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What sound card to buy for 5.1/earphones?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone!

I've been looking around for a new sound card and have come across options like ASUS Xonar Essence STX too many times. But the problem is, I do not know whether I can use my Creative T6200 5.1 speakers with the card since the speakers do not have S/PDIF support (I think, I don't even know what it is).

There are 4 cables (green, yellow, black and pink) coming out of the speaker set that I have plugged into the onboard sound card according to color (Yes, that is actually how little I know about this stuff).

Is there a way to use 5.1 speakers with the STX? If not, what is the best option (within similar price range) for a 5.1 speaker system and earphones?

Also, could you please suggest an in-ear headphone for listening to music and watching movies (within $100 that would be an upgrade over my beats audio iBeats earphones)?


Thanks in advance! I really appreciate you taking the time to help me! smile.gif

EDIT :
Relevant info: (requested in that other thread in the Audio section)
i) Budget : $200 and $100 for sound card and earphones repectively
ii)Music Tastes : Various
iii) Desired qualities in sound card and earphones : equally good for music and movies and gaming
Edited by ahnafakeef - 9/16/13 at 6:09am
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post #2 of 9
Dear sir, I hope that you are not a troll.

1.1. You won't hear the difference between Xonar DGX, DSX, DX or STX when you have that low quality speakers.
1.2. Combine the price of your headphones and speakers and divide it by 2, that is the maximum amount of cash I recommend to use on a soundcard.
2. S/PDIF, in a nutshell it means both TOSLINK and coaxial cables.
3. Beats... doh.gif

EDIT: So I recommend Xonar DGX and if you have too much money, Sound Blaster Z. More than that and I recommend to spend the money on better speakers.
Edited by Tiihokatti - 9/16/13 at 7:10am
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post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiihokatti View Post

Dear sir, I hope that you are not a troll.

1. You won't hear the difference between Xonar DGX, DSX, DX or STX when you have that low quality speakers.
2. S/PDIF, in a nutshell it means both TOSLINK and coaxial cables.
3. Beats... doh.gif
I apologize for sounding like a troll, but I am not one.

1. I plan on upgrading to better speakers in the near future. I am hoping to buy the sound card with that in mind. But since you mentioned several names, which one is the best card among the DGX, DSX, DX and other Xonar variants for a 5.1 system/earphones?
2. I've been googling for the past hour or so, and have read people suggesting against an STX for 5.1 surround since the card is actually made for headphones and stereo sound systems.
3. The earphones came with my HTC Sensation XE and they're not too shabby. But I'm looking to upgrade to a better pair of in-ear earphones as well. Please be kind enough to suggest one within $100.

Thank you for your kind reply. Please ask me for more info if you require any. I really appreciate your help! Thanks again! smile.gif
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post #4 of 9
I recommend to take Sound Blaster Z/Zx/ZxR as it has good enough amp for 250ohm headphones (not the best but decent enough, ZxR is an exception though).
It also allows you to connect both the speakers and headphones at the same time on your PC, all the other soundcards don't really have that option (if you don't count FP/etc.)

But if you are going for IEM's, someone else can guide you to the right DAC/soundcard.
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post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiihokatti View Post

I recommend to take Sound Blaster Z/Zx/ZxR as it has good enough amp for 250ohm headphones (not the best but decent enough, ZxR is an exception though).
It also allows you to connect both the speakers and headphones at the same time on your PC, all the other soundcards don't really have that option (if you don't count FP/etc.)

But if you are going for IEM's, someone else can guide you to the right DAC/soundcard.
Am I correct in assuming that the daughter card in the ZxR is there to provide 5.1 support and that without it 5.1 would not be usable with the card? Also, in what ways is the ZxR an exception?

I won't get the Z or Zx since the red in them goes against the aesthetics of my setup (which is based on white/silver/black).

The controller of my speaker set has a headphone out port which I use with the earphones. Does that diminish any benefits my sound card provides?

Thanks a lot! smile.gif
Edited by ahnafakeef - 9/16/13 at 7:41am
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post #6 of 9
ZxR daughter board is for S/PDIF in and out.
ZxR has the same headphone amplifier chip as Xonar STX. The SBZ and SBZx has lower quality amplifier.
Buut I doubt IEM's need an amplifier. From my knowledge they need as low output impedance as possible and this can be accomplished with external DAC/amplifier (STX and ZxR has 10ohm output impedance).

From Xonar line up:
Xonar DGX - Cheap card made for headphones but has support for 5.1 analog sound.
Xonar DSX - Cheap card made for HTPC setups that need DTS encoding.
Xonar DX - All-arounder but not that great for headphones with its 100ohm output impedance. Very good DAC.
Xonar STX - Best you can get for headphones and/or 2.0 speakers
Xonar Phoebus - Same as STX but with crappy drivers and 7.1 support.
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post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiihokatti View Post

ZxR daughter board is for S/PDIF in and out.
ZxR has the same headphone amplifier chip as Xonar STX. The SBZ and SBZx has lower quality amplifier.
Buut I doubt IEM's need an amplifier. From my knowledge they need as low output impedance as possible and this can be accomplished with external DAC/amplifier (STX and ZxR has 10ohm output impedance).

From Xonar line up:
Xonar DGX - Cheap card made for headphones but has support for 5.1 analog sound.
Xonar DSX - Cheap card made for HTPC setups that need DTS encoding.
Xonar DX - All-arounder but not that great for headphones with its 100ohm output impedance. Very good DAC.
Xonar STX - Best you can get for headphones and/or 2.0 speakers
Xonar Phoebus - Same as STX but with crappy drivers and 7.1 support.
So basically, the ZxR is an STX with surround support? What are the downsides of the ZxR compared to the STX?

As for the DX, is it better than the ZxR in terms of sound quality? If not, I think ZxR is the one I'm going for.

Thanks a lot! I really appreciate your help! :-)
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post #8 of 9
I own Xonar D1 which is the same card as Xonar DX, but with PCI connection instead of PCIe. Paid 40$... And is paired with 500$ 2.0 speakers.
ZxR is better than DX... But that is not the point, the point is that:
First you buy the speakers/headphones/IEM, then you think about soundcards.

But the funny thing is that if you want good surround speakers, you need an A/V receiver that makes the soundcard completely useless.
Edited by Tiihokatti - 9/16/13 at 8:32am
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post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiihokatti View Post

I own Xonar D1 which is the same card as Xonar DX, but with PCI connection instead of PCIe. Paid 40$... And is paired with 500$ 2.0 speakers.
ZxR is better than DX... But that is not the point, the point is that:
First you buy the speakers/headphones/IEM, then you think about soundcards.

But the funny thing is that if you want good surround speakers, you need an A/V receiver that makes the soundcard completely useless.
I should have clarified this beforehand. I'm having the sound card brought from abroad and I can take the time to select a good speaker set later on. This is why I'm doing the opposite of what you are saying is the convention.

Does it matter if I get the ZxR now and think about the speakers /headphones later ? Can I not use just any speaker with a ZxR?

Thanks a lot! :-)
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3770K | Titan
(22 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsGraphics
Intel Core i7-3770K ASUS Maximus V Formula Nvidia GeForce GTX Titan X Nvidia GeForce GTX Titan X 
RAMHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
Corsair Dominator Platinum 16GB (2x8GB) Corsair Force GT 120GB Western Digital Caviar Green 2TB Hitachi 2TB 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveCooling
Samsung 840 EVO 250GB Western Digital Caviar Green 3TB Western Digital Caviar Green 4TB CM Hyper 212 EVO w/ Corsair SP120s in P/P 
OSMonitorKeyboardPower
Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit Benq BL3201PT Corsair Vengeance K95 Cooler Master Silent Pro M2 1000W 
CaseMouseMouse PadAudio
Corsair Graphite Series 600T Special Edition Steelseries Rival Gigabyte Ghost Series MP8000 Schiit Gungnir 
AudioAudio
STAX SRM-323S STAX SR-009 
  hide details  
Reply
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Overclock.net › Forums › Components › Sound Cards and Computer Audio › What sound card to buy for 5.1/earphones?