1. Guest,
    If you need help getting to know Xenforo, please see our guide here. If you have feedback or questions, please post those here.
    Dismiss Notice

Recommend a sound card for 5.1 gaming thru receiver?

Discussion in 'Computers' started by Adam Bluhm, Jul 24, 2006.

  1. Adam Bluhm

    Adam Bluhm Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2002
    Messages:
    611
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have an Audigy2 ZS in my newer rig (built in Jan). I was excited when I purchased it, because it's the most expensive sound card I've ever purchased and I assumed it would do surround gaming better than my old Turtle Beach Santa Cruz card.

    I finally got the thing hooked up to my Denon 1802 receiver through analog cables to allow the sound card to do positional audio. To keep this story short, it didn't happen. I played for hours and went to multiple audio/computer forums and found no help. I've given up on the card. My TBSC card did it fine in the past (when I played Doom 3). I've tried Battlefield 2 and NR2003 and cannot get either game to play surround. Even Creative's test software doesn't play true 5.1. It's been frustrating.

    I've considered trying the X-fi, as I've read wonderful things and also reports that it's heaps better than the Audigy 2 and has much better sound quality and less bugs.

    Is it worth trying this card or should I try something else? I thought about pulling the TBSC out of my old machine, but that had a few bugs I don't want to encounter today. Keep in mind that my goal is to do 5.1 gaming with analog cables through my receiver. I'd like to keep the price under $100. Newegg had the X-fi on sale for $82, but it's back to regular price.

    Thanks for any recommendations. I appreciate it.
     
  2. Parker Clack

    Parker Clack Schizophrenic Man
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 1997
    Messages:
    12,220
    Likes Received:
    57
    Location:
    Kansas City, MO
    Real Name:
    Parker
    Adam:

    I had the X-Fi and couldn't get it to work right with my HTPC and my Outlaw Audio pre/pro using the outputs off the card and it didn't include a built in RCA or Toslink S/PDIF out that I wanted. I searched around and found the HDA X-Mystique 7.1 Gold and I love it. I also recommend looking into the HDA X-Plosion 7.1 DTS card.

    [​IMG]

    HDA X-Plosion 7.1 DTS card.

    Parker
     
  3. Joe D

    Joe D Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 1999
    Messages:
    839
    Likes Received:
    0
    The two cards that Parker recommended are good sound cards, and they offer the digital connections that most sound cards do not.

    Some cheaper sound cards offer the digital connections but do not pass more than a 2.0 signal when using the digital connections, which doesn't make any sense but it is what happens.

    Check out www.newegg.com for both reviews and good prices for both of the above cards.
     
  4. Adam Bluhm

    Adam Bluhm Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2002
    Messages:
    611
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks, guys.

    Parker, I've had one other fellow recommend that card. I wouldn't be using the digital out (in the forseeable future), so that isn't a selling point currently, but I don't think it'd be a bad idea to abandon Creative's cards altogether considering the problems this card is giving me (bugs in another game I play often).

    Thanks again for the replies. I'll probably narrow it down to the above card and an X-fi.



    -edit-



    After reading up a little more on that card, I'm really liking the Dolby Digital Live feature. Other than some software complaints at Newegg (which every sound card has), it seems to be a great card. That looks like a good buy. I guess I can ditch the two sets (three in each set) of analog cables I have. [​IMG]
     
  5. Scott L

    Scott L Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2000
    Messages:
    4,466
    Likes Received:
    1
    Go with the X-Fi. As much as I hate Creative's bloatware, there's no better gaming soundcard for the money.

    I see that you don't want to fool with digital, which is smart in this case imo. Compression is a factor when you encode to either DD or DTS. With analog there's no compression and the X-Fi has really good DACs. In fact, they are the same ones used in the Lynx Two sound cards, which run for a grand a piece. Lynx Two owners say their cards match the SQ of standalone pre/pros costing 3-4x as much. [​IMG]
     
  6. Parker Clack

    Parker Clack Schizophrenic Man
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 1997
    Messages:
    12,220
    Likes Received:
    57
    Location:
    Kansas City, MO
    Real Name:
    Parker
    Adam:

    The HDA X-Plosion has both Dolby Digital Live and DTS Connect. I built an HTPC that had the X-Fi built in and returned it and replaced it with the X-Plosion and haven't looked back. I know a lot of HTPC builders that have gone with the HDAs not just because they are cheaper than the Creatives but they like them for their overall better performance. I would pick up the HDA and if you don't like it return it and get the X-Fi. I doubt seriously once you put one in your rig you will return it.
     
  7. Mike Fassler

    Mike Fassler Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2004
    Messages:
    523
    Likes Received:
    0
    The HDA's really are the way to go, not only are they lower cost, but you dont have to deal with the relatively junky drivers that Creative releases for their cards.
     
  8. Adam Bluhm

    Adam Bluhm Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2002
    Messages:
    611
    Likes Received:
    0
    I guess I have two other questions. Do you fellas or anyone else have experience with 5.1 gaming with this card or the X-fi? (I'll be doing absolutely no dvd playback with the pc)

    My other questions is how much better is EAX5 than 2? I guess Creative won't license EAX3+ to any other company at the moment.
     
  9. Adam Bluhm

    Adam Bluhm Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2002
    Messages:
    611
    Likes Received:
    0
    I went ahead and ordered the cheaper of the two Auzentech cards. It might be here this week and I hope this fixes my desire for surround gaming!
     
  10. Mike Fassler

    Mike Fassler Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2004
    Messages:
    523
    Likes Received:
    0

    I use mine for 5.1 gaming all the time, definately blows away any other solutions. Good sound card + good receiver and speakers = Fraggin' Goodness.

    also whats better than having your neighbors wondering if world war 3 is starting [​IMG]
     
  11. Adam Bluhm

    Adam Bluhm Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2002
    Messages:
    611
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks for the reply, Mike. You gave me a little more confidence that this card will work for me. If you don't mind me asking, what receiver and speakers are you running? I need to ask questions and bide the time until my card gets here. Just for kicks I also ordered a 4400+ due to the recent AMD price cuts. I'll be upgraded from the 3700+.


    That's half the idea. [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  12. mattCR

    mattCR Well-Known Member
    HW Reviewer

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2005
    Messages:
    10,469
    Likes Received:
    368
    Location:
    Overland Park, KS
    Real Name:
    Matt
    Because Creative doesn't support DDL Live or DTS Connect, it's hard to consider any of them.
     
  13. Scott L

    Scott L Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2000
    Messages:
    4,466
    Likes Received:
    1
    Despite the popularity of the lossy digital multichannel formats, hooking up an extra 2 or 3 cables is cake. It's not as painful as you think.

    Hope you enjoy the new card Adam, I hear a lot of good things about it. [​IMG]
     
  14. Adam Bluhm

    Adam Bluhm Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2002
    Messages:
    611
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks, Scott. I'll be sure and report back with my results. I'm sure someone is reading this wondering how I make out, which may determine which sound card he or she gets in the future. I'll most certainly try it both with a digital cable and analog cables. If I can help someone avoid a card or make a good card purchase, all the better.
     
  15. Mike Fassler

    Mike Fassler Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2004
    Messages:
    523
    Likes Received:
    0
    Pioneer VSX915K currently,using onix reference monitors all around. im gonna upgrade the receiver one of these days. this setup makes your games like night and day thou.
     
  16. mattCR

    mattCR Well-Known Member
    HW Reviewer

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2005
    Messages:
    10,469
    Likes Received:
    368
    Location:
    Overland Park, KS
    Real Name:
    Matt

    It's not about connecting multiple cables. It's about allowing audio to pass in a DD or DTS format from a program that is otherwise sending PCM. I know, I know, hey, you're converting to a lossy.. but in this case, more and more games are shipping DDL ready, especially since Intel has been building it into it's audio onboard CODECs for a bit, and MS has it as part of the DX 9.1 template (HD Audio). The fact that creative doesn't want to jump on an open DirectX platform sucks.
     
  17. MikeH1

    MikeH1 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2000
    Messages:
    1,498
    Likes Received:
    0
    You said you have tried playing BF2 with the soundcard but couldn't get the 5.1 to work. Well, BF2 isn't in 5.1...the best you can get is DPL II for surround. Trust me, I do a lot of gaming (Battlefield wise) and use a X-Fi Fatality card wired analog (never bothered with digital) to a denon 3805 and hooked up to Paradigm Cinerma 90s (Multi zone 2 - pc speakers) and multi zone 1 - Mirage Om 10's fronts, MC-2 center, OM-R2's rears and Om-12 rear surround with a Paradigm Seismic 10 sub.

    Let me also say, as a happy previous owner of a Turtle beach santa cruz that the new X-Fi cards, especially with the "crystalizer", mp3's have never sounded so good. Its actually quite unreal. I can honestly say that the new Creative Cards are killer (and I'm no "fanboy", I just wanted good sound from a $300.00 Cdn card)

    It took me sometime to navigate through the card and set everything up how I liked and to assign the right inputs where but once done is sonic bliss (for a pc).

    I wouldn't have given up on Creative just yet.
     
  18. Adam Bluhm

    Adam Bluhm Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2002
    Messages:
    611
    Likes Received:
    0
    Quick question for anyone.

    Connected via analog so far audio is great. I was getting surround in Quake 4. I tried BF2 but it wouldn't boot. It might have something to do with the resolution it was at and the resolution my projector can accept. I have to fiddle with that.

    However, when I selected the S/PDIF out (DD Live), I got absolutely nothing. I set the receiver as I normally would when receiving a signal from my optical cable and even tried two optical cables. I tried all my input settings (to be safe) and checked the audio properties to be sure that nothing was muted.

    Any ideas?
     
  19. Adam Bluhm

    Adam Bluhm Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2002
    Messages:
    611
    Likes Received:
    0
    There's no problem with the card. It was a bunch of confusion.

    I think what happened is when I switch to S/PDIF out the card muted itself in windows (this may be a common bug). I didn't notice it at first and couldn't get it working. I then swapped cables, and I think when I did that I plugged the optical cable into my Denon's optical OUTput! (not input) I then probably noticed it was muted, unmuted it and still noticed nothing (obviously because my cable was then in the wrong port).

    I think this is what happened because when I tested it last night the same thing happened, but I made absolutely sure that the optical cable was in the correct place and that the receiver was in the correct mode.

    Anyway, it's working and Doom 3 sounded marvelous last night. [​IMG]
     
  20. Mike Fassler

    Mike Fassler Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2004
    Messages:
    523
    Likes Received:
    0
    sweet man, congrats on gaming awesomeness!!!
     

Share This Page