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Weekend Open Forum: Are you using a dedicated sound card?

By Matthew
Feb 11, 2011
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  1. Darth Shiv

    Darth Shiv TS Evangelist Posts: 1,175   +176

    X-Fi Xtreme Audio PCIe and a Auzentech X-Fi Prelude here.

    Drivers for both written by Creative. The Prelude drivers are absolutely pathetic. Unbelievably bad. On Win7 x64 I get nothing but random pops when closing apps and buzzing when MCE is open but not playing anything. They totally ignored my support ticket - didn't even comment on it. Think I will abandon Creative based cards for good now - taken too long to learn the lesson.
     
  2. I was actually put off an MITX build as I couldn't get a sound card as well as a GPU in there. I have to use a sound card now - with decent headphones the difference, even with half decent onboard sound is phenomenal, plus with things like Dolby Headphone and EAX, you get a fantastic advantage in FPS games - where you can hear enemy movements and the exact direction.

    Couldn't recommend a sound card enough to be honest...
     
  3. I'm sorry, but the article is very wrong. Integrated audio is not better or on par with a high end dedicated sound card, especially the Asus Sonar Essence STX they picture. it's just not, and it's almost like they put that comment in there to spur on a debate....no matter how much processing speed and ram you have, would you say that your integrated video card is just as good as dedicated ones? No....people seem to think that sound doesn't involve a lot because it doesn't have giant fans on it and what not. The card shows actually has opamps that you can change out or replace...let's see that on an integrated, or all the different options these nice cards have, on an integrated. You're just not going to see it. And once your motherboard dies or needs to be replaced, what then? That comment is just completely and utterly ridiculous.
     
  4. I forgot to mention - I have the Asus Sonar Essence STX and it has been simply awesome. No driver or sound problems with Windows 7 x64 whatsoever for me, and I love my music and movies on it. No onboard sound can rival it and those who think so need better speakers or headphones to see what they are missing.
     
  5. Tomcaster68

    Tomcaster68 TS Rookie

    I'm using one of the last Creative X-Fi Pro Elites with a Dell Altec Lansing 5.1 sub/speaker on my EVGA Classified E760 in a rebuilt HP Blackbird 980. I am pleased with the home guitar/ keyboards midi interfaces and forward my session work easily. My old Dell 8200 is the playroom/ LG LE5400 sound setup with a Soundblaster 2ZS Platinum and my kid's "cellar" band studio. I'm set for awhile and so are they.
     
  6. Soundblaster AUDIGY 2 Platinum zs.... Don't know if it is better than my Sandybridge asus p8p67 pro or p5b delux wifi... Didn't really know what to test the difference with except for games...
     
  7. captainawesome

    captainawesome TS Guru Posts: 418   +42

    I used to use onboard (realtek) but I only actually noticed the massive difference once I installed my Creative Audigy Platinum (with front panel). It makes a massive difference especially when listening on my Sennheisers. The treble and bass are just replicated far far better on the creative. I plug the same headphones into my brand new Dell studio laptop with the normal Intel audio and it just sounds flat.

    I do have some complaints with the creative:
    A) Drivers and B) sensitivity. If I knock my PC too hard, the sound card fails and I have to shut it down. I checked, it's in perfectly fine into the PCI slot.
    Beyond that, I never understood where the Asus fanboys were coming from with the "built in headphone amp". I cannot possibly put my creative past 50% without blowing my eyes.

    In conclusion - I will never go back to onboard.
     
  8. Creative X-Fi Titanium on a Logitech Z2300.

    I used to have onboard sound. Bought my X-Fi just out of curiosity. I say, I won't kill to have it but it's better than the onboard.
     
  9. madboyv1

    madboyv1 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 964   +49

    I have a SB Audigy 2 ZS lying around somewhere, not sure if it is burned out or not. Maybe my next build I'll break it out to see if it still works (since mini-ITX does not allow for "Agressive expansion" lol).
     
  10. Ritwik7

    Ritwik7 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,288   +7

    I was using a Creative Sound Blaster external USB sound card with my previous rig in order to connect to my Onkyo HT-R430 receiver using an Optical cable. However, since my present motherboard has an optical out, I've stopped using the card.
     
  11. I am using Intel HD audio in My Intel DX58S0 motherboard
     
     
  12. I am an audio professional who has used every kind of audio interface and soundcard on the planet. However, I also have come to computers for audio-only applications very recently. I used to believe that a fancy sound card would take the burden off of my CPU. When I finally learned that this was not the case -- and that in fact, the drivers (ASIO) used to pipe audio out of the system would increase said burden, I decided to try flying without one.

    The result is that I've been successfully using an integrated chipset to create some pretty good-sounding music. In my case, I rely on a very fast CPU to get me low-latency, so that I can use virtual synthesizer software to create techno/electronica music. My computer right now is an aging Intel Q8200 Dell desktop that I am currently upgrading.

    It turns out that the latency won't be helped by using a better sound card, but I may go ahead and upgrade to one soon. The one thing that integrated audio can't do that well is to offer truly flat frequency response, and this is a bigger deal than a lot of people may realize. I should definitely be monitoring my mixes through a better card, because right now I have no idea what frequences are being boosted and / or cut.

    So, in short -- if you just need to get the music happening, you can always use ASIO4ALL and get nice low-latency performance. In any event, you'll need a powerful CPU to deal with the latency, especially if you want to play synths in realtime. But if you want to get true frequency response, go with a good sound card or audio interface. Your ears will thank you for it.
     
  13. TitoBXNY

    TitoBXNY TS Enthusiast Posts: 139   +17

    I've used a Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Fatal1ty since 2006. Still works like a charm.
     
  14. I am using Asus 785g HTPC/RC mobo with hi-end integrated VIA VT2020 sound codec. I compared it with Creative's X-fi Xtreme Audio card and am happier with my one. I think integrated codecs like Realtek's 889, 890, 892 and VIA's 2020 are on par with cheap discrete cards.
     
  15. DarKSeeD

    DarKSeeD TS Enthusiast Posts: 104

    Creative X-Fi XtremeGamer Fatal1ty Pro
     
  16. Asus Xonar DX through a pair of M-Audio AV40s.

    Whether its games, music or movies this setup is quite superb.
     
  17. Im using now integrated sound for quite a few years. Before that I was not a fan of this. I used SB Live 5.1 but I see it pointless anymore.

    For high-end use obviously requires a good soundcard.
     
  18. AlExAkE

    AlExAkE TS Rookie

    Using creative live 23bit or something like that, because my motherboard Intel 975XBX stopped supporting anything else then WinXP 32bit, and since I got Win7 64bit, I had to go for the creative one (which was given to em free). Otherwise I would not spend the money for it. I would go for the fastest/affordable SSD if I got the extra cash.
     
  19. Asus Xonar D2 driving a set of Logitech Z5500s over a coax SPDIF connection. Pure harmony.
     
  20. ET3D

    ET3D TechSpot Paladin Posts: 992   +31

    Been using integrated sound for years, hooked to cheap headphones. I'm not an audiophile and rarely listen to music on my PC. When I do I find the quality good enough, and I also find it good enough for Skype, games, YouTube etc.

    The article said nowhere that integrated audio is better or on par with a dedicated card. It said that integrated is good enough for most people, and that it doesn't offer a performance benefit. You could argue with the latter, if you have figures to back up your claims, but the former is obviously correct -- just look at the market of dedicated sound cards. How many reviews of sound cards have you seen on tech sites lately? Few people care about them.

    No, but I'd argue that the integrated video card is also enough for most people. That majority of PC's don't have a dedicated graphics card. Not that the situation is comparable to sound cards, I'm sure that dedicated graphics cards sell a hundred time better than dedicated sound cards. Sound cards are perhaps like multi-GPU rigs, something that only a small minority of PC buyers have. Considering the number of reviews of multi-GPU vs. sound cards, I'd still bet that they're even less commonplace.
     
  21. Xonar DX :)
     
  22. yukka

    yukka TechSpot Paladin Posts: 739   +31

    yeah on board Realtek audio through hdmi into my telly. Guess it all depends what you want to use it for. Mine is fine for music too but I am not running through expensive speakers - if you buy expensive speakers you should get an expensive soundcard.
     
  23. HaMsTeYr

    HaMsTeYr TS Maniac Posts: 388

    ASUS Xonar D2X. :D
     
  24. Using built-in laptop Realtek HD sound card and i don't see point why i should buy dedicated sound card. =)
     
  25. I prefer dedicated using this currently

    Creative Sound Blaster X-FI TITANIUM Fatality PRO PCI-E

    Notice a difference in sound quality if I switch to onboard(ADI AD2000B), use the Crystalizer for Mp3 playback and its great feature.
     


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