/ Sign-up
Your question

Gaming sound card

  • High-End Audio
  • Sound Cards
  • Audio
  • Product
Last response: in Home Audio
January 8, 2010 12:23:15 AM

Hi all,

So my Audigy 2 Zs Platinium Pro is starting to fail on me and im going to replace it for something new and better.
After a lot of research i got stuck with 3 sound cards in my shopping list, the Razer Barracuda AC-1, the ASUS Xonar Essence STX and the Creative SB X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty PRO, all of them seem to be in the same price range (around 150 euros) wich i can afford.
From my research and i'll tell u now that my knowledge about these things is low:
I understood that the Creative one is the best one for gaming but the software and drivers are the worst. But maybe is the best option for me since ill use it mostly to play games with my HD-555 Sennheiser headphones.
I started to ignore the razer one since most reviews rated it lower than the others, but its still in my sight since a buddy of mine talks about it like it is king. But since im not going to use the Razer headphones... meh i dunno.
I got the idea that the Asus one is the best soundwise, but might not be the best option for games and that i might not enjoy it to its fullest with my HD-555 headphones from Sennheiser, but hey the price range is close so... i dunno again lol.

I'm really stuck with my decision and i was hoping u could help me, hoping to hear some opinions about whats best for me and why, specially the whys. From all my research i found reviews about each one of them, but not comparisons between these 3 and thats what im looking for to help my decision.

Plz keep in mind that it will be used with the HD-555 Sennheiser headphones and mostly for games and the ocasional movie break!

More about : gaming sound card

January 8, 2010 3:40:59 PM

Don't even both with Creative; their only "advantage" for gaming is full X-fi support. Problem is:
A: Auzentech offers better cards (Forte/Prelude) with full X-fi support
B: X-fi is a dead standard

Also note, that while ASUS only supports EAX 1-2 in hardware, they also emulate EAX5.0 through their drivers, which works very well overall.

I wouldn't touch the barracuda; good for its time, but Razers refusal to put out driver updates has all but killed it; the ASUS D2/D2X makes more sense in that price range.

My top choices would be:
Auzentech: Prelude
ASUS: D2/D2X, Essence STX
January 8, 2010 4:46:48 PM

EAX does not work in Vista/Win7. You need an OpenAL compatible card to get the same effect. All other non-OpenAL sound is computed as 32bit FP internally by the OS, so hardware doesn't matter at all.
Related resources
January 8, 2010 7:42:58 PM

Its hard, ppl either rate creative with a 10 or a 1 lol, some say its the best some say its the worst :( 
I tried a couple more forums to help me decide with their feedback and from those other forums this reply is problaby the one i found to be the most relevant.

My take:

I strongly dislike Creative as a company. I've had bad experiences with their drivers and the Daniel_K saga more or less convinced me that they don't care about their customers. I'm very pleased with the sound quality and feature set of my current Xonar card. That said, Creative has, by far, the best positional audio on the market.

In the last few years, I've switched from being predominantly a competitive gamer (ladders, tournaments, etc.) to predominantly music/movie usage. I also switched from an Audigy 2 to a Xonar D2. Even though I was mostly a gamer, I used to listen to music somewhat often with my Audigy card. Even though I am mostly an "audiophile", I currently play games somewhat often with my Xonar card. The Audigy was much better for gaming and the Xonar has slightly (but noticeably) better audio quality.

I got a Xonar because I don't want to support Creative as a company. I recommend that everyone else not buy Creative cards for the same reason. That said, the X-Fi is probably a better card for your situation. If you choose to go that route, I wouldn't spend the extra money for the fancy model. Just get the standard Titanium model; the X-RAM has negligible benefit and the Fatal1ty branding is money down the drain.

From what i understand altough he hates creative he says The Audigy was much better for gaming and the Xonar has slightly better audio quality.

So is the creative one better to position where the sound comes from but with a slight less quality and asus has a better sound quality but why is it inferior in games? Thats what i find hard to understand, since i kinda suck at this lol
January 9, 2010 12:44:04 AM

U can ignore my stupid question on why is creative better on games lol.
January 10, 2010 12:12:18 PM

Kewlx25 said:
EAX does not work in Vista/Win7. You need an OpenAL compatible card to get the same effect. All other non-OpenAL sound is computed as 32bit FP internally by the OS, so hardware doesn't matter at all.

wrong it does work, my asus card has a technology called DS3D GX this enables all technology removed from vista, and enables it, such as hardware accelerated audio, and espescially EAX.
January 10, 2010 11:43:16 PM

EAX support though the standard Directsound API is dead in Vista; the calls have to be converted to OpenAL. ASUS does this in SW though its drivers, Creative does this through SW though Alchemy. Either way, the API is more or less dead at this point.

The only people who think Creative makes good cards are people who haven't switched from them yet. EAX aside, Creatives cards are inferior to the competition in almost every way. Auzentech/ASUS is the way to go.