). The difference is mostly because of the different DACs used on the cards and their respective quality. e.g. AKM builds some very high-end DACs used in almost all M-Audio, Terratec, Echo pro or consumer cards. Crystal has also some real high-end offerings used in from Audigy2 to Lynx Two to set-top DAC boxes...<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by r2k on 04/05/03 10:58 AM.</EM></FONT></P>