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So my X-Fi Forte is finally dying.

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I need a replacement. The Forte is making these intermittent rapid popping noises and there's no ignoring them when they decide to occur.

Internal or external, what're the options? What's the best 5.1 amp or card I can buy? If it's external, I guess my preferred input would be USB. Headphone amping isnt much of a concern, I already own a Burson Audio DAC/headphone amp.

I particularly enjoy(ed) the 5.1 upmixing of stereo streams that the X-Fi provided. Fantastic for filling rooms with music. So a feature like that is wanted. (Or an alternative, if you can make the argument that upmixing stereo is bad and I should feel bad)

I tried my Rampage V's on-board sound and it really can't hold a candle to a dedicated setup. I thought about picking up an Asus STX II, but I heard that Asus haven't even updated the drivers since its release. Is this true? Does it matter?

Should I just ditch everything and move towards getting a receiver and decent 2.1?
Edited by kael13 - 3/26/15 at 3:31pm
Pabu X99
(26 items)
 
Zebedee
(8 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel 5820k @ 4.4GHz Asus X99 Rampage V Extreme EVGA GTX 980Ti Classified G.Skill Ripjaws 4 16GB 2666MHz 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveCooling
Samsung 850 Pro 512GB Samsung 840 Evo 256GB Western Digital Black 1.5TB EK Supremacy Evo 
CoolingCoolingCoolingCooling
Alphacool NexXxoS UT60 240mm Alphacool NexXxos XT45 360mm EK X-Top D5 Vario Noctua IndustrialPPC 120mm x5 
CoolingOSMonitorKeyboard
Noctua IndustrialPPC 140mm x3 Windows 8.1 LG 34UM95 Das Keyboard 
PowerCaseMouseMouse Pad
EVGA G2 850W Corsair 750D Roccat Kone XTD Steelseries Qck 
AudioAudioAudioAudio
Cambridge Audio 651A Amplifier Dali Zensor 3 Sennheiser PC-360 Denon AH-D7000 
AudioAudio
Burson Audio HA-160DS Headphone Amp Auzentech X-Fi Forte 7.1 
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Pabu X99
(26 items)
 
Zebedee
(8 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel 5820k @ 4.4GHz Asus X99 Rampage V Extreme EVGA GTX 980Ti Classified G.Skill Ripjaws 4 16GB 2666MHz 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveCooling
Samsung 850 Pro 512GB Samsung 840 Evo 256GB Western Digital Black 1.5TB EK Supremacy Evo 
CoolingCoolingCoolingCooling
Alphacool NexXxoS UT60 240mm Alphacool NexXxos XT45 360mm EK X-Top D5 Vario Noctua IndustrialPPC 120mm x5 
CoolingOSMonitorKeyboard
Noctua IndustrialPPC 140mm x3 Windows 8.1 LG 34UM95 Das Keyboard 
PowerCaseMouseMouse Pad
EVGA G2 850W Corsair 750D Roccat Kone XTD Steelseries Qck 
AudioAudioAudioAudio
Cambridge Audio 651A Amplifier Dali Zensor 3 Sennheiser PC-360 Denon AH-D7000 
AudioAudio
Burson Audio HA-160DS Headphone Amp Auzentech X-Fi Forte 7.1 
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post #2 of 8
Thread Starter 
No suggestions? I'm actually going to audition some equipment on Tuesday, two stereo amps and two sets of speakers.

For the amps, I'm looking at the Marantz PM6005 and a Cambridge Audio 651a.
For the speakers; Dali Zensor 3s and Q Acoustics Concept 20.

I still don't know if it's worth starting over like this or grabbing a new sound card instead. Soundcards just seem so headphone focused these days.
Pabu X99
(26 items)
 
Zebedee
(8 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel 5820k @ 4.4GHz Asus X99 Rampage V Extreme EVGA GTX 980Ti Classified G.Skill Ripjaws 4 16GB 2666MHz 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveCooling
Samsung 850 Pro 512GB Samsung 840 Evo 256GB Western Digital Black 1.5TB EK Supremacy Evo 
CoolingCoolingCoolingCooling
Alphacool NexXxoS UT60 240mm Alphacool NexXxos XT45 360mm EK X-Top D5 Vario Noctua IndustrialPPC 120mm x5 
CoolingOSMonitorKeyboard
Noctua IndustrialPPC 140mm x3 Windows 8.1 LG 34UM95 Das Keyboard 
PowerCaseMouseMouse Pad
EVGA G2 850W Corsair 750D Roccat Kone XTD Steelseries Qck 
AudioAudioAudioAudio
Cambridge Audio 651A Amplifier Dali Zensor 3 Sennheiser PC-360 Denon AH-D7000 
AudioAudio
Burson Audio HA-160DS Headphone Amp Auzentech X-Fi Forte 7.1 
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Pabu X99
(26 items)
 
Zebedee
(8 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel 5820k @ 4.4GHz Asus X99 Rampage V Extreme EVGA GTX 980Ti Classified G.Skill Ripjaws 4 16GB 2666MHz 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveCooling
Samsung 850 Pro 512GB Samsung 840 Evo 256GB Western Digital Black 1.5TB EK Supremacy Evo 
CoolingCoolingCoolingCooling
Alphacool NexXxoS UT60 240mm Alphacool NexXxos XT45 360mm EK X-Top D5 Vario Noctua IndustrialPPC 120mm x5 
CoolingOSMonitorKeyboard
Noctua IndustrialPPC 140mm x3 Windows 8.1 LG 34UM95 Das Keyboard 
PowerCaseMouseMouse Pad
EVGA G2 850W Corsair 750D Roccat Kone XTD Steelseries Qck 
AudioAudioAudioAudio
Cambridge Audio 651A Amplifier Dali Zensor 3 Sennheiser PC-360 Denon AH-D7000 
AudioAudio
Burson Audio HA-160DS Headphone Amp Auzentech X-Fi Forte 7.1 
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post #3 of 8
I use some Klipsch 2.1s with an AudioEngine D3 DAC and I find this little set up superb.

Speaking of the Forte, I have one in it's box on the shelf. Haven't used in a while, but I want to hang on to it. I always liked the card, but I'd rather have a cleaner looking rig with just a single gpu in a pci slot.

Also heard there aren't and new drivers for it neither for windows 8 and up.
post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrTOOSHORT View Post

I use some Klipsch 2.1s with an AudioEngine D3 DAC and I find this little set up superb.

Speaking of the Forte, I have one in it's box on the shelf. Haven't used in a while, but I want to hang on to it. I always liked the card, but I'd rather have a cleaner looking rig with just a single gpu in a pci slot.

Also heard there aren't and new drivers for it neither for windows 8 and up.

It is possible to get hold of a Windows 8 driver but yeah, since Auzentech went south, I doubt we'll be seeing any support for Windows 10. Another good reason to upgrade.

I've also just discovered the Creative SoundBlaster X7, an external DAC/amp. I wonder if it's any good in comparison to Hi-Fi equipment. What does excite me, is the 5.1 support.
Pabu X99
(26 items)
 
Zebedee
(8 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel 5820k @ 4.4GHz Asus X99 Rampage V Extreme EVGA GTX 980Ti Classified G.Skill Ripjaws 4 16GB 2666MHz 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveCooling
Samsung 850 Pro 512GB Samsung 840 Evo 256GB Western Digital Black 1.5TB EK Supremacy Evo 
CoolingCoolingCoolingCooling
Alphacool NexXxoS UT60 240mm Alphacool NexXxos XT45 360mm EK X-Top D5 Vario Noctua IndustrialPPC 120mm x5 
CoolingOSMonitorKeyboard
Noctua IndustrialPPC 140mm x3 Windows 8.1 LG 34UM95 Das Keyboard 
PowerCaseMouseMouse Pad
EVGA G2 850W Corsair 750D Roccat Kone XTD Steelseries Qck 
AudioAudioAudioAudio
Cambridge Audio 651A Amplifier Dali Zensor 3 Sennheiser PC-360 Denon AH-D7000 
AudioAudio
Burson Audio HA-160DS Headphone Amp Auzentech X-Fi Forte 7.1 
  hide details  
Reply
Pabu X99
(26 items)
 
Zebedee
(8 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel 5820k @ 4.4GHz Asus X99 Rampage V Extreme EVGA GTX 980Ti Classified G.Skill Ripjaws 4 16GB 2666MHz 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveCooling
Samsung 850 Pro 512GB Samsung 840 Evo 256GB Western Digital Black 1.5TB EK Supremacy Evo 
CoolingCoolingCoolingCooling
Alphacool NexXxoS UT60 240mm Alphacool NexXxos XT45 360mm EK X-Top D5 Vario Noctua IndustrialPPC 120mm x5 
CoolingOSMonitorKeyboard
Noctua IndustrialPPC 140mm x3 Windows 8.1 LG 34UM95 Das Keyboard 
PowerCaseMouseMouse Pad
EVGA G2 850W Corsair 750D Roccat Kone XTD Steelseries Qck 
AudioAudioAudioAudio
Cambridge Audio 651A Amplifier Dali Zensor 3 Sennheiser PC-360 Denon AH-D7000 
AudioAudio
Burson Audio HA-160DS Headphone Amp Auzentech X-Fi Forte 7.1 
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post #5 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by kael13 View Post

Should I just ditch everything and move towards getting a receiver and decent 2.1?
Yes. A good external DAC or receiver (not from Creative) will be much better than any internal PC soundcard you can buy.
post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the tips. I took the plunge and negotiated a deal for some Dali Zensor 3s and a Cambridge Audio 651a amplifier.

Wired everything up and music sounds fantastic over USB from my computer. My one problem now being; games do not. They're flat and lifeless with a standard stereo connection. So it looks like I might need a sound card afterall.

Does anyone know what might be the best card for stereo speakers and gaming?

Edit: it's looking like the Sound Blaster Z is probably the best choice for gaming. Unless there's rumours of a new version soon?
Edited by kael13 - 4/1/15 at 2:05am
Pabu X99
(26 items)
 
Zebedee
(8 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel 5820k @ 4.4GHz Asus X99 Rampage V Extreme EVGA GTX 980Ti Classified G.Skill Ripjaws 4 16GB 2666MHz 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveCooling
Samsung 850 Pro 512GB Samsung 840 Evo 256GB Western Digital Black 1.5TB EK Supremacy Evo 
CoolingCoolingCoolingCooling
Alphacool NexXxoS UT60 240mm Alphacool NexXxos XT45 360mm EK X-Top D5 Vario Noctua IndustrialPPC 120mm x5 
CoolingOSMonitorKeyboard
Noctua IndustrialPPC 140mm x3 Windows 8.1 LG 34UM95 Das Keyboard 
PowerCaseMouseMouse Pad
EVGA G2 850W Corsair 750D Roccat Kone XTD Steelseries Qck 
AudioAudioAudioAudio
Cambridge Audio 651A Amplifier Dali Zensor 3 Sennheiser PC-360 Denon AH-D7000 
AudioAudio
Burson Audio HA-160DS Headphone Amp Auzentech X-Fi Forte 7.1 
  hide details  
Reply
Pabu X99
(26 items)
 
Zebedee
(8 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel 5820k @ 4.4GHz Asus X99 Rampage V Extreme EVGA GTX 980Ti Classified G.Skill Ripjaws 4 16GB 2666MHz 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveCooling
Samsung 850 Pro 512GB Samsung 840 Evo 256GB Western Digital Black 1.5TB EK Supremacy Evo 
CoolingCoolingCoolingCooling
Alphacool NexXxoS UT60 240mm Alphacool NexXxos XT45 360mm EK X-Top D5 Vario Noctua IndustrialPPC 120mm x5 
CoolingOSMonitorKeyboard
Noctua IndustrialPPC 140mm x3 Windows 8.1 LG 34UM95 Das Keyboard 
PowerCaseMouseMouse Pad
EVGA G2 850W Corsair 750D Roccat Kone XTD Steelseries Qck 
AudioAudioAudioAudio
Cambridge Audio 651A Amplifier Dali Zensor 3 Sennheiser PC-360 Denon AH-D7000 
AudioAudio
Burson Audio HA-160DS Headphone Amp Auzentech X-Fi Forte 7.1 
  hide details  
Reply
post #7 of 8
There's no hardware sound effects processing in games anymore, so just stick to your DAC.
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
It's okay, I had a play with various connections and settings. I'll stick with my Forte til it completely dies (seems to be okay after a reflash). The X-Fi's virtual surround actually sounds quite authentic.
Pabu X99
(26 items)
 
Zebedee
(8 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel 5820k @ 4.4GHz Asus X99 Rampage V Extreme EVGA GTX 980Ti Classified G.Skill Ripjaws 4 16GB 2666MHz 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveCooling
Samsung 850 Pro 512GB Samsung 840 Evo 256GB Western Digital Black 1.5TB EK Supremacy Evo 
CoolingCoolingCoolingCooling
Alphacool NexXxoS UT60 240mm Alphacool NexXxos XT45 360mm EK X-Top D5 Vario Noctua IndustrialPPC 120mm x5 
CoolingOSMonitorKeyboard
Noctua IndustrialPPC 140mm x3 Windows 8.1 LG 34UM95 Das Keyboard 
PowerCaseMouseMouse Pad
EVGA G2 850W Corsair 750D Roccat Kone XTD Steelseries Qck 
AudioAudioAudioAudio
Cambridge Audio 651A Amplifier Dali Zensor 3 Sennheiser PC-360 Denon AH-D7000 
AudioAudio
Burson Audio HA-160DS Headphone Amp Auzentech X-Fi Forte 7.1 
  hide details  
Reply
Pabu X99
(26 items)
 
Zebedee
(8 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel 5820k @ 4.4GHz Asus X99 Rampage V Extreme EVGA GTX 980Ti Classified G.Skill Ripjaws 4 16GB 2666MHz 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveCooling
Samsung 850 Pro 512GB Samsung 840 Evo 256GB Western Digital Black 1.5TB EK Supremacy Evo 
CoolingCoolingCoolingCooling
Alphacool NexXxoS UT60 240mm Alphacool NexXxos XT45 360mm EK X-Top D5 Vario Noctua IndustrialPPC 120mm x5 
CoolingOSMonitorKeyboard
Noctua IndustrialPPC 140mm x3 Windows 8.1 LG 34UM95 Das Keyboard 
PowerCaseMouseMouse Pad
EVGA G2 850W Corsair 750D Roccat Kone XTD Steelseries Qck 
AudioAudioAudioAudio
Cambridge Audio 651A Amplifier Dali Zensor 3 Sennheiser PC-360 Denon AH-D7000 
AudioAudio
Burson Audio HA-160DS Headphone Amp Auzentech X-Fi Forte 7.1 
  hide details  
Reply
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