Audigy 2 OEM vs Audigy 2 Retail

Hi everybody... I am going to purchase an audigy 2 card in 2-3 days. However I am a bit hesitant about two alternatives. I can buy the OEM version for $75 and the retail version for about $110-115... There is a difference of $35-40 and I am a graduate student so I don't have much money as well.

I don't mind about the bundled software comes with the retail box. The driver CD is enough for me.

I saw the photos of both cards, and realized that the OEM version has plastic connectors despite the retail version has gold ones. Does it affects the sound quality ?

I also heard that the driver updates usually causes problems with the OEM version of Audigy 2...

Well, If the main difference is the bundled software, I'll go for the OEM version. But if the differences are hardware related and serious, I'll wait for a month to make $120, then buy the retail version...

I'm looking for feedback by both OEM and retail Audigy 2 users. I'd be so grateful, If you could help me. Thanks in advance...
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  1. Sound quality with plastic and gold connectors is identical. The only difference is that gold-plated connectors can last (and keep a good-quality connection) for much longer. But is that important in a PC sound card? I think not.

    Also, the piece you have heard about driver updates causing problems in the OEM version seems like total bullshit to me. The cards are identical in almost every way (most importantly the audio chip is the same) so it would be real odd for one to have problems. I've got an OEM Audigy and it has never caused problems for me.
  2. Thanks for your reply. The update problem seemed bullshit to me, too. It was said that the software comes with OEM version has a bug in auto update feature. But I see that you're using your card without any problem. So, I decided to buy the OEM version as well...

    Now, I've got a few questions... I'm also going to buy Inspire 6.1 6600 speakers. I've been using an old version of SB Live, with 2 old fashioned speakers. (they are really in a bad condition). I've been using PowerDVD for DVD movies, and I've never actually watched a DVD movie with DTS and Dolby Digital sound outputs. So here are my questions:

    1. Is there a noticeable difference between PowerDVD's software decoding and audigy2's hardware decoding of Dolby Digital EX ?

    2. What's the correct usage of Power DVD with Audigy 2 for Dolby Digital EX ? Do I have to select the sound output format from PowerDVD's menus, or Audigy2's own software ? Do I have to disable something If I want to use hardware decoding ?

    3. Can I watch movies with DTS audio format with Audigy2 + analogue Inspire 6.1 6600 ? How ?

    Hoping to hear from you soon...
  3. Sorry but I don't know the answers because I never watch DVDs on my PC and don't have a multi-channel setup. I almost always listen to music when working with my PC (>8 hours a day now that I'm working on my thesis) and for that I have connected the analog front output of my Audigy to my amplifier/stereo speakers (Denon PMA-655R/B&W DM303) but I know virtually nothing about setting up software DVD players. The only thing I can tell you is that in the [new] drivers (the AudioHQ control panel application), there's an option that enables Dolby Digital (AC-3) decoding. When you enable this, you can also enable Dynamic Range compression, Dolby Pro Logic and Dolby Digital EX. I guess you should disable any software decoding option in your software DVD player if you enable hardware decoding as I told you.
  4. @r2k
    "Sound quality with plastic and gold connectors is identical."

    Are you sure? Isn't the for digital transfers only? I think I remember reading that for analogic stuff there would be a differente but too slight to be noticed, so I guess it doesn't matter anyway...
  5. oem is fine
  6. The casings of the conectors doesn't make any diffrence what does is the metal & I'd expect that creatives have used high-quality connectors for both the oem & retail versons. The gold plating, if any, on the internal connection faces of the jack connectors will just increase resitence to oxidisation, which could effect the qualty in the very long term.

    Row like mortals, think like gods.
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