NF7-S and Z5300 is not what I hoped for.
I am using the onboard sound of the NF7-S2 with new logitech z5300 speakers, but I am not that impressed with the sound. It is very bassy(which is OK, but the highs are tinny and the rear speakers dont put out very much noise. Would getting into a good sound card fix this and crisp the sounds up? Would I really be able to tell the difference between the onboard sound vs. a decent sound card? Or would it be better to spend the extra $100 on a better speaker system? I just got the speakers from new egg for about $139.
I tested the nForce APU with an MSI K7N Delta ILSR motherboard, using a home theater receiver (digital) and speakers, compared to an Audigy 2 ZS the sound quality was very similar (much to the chagrin of my friend, who'd spent HOURS getting is Audigy 2 ZS to work right). But then again, those weren't YOUR speakers, and the receiver had multiple sound schemes. Chance are your speakers just aren't tuned to your ears, or aren't as good as someone else claimed, but you might be able to tune your sound to match them using a grahics equalizer program.
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What audio drivers have you installed? I'm using the onboard sound as well (analog) and i'm quite pleased with performance and sound quality. I'm using the Dreamax Cinema 6100 speakers (5.1). Maybe you should try different settings from NVidia Nforce control panel and from your speakers.
On the speakers setup sellect listening mode (Analog-Digital). I have "checked" the following boxes as well:
Create Center Channel, Center Channel 3D Pan, Create LFE channel and Rear speaker phase shift. Also, check your subwoofer's frequency respond and apply the maximum setting in Hz (with the bar) at LFE crossover frequency.
I'm using 3.66 UDF Nvidia Drivers, it's the best from all that i've tried.
Try playing with those settings first, the onboard sound of the NF7-S is quite good and the Soundstorm is a great feature!So i wouldn't advise you to spend extra money.
Abit NF7-S rev2.0 (nForce2-Ultra400)-(3.66 Nvidia drivers)
AMD Athlon XP 2400+@2600+ (12,5x166)
1GB-> 2X512MB Kingston RAM PC-3200 (DDR333)
Club3D Ati Radeon 9800 Pro 128MB (3,9 Catalyst)
Seagate Baracuda IV 60GB 7200Rpm-2MB Cache/Sata Connected Sil3112A-Serillel Adapter
Windows XP Pro with Service Pack 1