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  • PCI Audio vs. USB Audio vs. Onboard Audio

    I notice a LOT of people are using usb for their audio over the onboard, which as I understand through my reading the onboard audio sucks. Ok, but why not put an audigy 2 pci card in the pci slot? Is there something more useful people are putting in that slot? It would be nice to have the volume/bass controls external to the jeeputer, but is there any other reason not use a pci audigy?

    -w
    P4MST-890 775 MicroATX Pentium Dual Core E2140 , 80GB 2.5", OPUS 320W, MS GPS, SB EXTREMEGAMER PCI, 8" LILLIPUT TS, 15" NEC TS, SIRIUS USB PC INTERFACE, STREETDECK, KICKER ZX850.4, KICKER 2500.1, 2xKICKER SS65.2, 2xKICKER 10"COMPVX

  • #2
    PCI is definitly the better way to go. I have lots of problems w/ recording audio over every USB one I've tried. If you don't use the input of the USB cards there just fine.

    I think most people don't put a PCI one in cause they can't fit it easily in thier case.

    I find the onboard audio to be quite good on most new motherboards. I would only upgrade for the increased feature set of PCI ones.
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    • #3
      in my case the onboard audio is good. Ive got an Intel d82845grg mobo here and it came with onboard soundmax audio and so far its sounded great. Ive even hooked it up to my home stereo a few times and its sounded great. but as god_of_cpu said, it all depends on what onboard sound you've got. my old comp (333mhz pos) had onboard sound on it. it was a variant of a low end soundblaster. not the best. i got lots of interference and could hear it at low volumes.

      bu i digress on the subject. as already stated, the major reason why most people use usb instead of pci is room. and the epia motherboards only have one slot iirc.
      Your everyday carpc geek and tech guru at your service. *bow*

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      • #4
        I've got an EPIA M10000 on order, and I have an old SB Live sitting around, so I was just going to go that way, no case, it will all be mounted on MDF inside my dash.

        So space is the big issue then? Not quality, not compatibility, just space?
        Lucky I have a jeep with a huge dash then I guess.

        -w
        P4MST-890 775 MicroATX Pentium Dual Core E2140 , 80GB 2.5", OPUS 320W, MS GPS, SB EXTREMEGAMER PCI, 8" LILLIPUT TS, 15" NEC TS, SIRIUS USB PC INTERFACE, STREETDECK, KICKER ZX850.4, KICKER 2500.1, 2xKICKER SS65.2, 2xKICKER 10"COMPVX

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        • #5
          Originally posted by waltwalt
          So space is the big issue then? Not quality, not compatibility, just space?
          In the UK we call this "compromise"
          Leo

          http://www.talkaudio.co.uk

          A million people can't be wrong, right?

          Well... unless they're all from the red states...

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          • #6
            for me I can't run the PCI card sin'ce I'm not running a case....thus the PCMCI card works best for me. It's only got what I need as far as ports - optic out, in and if I wanted, stuff for 7.1....which I don't need. It's small and it does everything I need.

            On board audio out of the Mini-itx boards isn't all that great - but it also depends on what you are listening to that onboard audio on...OEM stereo or aftermarket stuff.....
            Jan Bennett
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            Please post on the forums! Chances are, someone else has or will have the same questions as you!

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            • #7
              I've got two 6" pioneer's in the rear, 2 10" thump subs, 2 factory highs in the front, one factory sub in the console, clarion 200w amp for the subs, and a prestige 400wx4 amp for the speakers once I take the hu out.
              Haven't replaced all the wiring yet, no point as I saw it. What sort of voltage differences do you see on the outputs of various audio boards, pci, usb, pcmci, etc. is 2Vp-p on the output fairly standard?

              If it is 2V, I'll just put in the soundblaster and run straight to the amps, no problem I hope.
              P4MST-890 775 MicroATX Pentium Dual Core E2140 , 80GB 2.5", OPUS 320W, MS GPS, SB EXTREMEGAMER PCI, 8" LILLIPUT TS, 15" NEC TS, SIRIUS USB PC INTERFACE, STREETDECK, KICKER ZX850.4, KICKER 2500.1, 2xKICKER SS65.2, 2xKICKER 10"COMPVX

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              • #8
                I stumbled upon this topic trying to find out if its worth me getting a PCI soundcard. As for wether external or internal soundcards are better i would have to say external. A computer gives out a LOT of electronic noise that your speakers output (turn up the speakers and listen) external soundcards produce a lot less noise and professional ones give out none at all. I dont think its worth getting a budget external soundcard but to buy a professional one will set you back a bit.

                Hope this helps.

                As for wether a pci is better than an onboard one im not sure so i might just buy one and do some tests.

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                • #9
                  Wow, thanks for bringing this back from the dead. 2 year old thread. Plus

                  http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/car-...soundcard.html
                  System always under construction


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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by durwood View Post
                    Wow, thanks for bringing this back from the dead. 2 year old thread. Plus

                    http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/car-...soundcard.html
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                    • #11
                      I don't think a USB outboard device can be that much of an improvement over a PCI card. It's still being fed dirty 5V through the USB cable from the PC, and shares a common ground with the PC. Balanced output from a PCI or USB device would be an improvement, but the ultimate has to be S/PDIF out with an external DAC or processor. The one disadvantage of that approach is that you must do the volume control after the DAC, unless you don't mind giving up resolution by turning it down volume before the audio comes out of the PC.

                      One solution would be a switched attenuator between the DAC and crossover so you can keep the PC volume slider high under normal listening conditions, then kick the maximum volume up 10 or 20 dB when you need to get stupid. This of course should be done using a massive industrial control switch under a lockable plexiglass cover framed by black and yellow warning stripes and with a "Hearing Protection Required" safety sticker.

                      You could use a double-pole relay so the switch only switches DC and the wiring between the DAC and crossover is as short as possible.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by BassBinDevil View Post
                        I don't think a USB outboard device can be that much of an improvement over a PCI card. It's still being fed dirty 5V through the USB cable from the PC, and shares a common ground with the PC. Balanced output from a PCI or USB device would be an improvement, but the ultimate has to be S/PDIF out with an external DAC or processor. The one disadvantage of that approach is that you must do the volume control after the DAC, unless you don't mind giving up resolution by turning it down volume before the audio comes out of the PC.
                        .
                        there are some good usb solutions though; namely a usb dac. sure you have some jitter issues but for some it may be a great solution.
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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by BassBinDevil View Post
                          I don't think a USB outboard device can be that much of an improvement over a PCI card. It's still being fed dirty 5V through the USB cable from the PC, and shares a common ground with the PC. Balanced output from a PCI or USB device would be an improvement, but the ultimate has to be S/PDIF out with an external DAC or processor. The one disadvantage of that approach is that you must do the volume control after the DAC, unless you don't mind giving up resolution by turning it down volume before the audio comes out of the PC.
                          In terms of power, you are correct. Some PCI cards are adding good capacitance to smooth out the dirty voltage. One advantage external has over PCI is that it can help eliminate EMI from the computer. I had a card once that picked up harddrive noise IF the IDE cable is too close. It's rare, but it can happen.
                          System always under construction


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