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USB soundcard for my laptop.

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I've got an Asus G73SW. As on my stationary it's got onboard Realtek HD Audio, only unlike my stationary it sounds like crap and it's also really quiet. I don't mind that for the built in speakers, but for the headphones (HD555 and Siberia v2) it's unforgivable. FLAC music and shows like Metalocalypse sound incredibly underwhelming and low quality. The real killer is I can't really tell where enemies are in games like Quake Live. Whether they're above, below, left or right it sounds pretty similar to me. With the HD Audio Manager preset equaliser at "Powerful" music sounds somewhat reasonable, though nothing compared to on my desktop and THX TruStudio kinda helps with the speakers.

Anyway, I'm guessing a USB soundcard would fix these problems (quality, directional audio and volume). I've got plenty of money to spend. Any recommendations? Preferably something reasonably portable. It is for my laptop after all. G73SW has a USB 3.0 slot if that matters.
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post #2 of 7
I would highly recommend NOT getting a usb soundcard. They are often limited to 48k, which makes the audio sound very hollow.

I have a G73Jh, so I cannot say that we have the same audio driver, but in the Realtek options there is a virtual headset surround sound option that gives you 3d positioning with a stereo headset. I notice that it is significantly easier to hear in what direction enemies are approaching.

As for the FLAC and video files, maybe it's time to update your video/audio codecs. The card I have is capable of 24-bit, 192Khz audio, and everything I play on it with headphones sounds like a dream. The speakers could be better though.
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
One of the first things I did was get the various codecs required to play FLAC/MKV and whatnot. Didn't help. I've also tried playing music with the KMPlayer with its internal codecs. Only difference between KMPlayer and Windows Media Player is KMPlayer is slightly louder. Definitely doesn't sound like a dream to me. How loud is the max volume for you? Really quiet for me.

Also, having the surround option checked doesn't make the quality any better.
Edited by Rimmer - 3/11/11 at 1:16pm
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post #4 of 7
I would get a DAC. The Maverick Audio TubeMagic D1 DAC is good. It's $200 though.
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post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by HybridCore View Post
I would get a DAC. The Maverick Audio TubeMagic D1 DAC is good. It's $200 though.
Can't find any retailers online that sell it in Sweden.
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post #6 of 7
I use a uDac-2 which is usb. Obviously it's not the greatest dac/amp in the world, however for its price I think its great and definitely recommend it.
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post #7 of 7
Look for a used Allen DAC or Grub DAC and use the rest of your funds on a mini3 headphone amp. Great combo that should run less than $150 used.
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