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Best Sound Card To Get...


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#1 of 12 OFFLINE   Dave W

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Posted October 31 2003 - 04:48 AM

Hey guys,

Whats the best sound card to get right now? I've been using the integrated sound (5.1) on my motherboard for a while but, I've been having crash probs with the latest drivers for it and have had sound quality probs since I first started using it. Stuff like channels inverting randomly etc... Appreciate any help you guys can offer. Thanks Posted Image

System:
AMD XP 1700+
Soyo Dragon Plus (VIA chipset)
768mb RAM
ATI 9500 Pro
(2)120gb WD HDD
HP CDRW & Tosh DVD Drive (Using digital cable for audio extraction)

#2 of 12 OFFLINE   Colin Davidson

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Posted October 31 2003 - 05:36 AM

Hi Dave,

I am with you in needing some advice on sound cards and I have been doing some research as well.

From the looks of things, for me, it may be down to 2 choices:

1. Creative Audigy 2

2. Hercules Fortissimo 3

Tom's Hardware Guide for Soundcards

I guess it would depend on your price range. Price is really important to me and I cant possibly dump $200 plus bucks on a soundcard. But there are lower end Audigy's that may fit the bill.

The 2nd choice above is in the $40 dollar range which is really great price wise for the features. I would like to hear from some people who have the card and what their thoughts are on performance/sound etc.

Hope that helps some and I look forward to responses from others on this issue.

#3 of 12 OFFLINE   TyC

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Posted October 31 2003 - 07:19 AM

What will you be using the soundcard for?
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#4 of 12 OFFLINE   Dave W

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Posted October 31 2003 - 09:01 AM

Thanks for the link Colin, I am seriously considering that Audigy2 ZS - the platinum if I can afford it Posted Image The Hercules cards seem great for their price... Anyone here use one? Any impressions to share?

As far as usage, I am planning to use the card for digital audio extraction (convert audio CD .WAV files into high bitrate .MP3), DVD playback (in DD 5.1 and/or DTS 5.1) and for games (Galaxies, Max Payne 2, Etc). Hope that helps...

#5 of 12 OFFLINE   Max Leung

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Posted October 31 2003 - 10:34 AM

The Audigy 2 should do you good for everything you listed.. Although, I'm not certain about the digital audio extraction stuff...usually that's the CD-ROM's job!
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#6 of 12 OFFLINE   Colin Davidson

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Posted October 31 2003 - 10:43 AM

My usage would be:

1. Games

2. Listening to MP3's and CD's

3. Occasional DVD

I also only have a 2.1 speaker setup and do not plan on upgrading speakers anytime in the near future.

I currently have a Soundblaster Live card but I understand from an earlier thread that it uses tons of CPU cycles and I take a performance hit. So would definitely like to get it replaced.

#7 of 12 Guest_Mark Patrick_*

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Posted October 31 2003 - 10:44 AM

I'd recommend the M-Audio Revolution 7.1 over the Sound Blaster Audigy's if you're looking for the best sound quality, especially if you are using two speakers. I know for a fact that they sound superb. That said, if you're looking for an extensive softeware bundle, it's hard to beat the Audigy 2.
I have both in my PC, and I'm also using a 2.1 system(Monsoon Media Planar 14), as I listen to music and play games occasionally.

#8 of 12 OFFLINE   TyC

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Posted October 31 2003 - 12:01 PM

I've actually heard that the difference between the two is marginal. I guess it depends on your speakers.

CD ripping is the drive's job and the ripper program's job; the soundcard plays no part except to play back the finished product. I would recommend Exact Audio Copy for an audio extraction tool. The program can rip directly (sort of) to MP3.
"I HATE WIDESCREEN! I HATE THE BLACK BARS!!!"
"You are like the little kid that trades dimes for nickels because nickels are larger."

#9 of 12 OFFLINE   PhilBoy

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Posted November 01 2003 - 12:58 AM

An OEM Audigy should serve your purpose. It comes with encoder software.

I think Audigy 2 would be overkill for pc speakers and/or headphone listening. I have the Audigy and it works great.
The digital out on the card helps future proof.

I noticed in your basebar that you have a digital audio connection for ripping, that is actually done through the IDE cable FYI.

Onboard sound sometimes has the 'rice crispies' effect...

You know, snap, crackle, pop. Posted Image
simplicity is genius...

#10 of 12 OFFLINE   Dave W

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Posted November 03 2003 - 10:15 AM

Thanks for all the help and recommendations guys. I was not aware that the sound card played no part in audio extraction so thanks for the info on that too. I have decided to go with the Audigy 2 ZS (basic edition). Picked this card for its connections/performance/price/CPU load and I have also decided to upgrade speakers... I'm planning to get the logitech 640's (I think thats the one) and use a 5.1 or 7.1 setup on my PC Posted Image Can't wait now... Payday can't get here soon enough.

#11 of 12 OFFLINE   Clay-F

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Posted November 03 2003 - 03:15 PM

I'm looking for a new sound card as well.

My built in one supports 5.1, but it doesnt do EAX, which I'm just starting to research.

How much difference does an EAX feature do?

thx

Oh, and I think I heard of EAX2...Is that much of an upgrade?

#12 of 12 OFFLINE   TyC

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Posted November 04 2003 - 03:05 PM

The latest version of EAX is Advanced HD (which translates to 3 or 4). I don't know how much of a difference it makes, but it is featured on a lot of popular games.
"I HATE WIDESCREEN! I HATE THE BLACK BARS!!!"
"You are like the little kid that trades dimes for nickels because nickels are larger."