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Best 5.1 Sound Card (with analog inputs preferably)

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hey guys! I haven't been on these forums for a while now. I need a bit of help regarding a new sound card. I'm prepared to spend around $200. i really want to get the Creative X-Fi Titanium HD or the ASUS Xonar Essence STX. However, I want analog 5.1 inputs, which neither have. Is there any alternative way to set up a 5.1 speaker setup such as the Logitech Z-5500 without using the analog jacks? I currently have a cheap 4.1 Creative M-4500 which i know won't really take advantage of such a high end sound card. I'm saving up for a Logitech Z-906/Z-5500. I am primarily a gamer. But I probably spend more time these days listening to music. I've been using a Creative Audigy Value for several years and it has served me pretty well other than the odd driver issues. Your help and suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you again :D

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Well, if you get the Xonar Essence ST, the PCI variant, you could get the H6 daughter board for it that allows you to connect up to a 7.1 speaker system. However, it seems ASUS is no longer producing the H6 card, so I'd recommend a different sound card altogether. Perhaps the HT | Omega Claro Plus+, Auzentech X-Fi Forte or Auzentech X-Meridian 2G.

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Well, if you get the Xonar Essence ST, the PCI variant, you could get the H6 daughter board for it that allows you to connect up to a 7.1 speaker system. However, it seems ASUS is no longer producing the H6 card, so I'd recommend a different sound card altogether. Perhaps the HT | Omega Claro Plus+, Auzentech X-Fi Forte or Auzentech X-Meridian 2G.

 

thanks

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I beleave you mean to say analogue outputs not inputs

Also if you are getting the z5500 it has a optical input

Have you looked at the creative titanium x-fi fatality?

 

I would use the optical input over analogue if you experiencing noise from power wires at the back of a pc.

Purely because optical cables can't transmit hd audio (too high a bandwidth) still transmits 5.1 and most people still won't be listening to audio that it cannot transmit.

 

Also you may be able to find a good headphone sound card with optical out also. If you still want headphone sound from time to time.

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Why?

 

Even though I plan to buy a Z-5500/Z-906, theres still a possibility that I end up with a speaker setup without optical outputs. Therefore, just to be safe I'm looking for a card with analog outputs. Is there any difference in sound quality with digital outputs compared to analog?

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Even though I plan to buy a Z-5500/Z-906, theres still a possibility that I end up with a speaker setup without optical outputs. Therefore, just to be safe I'm looking for a card with analog outputs. Is there any difference in sound quality with digital outputs compared to analog?

I prefer analogue but in most situations no. The difference comes in at high level where bandwidth becomes an issue but that is currently limited to optical not hdmi. I personally dislike hdmi as audio out.

If you can do analogue out and are not experiencing any noise from other components behind your pc do so.

 

What hardnrg was on about I think as I was too you said 5.1 inputs where I believe you ment outputs.

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I prefer analogue but in most situations no. The difference comes in at high level where bandwidth becomes an issue but that is currently limited to optical not hdmi. I personally dislike hdmi as audio out.

If you can do analogue out and are not experiencing any noise from other components behind your pc do so.

 

What hardnrg was on about I think as I was too you said 5.1 inputs where I believe you ment outputs.

 

thank you for clearing that up.

 

Im thinking about getting the HT Omega 7.1. Is this the correct choice considering all my requirements. I thought about getting the X-Fi Fatality card because of its gaming prowess however, music sound quality is of more importance to me.

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You could get either to be honest I don't know if you could tell the difference with what you'll be using. I would reckomend if your confident enough buy some two core coaxial cable and make your own audio cables (analogue).

I am amazed how often I see great sound gear with piddly little wires that would appear only good enough for flossing.

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I would highly recommend the ASUS Xonar D2.

 

Been using it connected over analoug to my Z-5500's for a couple of years now, and love it! Great sound quality in both games and music. :)

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You know, the difference between an Audigy Value (not even a real Audigy, i.e. EMU 10k2) and all the suggestions in this thread is immense, but you'd need some decent cables and powered spekaers (or amp/speakers, or amp/headphones) to really enjoy the difference...

 

I'd recommend upgrading your speaker system first, and then worry about your sound sources... speakers will make the most difference, and if you upgrade your soundcard first, you might not even be able to discern the difference because your current speakers will become the limiting factor.

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You know, the difference between an Audigy Value (not even a real Audigy, i.e. EMU 10k2) and all the suggestions in this thread is immense, but you'd need some decent cables and powered spekaers (or amp/speakers, or amp/headphones) to really enjoy the difference...

 

I'd recommend upgrading your speaker system first, and then worry about your sound sources... speakers will make the most difference, and if you upgrade your soundcard first, you might not even be able to discern the difference because your current speakers will become the limiting factor.

 

yeah i completely agree its about time i change my crappy speakers first before getting the sound card. thank you for your advice guys :D

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