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Am I missing out on affordable sound quality? - Page 3

post #21 of 26
Thread Starter 
OK thanks everyone,
So at this point I am pricing out good 5.1 or 7.1 speakers first. If they still don't sound better I will look into a better sound card second.

What should I go with for good speakers ("good" as in better than my Creative Inspire 5200 5.1 surround speakers) and what should I be expecting to pay for that type of upgrade? Can I keep it under $150 or will I be looking to spend more for better sound quality?

Thanks
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My System
(15 items)
 
HTPC
(8 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i7 2600K Gigabyte Z68X-UD3H-B3 MSI GTX480 Lightning 8GB Patriot G2 Series Division DDR3 @ 9-9-9-24 ... 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveOS
10TB 7500RPM SATA3 64GB Crucial M4 CT064M4SSD2 (Boot Drive) Lite-On IHAS124-04 DVD RW Windows 10 Ultimate 64-bit 
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Dual Screen (x2) Dell UltraSharp U2412M 24" IPS... Apple Keyboard (A1243) Antec Truepower New 650W Modular Corsair Carbide Series 500R 
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post #22 of 26

I dunno, I still say that you'd be happier with a good sound card first and then good speakers later.

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post #23 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by revlimiter View Post

OK thanks everyone,
So at this point I am pricing out good 5.1 or 7.1 speakers first. If they still don't sound better I will look into a better sound card second.

What should I go with for good speakers ("good" as in better than my Creative Inspire 5200 5.1 surround speakers) and what should I be expecting to pay for that type of upgrade? Can I keep it under $150 or will I be looking to spend more for better sound quality?

Thanks

I don't think you'd get anything better than your Creative Inspire 5200 for $150, if surround isn't that important, I'd suggest Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 THX certified. This will be around $150. Upgrading to $150 sound card will not improve the sound quality produced from Creative Inspire 5200.
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post #24 of 26
You could start out with a setup like the Dayton Audio B652 Bookshelf set + Lepai LP-2020A+ amp and add a fair Polk or Dayton sub to the mix. Would be better for your money than the Promedia 2.1s imo if you have the space to set it up.
post #25 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by sepiashimmer View Post


I don't think you'd get anything better than your Creative Inspire 5200 for $150, if surround isn't that important, I'd suggest Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 THX certified. This will be around $150. Upgrading to $150 sound card will not improve the sound quality produced from Creative Inspire 5200.

 

Then the Altec Lansing VS4121s must be much better than the Inspire 5200s because I noticed a big difference and my sound card was only $99.99 shipped.

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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 #26 of 26
1. Follow the signal. For you, Source->Sound Card->Speakers. The quality of your sound will depend on the lowest quality component of those three. If you're listening to poor 96kbps or 128kbps mp3s, then upgrading the other two components will have little affect on the sound. Oftentimes, improving the sound card and speakers can actually make poor quality music sound worse because they are capable of reproducing the poor quality more accurately.

2. If the source is good, then start with upgrading the speakers. Only get 5.1ch if you do a lot of 1st-person gaming or movie watching on your system; 2.0 or 2.1 would serve music much better. Personally I'm fond of either the Audioengine A5+ or A2 with subwoofer for 2.0/2.1. For their size, the A2 is pretty remarkable.

3. Whether you want a better sound card or an external DAC depends on your requirements. If you're going to use the digital out to go to speakers or a DAC then it's silly to upgrade the sound card as it will do almost nothing for you. The best possible sound quality would be achieved by running digital to an external DAC, but a few sound cards have good enough DACs for the majority of sub-$500 speakers. My personal choice would be either the Asus Xonar STX or Creative ZXR; probably the ZXR for actual EAX support instead of emulated (although I dislike Creative pricing).
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