Sound card reccomendations for 2 channel sound

Discussion in 'Computers' started by MikeFR, Nov 19, 2003.

  1. MikeFR

    MikeFR Supporting Actor

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    Im sure this has been brought up before buy Im having a hard time finding info on sound cards for 2 channel sound, everything seems to deal with surround sound.

    Im looking for a card thats sole use will be for music(mostly wma files, lossless compression type) played through my receiver. I would like to keep the cost as low as possible so thats why I'm trying to avoid the 5.1 cards as I dont want to be paying for something I wont be using.

    Basically I would like some info on what I should be looking out for when selecting a card or any reccomendations you can make. One card Ive been considering since its cheap and fits the need is the Creative SB PCI 128, any thoughts on this one?

    Thanks.
     
  2. Greg_L_C

    Greg_L_C Stunt Coordinator

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    Look on ebay, you could get an SB 128 or Turtle Beach Montego, both good older 2CH sound cards for less than 10 bucks.

    Greg
     
  3. Scott L

    Scott L Producer

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    try grabbing something with digital out so you can use the DACs in your receiver.

    this one is pricey but all the sound freaks seem to love it:
    http://www.m-audio.com/products/m-audio/audiophile.php

    There's also the Revolution 7.1 which does digi out, stereo, and yes surround. It's about half as much.
     
  4. MikeH1

    MikeH1 Screenwriter

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    I do a lot of 2 channel listening with my Turtle Beach Santa Cruz (approx $40-50.00 US I think) through a Denon 2802 and Mirage OM 10s using analog. I copied some of my more favorite discs to WMA at max (192) and find the sound to be quite good. As soon as I record it to disc though is when I notice the big loss in quality.
     
  5. Jonny K

    Jonny K Second Unit

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    For the most part, everything is multi-channel now. It's like buying a car. You can say you just want something to get you from point A to B, but cars today come with all these extras in them anyway. Don't worry though, sound cards aren't very expensive. Just buy an "OEM" version of a Soundblaster Audigy or something, and you'll be good. You may even be able to get a Soundblaster "Live" still, and those are decent too (and even cheaper). Sure you could buy the cheapest sound card there is, but if you're going to be piping the output to a receiver you'll want to ensure that it's a soundcard of decent quality. You'd hate to have a hiss or other annoying sound issue with a cheap card. You'd preferably want a "digital out" on the card for the best quality, which you probably won't find on cheaper cards.

    In Canada I can get a Live OEM for 50 dollars. A Soundblaster 128 PCI is 34 dollars. For the price difference, I'd buy the Live and get a few extras (like digital out) just because I can. But I supposee the 128 PCI will still get the job done, assuming you just use the standard analog line-out connector on the card.


    Jonny K.
     
  6. MikeFR

    MikeFR Supporting Actor

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  7. StephenL

    StephenL Second Unit

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    Note that some sound cards resample 44.1KHz audio to 48KHz and Windows Kmixer performs sample rate conversion, preventing bit-perfect output. This is easy to prove by playing a DTS audio CD and sending the digital output to a receiver or prossesor with a DTS decoder. Any resampling will corrupt the bit stream, preventing DTS playback. Some people claim that this resampling is audible on regular Redbook CDs. To achieve bit-perfect output you need a sound card that doesn't resample, a driver that bypasses Windows Kmixer and a player that works with the soundcard and driver. I'm using a Hoontech Soundtrack Audio DSP24 Value soundcard with optional digital I/O bracket, Windows Media Player 9 and Windows Media Audio Lossless compression.
     
  8. Jonny K

    Jonny K Second Unit

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    My Audigy card has the option to output in either 44 or 48 KHz.



    And if I were you Mike, I'd go for the Audigy. You'll probably want digital out for sure. Assuming that, you want either a Live or an Audigy. For an extra 11 dollars you might as well go all out. The Live will probably be fine, but the Audigy is newer hardware and it may have better support and drivers because of that. Even if you aren't using all the features, it's only 11 dollars. Plus, the Audigy will give you some neato software that you can play with (whether you need it or not). And if you ever develop an interest in computer games, the Audigy will do better for you in that respect too. Sure you don't need all this stuff, but it's nice to have the freedom to do whatever you want down the road, should you change your mind.


    Also of note, the "Aureal" cards were pretty good, so you can probably use that card with good results in the meantime. (it's not like basic stereo sound has changed much over the years).





    Jonny K. [​IMG]
     
  9. MikeFR

    MikeFR Supporting Actor

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    Thanks Jonny, that was the conclusion I reached as well [​IMG]. Im gonna go with my old Aureal card and upgrade from there if I feel the need. Only so much money to go around and way too much stuff that I want to buy [​IMG]
     
  10. Colin Davidson

    Colin Davidson Second Unit

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    Mike,

    If its not to late take a look at this one.

    Hercules Fortissimo 3

    I just purchased this one and am really happy with it. I currently have a 2.1 speaker system and will be upgrading my speakers one of these days but the features vs. price made this a no brainer for me.

    Installed it and it sounds great! [​IMG]
     

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