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Thread: Which sound card to go for if it's worth doing?

  1. #1
    Constant Bitrate
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    Lightbulb Which sound card to go for if it's worth doing?

    I have a GA-8S661FXM-775 motherboard in my car and I am using the integrated sound on it.
    Firstly, I'm wondering if it's worth getting a separate sound card in the PCI slot. Will I tell the difference?
    Reading around, I've heard that it will be a very good choice. I this is the case, I don't really know what to look for and what sort of price I am looking at?

    Does anyone have any other ideas about this?

    Thanks
    JM

    EDIT: ok, definitely going to get a sound card. I want to eventually replace my PC for a mac mini so I am going to go for a external USB sound card. Which one? needs to be good and mac + PC compatible.

  2. #2
    MySQL Error soundman98's Avatar
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    yes it can help the quality of the sound. my recomendations? go with what works best for your install space/speaker setup/future setup, budget, and slot type...

    i know it is not much help, but there are tons of different cards out there to do anything, and everything that you could possibly want.
    i would recomend staying away from creative cards-- they tend to get tossed in the scrap pile after i run into problems and remember that their tech support and driver issues take forever to get resolved... but if you are lucky enough not to have any problems, they should work fine...

  3. #3
    Constant Bitrate
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    ok, thanks for the advice.
    The slot is a PCI (32 bit) and space does not matter. As for speakers I have 2 door speakers, 2 rear speakers and a sub. I think I'll probably go for a card that has lots of jack outputs so I can get a jack for sub, rear speakers, and front speakers separately so I can kind of have 5.1 sound just without the front centre speaker.

    As for budget, I'm really not sure :S. Ideally something below 150 but if I'm going to get something tonnes better for 100 more, I don't mind pushing the budget.

    What specs am I looking for? I don't really understand sound cards :S

  4. #4
    Who am I? HiJackZX1's Avatar
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    I went with the Sound Blaster XtremeGamer card. It has the option to use 5.1 or 7.1 (need a special 7.1 cable) and it has a very low profile. The sound is amazing, I got mine off of Ebay for about $57.00.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by HiJackZX1 View Post
    I went with the Sound Blaster XtremeGamer card. It has the option to use 5.1 or 7.1 (need a special 7.1 cable) and it has a very low profile. The sound is amazing, I got mine off of Ebay for about $57.00.
    Thanks, did you have a onboard sound before? can u tell a difference from before?
    reading some forums, 'now I know all I was listening to before was crap' it's sounds alot better to get a sound card.

  6. #6
    MySQL Error soundman98's Avatar
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    basically, the biggest difference between all the cards is the control software, drivers, and s/n ratio(signal to noise ratio) signal to noise ratio defined by wikipedia:

    Signal-to-noise ratio (often abbreviated SNR or S/N) is an electrical engineering measurement, also used in other fields (such as scientific measurements, biological cell signaling), defined as the ratio of a signal power to the noise power corrupting the signal.

    In less technical terms, signal-to-noise ratio compares the level of a desired signal (such as music) to the level of background noise. The higher the ratio, the less obtrusive the background noise is. Noisy data is received data that is distorted and has a low Signal-to-Noise Ratio because of EMI
    sound cards are kind of like cars-- each has its own advantages and disadvantages, and some love a card , and others hate that exact same card.

    i really try not to give out recomendations on stuff like this becasue sound is very subjective, and what i like, and what you like are 2 different things--a good card for me and a good card for you could be the same, or completly different.

    maybe you can learn from some of my mistakes: i have had serious problems with the flexible pci extenders-- my first card was a pci card- sound blaster audigy. the flexible adapter caused the system not to post, and my instal had no room to mount the card correctly(i only have 2.5" of height in my install location) next, i moved to a usb creative card-- the usb x-fi-- system took forever to post--up to a minute(it sure felt like it) just to get to the boot screen. now i am still using my second usb card-- a esi gigaporthd. i have problems with routing the audio, and can not use the asio driver that i bought it for. i must use the windows driver+asio4all to get it to work properly.


    **in-car post, i tried to check spelling as much as possible, but a 7" screen just isn't the greatest for web browsing

  7. #7
    Who am I? HiJackZX1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jellymonster View Post
    Thanks, did you have a onboard sound before? can u tell a difference from before?
    reading some forums, 'now I know all I was listening to before was crap' it's sounds alot better to get a sound card.
    My MoBo does not have great onboard audio, so I never considered using it. Its only 2 channel and a mic port, doesnt even have line in. I had no choice but to get a secondary card.

    Quote Originally Posted by soundman98 View Post
    basically, the biggest difference between all the cards is the control software, drivers, and s/n ratio(signal to noise ratio) signal to noise ratio defined by wikipedia:



    sound cards are kind of like cars-- each has its own advantages and disadvantages, and some love a card , and others hate that exact same card.

    i really try not to give out recomendations on stuff like this becasue sound is very subjective, and what i like, and what you like are 2 different things--a good card for me and a good card for you could be the same, or completly different.

    maybe you can learn from some of my mistakes: i have had serious problems with the flexible pci extenders-- my first card was a pci card- sound blaster audigy. the flexible adapter caused the system not to post, and my instal had no room to mount the card correctly(i only have 2.5" of height in my install location) next, i moved to a usb creative card-- the usb x-fi-- system took forever to post--up to a minute(it sure felt like it) just to get to the boot screen. now i am still using my second usb card-- a esi gigaporthd. i have problems with routing the audio, and can not use the asio driver that i bought it for. i must use the windows driver+asio4all to get it to work properly.


    **in-car post, i tried to check spelling as much as possible, but a 7" screen just isn't the greatest for web browsing
    I agree.... but I would most def go PCI based card. USB to me always have issues.
    Nirwana Project, the Android/Win 7 hybrid system!

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  8. #8
    Maximum Bitrate
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    I used onboard for a long time...probably about a year. I then upgraded my system and decided to go with an add-on card since with my desktop at home, an add-in made a big difference in sound. I did a lot of looking and based on my experience with my X-Fi titanium in my home pc...I was going with anything but creative stuff

    I ended up going with an Asus Xonar-DX. It's a pci-e card...and I haven't looked if they're made in pci...but the difference in sound was astounding.

  9. #9
    Constant Bitrate
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    I just found this:
    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Asus-...PCI-Sound-Card

    I don't know if it's any good but a few reviews says it's good.

    Is it good value for money or is there a better one out? or will I gain more for going for a higher priced one?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by nst6563 View Post
    I used onboard for a long time...probably about a year. I then upgraded my system and decided to go with an add-on card..
    I advise going in this direction. Run your system with the on-board first. See how it sounds, if you're okay with the sound quality then you're good to go. If it doesn't sound good enough to you, then look at other options. You can throw a lot of money at different sound options and to your ear it may not sound any better.

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