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Best soundcard for ~$100?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I'm looking to upgrade my Abit IT7 max's onboard audio. I'm currently using the Optical out on the motherboard which then goes to my Home Theater sound system setup. I will also be using this with either a pair of A900s or something better...

However, I REALLY need to upgrade my soundcard. I want to keep the price under $100 unless absolutely necessary. I would jump for the emu1212m, but I am moving to a college dorm in 2 months and will not have my speakers anymore, so only headphones. Because of this, I dont want to spend tooo much on a soundcard.

anyways, I'm currently looking at the m-audio revolution 7.1 for $89 at newegg, audigy 2 ZS which I hear is just OK, and other that this I'm unsure of what else to look at. I hear terratec makes good cards also, and then there is the UBer cheap chaintech 710 but i'm looking for something a bit better than that.

I would prefer a card with optical out, but if I'll get similar quality via an RCA cable or something similar, I'll go with that. My receiver (kenwood vr-507) supports dolby digital 6ch, DTS, pro logic 2... and I believe it has digital inputs too.

any suggestions?

THANKS
post #2 of 10
IME, there is nothing price-wise between the Chaintech and EMU that merits being bought (that I've heard). The Chaintech is disturbingly good for the price, better than I remember the Revo being. Buy it, and use the rest for an Audigy if you're a gamer, or better upgrades for the rest of your audio rig.
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Iron_Dreamer
IME, there is nothing price-wise between the Chaintech and EMU that merits being bought (that I've heard). The Chaintech is disturbingly good for the price, better than I remember the Revo being. Buy it, and use the rest for an Audigy if you're a gamer, or better upgrades for the rest of your audio rig.
my audio rig is also my main rig, and has everything I need already, and its very fast too

I would get the chaintech but I dont like that it uses CPU cycles, cpu cycles that I cant really spare...

I'm liking the m-audio revolution, but does terratec make a good soundcard in that price range that is better than the revolution? I'm pretty impressed by the onboard sound quality of my motherboard so i'm sure ANY upgraded card will be nice for me, hehe.
post #4 of 10
If you want gaming and sound in one package you should try the Audiotrack Prodigy.
post #5 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by james__bean
If you want gaming and sound in one package you should try the Audiotrack Prodigy.
I'm just curious why the Prodigy would be superior to the AV-710 (in terms of CPU cycles like mtbiac was discussing) for gaming? From what I can tell it also uses the VIA Envy chip, and Sensaura for 3D audio. Isn't Sensaura the big CPU cycle eater?
post #6 of 10
Why not go for the Revolution 7.1, i just did a RMAA test on the Revolution and got a stunning 103 db of dynamic range on 32/44. I would like to post the result sometime.
post #7 of 10
Chaintech + Audigy will be better than the Prodigy or Revo for games (frame-rate wise) and at least as good as the other two for music. The Chaintech also has 103 "stunning" dB of dynamic range. Heck the EMU has 120.
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
well I ordered the chaintech av710 earlier this morning

I read a ton of reviews and its nearly as good as the revolution in audio quality, plus it has the optical out which I already have wired so the install will be much easier and I wont have to buy a digital coax cable. Plus, its 1/4 the price of the revolution

Depending on how nice this setup sounds, would it be worthwile to get the 1212m if I could get it for $165? I woould only get that if the sound of the chaintech + my A900 was REALLY nice, and the 1212m would make it Much nicer... this possible or ?

thanks for the help!
post #9 of 10
Well the EMU would make it really nicer, however, I think the A900/Chainetech is a good bang/buck position. Not having an amp, and having the A900 which doesn't gain much from an amp according to most could limit how much improvement the EMU would be for you. Maybe wait a bit to get it, until you have the urge to upgrade your whole system.
post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
OK, thanks. I also have a dual 9v batt CMOY that I could use to improve the sound but I doubt that this will be needed or that it will help drastically.
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