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Best USB soundcard?

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  • Best USB soundcard?

    Hello i hava a laptop as a carpc zo i want a good soundcard for USB.

    I have vond a Creative Labs Geluidskaart SB X-Fi Surround 5.1 Pro: 63,- euro
    or a biger 1 with more options the: Terratec Geluidskaart DMX 6Fire soundcard: 183,- euro
    But is this good enough or is ther better and so, what?

    So i want to know what is best for my audio form my laptop to my car audio system (i want to use RCH connectors)

    Please a quick help its the last thing i need to make it compleet

  • #2
    'best' in audio is very much like the 'best' car. i feel that my 2001 mitsubishi eclipse is the best car, but am sure that many, many people would disagree..

    the cards your looking at are 2 completely different categories.

    the x-fi surround pro is a consumer-level usb sound card. i had one for a while, and it has a turn-on pop, so i don't typically recommend it, as there are many other solutions that don't have this problem.

    the terratec is a pro-audio grade sound card, and as such, it has software that is intended to be used in professional applications-- so getting all the audio channels to work could be problematic without requiring extra pro-audio software.

    and the other thing i am not so sure about is that it has a power input for a add-on power adapter. while some devices don't require this, many do require a power input to work. in my brief search, i didn't see what the power requirements are for this device-- if it requires 12v or less, there is a good chance that it can be powered in-car, but could require extra parts.

    some other things-- you say you want to use RCA connections to the amps. i can assure you that a 3.5mm-to-rca cable adapters will not audibly hurt your sound quality.

    technicality: yes, any connection, or splice will adversely affect the audio signal, but when using decent quality cables (mid-grade cabling), it would take many, many, many, connections to get to a point where the audio signal will audibly change... and this applies no mater what type of cable connector you use.

    what do you need the sound card to do(multiple outputs? audio routing?)? i might be able to locate some suggestions.
    Last edited by soundman98; 03-24-2011, 04:48 PM.
    My OLD 2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT:
    "The Project That Never Ended, until it did"

    next project? subaru brz
    carpc undecided


    • #3
      I have used several USB sound card solutions, including the old Phillips Aurilium, a Creative Sound Blaster Audigy 2 NX, and the first edition of the Creative X-Fi 5.1 USB.

      The best sound was from the X-Fi. It is clean and crisp and the drivers work pretty well under Windows 7. I also was able to get hibernate to work well. The X-Fi does not require external power. This is a positive and negative issue. The plus side is not having to provide power.

      The negatives outweigh the positives though. You must have a high-powered USB port or a powered USB hub to run properly. The X-Fi would not run properly from the motherboard USB and only when I powered USB the hub did it work. The output is also not as strong as powered cards. I have to increase the gain on my amps to reach the same volume levels. I also have a (not too loud) snap, crackle, and pop when the unit starts.

      The Audigy 2 NX was also a great card, if you have Windows XP. It is older and sounds good. However, it does not hibernate well in Windows 7, at least for me.

      Last edited by Thefdog; 03-24-2011, 07:05 PM.


      • #4

        What causes the X-FI to "pop"? And since you mentioned other solutions...


        • #5
          the pop: i don't know-- my guess is it is either the way that they designed the power supply for the board, or the way they designed the audio driver to interface with the card...

          either way, with the amount of audio cards on the market, why waste time with this one?

          for solutions, there are three, though some have variations(different components could be used to do the same thing)..

          all of these would delay the startup of the amps until after the 'pop' happens.
          1. use the delay on the psu, and hope it's enough.
          2. use a external delay, like a DEI 528T pulse timer, and hope the pc don't take longer to boot.
          3. use a program--i think it's called ampcntrl--that will enable a relay using the serial port after the pc has booted-- the disadvantage is that if the pc don't boot, neither do your amps..
          My OLD 2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT:
          "The Project That Never Ended, until it did"

          next project? subaru brz
          carpc undecided


          • #6
            I am using the X-fi and have no "pop" issues, the only issue I experienced with it was all the bloatware on the cd that came with it. I found standalone drivers for it with no software programs and it is working fine. I am using only the optical out and I am using a power supply with a delay start to trigger the amps so maybe that's where the "pop" went, not sure.
            My 2007 Ford F350 Work Log located HERE


            • #7
              i have got the Creative Labs Geluidskaart SB X-Fi Surround 5.1 Pro so i am going to start with that
              @ PhilG: where dit you get the driver only? and software is not needed?

              this is to start with and later on i wil upgrade i think. thanks voor te reaction!


              • #8
                I can't recall where I downloaded them from for sure but I THINK they are the 55 meg file on this page
                This file does come with Audio Console but I'm sure this file is much smaller with alot less software than what is contained on the original CD. If you can wait until I have time, I will hunt down the driver file I used and see if it's size matched this one. Otherwise, give this one a try.
                My 2007 Ford F350 Work Log located HERE


                • #9
                  Oke thank you! i can wait but how long do you thing? day of today?