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Thread: Best bang-for-the-buck PCI Sound card?

  1. #1
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    Best bang-for-the-buck PCI Sound card?

    Hey all,

    I must have changed my mind on what sound card to get a thousand times, and am really hoping for some input here. The more I search, the less confident I become in what to choose. I have everything I need for my setup, and half of it is installed. I just need to get a sound card and some misc wiring. Here is my system diagram for reference:


  2. #2
    Constant Bitrate studmonk3y's Avatar
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    well it looks like you're going for a high quality sound system, so why skimp on a sound card? get a creative soundblaster x-fi. http://www.newegg.com/product/produc...82E16829102188

  3. #3
    Variable Bitrate ramy_zohair's Avatar
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    Final Touches

    Car: 2002 Mitsubishi Magna EI
    CarPC: SP13000, M2-ATX, 512 MB RAM, 120 GB 2.5" HD, X-Fi Sound Card, Xenarc 700TSV, Garmin 18 USB.
    Audio: 2X15" Rockford Punch Z, 1 Rockford Punch 2-ch Amp, 1 Soundstream Lil Wonder II 4-ch Amp

  4. #4
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    hmm. You have a point at not skimping on the sound card. I have had my carputer installed and working for about 4 years now, but I was using the onboard sound which was garbage. Since then I have gutted my interior and am reinstalling everything with all the new components you see above. I did buy a Soundblaster Live! 5.1 and its sitting here, but I have heard mixed reviews on that card. Some say it works awesome, others say creative is garbage.

    I will only be using one of the output from which ever card I end up getting/using. My DQX takes one input and spits out 3 that are XO'ed and EQ'ed. My concern is that I would be potenitaly wasting money on a $100+ sound card when something like the Live! 5.1 could do everything I need since I have the DQX.

  5. #5
    Constant Bitrate RawsonDR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WebGeek
    I will only be using one of the output from which ever card I end up getting/using. My DQX takes one input and spits out 3 that are XO'ed and EQ'ed. My concern is that I would be potenitaly wasting money on a $100+ sound card when something like the Live! 5.1 could do everything I need since I have the DQX.
    I think you're right to think this for the most part. Since you all ready have equipment doing the amplification, when it comes to the sound card it's all about the DAC. I don't know anything about the Soundblaster series with regards to DAC quality, but I have done a bit of reading on sound cards based on the VIA Envy24HT-S chip. It turns out that the Chaintech AV710 is a good, cheap Envy24HT-S card. Being a cheaper solution, 6 of the 8 channels are processed with VIA's basic VT1616 chip. The last two of the eight, however, utilize the higher quality Wolfson WM8728. Since you are only using one output, your results may be as good with this card as any.

  6. #6
    Newbie joego's Avatar
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    Does the DQX have S/PDIF input? If so I would go with your 5.1 card plus this. If the DQX decodes like the Alpine PEH-701 then I would go with this The later is what I will use when I can afford the alpine unit. The first link is to an upgrade moduale for a a sound blaster live card, but it too has S/PDIF so if your DQX thingy has a digital in that great otherwise I just wasted a bunch of time typing this. Good luck in your search.

    EDIT: BTW kick *** system!!
    42

  7. #7
    MySQL Error scott_fx's Avatar
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    if you're serious about sound quality go with the emu line of cards and replace the opamps....if you're not that serious then you can stick with that emu line and have great results. another option is to go the route i'm going with and check out the echo gina3g. the card has external dacs (less noise introduced into the system) as well as a 5.75 vrms balanced outputs (can be simply converted to unbalanced to hook into your audio control unit.

    you gotta let me know how you like those horns, i was thinking about getting the slim versions for my car
    New System in progress:
    M10k
    Phaze TD1500 ~> Dynaudio MD130
    Phaze TD1500 ~> Seas g18rnx/p
    Zapco Ref 500.1 ~ 12" tc-9
    Behringer DCX2496 ~ Envision Electronics psu
    Transflective Xenarc

    My Car Pc Install
    My Boat Pc worklog

  8. #8
    MySQL Error scott_fx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joego
    Does the DQX have S/PDIF input? If so I would go with your 5.1 card plus this. If the DQX decodes like the Alpine PEH-701 then I would go with this The later is what I will use when I can afford the alpine unit. The first link is to an upgrade moduale for a a sound blaster live card, but it too has S/PDIF so if your DQX thingy has a digital in that great otherwise I just wasted a bunch of time typing this. Good luck in your search.

    EDIT: BTW kick *** system!!
    the 1820 has better opamps and dacs:
    http://us.creative.com/products/prod...9&product=9870
    New System in progress:
    M10k
    Phaze TD1500 ~> Dynaudio MD130
    Phaze TD1500 ~> Seas g18rnx/p
    Zapco Ref 500.1 ~ 12" tc-9
    Behringer DCX2496 ~ Envision Electronics psu
    Transflective Xenarc

    My Car Pc Install
    My Boat Pc worklog

  9. #9
    Newbie joego's Avatar
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    the 1820 has better opamps and dacs:
    http://us.creative.com/products/prod...product=9 870
    lol, yeah but 0404 is $100 and the 1820 is $400. WebGeek said s/he wanted bang for the buck not best money can buy.
    EDIT: Not to mention if you're using Alpine's PXA-H700 or a similar product you will not use the sound cards DAC's.
    42

  10. #10
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    wow, so many great responses!

    Quote Originally Posted by RawsonDR
    I think you're right to think this for the most part. Since you all ready have equipment doing the amplification, when it comes to the sound card it's all about the DAC. I don't know anything about the Soundblaster series with regards to DAC quality, but I have done a bit of reading on sound cards based on the VIA Envy24HT-S chip. It turns out that the Chaintech AV710 is a good, cheap Envy24HT-S card. Being a cheaper solution, 6 of the 8 channels are processed with VIA's basic VT1616 chip. The last two of the eight, however, utilize the higher quality Wolfson WM8728. Since you are only using one output, your results may be as good with this card as any.
    I have read that before, but the thing I read wasnt as detailed. I actually had the AV-710 on my list of items to buy, but then removed it thinking I could just keep the SB Live! 5.1. I guess one way to do it is to just try the SB Live! 5.1 and then I could pick up a AV-710 for less than 30 bucks some day and compare the two. I suppose I could read up on it, but for those two channels that have WM8728, how would that work? Could I use only one of them to run my entire system via the DQX?

    Quote Originally Posted by joego
    if your DQX thingy has a digital in that great otherwise I just wasted a bunch of time typing this. Good luck in your search.
    EDIT: BTW kick *** system!!
    it doesnt, but I appreciate you responding, and thanks for the comment!

    Quote Originally Posted by scott_fx
    if you're serious about sound quality go with the emu line of cards and replace the opamps....if you're not that serious then you can stick with that emu line and have great results. another option is to go the route i'm going with and check out the echo gina3g. the card has external dacs (less noise introduced into the system) as well as a 5.75 vrms balanced outputs (can be simply converted to unbalanced to hook into your audio control unit.

    you gotta let me know how you like those horns, i was thinking about getting the slim versions for my car
    hmm, how much is that card? I already have the linedriver in the DQX to bump me upto 5V out but the external DACS has me interested if only because you say less noise is introduced. I honestly have no idea what DACS are, and I guess I have mis directred my searching to which brand oif sound card to get, and not the inner workings of them. That prolly explains why I am getting nowhere!

    Ill letcha know on the horns. I have been told by many people that the CD1E's are not the best at all comparitively speaking. However they are half the price of true compression drivers (the cd1e isnt a true compression driver) and the CD1E V2 horn bodies are said to be the best design when paired with some true drivers from say the CD1Pro's. Teh MH bodys (the slims) are said to be not as good as the classics (v2's)

    Quote Originally Posted by joego
    lol, yeah but 0404 is $100 and the 1820 is $400. WebGeek said s/he wanted bang for the buck not best money can buy.
    EDIT: Not to mention if you're using Alpine's PXA-H700 or a similar product you will not use the sound cards DAC's.
    Good lord! That card is that much? Nevermind then! Im not really interested in spending several hundred bucks on some crazy insane video card to be honest. I am really into SQ, but not to the point where I would drop that much on a card. My DQX is a digital EQ/XO/Linedriver, but it doesnt have a digital input unlike the alpine unit. I know, it kinda seems silly. Anywho, I will be using the standard adaptor to get RCA leads out of my card, so I only need the one clean clear channel to work with.

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