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What are the best PCI-e sound cards?

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
Yeah, I'm looking for recommendations. This will be going on a P67 board, so it's got to be a PCI-e card. Let's not worry about price -- or if you want to worry, maybe just categorize... i.e. best under $100, best under $200, best under $300, etc.

This card does need to be very versatile. It will be used for music, movies, recording, gaming, etc. I'd say that music playback and recording take priority, but realistically if I'm going to drop a significant chunk of dough on a sound card it needs to shine in all of these situations.

For the most part it will be used with headphones and 2.1 channel systems. If there is potential to expand to good 5.1/6.1/7.1 audio output I guess that is a bonus, but it's not necessary.

I don't even know if there are very many PCIe sound cards out there, to be honest. Maybe there are only a handful. I've only really looked into the ASUS Xonar Essence STX... it seems all right, people seem to like the card. I really like that it has 1/4'' outputs. After seeing them on this card I'm not sure that I'd want to go without them, but hey. The RCA outs are cool too.

What I don't like about this card is that people say the ports are all controlled via software and can only be used one at a time. Does it have to be this way with a headphone amp? I plan to be plugging and unplugging cables from the front and back semi regularly. I feel like I should just be able to stick a cable into whatever port and go without having to load up a piece of software and tell it which one I'd like to use. Is this realistic?

If you haven't figured it out by now, I'm new to this.

I know Creative makes at least a couple PCIe cards, but I've heard that they're less than impressive when it comes to music.

If "Card X" comes with an external bay that's definitely a bonus, as more ports = more better. But again, it's not necessary if the card itself is robust enough.

Does my dream sound card exist? Will my hopes and dreams all be dashed? biggrin.gif Anyways, let me know what you guys like and why! Details are appreciated!

TIA.
Edited by koda - 1/25/11 at 9:04pm
    
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post #2 of 24
Xonar DX
Great card for under $100
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829132006
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post #3 of 24
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post #4 of 24
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829132014 or http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829271005 OOPS you said pci-e and they are BOTH pci oh well....
Edited by microman - 1/25/11 at 8:48pm
    
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post #5 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by whipple16 
Xonar DX
Great card for under $100
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16829132006

Thanks for your guys' input! Not really what I had in mind though. Not sure if you guys read my post, but money's not really my issue here.. I have a lot of stiff requirements in terms of quality, versatility, and the outputs in particular.

I work at an electronics store and am aware of all those Creative cards, but is one of those really going to be among the best in terms of music playback and recording quality? I was under the impression that they weren't the way to go for those sorts of applications.

The outputs on the Xonar Essence STX are a lot more suited to my uses than those on the DX... in my situation I feel like the DX would be a couple steps backwards from the Essence STX, when what I need is a big hop forwards. =)

Appreciated all the same.
Edited by koda - 1/25/11 at 8:50pm
    
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post #6 of 24
does it HAVE to be pci-e?
    
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post #7 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by microman;12145413 
does it HAVE to be pci-e?
No PCI slots on the motherboard, and I do want it to be internal.

So... pretty much. =/

I guess I could be convinced to go external, but it'd have to be leagues above what I could do with an internal card in order to sway me.
Edited by koda - 1/25/11 at 8:55pm
    
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post #8 of 24
there is a pci slot on that mobo....
PCI Express 2.0 x16
4 (x16/x8)
PCI Express x1
1
PCI Slots
1
    
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post #9 of 24
M-Audio cards are really nice. Check out the model 1010 (I think). your looking for an audio card with RCA inputs and outputs right ? With RCAs input and output you can record and play with all the good stuff
Edited by Tt2ent - 1/25/11 at 9:01pm
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post #10 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tt2ent;12145514 
M-Audio cards are really nice. Check out the model 1010 (I think). your looking for an audio card with RCA inputs and outputs right ? With RCAs input and output you can record and play with all the good stuff

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=5586746&CatId=107
    
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