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Should I Upgrade My Speakers Or Sound Card?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Planning on building a new setup for my room sometime in the near future. I'm currently running the Logitech Z-5500's to onboard using analog. I'm only using the two front satellites, center, and the sub. I've skipped the two rear surrounds because I don't have enough room for them.

My usage for the speakers primarily is for music, followed by gaming, and them movies. Looking for more mid-range and clarity and at the moment I just don't have either or those. I know that these speakers aren't that great. Should I just move over to a budget receiver setup and run optical out from my PC or should I just get a sound card?
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post #2 of 8
If you're serious about getting the best quality and clarity, you won't be finding them in the Z5500s, so that kills the sound card route. I would sell the Z5500s, try to get back as much as you can out of them, buy a solid 2.1 or 2.0 set up and an external DAC or sound card.

Don't know your budget, so will hold off on recommendations til specified.
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post #3 of 8
It is true that the Z-5500s are not the greatest of speakers but you would certainly notice a big difference in quality if you were to purchase a sound card. If you don't intend to get a nice set of speakers/headphones in the near future than a budget card is probably the way to go. Here is a link to the Asus Xonar DS. $56.68 shipped but there is a $10 mail in rebate as well.
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post #4 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zulli85 View Post
It is true that the Z-5500s are not the greatest of speakers but you would certainly notice a big difference in quality if you were to purchase a sound card. If you don't intend to get a nice set of speakers/headphones in the near future than a budget card is probably the way to go. Here is a link to the Asus Xonar DS. $56.68 shipped but there is a $10 mail in rebate as well.
He would notice an improvement over on board with a sound card, but he'd be better off with better speakers.

That said if he really wanted a sound card the Xonar DX is on sale for 30 dollars on amazon.
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post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
I've had these Z5500's for a long time. And looking for something with more clarity. I don't know what my budget is at the moment. It's just that I know that in the near future I'll be getting something with better sound quality. That's why I was asking if i'll get clearer music running a mid-range budget receiver and speakers connected to onboard using digital out or just getting another sound card.
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post #6 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Simca View Post
He would notice an improvement over on board with a sound card, but he'd be better off with better speakers.

That said if he really wanted a sound card the Xonar DX is on sale for 30 dollars on amazon.
I disagree. Regardless of the new headphones/speakers that he buys the onboard will still hold him back badly. It is worth the money to get a new, affordable sound card.

Quote:
Originally Posted by xP_0nex View Post
I've had these Z5500's for a long time. And looking for something with more clarity. I don't know what my budget is at the moment. It's just that I know that in the near future I'll be getting something with better sound quality. That's why I was asking if i'll get clearer music running a mid-range budget receiver and speakers connected to onboard using digital out or just getting another sound card.
Clarity will be greatly increased with a sound card, even with your Z-5500s.
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post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
What's the difference between connecting using digital out and analog? If I understand correctly then connecting it using digital would mean that the DAC within the control pod would be processing the signal and with analog that means the DAC within the sound card would process the signal and send them to the speakers. So if I understand this right then getting a expensive sound card and running digital would be useless. And you would want connect the speakers using analog.
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post #8 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zulli85 View Post
I disagree. Regardless of the new headphones/speakers that he buys the onboard will still hold him back badly. It is worth the money to get a new, affordable sound card.



Clarity will be greatly increased with a sound card, even with your Z-5500s.
You're right, but the problem with getting a sound card now is when he buys his speakers. Who knows how much he'll be dropping on his speakers and if the speakers are really good, then the sound card he buys may be trash for them and now he's spending money on a sound card and speakers later? He'll be spending more money in the long run that way.

If his speakers are that good later on, he may not even want a sound card at all. He may want a receiver or external DAC.

Quote:
Originally Posted by xP_0nex View Post
What's the difference between connecting using digital out and analog? If I understand correctly then connecting it using digital would mean that the DAC within the control pod would be processing the signal and with analog that means the DAC within the sound card would process the signal and send them to the speakers. So if I understand this right then getting a expensive sound card and running digital would be useless. And you would want connect the speakers using analog.
If you can, use the digital out. It bypasses the DAC of your on board. There's no conversion required. Only way to get clearer music is with an external card that also has digital output, but less interference.
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