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Hardware Sub-£100 Gaming Sound Card Reviews

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Sifter3000, 8 Apr 2010.

  1. Psy-UK

    Psy-UK New Member

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    I've used X-FI soundcards before but the drivers are absolute rubbish. Sounds randomnly cut out, high pitched noises start playing, and this is across multiple OSes and systems! So I finally got myself an Asus DS in February and it's worked perfectly. No hiccups, and it sounds fantastic.
     
  2. HandMadeAndroid

    HandMadeAndroid That's handy.

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    I've got an Asus Xoner D2 and the sound quality is fantastic, mind blowing with headphones and the surround sound settings activated!
     
  3. Gonzalo-Gonads

    Gonzalo-Gonads New Member

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    I'd love an article about music centred soundcards, like the asus essence ST/STX and the xonar D2/D2X, maybe mentioning sound from both speakers (high end I hope) and headphones, as the high end soundcards have in built headphone amps. Pretttttyyy please ;-)
     
  4. TheLostSwede

    TheLostSwede New Member

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    The port on the X-Fi card is not for a joystick, is for an external breakout box that comes with the high-end model...
     
  5. TheLostSwede

    TheLostSwede New Member

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    Oh, and Creative fixed the X-Fi drivers ages ago, not had any problems for well over a year.
     
  6. SchizoFrog

    SchizoFrog New Member

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    The port is a Midi/Game socket so we are both right... about the port anyway. However, the card featured is not the X-Fi Titanium. The card featured is the X-Fi Elite, I believe and seems to be discontinued (the Elite Pro comes with the XRAM, external X-Fi Console and Remote as shown in the link below).

    http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Creative-Sound-Blaster-X-Fi-Elite-Pro-with-X-Fi-Console-with-A-D


    I agree about the Drivers. I had major issues with Drivers for my Audigy 2ZS in Vista 32bit and 64bit and that was one of the reasons (among many) that I stayed with XP for so long. However, since the advent of Windows 7 I have had no such issues and recently upgraded to 64bit and have still had no issues what so ever.
     
  7. Zurechial

    Zurechial Elitist

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    I've been using a Xonar D1 for about a year now (the older PCI version of the DX) and while I think the card sounds great, the GX emulation mode that handles EAX emulation and stereo->5.1 upmixing is generally more hassle than it's worth.

    When it works it makes a good stab at doing EAX, but when it doesn't work (which is fairly often) it either causes major problems in games (crashing & freezes in Oblivion & Fallout 3), or it mucks up the sound.

    The lack of an automatic "Switch GX on when this application loads" function in the drivers means that I've taken to just leaving GX mode off altogether and using a plugin in WinAmp to cover my realtime music upmixing needs.

    Asus could do with updating the drivers more frequently as well - Some fairly basic problems can be seen all over their support forums yet there's no update in sight (for months now), as they claim they are reliant on C-Media to update the underlying drivers for the Oxygen chip. Fail.
     
  8. wafflesomd

    wafflesomd New Member

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    I doubt those cards would be all that great for critical listening and around those prices you can pick up some great cards from EMU / M-audio.
     
  9. rickysio

    rickysio N900 | HJE900

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    I'd probably get a dedicated DAC like the Style Audio Carat series or the ilk than go for a soundcard.
     
  10. AngusW

    AngusW mmm

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    Soundcard makes a massive difference even on cheap speakers. You'll only really notice when listening to music though IMO. I'd doubt you'll notice that much when playing games but once you go for a seperate soundcard you'll hate to go back to onboard when listening to music.
     
  11. okenobi

    okenobi New Member

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    I figured somebody would say that!! The article was very informative and I appreciate that most people won't care beyond what's in there. Perhaps I've got the wrong end of the stick....

    I might've expected a "gaming" soundcard review to focus on positional effects and maybe movie playback. I would expect subjective opinions and less tech. Most "gamers" will have computer speakers of some kind and might at a stretch be concern with Dolby Digital (but probably not DTS/ES/DD EX).

    When I say "music" I mean playback, not editing. So I'm talking audio quality plain and simple. This might include some tech and maybe some less subjective testing involving specific tracks or such like. People who are really into their music (and maybe movies) are more likely to have their PCs connected to real hi-fi and not active speakers and are more likely to care about the specifics of quality and less about positional effects etc.

    As it is, we appear to have a combination of the two which is a great article and I enjoyed reading, but I'd put myself more in the music camp than the BF2 crowd.

    But I'm probably in the minority. Just wanted to clear up what I meant :)
     
  12. wafflesomd

    wafflesomd New Member

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  13. frontline

    frontline Punish Your Machine

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    I still have my x-fi extrememusic that i bought several years back. It still sounds fantastic in current games with great positional audio, and although most onboard sound solutions are competent enough these days, they still sound compressed and less dynamic when compared to a half decent card. Creative's drivers have improved a lot over the last year or so too.
     
  14. HourBeforeDawn

    HourBeforeDawn a.k.a KazeModz

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    I would like to see an article with test between on board and stand alone sound cards on if they are even really needed for gaming and at what level of audio speaker setup do you need for there to be a noticable difference, I mean I havent used a dedicated sound card since the Audigy 2 se plat. era after that with more gaming companies moving away from EAX and onboard sound sounding well pretty good and multi-core cpu making up the frame rates, I havent seen any need at all for a sound card in terms of gaming.
     
  15. knutjb

    knutjb New Member

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    [QUOTE/]
    I'll be pairing the card with Grado SR60i headphones, those should be decent enough heaphones to notice difference over the on-board audio.[/QUOTE]

    Those will, and if you can afford the SR125s are worth the stretch too, a friend has them, they are an amazing bang for the (insert your currency here). Go listen in a store before buying ANY audio product you might just find something better or prevent yourself from buying the wrong component. Audio has more variables because of the listener, we all hear/perceive the same things differently.
     
  16. sadlydefiant

    sadlydefiant New Member

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    I have an X-Fi Xtreme Audio card which has a lot more volume and much better in games than the onboard audio on the old 965P chipset motherboard.
    All the other cards are over $100AU which is to much for me and most people.

    The Asus Xonar DS 7.1 PCI card is around the $100AU mark and the X1 version is even more.
    The Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium is around the $250AU mark which is insane.
    I know many gamers and I swear not one of them uses an add on sound card but choose to stick with the on board.
    I have read many articles that state that on the latest motherboards that the audio is the same and in some cases better.
     
  17. wafflesomd

    wafflesomd New Member

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    Those will, and if you can afford the SR125s are worth the stretch too, a friend has them, they are an amazing bang for the (insert your currency here). Go listen in a store before buying ANY audio product you might just find something better or prevent yourself from buying the wrong component. Audio has more variables because of the listener, we all hear/perceive the same things differently.[/QUOTE]

    Grado headphones are awful. The build quality and design are atrocious. I've yet to use a pair of grado's that didn't sound muddy and lack any definition in the top end.

    There really is only one headphone worth anyones money below $150 and that is the MDR-V6.
     
  18. Elton

    Elton Officially a Whisky Nerd

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    I got the "studio version" the MDR-7506s...for a measly $10 at a swap meet.

    It's pretty damn awesome, and it filled a void that Bose headphones never could.
     
  19. Dogers

    Dogers New Member

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    This might be better off in the Tech Support forum, but is there a way to get more than 2 channels via optical on any of these cards? I've still got one of the original Audigys which has an optical out but Vista and Win7 only allows 2 channel audio out via this, whereas XP used to do 5.1 or full AC3 passthrough to my speakers. The onboard sound I use now has the same issue, too..

    I remember reading something how they hobbled the sound in Vista ages ago, but can't remember what/why.. :(
     
  20. Bonzo45

    Bonzo45 Ex CPC

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    I've never had a soundcard before, I've just always used on board chips. I was wondering if I could still use my front panel headphone/mic jacks with these cards.
     
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