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  • Sound cards for a newby?

    I have no experience with sound cards and have never actually bought one but seeing as I built a new computer I said why not.

    Couple of things. If I get a sound card, will it actually make a big impact in sound quality compared to my onboard sound? Im talking noticable increase and not like 5 - 10% increase in quality. And will I be able to buy one that makes such a difference for around 50 dollars?

  • #2
    Best Buy had a pricing error on the X-Fi Titanium HD for $50, normally they are $120+. Some people bought 20-30 of them I, myself just bought one. But you can sometimes find those people selling them off for $60-70 which is a steal.

    Now dedicated sounds cards are leaps and bounds better than onboard, and takes a little stress off of the processor. Asus tends to lean more towards music and X-Fi towards gaming, but they can both adequately do both. If you use a pair of quality headphones that need to be pushed to 330-600 ohms then some also have dedicated headphone amps. One thing is though, I have noticed that BF3 doesn't really take advantage of my sound card as other games do because it uses its own sound engine that's different from others. Another brand to look out for is Auzentech, they seem to be best of both worlds with X-Fi but no Creative bloatware. The Forte was one of the best of their line but they are discontinued and I'm sure their newer line is superior.

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    • #3
      Re: Sound cards for a newby?

      Originally posted by Kwalc View Post
      Couple of things. If I get a sound card, will it actually make a big impact in sound quality compared to my onboard sound? Im talking noticable increase and not like 5 - 10% increase in quality. And will I be able to buy one that makes such a difference for around 50 dollars?
      For most people, the answer is no, you will probably not notice a difference. Onboard sound is "good enough" for most people. The minority that believe onboard sound isn't good enough are people with a more discerning ear, typically audiophiles and usually their media source is high quality lossless music, not games. The other reason why you probably won't notice a difference, and this is the biggest reason, is because most people simply don't have good enough speakers or headphones to showcase the advantages of a higher quality sound card. Truth is, most PC speakers and headphones are crap for sound quality.

      If you still feel the need to try out a discrete sound card, I would recommend the Asus Xonar DG which can be had for $30 or less and offers cleaner audio with less noise than onboard audio for a very good price. Trying to listen to and distinguish between a Xonar DG versus a more expensive sound card would be significantly harder than trying to distinguish between a Xonar DG versus onboard audio.
      "Looking for brahs to come fight crime with me" - Unload



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      • #4
        Re: Sound cards for a newby?

        +1 for Xonar. I've got the D1 myself, and noticed a difference in sound quality compared to my onboard audio. It's something I wanted to upgrade but at a reasonable price.


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        • #5
          Re: Sound cards for a newby?

          Originally posted by Kwalc View Post
          I have no experience with sound cards and have never actually bought one but seeing as I built a new computer I said why not.

          Couple of things. If I get a sound card, will it actually make a big impact in sound quality compared to my onboard sound? Im talking noticable increase and not like 5 - 10% increase in quality. And will I be able to buy one that makes such a difference for around 50 dollars?
          Well that all depends on what you're listening to, how high quality those digital sources are, and how good your speakers/headphones are. If you're listening to mostly 128 kbps MP3s, gaming sounds, and budget speakers/headphones, you might not notice much of an improvement beyond less static/noise (especially when no sound is being emitted).
          |TG-18th| Acreo Aeneas
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          Former 9th & 13th

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          Still can't say it? Call me Acorn then. -.-





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