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 Post subject: Picking out a sound card
PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 8:57 pm 
8086
8086

Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2013 8:24 pm
Posts: 9
Hey everyone..I'm new to these forums but not to the website/magazine.

I am trying to figure out what sound card would be best with my setup. I have an SLI setup (see picture) with a PCI slot between the two cards, and a PCIe slot beneath the second card. I have been looking at this ASUS soundcard (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829132007&Tpk=xonar%20d1) but I don't know if slightly blocking the fan of the top GPU would be an issue. It would also be a very tight fit in between the two GPUs.

If anyone has recommendations for other 5.1 or 7.1 cards that would be great too.


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 Post subject: Re: Picking out a sound card
PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2013 9:04 am 
8086
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Joined: Tue Jan 22, 2013 5:36 pm
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Its been a long time since i have had a sound card(i was in college). At that time i used sound blaster and like it. I have no idea what they are like now. Most people just run sound off of the motherboard. I am planing a build right now and have not included a sound card, I may add one later. I just dont use pc speakers much only headphones, i have young kids and do my stuff after bed time. I am not sure how much a sound card would improve my infrequent gaming to make the investment worth it.


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 Post subject: Re: Picking out a sound card
PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2013 9:37 am 
8086
8086

Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2013 8:24 pm
Posts: 9
The reason I'm looking for a card is because I want to have more options than what is included with my onboard audio. I have a set of Logitech z-5500s and I want to max their potential.

Also, I'm having trouble posting a picture of my setup.


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 Post subject: Re: Picking out a sound card
PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2013 9:58 am 
Little Foot
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Joined: Fri Dec 02, 2005 10:49 am
Posts: 145
Location: Oakland, CA
After adding another video card which, like your situation, covered my sole PCI slot I had to go back to onboard sound too. Quite frankly, it's terrible. I was using an Asus Xonar Essense ST, which is specifically designed for use with headphones. Going back to onboard sound was quite a noticeable step down.
I intend to get a Xonar Essense STX as soon as I'm able.


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 Post subject: Re: Picking out a sound card
PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2013 11:07 am 
Clawhammer
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WELCOME! Welcome to the MaxPC FORUMS. Please make sure you don't just play a voyeur - be sure to actively contribute, advise and help someone else out. This place is only as good as it's participants - it's all about quality and timely I/O.

If you really are an audiophile then end your search with any offering from HT Omega. My fav is the Claro Plus+. If you can't hear the difference between an mp3 and flac just stick with on-board and save a slot and your cash.


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 Post subject: Re: Picking out a sound card
PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2013 3:32 pm 
Little Foot
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As an aside, you can post an image by uploading it to http://www.imgur.com or any other image hosting site of your choice, then hitting the "Img" button above and inserting the URL of the image in between the two tags it generates in your message (it will place the cursor there so you can just Ctrl+V paste it there).
Image


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 Post subject: Re: Picking out a sound card
PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 4:34 pm 
8086
8086

Joined: Tue Jan 22, 2013 5:36 pm
Posts: 20
What would be a good sound card <$100, I mostly us headphones.


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 Post subject: Re: Picking out a sound card
PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 4:47 pm 
Clawhammer
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HT Omega, on ebay!


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 Post subject: Re: Picking out a sound card
PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 9:24 pm 
Little Foot
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Joined: Fri Dec 02, 2005 10:49 am
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Location: Oakland, CA
The ASUS Xonar DGX 5.1 has a onboard headphone amp. and is well inside of your parameters. It's highly recommended by Head-fi.org.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6829132052


Last edited by klaatu on Mon Jan 28, 2013 2:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Picking out a sound card
PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:28 am 
8086
8086

Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2013 8:24 pm
Posts: 9
Ok it works I just needed to resize the picture. Thanks for the help with that! Here's my setup:

[url][URL=http://imgur.com/0e3X2qX]Image[/url][/url]


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 Post subject: Re: Picking out a sound card
PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 2:00 pm 
8086
8086

Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2013 8:24 pm
Posts: 9
So as you can see in my picture, I have a PCI slot open but it is between the two GPUs and a PCIx16 slot open below the second card. Should I look for a sound card that uses PCI? Most of the ones I've seen don't specify if they would work with PCIx16 but would they? I don't know a whole lot about PCI (you can probably notice haha).


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 Post subject: Re: Picking out a sound card
PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 4:17 pm 
Little Foot
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Location: Oakland, CA
I wish I was in your situation. The pic I posted above is my $200 PCI sound card (another nod to Head-fi.org, they list it as the best headphone amp soundcard out there). Unfortunately, my PCI slot was covered by the second video card.
I'm personally partial to Asus cards. Amazon seems to have the best price on them at the moment, depending on whether or not you need 5.1 or 7.1. http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_ ... Caps%2C363


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 Post subject: Re: Picking out a sound card
PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2013 7:55 pm 
Little Foot
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I finally said to heck with it and figured I could live without SLI (no SLI cable long enough at the moment) and I reinstalled the Essence ST. Onboard sound is kinda hideous after moving up. The only shortcoming is that it reveals all the artifacting and compression on anything recorded at less than 160kbps.
Image


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 Post subject: Re: Picking out a sound card
PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 3:43 pm 
8086
8086

Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2013 8:24 pm
Posts: 9
Nice collection you have there! I ordered this last night..

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002VAD716/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i00

It's about half the price as the one I put in my first post, but I don't need a whole lot out of it. I'm mostly looking for better surround in gaming. I'm going to try it out with just one GPU to make sure it works well and then try to squeeze it between the two GPUs. Hopefully it won't cause problems with heat or anything. It's supposed to come sometime tomorrow but I'll make an update after I play around with it.


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 Post subject: Re: Picking out a sound card
PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 2:22 am 
Little Foot
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Great choice!
Make sure you use the latest driver listed on Asus site rather than off the CD, as the only real major gripe with their soundcards seems to be drivers.


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 Post subject: Re: Picking out a sound card
PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 10:46 am 
Clawhammer
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Great choice?! Huh? No it's not. Perhaps an okay choice if he just had to have a discrete card, I suppose. But it won't deliver anything more than on-board audio. I would've saved the $50.


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 Post subject: Re: Picking out a sound card
PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 5:23 pm 
8086
8086

Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2013 8:24 pm
Posts: 9
I just installed the card with one GPU above it and I don't think I'll have a problem fitting the other GPU below it. The install went smoothly for the most part. I installed the latest drivers from ASUS and it wouldn't do anything even after the meter reached 100%. So I opened task manager and that's when it told me to install the card. I went and made sure the Realtek audio drivers were uninstalled and tried the Asus driver again, and that time it told me it was successful and to restart. I haven't tried it with my z-5500s yet, but my HK Soundsticks sound more lively than they did before. I'm going to set up the z-5500s now to see how surround works. The only strange thing I have noticed so far is that there's a small 'skip' whenever I change songs in iTunes and that wasn't there before. But it's not a big deal.

The reason I chose this card was because it has solid reviews and the price is great. If I had the budget for a more advanced card, then yes I would've spent more.


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 Post subject: Re: Picking out a sound card
PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2013 1:03 am 
Little Foot
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Location: Oakland, CA
kleinkinstein wrote:
Great choice?! Huh? No it's not. Perhaps an okay choice if he just had to have a discrete card, I suppose. But it won't deliver anything more than on-board audio. I would've saved the $50.
@klenkinstein: Wow. Okay. You need to talk to somebody. Someone professional.

I'm just glad you're happy with the new card. Getting the electronics off the motherboard is a big step forward in sound quality as far as eliminating noise.
My next major step up was eliminating the speakers designed for a PC and using a regular amp and stereo speakers, but that usually requires a whole 'nother level of commitment. Quality PC speakers are great, and like all audiophile choices, your results are always what your ears perceive directly; ergo they're only worth paying for what you can hear and that alone. As per Sturgeon's Law, 90 percent of everything is crap. Everyone's ears hit a plateau, and a lot of the things peddled to audiophiles are snake oil.
Buy what sounds good to you.


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 Post subject: Re: Picking out a sound card
PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2013 10:12 am 
8086
8086

Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2013 8:24 pm
Posts: 9
Everything sounds great to me. I have the z-5500s hooked up to it via optical running DTS 5.1 and the surround is soooo much better than it was with onboard audio. I've done some tweaking in the card's settings. Music requires different settings than games but everything sounds fantastic!


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 Post subject: Re: Picking out a sound card
PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2013 1:05 pm 
Mr. Late Night
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NickatNite25 wrote:
Everything sounds great to me. I have the z-5500s hooked up to it via optical running DTS 5.1 and the surround is soooo much better than it was with onboard audio. I've done some tweaking in the card's settings. Music requires different settings than games but everything sounds fantastic!


Wait, that doesn't make sense. Granted the Xonar Essence DS is a nice card but when you output via optical as opposed to analog it's no longer doing any processing, that's purely done by the DAC that's present in the Z-5500 speaker control pod. You should have been able to obtain the same experience simply by outputting from your motherboard's optical output unless it doesn't have one.


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