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Old February 14, 2009, 09:03 AM
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Default Best All Purpose Sound Card ??

Well I managed to snag a set of Z-5500 speakers. I must say I am impressed. Now, I am currently using my x38-DQ6 on board sound and after doing a lot of reading realize I am cheating myself and could have much better sound performance with a stand alone card.

So I am now looking to purchase a high end card. The question remains... Which card to buy?

Purpose:

Mainly for Gaming and movies but I also listen to music.

That being said I am ever evolving in what I do and would like to be able to have the ability to convert my vinyl record collection, video rendering, editing and what ever else is out there. I want it to be able to play full HD/blueray to its peak of performance.

So, what would be the top 5 all around sound cards? Suggestions?
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Old February 14, 2009, 09:44 AM
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How much do you want to spend?
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Old February 14, 2009, 10:12 AM
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Short of deciding on a soundcard be aware thats its very likely that DAC(s) on the Z5500 controller are of poorer qaulity than any highend sound card, thus using the digital input on the Z5500 will result in a lower sound qaulity (Thanks Robscix). I guess an argument/questions can be raised here "can you really tell the difference?" His point is valid nonetheless and I see no sense spending $200 on a high qaulity soundcard to just have it output to something of a lesser qaulity.

Quote:
I want it to be able to play full HD/blueray to its peak of performance
This tells me right away that you'll simply need better speakers and a reciever of much better qaulity.

Regards,

EE

Last edited by Eagle Eye; February 14, 2009 at 02:51 PM.
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Old February 14, 2009, 10:20 AM
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True, don't even bother with the other plug-ins on the Z5500... use good ol' analog, z5500 was made to use analog.

But they do sound fairly decent, I have the x-fi xtreme gamer and I love it. It's a good card for the money! And DEFINITELY blows away onboard sound no questions asked.

Others to look into:

ASUS Xonar DX
Auzentech X-Fi prelude
Auzentech X-Fi Forte
Creative X-Fi titanium

I'm personally digging the X-Fi forte, I just don't know if spending that kind of money will give much better results from my xtreme gamer... I'm no sound pro so I can't really help you other than recommending the card I have, great card for the money, a bit cheaper than those I've listed but the Xonar DX is about the same price, but I've read the drivers aren't as good for it, although it DOES have better sound quality... but that might have changed as of late... I've never had one sound problem with my drivers with windows XP.
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Old February 14, 2009, 12:16 PM
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Read my review in the member review section of the Auzentech Forte 7.1, it is easily the best sound card I've ever used and I'm loving it. I paid $151.25 from NCIX by PMing Xpress Canada. Xpress Canada - Sound Cards/Digital Audio > Sound Cards : Auzentech X-Fi Forte 7.1 Low Profile PCI Express Sound Card .

I have used other sound cards and this one tops them all.
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Old February 14, 2009, 12:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eagle Eye View Post
Short of deciding on a soundcard be aware thats its very likely that DAC(s) on the Z5500 controller are of poorer qaulity than any highend sound card, thus using the digital input on the Z5500 will result in a lower sound qaulity (Thanks Robscix). I guess an argument/questions can be raised here "can you really tell the difference?" His is point is valid nonetheless and see no sense spending $200 on a high qaulity soundcard to just have it output to something of a lesser qaulity.



This tells me right away that you'll simply need better speakers and a reciever of much better qaulity.


Regards,

EE
Certainly you argument makes sense, but it is a double edged sword is it not. No point in having extream high end speakers and receiver if you do not have a card capable of delivering high end sound. My z-5500 will do, for now... My on board sound wont. Upgrading to a high end sound card $200-300 budget, will be one step towards the upgrade to hometheater quality sound. When needed I can always pull out my Sony Dolby reciever and Bose speakers on my entertainment system to upgrade speakers.

I am more than certain even my Z-5500 speakers, which IMHO sound pretty dang good for a PC system shall perform even better with dedicated sound. Just a matter of which card to get.
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Old February 14, 2009, 03:06 PM
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I have the Xonar DX, but I would have bought this Prelude if it was around then.

Auzentech X-Fi Prelude

Good deal.
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Old February 14, 2009, 03:16 PM
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Quote:
I am more than certain even my Z-5500 speakers, which IMHO sound pretty dang good for a PC system shall perform even better with dedicated sound. Just a matter of which card to get.
Its pretty hard to argue that point since there's nothing to compare the Z5500 to. I've had the Z5500 for quite a while now they're great speakers then, although my feelings have changed as of late simply because nothings been done to improve them and logitech has merely banked on the zero competition it faces in the PC 5.1 market.

Regards,

EE

Last edited by Eagle Eye; February 14, 2009 at 05:56 PM.
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Old February 14, 2009, 03:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eagle Eye View Post
Its pretty hard to argue that point since there's nothing to compare the Z5500 to. I've had the Z5500 for quite a while now they're great speakers then, although my feelings have change as of late simply because nothings been done to improve them and logitech has merely banked on the zero competition it faces in the PC 5.1 market.

Regards,

EE
Yeah, they should really release a new setup.. These have been out for long enough, I'm sure they could release something with similar power, with better sound and better use of digital sound... But of course, they're un-rivaled.. you can't get a better PC setup for the price.. they're nice and loud, and sound pretty good when paired with a good sound card, but certainly could use improvement not going to argue that.
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Old February 15, 2009, 07:36 AM
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Does anyone have experience with the Creative Labs X-Fi Elite Pro?

I have secured a purchase for a used one for a great price, figure it is a great card that I should give a try.


Creative Labs Sound Blaster X-Fi Elite Pro 70SB055A00000 in Canada at TigerDirect.ca
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