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A/V New PC Audio Advice Needed

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Vo0Ds, 17 Mar 2011.

  1. Vo0Ds

    Vo0Ds Fake potato

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    Hello smart informative people! I've recently upgraded my rig and am happy with the results; however, I've been using a pair of old rubbish 2.0 speakers, which were too horrendous to even set on my desk.

    Unluckily (or luckily) they have just died; leaving me with only a pair of Sennheiser headphones for sound. Don't get me wrong; when I'm gaming and using teamspeak, or when I'm keeping the noise down, they're perfect; but I need something for watching TV / movies, background music, YouTube etc.

    I don't want to replace the rubbish speakers with more rubbish, but I also don't want to break the bank. I had a very quick look around the review section of the site and was impressed with the Excellent award and the price tag of the Creative Gigaworks T20's but they were reviewed back in 2007; a lifetime in tech.

    Could someone bring me up to date and suggest a modern day equivalent, reassure me that they are still the shiz or completely send me in another direction? I'm not allergic to subs and would prob have space for a small one, if need be.

    (I know audiophiles can get quite hot under the collar, so no fighting or suggesting I get a £700 amp / bookshelf combo :hehe:)
     
  2. fulei1979

    fulei1979 What's a Dremel?

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    Logitech Z623 2.1 maybe suit your requirements. I personally use a bookshelf speakers with a receiver for everything from pc, tv, media streamer and find it very good.
     
  3. Silent_Raider

    Silent_Raider What's a Dremel?

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    Unfortunately, computer speakers have not progressed much at all in recent years. For your price range, the Gigaworks t20s or t40s would do nicely. If you're looking for 5.1 surround, the Logitech Z-5500 are still at the top of the market, and they have been out for 7 years. Logitech will be coming out with the Z-5600s sometime later this year, but they are going to cost around $400 USD. So go with the Gigaworks :)
     
  4. Jasio

    Jasio Made in Canada

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  5. mansueto

    mansueto Too broke to mod

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    On the more expensive side I've got a set of Z2300's and I love them. 2.1, lots of bass and easy to adjust, though expensive. They are pretty clear, when they are louder they still sound pretty good. No audiophile but I'm very happy with them.
     
  6. sonicgroove

    sonicgroove Radical Atheist

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    you could do worse than these. they may be cheap, but they kick out some decent sound. the creative t20/40's are fantastic too but twice/four times the price
     
  7. GoodBytes

    GoodBytes How many wifi's does it have?

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    Of course, it must be noted, that speakers can go oh so much far, with an onBoard sound card.
    For better sound output, a dedicated sound card is a must.

    Dedicated sound card is an excellent investment. Why?
    Sure they are expensive ~100$+ US/Canadian. But the only time you'll replace them, is either you are seeking for better sound, it broke, or the drivers don't support the latest Windows. Usually a sound card last 2-3 computer upgrades/version of Windows.
    Heck the Creative Audigy 2, released in 2001, has Windows 7 64-bit drivers. From 2001 to 2011, that's how many computer upgrades?

    On a budget, and descent drivers, the ASUS Xonar DX (or D1 for the PCI version) is a great entry model.

    Perhaps it's something to consider later on. I would wait for Windows 8, to see which card is supported and not.
     
  8. docodine

    docodine killed a guy once

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    Aego Ms are always recommended around here. Never heard them, but those who have all rave about what a great value they are.
     
  9. fulei1979

    fulei1979 What's a Dremel?

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    Totally agree. Audigy 2 ZS is a legend. I have it almost since its release and can't see any reason for an upgrade in near future.

     
  10. Vo0Ds

    Vo0Ds Fake potato

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    The Decision

    Thanks everyone for your helpful and justified responses! Unfortunately my budget (until after the wedding) is extremely tight, so I've had to discount suggestions over ~£60 :hehe: I know this is pathetic for sound equipment, but needs must. In the future I'll probably start putting together a nice stand alone system to feed everything into (a la fulei1979).

    GoodBytes et al - I know if I want some lovely sound, a dedicated card is the way forward; but for my purposes / budget at the moment, it looks like it's on-board. When I do upgrade however, I think the Audigy series has had some serious staying power & support.

    SO; It's between my original choice, the Creative T20's (after being somewhat reassured by Silent_Raider), and sonicgroove's suggestion; the Logitech X210 2.1.

    Based on the packaging, footprint, controllability, seller, delivery etc. and the fact that I'm missing having speakers like hell, I've had to make this thread completely pointless, and go for the Creative T20's (for £55.10 delivered, off of Amazon).

    Thanks to everyone for their input; you've helped me make up my mind for the moment, and started the cogs turning for my next audio upgrade!
     
  11. Marine-RX179

    Marine-RX179 What's a Dremel?

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    Hate to say this, but a £55 decent speaker is gonna get raped by the poor sound quality of the onboard sound...it would sound worse than a semi-decent £30-£40 range speaker together with a...say Asus Xonar DG (£20) soundcard.
     
  12. sonicgroove

    sonicgroove Radical Atheist

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    Crystaliser? the best feature on a sound card for a decade
     
  13. smc8788

    smc8788 Multimodder

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    Disagree. While a sound card is always a good investment, £50 doesn't buy you a lot of speakers so I would only recommend it if you were paying £100 or more on a decent set of speakers like the Aego M's.
     
  14. Deders

    Deders Modder

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    Newer on board sound is supposed to getting better in terms of quality, but i've not really heard any myself. I'd still prefer a decent soundcard with hardware accelerated sound and effects though.
     
  15. sixfootsideburns

    sixfootsideburns modeteer

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    personally I think for most peoples needs, onboard sound is usually quite good. I have a decent set of speakers for my PC (logitech Z5500's) that I've had for about 5-6 years and am still very pleased with them. I traded a friend of mine his Audigy for a HDD that I had kicking around about 3 years ago but never installed it. My best friend is an audio engineer who recently graduated from one of the top music programs in the United States and even he thinks my set up sounds good for what I paid. I would consider myself a music enthusiast (but certainly not an expert) and I can definitely hear a difference with rigs using audiocards but it also makes a big difference what is being played out of your speakers. If your listening to **** 128kbs audio encodes... you could be playing it out of a 5000$ sound system and it still wont sound top quality. Maybe part of why I'm pleased with my setup is because I never rip/encode music lower than 320 and even that is rare. Primarily I use FLAC and I have very little to complain about in terms of audio quality considering its just a set of computer speakers.

    I certainly agree that having a sound card will help, but I definitely don't think its necessary. Plenty of joy and satisfaction can be taken from onboard sound imo.

    On a limited budget (if I were you) I would spend everything on speakers rather than split it between speakers and an audio card
     
    Last edited: 18 Mar 2011
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  16. Deders

    Deders Modder

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    There used to be a huge difference, but not so much now
     
  17. Jipa

    Jipa Avoiding the "I guess.." since 2004

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    Please, people, remember that not all integrated sound cards are the same. Even today there are still motherboard available with utterly, totally useless sound cards with all sorts of noise (in worst case depending on CPU usage etc). On the other hand, some boards already came with "good enough" cards years ago.

    My take is and has always been that if you're lucky enough to have a motherboard with decent integrated, and have a very limited budget for speakers (say, 100-200 bucks) then you'll always get better bang for buck if you spend all on the speakers. Over that or with a really rubbish sound card you'll want to spend some on a dedicated one, but the difference between a $50 and $100 speakers is going to be bigger than the one between a good integrated (through the said speakers) and a separate card.
     
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  18. Vo0Ds

    Vo0Ds Fake potato

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    Interesting points; sound is such a subjective thing, what one person hears will sound different to someone else. I think this is one of the reasons it's always such a hotly debated topic. Imo, you can't really benchmark sound like you can with a lot of other hardware. You can list frequency ranges and output power, but it all depends what you run through the hardware; gaming, mp3's, CD's and HD movie; they all sound different and will sound different to everyone.

    The only real way to make a decision is to listen to the hardware, which isn't usually possible when buying over the net. This is why a community like this with such a broad range of expertise is probably the next best thing; although people's opinions are by definition also subjective, so it requires a little faith when making decisions.

    I'll certainly take on board (pun intended) the views on sound cards vs. onboard sound, and will make a decision when the hardware arrives, whether it does the job or not; which lets not forget, will still probably play 2nd fiddle to a pair of headphones (which may be next on my list). I do agree however, if you spend decent money on a lovely sound system, the source of the audio needs to be top notch; as they say: garbage in, garbage out.

    P.S. My onboard sound comes from an Asus P8P67 LE which afaik uses Realtek® ALC892 8-Channel High Definition Audio.
     
  19. Marine-RX179

    Marine-RX179 What's a Dremel?

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    No offense, but even my £36 Genius SW-N2.1 1100 clearly sound much better with my Asus Xonar DX than with the onboard sound. The way I see it, sound card and the audio device is bit like CPU and graphic card...if you pair a few hundred pounds graphic card say 5970...with an average dual-core, the capability and performance of the graphic card will be "bottlenecked" or wasted, due to the incompentence of the CPU...

    Onboard sound is "ok" for most average joe, but for almost everyone that have used a half-decent soundcard, they usually wouldn't be able to stand going back to onboard.
     
  20. GoodBytes

    GoodBytes How many wifi's does it have?

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    totally agree. Once you go with dedicated sound cards, there is never going back.
    I don't get how come computer enthusiasts such as us, decided to skip on dedicated sound card, and use onBoard, the days motherboard came with over crappy sound chips, which not only that, but used the CPU to render (same today).
    I guess, before, people got 20$ speakers with their computer, so they did not notice the major downgrade.
     

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