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Suggestion on mid-range Sound Card

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Hello all,

 

I've recently purchased a pair of Sennheiser HD 558s and I've found a slight hissing noise with the on-board audio (ALC892) on my MSI P67-GD55 mobo and it's a little annoying. I've read that for the 558s you need a good source and the on board audio probably doesn't quite cut it, so I'm looking to upgrade to a soundcard probably around the $80-100 range. My use will be 80% music and 20% gaming, and I listen to almost everything. 

 

I don't THINK I need an amp because I have good eardrums and never blast my music, and even my onboard sound chip produces more than enough volume for me (the 558s are only 50ohms).

 

I'm currently looking at the Asus Xonar DX, but am just a little worried about the age of this card since its been out for a long time. Any suggestion will be greatly appreciated!


Edited by Melkorbane - 8/11/12 at 12:02pm
post #2 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Melkorbane View Post

Hello all,

 

I've recently purchased a pair of Sennheiser HD 558s and I've found a slight hissing noise with the on-board audio (ALC892) on my MSI P67-GD55 mobo and it's a little annoying. I've read that for the 558s you need a good source and the on board audio probably doesn't quite cut it, so I'm looking to upgrade to a soundcard probably around the $80-100 range. My use will be 80% music and 20% gaming, and I listen to almost everything. 

 

I don't THINK I need an amp because I have good eardrums and never blast my music, and even my on-board sound chip produces more than enough volume for me.

 

I'm currently looking at the Asus Xonar DX, but am just a little worried about the age of this card since its been out for a long time. Any suggestion will be greatly appreciated!

the Xonar DX (used $50) is barely decent at driving headphones (but otherwise a good sound card).

The Xonar DG ($26) comes with a half-way decent headphone amplifier.

Creative Recon3D sells for around $70.

post #3 of 10

I wouldn't worry too much about the age of the card. I'm currently using a 10 year old Sound Blaster Audigy 2, and it sound leaps and bounds better than on board audio, and as good as many DACs I've heard. I'm sure that Xonar is at least as good as mine, so I think you'd be more than satisfied with it.

post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 

Did some additional research but is bombarded by opposing reviews and technical terms I hardly understand <_<

 

I live in Canada where choices for soundcards arn't great, but now I'm deciding between the Auzentech Bravura and Xonar dx. They are priced almost the same and the Bravura has an amp plus a 1/4 rear jack, it seems like the better option, though I'm worried about the sound quality for music since I've never heard of the brand Auzentech before O_o

post #5 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Melkorbane View Post

Did some additional research but is bombarded by opposing reviews and technical terms I hardly understand <_<

 

I live in Canada where choices for soundcards arn't great, but now I'm deciding between the Auzentech Bravura and Xonar dx. They are priced almost the same and the Bravura has an amp plus a 1/4 rear jack, it seems like the better option, though I'm worried about the sound quality for music since I've never heard of the brand Auzentech before O_o

I'm a Xonar fan, but the Auzentech Bravura looks like a good deal.

post #6 of 10

Just a warning about the Auzentech X-Fi Bravura: it's NOT a proper X-Fi card, more like a glorified XtremeAudio. The Prelude, Forte, and HomeTheater HD would be the ones to get.

post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 

thanks! I found the Forte on clearance sale at one of my local stores. How does it compare to the DX/D1 in terms of pure audio quality for music listening? (one uses the AK4396 dac and one uses the CS4398... don't know if this helps any)

 

If there isnt a huge difference between the two I think I'll just go with the Forte for the inbuilt headphone amp. Unless someone has something really bad to say about them :p

post #8 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Melkorbane View Post

thanks! I found the Forte on clearance sale at one of my local stores. How does it compare to the DX/D1 in terms of pure audio quality for music listening? (one uses the AK4396 dac and one uses the CS4398... don't know if this helps any)

 

If there isnt a huge difference between the two I think I'll just go with the Forte for the inbuilt headphone amp. Unless someone has something really bad to say about them :p

Forte is not the most reliable sound card, hopefully yours is a later revision.

post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Melkorbane View Post

thanks! I found the Forte on clearance sale at one of my local stores. How does it compare to the DX/D1 in terms of pure audio quality for music listening? (one uses the AK4396 dac and one uses the CS4398... don't know if this helps any)

 

If there isnt a huge difference between the two I think I'll just go with the Forte for the inbuilt headphone amp. Unless someone has something really bad to say about them :p

 

I can't make that comparison since I've never had a C-Media-based card, but since you mention music listening primarily, I should mention that my main reason for eschewing the Bravura in favor of the other Auzentech X-Fi cards is that it lacks the proper DSP for maximum gaming performance. Also, no ASIO if you want to use it for bit-matched playback, since due to not having the proper X-Fi DSP, it won't have Audio Creation Mode.

 

Personally, if anyone even considers an X-Fi card, I tend to make the conclusion that they're mostly getting it for gaming performance, since that's where the main advantage lies. Otherwise, you could get pretty much any sound card or DAC you want.

 

I didn't have any problems with the X-Fi Forte when I had it (traded it for a Titanium HD later), but I should point out that my card must have come from a later revision, since isolating the card's mounting bracket from the case (as a lot of people recommended in the Forte's early days) didn't help anything (it may have actually made things worse), and it also had a heatsink on the DSP.

post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 

just picked up the forte today and very happy with it, and it has a heatsink so it should be the newer revision. Some mid-range sounds are a bit sharp but I can play with the EQ for that

 

P.S this is a completely unrelated question, but I realized that with the headphone amps, my cans can get really really loud (I current have my volume at 20) and I'm paranoid that if the card malfunctions someday or blow a cap or whatever, it will make a really loud sound for my headphones and turn me deaf... is this possible lol

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