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Best sound card for music quality and gaming? Analog Stereo is all I need.

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hello,

Currently I am just using my onboard audio ports, and I am wondering which audio card today would provide me the best quality between music and games.

I use analog audio connections for my system, and I'd like to be able to hook my front panel audio ports to the sound card as well.

I'd prefer not to have to spend more than $300 for an audio card.

Thanks!
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The Blue Wolf
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post #2 of 14
On board is fine for your use. Doesn't sound like you have high end speaker. Onboards are amazing nowadays.
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post #3 of 14
Xonar ST.

You will notice a difference in any cheap pair of speakers/headset, but you will notice a bigger difference with quality speakers.

If you don't already have a good set of speakers, you should get quality speakers first, and then invest in a higher quality source later. You will notice a bigger difference this way. Recommendations Here under the speakers section.

Your welcome.
/thread
post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
Would the Xonar ST be a great choice or would I be better off with a good dedicated DAC to run off the onboard digital outputs? (I looked at the thread you linked and somewhere it mentioned to get a DAC for certain upper end cards)

My speakers are very well capable of producing high quality content, especially my Marantz HD88.

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The Blue Wolf
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post #5 of 14

The X-Fi Titanium HD would be your best bet I think. It sounds about perfect for what you want. But I encourage you to read reviews on it, as well as other cards in its range so that you can decide what is best for you.


My personal experience with this card has been great. You hear a lot of bad things about creative's drivers, but this card has not had those same problems with windows 7. The sound quality is incredible; it is a definite improvement from lesser X-Fi's and most certainly onboard audio.
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post #6 of 14
The Titanium HD will offer the best of both worlds, but at a $140 price tag. It doesn't seem to me that it would be an issue for you though. If you'd want to spend a little less, the Xonar DG/DS are the best cards at their price point by far.
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post #7 of 14
As you won't use the Dolby DSPs for movies, then the Titanium HD.
post #8 of 14
Wow those are some serious speakers.

Ugh i don't see why OCN forums recommend the Titanium HD. The "EFI" shield doesn't even work; its plastic. Compared to the Xonar ST's real metal EFI/RFI shield.

Even the Xonar ST is recommended over its cousin the STX due to less jitter.

To OP: Depends on your application. If mostly music you may want to look into external DACS. If using external DACs, you want to connect it via Coaxial. Coaxial is superior to optical and USB. If you dont have Coaxial, then optical is fine as long as your not running huge lengths of cable.

A great place to ask about External DAC's is head-fi.org's dedicated source forum.

If equal mix of music and gaming, just go for the Xonar ST :].

Also, its important for you to know that CD audio quality is much better than MP3, and you should be using Foobar 2000 as your player. It has much better sound quality than Itunes, ect.
Edited by xaborus - 7/29/11 at 8:37am
post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by xaborus View Post
Wow those are some serious speakers.
Quite impressive for speakers that are 35 years old, don't you think?

Quote:
Originally Posted by xaborus View Post
Ugh i don't see why OCN forums recommend the Titanium HD. The "EFI" shield doesn't even work; its plastic. Compared to the Xonar ST's real metal EFI/RFI shield.

Even the Xonar ST is recommended over its cousin the STX due to less jitter.

To OP: Depends on your application. If mostly music you may want to look into external DACS. If using external DACs, you want to connect it via Coaxial. Coaxial is superior to optical and USB. If you dont have Coaxial, then optical is fine as long as your not running huge lengths of cable.

A great place to ask about External DAC's is head-fi.org's dedicated source forum.

If equal mix of music and gaming, just go for the Xonar ST :].

Also, its important for you to know that CD audio quality is much better than MP3, and you should be using Foobar 2000 as your player. It has much better sound quality than Itunes, ect.
Hmm, yeah, I go either CD or use Exact Audio Copy to transfer my CD's to FLAC for my needs on the computer.

Well, both cards are mighty tempting, though the Asus is looking good.
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The Blue Wolf
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post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by xaborus View Post
Wow those are some serious speakers.

Ugh i don't see why OCN forums recommend the Titanium HD. The "EFI" shield doesn't even work; its plastic. Compared to the Xonar ST's real metal EFI/RFI shield.

Even the Xonar ST is recommended over its cousin the STX due to less jitter.

To OP: Depends on your application. If mostly music you may want to look into external DACS. If using external DACs, you want to connect it via Coaxial. Coaxial is superior to optical and USB. If you dont have Coaxial, then optical is fine as long as your not running huge lengths of cable.

A great place to ask about External DAC's is head-fi.org's dedicated source forum.

If equal mix of music and gaming, just go for the Xonar ST :].

Also, its important for you to know that CD audio quality is much better than MP3, and you should be using Foobar 2000 as your player. It has much better sound quality than Itunes, ect.
The HD is recommended because it's usually cheaper than the Essence cards, and is generally regarded as equally good in music/better in games. The only thing the STX/ST has going for it would be the amp.
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