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Which Sound Card?

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  • Which Sound Card?

    Does it really matter which sound card you use if you are building a MP3 box out of an old computer? I just want to get a signal to my stereo, I don't need a SBLive Platinum or anything do I?

  • #2
    Any ol' 16bit sound card. Anything more is probably a waste because all you need is 44khz signal processing, not special effects a midi voices and all that junk.

    99 ram 5.9 turbo
    P4 2.0, MicroATX, Audigy2nx, Monster Cable / Alpine.
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    • #3
      Some people swear by high end cards like SB Live, saying once you hear it, youll never want a cheap card again. I solve this problem by never hearing a decent sound car. That way, i think my $20 SB 16 is hot ****. Ive never had anything nicer than an SB 16. I cant tell a whole lot of difference between this and a cd. I'd go for the cheapest creative labs card.


      • #4
        I have herd both the cheep on MB ****, and the SB Live Platnum. With mp3s the only diference is if you want to add ecco and stuff like that, and why would you want to?


        • #5
          Welp, I have an SB LIVE! in my home computer and an SB 16 ISA in my car. I can't say I can tell the difference in terms of mp3s really...I'd say anything atleast the quality of a Creative Labs SB16 is good for a car though. I did have previously an Opti930 16 bit card and it produced a lot of extra noise.


          • #6
            Personally I think this is one of the key issues that makes the difference between a good mp3 car stereo and a really good mp3 car stereo. My first was done using a small footprint motherboard with on board sound. I wanted to keep it in as small a space as possible. The on board sound was crap though and I ended up getting much better results using a Creative Ensoniq Audio PCI soundcard.
            They go for about $30.
            The answer to your question though is: it depends. If all you want to do is get a signal to your stereo --you can do that with ANY soundcard. One reason some soundcards are more expensive is that it costs money to get good sound. On the other hand, you can not be assured of getting good sound just because you spent a lot of money.
            A while back I looked into soundcards for another use: putting music on Mini Disc using digital out from a soundcard. Some of the discussion I saw indicated that the digital signal path on a SB Live goes through the environmental audio circuitry whether_you_are_using_it_or_not and that this contributes to the card having a relatively high noise floor. As far as signal to noise ratio goes all card are NOT created equal. Something to consider would be: what kind of music are you going to be listening to? With loud music (stuff to bug your parents and neighbors with) the noise floor won't be a big deal. But if your music has a wide dynamic range then signal to noise is a big deal. With cheaper soundcards you are going to hear hiss during the quiet passages.

            You kind of answer your question yourself though -if you just want to get a signal to your stereo any soundcard is going to work.
            But... if you want it to sound good too, then a lot is going to depend on the type of music you listen to and what kind of equipment you are using to listen to it with.
            All soundcards are NOT created equal.


            • #7
              Thanks for all the input guys. I guess what I was thinking was that the EAX or A3d might add or detract from the quality of the signal. I guess a SB16 is good enough. I thought about onboard sound but you guys talked me out of it.
              Thanks for the help