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General questions!

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
So I am in a bit of a lul at the moment for buying computer parts. Basically I'm waiting for the new 600 series nvidia cards to come out and Ivy Bridge next year. I have actually been looking at sound cards as of lately so I have a couple questions. I apologize if some of these questions are super silly but I don't consider myself an audiophile

1. Are sound cards really that much better than the onboard sound?

2. How important are speakers to a sound card? For example I have 2.1 Insignia speakers.

3. Do I need 5.1 to take advantage of everything sounding amazing (my room doesn't really allow for a "normal" 5.1 setup)

4. Would I be blown away if I got a new sound card with my current speakers? I honestly am not sure how much better it would sound for me since I am so used to what I have it's something I never really thought about.

Just looking at some general information before I dump some more money into my machine. Basically I do a lot of gaming and listen to music while playing my MMO of choice.
post #2 of 19
I think I can answer all of this by just saying that I think it depends on whether or not you can hear differences between like say a 128kbps MP3 and FLAC. I mean, there will definitely be a big improvement, but not everyone can hear it even though it's there.

I think it's easier to hear the differences if you are a detail-oriented person. For example, I can focus on the quality of the low end, the low mids, the mids, the high mids and the highs - all one by one as I'm just sitting there enjoying a song. I can also focuso on other details, like only the "sound stage". Although I never used to know that it was called the "sound stage". I just made up a term, like "stereo image" or something.

Other people don't "hear" these things. Instead, they think their song sounds pretty much identical between low quality onboard audio and a high-end sound card because all they are really listening to is what they care about: the song itself. Me? I care about the audio quality too, so I hear the differences.

Therefore, I think it comes down to whether or not you care about the quality of your audio and not just that it functions.



Edit: it's like following the local bands with a large group of friends. At some venues, the audio quality will be absolutely amazing with extremely awesome low end and very clear mids and highs. Other places it won't be so impressive. Out of this large group of friends, I would usually be the only one who notices. I mean, instead of only focusing on what the band is playing, I'm also hearing the quality of the sound.
Edited by TwoCables - 10/30/11 at 10:28am
It's a computer!
(19 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i5-2500K @ 4.5GHz (1.368-1.384V fixed voltage) ASUS P8P67 EVO B3 (UEFI ver. 1850) GTX 780 ASUS DirectCU II (1228 / 6300, 1.180V) G.SKILL Ripjaws X 8GB (2 x 4GB) 1866MHz, CL9 
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Filco Majestouch 104-key Cherry MX Blues w/NKRO Corsair HX650 (Bronze, ordered on 12-12-2009) CM 690 Intellimouse Optical (1.1A) 1000Hz polling rate 
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It's a computer!
(19 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i5-2500K @ 4.5GHz (1.368-1.384V fixed voltage) ASUS P8P67 EVO B3 (UEFI ver. 1850) GTX 780 ASUS DirectCU II (1228 / 6300, 1.180V) G.SKILL Ripjaws X 8GB (2 x 4GB) 1866MHz, CL9 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
250 GB Samsung 840 EVO (C:\) 250 GB Samsung 840 EVO (D:\) 150 GB WD VelociRaptor Samsung SH-S243N 24x DVD Burner 
Optical DriveCoolingOSMonitor
Samsung SH-S203N 20X DVD Burner Thermaltake Frio Win 7 Home Premium x64 SP1 Retail AOC G2460PG (24" 1920 x 1080 144Hz G-SYNC) 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Filco Majestouch 104-key Cherry MX Blues w/NKRO Corsair HX650 (Bronze, ordered on 12-12-2009) CM 690 Intellimouse Optical (1.1A) 1000Hz polling rate 
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post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 
I can't escape you TC! haha.

Honestly tho I'm starting to tap into my inner gamer more and more. I'm starting to want to go beyond function for audio and get to quality. I am just not sure if I will hear it or not. An example would be, I listened to my ipod with the generic earbuds they give you and my buddy let me listen to my ipod with his 400$ Dr.Dre beats headphones and the quality was 100x better it was almost unreal.

My biggest concern of would it be a waste of money to buy a quality soundcard with my Insigia computer speakers? I have a corner desk so I am not sure 5.1 would sound normal on it (I have no place for speakers behind my head)
post #4 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by crabby654 View Post
I can't escape you TC! haha.

Honestly tho I'm starting to tap into my inner gamer more and more. I'm starting to want to go beyond function for audio and get to quality. I am just not sure if I will hear it or not. An example would be, I listened to my ipod with the generic earbuds they give you and my buddy let me listen to my ipod with his 400$ Dr.Dre beats headphones and the quality was 100x better it was almost unreal.

My biggest concern of would it be a waste of money to buy a quality soundcard with my Insigia computer speakers? I have a corner desk so I am not sure 5.1 would sound normal on it (I have no place for speakers behind my head)
hehe it's like I'm stalking you, ain't it?

Anyway, I don't know the answer, but I just saw the specifications and I can see now why you're concerned. I mean 8W per Satellite but only 4.4W for the subwoofer?

The worst part is the subwoofer's frequency response: it can only go down to 90Hz according to the specs. For reference, 60-65Hz is the typical frequency of most bass drums in modern music. So I imagine that these speakers have a poor sound and they probably sound cheap and boomy. Of course, I don't know for sure. Although, and of course, the frequency response is not the only thing to go by: there's also the quality of the speaker itself, the cabinet, the acoustic design, etc.

So maybe you're right that a speaker upgrade would be first before getting a sound card. However, I don't know what speakers are good these days.
It's a computer!
(19 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i5-2500K @ 4.5GHz (1.368-1.384V fixed voltage) ASUS P8P67 EVO B3 (UEFI ver. 1850) GTX 780 ASUS DirectCU II (1228 / 6300, 1.180V) G.SKILL Ripjaws X 8GB (2 x 4GB) 1866MHz, CL9 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
250 GB Samsung 840 EVO (C:\) 250 GB Samsung 840 EVO (D:\) 150 GB WD VelociRaptor Samsung SH-S243N 24x DVD Burner 
Optical DriveCoolingOSMonitor
Samsung SH-S203N 20X DVD Burner Thermaltake Frio Win 7 Home Premium x64 SP1 Retail AOC G2460PG (24" 1920 x 1080 144Hz G-SYNC) 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Filco Majestouch 104-key Cherry MX Blues w/NKRO Corsair HX650 (Bronze, ordered on 12-12-2009) CM 690 Intellimouse Optical (1.1A) 1000Hz polling rate 
Mouse PadAudioAudio
Basic, but premium round X-Fi Titanium HD Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 (with 16 AWG Monster Cable... 
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It's a computer!
(19 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i5-2500K @ 4.5GHz (1.368-1.384V fixed voltage) ASUS P8P67 EVO B3 (UEFI ver. 1850) GTX 780 ASUS DirectCU II (1228 / 6300, 1.180V) G.SKILL Ripjaws X 8GB (2 x 4GB) 1866MHz, CL9 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
250 GB Samsung 840 EVO (C:\) 250 GB Samsung 840 EVO (D:\) 150 GB WD VelociRaptor Samsung SH-S243N 24x DVD Burner 
Optical DriveCoolingOSMonitor
Samsung SH-S203N 20X DVD Burner Thermaltake Frio Win 7 Home Premium x64 SP1 Retail AOC G2460PG (24" 1920 x 1080 144Hz G-SYNC) 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Filco Majestouch 104-key Cherry MX Blues w/NKRO Corsair HX650 (Bronze, ordered on 12-12-2009) CM 690 Intellimouse Optical (1.1A) 1000Hz polling rate 
Mouse PadAudioAudio
Basic, but premium round X-Fi Titanium HD Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 (with 16 AWG Monster Cable... 
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post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 
Oi so much to consider for a sound newb like myself ><. I mean I'd like to say these speakers sound alright? but I've had them for a couple years so I am really not sure anymore. They sound better than my 1994 Oldsmobile speakers O.o haha.

Maybe I should look for a decent 2.1 system, I'd love to get 5.1 but I don't think I'd have the space for the back 2 anywhere at all.

Edit: these are my speakers http://insigniaproducts.com/products...l?noquery=null
post #6 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by crabby654 View Post
Oi so much to consider for a sound newb like myself ><. I mean I'd like to say these speakers sound alright? but I've had them for a couple years so I am really not sure anymore. They sound better than my 1994 Oldsmobile speakers O.o haha.

Maybe I should look for a decent 2.1 system, I'd love to get 5.1 but I don't think I'd have the space for the back 2 anywhere at all.

Edit: these are my speakers http://insigniaproducts.com/products...l?noquery=null
Now those definitely look like they sound halfway decent! So y'know, I think you would definitely notice a difference with a decent sound card (even the XtremeGamer!).
It's a computer!
(19 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i5-2500K @ 4.5GHz (1.368-1.384V fixed voltage) ASUS P8P67 EVO B3 (UEFI ver. 1850) GTX 780 ASUS DirectCU II (1228 / 6300, 1.180V) G.SKILL Ripjaws X 8GB (2 x 4GB) 1866MHz, CL9 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
250 GB Samsung 840 EVO (C:\) 250 GB Samsung 840 EVO (D:\) 150 GB WD VelociRaptor Samsung SH-S243N 24x DVD Burner 
Optical DriveCoolingOSMonitor
Samsung SH-S203N 20X DVD Burner Thermaltake Frio Win 7 Home Premium x64 SP1 Retail AOC G2460PG (24" 1920 x 1080 144Hz G-SYNC) 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Filco Majestouch 104-key Cherry MX Blues w/NKRO Corsair HX650 (Bronze, ordered on 12-12-2009) CM 690 Intellimouse Optical (1.1A) 1000Hz polling rate 
Mouse PadAudioAudio
Basic, but premium round X-Fi Titanium HD Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 (with 16 AWG Monster Cable... 
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Reply
It's a computer!
(19 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i5-2500K @ 4.5GHz (1.368-1.384V fixed voltage) ASUS P8P67 EVO B3 (UEFI ver. 1850) GTX 780 ASUS DirectCU II (1228 / 6300, 1.180V) G.SKILL Ripjaws X 8GB (2 x 4GB) 1866MHz, CL9 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
250 GB Samsung 840 EVO (C:\) 250 GB Samsung 840 EVO (D:\) 150 GB WD VelociRaptor Samsung SH-S243N 24x DVD Burner 
Optical DriveCoolingOSMonitor
Samsung SH-S203N 20X DVD Burner Thermaltake Frio Win 7 Home Premium x64 SP1 Retail AOC G2460PG (24" 1920 x 1080 144Hz G-SYNC) 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Filco Majestouch 104-key Cherry MX Blues w/NKRO Corsair HX650 (Bronze, ordered on 12-12-2009) CM 690 Intellimouse Optical (1.1A) 1000Hz polling rate 
Mouse PadAudioAudio
Basic, but premium round X-Fi Titanium HD Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 (with 16 AWG Monster Cable... 
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Reply
post #7 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by crabby654 View Post
So I am in a bit of a lul at the moment for buying computer parts. Basically I'm waiting for the new 600 series nvidia cards to come out and Ivy Bridge next year. I have actually been looking at sound cards as of lately so I have a couple questions. I apologize if some of these questions are super silly but I don't consider myself an audiophile

1. Are sound cards really that much better than the onboard sound?

They are, but if your only gaming it's not noticeable for the most part. More beneficial if your an audiophile and your really serious about your music.

2. How important are speakers to a sound card? For example I have 2.1 Insignia speakers.

Speakers are very important, but you'd be surprised on how well cheap solutions perform against much more expensive alternatives.

3. Do I need 5.1 to take advantage of everything sounding amazing (my room doesn't really allow for a "normal" 5.1 setup)

Not really, like me 5.1 surround is a pain to setup correctly due to speaker placement with a computer. It just looks an untidy mess in my opinion. Many 2.1 setups do very well indeed, 5.1 isn't a neccessity anymore unless you spend a lot of time watching movies on your computer. 2.1 is ideal for gaming and most music. Plus a lot of 5.1 speakers are very cheaply constructed, and are rivalled by far superior 2.1 alternatives.

4. Would I be blown away if I got a new sound card with my current speakers? I honestly am not sure how much better it would sound for me since I am so used to what I have it's something I never really thought about.

This is only something you personally would only recognise, for me i've not noticed a difference in what i do compared to onboard sound. But i'm mostly a gamer and not a serious audiophile either.

Just looking at some general information before I dump some more money into my machine. Basically I do a lot of gaming and listen to music while playing my MMO of choice.

Just me 2cents.
 
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Intel Core i7-6950X @ 4.0Ghz Asus Rampage V Extreme [Bios:3101] 2x EVGA GeForce Titan X SC Editions in SLI 32GB (4×8) Corsair Dominator Platinums (3000Mhz) 
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X79 Build
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i7-6950X @ 4.0Ghz Asus Rampage V Extreme [Bios:3101] 2x EVGA GeForce Titan X SC Editions in SLI 32GB (4×8) Corsair Dominator Platinums (3000Mhz) 
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CoolingOSMonitorPower
Corsair H105 (Push/Pull) Windows 10 Pro x64 2x 27" Asus PG278Q ROG Swift 144hz  Corsair AX1500i Digital ATX 80 Plus Titanium 
CaseAudio
Lian Li PC-O8WX ATX Cube Case Logitech Z906 5.1 Surround 
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Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
2x 256GB OCZ Vertex 4's (RAID-0) 2x 2TB Seagate Barracuda 7200.14 64MB Cache Pioneer BDR-207DBK Blu-ray Writer Corsair H105 (Push/Pull) 
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post #8 of 19
I'm not an audiophile by any means, but I notice a massive difference between onboard and my XtremeGamer. I'm just the kind of person who can't help but notice details.
It's a computer!
(19 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i5-2500K @ 4.5GHz (1.368-1.384V fixed voltage) ASUS P8P67 EVO B3 (UEFI ver. 1850) GTX 780 ASUS DirectCU II (1228 / 6300, 1.180V) G.SKILL Ripjaws X 8GB (2 x 4GB) 1866MHz, CL9 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
250 GB Samsung 840 EVO (C:\) 250 GB Samsung 840 EVO (D:\) 150 GB WD VelociRaptor Samsung SH-S243N 24x DVD Burner 
Optical DriveCoolingOSMonitor
Samsung SH-S203N 20X DVD Burner Thermaltake Frio Win 7 Home Premium x64 SP1 Retail AOC G2460PG (24" 1920 x 1080 144Hz G-SYNC) 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Filco Majestouch 104-key Cherry MX Blues w/NKRO Corsair HX650 (Bronze, ordered on 12-12-2009) CM 690 Intellimouse Optical (1.1A) 1000Hz polling rate 
Mouse PadAudioAudio
Basic, but premium round X-Fi Titanium HD Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 (with 16 AWG Monster Cable... 
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It's a computer!
(19 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i5-2500K @ 4.5GHz (1.368-1.384V fixed voltage) ASUS P8P67 EVO B3 (UEFI ver. 1850) GTX 780 ASUS DirectCU II (1228 / 6300, 1.180V) G.SKILL Ripjaws X 8GB (2 x 4GB) 1866MHz, CL9 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
250 GB Samsung 840 EVO (C:\) 250 GB Samsung 840 EVO (D:\) 150 GB WD VelociRaptor Samsung SH-S243N 24x DVD Burner 
Optical DriveCoolingOSMonitor
Samsung SH-S203N 20X DVD Burner Thermaltake Frio Win 7 Home Premium x64 SP1 Retail AOC G2460PG (24" 1920 x 1080 144Hz G-SYNC) 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Filco Majestouch 104-key Cherry MX Blues w/NKRO Corsair HX650 (Bronze, ordered on 12-12-2009) CM 690 Intellimouse Optical (1.1A) 1000Hz polling rate 
Mouse PadAudioAudio
Basic, but premium round X-Fi Titanium HD Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 (with 16 AWG Monster Cable... 
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Reply
post #9 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thank you both for the input I may take a peak at sound cards, look for some money to waste!
post #10 of 19
Thread Starter 
Bah well the X-FI xtremegamer is out of stock on Newegg. But other than that, with SLI on my motherboard the only slot open I see is the little PCIe on the top of all the cards.
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