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  1. #1
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    Reasonably priced 5.1 sound card

    Hola all,

    I'm looking for a sound card to use with a pair of 5.1 headphones as well as to be plugged into an amp/speaker set up, somewhere around the 50 mark. Any experience/suggestions?

    Merci x

  2. #2
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    On board sound? It's pretty much good enough for anyone but professional sound engineers, in my addled opinion, though I would have gone for a USB 5.1 headphone set-up in the first place and been sure. eg http://www.amazon.co.uk/SPEEDLINK-Me...dp/B0046ZSY7Q/

    Seriously though, the people that tell you to buy a separate sound card are the same people who think Monster brand cables are worth the money.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by dadioflex View Post
    On board sound? It's pretty much good enough for anyone but professional sound engineers, in my addled opinion, though I would have gone for a USB 5.1 headphone set-up in the first place and been sure. eg http://www.amazon.co.uk/SPEEDLINK-Me...dp/B0046ZSY7Q/

    Seriously though, the people that tell you to buy a separate sound card are the same people who think Monster brand cables are worth the money.
    That isn't true at all, the quality of on-board audio varies a fair bit and dedicated audio cards or outboard audio equipment will usually provide much better quality. Of course, it depends on your ear whether you notice the difference; that isn't being snobbish, its just a fact, people's perception of audio ranges from completely tone-deaf to pedantic "audiophile". Saying that only a professional audio engineer can tell the difference is rubbish.

    Personally I'm using on-board myself, I use some decent headphones and the quality is ok, but not amazing. Listening to a CD via the PC sounds very different to using the same headphones with my Hi-fi. For gaming I can't see it making as much difference though, since the quality is often limited by the game's assets and audio engine, but that may depend on how good/bad your on-board audio is.

    As for recommendations, I've heard good things about the cheapo Xonar DG, it can be had for about 25 so it won't exactly break the bank (it seems to be designed for 5.1 headphones specifically). Other than that vague recommendation I have nothing else to offer I'm afraid.

  4. #4
    Network Hub slick_101's Avatar
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    Bang on the money is the Asus Xonar DX. This is a top quality card and I've heard nothing but praise for it!
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  5. #5
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Kadayi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slick_101 View Post
    Bang on the money is the Asus Xonar DX. This is a top quality card and I've heard nothing but praise for it!
    ^This. I have one and the step up from onboard was noticable. Sound quality is much much clearer. Obviously it pays to have a decent headset as well (I use a Steel Series Siberia HS which I also recommend.. pricey but robust).
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  6. #6
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    Cheers for the advice. As I'm mainly after the Dolby headphone surround stuff, my on-board audio doesn't cut it. The Asus Xonar DX looks good, although I was also looking at the much cheaper Xonar DG. Is there any reason I should buy the more expensive DX given that I'm going to be using it either for headphones or plugging it into and external stereo amp?

    Edit: spelled "xonar" with an "s". How silly of me.

  7. #7
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Kadayi's Avatar
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    It's the DG I have rather than the DX tbh (my bad). I'm not sure whether there's a huge advantage with the DX Vs the DG, but I'm pretty happy with the emulated 5.1 I get with the DG.
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  8. #8
    Network Hub slick_101's Avatar
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    well there are some minor differences but really only noticeable if your an audiophile, and if ou are going to most game on it then there you might as well go for the DG over the DX and put the difference towards a decent head set
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  9. #9
    I would not recommend the Creative Labs Soundblaster X-Fi Titanium HD, unless you don't require a decent microphone connection. I bought one of these and am now regretting it as the mic is pitifully quiet (Corsair HS1-A used, tried on my laptop and it worked fine, so not the headset).

    When I was looking into decent sound cards, the Asus Xonar kept coming up, so I would suggest you follow the advice of the guys who came before me and go for that.

  10. #10
    Obscure Node georgecorrin's Avatar
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    Looking for good quality and reasonable multimedia sound card. Any help w'd be appreciated.

  11. #11
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    Well, now I'm rockin' a Xonar DX with a pair or Sennheiser PC360 headphones. It sounds gooood!

  12. #12
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    I've often wondered this, so might as well ask it in here; would switching from onboard sound (the Realtek one on a MSI P67A-C45) to a dedicated sound card make much improvement from my X-530 speakers? The sound is quite good from them at the moment, but the rear speakers are completely useless, making very little sound. It's not so bad when I'm watching a film and I'm much nearer the rear speakers, but trying to play a game when I'm sitting at the desk makes any rear sound incredibly mute (most noticeable when you turn away from a talking character.) Even changing the settings to increase the rear volume to max makes only a minor difference.

    Would the dedicated card improve this or is it a fault with the speakers themselves? Also, would a sound card improve the general sound quality enough to warrant the upgrade or is it only really useful if you are using a more expensive setup? I have often looked for speakers that are a bit more expensive then these (about the 100-150 mark,) but there doesn't seem to be much around that isn't vastly more pricey.

  13. #13
    Network Hub slick_101's Avatar
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    It would probably be best for you to get a sound card, I was using on board sound on my MSI p67 GD55 and it was good. Switched to my xonar card and I won't be turning back unless the card blows!

    But also if your interested in getting some speakers look up these
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by slick_101 View Post
    It would probably be best for you to get a sound card[/url]
    Agree. I was using the onboard audio on my asus P8P67 and the step up to my xonar is really noticeable. I'm not even that into audio stuff, it's just really obvious. Won't be going back any time soon.

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