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uneedav8

Soundblaster ZXR worth it?

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I am not sure if I can be classified as an "audiophile". All I know is I do really care about sound quality and I want to hear every sound if possible. I am thinking of purchasing the Soundblaster ZXR. It is pretty expensive. All I do is play music through 5.1 (Klipch) speakers, and some headphones (audio-technica).  They are both connected with the 3.5 analog connection. Is this sound card worth it over the regular X-FI, and Z series? for someone who does not do any music reproduction? and has mid grade speakers and headphones connected with 3.5 analog? I know it isn't easy to answer, thanks!

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Unless you connect those speakers via optical, I don't think that sound card will work. Believe it's just left/right, headphones, and optical, but maybe there's a second daughter board for that.

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The ZXR uses relatively the same DAC as the ASUS Xonar Essence STX. As far as sound quality, at stock, the ZXR might outperform it. You can easily upgrade the op-amps for either (which I highly recommend), and you'll get pretty much the same sound quality, which in audiophile territory, is as good as you'll get for amateur audiophile gear. The STX vs the Titanium HD, both with upgraded op-amps, both are equally good, just with differences. For game audio, I would recommend the Titanium HD. For music and movies, the STX. You can find the STX used for ~$90 if you're lucky, but they are very rare now (I have 2 of them), and you can find used Titanium HD's for around $70. Upgrade any of the op-amps for ~$12 after shipping (I used to sell the op-amps after I bought a 100 of them for like $2 a pair), and they'll sound better than the ZXR at stock.

 

With your speakers and headphones, you'll notice a decent difference with a stock ZXR. It won't be until you start getting into $300+ range on your headphones or speakers, or $72+ on your amps will you notice a bigger difference. Until you're in the $1500K range, the returns are barely noticeable, and not worth it.

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An external DAC might be a better option if you have the desk space. A computer case is about the worst environment for sound quality. An external DAC is much more isolated for background noises and will use it's own power supply so it won't be sharing and coil wine your PC almost definitely produces.

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I am not an expert, but I would agree with Gabriel. 
I would buy some gear from http://schiit.com. They are cheap. They also sell high-quality equipment. It gets really great reviews.

The best part about getting a DAC + Amp from this place is not only will it work on your PC, but you can move it to any other sound equipment you might have in the house. 

Take a look at the Modi 2 and Magni 2.

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I agree with Psywar, and not just because he agreed with me first.

I don't have any experience with this amp but I have heard very good things, you can get it without the burning earth logo but I am not sure if that one comes with a T-Shirt.

http://www.epicpants.com/t-shirts/mayflower-electronics-objective2-with-odac-tek-syndicate-editionis supposed to

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do your klipsch speakers have an external amplifier?

are they serlf powered or have a little box with controls?

if so, you dont need a fancier sound card

 

any with a good audio chip is fine, Xfi or asus

just make sure it's a recent product and has a better audio chip than your mother board which most are decent enough

the equalizer and everything will still work if you use the regular 3.5mm audio connectors

the main problem is sound cards dont generate enough power so you need some kind of amp 

Edited by potatochobit

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I have no issues with internal sound cards. I've been in mid-high level audiophile territory for over a year now (started out in beginner territory for over 3 years), but best bang for the buck is always what I'm after since listening tastes will always be different. If you're going to go with a sound card, I would probably recommend the SMSL M8 if $180 is in your price range. I personally use a Grace M920, which can be had for just less than $1,500, but I traded an entire custom watercooled gaming system for it.

 

The SMSL M8 on MassDrop has 7 days left for $179. I've shopped at MassDrop for a long while now, and they pull through every time, and great customer service.

 

https://www1.massdrop.com/buy/smsl-m8?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Audiophile%20%20A%20Product%20Announcement%202015-08-03&utm_source=Sailthru&referer=TDYLSV&utm_term=Community%20-%20Audiophile%20-%20MAU%20%28Active%29&mode=guest_open

Edited by El_Capitan

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