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Sounds Cards Comparo (or The search for Aural Pleasure)

Discussion in 'PC Audio' started by smiddi, Feb 8, 2009.

  1. KoiTech

    KoiTech Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2010
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    Location:
    Brisbane
    I stupidly sold my STX II and now need a replacement card since my motherboard's onboard audio is just garbage (aux volume low, no optical).

    what would you guys recommend from:

    asus strix DLX
    creative ZxR
    powercolour HDX devil

    cheers
     
  2. PsychoSmiley

    PsychoSmiley Member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2001
    Messages:
    7,128
    Location:
    Taranaki, New Zealand
    Urgh. Looks like my mighty HT Omega Claro+ may have packed it in. I even went to the effort to get a Z170 board with PCI slots for it.

    Anybody got recommendations for something in that vein? Was looking at a Claro II but that PowerColor one looks interesting. Driving a pair of AT-A900.
     
  3. Optimus.

    Optimus. Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2002
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    6,688
    I must say, the current Creative Core3D (garish red plastic chips) sound terrible...

    Really struggling trying to find a replacement for my SB Xfi platinum.

    Do they just not make good audio for PCs anymore? External devices only?
     
  4. Matthew kane

    Matthew kane Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2014
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    3,153
    Two stand out:

    Asus Xonar
    Creative Sound Blaster Z

    Personally for audio quality wise, a good sound card that is about $200-250 is a waste of money and you may as well buy a DAC that is much better as its a dedicated device for what you want where the sound card is more jack of all trade and doesn't excel in any place except gaming effects which are pretty useless nowadays.
     
  5. woznme

    woznme Member

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    Jan 31, 2014
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    13
    Location:
    Gold Coast
    Need some advice, I have a new MSI z270 gaming pro carbon, and also still have a audigy RX sound card in hand, which is the best choice. Just use onboard? Thanks to anyone that knows their sound quality. How much CPU does onboard use ?
     
  6. Matthew kane

    Matthew kane Member

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    Your onboard will be better not to mention also offer better compatibility with newer OS'. Cpu usage for onboard is next to 0.
     
  7. woznme

    woznme Member

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    Thanks, I'll follow your advice.
     
  8. Hyo-Ri

    Hyo-Ri Member

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2002
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    Location:
    Melbourne
    Got the same Mini-ITX mobo z270 gaming pro carbon.

    Definitely notice a decrease in audio quality compared to my old Creative X-Fi Titanium HD paired up with the Sennheiser IE80 - everything sounds a bit more blurred and not as good with positional audio.

    Thinking of getting the Sennheiser GSX-1000 though it's a bit pricey and I only use it in stereo mode anyways. Either that or the Creative Omni 5.1.

    In 2017, those 2 seem to be the only 2 real contenders for a USB sound card, though neither seems to be as good as just a plain USB DAC/AMP without any mic support or anything like the AudioEngine D1 etc.
     
  9. woznme

    woznme Member

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    Gold Coast
    Thanks, problem I have is most if not all of those USB sound cards require windows, Linux support is normally non-existent. Why can't they just get onboard audio right...
     
  10. Hyo-Ri

    Hyo-Ri Member

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    Melbourne
    Sennheiser gsx-1000 is plug and play and doesn't require drivers - also recognized as standard usb device in windows. Fairly sure it's also confirmed to work on Linux.
     
  11. D S

    D S Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2020
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    :bump: This kind of question still relevant these days? New rig and my reliable ATH AD700s are pretty underwhelming so wondering if the $80 bucks for a Soundblaster something something are worth it. Might be willing to stretch the budget to $150 if it's *really* worth it, but I figure if Im getting up around this dollar range I'd be better served to save more and get something really solid at the 300'ish price range (when the bank agrees)?
     
  12. Benno1988

    Benno1988 Member

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    Dont bother.

    Go onboard or an external.

    Schiit Stack (Modi/Magni come up for sale often) or a Topping all in one, or a JDS Labs one.
     
  13. scruffy1

    scruffy1 Member

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    northern beaches, sydney
    buy a khadas tone 1; the ad700's don't need an amp (but the khadas will need a case if you want to keep it schmick)

    as a dac, the khadas is the cheapest piece of current gen excellence you can procure - and yes, i am biased
    https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4000340881392.html

    bundle 3 is the go - case included; you'll still need an rca> female audio plug adapter


    addit : they not only run the ad700's beautifully, but also do fine with the akg q701'a, and even the rather higher impedance focal elears, all without additional amplification
     
    leck likes this.
  14. Blah72

    Blah72 Member

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    Mar 20, 2006
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    Not sure if this is the best place or should ask in the "what where should i buy" thread but im looking foir a sound card for gaming and listening to music, i have headphones with a good amp but also some logitech z906 speakers, wondering what the best reasonably priced sound card would be? after a quick look was looking at the creative sound blaster z or the CREATIVE SOUND BLASTERX, any suggestions between the 2 or any other better card? ive always used creative cards because there was no alternative and always had gripes with them but that was years ago, i'd like to hope things have improved or there's a better alternative.
    cheers.
     
  15. scruffy1

    scruffy1 Member

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    see my post above

    external dac is a game changer

    the "computer sound card" concept is a fossil
     
  16. davros123

    davros123 Member

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  17. scruffy1

    scruffy1 Member

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    ttbomk the tone 2 is a refinement of the tone board (which was rebranded the tone 1)

    the actual guts of it is the same dac essentially, but with the added embellishment of potential for balanced output, and a built in amplifier
    https://www.khadas.com/tone

    i have had no personal experience with the tone2, although amir rates it higher in his review
    depends on your budget and needs : as a dac, the tone 1 is peerless at that price point; if you are feeding active speakers, or an amp to speakers (or even straight to low-ish impedance headphones), it sounds gorgeous

    if you want a small footprint dac amp, and want to pony up for the balanced cables and hoopla, it would have merit i expect

    only downside i can raise for the tone 1 is needing a case, but the one linked will do; my diy one is more tasteful (black anodised aluminium) but takes a bit of macguyvering to construct - and acts perfectly as a passive heatsink, although the card doesn't get hot, but in an enclosed thermally insulating box it would certainly heat up eventually

    the tone 1 can be had on aliexpress for $79.99usd delivered, which with gst means it's yours for ~ $120 aud
    the tone 2 is only from kadas, at $229us delivered (presumably gst included) - that's ~ $312 aud


    if you already have an amp, or powered speakers, the choice is easy - the tone 1 is really, really good value

    and if you are looking at the bigger spend, this is potentially a competitor : https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4000903709359.html but note there's no amp

    fair warning : once you hear the khadas you can't unhear what "better quality" sounds like
     
    z3099528 and davros123 like this.
  18. z3099528

    z3099528 Member

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    I currently have a fiio e10k driving my AKG K7xx's - would the tone1 be an upgrade from the fiio?
     
  19. scruffy1

    scruffy1 Member

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    as a dac, probably so

    but it's not an amp, and it's a naked board; there's no "onboard" volume control without software doing the adjustment

    although it drives my akg q701's fine without any amp - and the fiio can't use analogue in, so you can't add it to the chain to listed amped
     
    z3099528 likes this.
  20. z3099528

    z3099528 Member

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    hmmm perhaps i'm better served by adding an amp to the chain, Schitt Magni looks nice.

    [Edit - looks like the e10k outputs and inputs are limiting my choices, i think I may just have to go for a new DAC+amp]

    Do you have any amp recommendations that you would pair with the tone1.
    The JDS Labs Atom+ looks alright (with the added bonus of being able to chain it with the e10k)
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2021

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