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Best Sound card

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Hi All,

 

I'm looking to get a great sound card for my new HTPC build.  Uses would be for 90% music and movies in a 5.1 or 7.1 setup.  I have an old pioneer receiver with no hdmi support so I need a card that will give me outstanding analogue output.  I also have a pretty good set of speakers (Altec Lansing 605b Front, Jamo Classic Series 4 bookshelf satellite). Also this build will probably never be use with headphones. 

 

Currently I'm considering the following 2 cards:

 

Assus Xonar DX

 

HT Omega Claro II

 

Are there other cards I should be looking at?  Xonar Phoebus perhaps?  What about the creative line?  People seem to be pretty vocal about their disappointment with creative's recent high end products.  

 

PCI vs PCI-e is a non issue for me.

 

I've heard that both cards use the same audio chipset.  If that's true, what's the difference between the cards and how does that affect the sound? Considering the Xonar is half the price of the Omega, how much better will the sound for the Omega be?  Is it a big enough difference to justify the cost?  My wife and I are professional musicians, so very high quality sound is important to us, but at the end of the day we don't care much about what looks good on paper.  Just what sounds best.

post #2 of 6

Creative Labs Sound Blaster Z (SB1500), $100

Comes with the same DAC chip as the Xonar DX, the CS4398 :)

Plus the SB-Z comes with a built in headphone amplifier,

where as the Xonar DX is more like a "line-output" that pretends to be a headphone output.

post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the suggestion.  That SB card doesn't support 24bit/192khz for 5.1, only stereo. So that's a no go.  I just checked and the Assus does.

post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 

Oh and btw I'll probably never use headphones with this card since it is for a dedicated theater room HTPC.

post #5 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by count sudoku View Post
 

Thanks for the suggestion.  That SB card doesn't support 24bit/192khz for 5.1, only stereo. So that's a no go.  I just checked and the Asus does.


I missed the part where you said, not for headphone use.

So the Xonar DX looks like the better deal.

I assuming your planning on running 3 analog 3.5mm stereo cables from the sound card (DX) to the analog inputs (RCA) on the Pioneer receiver?

post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 

yep 3 x 3.5mm to rca.  Biggest difference I can tell between the omega and the xonar is the omega has extra connectors and the front channel dac is AK 4396vf  and the xonar uses CS 4398.  I have no idea the differences between the two and if it's even noticible.

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