Help choosing a soundcard
Nov 22, 2009 at 9:32 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 3

Chinpokomon

New Head-Fier
Joined
Nov 21, 2009
Posts
2
Likes
0
Every year around the Holidays I get the upgrade bug, this year is no different. My current build has an Asus Xonar DX in it, which has been a great card, but....the upgrade bug has hit. What has driven me to want to upgrade is the fact that I can't plug my headphones into my xonar and still use the 7.1 pre-outs. The rear headphone port is the front speakers output on the rear of the card. Currently I have my receiver hooked up via SPDIF (which goes in the rear mic-out port).

So my first solution to the problem was to plug the headphones into my front panel audio on my case, but that didn't give me the results I wanted. My front panel has a bit of interference. I have a larger case, so the front panel cable has a longer journey past quite a few components. I have attempted to shield the wire myself with some foil and electrical tape, which definitely helped the problem, but didn't solve it 100%. When muted, or in quite segments I can definitely hear the noise.

My second solution, plug it directly into my receiver. But there are a few problems to me with this setup. First, when I plug it into the receiver it kills speaker sound. So that means, I can't watch TV with sound through speakers while still using my headphones (yes I do this quite often). I could re-enable my TV speakers, but they just fail, so no on that one. Second, related to the first problem, plugging them in kills speaker sound. The only way I have figured out how to get the speakers back, is to unplug them. I am a good distance from my receiver to where this becomes an issue to me since I am about as lazy as they come. Third, I don't believe my receiver allows my headphones to get the imitation surround sound that my card makes. Not really a huge issue, but I do like that sometimes.

I have been shopping around for an HTPC/NAS to put in my bedroom now for a while, and was thinking about buying a new sound card. I will take the new sound card and put it in my current build, put the old Xonar into the HTPC. I also plan on making a transition to Windows 7 x64 soon, as well.

So I was kinda hoping for a way to leave everything wired, and still be able to get high quality audio. Buying a new sound card seemed like the easiest way to achieve this, that I could think of at least. The ASUS Xonar HDAV1.3 Deluxe 7.1, AuzenTech Forte and HT | OMEGA Claro Halo XT both look to be able to do it. I am sure there are quite a few more cards. And probably one or more of those cards that aren't any good. Like for example the Asus from the reading of the reviews on there, you are only allowed to use their player to get the HD codecs other players don't get sound. Obviously there are people out there that are morons, and don't know what they are doing so you can't trust all reviews. I also saw that the Asus Xonar Essence ST has a 7.1 addon card, but I haven't been able to find the addon card available for purchase.

I am a gamer, as well as a movie watcher, and a music listener. I play a wide range of games, whenever I get the chance. I generally play the games with headphones on, but there are times where I will decide to turn on the receiver and play them through my surround sound setup. Music I have going 90% of the time, foobar on random play. I play it during games often, using the media keys to pause or next track if necessary. I generally listen to music through my headphones, but I definitely give my speakers + sub a bit of a workout as well. Movie watching, I generally only watch through my speakers. Sure there are times where I may watch an episode on hulu, through my headphones, but that would be a rare occasion.

Size of the card really shouldn't matter, I can fit one of the larger graphics cards in my case without an issue. I have PCI and PCI-E slots open. I have an Onkyo TX SR806, with free HDMI and pre-amp imputs, which can decode most(all?) formats if necessary. My current headphones are Audio-Technica ATH-A700, which aren't power hungry. Actually they are fine without an amp, but I may eventually upgrade them too eventually so a headphone amp in the card isn't necessarily a bad thing. If I don't go overboard with my HTPC/NAS build, it could be possible to upgrade to a new set of cans soon as well (although I am quite happy with the ATH-A700s).

TL;DR
I am a gamer, movie watcher, and music listener looking to upgrade my sound card from Xonar DX. This card should play nice with Windows 7, as well as games, movies, and music (30, 20, 50 percents respectively). I want to plug my receiver into the card to get the higher profile codecs (from what I understand only HDMI and the 7.1 pre-outs allow this). I also want to plug my headphones into the rear of the soundcard, and be able to switch them using the software.
 
Nov 24, 2009 at 3:21 PM Post #2 of 3

Chinpokomon

New Head-Fier
Joined
Nov 21, 2009
Posts
2
Likes
0
No advice
confused_face_2.gif
 
Nov 24, 2009 at 3:43 PM Post #3 of 3

ROBSCIX

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Aug 25, 2005
Posts
6,173
Likes
42
If you want the newer standards such as Dolby TrueHD or DTS-MA then your going to need a card with HDMI features such asthe HTHD or the HDAV.
Both cards support these standards over HDMI or analog outputs.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top