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Best soundcard on a budget?

post #1 of 16
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Just wondering what the best budget-card is? Anything in the $20 to $50 max range? Thanks.
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post #2 of 16
You can get an Audigy 2 ZS for 30 shipped used. That's probably your best option. I'm in that price range also and will probably get the ZS.
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post #3 of 16
Well, go with Creative Sound Blaster for sure. In fact, I checked on NewEgg for the $25-$50 range in the Creative Labs category, and here's the page it generated.

These are awesome cards.

Since you have PCI-Express x1, you should get that X-Fi card!! X-Fi is much better than Audigy. Oh, but the shipping makes it $55.68.
post #4 of 16
In fact, after comparing all of them, here's the very best option. The Sound Blaster Audigy SE for $29.99, $35.68 shipped. That thing will smoke your onboard sound. Plus, it comes with software that is very useful. I personally love the 7-band Graphic EQ that came with my software. I also have bass boost, and I get to choose which frequency to boost, and then I just set the boost percentage (sideways sliders).

That card is awesome. But go for that X-Fi if you can afford $55.68 shipped. It'll smoke the Audigy.
post #5 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by 5CheeseLasagna View Post
Well, go with Creative Sound Blaster for sure. In fact, I checked on NewEgg for the $25-$50 range in the Creative Labs category, and here's the page it generated.

These are awesome cards.

Since you have PCI-Express x1, you should get that X-Fi card!! X-Fi is much better than Audigy. Oh, but the shipping makes it $55.68.
Quote:
Originally Posted by 5CheeseLasagna View Post
In fact, after comparing all of them, here's the very best option. The Sound Blaster Audigy SE for $29.99, $35.68 shipped. That thing will smoke your onboard sound. Plus, it comes with software that is very useful. I personally love the 7-band Graphic EQ that came with my software. I also have bass boost, and I get to choose which frequency to boost, and then I just set the boost percentage (sideways sliders).

That card is awesome. But go for that X-Fi if you can afford $55.68 shipped. It'll smoke the Audigy.

I would avoid the X-Fi Extreme Audio at all costs. If you want an Audigy SE, get an Audigy SE. They're effectively the same card with slightly different feature sets and PCBs.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Retrospekt View Post
You can get an Audigy 2 ZS for 30 shipped used. That's probably your best option. I'm in that price range also and will probably get the ZS.
Solid card for gaming - that would be my choice for a predominantly gaming system.

For music listening I recommend hunting (and it will take some hunting - used is probably your best bet) around for a Chaintech AV-710. It won't have any of the fancy new EAX effects of some of the Creative cards, but it's DAC is outstanding for the price.
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post #6 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by BabyHerc View Post
Just wondering what the best budget-card is? Anything in the $20 to $50 max range? Thanks.
Put 10$ more and get a Xtreme Music! You wont regret it!
    
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post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chipp View Post
I would avoid the X-Fi Extreme Audio at all costs. If you want an Audigy SE, get an Audigy SE. They're effectively the same card with slightly different feature sets and PCBs.

Solid card for gaming - that would be my choice for a predominantly gaming system.

For music listening I recommend hunting (and it will take some hunting - used is probably your best bet) around for a Chaintech AV-710. It won't have any of the fancy new EAX effects of some of the Creative cards, but it's DAC is outstanding for the price.
What's wrong with the Extreme Audio?

My main priority is having my music sound crisp and clear. In-game sound is secondary to me. Would I be better off with better quality speakers and a lesser card (such as my current card) or a higher performance sound card with my current crappy speakers (Logitech X-140)? Obviously, the goal in the end is to have high quality speakers AND sound card, but I can only afford one right now.
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post #8 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by BabyHerc View Post

My main priority is having my music sound crisp and clear. .
for a tad more xmusic, good in-game too
post #9 of 16
Xtreme music FTW. There was an OEM version for sale for $59.99. It is a bit more than you posted, but worth it.
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post #10 of 16
I second chipp's AV-710 recommendation. Outstanding sound card for the price.
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