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Sound Card advice

Last response: in Home Audio
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June 16, 2011 7:13:04 PM

Hi, I'm Mark and I'm looking for a good sound card.
The reason for this, is that I'm planning on buying the ASRock P67 Extreme4, only problem is, that people say it's sound sucks..
I have a Turtle Beach X41 7.1 Surround headset, and I'd like to have a
soundcard which utilizes it to the max.
It's main uses will be gaming, but also listening to music.
I'd give you a budget but I have no idea what decent sound cards run for these days..

Thanks,
-Mark

More about : sound card advice

June 17, 2011 2:03:47 AM

** read the whole thing **

the onboard soundcard has coaxial and optical outputs on the rear panel.
all you do is plug the headphones into that and let the headphones do their thing.
if you want time delay alignment, you would have to find a program that does it on the PC before sending the audio signal to the soundcard.

some soundcards will allow you to use the equalizer with the dolby or dts output.. but they wont let you do any time alignment.

the x-fi soundcards wont do their cmss-3d with the dolby or dts encoder turned on.
and the THX optimizer that i had would not do any time alignment or bass boost with the dolby or dts encoder turned on.
all i could do was equalizer (and maybe the EAX effects)
i dont know if the new THX trustudio is the same as the old one.

some movie players have audio plugins (filters) that allow you to setup a time delay.
some audio players also have audio plugins that allow you to setup a time delay.
but
it is all about decoding the surround sound format and re-encoding it to send it out through the s/pdif output.

using the encoder would mean you need a better graphics card to keep your frames per second up.. because turning the encoder on will drop the frames per second.

there really isnt much to add to the turtle beach x41 except some time delay, or a stereo image enhancer, or the cmss-3d from xfi to use it on top of the dolby digital (together)
any audio player that supports extra plugins will allow you to do the time delay or stereo enhancer.. and it will send the stereo signal to the soundcard and out the s/pdif output as stereo.

cant get music in surround sound without an encoder unless the music is already encoded with dolby or dts (meaning multi-channel .wav or .flac files wont work in surround sound unless you use an encoder to bring the data format to dolby or dts)

you should be good to go with the onboard sound.. since using the s/pdif doesnt take away any frames per second (unless you were told otherwise for your specific motherboard)

and anyways..
video games dont output dolby or dts
so
you would need to find a soundcard that has the option to use the 'dolby digital live' or 'dts connect' encoder.
all of the x-fi soundcards do this.
creative makes you pay $5
auzentech gives it to you for free with the installation discs.

it has been said that the realtek soundcards support the encoder.. but i dont know of any motherboards that allow it.
havent really looked for a motherboard that allows it.

so maybe you need a soundcard to use the processor on the soundcard for your video games.
you should ask people who have the motherboard if using the digital output from the soundcard changes the frames per second.
if it doesnt.. then you really shouldnt have anything else to worry about except how are you going to encode the video game surround sound so it will be output from the digital connection.
without that encoder, all you are going to get is stereo left and right.
if you want it to be different, then you need the encoder OR use the analog outputs.

that should totally wrap it up for you.
June 17, 2011 5:59:14 AM

* Read the whole thing.
I think you misunderstood, I probably wasn't clear, sorry.
I've heard that the sound quality on the ASRock isn't the best.
As I paid €170 for my headset, I'd like to have a soundcard with awesome
audio output, instead of crappy onboard sound..

But thanks anyways for the reply!
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June 17, 2011 12:41:00 PM

I'd not buy a soundcard because you wont see any improvements when using the digital outputs, with the digital out the soundcard is in your headset receiver, digital are just ones and zero's which gets processed by the soundcard but when using the digital output on the soundcard it will just get send to the machine that then processes the ones and zero's.
the quality they are talking about are the quality of the outputs on those 3.5mm jacks at the back which you wont be using.
June 17, 2011 4:32:12 PM

Ahh, I see now!
Thanks for saving me 50+ euros :p 

June 18, 2011 12:55:30 AM

as i said, there shouldnt be any problem with the sound quality from the onboard soundcard when you use the digital output.

but

you wont get sound from the rear speakers without the dolby or dts encoder, unless the game outputs dolby or dts already (and it would specifically say dolby or dts in the audio settings of the video game)

yes, you could save some money and buy the cheaper soundcard option.. because you dont need to pay extra for the enhanced audio quality from the analog connections.
all you need is the digital output and the encoder.

i already read the motherboard website page, and there isnt anything in detail about the encoder.
maybe i would need to read some more or specifically ask.
but
i wouldnt spend extra for the improved DACs on the soundcard if i wasnt going to be using them.

hopefully you are all cleared up now, except maybe still needing to know if your onboard soundcard does the encoding ... or which soundcard is going to do the encoding for you.
!