Very simple question, if you could have everything you wanted in a PC soundcard, what would you have?
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What is your ultimate PC soundcard?
Gear mentioned in this thread:
The one I have, Asus Xonar Essence STX (with AD797BR op-amps).
Take the X-Fi Titanium HD I have right now and...
-add A3D 2.0/3.0 support (Creative buys out Aureal, only to drop support for their DirectSound3D extensions in favor of their own EAX? Ugh! I don't care if they were abandoned earlier than EAX, it still means I have to build a Win98SE-era computer with an Aureal Vortex2-based card to hear those games the way they were intended, wavetracing and all.)
-add HDMI 1.4 audio output and input (The Auzentech X-Fi HomeTheater HD is based on the slightly older HDMI 1.3, so that's not quite ideal.)
-add XLR microphone inputs with a 48V phantom power supply (in other words, add a professional-grade pre-amp)
--EDIT: FOUR XLR inputs for soundfield microphone compatibility
-allow simultaneous headphone and RCA jack output, as requested above
-allow adjustments to the CMSS-3D Headphone HRTF
-maybe add a Stax/electrostatic headphone amp (conventional dynamic/ortho headphone amps are almost useless to me since they cannot drive my SR-Lambda)
-offer an external USB or ExpressCard variant that retains the EMU20k2 DSP and its gaming features in addition to the usual internal PCI-Express cards
-restore Dolby Digital/DTS decoding on the S/PDIF input, for console audio recording purposes
-eliminate the mode switching and make all features available under one sound card mode
-trim down the driver bloat and make it all more stable (though the Titanium HD drivers are more solid and stable in my experience)
That could very well be the ultimate sound card; too bad it doesn't exist. Still, I like my Titanium HD as is.
Edited by NamelessPFG - 7/22/12 at 2:41pm
I am not really talking about existing designs. Such as "I think this card is ultimate"
this is more of a hypothetical question. If a card was released next week that could have features, and options you would want, what would they be?
I hope that explains the questions a bit better.
If it "processes" your music, why wouldn't it be important?
For analog the quality of the components on the card are of paramount importance.
O.K. I'll play.
1) Should be a USB 2.0+ external audio interface rather than an internal soundcard. More flexible.
2) At least 8 analogue channels in and 8 analogue out. Flexibility again.
3) Up to 24/96. Potential future proofing.
4) SP/DIF coax and optical in and out. Flexibility yet again.
5) Dolby single program 7.1 pass through.
6) Mike preamps. 48V AND 5V phantom power. So you can use both studio condenser and electret microphones. (Option for MM & MC preamps).
7) Flat, accurate, transparent conversion. Taken as read....
8) Bundled EQ and effects package. Graphically controlled parametric EQ, At least 6 bands. Available on all inputs and outputs. Compresser and reverb.
9) Tough and hardwearing. 5 year guarantee as standard.
10) Separate power supply option. Ground lift switch.
11) Balanced hybrid XLR AND unbalanced phono in and outs.
12) Beefy headphone amp with 1/4" jack.
13) Built in s/w mixer with digital ins available.
14) Intelligent -6 dB Limiter option.
15) Independent front panel controls option.
Just off the top of my head. May think of more later.
I don't know what the best is, but i am way happy with my Essence STX and modded OpAmps LME49720HA TO-99 MetalCaps & Sennheiser HD 650 Headphones...Worlds
better than my old X-Fi Extreme Music from 2005.....
The E-MU 1212's are cards I have built many systems around, the "patchmix DSP" software can be intimidating to new users at first, but once learnt it has great flexibility over all over cards.
Not recommended for gaming though, but for everything else it has balanced connections, optical in's & out's & a good software bundle (especially if you are into music creation).
Also wnat to see/listen some audiocard with ESS chip or card with digital amplifier, like tripath, gainclone
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