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USB Soundcard/Headphone amp choice

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Hello everyone!

 

I would need a bit of help, i am planning to get some kind of soundcard for my computer and i'm in a bit of a dilemma what to get. Thing is i really want to get rid of my on-board audio because its **** and i've been nice to it... It crackles, it pops, has a LOT of static by default and im really tired of it at this point. 

 

So without further a do, my needs, and "restrictions":

-Im not a huge audiophile(yet bc im poor :) ) but i like to enjoy my music in the best quality its available to me.

-Price is approx. 100$ MAX so try to think of something less than this, i wouldn't want to go above it at all.

-I run a 5.1 audio system now, really old creative one but i use it as 2.1 due to the other speakers cables are broke. I use this 90% of the time for everything from listening to music to movies gaming etc.

- Though if im playing a specific game with teamspeak on behind, i plug in a headset, so it'd be good to have separate connectors for that.

 

So i've looked at two contestants, the Creative X-fi usb 5.1 (approx 60$) and the Asus Xonar U7(approx 100$)

http://support.creative.com/Products/ProductDetails.aspx?catID=1&catName=x&subCatID=208&prodID=20055&prodName=Sound%20Blaster%20X-Fi%20Surround%205.1%20Pro&bTopTwenty=1&VARSET=prodfaq:PRODFAQ_20055,VARSET=CategoryID:208

 

http://www.asus.com/Sound_Cards_and_DigitaltoAnalog_Converters/Xonar_U7/#overview

 

So what do you guys think? I want a good quality stuff and i had Creative soundcard before and i still have it in one of my old pc-s and works like a charm. It costs less Would it be good, any experience anyone? Or should i get the asus, is the value that much better with even the extra cost? 

Do i even need an external soundcard? I heard they are better bc its isolated from the rest of the computer circuit making it better shielded against static.(also i can just carry it around to my laptop or whatever, but thats not really a big factor)

I was also looking at the creative recon pci-e (60$) as well for an inbuilt option.

 

ALSO if you have any other producst you can recommend from other manufacturers you know in this pricerange, PLEASE DO, im open for all options.

 

If you read it through, thank you for your time and help, its much appreciated! :)

post #2 of 7
If you use headphones as well as speakers, look into the Aune T1. It is an external USB tube DAC that doubles as a headphone amp, and used ones can be had for around your budget.
post #3 of 7

I think this is just within budget.

 

http://www.native-instruments.com/en/products/traktor/dj-audio-interfaces/traktor-audio-2/

 

I've got one I use with a portable. Powerful and clean output, convienient to use and carry, fairly sturdy. Great free software. The best bit for you though is it's a 4 channel out box. So you can play music on one stereo pair output to your speakers and play games on the headphones.

 

It doesn't have any audio in though. So you'd need something separate for a microphone. The only USB interface device I know of that has a 3.5mm TRS minijack microphone input capable of providing 5W on the ring suitable for a electret condenser mic (headset). Above your budget by $50. Perhaps someone else can help.

post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the replyes guys but both will not suffice sadly... both look pretty good choices but sadly the need of a mic input is pretty priority and the Aune is not even available here sadly, i cant find a retailer not to mention used ones so they are out of the questions.

 

Also having a conversation with a fellow, im not even sure that i need an external usb soundcard...Do i really benefit from it from being external? is it THAT better than a standard pci-e one? I want the best possible sound quality for the budget and i dont care about the form factor, so in the end is it really benefitial to me to get a USB DAC?

 

Thanks again, in advance.

post #5 of 7

Asus Xonar DG (PCI) sound card, $26.80 and there is a $10 mail in rebate this month.

Hopefully It will not have the same "electrical noise" problem like the motherboard's on-board audio.

What is the make and model of your current headphones?

post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 

gaming cans are cheap genius ones, i bought for the mic basically. Cheap decent enough sound and its cushioned enough for many hours of gaming.

 

Music cans are AKG k518 LE

 

My biggest concern is as you highlighted is static and crackling, basically makes any audio experience horrible and unenjoyable, so id wanto to get rid of them, top priority.

post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 

I did some troubleshooting, it looks like the static starts to be stronger over time, when i turn on the pc its not present. Any ideas what might cause it?

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