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Worth upgrading to Audigy 2?

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May 19, 2003 2:39:17 AM

Greetings Audio Guru's,

I'm a newbie here, so go easy on me.. :)  I'm not stupid, just starting my research :p 

I'm currently in the process of spec'ing out a new system/upgrade that I'll be looking to buy in the next couple of months (hoping for a few more price drops in the meantime).

In the sound department, I've currently got an old analog Sound Blaster Live sound card, with an old set of Cambridge 4.1 speakers. AFAIK, they're the first 4.1 speakers that were released by Cambridge, even before they were acquired by Creative (I think) - I bought them in 1999 and as such, I have no idea what their marketing name was.

Now, I use my PC 95% of the time for gaming. Throw in a bit of Divx/DVD watching to make up the other 5%. I do have a set-top DVD player as well, which is connected only to a Stereo Amp upstairs (I make note of this since I could conceivably move my new speakers around as required).

I'm not an audio-phile who get's majorly disappointed by the quality of MP3s vs CD audio, although I do prefer to listen to 192bps encoded versions than to 128bps versions. I can certainly hear the difference between DVD audio, and Divx/mp3 encoded audio of the same track.


Now to the point of my post..

In your opinions, would there be any significant difference in my audio experience if I upgraded to an Audigy 2, and upgraded my speakers?

If you <b>do</b> think there's a difference, which speakers would you recommend?

Creative Inspire 6600 6.1 speakers (AUS$245)
Altec Lansing 5100 (AUS$342)
Logitech Z-680 (AUS$650)
Creative Inspire 5700 5.1 Speakers (AUS$674)
Creative Megaworks 550 5.1 (~AUS$690).

From my research, it sounds like the Inspire 6600 (or 6700 when they become available here in Australia) might underperform/be underpowered for the Audigy 2..

It seems to me that the Logitech Z-680 may not be worth the price if I primarily play games.. Although if I did decide to pay that much, I might move them upstairs when I watch DVD's instead of using the stereo my DVD is currently connected to. <i>The reported hiss also makes me wonder if this would be a good buy.</i> The external decoding functions sound like this is one of the best, but I have to admit ignorance to DTS/ProLogic/PrologicII/DD EX/DD etc etc. Maybe if I use some decent speakers with my DVD player I might start caring about such things?

The Altec Lansing 5100 got fairly decent scores from THG.. I don't think they have any external decoding features to enhance the Audigy 2 though..

The Creative Inspire 5700 5.1 has an external decoder I believe, but I don't know how it compares to the Z-680, nor how it performs vs it's considerable cost.

The MegaWorks 550 sound like a very impressive set of speakers, but they have no external decoding features to pick up where the Audigy 2 lacks.. dts etc.

I'm very interested in the responses.

I do appologise if this is something that's been asked before, but I couldn't find any recent hits that asked this question of upgrading.

Thanks in advance,

-Auldar

More about : worth upgrading audigy

May 19, 2003 5:20:08 PM

I upgraded from a Live Platinum to an Audigy(1) Platinum (both systems with the megaworks speakers) and didn't notice much of a change in sound quality... however when I went to the audigy 2 platinum I noticed a pretty significant sound improvement. I use my pc about like you do with perhaps a bit more mp3 playing (prolly 10%-15%). I also like the sound on my buddies Klipsch<sp> speakers... they're pretty decent and much cheaper than my megaworks were.

Shadus
May 19, 2003 11:24:07 PM

I have an Audigy 2 in my new system. My second system has an Audigy, and I used to have a SB Live, so I have personal experience with all three. Audigy 2 seems to execute EAX a little better than Audigy 1, and way better than SB Live! Also, the Audigy 2 uses less processor time, which is good for gaming.

To me, the heart of my system is my Megaworks 6.1 speakers. Obviously, you have to have the sound card to run the speakers, but the speakers are just awesome. I used to have an Altec Lansing 4.1 set, and the Megaworks just put them to shame--especially for playing DVD's and music. I think I would rather have good speakers and an inferior sound card than vise versa.

<font color=green>The Netherlands is where you go when you're too good for heaven.</font color=green> :tongue:
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May 19, 2003 11:24:50 PM

Thanks for the reply Shadus.

When you upgraded to the Audigy 2 Platinum, did you keep your original Megaworks?

Klipsch don't seem to be very common here in Australia, and the few retailers that stock them are quite expensive. Which model does your friend have?

-Auldar
May 19, 2003 11:39:48 PM

Thanks Twitch,

Looks like we posted at the same time :p 

With regards to the Megaworks 6.1 (not available here yet - only the 5.1), do you find that it lacks dts, and prologic II decoding functionality? I believe the Audigy 2 doesn't have that ability either..?

The THG review said that functionality was missing from the 5.1 set, and I was wondering if this was the same with the 6.1, and if so was that a problem for you?

-Auldar
May 20, 2003 2:28:47 AM

Affirmative. If you want the decoder, go with the high-end Logitech set. I've heard that set and it is good, but doesn't seem to have the richness that the Megaworks set has. The only speakers I've heard that I think are equal to the Megaworks set are the Klipsch Promedia speakers, but they don't come with the decoder either. And, incidentally, the Megawroks 6.1 speakers are identical to the 5.1 speakers, only with an extra speaker. The 5.1 speakers will be just as good in terms of sound quality. 550 watts (peak) ain't bad for PC speakers. You would have to buy a DTS decoder seperately.

<font color=green>The Netherlands is where you go when you're too good for heaven.</font color=green> :tongue:


<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by Twitch on 05/19/03 10:51 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
May 21, 2003 7:04:05 PM

If you can hear differences in sound like that, you'll be disappointed in the Audigy2. I think you should steer clear if you want a good music experience, though if you want good game compatibility you'll have to go with it.

For speakers, I really suggest you try some 2-channel studio speakers. You really dont know what you're missing until you've heard a set of really high-quality studio monitors. You can find lots that aren't premium speakers for a decent price.

Of the ones you listed, the Altecs are my pick. They give a warmer feel, where Logitech just has lots of superficial "boom", and Creative - well, they're Creative.

umheint0's phat setup --> <A HREF="http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~umheint0/system.html" target="_new">http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~umheint0/system.html&lt;/A><--
May 21, 2003 11:52:47 PM

Any suggestions for a brand/model of studio speakers? I would prefer surround sound to stereo though.

Since most of my audio will be game based, and given your observation about compatibility, I'll probably still go with the Audigy 2 (the Platinum only adds new interfaces etc doesn't it? It's not worth getting that if I don't do audio authoring is there..?).

I was considering going for a set of Klipsch Promedia 5.1's, and possibly getting their decoder too. Speakers would cost AUS$699, and Speakers + Decoder would cost AUS$899. It's a lot of money though..

-Auldar
May 22, 2003 12:09:22 AM

I forgot to ask - which has the better DAC from those speakers I listed and the Klipsch promedia, vs the Audigy 2.

ie Aside from the fact that games typically do not have pre-encoded 5.1 tracks and therefore I would need to go analog out from my sound-card to get 5.1 sound for games; If I use optical out from an Audigy 2 and let my Speakers do the DAC, would that be better or worse quality than letting the Audigy 2 perform the DAC?

Hope that makes sense :p 

-Auldar
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