Looking for a new soundcard...

By Janusz11
May 12, 2003
  1. Yeah, I'm lookin' for a new soundcard. I use it mostly for games, listening to MP3's, recording MD's and I also play DVD's on my computer. However, since my computer is connected to my Yamaha DTS receiver, I don't use the card for AC-3 decoding, my receiver does the job just fine (I always use S/PDIF pass-trough).

    At the moment I use a SB Live! 5.1 Platinum for gaming and a Terratec DMX 1024 Fire for recording MD's. I bought myself a Audigy 2 lately, but that card was a plain horror show! The sound when playing MP3's was very nice. But it bogged down my system and I had several issues with games (sound loss, stuttering, feedback ...). Since only a few games support EAX 3.0/EAX Advanced HD yet, I don't really need it (Creative is working on EAX 4.0 already anyway). The only difference in comparison to my SB Live! 5.1 I noticed was the sound in America's Army anyway, all other games sounded like always.

    Well, no need to say that I definitely don't want to go for a Creative card again. But I'm also not sure about another Terratec card. The sound of the above mentioned card isn't good at all, and its absolutely useless for games. I have a MSI K7N2 board, but the onboard sound isn't good either (Realtek audio chip).

    What I'm looking for is a card that's stable, has good EAX 2.0 support, but maybe also A3D 2.0 (and higher)? I've read a lot of times that A3D is so much better than EAX. I love to play games with 5.1 sound (if supported). Honestly, Vietcong, America's Army and IL-2 are the only games I've played yet that make excellent use of 5.1 sound. But I don't want to miss it!

    I need a card that has a optical S/PDIF out, so that I can connect my 'puter to my receiver again, and, of course, to my portable mini-disc player. Since the later can only receive a signal up to 44,5 Khz, the card should have pass-through (which none of the already mentioned Creative cards have).

    Short'n sweet: good 3D sound (5.1 support), good sound quality when listening to MP3's, optical out and pass-through for external decoding and MD recording.

    Any ideas appreciated. Thanks in advance.
  2. TS | Thomas

    TS | Thomas TS Rookie Posts: 1,319

    Aureal (A3D creators) are no longer around so I wouldn't worry about that (& cards that support A3D 2+ are 3 years old or more now I think anyway, not to mention the "latest" drivers they had were windows 2000 beta drivers). You're in a tough enough bind though. The Audigy 2 probably was the best solution you had there if it had have worked right.

    Your best bet would probably be to get a nForce 1/2 motherboard (Check the Soundstorm certfied ones) - That would give you true 5.1 positioning & the S/PDIF In/Outs you need (As well as dolby digital encoding of course).

    Otherwise you might want to check some of the Hercules or TerraTec soundcards out - Though they'd only provide true 4 channel positioning in games & the EAX support is worse than with the nForce (Which is quite good actually).
  3. young&wild

    young&wild TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 993

    You might to check out some other soundcards like Hercules Fortissismo III Digital 7.1 and other Hercules lines of soundcard. They make good soundcard....and thats why most people who switched from creative to hercules never regretted.
  4. Janusz11

    Janusz11 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks. Tried to gather some more info today again and honestly, it seems like if one looks for a good gaming card, there is no alternative to the SB/Audigy series. :(

    Well, I might stick to the combo I use at the moment then. Thanks again anyway.
    Btw., what I read about the Hercules cards sounded pretty good to me. I always hear from people that they are very pleased with them. But I also read that they have some problems with some games and EAX.
    Terratec's Aureon 5.1 Sky seems to be a nice card too, but still they seem to have problems with drivers. And while the card should be very good for listening to music and watching DVD, it isn't any good for games.
  5. young&wild

    young&wild TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 993

    No offence but i can't really say that creative cards are always good, they do have driver/ software problem at times just like Hercules. I own a Hercules Fortissismo III 7.1 and a SB Live 5.1 SE, through my own experience each cards have their own pro and cons. You can never get to experience the good things until you really get your hands on it. Honestly speaking, I will never know which soundcard i will be planning to get, even a Terratec model could be a possibility. Just don't give up, the soundcard market is gettin competitive like graphics cards but at a slower pace right now.
  6. Mictlantecuhtli

    Mictlantecuhtli TS Evangelist Posts: 4,345   +11

    Don't forget Philips, they make soundcards too, for example Acoustic Edge. Turtle Beach, VideoLogic, Trust, Hoontech, those are some companies that come to my mind now.
  7. iss

    iss TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,994

    you should definitely take a look at the turtle beach santa cruz soundcard. it has the features you are looking for and unlike creative labs cards does not suffer from compaitability issues. nor do they have to release new drivers every other week to fix bugs.

    and there are XP drivers that can be downloaded from their web sitefor the card.
  8. bretty

    bretty TS Rookie Posts: 92

    I have just switched from a Creative 5.1 DE, to a Hercules Fortissmo 3.

    Never going back. ALthough there are some small probs, that is always going to be the case. Plus I understand that Hercules review their driver situation more frequently than Creative.
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