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Sound card advice: Non-creative


Bikerdude

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Afternoon

 

As I am utterly fed up with creative and its crappy drivers and driver support (even thierd pary driver packs dont help) and the final straw being the useless windows 8 support.

 

What card out there have descent quality components and audio quality and have Win8/OpenAl support. Im leaning towards Asus Xonar (yes it has an Xfi dsp, but better driver support)

 

ta.

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  • Oh, I thought the onboard audio chips are decent enough these days, so one would not need to spend money on a special card.
  • What's the benefit of a special audio card anyhow these days?

  • The issue with on-board sound cards is they are built to a budget, the quality of the electronic components is as cheap as possible which then leads to lower qaulity sound in the best case or pops and crackles in the worst case.
  • The second issue is on-boards sound cards are horrendously crap at processing environmental sound effects (OpenAL/EAX etc)

Looks at any half descent review of a branded sound cards versus on-board and you'll see the above points made every time.

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Funny. I have an onboard audio only nowadays. I've never heard any crackles or pops. When I got my system, I tried my old audigy 2 card on it, but there was no difference in sound, so I let the onboard chip suffice.

 

Most of the games nowadays do the EAX sound stuff with software, so there isn't really a need for EAX card either. And wasn't openAl support supposed to bring eax effects to all cards too on TDM?

Clipper

-The mapper's best friend.

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Afternoon

 

As I am utterly fed up with creative and its crappy drivers and driver support (even thierd pary driver packs dont help) and the final straw being the useless windows 8 support.

 

What card out there have descent quality components and audio quality and have Win8/OpenAl support. Im leaning towards Asus Xonar (yes it has an Xfi dsp, but better driver support)"ta.

I have an Asus Xonar DS, and while being quite happy with it, it has drivers issues too, which never got fixed. I have a front panel, to plug in my headphones, and in 9 out of 10 cases, it doesn't change the sound output to the headphones, but instead leaves it on the rear output, so i have to switch that manually every time. The 2nd big let down is the lack of EAX. It has some "fake EAX" stuff afaik, but in most games, i can't enable EAX.

 

Which Creative sound card did you have? I had a Creative X-Fi Extreme Music before this card, but unfortunately it broke. I was really happy with it... great sound, EAX in every game, and very low latency when i did audio stuff.

 

Edit: Oh, and onboard sound cards on modern, nowadays mainboards are really much, much better than they used to be. I don't think you can expect crackles, fewer sounds, and stuff like that with the newer onboard cards.

Edited by chk772
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Most of the games nowadays do the EAX sound stuff with software, so there isn't really a need for EAX card either. And wasn't openAl support supposed to bring eax effects to all cards too on TDM?

Hm, i wasn't aware of that. Just started Thief Gold, and indeed it supports EAX with OpenAL even on my card (with the TFix patch). Nice!

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HT|Omega cards are awesome.

A little more money but I highly recommend The Claro Halo (XT or non-XT). It has positive reviews from Win8 users on Newegg, even though the product home page claims just XP and Vista.

This one's the XT version. There is another without the daughter card...might find it for a little less.

http://www.newegg.co...N82E16829271005

Great in Linux too.

Edited by PranQster

System: Mageia Linux Cauldron, aka Mageia 8

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I'm currently just using onboard optical out and running it in to a Yamaha 667 receiver. I run my headphones and speakers out of it and use its dsp.

 

No complaints about positional sound. Its been awile since I uninstalled my x-fi. Creative drivers.... ugh!

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Actually I have my 2nd video card out of my chassis now so I could reinstall my xfi titanium, would be interesting to maybe install it again this weekend. I wonder if EAX processing is done prior to piping out of the optical port.

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I'm currently just using onboard optical out and running it in to a Yamaha 667 receiver. I run my headphones and speakers out of it and use its dsp.

So when you spin around do you hear sounds coming from the rear speakers..? Also what about enviromental audio effect like echo and reverb in games.?

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I can put it on PCM audio and I think its excellent. If I plug my headphones in to it, it turns off the speakers and pipes the 5.1/7.1 in to 2 channel stereo and the sound stage feels great. It does have other effect settings for "action game", "theater", etc. but the issue is you do not get EAX per room effects because obviously the AC889 Realtek codec doesn't support it. This Realtek 889 does support Dolby Digital Live and 5.1 so yes the rear speakers play appropriately when you spin around. I would be curious though to run the optical out of the X-fi and see what happens. I do miss EAX and its precursor A3D.

 

I haven't noticed much difference between this setup and my previous as far as non-EAX goes and running everything off the sound card. I'd say the major difference is in the power driving the speakers which actually does make a huge difference. The optical out on the Realtek does this job just fine.

 

As an aside, my original Klipsch Pro media 5.1 sub finally died and I just kept the satellites and replaced the sub and got this amp on closeout for like $150 bucks. It was a deal and tromps the old sub/power, etc. Nice to have it for the headphones too as they have highish impedence and they sound much better as well.

 

EDIT:

 

Sorry, Bikerdude. Long story short, YES I hear sounds coming from all speakers and they are positional. NO I don't have environmental audio effects like EAX. If they're done in software like most new games these days then YES.

Edited by Lux
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I'm firmly of the opinion that onboard sound is plenty good for listening to stuff, so unless you've got some problem that needs fixing or specific need for xlr inputs or pre amps or something...

 

The other hardware matters a bit. Head phones, speakers etc etc. But once you've avoided really bad ways of producing noises the pluses are inconsequential. And if you've got rubbish speakers, a separate sound card won't help you.

 

Part of my justification for thinking this way boils down to the fact that even though you might be able to measure (and possibly hear) the differences with special equipment, human brains aren't special measuring microphones - you interpret what you hear +- everything else going on that'll colour your world view. I've got a semi decent external sound card and some mid range studio kit and if I'm really keen I can probably tell that it's different to the onboard sound coming out of the same speakers. But I honestly wouldn't want to tell you which sounded 'better'. And after a few moments of listening and any difference is lost in the moment.

 

So get yourself some okay speakers/headphones and get on with enjoying it.

Edited by jay pettitt
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snip

 

++

 

I realize TDM has an EAX option but all of the latest games have been moving toward and will continue to move toward software effects. That makes the onboard audio a decent enough solution provided it has decent sound characteristics.

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  1. Well I 'believe' I have found the root cause of the "no sound" issue in Win8 with the X-fi which suggest it is linked to the f***ing driver (no surprise, creative at their finest yet again). Rather bizarrely if I raise the the volume up above 67% in either the window or creative volume controls and a subsequently reboot I then get no sound at all. But as I had installed the PAX driver pack I had the creative console and tray volume app back, so while in the volume app I click on the rest button and hey-presto the sound was back and it was then I noticed the volume was set back to 67%.
  2. Also since going back to the X-fi the weird stutter I had been getting in TDM is also gone.

But at some point I will buy a SoundBlaster-Z and Xonar D2X and see how they perform.

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I had not realized Creative made a new card and by the looks of it, its pretty decent. Specifically the ZXR. Very low distortion, optical out, EAX, OpenAL, seems like an excellent compromise.

 

Thanks for mentioning this, Bikerdude! I appreciate it.

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If your ears are sensitive, it's probably a fine idea to get yourself a discrete sound card. Ever since I bought a recording DAW, I've used that as my sound card.

 

But I do remember years ago buying a Creative Sound Blaster AWE64 Gold. It sounded fabulous, but it had one problem: bad electrical grounding. I would hear clicks and buzzes when I moved the mouse or when the CD-ROM drive spun up. I ended up painting the entire card with rubber cement (especially where it touched the midtower case) to isolate it. I still hear the same clicks and buzzes in onboard sound cards nowadays, but there's nothing I can do to remedy it.

yay seuss crease touss dome in ouss nose tair

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@Bikerdude --Thanks for the tip.

 

@M. Desino --I've dealt with that in the past with onboard audio which is why I've always had a discreet sound card. I think it was my previous system, I decided once again to give the onboard a shot before installing my x-fi because Creative drivers are just such a pain in the ass to update and then after you update them, very frequently something gets broken prompting another reinstall of the sound drivers. I've found their "web-update" particularly buggy.

 

In any case, it was fine... no pops/clicks/static, etc. and so I stuck with it because games were dropping EAX support and I didn't need the hassle. Then on this Gigabyte p67a ud7 the onboard has been fantastic. I haven't had a moments trouble with it. That's really all I'm after. Decent sound without having to dick with it every month.

 

But yeah... that new ZXR is looking VERY tasty. I'm going to definitely do a ton of forum searching on issues and bugs prior to making a purchase decision though.

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