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best linux soundcard?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I've tried a few inexpensive soundcards in linux using oss,alsa and pulseaudio and would like to know if anyone else has found anything.

I started with an intel HD chipset which was ok but noisy, well supported but SQ was ok. I didnt bother with oss, but maybe would be interesting with pulseaudio

Then i placed my audigy PCI card (original), great improvement using alsa or pulseaudio. The difference between the two latter seemed to lack compared to what users where raving on about. I couldnt tell them apart.

I then got an audigy 2 LS from my brother, - what a pile of crap. Well ok its better than the intel HD chipset but still.

Then i got my audigy 2 platinum ex. Honestly i can't tell the difference with the normal audigy, but under pulseaudio vs. alsa i'm sure the difference was bigger than on the audigy. But probably just placebo they are basically the same card.

Then abit more different, we have the soundblaster extigy, disgusting under anything but oss, wtih the exaudio driver. Very little noise, cpu usage way too high for a soundcard, but whats a 3ghz quad core gonna do during its spare clock cycles? I think i'm going to be using this for my music pc, and keepignthe audigy 2 platinum ex for my desktop pc.

Really i'm looking for anyone with experience in linux and soundcards. I mean i hear all about the emu 0404 but it only just got supported in linux, so i'm not convinced. Also opening up the extigy found me wonderign if there was a difference between the extigy and the 0404, i saw a heck of load of similar design in both of the boards (got a picture off here somewhere can't remember exactly where).

So post up and tell me what you think of linux audio ! - no windows fanboys please, i'm just not interested.
post #2 of 8
Not exactly a soundcard, but I'm currently listening to a Stello DA100 dac feed by USB from Open Suse -> audio in Linux is great

Generally USB audio is well supported in Linux, you can see Matrix:Main - AlsaProject for information about specific cards.
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
thats kinda weird, i thought the opposite, usb-audio in my mind was dodgy in linux.

Fair enough though, i was looking for something abit cheaper though ;-)

but all comments are welcome ehehe
post #4 of 8
Best and cheap doesn't normally go together ;-)

In general USB cards that doesn't require special drivers in Windows, will work in Linux.
post #5 of 8
I use an PCI-card by M-audio: Delta Dio 2496. It works well with Ubuntu (using ALSA drivers). It's discontinued, but I have the impression that most M-audios PCI cards with the same chip (Audiophile, Delta 44, delta 66, etc) work similarly well.

I use the digital out on the Dio to an outboard converter. Sounds a lot better that the analog out. Perhaps you should try a solution with the DA-conversion outside the computer. I don't know about the digital out on the Extigy though (my old SB Live cards uses a chip that resamples the signal to 48 kHz) .

I general, I avoid USB-solutions for Linux. It might work well or it might not work at all (like my M-audio Oxygen).

Some firewire cards are supported by Linux too (freebob). I haven't tried any of them though. See link below for a list of supported cards.

List of Supported Devices - FreeBoB
post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
i'm guetting real tempted by these m-audio 2496 cards they are going for quite cheap on ebay, they look like the best deal for linux at a reasonable price.
post #7 of 8
I have a bluegears b-enspirer, and it has decent linux support. So will any CMI8788, at any rate. The special decoding/effect functions won't work, but there's a simple kernel driver put out by the manufacturer that will give you great audio.
post #8 of 8
I've been using a SuperPRO DAC via USB ($100) for the past few weeks, and it seems to work well. It uses the default usb-audio module, as do a lot of the integrated USB DAC/Amp combos out there. I haven't worked much on optimizing the software side of things - I just used ALSA utils to find the HW code for the device and put that into Amarok.

Another option would be the Chaintech AV-710, which supports bit-perfect output & can provide a pretty good headphone out. I've used one in the past, but don't currently have it.

I'm interested in the various engines to output sound - OSS, ALSA, Pulse, etc etc etc. I really don't know the best way to send the sound out of my computer...
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