Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Computer Audio › What is a great affordable sound card?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

What is a great affordable sound card?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

What is a great sounding sound card that is also affordable?

post #2 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by choochxny View Post
 

What is a great sounding sound card that is also affordable?


For $30-$40, the Xonar DG or DGX sound card

For $80-$100, the Creative Sound Blaster Z (SB1500, retail box) sound card.

post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 

From the two that you listed, which would you rather buy?

post #4 of 12

I'd think the SBZ would be a bit better quality than the Xonar's that Purple mentioned. You could get an OEM SBZ for cheaper. Try to get something future proof so get PCI-E.

 

If you're a gamer, then I'd go for the Creative myself as it has more gaming features and is arguably better at surround sound. Don't look at the Asus Phoebus.


Edited by SaLX - 11/23/13 at 2:45pm
post #5 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by choochxny View Post
 

From the two that you listed, which would you rather buy?


Personally I would get the SB-Z (Sound Blaster Z), the SB1500 (retail box), $80, comes with a shield against electrical noise and a microphone.

Once in a while, it goes on sale for $65.

It has a better DAC and more powerful headphone amplifier, then the DG(X).

post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 

Well to be more specific, I wanted to buy this sound card along with the A5 Audioengine speakers. Would the Creative sound card that was mentioned work well and have awesome sound as a result? 

post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by choochxny View Post
 

Well to be more specific, I wanted to buy this sound card along with the A5 Audioengine speakers. Would the Creative sound card that was mentioned work well and have awesome sound as a result? 


The Creative SB-Z and SB-Zx come with separate headphone and speaker outputs :) and the CS4398 DAC chip :)

The SB-Z should improve the studio monitors audio quality over the motherboards DAC chip.

You would have to spend $160 for the Titanium HD sound card, for a sound card to better the audio quality of the SB-Z.

The Titanium-HD is good sounding, but limited in features, compared to the newer Z series.

 

Check out the Emotiva Airmotiv 4, $299 studio monitors, they seem to be the most well liked in their price range ($300-$400).

http://shop.emotiva.com/products/airmotiv4

 

I just picked up the Monoprice 5" studio monitors, currently $165, they seem to be rebranded M-Audio BX5s.

http://www.monoprice.com/Product?c_id=115&cp_id=11504&cs_id=1150401&p_id=605500

For about one day per month, Monoprice drops them down to $132

post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 

These are the speakers I was talking about use that sound card you mentioned with http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005OA3BSY/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_img?_encoding=UTF8&colid=HWHU8CPRGBYK&coliid=I1STUD0O2WWBC6

 

Do you think the sound card will be a good fit and addition along with these speakers?

post #9 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by choochxny View Post
 

These are the speakers I was talking about use that sound card you mentioned with http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005OA3BSY/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_img?_encoding=UTF8&colid=HWHU8CPRGBYK&coliid=I1STUD0O2WWBC6

 

Do you think the sound card will be a good fit and addition along with these speakers?


I would think the SB-Z would be a good choice for use with any speakers or studio monitors.

post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 

Sounds good thank you!

post #11 of 12

I would say both the Xonar DGX and Creative Z would be a good choice. They are both a huge step-up from the on-board sound cards. I personally prefer the DGX for gaming and club music. The Z for jazz & classical. I generally preferred the dolby surround of the DGX for club music and the SBX for jazz and classical.

 

The dolby surround effect of the DGX emulates a 5.1/7.1 environment where in facing my screen, I hear the sound as if coming from my center speaker (Like I can pinpoint the source of the sound) Creative's SBX however emulates the same effect, but I can't pinpoint the source, but you know it's in front of you. I also feel the Z has a smaller sound stage than the DGX, but the immersion is better on the SBX when I listen to jazz/classical. Alot better imo.

 

The DGX is pretty solid at its $30 price point, once you move up to USD150 territory, I would opt for the STX (based the great experience i had with the DGX). The only reason I went for the Zx was for the digital-in and external volume controller/mic dock. And I still have mixed feelings after purchasing the Zx as opposed to the "wow" feeling i had after getting the DGX. Below are my experiences on both cards.

 

Asus Xonar DGX (used with a gaming headset - Razer Tiamat 2.2)

(pros)

- headphone amp (Can adjust gain)

- Emulates EAX in games without any ALchemy shenanigans.

- Unbeatable at its pricepoint usd30

- Low-profile (can easily fit into smaller/thin cases)

- Automatically switches between headphone/speakers when you plug in your headphone (remembers settings as well)

 

(cons)

- No digital-in

- No external volume controller

 

Creative Zx (used with Sennheiser HD598 headphones)

(pros)

- headphone amp (supports up to 600ohm headphones)

- external volume/mic dock (useful for my HD598s since it doesn't have a mic or volume controller)

- toslink digital-in (my current HDTV only has optical audio out)

- EM shield

- iron-man like red glow on the soundcore chip in your PC (if you're into that)

 

(cons)

- cannot adjust gain (although creative claims this to be done automatically)

- toslink digital-in only supports PCM (still works fine though, although could've been nice to have dolby decoding)

- need to manually switch between headphones and speakers when you plug your headphones/headset (settings not remembered by software)

 

If you do not need the digital-in, volume controller or mic, I would recommend getting the Xonar DGX or the STX. That said, I'm still pleased with the Zx as I find myself using the volume/mic dock frequently when playing online games.

 

These are my personal preferences when using these cards:-

Competitive gaming (games that require positional audio): DGX (GX mode ON, HF mode ON) or Zx (all effects disabled) + game sound settings (headphones)

Casual gaming w/ emphasis on game immersion (also great for movies): DGX (GX mode OFF, HF mode ON) or Zx (all effects disabled) + Razer Virtual Surround enabled (razer's surround 2.0 can be downloaded free and works for any headphone/headset)

Club music/ rock / dubstep:

(1) Xonar DGX (dolby headphones enabled 5.1) + Razer Tiamat 2.2 headset

(2) Creative Zx (SBX enabled: Surround=Max, bass=disabled & crystalizer=disabled) + Razer Virtual Surround enabled + HD598

Classic/Jazz: Creative Zx (SBX enabled: Surround=Max, bass & crystalizer=disabled) + HD598

 

Good luck on your choice! Let me know how it goes =)

post #12 of 12
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Computer Audio
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Computer Audio › What is a great affordable sound card?