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Sound card for my needs

Last response: in Home Audio
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January 11, 2011 3:16:14 AM

ok so i got some a nice headset to better enjoy my gaming,but i didn't noticed a difference in sound because i was still using on board sound,so im getting a sound card for my pc,i came across 2,i just want to hear good sound out of my headphones,more bass not the hollow sounds im hearing now,not really interested in setting up a theater system or surround sound,so which one should i get of the 2?-thanks

cheaper one

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

more expensive one

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/ite...

also could someone explain the difference between the two cards?

-thanks

More about : sound card

January 19, 2011 1:04:23 PM

Honestly, I wouldn't recommend either. I would try to avoid most cards from Creative under say $100 maybe. Creative has a bad reputation for driver support and lasting quality. However, assuming you have a budget of around $50, I would probably recommend the Asus Xonar DS. It's right at the edge of your budget, but I've heard great things about these lower-end Asus cards.

Alternatively, if you are looking to spend a little less then a card from Creative could possibly still fit your needs (though I would just invest a little bit more for a better product). Your choices in quality cards are dramatically less once you drop below $50. I've heard good things about this card, but I can't say for sure if it is better than your cheaper pick.

Assuming you are sticking to your decision between the two cards you mentioned in the OP, then I would expect the more expensive card to be better, but the improvements most likely lie within the features and not so much the sound quality. In short, if you were to purchase the higher end card then I would definitely go with the Asus. If you choose the lower end card, then you might do a little research comparing the card I linked and the Creative you linked.

Hope this helped a little.
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January 19, 2011 1:35:07 PM

you might want to have a look at the headphone amplifiers on ebay.
if your soundcard has spdif output, you can bypass the DAC in the onboard soundcard and go to the higher quality DAC in the headphone amplifier.

most people who have done some researching should be able to tell you that the quality of the DAC is very important.
but just because a card has a good DAC.. that doesnt mean the amplifier componenets are going to transfer that high quality sound without adding to it.

it can be said that a lower quality DAC can be made to sound better if the amplifier components are specifically designed to do it.

its kinda like an air to fuel ratio.. but nothing beats a balanced crankshaft.

so for example..
if the DAC on the soundcard has weak bass, and the capacitors are slow to release their energy.. you can program the DAC to clip the bass notes and send that clipping to the capacitors which will force them to release their energy and the final result is better than using very high quality capacitors.

team work goes a long way.
so for someone to say how a card is going to sound like simply by looking at the parts used wont be an acceptable answer.
you really gotta use trial and error.. or come across a card that is significantly known for being better than average.
but even then.. people will praise something for very little changes and/or simply because it isnt broken.

one soundcard might get a good review because you can turn the volume all the way up without it distorting.
and that is better than other soundcards.. which puts the product with a high value reputation.

electronics have become so completely configurable that it should be easy to find a perfect match to your headphones, but the reality is that nobody knows the details so that we can put the pieces of the puzzle together.

it can be as hard as finding a perfect puzzle piece in a 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle.

if you have come to the point of asking for help on a forum.. you would be better off using a store's return policy to return a soundcard that doesnt sound any better than the one it replaced.

such a strategy will force the stores to do more research about the products they sell if they want to stop people from purchasing and returning.
but if they did that, the prices would generally go up because its easier to find a superior product.

as it is now, the hunt and search is on.
there are dozens of products to choose from.
and if it is like finding a needle in a haystack.. you can rest assured that there is usually something of far superior performance for a much smaller price tag.
this is done to reward a shopper for hunting.
and it also helps learn if people spread the advice using the power of 'word of mouth'

for instance..
if one person goes into a store and hits the lotto with the quality of the product they just brought home.
will he/she tell ten of their buddys and each one of them go into the store to purchase the same product?

it is marketing and nobody is really supposed to tell you what the best product is.. it keeps high quality products available for sale at lower prices.

new flat screen televisions are a good example.
there are dozens upon dozens of options to choose from.
and while one television for $400 might be crap.. another one at $450 might be worth $1,200 easily.
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