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Just another soundcard thread!


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#1 NerdGoneWild

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 03:32 AM

So I did the search, read all posts about recommendations on sound cards, and all seemed a bit outdated for my needs. Now that I have almost 100% completed my build it is time for a sound car, I run the logitech Z623 2.1 speaker system and mainly use my pc for gaming and listening to music. I rarely use a headset unless my lady wants to watch a movie or sleep. My budget is around $200 (I don't mind spending money to do it right the first time). These are the choices I have found to be the most compelling. I have decided NO on creative, as 90% of reviews I read, even the decent ones, said how horrible they are compared to these brands I am listing.

HT | OMEGA CLARO II 7.1 Channels 24-bit 192KHz PCI Interface Sound Card //// http://www.newegg.co...N82E16829271007
HT | OMEGA Claro Halo 24-bit 192KHz PCI Interface Sound Card w/ a built-in HI-FI Headphone Amplifier //// http://www.newegg.co...N82E16829271004
ASUS Xonar Essence STX Virtual 7.1 Channels 24-bit 192KHz PCI Express x1 Interface 124 dB SNR / Headphone AMP Card //// http://www.newegg.co...N82E16829132010

Any other recommendations will be appreciated, and as I stated before I have a 2.1 sound system, rarely use headphones, mainly use speakers for gaming and music.
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#2 Shurman292

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 04:10 AM

If you're willing to spend that kind of money, I would go with the Claro II. The ASUS cards sound great but tend to be very particular about which drivers they will accept. I have the ASUS D2X and am incredibly happy with it, but I also bought it from a forum member for half price. I have seen nothing but good reviews from the Claro cards.

Before you spend this kind of money, make sure you really need one of these cards. If all you are doing is running sound through a 2.1 system, it may not be necessary to invest in such a high-end sound card. If you plan on going with 5/7.1 in the future, then by all means go for it.

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#3 Waco

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 06:21 AM

Since you're running a basic 2.1 setup I wouldn't bother with a sound card. The onboard sound will be essentially identical for such a setup.

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#4 wevsspot

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 06:26 AM

Here's a perspective based entirely on my opinion. If I were going to spend over $160 on a dedicated sound card I wouldn't spend it on a PCI interface soundcard. To me this is an investment that would be made for long term (i.e. the soundcard would travel with me through various future upgrades). With that said, the PCI slot is slowly fading from use in favor of motherboards that have a full complement of PCIe x1, x4, x8, x16 slots. So personally I'd be looking for a sound card with PCIe x1 interface if I were you. In no particular order here are the sound cards I'd be considering in light of your budget;

HT | OMEGA eClaro 7.1 Channels 24-bit 192KHz PCI Express x1 Interface Sound Card
http://www.newegg.co...N82E16829271006

The other HT card you referenced in your first post

And personally, I'm not sure why everyone seems to have such a problem with Creative cards. Either I'm very lucky or a lot of other folks are technically challenged. It's been a long time since a Creative card has given me fits. My vanilla X-Fi Titanium, HD X-Fi Titanium and even X-Fi Extreme Gamer have been great cards, all work fine with Windows 7 64-bit and are problem free. I can say the same for previous Sound Blaster cards I had. My Audigy2 ZS was one of the best sound cards I ever owned and also worked fine with the latest Creative drivers for Windows 7.

I'd have to echo what some others have said about the logic of spending this much money on a sound card though. Now I wouldn't go as far as Waco and recommend onboard sound :) because up to this point my dedicated sound cards have always sounded better to me than even great onboard sound. Especially considering output volume and clarity at higher volume settings. I don't consider myself an audiophile so the most I would look at spending on a sound card would be in the neighborhood of $100 dollars or so.

That would open up a few other choices;

ASUS Xonar DX 7.1 Channels PCI Express x1 Interface Sound Card
http://www.newegg.co...N82E16829132006

or if you absolutely must have PCI;
ASUS Xonar D1 7.1 Channels 24-bit 192KHz PCI Interface Sound Card
http://www.newegg.co...N82E16829132007
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#5 Black64

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 10:52 AM

Since you're running a basic 2.1 setup I wouldn't bother with a sound card. The onboard sound will be essentially identical for such a setup.

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#6 NerdGoneWild

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 11:24 AM

Thanks everyone, I really appreciate how there is so little flaming on this site compared to some other forums. I read online for hours before even thinking about a soundcard since I went with a more expensive motherboard. The reason I had decided on it is many reviews said things like "omg the sound on my little speakers is so much better now than with the onboard sound" one said something like, "my onboard Ti X was nothing compared to this on my 2.1" and that's why I was looking into it. I definitely will get a 5.1 or 7.1 in the future, but these 2.1's shake the entire house for now. So definitely don't bother with a sound card then? 200$ saved! :)
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#7 Waco

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 11:27 AM

I wouldn't bother.

I run my full home theater setup with the onboard sound on my HTPC. The only thing I'd gain from running a dedicated sound card is slightly a better signal-to-noise ratio - but even that right now is more than enough.


So yeah, I'd skip it entirely if you're happy with what you have already. If there are any noticeable faults with it (like humming, clicking, buzzing, etc) that's when you should start thinking about a sound card. If you can't hear any problems like that, it's unlikely you'd hear any improvement with a dedicated card. People love to justify what they spend their money on.

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#8 Tjj226_Angel

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 01:15 PM

You might want to take that money and get some good head phones. If you like to have your speaker up really loud, it is just polite to everyone else in the house, or even your neighbors to put on some headphones :dunno:

Just some food for thought :biggrin:

#9 Shurman292

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 06:36 PM

Thanks everyone, I really appreciate how there is so little flaming on this site compared to some other forums. I read online for hours before even thinking about a soundcard since I went with a more expensive motherboard. The reason I had decided on it is many reviews said things like "omg the sound on my little speakers is so much better now than with the onboard sound" one said something like, "my onboard Ti X was nothing compared to this on my 2.1" and that's why I was looking into it. I definitely will get a 5.1 or 7.1 in the future, but these 2.1's shake the entire house for now. So definitely don't bother with a sound card then? 200$ saved! :)

A good choice, though as Tjj said, you may want to invest in some decent headphones so you can enjoy your audio regardless of the time of day/night.

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#10 potatochobit

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Posted 01 July 2012 - 11:47 PM

pffft motherboard onboard is for sissies

what you need is a sound card with headphone amp output
5.1 is overrated unless your TV is hooked up to it

#11 Tjj226_Angel

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 12:30 AM

pffft motherboard onboard is for sissies

what you need is a sound card with headphone amp output
5.1 is overrated unless your TV is hooked up to it


I agree. The asus pheobus is actually decently priced considering everything that comes with it.