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I'm Tired of the Crap -- :) Suggest An Alternative Please ($350 Price Range)

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

I've owned most of the higher end creative cards, over the years.


I've owned the Essence STX.


In the end, it's too much BS. The STX is crapping out, and it never was all that amazing in the first place (ok, it wasn't bad hardware, but the software was not good). The Creative cards were junk, but had decent gaming audio, I guess.


I don't know. The STX had a decent headphone amp in it, considering the price, but the drivers were awful and I think it's fried.


Yep, I'm in a bad mood ;)


Would someone give me a good suggestion for a setup, using $350 or less?


I want something to replace on board audio. It will be used for gaming, music, and movies.


My computer is an HTPC, so if the initial sound card can be equalized (parametric if possible) that's a plus. The software EQ's for the STX and Creative cards were a joke.


Mostly I'm looking for good headphone audio and none of the worry of driver issues, connectivity, or any other OS related crap. Technically my motherboard has SPDF out, if that is a factor. I just want something simple that sounds good, and I don't care about EAX, or dolby headphones, or any of the other things that mostly sounded like junk on the STX anyways.  An ability to EQ the whole thing would be nice, and a headphone amp would be part of the total cost requirement.


I'm running AH-D7000's, and an NHT superzero 2.1 setup.


Thank you for your time!


//P.S. I can run the mic through the motherboard, so that's not a major concern. It's purely output I'm looking for, not re-mixing input.





Edited by bladebarrier - 11/5/12 at 7:41pm
post #2 of 5

Wrong Section.

If you don't want to use Soundcard then use a DAC + Amp.

post #3 of 5
Originally Posted by bladebarrier View Post


DACport LX and UHA6 MKII amp. But you could just get the DACport but won't be as good as the pairing I had mentioned.

Edited by lee730 - 11/6/12 at 1:43am
post #4 of 5
Just to throw it out there - if you are "frying" soundcards with this system, something is wrong with the rest of your hardware (crap PSU, crap motherboard, crap cooling, crap build, whatever). They're (IME) a very low fail device (no moving parts, low power/low heat, etc). If you've gone through whatever a half dozen units in a short amount of time because they keep dying on you (that's what your original post sounds like), this isn't "Creative sucks, Asus sucks, they all suck!" - nobody's luck is that bad to roll snake-eyes with QA that many times unless you're buying used/pulled as-is junk (in which case...).

Anyways, I haven't personally played with the driver packages on newer Asus cards, but have no complaints with the Sound Blaster products overall. X-Fi had some quirks to the early drivers, but the more recent builds are fairly stable; Audigy and Recon3D are miles ahead (because they don't have "mode switch" (which is where probably 99% of X-Fi driver crashes happen)). If this is as petty as "I hate the power ranger UI, these are bad drivers" - good grief. redface.gif

So if you can rule all of that out (or if you're just going to dismiss that advice because you're torqued off), there's a number of inexpensive DtoA converters you can grab that'll take the S/PDIF output from your mainboard. I think the cheapest is still from FiiO, it runs around $30. Next question is how you're connecting the NHTs up - do you need a preamp for them? How are they amplified presently? How is the sub integrated? (If memory serves the SuperZero satellites are passive).

If you have a receiver or something driving the NHTs - use the headphone jack on that. Problem solved. If that isn't feasible, I'd go with a receiver for the NHTs and use the headphone jack on that. Go with an inexpensive DtoA if you have a problem with the analog outputs on the board or whichever soundcard (and as far as the EQs being relatively simplistic - that's everything, and if you go with something like what lee suggested, you'll have even less features (only what Windows gives you), unless your application brings it in (e.g. foobar)).

I can make specific suggestions for hardware if you're interested.
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post



The creative cards I had didn't die. I just didn't like the sound quality or the drivers.


The Asus card may have been going for a while. I'm not entirely sure, as I haven't had a chance to test it in another system (or if it's worth the risk). I have dual booted it though, and it immediately replicated its issue in the other OS, where as there was no issue when things were running fine. It's highly unlikely that it's related to the rig it's currently in. I'm running liquid cooling, a 750w corsair psu, and lots of fans. Temps are excellent in the case, and the PSU is plugged into a line conditioner to keep the voltage nice and steady.



Due to locations, I can't use the headphone jack on the receiver that runs the NHT setup.


I'm going to go for the setup that Lee suggested.


Thanks all!

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