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Recommendation for a high-end sound card

post #1 of 26
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First off, when it comes to audio I'm usually willing to pay for high quality. I am acustomed to listening to high quality sound, but I've neglected this experience on my computer. My music listening rig consists of Senn HD 650's, a tube amp and a dual 192KHz DAC CD player. This means that the PC sound card will not be my primary audio listening rig.

The main purpose will be for gaming and the occasional listening to music (often via high quality cans).

I looked at the creative website. I see the following choices for me:
X-Fi Elite Pro - most expensive @ $279
X-Fi Fatal1ty
X-Fi Xtremegamer Fatal1ty series
X-Fi Xtremegamer

My first inclination is to get the Elite pro with the assumption that this one does everything better than the other cards. From an audio expense point of view (and audiophiles on this forum will understand), $279 is nothing. I spent $150 just on my headphone cables. Having said that, I am not one that likes to spend without getting some gain.

I see that the elite pro comes with an external control box which seems quitee appealing since I can place this next to my monitor for example.

Any thoughts or suggestions?
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post #2 of 26
The Elite Pro will have the best sound, no doubt.
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post #3 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by selectodude View Post
The Elite Pro will have the best sound, no doubt.
Wrong, All the X-Fi packages have the same audio quality.

Some have X-RAM, some do not. But they are the same audio quality. The other packages just include other things.

If you dont want X-RAM or the front bay drive, get the cheapest X-fi you can.

If you only want the X-RAM get the Gamer.

If you want the front bay and the X-RAM get the Fatal1ty.

If you want the external and the X-RAM get the Elite Pro.
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post #4 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Murlocke View Post
Wrong, All the X-Fi packages have the same audio quality.

Some have X-RAM, some do not. But they are the same audio quality. The other packages just include other things.

If you dont want X-RAM or the front bay drive, get the cheapest X-fi you can.

If you only want the X-RAM get the Gamer.

If you want the front bay and the X-RAM get the Fatal1ty.

If you want the external and the X-RAM get the Elite Pro.
Does the X-RAM just take off the load from your system RAM?

Oh, and being that you're saying basically the sound is the same on all of them, would you go with the Xtreme music or the game? [sorry for hijack]
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post #5 of 26
Theres I think 3 games that work with the X-ram, there might be a bit more.

It rarely gets used, and some people believe that no other games will support X-RAM. I believe that any game that says "Sounds Best On X-FI" is gonna support X-RAM. Might be wrong.
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post #6 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Murlocke View Post
Wrong, All the X-Fi packages have the same audio quality.
Thanks. That certainly helps with the decision. I like the idea of the front panel or external box simply because I can simultaneousl connect my speakers to the back of the card and when I plug in my HP, it should cut the signal to the speakers. Does anyone know if this is not the case?

Currently I am leaning towards the Fatal1ity version which has the front panel. Currently has a $50 MIR!! Seems like a great deal. The newer Xtremegamer Fatal1ty version does not have a front panel.

BTW, I took a quick look at the E-MU systems. Man - they are amazing. They even have the balanced I/O. I'm not considering these simply because I would rather buy a HP amp with such features.
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post #7 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Murlocke View Post
Wrong, All the X-Fi packages have the same audio quality.

Some have X-RAM, some do not. But they are the same audio quality. The other packages just include other things.

If you dont want X-RAM or the front bay drive, get the cheapest X-fi you can.

If you only want the X-RAM get the Gamer.

If you want the front bay and the X-RAM get the Fatal1ty.

If you want the external and the X-RAM get the Elite Pro.
No dude, the Elite Pro has better drivers tuned for sound quality. Also, you get the breakout box.
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post #8 of 26
Thread Starter 
What about the Audigy 4 Pro. Its currently got a $150 instant saving from newegg. Its $119 : see here. "Seems" like a great deal. Is it possible that these cards will have issues with Vista and thus are being discounted heavily??

I read a lot of customer reviews complaining about sound issues (popping) with the X-fi cards.
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post #9 of 26
I have an x-fi. I didnt use cd drivers, I have the nforce 4sli chipset and it hasent popped or hissed yet even on my 1970's 700W amp it sounds great.
    
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post #10 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by sti_boy View Post
What about the Audigy 4 Pro. Its currently got a $150 instant saving from newegg. Its $119 : see here. "Seems" like a great deal. Is it possible that these cards will have issues with Vista and thus are being discounted heavily??

I read a lot of customer reviews complaining about sound issues (popping) with the X-fi cards.
As far as I know, the Audigy 4 Pro is just a rebadged version of the Audigy 2 ZS, only with a breakout box. But, seeing as it does have the box and is currently cheaper than the ZS (before rebates), it's a good buy. Great card.
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