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My dilemma

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I'm a gamer and audiophile at heart. I love to game, but no game is completely without a beautiful musical score or without the sound cues to destroy your opponent.
I currently have a MSI Z87 G45 motherboard, and I am using onboard sound for my Psyko Audio Kryptons. (Not exactly audiophile quality but absolutely amazing positional audio for a headset)
I have a Creative Extigy, throwback, I know. and am going to use it for this headset through the MOBOs Toslink since there is no driver support for Vista or 7, and Legacy support is God awful on 7. I'd honestly be fine with using this card if I could get the drivers to work on my computer. I've tried every trick in the book for the card.
With my setup, I can't really add a sound card. While I love good sound, I need to keep my SLI'd 770s as cool as possible and don't want to impede airflow at all.

I am looking for a decent, midrange external sound card that has good functionality above everything, and preferably amazing drivers. (On Windows 7 Ultimate, by the way)

The features I would like to have are that it have Analog 5.1 output, preferably have a separate stereo jack for when I snag me up a pair of decent headphones and DAC combo, and I would like it to have a Toslink out, if possible. If not, no biggie, I can easily switch between my MOBOs Toslink and the external sound card when I want to use my 5.1 sound system (Dreadfully old, don't bother to ask about it, it's getting upgraded soon, too)
post #2 of 9
How bout this, buy or build a small low powered linux box to host your sound card and run an audio/media oriented linux OS like Musix or ubuntu Studio?

Here you find Linux drivers for Creative's Extigy USB sound card.
http://exaudio.sourceforge.net/

or just use a linux VM, but that takes away RAM etc. from gaming heh
Edited by WOD35 - 8/13/13 at 6:59pm
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
I assume at that point I could just use my toslink out to a toslink in compatible card host in the linux box, correct?

If so, wouldn't that introduce a lot of latency? I don't mind introducing a bit of latency into the system to get significantly better audio quality, but I feel that would add too much.
post #4 of 9
Yeah or you could stream sound over the LAN but that would likely add some latency you're right. You could try running Ubuntu on your gaming system as a VM host, with compatible Creative Extigy drivers, then run Windows 7 in a as a guest VM and that should share audio without any perceptible latency.
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
I might give that a try, only problem with that is the amount of memory, cpu usage, etc, it would cost to run that. SQ is amazing and all, but the performance decrease would be a lot.

I guess you see why I called this thread the dilemma, haha.
post #6 of 9
Yeah, my initial idea for a separate box was to keep the gaming rig resources strictly for gaming. I was also going to say you could run line out from gaming PC to line in on linux box, but that would introduces perceptible latency and gaming sound wouldn't be in surround (I'm not quite the audiophile as you, heh) .I'm just going off the fact you said you'd keep you're old card if you could, but tried every trick. I just want to make sure you tried every trick :thumb You should try linux to make use of that Extigy in some way though.

You could use an 6 or 8 channel audio mixer and mix the sound between Windows PC and a Linux box, and make the linux box a very low power machine, maybe even a raspberry pi + usb hub so that you can still play music through your 5.1 surround sound without windows PC going. Control the pi from your android and stream music from pi to android. have the audio gear on a http://www.instructables.com/id/Raspberry-Pi-GPIO-home-automation/ so it only comes on when the gaming system comes on or signaled from the pi/android combo. May as well do some home automation off that pi while you're at it, heh

I haven't tried gaming in a Windows VM but apparently there's ppl who do with good results. If you use a hypervisor like xen and a stripped down linux then it should compete for very little resources, but then i think you'd be back to not having windows drivers for the sound card, and having to get a separate sound card anyway. and a mixer lol. If you run a supervisor like virtualbox you can present a virtual sound card to the windows VM and have that play on the linux host hosting the Extigy, but then you'd also have virtual video hardware and no gaming performance....

Anyway i'm just brainstorming...
Edited by WOD35 - 8/14/13 at 5:22am
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
I'm sure I'll eventually find a solution. My Extigy is still kickin' though. Optical out makes me run a 3.5mm extender for my microphone, but no biggie. The onboard audio isn't horrible... It just isn't very loud. My headset has a separate amp, but it only drives it so much.
post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
I actually believe I found my solution pending 40 more hours of research. tongue.gif

https://www.asus.com/Sound_Cards_and_DigitaltoAnalog_Converters/Xonar_U7/#specifications

There are a few creative cards that fit the bill, but I hate Creative because of their crappy driver support and overall crappy drivers.


While this card isn't exactly audiophile grade, it does exactly what I need it to do.
post #9 of 9
Cool, I usually just run mobo sound so I couldn't give you much advice in that area. I just now thought though, as far as latency concerns, that if you had a Windows 7 VM in KVM or xen and had the Ubuntu host set as the DNS for the Win7 VM, versus your router, you may be able to stream sound over this virtual LAN with no or much less latency than a physical LAN. I'll have to experiment with that at some point.
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