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Sound Upgrades...


Iggy
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Well I've finally gotten to a spot where I'm generally satusfied with my system-once I get and mod my 9800 AIW, upgrade my hard drives (still a maybe), and hit a 250 fsb on my 1700+ I'm probably not going to add any new performance hardware for a bit. Thus I'm left with the task of upgrading the sound on my system, which has been neglected for about 2 years. Since I've usually focused on gaming hardware, I'm not too well versed in computer audio and need some help picking out a sound card and a new set of speakers. I've heard that the Augidy 2 ZS is the best for gaming but the M-Audio Revolution 7.1 is better for general audio playback and MIDI stuff. Speaker wise the Logitec Z-640's look good, but I'm also intrigued by the Creative Inspire T7700's simply because they're 7.1. I love my Panasonic RP-HT355 headphones and I do most of music listening stuff through them, but I'd like to have the option of being able to game with speakers that have a bass adjust (I currently have Altec Lansing 221's). Basically I need a setup that's:

 

1) 5.1 channel or higher

2) Excellent for gaming

3) Has a good audio input (I will be using the AIW's TV tuner)

4) Great for MP3 playback and streaming audio (I listen to Trance almost constantly)

5) Under $200 if at all possible

 

I may or may not be using a keyboard MIDI interface on this machine and it's certainly not a priority, but I'd like to have the option availiable. Thanks. :)

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I'm at 220 right now with upgraded south bridge and mosfet cooling, so I'm pretty sure it's safe to say that once I have the VDD mod working and some upraded north bridge cooling I'm set for 250x10.

 

I've read some of the reviews on the Z-640's at newegg, and I'm really leaning toward them for their price/wattage ratio, massive amount of positive reviews, and free shipping. Still undecided on the sound card though. :huh:

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based on your points i'd say the audigy 2 zs...

 

1) 5.1, anything higher than 5.1 is interpolated... like the extra speakers are just emulated from the other source channels and sent to the speaker... it's a technique used in cinemas to fill in the sound in between the corners... i'm pretty sure even Sony Digital Surround Sound, the best sound specification in cinemas is just 5.1 sound with little/no compression.

you would have to have a specially designed room to be able to make proper use of anything more than 5.1 speakers imo

 

2) creative's eax is incredible... not just reverb effects, but proper dsp, the difference when you have eax enabled and are underwater, or the sound is around the corner, or there is a wall in the way, gives you a more realistic aural experience... i think the audigy 2 zs is up to eax 4 HD (high-definition)

 

3) the a/d (audio-to-digital) convertors are v good, so the recording signal is very clean and accurate, with nice warm (not completely flat, and not excessively enthusiastic or lacking) frequency response and bass extension...

 

4) the creative chips also have high quality d/a convertors, re-building the sound to a *very* crisp sound... it's very hard to distinguish high bitrate mp3 from my Technics CD Player, lower bitrates like 96kbps (di.fm ;)) are handled with loving care... once against, fantastic bass extension...

(check out what you can do in winamp! the highest quality mp3 playback)

 

5) it's hard to find better quality soundcards that are good for gaming and music than the live/audigy cards without paying a lot more money

 

midi midi... you can always get usb midi... midi's not that hi-frequency so usb 1 can handle it with ease... but i'm pretty sure the a2zs comes with midi ports anyway...

 

i myself have the SBLive Platinum 5.1... the dsp chips are v similar... the audigy 2 series has much better support for music production and software synths (very low latency with standard drivers - whereas i have to use the kX drivers to milk my card for music production)

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I just got the audigy 2 za plat pro, the one with the box of tricks, if you get that one it does has every connector under the sun, including midi in and out, optical in and out, 2 line ins, digi out, analog ins and outs, mic ins ect ect... Sound quality is excellent, no white noise or air in the background. i wouldnt go for the platinum pro, i do think it's expensive even tho i got it, itw's twice the price of the normall card by its self.

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Oh and don't worry about the problems with the Audigy I mentioned. I think it only affected Audigy 1 cards and was rather rare, although it was still an issue that never appeared to have been resolved.

 

I just don't trust Creative enough to buy any more of their cards after having my Audigy 1 behave the way it did, that's all :)

 

Lots of people have the Audigy 2 card and I don't think they have any complaints about it so...

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