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Thread: Why should I get a soundcard?

  1. #1
    mr. nails's Avatar m@D @n!m3 BT Rep: +1
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    i've been doing research on soundcards for quite some time and really haven't seen a need for one. i've read that cards suck, terrible customer/technical support, dog shit drivers, or maybe they just never update them. on the other hand ppl have said they are crazy better than that of on-board sound. i for one have never had problems with "Realtek's AC'97 Audio Codec" as i've never had any other on-board codec besides the ill-fated nVidia Sound Storm which was great until they stopped support of it. so, question at hand. on-board sound is GREAT? it's ok? sound card is way to go? wtf is the deal? what manufacturer is best?
    Last edited by mr. nails; 11-14-2006 at 05:55 AM. Reason: spelling
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  2. Software & Hardware   -   #2
    Skiz's Avatar (_8(I)
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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. nails View Post
    i've been doing research on soundcards for quite some time and really haven't saw a need for one. i've read that cards suck, terrible customer/technical support, dog shit drivers, or maybe they just never update them. on the other hand ppl have said they are crazy better than that of on-board sound. i for one have never had problems with "Realtek's AC'97 Audio Codec" as i've never had any other on-board codec besides the ill-fated nVidia Sound Storm which was great until they stopped support of it. so, question at hand. on-board sound is GREAT? it's ok? sound card is way to go? wtf is the deal? what manufacturer is best?

    I used the Realtek's AC'97 Audio Codec in my last computer for years. Now I have a PC that retails for over $3K and still have an onboard SigmaTel. I think it sounds great.

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  3. Software & Hardware   -   #3
    mr. nails's Avatar m@D @n!m3 BT Rep: +1
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    yeah, i think my onboard is just fine, but if there is an actual difference then i'd like to check it out. i had the first audigy card when it was released around 2000 or so and it worked, but that's about all it did. no driver updates and/or support for the life of "that" card and i also worked on a system that had a sound blaster live 5.1 card it in as well. both times i tried to update the drivers via dl from creatives web site and the driver package told me it could not find any hardware that matches the driver pack. "um, wtf is in this pc then?" i asked myself. so, that was kind of a turn off there. maybe i've just had bad luck or maybe all sound cards really do blow ass. either way, just trying to get some insight...
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  4. Software & Hardware   -   #4
    clocker's Avatar Shovel Ready
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    My X-fi w/ the 24-bit crystalizer makes headphones sound decidedly better than the onboard ac97 does.
    If you're a big gamer, the addon soundcard also has the advantage of relieving sound processing duties from the CPU, which may increase your framerate a bit.

    Creative apparently has quite a bad rep concerning driver support but I haven't had any problems, even in Vista the X-fi is working well.
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  5. Software & Hardware   -   #5
    mr. nails's Avatar m@D @n!m3 BT Rep: +1
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    Creative Labs X-Fi Products

    difference between xtremegamer & xtrememusic? seems most ppl are getting the xtrememusic version over the xtremegamer one.

    Xtremegamer

    Xtrememusic

    both products seem to be identical in specs. it's just that the music ver is gold plated and is a bigger card. maybe i'll look into the music version. which verision are u running clocker? also, anybody else using these types of cards have any input on this subject? thx.

    Auzen X-Meridian 7.1 <-- just saw this. looks to be sweet.
    Last edited by mr. nails; 11-14-2006 at 03:34 PM. Reason: added new Auzentech Soundcard
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  6. Software & Hardware   -   #6
    clocker's Avatar Shovel Ready
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    I run the Extreme music...mainly cause it was the least expensive option at the time.
    My primary usage is with headphones- if you use a speaker system, other versions/brands might be better.
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  7. Software & Hardware   -   #7
    mr. nails's Avatar m@D @n!m3 BT Rep: +1
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    well, from what i've been reading the x-fi sound cards are just GREAT! x-fi xtrememusic to be exact. research has pointed me in the x-fi direction for games and to the auzentech family for music. i think i would enjoy better games sounds over film and music anyway especially since dl'ing movies won't have "perfect" sound anywho.

    been looking into new speakers for supporting this new card as well.

    Logitech Z-5500 5.1 Speaker System

    perhaps there is something better? are those even digital speakers? lol, idk. they seem nice though.

    i'm currently using on-board Realtek AC'97 sound w/these speakers.
    Last edited by mr. nails; 11-15-2006 at 02:56 PM. Reason: added my current sound system
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  8. Software & Hardware   -   #8
    mildthrill's Avatar kermit the thief
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    I just went through this process last year after I decided to upgrade my speakers to these and all the reviews said I 'must have' a worthy sound card to make it worth my while. Well I ended up getting the card listed below because of it's frequent mail-in-rebates (there's one now!) and great reviews made it a clear cut winner in my eyes.

    Creative Sound Blaster Audigy2 ZS Platinum

    Well I got the speakers first, plugged them into my existing on-board sound and I immediately questioned if I really needed a sound card, it sounded that much better just with new speakers!

    Well, I had already ordered the sound card, so that arrived a day or two later, and when I plugged that in, to be honest, I didn't hear that much of a difference.

    To go on to answer the why get a sound card question: I probably didn't need to, but my sound card does include a remote that lets me control volume, pause, and even power down the system... all very nice perks! It also has a zillion inputs/outputs which leads me to when I think a sound card really becomes a make-or-break, and that's for people who do recording (music and the such), and require a high quality input for clean sound.

    So my suggestion (based on my experience) is to buy the speakers first, and if you're happy with it, skip the sound card. Maybe you'll think a new sound card could push the quality, then I say go for it!

    As far as speakers... I was going to recommend the 5.1 equivalent of what I have, but some quick research revealed that while they sound great, I guess there's an issue with the internal amp dieing fast.

  9. Software & Hardware   -   #9
    raza's Avatar Member BT Rep: +3
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    Well.. depends on "how" you like to listen to your music.. and how much you like music.
    Having Z-5500 with an X-Fi soundcard makes you almost a pro..!

  10. Software & Hardware   -   #10
    mr. nails's Avatar m@D @n!m3 BT Rep: +1
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    Quote Originally Posted by mildthrill View Post
    I just went through this process last year after I decided to upgrade my speakers to these and all the reviews said I 'must have' a worthy sound card to make it worth my while. Well I ended up getting the card listed below because of it's frequent mail-in-rebates (there's one now!) and great reviews made it a clear cut winner in my eyes.

    Creative Sound Blaster Audigy2 ZS Platinum

    Well I got the speakers first, plugged them into my existing on-board sound and I immediately questioned if I really needed a sound card, it sounded that much better just with new speakers!

    Well, I had already ordered the sound card, so that arrived a day or two later, and when I plugged that in, to be honest, I didn't hear that much of a difference.

    To go on to answer the why get a sound card question: I probably didn't need to, but my sound card does include a remote that lets me control volume, pause, and even power down the system... all very nice perks! It also has a zillion inputs/outputs which leads me to when I think a sound card really becomes a make-or-break, and that's for people who do recording (music and the such), and require a high quality input for clean sound.

    So my suggestion (based on my experience) is to buy the speakers first, and if you're happy with it, skip the sound card. Maybe you'll think a new sound card could push the quality, then I say go for it!

    As far as speakers... I was going to recommend the 5.1 equivalent of what I have, but some quick research revealed that while they sound great, I guess there's an issue with the internal amp dieing fast.
    thank u for the input, but imma be going with 5.1 and not 2.1 and i see that ur card has a $100 rebate, but it is old technology. granted i'm sure it's a great card, but i'll prob be going with the x-fi music. still looking for decesnt speakers. not sure if i wanna go logitech or not. logitechs speakers "look" nicer than that of creative, but i just don't care to much for logitech hardware.. problems in the past. on that same note i can't really find any decent creative speakers either. hum.
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