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A few questions about Audio and Sound Cards

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
First off, some quick background. About one and a half years ago, I got it into my head to build myself a computer. Then, I was only 15 years old, and it was a daunting task. But, after doing research, I was able to do it. 18 months and 6 computer builds later, I'm still learning. If any of you frequent the monitor, hard drive, or video card section, you'll have seen my recent posts asking general and specific questions about each. I'm trying to become a computer guru, I want to be "that guy" in my circle of friends. And so, I've now turned my attention to sound cards. So, I begin!

1: First off, is a sound card really necessary for someone that isn't an audiophile? Is there a noticeable difference between integrated sound? Note, I'm using an MSI k9n sli platinum, with an Nvidia 570 SLI chipset on it. I have some logitech 5.1 surround sound speakers. (Linkage: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16836121006 )

2: How can I tweak so that things sound better? I want deeper bass, more detailed treble, higher quality! How can I do it?

3: If a sound card is better, will it work when my system already has integrated sound? If so, can you recommend for me a good, cheap one?

4: I'm currently using the generic Apple headphones for my ipod. Will I notice a big difference if I got some other ones? Again, if so, could you recommend some cheap, yet good, ones. Cheap, btw, means less than 50 dollars here.

So, thanks for all the help! Love y'all at OCN.
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post #2 of 23
1. Yes. First of all, it takes load off your CPU, and second, it'll just plain sound better.

2. EQ settings will help, and there are a few plugins for audio programs that may improve sound processing a bit. But most of all, a better sound card/headphone combo will be the best choice.

3. Yes, you just have to disable the onboard sound. Give me a price range/what you're using it for, and I'll recommend one.

4. The generic iPod headphones are absolute ****. For less than $50 I'd say get something in the Sony MDR line, and those will sound much, much better.
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post #3 of 23
Ok, as for the first questions, I cannot say.

For the 50$ range of portable headphones, as long as you are ok with open ear, these are the BEST for that price range.

Koss PortaPro

Sennheiser PX100 (comes in black or white)

I own both of these, and can say that the Koss are SLIGHTLY better in bass, but they are not comfortable and the "speaker" mount on them is flawed. The sennheiser are much lighter and stylish, and are a very good compromise.
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post #4 of 23
Thread Starter 
Fast response! Thanks!

1: Ok, I understand.
2: What can I change here, specifically? Or download.
3: Well, my price range is rather limited at the moment. Anything above 100 is completely out of the question, 80 is pushing it. I'm checking out this x-fi demo right now...and god damn it's nice.
4: Really? Alrighty then, I shall do so. Thanks.
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post #5 of 23
first off you will deffenately be able to tell the difference. the music is alittle more crisp. you can have a sound card and integrated sound, you can go into the control panel and pick which one you want to use. when you get a sound card, some of them if not all of them will come with an equalizer program. so you can tweak your bass, mids, and tweets. i bought the one in my sig, it was one of the best ones at the time. unfortunately i dont know enough about them to give any suggestions, all i can tell you is that with everything else being good in your rig, wouldn't you like to complete it with good sound?
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post #6 of 23
Have you read up on creative's policy? I'd stay away from X-Fi, but it's your call of course.
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post #7 of 23
1. like amped said. takes load off cpu and sounds cleaner.

3. The default card around here is something X-fi, usually the auzentech prelude (better op amps and dac). mainly because of EAX and they are made for gamers. Right now creative is taking a lot of heat because of driver issues so you might be able to pick one up really cheap.
Otherwise the Xonar cards from asus seem to be pretty popular. It is more of a HTPC card than a gamer but with Dolby digital/+ Live!, Pro Logic II, Head Phone, DTS Connect, DTS Interactive and DTS Neo PC support it is one hell of a card. It does "unofficially" emulate EAX 5 with the newest drivers, don't know how well it works but if you are into gaming thats a nice plus.

4. Just about any speakers over $50 will sound better on a dedicated sound card.
I have a pair of Sony MDR-N22s and they are amazing! you can pick them up for 60-70 and you will notice an amazing difference between the apple crap.
post #8 of 23
Thread Starter 
Aye, I've heard of the creative ruckus that's going on. In fact, since I have vista, I should probably stay away from them.

Do any other companies offer something like that x-fi technology? It seems almost like magic. Heh.
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post #9 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suilenroc View Post
Fast response! Thanks!

1: Ok, I understand.
2: What can I change here, specifically? Or download.
3: Well, my price range is rather limited at the moment. Anything above 100 is completely out of the question, 80 is pushing it. I'm checking out this x-fi demo right now...and god damn it's nice.
4: Really? Alrighty then, I shall do so. Thanks.
I would recommend the AuzenTech XPlosion and Koss KSC75 / Sennheiser HD201 depending on what style of headphone you want. I think you'll be quite pleased with the difference in audio quality.

I assume the X-fi technology you speak of is the Crystalizer? If so, I wouldn't worry much about it. While nifty for a while I think it gets fatiguing and harsh once you're used to it - though of course everybody's tastes are different. I think that you would notice a bigger difference by configuring your card to use kernel streaming or ASIO for bit-perfect (an unaltered copy of the original file) playback and hearing what the music really is supposed to sound like, not what a processed version of it sounds like.
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post #10 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by justarealguy View Post
Have you read up on creative's policy? I'd stay away from X-Fi, but it's your call of course.
yeah, i've read the thread. lol, i see you own a creative card yourself.
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