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Sound card upgrade?

post #1 of 133
Thread Starter 
I currently have "Realtek HD Audio" on my motherboard with creative software allowing CMSS-3D (virtual surround sound, 5.1/7.1). My mother & I would like a new sound card that beats this thing to a pulp. Any upgrade suggestions?

Price? <200

Use?
*DvDs. CMSS-3D or XEAR-3D, as long as it produces virtual 5.1/7.1 Surround sound.
*FPS Gaming & playing my mother's classical dvds.
*Music in general (Techno, electro etc. Mother's classical music, etc.)

*Would be nice if it could output Dolby with the virtual 5.1 setting for movies.


Operating system.
*Must be compatible with Windows Vista. I have Service pack 2.

Motherboard connectivity interface?
*PCI E 1x OR PCI connection.

Please no dodgy software either.

If you can also help for best audiophile headphones to go with this with same price range, click below.
http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f4/bes...phones-436903/

Thanks!
post #2 of 133
Auzentech X-Fi Forte if you want CMSS-3D, decent sound, 7.1 output and solid EAX compatibility. It also has an headphone amp. It uses a PCI-E slot(1x and up).

The Asus Xonar Essence STX would provide superior audio quality compared to the Forte. It can only output Stereo through Analog and I think 5.1 through digital, so if you plan on using anything but stereo speakers and headphones it could be an issue. It does not do CMSS-3D, but it does have Dolby Headphones, which is definitely superior to CMSS-3D for movies and music. It is hard to say which one is better for games, but DH works fine for me in game and I don't really miss CMSS-3D. The Xonar Essence has pretty ****ty EAX support, so if that is important for you, look elsewhere. I think EAX is poop most of the time anyway. It also has an headphone amp(better than the Forte) and it uses a PCI-E(1x and up) slot. The Xonar Essence ST is also available if you want a PCI version of the card.

I'd say those two would be your best options.
post #3 of 133
Don't waste your time with CMS3D
post #4 of 133
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RicHSAD View Post
Auzentech X-Fi Forte if you want CMSS-3D, decent sound, 7.1 output and solid EAX compatibility. It also has an headphone amp. It uses a PCI-E slot(1x and up).

The Asus Xonar Essence STX would provide superior audio quality compared to the Forte. It can only output Stereo through Analog and I think 5.1 through digital, so if you plan on using anything but stereo speakers and headphones it could be an issue. It does not do CMSS-3D, but it does have Dolby Headphones, which is definitely superior to CMSS-3D for movies and music. It is hard to say which one is better for games, but DH works fine for me in game and I don't really miss CMSS-3D. The Xonar Essence has pretty ****ty EAX support, so if that is important for you, look elsewhere. I think EAX is poop most of the time anyway. It also has an headphone amp(better than the Forte) and it uses a PCI-E(1x and up) slot. The Xonar Essence ST is also available if you want a PCI version of the card.

I'd say those two would be your best options.
However, do you think the sound card I currently have is really worth an upgrade? (going to google dolby vs cmss-3d)

Quote:
Originally Posted by iriverdude View Post
Don't waste your time with CMS3D
You certainty haven't provided any reasons why.
post #5 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by xHawky View Post
However, do you think the sound card I currently have is really worth an upgrade? (going to google dolby vs cmss-3d)
Realtek HD is pretty ****ty. Whether it is worth it or not is up to you since you get what you pay for. I went from a X-Fi XtremeMusic to the Xonar Essence STX and I personally don't regret it. The sound is better and I absolutely love Dolby Headphones, especially for music. I'd say at the very least get a X-Fi XtremeGamer if you don't want to invest too much but still get better sound over than the onboard.
post #6 of 133
Hehe I too am in the same situation, but I'm just going to get a nice card and a nice DAC just for music listening since money isn't really an issue as of now. You should convince your mom to get both so you can have some 1337 sound in game and a nice DAC just for music lawl.

jkjk dont listen to me
post #7 of 133
A sound card is a DAC too .. The Essence STX is pretty good is pretty good at it.
post #8 of 133
Thread Starter 
Ones that provide dolby is more for entertainment, ones with CMSS-3D is more for positional audio for games.

This is getting pathetic, trying to find something that meets both our needs. I may as well go for a CMSS-3D sound card upgrade, she doesn't like it then she can go get a Dolby certified USB sound card and have fun messing with it. *sigh*.
post #9 of 133
For me CMSS Headphone is better than Dolby headphone for movies at least as I haven't tried it with games.

To me, CMSS goes for positioning. Dolby Headphone goes towards simulating a theater environment with more reverb and less positional accuracy.
post #10 of 133
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by umeng2002 View Post
Dolby Headphone goes towards simulating a theater environment with more reverb
EAX for the win.
post #11 of 133
Quote:
You certainty haven't provided any reasons why.
Because it's terrible, I've got a X-Fi.

Quote:
EAX for the win.
For the lose, another terrible DSP.
post #12 of 133
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by iriverdude View Post
Because it's terrible, I've got a X-Fi.
Well, I can currently enable CMSS-3D and find it to be nice. Not sure what your reasons are since your not providing any, and even if you did, your not debating it between something else (such as dolby).


Quote:
Originally Posted by iriverdude View Post
For the lose, another terrible DSP.
Huh?
post #13 of 133
I already gave my reason- it sounds bad. But then I'm used to Logic 7 which blows the X-Fi DSP's out of the water (EAX, Crystaliser, CMS3D) If you want 5.1 sound buy a 5.1 speaker system not mess around with DSP trying to get virtual sound from 2 drivers, it doesn't work. For gaming you'll want a Creative Labs based card, either from CL or one with X-Fi chipset.
post #14 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by iriverdude View Post
I already gave my reason- it sounds bad. But then I'm used to Logic 7 which blows the X-Fi DSP's out of the water (EAX, Crystaliser, CMS3D) If you want 5.1 sound buy a 5.1 speaker system not mess around with DSP trying to get virtual sound from 2 drivers, it doesn't work. For gaming you'll want a Creative Labs based card, either from CL or one with X-Fi chipset.
Speak for yourself. Dolby Headphone works crazy well in hardware solutions (don't bother with the .DLL). Of course I leave it with native channel amounts to simulate speakers, so it can either simulate speakers in stereo or 5.0 with extreme out of head directionality and soundstage.

Also if you're playing games EAX is pretty much necessary for all of the effects in them . . . that's what it's meant for. If you're trying to use it for music or movies it's pretty silly . . .
post #15 of 133
Thread Starter 
How's the "ASUS Xonar DS"?
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