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Are All The Good Sound Cards $100 or Greater?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Good day Hi-fiers

I am here seeking some sound card advice.

 

I am current using a old Sound Blaster Audigy 2 Zs has served me faithfully for many years but I have been noticing several driver compatibility issues since I moved to Windows 7 and it also seems  that the Mic In is going bad also (perhaps even the entire the card itself), so I have decided to upgrade so I am would like to know what my options are.

 

I just got my Ultrasone HFI-780 and for my speakers I am using some simple 5.1 Surround Sound Speakers the Coby CSP-94.  I listen to a lot of music whether it is music that I have stored on my hard drive or online via youtube or sound cloud, I watch movies and tv series whether from the original source or downloaded and I play games.

 

Now after doing some research the usually suspects come out on top Asus Xonar Essence STX/ST, Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium/Titanium HD.  But after spending what I did on my HFI-780 I am not really in the position to go drop another $100 and odd dollars on a sound card.

So what I want to know is should I stick with what I have now and save as long as I need to save and avoid any Sound Card below USD100 or are there decent or good options in lower price cards or at least ones in the lower bracket that are better than my current card?

post #2 of 10

Asus Xonar DG is $27 on Newegg right now and it's good card.  I'm not really sure how much the different chips alter sound, but the built in headphone amp (only offered in the DG/DGX) works well enough for me.
 

post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by liquidzoo View Post

Asus Xonar DG is $27 on Newegg right now and it's good card.  I'm not really sure how much the different chips alter sound, but the built in headphone amp (only offered in the DG/DGX) works well enough for me.
 


I saw your post I was going to post this here but I didn't want to hijack your post so I just started a fresh.  There are several questions I have in regards to the Xonar DG/DGX.  

 

1. Can one really expect much from a sound card that cost $30?
2. Is it a low quality card but compared to what I am running now it is worth the upgrade?
3. Is the only difference between the DG and the DGX is that one is PCI and one is PCI-e x1 and if so does one out perform the other?

post #4 of 10

I've heard great things about the Asus entry level boards. They have a $30 one with a headphone amp built in and pretty good DAC.
 

post #5 of 10

You can get some decent sound cards for $50 or less.

 

It's just the really, REALLY good ones that cost upwards of $100, like all the ones you mentioned.

 

The only difference between the Xonar DG and DGX is indeed the interface. I don't think one would outperform the other; just pick whatever you have a slot freed up for on your motherboard.

 

I would have also mentioned the basic X-Fi Titanium model, but Newegg stopped selling theirs at attractive $40-50 prices. You'll have to look for second-hand ones on eBay now.

post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by NamelessPFG View Post

You can get some decent sound cards for $50 or less.

 

It's just the really, REALLY good ones that cost upwards of $100, like all the ones you mentioned.

 

The only difference between the Xonar DG and DGX is indeed the interface. I don't think one would outperform the other; just pick whatever you have a slot freed up for on your motherboard.

 

I would have also mentioned the basic X-Fi Titanium model, but Newegg stopped selling theirs at attractive $40-50 prices. You'll have to look for second-hand ones on eBay now.


I was on their website recently on the non HD versions of the X-Fi Titanium was listed as "discontinued".

post #7 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Audioenthused View Post


I saw your post I was going to post this here but I didn't want to hijack your post so I just started a fresh.  There are several questions I have in regards to the Xonar DG/DGX.  

 

1. Can one really expect much from a sound card that cost $30?
2. Is it a low quality card but compared to what I am running now it is worth the upgrade?
3. Is the only difference between the DG and the DGX is that one is PCI and one is PCI-e x1 and if so does one out perform the other?

 

1) As others have said, you can get really good sound out of cheap cards, and the tech has really improved over the years (the Audigy 2 ZS is almost 11 years old)

 

2) The audio chipset is likely an upgrade.  Your current card is a 7.1 card, while the DG/DGX is only a 5.1.  If that matters to you (it doesn't to me, I only use headphones).  If that's important to you, look for a different card (you will sacrifice the built in amp, but you can get better amps)

 

3) As others have said, no.  Pick whatever you have open.  I chose a PCI card because that's what I had open (the x1 slot on my mobo is covered by my video card, I think).

post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by liquidzoo View Post

 

1) As others have said, you can get really good sound out of cheap cards, and the tech has really improved over the years (the Audigy 2 ZS is almost 11 years old)

 

2) The audio chipset is likely an upgrade.  Your current card is a 7.1 card, while the DG/DGX is only a 5.1.  If that matters to you (it doesn't to me, I only use headphones).  If that's important to you, look for a different card (you will sacrifice the built in amp, but you can get better amps)

 

3) As others have said, no.  Pick whatever you have open.  I chose a PCI card because that's what I had open (the x1 slot on my mobo is covered by my video card, I think).


Actually my version of the Audigy 2 Zs is the 5.1 not 7.1 so the DG/DGX being 5.1 is quite fine.

 

I have a few more questions but these are a bit more technically, in comparisons to the Audio Processor and the DAC being used on the DS, DX, D1 how much better are they than the ones that DG/DGX equipped with?

post #9 of 10

According to the Asus website, the DX and D1 have the same chipset while the DS has a different one (AV66 vs AV100 on the other 2).  Both are capable of 192KHz/24bit sound.  The DG has a different type of chipset altogether (C-Media CMI8786) that is only rated to 96KHz/24bit.

 

What that means...I honestly don't know.
 

post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by liquidzoo View Post

According to the Asus website, the DX and D1 have the same chipset while the DS has a different one (AV66 vs AV100 on the other 2).  Both are capable of 192KHz/24bit sound.  The DG has a different type of chipset altogether (C-Media CMI8786) that is only rated to 96KHz/24bit.

 

What that means...I honestly don't know.
 


Lol yeah I had read that also, I was hoping one of the hi-fiers who are familiar with the different DACs and Audio Processors could shed some light.

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