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Old November 7, 2007, 09:00 AM
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I maybe overlooking some details but I need to get a basic idea of whats so special about some of these expensive sound cards.

I bought the Creative Labs Sound Blaster Live 24-bit 7.1 about 2 years ago, and she runs perfectly with my 5.1 Stereo receiver. It's cheap and works awesome.

So whats so special about these other cards? I'm assuming just quality of the card. Not sure how much it can increase sound quality since the quality is only as good as it's source.
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Old November 7, 2007, 10:11 AM
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The quality is only as good as it source sure....BUT you don't need your soundcard hampering the sound quality anymore. The sound quality of the card and the features and build quality are the main points people pay for. You may think your SB Live sounds good becasue you haven't heard another soundcard that sounds better. Trust me, that card doesn't sound good compared to a X-Meridian, Prelude, Xonar or other more modern card. You can grab a X-fi X-Music these days for $50 easily.
Your speakers or headphones are also part of this equation..
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Old November 7, 2007, 10:34 AM
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well I am running an expensive speaker and receiver system, so no question that I'm getting quality in that world. However I have heard other cards, and I'm still not satisfied that there any better. I'm going to try and find some kind of stats comparison chart to see what kind of sound card benchmarks can be done.
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Old November 7, 2007, 10:37 AM
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Originally Posted by chibi_man View Post
well I am running an expensive speaker and receiver system, so no question that I'm getting quality in that world. However I have heard other cards, and I'm still not satisfied that there any better. I'm going to try and find some kind of stats comparison chart to see what kind of sound card benchmarks can be done.
But have you heard other sound cards with QUALITY sound systems? I can easily tell teh difference in sound cards with my Z-680's.
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Old November 7, 2007, 10:50 AM
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Everything is subjective in the audio world. Gear you think is good others may think is trash. If your recevier is connected to the soundcard by analog interconnects then the quality of your sound is controlled by the DAC and opamp chips on your SB Live 24 bit. These chips will be low quality and relatively cheap. Many of the new soundcards such as the XOnar and Prelude have better DAC's then many receivers. This has been proven time and again. As for benchmarking you can always go with RMAA results. They are easily skewed, may "audiophiles' don't trust or use them and I say you need atleast a general electronics education to read and understand them accuratley. Please don't ever think a $30 SB Live 24 bit can compare to any of the modern heavy weights. Just not possible. In this game you get what you pay for. Hope that helps.

Is your soundcard connected to your recevier by a digital conenction or analog connections?

Last edited by Robscix; November 7, 2007 at 11:20 AM.
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Old November 7, 2007, 11:20 AM
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Yes and no. I need something harder then that. I can easily switch to a digital optical line with that sound card. It may be just worth it for me to just spent $15 to 20$ and buy the digital adaptor with optical then spending an extra $100. I understand heavy duty is normally better, and normally more expensive components are normally better. I just don't see any hard evidence of it yet.
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Old November 7, 2007, 11:32 AM
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Hard evidence of what? That digital is better then analog?..NOPE, it depends on the card and the unit your connecting it to. If you have one of the new modern cards such as the Prelude, Xonar, X-Meridian or others. You wil be better of going analog becasue your DAC's are better then the DAC's in the reciever in alot of cases. It seesm many companies used the digital inputs section as a place to skimp out. Tests were done at AVS forum using X-Meridian and different receviers, AMP, DAC's and Pre/Pro's. It was quickly evident that using a analog sonnection to a receiver when using a high quality soundcard gave better sonic results. Depends on the card and the receiver or other unit of course. The tests were done with high quality receviers and otehrs.
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Old November 7, 2007, 11:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robscix View Post
Hard evidence of what? That digital is better then analog?..NOPE, it depends on the card and the unit your connecting it to. If you have one of the new modern cards such as the Prelude, Xonar, X-Meridian or others. You wil be better of going analog becasue your DAC's are better then the DAC's in the reciever in alot of cases. It seesm many companies used the digital inputs section as a place to skimp out. Tests were done at AVS forum using X-Meridian and different receviers, AMP, DAC's and Pre/Pro's. It was quickly evident that using a analog sonnection to a receiver when using a high quality soundcard gave better sonic results. Depends on the card and the receiver or other unit of course. The tests were done with high quality receviers and otehrs.
Heh someone who knows their stuff.

Don't a lot of concert halls and events use analog signals to get louder and more clear sound or something along those lines compared to digital which can become more easily distorted?
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Old November 7, 2007, 11:48 AM
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Don't a lot of concert halls and events use analog signals to get louder and more clear sound or something along those lines compared to digital which can become more easily distorted?
Very true.

I can use my card now with digital. I just want hard numbers the symbolize the quality of the card. Digital or not... So far I have found nothing but opinion reviews from "Poor, good, better, Excellent". It means so little. Like you can rate the power and quality of a motherboard by it;s stats and it;s benchmark. But what about a sound card?

I'm not saying that just any card is as good as an expensive one... I just want to know what in the end determines the better card. Price is not good enough.
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Old November 7, 2007, 11:51 AM
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Well I am unsure what you mean. All Audio is analog when the signal is sent to the speakers.. Digital is a means to store/record/compress/encrypt/transmit the audio. What I was refering to with connections is either using:

1. Digital connections -1 wire, uses the DAC's in the recevier or other device.
2. Analog connections -6 wires or more, uses the DAC's in the soundcard.

For those who are unsure: DAC -Digital to Analog converter, takes the digita l square wave and converts it back to a analog waveform the speakers can use, after some amplification and filtering(sometimes).

Last edited by Robscix; November 7, 2007 at 12:22 PM.
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