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Do Soundcards Benefit Headphones or Speakers more?

Last response: in Home Audio
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January 5, 2012 10:16:06 AM

I have a 2.1 speaker system, as well as a Thermaltake Shock Gaming Headset. I want to plug one of them into my sound card and the other one into my onboard audio jack so that I can just switch between them through Windows instead of having to go to the back of my PC every time. Which one of these 2 audio products would benefit more from the Sound Card? I have a Creative Soundblaster Audigy. And also, so far I have not been able to notice a huge difference between onboard and dedicated sound as advertised. Is this normal?
January 5, 2012 10:30:54 AM

you might not notice a huge difference depending on what products you purchased. the biggest difference that you notice is most likely going to be the software drivers used and how you interact with them.

integrated sound cards can do perfectly fine, even more so on high end boards which come with a rather decent onboard setup. the only real reason to upgrade is for a different brand (easier to use drivers), upgrading to a professional level card (better quality) or you need a specialty product (headphone amp, optical output, etcetera)

what is the problem with just plugging in and unplugging your headphones? in the front port. they will automatically default to the active device. seems to me more of a pain to change it in windows all the time. but, to each their own.

i'd just put the 2.1 out the back, mic out the front. after all, you wont be touching the 2.1 cable at all.
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January 5, 2012 11:27:17 AM

my front panel audio is damaged so i can only use the back... anyways thanks for the help! my motherboard is an ASUS P8P67 PRO, how would the onboard audio on that motherboard compare to the Audigy sound card?
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January 5, 2012 5:28:31 PM

then use a 3.5mm extension cable... and plug the headphones in whenever you need to use them. not pretty but it works fine.

or hook the front port up internally to the soundcard via that same cable. more work but no visible cable from the front.

dont know.. i liked soundblaster software though.
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January 6, 2012 6:08:19 AM

I don't have any sound blaster software... not as far as i can tell. the eax surround settings and stuff are not supported in windows 7
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January 6, 2012 10:41:53 AM

sound blaster makes the audigy i thought? perhaps i was thinking of something else.

surely you installed the sound card drivers? that is what i meant by software.

granted i havent used soundblaster stuff for 5+ years (windows xp) i still remember it was better at the time then the others as far as user interface.

....

anyways if your front ports are broken you can get them to work. either by fixing them and hooking it up to the motherboard or by hooking them up to the card. your choice.
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January 6, 2012 10:48:20 AM

Yeah I installed the Creative software but every time I click on the Creative EAX settings it says the audio device is not supported... and btw the Audigy is the cheapest Sound Blaster card and does not support front panel audio
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January 6, 2012 2:56:24 PM

try to download the most up to date drivers. windows 7 has been out for awhile now....there should be a compatable version by now.

no..what i meant was to plug the 3.5mm extender cable into the headphone jack on the card (exterior) and route it through a hole in the back (or pop out a pci plate) and through the inside then hook it up to the front port by either soldering the connection up or somehow removing the existing plug and getting the new one to stay in place.

not pretty, but it is a solution. personally if it was broken i'd just run a cable external to the box and deal with it.
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January 6, 2012 11:25:17 PM

okay, thanks for the help! so the final question, do headphones or speakers benefit more from a sound card?
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January 10, 2012 6:01:28 PM

both.

if you want a better answer then pick whichever one you use more or whichever one you feel sounds better.
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January 11, 2012 8:34:55 AM

i still can't tell the difference between onboard and dedicated... in fact dedicated sounds even worse for games... :( 
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