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post #11 of 13
I just bought a sound card myself and I did some research on it so I'll share what I found out and hope it helps you out.

Firstly you need to determine what type of connection your going to be using for you speakers. If you want to go with a digital signal via coaxial or optical cable then I would stay away from the creative cards because they don't provide those types of jacks on the card(digital signal is transmitted via Flexijack which is a 3.5mm jack, so you need by an adapter for coaxial or optical). If your going to use the many analog cables then it doesn't matter which card they all have em.

Secondly are you interested in using a surround sound setup over a digital signal, such as Dolby Digital or DTS? While I think creative does support these I'm not 100%, I didn't really research the creative cards all that much. Most other brands that I checked out, Auzentech, Sondigo, HT Omega and Razor support both DDL and DTS Connect. Basically those 2 things will allow you take any 2ch output and upconvert to a 5.1 signal. Comes in really handy if you are using sound through a home theatre system.

And lastly is this mainly for gaming? If so then creative does hold the edge here as they use their proprietary EAX5 for in game sound (if its supported by the game). All other cards that are non creative can usually only do EAX 2.0. Although there is a new soundcard from Auzentech called the X-Fi Prelude which is the first card that is non creative that will support full EAX and utilize the X-Fi chip.

So all things above considered here is a short list of cards I had looked at:

Cards from $75-$150
Sondigo Inferno(I bought this) output = 24bit/192Khz input = 24bit/96khz
Auzentech X-plosion output = 24bit/192Khz input 24bit/96khz
HT Omega Striker output/input = 24bit/96Khz
HT Omega Claro output/input = 24bit/192Khz (also has audio connectors for the front pannel, a nice feature I didn't see on any other cards)

Cards > $150

Auzentech X-Meridian 7.1 output/input = 24bit/192Khz
Auzentech X-fi Prelude 7.1 (not out yet?)
Razor Barracuda

PS. If your using headphones some of the cards above support Dolby Headphone, I can't remember which ones though :S
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post #12 of 13
Definitely go with an X-Fi, either a stock one or the modded one
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post #13 of 13
as i posted in the other thread:

if u're an audiophile person, go for
onkyo SE90
onkyo SE200
ESI Juli@
Modded X-fi Xtreme Music and beyond

Movies:
Prodigy HiFi
Auzentech cards
X-fi Xtreme Music and beyond

Gaming:
Auzentech X-fi Prelude
X-fi Xtreme Music and beyond

i never got the chance to test out the HT OMEGA STRIKER, but i think it will perform great for movies and some not so audiophile music.

we're still forgeting OpenAL combined with EAX for gaming. damn they're wicked!
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