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External sound card for surround sound

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

Hey guys so I recently ordered an ATH-A900X as my first pair of cans and just getting into the audiophile world. They will be here in about a week hopefully :L3000:

Now I want to be able to game and watch movies/tv shows with surround sound.

I used to have a gaming headset that had dolby pro logic IIx which worked quite well with movies/tv shows, not so much with games and I loved it for the immersion, you could hear so much more than just plain stereo mode.



I am looking into these two products:

Sound Blaster Omni Surround 5.1
Sound Blaster Recon 3D

They are both external sound cards.

I don't have a sound card and don't intend on getting one to put into my pc.


Before you scream Infedel, I will also be investing in either a Fiio e10 or Audioengine D1, but later on in 2 or 3 months when I save up some more... (the woes of a student T_T)

Personally im looking towards the omni but unsure of what any of these external cards are like. Any one have experience in this area?

post #2 of 16
I use the xonar u3 with optical out to my DAC
post #3 of 16
Originally Posted by zennoukinkai View Post

I am looking into these two products:

Sound Blaster Omni Surround 5.1
Sound Blaster Recon 3D


The Omni 5.1 is the newer of the two, so I say to get the Omni.


You might also look into the FiiO E17, it can connect to your motherboard's optical output,

so you can use the motherboard's built in sound card.

The E17 should also provide better audio quality, over the Omni, not sure by how much.

(find a used E17 on eBay).

post #4 of 16
Thread Starter 

Aahh well I'm looking into either an e10 or a audioengine D1 maybe even a topping tp30. I want something that can sit on my desk and can change volume on the fly without any fiddling.

Also, anyone tried razer surround? I'm tempted to try it and then see if I want an external sound card for surround... then again I want it for movies and tv shows too D:


post #5 of 16
Razer surround is pretty poor for positional accuracy, but okay-ish for the immersive feel..
So you want it to have digital optical input to use for your tv or something like that, too?
The u3 can't do that.. But I like it cuz it's very cheap, has Dolby and optical out
post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 
I don't have a TV, strictly PC and monitor. I'm planning on getting a DAC/amp for music through headphones and maybe speakers.

The surround sound I'm wanting for other media and games. I'll check out the u3 see what its like.
post #7 of 16

Forget the Recon, it should be trash (like the internal Recon series).


For the Omni... Its much cheaper than an Asus u7/X-FI HD usb (NOT the x-fi 5.1 pro surround, this one is trash too), so i dont think it can compete in terms of sound quality.


The AD 700x is known for having a BIG soundstage and an excellent directional hearing. Thats a whole other world compared to any "gaming headset".

Wait for it to arrive, and test it for a few days. Most of the people who change from gaming headsets to good headphones dont "need" those surround simulations anymore to hear where the sounds come from. Even worse: Surround simulations make that worse instead of better.


But if you buy one of those consumer soundcards for the sake of a surround modi, you do NOT need a Fiio e10/e07k/anything like that.

If you get an Fiio, you do NOT need an Asus/Creative consumer soundcart.


Although... a Soundcard like a Fiio E10 (or the correct name would be DAC + headphone amp) is more than enough to drive such a headphone. Untill you get a 200-300€ Headphone or more, you can just be 100% fine with a Fiio E10 or similar.


Just an addition Note: Keep in Mind, there is also Razer surround ;) Thats a virtual 7.1 Simulation (like cmss3d, dolbi headphone, sbx trustudio, etc etc etc), which works as independant software - and so it works also on the Fiio E10, and ANY soundcard, DAC, interface, whatever. Try it out, if you like that, you do not need creative/asus.

post #8 of 16

try these :


Asus Xonar U3

Asus Xonar U7
Creative X-FI Go! pro

Creative Omni

Creative sound blaster 5.1

Creative Recon3D
Creative Play! 1/2
SIIG Soundwave 7.1

post #9 of 16
Originally Posted by Sam21 View Post

try these :


Creative sound blaster 5.1

Creative Recon3D

At least these 2 are Crap. The soundblaster 5.1 is more crap, since its WORSE then Mainboard onboard soundchips (a Friend tested it. His ALC 898 sounded better than this). And Recon is a cheap crap.. Dont get that.


To the SIIG... Never really heared of that (at least in Germany). i would not prefer this over an Asus Xonar DGX.


Asus u3 and X-FI GO! pro / x-fi Play might be fine.. but they are kinda cheap sticks. I dont think they are the right choice for an Headphone of this "class".


However, Asus u7 or Creative X-FI HD (they are both listed at 80-90€ here) sound pretty fine as overall package, and in terms of Audio quality and output power (Still, an Fiio E10 or Fiio E07k will have MUCH more output power, and are way better than every of those listed. In Trade, they have no software package, and no microphone port) Just the pure output quality for headphones is superior



EDIT: Oh fak.. Misread it, was seeing the ADX 700x there, but its even the 900 one !


Yea, definately COMPLETELY forget those cheap 30€ sticks.

You do not want such an expensive / High quality headphone to get driven by a cheap consumer soundcard, that focuses more on features than on quality.


Get an Fiio E10 / Fiio E07k at least ! If you REALLY want an software package...

Asus u7 or X-FI HD. They will not only bring you a decent audio quality, but also an dedicated Headphone amp (but still worse than on the Fiios).

If internal: Asus Phoebus Solo. Great software package, great DAC, and an awesome Amp, for a very fair price. (i am using my Phoebus together with an Beyerdynamic T90)

Edited by Darkseth - 5/16/14 at 7:11pm
post #10 of 16
Wouldn't recommend u7 as it has all sorts of 'enhancements' that are not easy to turn off or something like that. The situation where I'd recommend u3 is when you want to upgrade with a DAC/amp, which you seem to want to. Works great with optical output, though one could argue its a bit expensive for virtual surround, as that's pretty much the only thing you get unless you also need the optical out for your DAC (which I do)
post #11 of 16
Thread Starter 

Awesome guys, thanks it should arrive in about 3 or 4 days hopefully. Ill be running them with my onboard Realtek ALC 889 for a few weeks before i jump the gun and investing in something. Thanks for all the information, ill do more research on all of the above mentioned.

I really only want to get the external card for games/movies/tv shows (Dolby Pro Logic IIx was a huge improvement in movies and tv shows and was built into my old headset which broke)

the amp/dac will be for music.

post #12 of 16

Then i say, forget the DAC, and get a soundcard which is double as good :P asus phoebus/essence for example (except it HAS to be external).


But a DAC is pretty much.. the same thing as a Soundcard, just without Software features (dolbi, EQ, surround, etc)

post #13 of 16
Thread Starter 
I've really been thinking about the omni 5.1 especially since it has a built in microphone. I can kill 2 birds with one stone. I won't have to invest into a blue yeti... Yet :3

And I can get an e10 later on for my music.
post #14 of 16

Well, that build in Microfone should be crap ;)

Even an 5€ Zalman Mic1 sounds way better. Thats also the Case with my Asus Phoebus (the box has a microphone, but thats crap)

post #15 of 16
Thread Starter 

well after all that, I seem to have found a solution without having to spend a cent. I can now just invest into an amp/dac combo for music.

Using onboard DTS layered on top of razer surround. It makes the sound stage just a bit larger without making it sound hollow or tinny and also gives good positional feedback.
Very surprised that it worked as well as it did.

I may also invest in Out Of Your Head. I tried it today and watched a couple of blu-rays. They sound quite good, ill be playing around with the trial for a bit before I make any decisions though.

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