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Old February 1, 2009, 12:32 AM
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NightRain NightRain is offline
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Originally Posted by lowfat View Post
The Forte doesn't offer any real improvement over the Prelude besides PCIe and its factor form AFAIK. In the SQ department I don't believe there will be a significant change.

I always thought that the Prelude and the rest of Auzen's cards only allowed easily swapping of the front channel opamps. Which IMO is worthless if it is going to be used for an HTPC.
Well from what I can see the Forte does have a nice additional feature over the Prelude and that is the dedicated headphones amp. For me this was nice as I was looking for something to boost my headphones and this worked better for me than an external amp. If you have a high impedance set of headphones then a AMP is a must have. As far as I could tell only the Forte and the upcoming HomeTheater HD support the dedicated headphone amp.

I just ordered the Forte today and decided on it because of the headphone amp since it should make my Sennheisers sound much better. I preferred the PCIe interface because it is above my video card and I would rather not have my sound card in the middle of crossfired GPU's. I currently use a Sound Blaster Audigy X-Gamer and I'm expecting the Forte to be a major improvement.

I had also considered the Asus Xonar D2X but didn't like its lack of front audio connectors. Plus it was $50 more than the Forte. I also briefly considered the Asus Xonar DX but felt the Forte would be a much better card overall, especially considering the headphones amp. It was easy to justify spending $40-50 more on the Forte compared to the Xonar DX since a basic headphone amp would cost that much anyway.

The only other Sound cards I can think of with a dedicated headphone amp is the HT Omega Calro Halo and Calro Halo XT. They are around $220 and $280 respectively in price. Much higher than the $151 I paid for the Auzentech Forte and they are still only in PCI.

So if you want a headphone amp to power higher impedance headphone the Auzentech Forte is a great option.
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