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Looking for a new soundcard for my computer, tips/help? - Page 2

post #16 of 47

Just so we're clear, I'm not saying graphics are a bad thing. But I would like to have more of a balance instead of seeing any one thing get highly neglected. (Of course, gameplay trumps all; doesn't matter now nice the game looks or sounds if it's no fun to play.)

 

Positioning is definitely prized over fidelity in gaming, but the problem here is that current games using software audio renderers have the positioning of a 7.1 speaker setup at best and stereo at worst. If you use headphones and binaural surround, you don't want to be limited to the presentation of a mere 7.1 speaker room. You want convincing binaural surround that could be coming from any direction, even above and below.

post #17 of 47

Better positional audio cues go to all output formats, not just stereo. And you should definitely think on modding proper headphones to have a mic on them, as virtually all headsets (with a few rare exceptions) are borderline awful, stereo and "5.1" headsets alike.

 

Being able to locate sound sources despite it's location (width, height and obstructions taken in account) is something that's far improved on (hardware) OpenAL vs regular renderers, just like being able to get a dimensional perception of environments (which isn't the same as environmental effects). The X-Fi DSP then takes over and enhances things based on the supplied data, which is 2 steps further where other solutions are, namely the lack of a dedicated DSP and hardware support for OpenAL.

 

With dirt cheap renderers like XAudio and non-hybrid versions of FMOD, audio is very much unimpressive due to forced downmixing and, like NamelessPFG, geared towards low end/budget/cheap hardware. Luckily, many games come with alternate renderer options or post launch patches.

 

About taking graphics over realistic sound, well... that's where we agree to disagree. Perfect or near perfect audio gives me a very faithful visual representation of my entire surroundings. What people should realize is that spending $1000 on video and $5 (the average onboard audio chip price) on audio is going to make up for a very unbalanced system. With $900, the user will still get smashingly impressive graphics, while $100 makes for a difference that's very close to night and day.

post #18 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nitrius View Post
Thanks again for a good response =)
Didn't know about the Auzentech, but you say it blocks me from using a standalone amp, and i don't really want to be forced into not being able to switch, i like having options. and i guess with the HD and STX, even though they have built-in amps i can still purchase my own amp and "disable" the one on the cards? But this isn't possible with the Auzentech?
Well my currently Creative X-FI Xtrememusic card isn't having any problems at all really, the only reason i want to change is because i want something new, even though it might be a bit waste, and yes holding onto the card and just buying a amp and new headphones instead will probably save me some money, but am really interested in these "high end" soundcards, mainly the HD and STX.
The plan is/was buying a new soundcard with built-in amp and a new pair of good headphones, test it out, and see if i like it or not, if not i would probably buy a standalone amp as well.
Anyway the mention of hardware OpenAL got me a bit curious, as my Xtrememusic have this, if buying the STX then, i would lose this, maybe it will be kinda be a downgrade when it comes to gaming sound from my current setup? And am not sure if i like that idea, the thing is, i don't really know how much this hardware OpenAL thingy does, as i haven't listened to a card recently that don't have this, so i only know how it sounds with hardware OpenAL, and then if i buy a card without this, maybe i'll notice a big difference right away and get a bit disappointed, which i don't really want to be with a new and expensive soundcard. Do all newer games use this hardware OpenAL? Or is it only a few?

For some weird reason the only person on the Internet that says Asus Xonar's do not support OpenAL is Roller, everyone else seems to think the Asus Xonar's do support OpenAL.

http://brainbit.wordpress.com/2010/07/19/asus-xonar-unified-drivers/

With the Asus Xonar Essence STX, you can upgrade to newer op-amps as they come available, with most external headphone amplifiers you can not upgrade the op-amps.

99% of the sound card available will allow you to use an external headphone amplifier, but you "may" only to be able to you stereo 2.0, not headphone 5.1 with the external amplifier.

Depends on if the external headphone amplifier need a steady signal like "Line out/speaker out" or can work with the sound card set to "headphone out".

 

post #19 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tacoboy View Post



For some weird reason the only person on the Internet that says Asus Xonar's do not support OpenAL is Roller, everyone else seems to think the Asus Xonar's do support OpenAL.

http://brainbit.wordpress.com/2010/07/19/asus-xonar-unified-drivers/

With the Asus Xonar Essence STX, you can upgrade to newer op-amps as they come available, with most external headphone amplifiers you can not upgrade the op-amps.

99% of the sound card available will allow you to use an external headphone amplifier, but you "may" only to be able to you stereo 2.0, not headphone 5.1 with the external amplifier.

Depends on if the external headphone amplifier need a steady signal like "Line out/speaker out" or can work with the sound card set to "headphone out".

 



Excuse me? You better learn to read properly before putting words on others mouths.

 

Asus Xonar cards support OpenAL, as in software or generic OpenAL. Hardware OpenAL? Not so much. Basically, Xonar cards have that feature just so they can mention gaming on their cards, which is definitely not their playing field. Now, if you're not aware of what hardware OpenAL and generic OpenAL are, that's an entirely different situation.

 

Both Auzentech X-Fi Forte and Creative X-Fi Titanium HD have swappable opamps, but that was already stated previously.

post #20 of 47

 

The solution is simple.
 
1. Keep the X-Fi xtrememusic installed and as the default sound device.
2. Get the Asus Essence ST because it is better than STX and the Creative cards for music.
3. Set your audio player to use the Essence ST as the sound device.
 
All sounds/audio from windows, games, and everything, will go to the X-Fi -> speakers. Your music player will go to Essence ST -> headphones. Now you don't have to be constantly changing settings and have the best of both worlds.
 
post #21 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by taiyoyuden View Post

 

The solution is simple.
 
1. Keep the X-Fi xtrememusic installed and as the default sound device.
2. Get the Asus Essence ST because it is better than STX and the Creative cards for music.
3. Set your audio player to use the Essence ST as the sound device.
 
All sounds/audio from windows, games, and everything, will go to the X-Fi -> speakers. Your music player will go to Essence ST -> headphones. Now you don't have to be constantly changing settings and have the best of both worlds.
 


Asus Xonar Essence ST better than a Creative X-Fi Titanium HD for music? That is your personal opinion. Now, aside that opinionated part, the idea itself isn't bad. Still, replacing the XtremeMusic for a Titanium HD wouldn't be bad either, and changing settings isn't that much of a hassle, specially since different modes save their settings, so it's basically the flick of a switch.

post #22 of 47
Thread Starter 
Hmm a lot of info here now, though still not decided yet...

@Roller is the Auzentech X-Fi Forte "better" than the Creative HD card? And could you, or could you not use a external amp with the Auzentech X-Fi Forte?

@taiyoyuden well it's a possibility, but because of my big graphic card(Asus GTX 580 and Asus Rampage II Extreme) and don't really have space for that, the PCI slot that my Xtrememusic is in atm, barely fit under the GTX 580, so am looking to remove that, and get a PCIe soundcard so i can slot that in my third PCIe x16 slot, which gives me a bit space between the soundcard and the graphic card.

As it stands now, the HD has the edge in gaming, but when it comes to music sound both the STX and HD is equal, though both got their own "signature" sound. Both can switch their onboard amps, both will enable me to upgrade to 5.1 speakers at some point by sending the sound through spdif or something(?), both are PCIe cards, and if i don't like the onboard amp, i can just get an external one and connect it, as both support this as well(?). So it looks like the HD is +1 point in front of the STX because of the gaming part. Or am i missing something?

Thanks for all the replies so far, and keep em coming please =)

Edit: Forgotten one important thing, its ofc important that the soundcard supports a microphone, as both the HD and STX has RCA/6.3mm plugs it looks like, but i think they both come with some sort of extension from RCA til 3.5mm or something right? Or the STX does i think, the HD seems to have two spots for 3.5mm plugs when looking at pictures.
Edited by Nitrius - 9/1/11 at 4:00pm
post #23 of 47

The Auzentech X-Fi Forte would be the second option to get, below the Titanium HD. And yes, you can run external amps through the Forte.

 

Basically, if you can get a Titanium HD, then there's no need to be getting something that won't deliver stellar performance on all fronts. Still, the Auzentech X-Fi Forte is quite close. Basically, as long as you get a card with a X-Fi DSP chip, you're all set, and the higher you go on the scale, the better :)

post #24 of 47
Thread Starter 
Found this: http://www.overclock.net/sound-cards-computer-audio/989286-updated-5-6-11-creative-x.html And according to him, it looks like the HD wins, music seems to be a tie, gaming goes to the HD, and connectivity goes to the STX. Not sure how important connectivity is to me, as long as the card supports headphones, are able to use microphones and be able to plug in some kind of receiver with speakers or something at a later date, that's good enough for me.

So maybe HD is the way to go then.
post #25 of 47

Already had saw that comparison some time ago. Well, the analog connectivity of the Titanium HD isn't as good, but given that you can run it digitally to a receiver, it's fixed. Other than that, it fits all you're looking for, which includes headphone out, mic support and SPDIF for connecting receivers for 6 channel configs.

 

Honestly, it's what's missing on your system wink.gif

post #26 of 47
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roller View Post

Already had saw that comparison some time ago. Well, the analog connectivity of the Titanium HD isn't as good, but given that you can run it digitally to a receiver, it's fixed. Other than that, it fits all you're looking for, which includes headphone out, mic support and SPDIF for connecting receivers for 6 channel configs.

 

Honestly, it's what's missing on your system wink.gif


You know what? That seals it, gonna order a HD very soon, as long as someone doesn't shim in with something really good about something else :P

Thanks again for the help, must say choosing a soundcard was a lot harder than i initially thought, hehe.


Edit: One little question does the STX and HD use the same type of op-amps? So one could use the op-amps from a STX on the HD? And the HD op-amps on the STX?
Edited by Nitrius - 9/1/11 at 4:43pm
post #27 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nitrius View Post



You know what? That seals it, gonna order a HD very soon, as long as someone doesn't shim in with something really good about something else :P

Thanks again for the help, must say choosing a soundcard was a lot harder than i initially thought, hehe.


Edit: One little question does the STX and HD use the same type of op-amps? So one could use the op-amps from a STX on the HD? And the HD op-amps on the STX?


Nice :) Well, there isn't anything on the market that can ticks all the checkboxes, IMHO.

 

And yes, you can swap opamps without worries. But you can ask around about opamps and you'll find tons of info on that ;)

post #28 of 47
Thread Starter 
Hmm getting a bit confused here now, been doing some more searching, and it doesn't look like the HD card from Creative has a built-in amp after all: http://www.head-fi.org/t/519358/x-fi-titanium-hd-headphone-amp#post_7019940

If so, what does these op-amps do then? And how do the card drive headphone that wants/needs a lot of power? As i keep on reading people saying the card drives their headphone very well. Hmm...
post #29 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nitrius View Post

Hmm getting a bit confused here now, been doing some more searching, and it doesn't look like the HD card from Creative has a built-in amp after all: http://www.head-fi.org/t/519358/x-fi-titanium-hd-headphone-amp#post_7019940

If so, what does these op-amps do then? And how do the card drive headphone that wants/needs a lot of power? As i keep on reading people saying the card drives their headphone very well. Hmm...


 

No one said it has a headphone amp, but it does have a headphone output. I already told you to stop thinking of cards with integrated headphone amps as being better, because there are several disadvantages to that. Oh, and the Titanium HD headphone output is quite powerful on its own, just check the specs sheet.

 

Opamps are used to customize the sound of the device they're being used on.

 

But it's interesting you linked that post, because the same user wrote a review of the card, you should read it.


Edited by Roller - 9/1/11 at 6:36pm
post #30 of 47
Thread Starter 
Ah well i misunderstood then. Though never thought or said that soundcard with built in amps should be better, it's just the idea that seems interesting to me. But shouldn't change anything, just me that has been a bit misinformed, good it got cleared at least =)

Edit: And finally, i just placed the order for the Creative X-FI Titanium HD, should have it by tomorrow, looking forward to testing it =)
And once again, thanks for all the replies.
Edited by Nitrius - 9/1/11 at 6:48pm
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