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SB Live vs RealTek ALC650?

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April 5, 2003 3:22:36 PM

Hi..
I have an onboard sound card, the RealTek ALC650, and a sound blaster Live 5.1 that I bought before
just wondering, which one is better? which one should I use?
Thanks for your opinion in advanced!!

More about : live realtek alc650

April 5, 2003 5:51:56 PM

If the onboard sound is nForce/2 soundstorm, it will probably be better than the Live! although the analog output quality of the Realtek DAC remains to be evaluated...

With that out of the way, why don't you try and see for yourself?! I mean the onboard sound and the Live! are both available to you so what's keeping you from installing the Live!, its drivers and then see what happens?

If I were you, I'd first install the Live! in a free PCI slot, install its drivers, bloatware, whatever you want to call them. Now, if anything went berserk, obviously, you keep the onboard sound. If OTOH nothing was obviously wrong, start performing some meaningful tests: Switch the output of the two (both in Windows sound properties and the actual cables) and listen to some CDs (or *good* quality compressed format audio files) that you're familiar with (Adjust the volume so that no card would be better just because it was louder, in other words their level of loudness should be about the same) and see which one is better reproducing the music (or which one feels better to your ears; pay attention to the reproduced level of detail, how natural the vocals and instruments sound, the live or artificial feel of the tracks, if the whole track is done well or if the parts hav not been composed to make a whole, etc.). Then start playing some games and see if you see higher performance in one or any weird sound problems there. Also, check to see if any of them sounds better when performing 3D Audio; How smooth the sound goes from speaker to speaker, how realistic and natural the 3D effects sound, how they affect game play (i.e. how much performance hit), etc. If you fear any compatibility or conflicts may arise, you can first disable the onboard sound and perform the tests with only one solution installed at a time. But, especially in sound quality tests, you must then try and listen carefully to find out the difference.

Well, then come back here and share your experience with us ;) 
April 5, 2003 11:57:13 PM

Agree with r2k.
Just to remind you:
Creative SB Live! 5.1 uses less system resources but you may get driver/software problem.
Realtek ALC650 uses much system resource which costs you a 11-15% performance loss but less driver issues.
As for sound quality, it is pretty much subjective.

You never know how stupid you are until you have done something stupid enough for you to realize it.
<A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?id=22996" target="_new">My System Rig</A>
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April 6, 2003 5:08:33 AM

I thought the live sounded kind of dead myself..wait, that sounds like a pun!

<font color=blue>Watts mean squat if you don't have quality!</font color=blue>
April 6, 2003 10:23:42 PM

huh? but sorry..I don't get what do you mean, Crashman

ok, I will test both sound cards to see what difference~
btw, I don't really get any driver/softwares problems with Live... well, it happens if I want to play DOS games, but nth wrong with Windows Stuff..
April 7, 2003 12:45:48 AM

I used an Aureal Vortex2 SQ2500 before I got my SB Live! Platinum 5.1. The Vortex2 had better 3D positioning, more noticeable channel separation, and better tone quality. I sold the Live.

<font color=blue>Watts mean squat if you don't have quality!</font color=blue>
April 7, 2003 1:26:30 AM

so.. are you saying that I should change my sound card and get an Aureal Vortex2 too or sth else equivalent?

btw..I've tested it, I found that SB live is better than RealTek ALC650, it produces slightly better sound quality and can produce more sounds at same time.
April 7, 2003 2:22:07 AM

No, I'm not suggesting that because the driver support is going away quickly. Cards like these are only for people willing to work to keep them.

<font color=blue>Watts mean squat if you don't have quality!</font color=blue>
April 7, 2003 9:30:14 PM

ok~ so if I wish to buy a new sound card, which one would you suggest? thanks for your opinion again!
April 7, 2003 10:16:38 PM

Hmm, good question (since I'm one of the guys who's willing to put extra effort into keeping my Vortex2). I've heard great things about the Turtle Beach Santa Cruiz.

<font color=blue>Watts mean squat if you don't have quality!</font color=blue>
April 8, 2003 6:14:54 AM

If you don't have problems with the Live! and are satisfied with its level of sound quality, performance, etc. keep it, plain and simple!

If you really want a change, first consider a price so the forum members can help with cards at that particular price point. The Santa Cruz is a discontinued sound card and I don't recommend it (see the nearby thread about it). BTW I don't think you would really feel a big change from the Live! unless you're ready to pay over $90 (the starting price for M-Audio Revolution 7.1 and Creative Audigy2).
April 8, 2003 12:25:10 PM

Just curious..is Sound Blaster Audigy 2 much better than Live? how about SB Audigy1 or SB Extigy?
April 8, 2003 2:11:04 PM

If Audigy2 is not better than Live why bother Creative launches this product? Audigy2 is the most superior sound card in Creative product line now with 24bit/96KHz DAC. It's one of the best sound cards out in market. Audigy and Extigy are pretty much identical (different interface) and they are nowhere close to any top of the line sound card.

You never know how stupid you are until you have done something stupid enough for you to realize it.
<A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?id=22996" target="_new">My System Rig</A>
April 9, 2003 7:40:01 AM

As TKH put it, yes, it's a huge improvement over the Audigy, not to mention the Live!. First of all, it's got a much more powerful DSP than Live! that has support for playback of more simultaneous sound streams at the same time, better effects, EAX AdvancedHD (better than what Live! or others offer with EAX 2.0), etc. It's also a 24-bit/96KHz sound card from top to bottom. Then, it has very good DAC and ADC chips onboard (24-bit/192KHz DAC by Crystal, 24-bit/96KHz ADC by Philips) that sound (from what I've heard) much better than Audigy. Consider that the Audigy was deemed to be the best sounding card for music lovers on a budget compared to the competition. Ah, and it's the only card with ready to run software/hardware support for DVD-Audio (a high-resolution format superior to CD). It has also (seemingly) solved much of the problems with bad Creative drivers and incompatibilities (Live! and to some extent Audigy) with VIA chipset mainboards or dual-CPU systems. It's not the perfect card (M-Audio Revolution 7.1 beats it in pure analog sound quality tests) but overall, at its price, it's probably THE choice for those that game AND listen to relatively high-quality music.
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