Help deciding Sound Card and necessity of Amp.
Jul 29, 2010 at 10:27 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 10

masqlchris

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I'm on a super tight budget. I recently purchased the ATH-700 and Zalman Mic combo (after reading several threads here, and posting one of my own). I'm happy with my purchase, but I'm still waiting to be put into a quiet environment so the microphone picks up a *lot* and I sound muffled (guessing it's due to noise cancellation/echo).
 
My question is, I'm still using onboard sound and think my ATH could sound better. What sound card, that's PCI, not PCI-e (my mobo is a MATX and my GPU covers up that port) would you suggest? Or what kind of setup?
 
I'm not expecting 1337 sounds out of it, simply cause I'm on a budget of $75 at absolute maximum, $50 preferred.

I've been trying to read, but you guys' setups are pretty damn confusing for someone who's never been into audio.
 
Aug 3, 2010 at 11:02 PM Post #2 of 10

masqlchris

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Bump?
 
I'm looking still and I found some cards that interest me, such as the Xonar DX and various other ASUS cards, but being a gamer who still wants good music quality I don't know what to choose. Any help here?
 
And with the ATH-700's, will I still need an amp?
 
Aug 6, 2010 at 12:00 AM Post #3 of 10

masqlchris

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No help yet, but so far it's looking like I don't really need an amp for the AD700's. I would really like some more bass, not much more, just a bit, and am thinking that an X-FI or the Xonar DS might be my best bet...
 
Aug 6, 2010 at 5:02 PM Post #4 of 10

maverickronin

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Those cheaper X-Fi's aren't bad hardware wise, but the drivers are a mess.  If you're lucky they'll work fine.  In not, then not.  It's a crapshoot.  The Asus cards have much better drivers but AFIK the positional audio isn't as good.
 
Aug 6, 2010 at 5:21 PM Post #5 of 10

Dalamar

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The positioning on ASUS cards is just fine. Though in L4D I can't tell if it's from a floor above or below. Don't know if it's the headphones, card, or drivers - but it doesn't really matter since otherwise I can tell where sounds come from.
 
If you want more bass go for A700, or use an equalizer. Audiophools have this illogical aversion to EQ's, when frequency response is the main thing that foolishly pushes them to keep on spending.
 
Aug 9, 2010 at 10:53 PM Post #6 of 10

masqlchris

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Okay. I just installed a (very random, found it in my room in a spare parts box..) Soundblaster Live! 24bit PCI card... the bass is crap tons better and it's hella lot louder, but there is a small hiss you can hear once music (or sound in general) plays. I'm not sure if it's just bad hardware or just cause it's old, but it's still better than my onboard Realtek HD Audio.
 
What card would you recommend? I know I can't get a lot of bass from the AD700, but I just want a bit more. For example with this card, it thumps just enough to please me. So I'm thinking with a better sound card I'd reach these same results with no hiss/noise, etc? I was thinking I might need an amp with bass boost, but was considering something cheap (as I'm on a rediculously tight budget now) like the Fiio E5.
 
For now, I'd like to get your recommendations, but it's having to look like:
 
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829102007
 
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829132013
 
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829270006
 
The Xonar DS looks best, having 192k and all that jazz...but the SIIG looks like an offbrand and so I'm down to the Xonar Vs Creative, and I'm not sure. You guys are saying the Xonar is the better choice? For now It's probably 50/50 gaming/music and like I said, I'm going to get SOME kind of an amp....
 
Recommendations/corrections?
 
I'm really liking audio and am learning a lot browsing the web/this site (mainly this site), and want to learn more, so please, give me information.
 
Aug 9, 2010 at 11:30 PM Post #8 of 10

Piemur

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Hi there,
 
I have been also a gamer somedays and I think you cannot go wrong with a used soundblaster Audigy 2 zs ou Audigy 4.
 
If you can wait a little and afford for an extigy model it is even better.
 
Best regards,
 
Aug 10, 2010 at 12:34 AM Post #9 of 10

masqlchris

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DTrain, I do, and I will tomorrow. Only thing is, it's even closer to my GPU. I'm using a micro-atx motherboard, hence my need for PCI (GPU covers PCI-e x1 slot)
 
I just uninstalled the soundblaster as it's hissing got worse.
 
You think that might help the hissing?
 

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