Originally Posted by Conners
I'm listing, talk me into why I need this card as apposed to say an ASUS or others.
It's an audiophile-grade sound card. The sound quality that this card delivers is likely about the best there is when it comes to sound cards. My timing kind of sucks though because it's looking like it's slightly difficult to find one at a good price from a reputable retailer. The best I can do at the moment seems to be this:
$188.60 after shipping. :/
However, this card is pretty much a $200 card. It's just that I got mine for a little less than that and I was hoping to find the same deal. lol It's an awesome card though, even if it's like say $250. lol
Of course, you don't want to pair this with crappy speakers. lol Even so, it will bring out the very best in your speakers. You will hear the fullest potential of your speakers - unless they're cheap $10 2.0 speakers or something like that. lol Y'know what I mean? The cheaper the speakers, the less and less of a good idea it is to invest in this sound card - unless you plan on upgrading to better speakers too!
The Recon3D is... kind of ok. It's definitely better than onboard audio, but it was kind of a money-making gimmick for Creative. heh
Here's more information:
Originally Posted by Simca
Entry Level Audio Interfaces
If your goal is to get an internal soundcard for your PC then there are basically 3 recommendations for you. While there are many other good soundcards, I no longer recommend them because at those price points you'd be better off moving to an external DAC and dedicated headphone amplifier. The headphone amplifier on almost all sound cards are trash and are not meant to amp expensive headphones. They're honestly meant to do not much more than make the volume louder, and louder =/= sufficiently amplified.
The following that 3 soundcards I recommend based on price to performance ratio:
- Asus Xonar DG - This is less than $30 soundcard and will drastically improve performance over your on board sound. Don't let the price tag fool you, this is a legitimate upgrade over onboard sound, that's how bad your onboard sound is! The sound card has a ~150 ohm amplifier on it that's only sufficient for amping low ohm headphones like Audio Technica M50s. This headphone amplifier is not meant to be paired with a pair of Senneiser HD600s and up. The Xonar DG is the PCI version. There's also a PCI-E version called the Xonar DGX and they both perform exactly the same.
- Creative Titanium HD - This is now an aged card. It's no longer for sale, but if you can get your hands on it, it's an excellent sound card at ~$80. This will provide you with just about the best sound you can get via a sound card. As far as price/performance concerned, easily one of the best sound cards on the market. Many gamers are also very happy with the performance this card gave in many games at the time. The only downside to the Creative Titanium HD for some users is that it is only capable of driving ~330 ohm headphones. This honestly shouldn't be an issue, but if it is, then see the 3rd recommendation. An alternative to this would be the Asus Essence ST/X, which is also capable of "powering" 600 ohm headphones, but priced at double this amount, it's unfortunately NOT WORTH BUYING in most instances. Maybe if you can get the card for under say ~130 it would be worth the purchase. Otherwise, do not bother with this sound card.
- Creative Soundblaster Z - This is one of the more recently releases Creative cards. After the Titanium phase they released a set of dreadful cards called "recon 3D". It was all a gimmick and performed horribly. Do not EVER buy those cards. The Z series however, is a good soundcard. While I don't personally feel the Zx and ZxR are worth the price you're paying for it, you can choose to upgrade to those higher versions if you see fit. Specs will tell you they're better than the Z, but real world performance may not give you that impression. Ultimately, on many accounts, the ZxR faired WORSE than the 2 generation old Titanium HD. While I would rather have the Titanium HD over the Z, this is a viable option at this price, especially if you're on a very strict budget and need a sound card that will run 600 ohm headphones. The amplifier on this card will do the trick, but it's not recommended you run 600 ohm headphones off this unless you know you'll be upgrading in the near future and are getting a great price on the headphones now.
So yeah, there are other cards that cost less that are good, but the Titanium HD is probably just about the best of the best consumer sound cards. You would notice a huge difference coming from the Recon3D.