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Best USB soundcard?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

so i just received a creative X-fi usb soundcard, let me say this, the last time i had something that produced this much digital noise, i spent 9.99 on it at walgreens (cheap mp3 player). i am very unhappy with it, the internal on board soundcard is quieter then this.


i'm looking for a USB soundcard that does what it is supposed to do without making its own noise. i considered a FiiO E7 but i'd really rather not spend 100 bucks, i just need to get sound from my computer.

post #2 of 21

Well, if you wanted to get something REALLY cheap, you could get this:



But really, if you want something that'll give you great (even acceptable) sound quality as a USB sound card, I don't think the E7 can be beat.

post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 

do you have experience with that product? unfortunately most mindless consumers have no idea what audible distortion is and honestly don't care, as long as it makes sound so reading reviews is not going to get me anywhere, just look at the reviews for the x-fi usb dongle, nobody complains about it yet it took me literally 3 seconds into a song to realize just how bad it sounded. seriously i've had cheap mp3 players that had a quiter noise floor then this.

post #4 of 21

Honestly, it seems that you're just looking for something that's of moderately low-end audiophile quality, and the only thing I can really recommend is the E7.


If anyone else knows of anything else, I'd be interested to know too - but the E7 sounds like your best bet right now.

post #5 of 21
Thread Starter 

looks like i will just have to go with the e7 then.

post #6 of 21

Take a look at the HRT Music Streamer II. It costs a little more than the E7, but it is better.

post #7 of 21
Thread Starter 

yeah but unfortunately it has no amp in it.

Originally Posted by ABXG View Post

Take a look at the HRT Music Streamer II. It costs a little more than the E7, but it is better.


post #8 of 21

What are you trying to power with it.

post #9 of 21
Thread Starter 

ATM, all i have are AD700s and HF5s, both of them are incredibly easy to drive, but if i am going to get some sort of more expensive external USB DAC/amp, i want to be able to use it with a wide range of phones that could be purchased in the future, i'm pretty sure at some point in time i will end up with an HD600 or some other sort of high impedance headphone. if possible it would also be nice to be able to hook the device up to different devices, such as a PS3, or some sort of analog inputs. i'm somewhat of a minimalist when it comes to audio, i dont like having an unnecessary amount of gear, the more i can get out of a single device, the better.

post #10 of 21

In contrast to your experience, I have had the most pleasant experience with the Creative Sound Blaster X-FI HD. I purchased it  to resolve a need for a versatile interface between PC  and Home Theater. With this device I can digitize LP's, send S/PDIF optical to  USB, and convert USB to S/PDIF optical, or analog. Right now, I'm using the device to  play iTunes through my  Sony TA-E9000ES pre/pro DVD optical S/PDIF input, which accepts a 24/96 signal. Using the device in the manner described, there is no noise. In fact, what's so impressive is  that with this relatively inexpensive interface I cannot distinguish iTunes material stored at 256 from SACD or vinyl of the same music when played through my high end home audio system. Others who have systems like mine have shared with me that they have had the same sort of experience with the X-FI HD.  Even at very high volume there is no low level noise when I use my laptop with battery power. My high end system simply has not sounded better with iTunes, using the X-Fi as an interface. And, since I cannot distinguish now between iTunes, SACD, and vinyl, I see no need to consider upgrading. The only thing I might do is upgrade my plastic optical Toslink cables to ones made from glass.


BTW, is it possible that your X-FI is not set-up correctly, or interconnects are not fully inserted? Either could produce noise such as you have described. Also, the noise may be originating with another source which, through the X-F's silence, is coming to  light.

Edited by sterling1 - 5/2/11 at 5:03am
post #11 of 21

Noise is probably coming from something inside the computer, which can be solved by using an external card..it'd probably be nearly impossible to find out what it's really coming from.  Though it could be something as simple as a nearby fan.


Anyway, while the E7 won't be able to accept input from a PS3, an E9 can - if you get an E7+E9 combo it'd be cheaper than getting them separately, though the price is still a little steep compared to what you're looking for.

post #12 of 21
Thread Starter 
Had the cheap small usb stick one. Not the one with a dedicated headphone amp.
post #13 of 21

I'm confused. Your signature states you own the X-FI HD.

post #14 of 21
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by sterling1 View Post

I'm confused. Your signature states you own the X-FI HD.

No my sig states i want one :P
post #15 of 21

Your said in your first post  you had just received one. You said you did not like it. Were you talking about an X-FI HD, an X-FI Go, or something else?

Edited by sterling1 - 5/3/11 at 3:21am
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