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ASUS Xonar DX, Creative Zx or HT OMEGA eClaro?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I'm looking for a new sound card for my upcoming build, which will be used for music and games only (no headphone use). I won't say money's no object, but the three in the title I'm considering, with the eClaro being the most expensive. Any recommendations? Is the eClaro really worth $180? I'll be hooking this card up to a pair of AudioEngine A5 speakers. My first choice was initially the Creative card, as in the past they've been solid, and seem to work fine with games, but I'm curious about the other two. Cheers!
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post #2 of 8
I am not sure how the eClaro is, but when it comes to Asus vs Creative I think Asus has a much better sound for movies and music.
I currently got a a Asus D2X, and it is way better than any Creative I have ever tried when it comes to music and movies. In games some mean that Creative is better because you get a higher treble (as in you can hear footsteps better), but I hate high treble in everything and think its much better to go for a soundcard that sounds good in music/movies as this gives a better feeling inside games too. For me at least!

The stock Asus DX is very good for its price and would not doubt recommend it if you are on a budget. But look into the D2X (Not every store has it in stock anymore) or Essence STX if you can afford it, both great cards thumb.gif
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post #3 of 8
I've owned both the ASUS Xonar DX and a Creative Labs SoundBlaster Z. Both are decent quality boards, but I ended up sticking with the Z for daily use for a few reasons.

First, the ASUS board didn't appear to support automatic headphone jack sensing for the FP audio jack. This is a big deal for me, because I am constantly plugging/unplugging my headphones. I use speakers during the day, and headphones at night - and going into the driver every time I want to switch back and forth is a peeve of mine.

Secondly, I didn't particularly like that the ASUS requires a 4-pin floppy power connector. Not a big deal for some, but in my particular case, I had to run a dedicated modular Molex power cable just to power the sound card. The card will not run w/o the supplemental power cable.

The control panel for the SoundBlaster Z requires a bit of tweaking to get it to sound "natural" in my opinion. Out of the box, the "SBX Pro Studio" settings come enabled with virtual Surround, Crystalizer, and Bass boost all jacked up too high. I prefer these to be OFF and go with a more natural sound. The only adjustments I have on mine are a little big of treble and bass boost in the 10-band EQ.

Creative has a better ASIO driver, and one of my critical apps is something called MASCHINE by Native Instruments. It's a pro audio music creation tool, and audio latency is substantially lower with the Creative ASIO driver than the ASUS driver.

Never heard of the "eClaro". Can't comment on that.

Greg
post #4 of 8
Xonar cards have unixonar drivers that reduce latency and have optional small apps, like FP switcher that lets you switch the outputs without using the control panel.
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post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by go4life View Post

I am not sure how the eClaro is, but when it comes to Asus vs Creative I think Asus has a much better sound for movies and music.
I currently got a a Asus D2X, and it is way better than any Creative I have ever tried when it comes to music and movies. In games some mean that Creative is better because you get a higher treble (as in you can hear footsteps better), but I hate high treble in everything and think its much better to go for a soundcard that sounds good in music/movies as this gives a better feeling inside games too. For me at least!

The stock Asus DX is very good for its price and would not doubt recommend it if you are on a budget. But look into the D2X (Not every store has it in stock anymore) or Essence STX if you can afford it, both great cards thumb.gif

I've used Creative for years and luckily enough without any trouble, although in the past the drivers seemed a bit of a resource hog. The thinking of getting a card good for music, to also use in games, makes sense. I've saw the Essence STX online in various places, reviews, forums, etc., it seems to be universally a top card, with so-so drivers.
Quote:
Originally Posted by hammong View Post

I've owned both the ASUS Xonar DX and a Creative Labs SoundBlaster Z. Both are decent quality boards, but I ended up sticking with the Z for daily use for a few reasons.

First, the ASUS board didn't appear to support automatic headphone jack sensing for the FP audio jack. This is a big deal for me, because I am constantly plugging/unplugging my headphones. I use speakers during the day, and headphones at night - and going into the driver every time I want to switch back and forth is a peeve of mine.

Secondly, I didn't particularly like that the ASUS requires a 4-pin floppy power connector. Not a big deal for some, but in my particular case, I had to run a dedicated modular Molex power cable just to power the sound card. The card will not run w/o the supplemental power cable.

The control panel for the SoundBlaster Z requires a bit of tweaking to get it to sound "natural" in my opinion. Out of the box, the "SBX Pro Studio" settings come enabled with virtual Surround, Crystalizer, and Bass boost all jacked up too high. I prefer these to be OFF and go with a more natural sound. The only adjustments I have on mine are a little big of treble and bass boost in the 10-band EQ.

Creative has a better ASIO driver, and one of my critical apps is something called MASCHINE by Native Instruments. It's a pro audio music creation tool, and audio latency is substantially lower with the Creative ASIO driver than the ASUS driver.

Never heard of the "eClaro". Can't comment on that.

Greg

Headphones aren't going to be used for this setup, just the A5's only - of course I say that now but maybe down the road I may look into a pair of DT990's. I saw that the DX requires a floppy-style power connector, I don't like that, as like you say it means a dedicated power cable only for that card.

The eClaro is here, maybe three or four years old now, using the CMI8788 chipset. There are almost no reviews of it, and if you Google it there's not much on the web for it. I don't like the D-sub break-out dongle it uses though.

I did consider the Creative ZXR, but from what I've read there's no 10-pin front panel Intel HD connector, which would render the ports at the front of my case useless. I believe it lacks this to avoid distortion, but I'd still like to use them, so that card is out. Maybe a Titanium HD, the older card, is a better bet?
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post #6 of 8
Titanium HD is phenomenal, and is the only (consumer level) card I will use for mixing Masters, and I can say that the measured SNR is actually betterthan advertised, wwith mine getting about 124.8-126.1dB.

HT Omega cards are excellent, but I don't have any experience with the eClaro, mostly just the Claro Halo XT. Very much a studio/film card, though, not so much for gaming.

I simply cannot recommend anything other than the TiHD for general use in that price range ($100-275).
   
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post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nleksan View Post

Titanium HD is phenomenal, and is the only (consumer level) card I will use for mixing Masters, and I can say that the measured SNR is actually betterthan advertised, wwith mine getting about 124.8-126.1dB.

HT Omega cards are excellent, but I don't have any experience with the eClaro, mostly just the Claro Halo XT. Very much a studio/film card, though, not so much for gaming.

I simply cannot recommend anything other than the TiHD for general use in that price range ($100-275).

I'm considering the TiHD actually, although I'll need RCA to 3.5mm . When you say the Claro Halo XT isn't so much for gaming, do you mean it lacks audio hardware acceleration, or just the sound envelope isn't suitable for games?
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post #8 of 8
It's hard to describe, especially since I'm on my phone, but it just doesn't present a convincing sound stage, almostas if you start a game but it thinks "what is this silliness?" and goes right back to music/movie mode.

As for the RCA to 3.5mm, it should come with one...
   
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