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Discussion Starter #1
Hello again!

How good is the onboard sound on this board? I am an audiophile and plan to use it as an HTPC with my Dolby Pro Logic surround sound speakers optical spdif that I bought back with my 36" Trinitron Wega. I'm very happy with the sound on these, but I've never used the optical before and was wondering whether the onboard sound on the MB is good enough or do I need to add better PCI card. I'm kinda fuzzy on the facts, but as I understand it, since it is digital, the output should be the same regardless of whether it is onboard or through PCI. Is this correct?

If not and it is preferable to add in a card, what cards do you suggest that would support the optical out that would be a good choice for my system? And what makes the difference in the quality of the sound as it isn't analog but digital? Does it process different audio information?

*sigh* I wish I knew more about how all this stuff worked. It just seems that there is so much to learn. I never would have even known a thing about it if I'd stuck with Mac... I think the LC475 was the last machine I even used a music program on.
 

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The Computer Guy
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onboard sound really sux,BTW,i used to have that board.the sound on it is ok,but u should get a sound card if u want better quality sound from those speakers
 

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Good sound cards will provide better SQ then onboard audio. You can really tell the difference in SQ.

But we would need a budget that you are willing to spend on a sound card.

The Auzentech Forte and Asus Xonar Essence STX/ST are some of the top cards out right now. Forte runs about $130ish brand new, and the Xonar Essence runs about $180 new.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
What are the factors that influence the difference in SQ (assuming that is short for "Sound Quality")? Isn't digital output the same regardless of the source?
 

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How your music/sound/games are buffered & converted going through the onboard audio vs going through a dedicated sound card that has its own DAC+opamps which are higher quality. You could mod your sound card to add higher quality opamps if you know what your are doing.

I think this review would explain it better then I if you're still wondering what a DAC or opamp is, read pages 7 & 8.

edit: Miss read the digital output part, guess I should finish reading sentence. /facepalm
Disregard my post if you're using digital output.
 

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Digital output should sound exactly the same if you use onboard or a add in card. It bypasses the DAC of the device and the DAC on the receiver for your speakers is the one that gets used.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Quote:


Originally Posted by Xeroni
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Digital output should sound exactly the same if you use onboard or a add in card. It bypasses the DAC of the device and the DAC on the receiver for your speakers is the one that gets used.

Ok, so my initial impressions regarding the output were correct, but now that I think about it, I do plan on doing some analog to digital conversion upon getting this rig running smooth {HUGE LP collection!} These are the audio specs as listed from the ASUS site on the board:

AI Audio:
Realtek ALC850 8-channel CODEC
Audio Sensing Technology
support S/PDIF out interface

Back Panel :
1 x 8-Channel Audio I/O
1 x Optical S/PDIF Output
1 x Coaxial S/PDIF Output

Internal I/O Connectors:
- GAME/MIDI connector
- Front panel audio connector

How does this affect my decision whether to purchase an additional PCI sound card when considering the audio IN?

* Edit: When adding additional considerations to my OP (as I am doing here), should I include them in an edit there also or here in "reply"?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Quote:


Originally Posted by kRze.baLLiN!
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But we would need a budget that you are willing to spend on a sound card.

The Auzentech Forte and Asus Xonar Essence STX/ST are some of the top cards out right now.

Although I did read your next post and edit, I thought I ought to mention also that I have no PCI-e on the mobo. I haven't a clue what sound cards are going for nowdays, but it would have to be strictly PCI in the event I purchase something, but audio fidelity is probably the one thing I would be willing to spend beyond budget on if it were worth the cost, even on this build which is old tech. (Gotsta have my tunes, man!)

So budget concerns shape up like this:

I would feel REALLY guilty going over $150 and less so but still guilty over $120, and in good conscience easily spend $100 . Used is also not a problem, and maybe even preferable (as sometimes I get very lucky on ebay if its something I was meant to have.)
 
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