high end onboard vs dedicated sound card

Discussion in 'PC Audio' started by milkguru, Mar 19, 2017.

  1. milkguru

    milkguru Member

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    So I've been toying with the idea of doing a new PC build, with the release of Ryzen. Current PC is a first gen i7, and I'm using a pretty old Asus Xonar D2X

    If I were to build a new PC it would be ideal to get rid of the soundcard. These days I send my audio through HDMI to a receiver when it comes to playing blurays/movies. All the soundcard is used for is playing music through either Swan M50W speakers, or ATH M50 headphones - so nothing high end really.

    How does the onboard sound on mid to high end mobos compare to the Xonar D2X or even newer sound cards?
     
  2. Eradicate'

    Eradicate' Member

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    Onboard sound is still pretty crap. Even my cheap HyperX Clouds sound miles better on a cheap Xonar DG than with onboard
     
  3. xcessive303

    xcessive303 Member

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    I have soundcore3d onboard on my Z170X gigabte mobo and when I put my soundlbaster Zx in I noticed a big difference and at the time I had M50's as well.

    The problem with audio is that its subjective and while I noticed a difference you may not.
     
  4. tree86ers

    tree86ers Member

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    could not of said it better myself.

    really would be best to test it out then decide if you want dedicated sound or not.
    Myself i recently went down USB sound cards (only option really on ITX) with the Xonar U7 and recently with sennheiser GSX1000. Both are great for both speakers and Headphone use (with how i use them) but bang for buck i would really go for the Xonar U7
     
  5. milkguru

    milkguru Member

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    sounds like ill be keeping my d2x then. thanks for the help
     
  6. Mickatroid

    Mickatroid Member

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    Provided it's properly engineered and I would guess most are (noise isolation can be a problem for example), onboard sound will be good enough these days for most purposes. Try it and see if you like it/ can tell the difference from other DACs.
     
  7. Aratahu

    Aratahu Member

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    I greatly enjoy the (124dB SNR) ZXR with my ADG1Xs; it provides very clear audio. It has most excellent headphone spatialisation for games as well, far better so than Asus's cards.

    When I added the ZXR, my external Z5500s also got a great improvement in sound from whatever was onboard my old motherboard.

    (Some motherboards do indeed offer SB chipsets, so it'd be interesting to see an actual comparison between those and the ZX / ZXR.)
     
  8. Hyo-Ri

    Hyo-Ri Member

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    Went from dedicated Creative X-Fi Titanium HD to onboard MSI Z270I Realtek ALC1220 and it is way worse.

    It sounds ok for general use, however when playing games, it doesn't seem to do a good job at isolating each individual sound at all - it sort of just muffles everything together.

    Anyone got any suggestions for a USB external SC? I was looking at the GSX1000 USBhowever it's quite pricey, another option was the Creative Omni 5.1 USB.
     
  9. T-O-D

    T-O-D Member

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    I've been using an Audioengine D1 (Optical output from mobo) for a couple of years, and it seems fine. You can also use it as a USB sound card if you prefer.

    I'm also after options, as I now need the D1 for another computer.

    Does anyone find the "Headphone" option on most sound cards just muffles the sound? From my past experience (possibly bad quality devices) setting the output to "speakers" sounds a lot better on my headphones, but doesnt seem to drive them as hard. Am I doing something wrong, or is this not the case at all with a good sound card?
     
  10. Linkin

    Linkin Member

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    What quality is your source material (your music) ?

    No point in getting a dedicated card if your stuff isn't lossless
     
  11. milkguru

    milkguru Member

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    I'm not looking at getting a sound card - I already have one. I just wanted to know if current high end mobo onboard was any good.

    And personally, I disagree, I think 320kbps mp3s can still benefit from a DAC/soundcard.
     
  12. Matthew kane

    Matthew kane Member

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    Waste of money on a dac or soundcard just to listen to crappy compressed 320k mp3. You're better off onboard if you're listening to just mp3's and put that money towards beer or an ssd.
     
  13. xcessive303

    xcessive303 Member

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    You could always do what I do and buy whatever DAC/AMP or soundcard you're interested in, and then to an A/B comparison for a few days and then if you don't like it sell it. Depending on the gear you may make a small loss but I'd consider that a small price to pay to satisfy the curiosity.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2017
  14. Matthew kane

    Matthew kane Member

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    I call that wasting money. D/A conversion on external sound cards are the same as onboard nowadays (onboard has improved greatly compared to AC'97 days). The benefits you're paying for an external sound cards is for its advertised gaming sound features (EAX etc) and a DAC/Amp combo for its better technical ability to drive a wider range of headphones.

    If I wanted better sound quality (subjective) I would skip out on a sound card and go straight to a DAC. If I wanted a wider range of outputs for mic, more channel output, sound effects and equaliser for gaming or HT, I would pick a sound card.
     
  15. PsychoSmiley

    PsychoSmiley Member

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    Well for me I wouldn't. I don't want more shit on my desk and more cable to fuck with so I'll stick with an internal sound card. I just lost my Claro+ recently so I've had to throw in a cheap Xonar DX. Having lived off onboard sound for the last 3 months it's a breath of fresh air in regards to sound.

    Sure I could get better but beyond $200 (max) for a soundcard and $300 for headphones I'm going to run into diminishing returns pretty damn quickly.
     
  16. Matthew kane

    Matthew kane Member

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    It also depends on what onboard sound chip it is your motherboard has. Most high end mobo's nowadays have customised onboard from Auzentech, Creative Soundblaster or some other fancy shit. Heaps better then a $20 Xonar etc from years back. Even modern Realtek HD have improved light years compared to the same shit from yesteryear.
     
  17. PsychoSmiley

    PsychoSmiley Member

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    I'll believe it when I hear it which will probably never. Never heard anything but empty lifeless ratshit from onboard.

    My requirements are quite simple. Clean, lively sounding 2 channel audio with no extra effects. I could get that in something external but I don't want extra shit on my desk for my cats to be assholes too. The Claro+ did that really well from the CMI8788 and I'm annoyed the card died because it was excellent at 2 channel output for what I needed.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2017
  18. Matthew kane

    Matthew kane Member

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    lol wasn't directed at you, was just saying in general for anybody else reading it.

    You should ban your cats from your room. Last time I owned a cat, he went through my headphone cables. Didn't end pretty, I put him in the timeout corner for a day.
     
  19. PsychoSmiley

    PsychoSmiley Member

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    PC's in general space sadly and they like getting up on my desk when I'm using the PC. The big boof tomcat doesn't know his size and just flops and pushes shit off with his mass. He's so big and dumb you can't do anything to him as he just ignores you
     
  20. dcyloo

    dcyloo Member

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    Is there really such a thing?

    High-end onboard. Seems to be words you just don't use together. Motherboard manufacturers will always skimp on something to reduce the costs and the sound chip is the most obvious target.

    I had a 10 year old SoundBlaster Audigy 2 value card and I ran it off 5 motherboards until it gave out it's magic smoke. Each and every single time, the sound came out of the Audigy better than what the motherboard could manage.

    Honestly, if a manufacturer would want to save a bit of coin and ditch the onboard chip altogether, I'd be more than happy.
     

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