Lets talk sound cards

Discussion in 'Computers' started by Mark Fitzsimmons, May 30, 2003.

  1. Mark Fitzsimmons

    Mark Fitzsimmons Supporting Actor

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    I'm custom building a computer for college in the fall and am looking for sound card recomendations.

    Primary listening will be through some headphones (not 100% sure which ones yet) and will likely have a set of cheap (~$10) stereo speakers hooked up as well.

    I am thinking that I really do not need a card that does 5.1 or anything like that because all of my listening will be stereo. Yet, I do not want to cheap out because I want my stereo listening to sound good. But, at the same time I will be on a budget.

    Initially, I'll probably be listening with the headphones plugged right into the sound card and later will probably construct a DIY headphone amp.

    Most of the motherboards I've looked at have onboard sound (ABIT IC7). Will this be an option for the listening I am looking at doing? Or is it still wise to invest in a card.

    I appreciate your help in pointing me in the right direction.
     
  2. John_Berger

    John_Berger Cinematographer

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    Where most sound cards come into play regarding power vs. convenience is video games. Quite frankly, there is nothing wrong with the AC97 chipset, although I'm sure that I'm going to get flamed in one way or another for saying that. I use the on-board audio for all of my video capture and editing tools, and it works fine.

    The only time that I run into an issue where going to a more powerful card is necessary is for high-intensity video games, like Serious Sam where you have dozens of creatures coming at you. The "cheap" sound cards (including AC97) cannot handle that many simultaneous audio channels at once and the animation rate will plummet while the card halts the system momentarily trying to figure out how to handle the interrupts from all of those audio channels.

    If you're just looking at using it for basic usage - MP3s, CD, low-intensity games - an AC97 motherboard will be more than sufficient. If you're going to be doing some hard-core gaming when you should be studying [​IMG], get a decent sound card.
     
  3. Reece

    Reece Stunt Coordinator

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    Mark..

    I recently purchased the C Media Sound card from newegg.com for all of $20. It does 5.1 (analog) as well as optical in/out. The optical out is great,especially if you have a modest stereo that takes that connection. The optical in is not that good and the analog out is so/so, but for $20 its not such a loss.

    I've seen this card at other e-sites for as low as $15. I can't remember the urls off hand right now but if you do a google search it should turn up.
     
  4. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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    What would be recommended for the VERY BEST MIDI synthesizer in a computer soundcard? I'm looking to upgrade my computer expressly for this purpose--probably no use for video game type material though.
     
  5. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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  6. Mark Fitzsimmons

    Mark Fitzsimmons Supporting Actor

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    Please don't hijack my thread.

    Your posts are completely off the topic of this thread as defined by my first post which opened the thread. If you want your question answered, maybe you should post your own thread.
     
  7. Chris-Li

    Chris-Li Auditioning

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    I ave an m-audio revolution 7.1 sound card. 24-bit playback is terrific with this sound card but the drivers can still be improved. I've used an sblive value, and turtle beach santa cruz, and now this revo. The revo is awesome. The price is good too [​IMG]
     
  8. Angelo.M

    Angelo.M Producer

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    Mark:

    I recently replaced my Dell's OEM card with a Philips Dynamic Edge card (4.1 capable). I only listen to 2-channel music, no gaming, and this card is world's better than the OEM card it replaced. It's inexpensive as well.
     
  9. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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  10. Randy Tennison

    Randy Tennison Screenwriter

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    Mark,

    I would get a good keyboard (piano type, not typewrite type) and midi it into the joystick port of your computer. A nice Yamaha keyboard (PSR series) will give you great sound and portability, with the option of sending the keyboard output back to the computer for recording purposes (what I do).

    A good keyboard will sound better than 99% of the soundcards out there.
     
  11. Nathan Smith

    Nathan Smith Agent

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  12. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    I use the same Cemedia card that Reece mentions, and I'm extremely happy with it. However, I don't think that you need to bother with that, as it's not going to have any better quality than a Motherboard on-board card.

    I think for your use you'll be fine with any on-motherboard card, I wouldn't worry about spending the money for a better card.
     
  13. Eric_L

    Eric_L Screenwriter

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    I posted this in another thread and thought it'd be useful here too:

    If I have to get a soundcard I was thinking of any of the following:

    Audigy 2 - $110
    M-Audio Revolution 7 $100
    Terratec DMX 6-fire $185
    M-Audio Audiophile 2496 $150

    I'm a bit uncertain about which to choose. The Audigy is best for games I am certain, but I think it lags in music and movie playback. The M-Audio is good for music and movie, but lags in games. I think the DMX 6-fire excels at playback and is in the middle of the road on games.

    I'm really not sure about the audiophile at all. Maybe someone else knows?
     

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