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Best Sound Card For My Needs

post #1 of 53
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I'm thinking of finally moving on to a dedicated sound card. The majority of the time I'll be using a 2.1 speaker system, but I also have a pair of HD 448s that I use from time to time.

I'd like an affordable (under $100) card that will be a good balance between gaming and music, although if I have to lean towards better performance in one over the other, I would choose music.

Is the Xonar DG a good option? It caught my eye because of the low price, but I'd like some opinions on how it is for games and music and if there's a better card worth spending more on for my particular needs.

Thanks.
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post #2 of 53
Xonar's have, as of late been better than xi-fi models from creative. You can't go wrong with that card! It should definitely be better than the on-board sound on the mobo and should be good for a 2.1 setup.
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post #3 of 53
For you, specifically, I would recommend either card:

ASUS Xonar DX 7.1
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-006-_-Product

HT Omega Striker 7.1
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-001-_-Product

The ASUS Xonar DG is not as sophisticated as its bretheren but it should still be an upgrade over your standard Realtek Audios. Although, I have heard relatively good things about the latest Realteks integrated sound. They are catching up to mid-range sound cards for the majority of users.

The DG is PCI slot, not PCI-E, I believe though, just so you are aware.
Edited by RagingCain - 5/9/11 at 7:18am
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post #4 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by RagingCain View Post
For you, specifically, I would recommend either card:

ASUS Xonar DX 7.1
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-006-_-Product

HT Omega Striker 7.1
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-001-_-Product

The DG is PCI slot, not PCI-E, I believe though, just so you are aware.
Nice points
but i will absolutely get the DX why?:

DX has higher audio quality high (SnR 118db) while 107 for HT striker
sample rate/resolution @ 192khz even for multi channels outputs
has the GX2.5 that emulate Creaties EAX up to EAX5.0 (with really good results) while EAX2 for the Striker
and ASUS is known for its stable drivers and software and many reviews complained about the Striker`s software stability

frankly the Striker only beats the DX in some I/O ports has extra SPDIFs in/out which come in handy for more advanced audio setups thing that normal users don't use it much

and one more point ,as RagingCain siad ,the DX is PCIe while the Striker is PCI so if you are thinking about a card that will last in your rig in case you have updated to 2 GPUs then the Striker will have no place to install
so again i will say the go with the DX

hope that helped
    
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post #5 of 53
Asus Xonar DX (PCI-E), as newer motherboards come out, they should have more PCI-Express slots and less PCI slots, so as you upgrade in the future, the DX will have an available slot.
The DG (PCI) is still a good bang for the buck and should be ok as long as you just use a single graphics card. and use the money you save to get a cheap headphone hybrid tube amp. (from China, off eBay).
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post #6 of 53
Contrary to what the others say, I would not recommend a Xonar DX. I had one for a few weeks and I could only hear a difference in music in comparison to my onboard Realtek.

The music quality was really good, but if you want a mix of games too, I'd suggest this:
Creative 70SB088000004 Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium.

I bought this and am very pleased with the performance it gives in music and in games. It seems to emulate a 3d environment much better than the Xonar DX, so in games that'd be a nice feature to have.
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post #7 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kvjavs View Post
Contrary to what the others say, I would not recommend a Xonar DX. I had one for a few weeks and I could only hear a difference in music in comparison to my onboard Realtek.

The music quality was really good, but if you want a mix of games too, I'd suggest this:
Creative 70SB088000004 Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium.

I bought this and am very pleased with the performance it gives in music and in games. It seems to emulate a 3d environment much better than the Xonar DX, so in games that'd be a nice feature to have.
good also
but he said that he is into music more than gaming and the difference in music between the 2 cards is more clear than in gaming
in other words the DX beats the Titanium in in music with higher result than the Titainum beats the DX in gaming
not to forget also the horrible X-Fi drivers

sorry if i used wrong terms (bad english) but i hope you got the idea
    
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post #8 of 53
I recommend Asus Xonar D1 (PCI) or DX (PCI-E, needs a floppy conector) depending on your available slot. This card is far better then creative stuff starting on driver support, audio quality and interface of the drivers.
post #9 of 53
I do have to add, the Striker is also PCI, infact its a bit of the HT Omegas only downfall.

I used the high-end HT Omega Claro HALO + XT, in my personal opinion with my 300 ohm imp, HD 650s, it was a great deal, but a part of me always wanted to try the high end Xonars.

You see the trouble is, you can only get experience with them by paying for it first, there are reviews and such, but audio clarity is something you hear, not read.

If you are video gaming, and you want the best EAX on board processing, hands down, its the X-Fi series. I have no experience with the latest one HD audio, or Pro, whatever its called, its geared more towards music/theater audio, but still has all the gaming backup.

EVERY other card has to emulate the latest EAX 5.0 sound, so its not hardware driven, but software. So it is doable, just requires more CPU cycles.

IF you are into high-end audio, with clarity, and high sampling rates, do not get an X-Fi. They are not the best choice for this, and have some of the highest prices.

I have gotten used to it already, but X-Fis have notoriously un-updated drivers, remedied by Custom drivers called PAX Modified Creative Drivers. They work great, phenomenal even, updated on a monthly (or faster) basis. I think the last real driver update for all the unified Creative X-Fi drivers was July 2010. I understand if things aren't broke, don't fix it, but unfortunately, many things were broken, such as bass/equalizer issues, popping/crackling, feedback, white noise, and even BSODs. For the price you pay, you get the physical hardware, but the communication through drivers is something I would expect for a Chinese knock off Android phone bought off of eBay, thats just a bar of soap.

I do now have the cool new ASUS Thunderbolt, which is gaming network card / sound card all in one. I believe it has ASUS DX specs as well, I should be able to get to test it later today/tomorrow/Wed for ya, and give you a comparison, since I have owned all 3 brands in the last year.

I am still biased towards HT Omega branding, it is well engineered, the software works/no issues, even on Win7 (x64), and supports 300 imp. headphones, which is impressive for an internal DAC/OPAMP, in my opinion. So you must take my opinion with a grain of salt.

I believe, I don't know that much about it, the ASUS actually has a "better/superior" audio controller and many of them come with upgradeable OPAMPs, but I doubt the difference at the high-end level is something that can be easily seen (or heard) at this point.



Happy Hunting, and don't forget to post your choice you made here on the forums. These questions come up so often and people love looking back at other people's decisions.
Edited by RagingCain - 5/9/11 at 7:17am
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post #10 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by RagingCain View Post

IF you are into high-end audio, with clarity, and high sampling rates, do not get an X-Fi. They are not the best choice for this, and have some of the highest prices.

I have gotten used to it already, but X-Fis have notoriously un-updated drivers, remedied by Custom drivers called PAX Modified Creative Drivers. They work great, phenomenal even, updated on a monthly (or faster) basis. I think the last real driver update for all the unified Creative X-Fi drivers was July 2010. I understand if things aren't broke, don't fix it, but unfortunately, many things were broken, such as bass/equalizer issues, popping/crackling, feedback, white noise, and even BSODs. For the price you pay, you get the physical hardware, but the communication through drivers is something I would expect for a Chinese knock off Android phone bought off of eBay, thats just a bar of soap.
Totally False!

I would have agreed this statement had you have said it before the Release of the TITANIUM HD. Last Creative Driver was FEB 2011 BTW. All of the problems and negative points you listed are no longer valid anymore with creative's latest Card which includes Native WIN 7 x64 Drivers that they built from scratch.


Quote:
I am still biased towards HT Omega branding, it is well engineered, the software works/no issues, even on Win7 (x64), and supports 300 imp. headphones, which is impressive for an internal DAC/OPAMP, in my opinion. So you must take my opinion with a grain of salt.
Nothing impressive in comparison to todays high end sound cards, really OMEGA was good back when it first came out but the STX and TITANIUN HD offer better specs and features.
Edited by mim3tic - 5/9/11 at 3:38pm
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