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Thread: Best Sound Card, Confusion!




  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Posts
    4

    Default Best Sound Card, Confusion!

    I'm currently looking for a top of the line sound card, price being no issue. I've done some research but I'm somewhat unfamiliar with the audiophile vocabulary and some of the terms are alien to me. So I reach out and hopefully I can get some good advice, perhaps mildly decrypted. A card that preferably doesn't just suit one niche of sound enhancement, e.g. stereo support and lacks in multichannel 5.1/7.1 options and gives games quality sound as well as other media. I'll give you a few cards that I believe are market leaders, tell me what you think/know any ideas or suggestions would be appreciated. Please don't your card, and tell me its the best simply because you have it, unless your well informed and it is actually so.

    Basically I want the best of both worlds, Gaming & Media. If DX2 should be here too say so. I listed some of my sound and PC at the bottom if it helps at all.

    ASUS Xonar Essence STX - Sound output mode Stereo?

    Somewhat confused about the STX, and it's output mode, apparently it obviously output in other modes, as you would expect from top of the line sound card, but its Stereo main? I assume it emulates 5.1/7.1? Is this a audiophile card for playback/recording of tracks for the most perfect quality play of audio marvels? My main quarrel is the components from the capacitors to the chip's are all VERY VERY high quality on this card, all of the best components that the audio community rage on about in one card, it's even suggested that this card is superior to many professional studio set-ups. Obviously has optical/coax and other connection types. I'm very confused...


    www.asus.com.au/products.aspx?l1=2 [...] odelmenu=1


    ASUS Xonar HDAV1.3 Deluxe - 7.1 channel surround ?

    This seems to be the select card any cinema rig, supporting everything audio has to offer. It seems like the safe bet to me for all round usage for gaming and media. The question is, could there be another card that much better for gaming that this is inferior? Both cards run the same main chip I believe, other features I'm not so familiar with... yes I have seen benchmarks but my lack of audio knowledge doesn't assist me in analysing them.


    www.asus.com.au/products.aspx?l1=2 [...] odelmenu=2


    BOTH support latest EAX I believe


    If it helps I will be using, Tritton AX Pro headphones, and already have Logitech z5500.

    Core i7 920
    ASUS P6T Deluxe

    I play many games, FPS, MMO etc, I like to watch movies too, all kinds. I don't mind if one costs more, or if there is another better setup with one of these cards and some other device..

    Thanks! [/SIZE][/FONT]

    <!-- / message -->
    Last edited by Myles.s2a; 07-29-2009 at 08:04 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Hicksville, USA
    Posts
    67

    Default Re: Best Sound Card, Confusion!

    Have you considered HT Omega's line of cards.

    I know they don't go beyond EAX 2 or so but game music is compressed usually anyways and if you're more gearing towards music and sound itself and interested in becoming an audiophile their boards are well.... you have to have one and hear it to believe them.

    Granted I never had one of the AV200 Asus boards which those use right? I had some issues with an ASUS av100 so I was hesitant about the av200 being better and decided to go HT Omega and it decodes like everything, everything audio anyways lol.

    I own; just bought for my new build I'm trying to finish the HT Omega Claro Halo XT. I had an earlier one in my older system it was absolutely stunning how pristine and so spacious and immersive the sound was, even on basic logitech 2.1s lol. Now the new one on my Onkyo Receiver and enthusiast sound system I'm sure it'll be like nothing else.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    71

    Default Re: Best Sound Card, Confusion!

    This may not be high end enough for you but I'll give it a shot. I went with the PCI Express Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Professional Series. It sounds amazing and supports digital outputs. I must warn you this is almost like the Vista of sound cards (Check some reviews). Some people have driver issues or just install incorrectly. Don't get me wrong this is a great sound card. In my own experience I had little to no issues with this card and most were due to my error. Despite some reviews I got this sound card anyway convinced I could get it to work properly.

    I have no regrets about my purchase. Everything works perfect and the sound is very pleasing in both headphones and my 5.1 home theater system.
    Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-EX58-UD4P. Bios ver. F13
    CPU: Intel i7 920 C0 3.8Ghz
    RAM: 3x2GB Corsair Dominator DDR3 1600 TR3X6G1600C8D 8-8-8-24-1T
    Sound card: PCI Express Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Professional Series
    Graphics card: EVGA GTX 480 SC in SLI
    PSU: CORSAIR HX1000w
    HDD: 2x SSD Intel x25-M 80GB G2 Raid 0/ 2x Seagate 1.5 TB Raid 1
    Case: Cooler Master Cosmos 1000
    Operating System: Windows 7 x64 Home Premium
    DVD/CD-ROM Drives:LG HL-DT-ST BD-RE BH08LS20, PIONEER DVD-RW DVR-218L
    Keyboard: Logitech G19
    Mouse: Logitech G9
    Liquid Cooling: Koolance CPU-360, 2x VID-NX480, Koolance copper 360 radiator, Reservoir and Pump RP-1000BK Silver

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Hicksville, USA
    Posts
    67

    Default Re: Best Sound Card, Confusion!

    Quote Originally Posted by Gokuboo View Post
    This may not be high end enough for you but I'll give it a shot. I went with the PCI Express Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Professional Series. It sounds amazing and supports digital outputs. I must warn you this is almost like the Vista of sound cards (Check some reviews). Some people have driver issues or just install incorrectly. Don't get me wrong this is a great sound card. In my own experience I had little to no issues with this card and most were due to my error. Despite some reviews I got this sound card anyway convinced I could get it to work properly.

    I have no regrets about my purchase. Everything works perfect and the sound is very pleasing in both headphones and my 5.1 home theater system.
    I don't think that's a bad sound card, I'm more an audio enthusiast/audiophile whatever you wanna call me. I like my sound to be pure and unadulterated that's why I went with HT Omega instead of Creatives line. They do sound really nice, sure and the fact the OP is into games too he may opt for the lesser sound quality for better support for game sounds. Minimal here is not a de facto standard as some can't tell the difference. If you're ears aren't trained to tell and you don't see the difference in an M-Audio, HT Omega or enthusiast sound board it's a waste of money to buy. The fact he was considering ASUS boards says audio matters and that he wants higher grade.

    As I said, most games use compressed music anyways so having TOO good a card is a bad thing and it'll sound bad. Most people return enthusiast boards thinking they got a lemon or it's not living up to hype, alas not always true. The truth is it's not compensating or "covering" the holes or bad artifacts with some crafty DSP work it basically shows you what it really is or in this case it makes you hear it for what it really is. Keep in mind buying a top tier sound board you need equal if not higher quality speakers. No matter how amazing your sound processor is if you give it sub par speakers... well you get my point.

    It comes down to does the OP use EAX enhancements in games or not if not then I'd go for the ASUS or an HT Omega board if yes.... well Creative is pretty much you're only bet if you want the latest and greatest EAX.

    Something also to consider if your ears aren't trained it honestly is a waste to buy the board I mentioned or one of equal quality. Same thing with video. If your eyes aren't trained to notice the differences between an H/S-IPS 1600+ monitor or 200TN then why spend all that money.

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