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USB vs. PCIe soundcard

Discussion in 'Home Theater PCs' started by batman144144, Jun 16, 2014.

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  1. batman144144

    batman144144 Member

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    Does one inherently sound better than the other?

    I am digitizing my vinyl through my PCIe soundcard, but an outboard unit would be more convenient. I seem to remember reading somewhere that USB connections are not the best interface in terms preserving audio quality. Is this true? Can anyone offer some advice?
     
  2. mattCR

    mattCR Well-Known Member
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    USB Connections have limited audio-out and realtime capability. For the most part, on MP3, they are as good as anything and there are great ones. But USB can't output or translate any HD audio format because there isn't enough bandwidth.
     
  3. batman144144

    batman144144 Member

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    Are you sure? The Sound Blaster X-Fi HD USB Audio System will digitize and export hi def audio. There is also a ton of pro gear, used mainly by musicians, that will record hi def digital data via a USB interface. They also do a lot more than I need and are more than a little out of my price range. In any case, as it turns out, I won't be needing to buy a new sound card. I'm using different software now that accomplishes what I need.

    My understanding is that when USB interfaces first came out they were noticeably inferior to PCI connections. Today, this is no longer the case. I guess it's still somewhat of a contraversy.

    Thanks for weighing in and trying to help me out.
     
  4. mattCR

    mattCR Well-Known Member
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    This depends. The sound blaster xfi can export, but it like all sound cards cannot bitstream he audio, it has no hdmi. It also doesn't natively decode those streams, it decodes the core (like dots or dd core). In most cases, for htpc purposes etc, the hdmi out is the right option.
     
  5. batman144144

    batman144144 Member

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    The primary purpose of my sound card, besides outputting my computer's audio, is digitizing my vinyl, and other analogue sources. In other words, I'm looking for an AD conversion, as opposed to having the full function set of a traditional digital audio processor.

    PC home theater is in its infancy, and I'm sure it will grow and improve. However, for the time, being, my home theater is not in my computer. In fact, quite the opposite. The digital audio and video outputs of my computer are connected to my home theater system.
     
  6. schan1269

    schan1269 HTF Expert
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    Why not buy one of the dozens of usb phono preamps?
     
  7. batman144144

    batman144144 Member

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    Audio quality. USB preamps, and USB turntables, offer mediocre sound quality. I'm certainly not giving up my Lehmann Audio Black Cube.

    Thanks to everyone for chiming in. This issue is resolved for me.
     
  8. mattCR

    mattCR Well-Known Member
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    You'll have to let us know what solution you went with.. your end function is quite different than what I (and I think others) were thinking of
     
  9. batman144144

    batman144144 Member

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    Oh? I apologize if I didn't wasn't being clear. Let me explain the backstory. I discovered my graphics card was plugged into a port that only allowed it to use 1/4 of its processing power and decided to move it. However, that would mean it would rest right up against my audio card, and there was no other slot to move either card to. Would that cause overheating? I was concerned about that. Even if it did, I wasn't about to move my graphics card back to the other port. I would just buy another audio card, but it would have to be USB since there was no other onboard slot available (hence my question to you all here). I downloaded a system temp monitoring app and kept an eye on the numbers. It seems my graphics card and audio card didn't mind being "best buddies." The graphics card did not overheat and the audio card did not seem to pick up noise from the graphics card. So, I'm keeping my original sound card, and my wallet thanks me.
     

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