Looking for best gaming soundcard to be used as transport
Oct 30, 2008 at 10:09 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 22

FallenAngel

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Hey guys,

So this is my situation. I have an ESI Juli@ that I use I2S output from to the North Star m192 DAC.

The ESI isn't all that great for gaming and I do play some games. I'm looking for the best "gaming" soundcard that will be used solely as coax S/PDIF transport to the DAC. DAC doesn't matter, output stage, opamps, whatever else really doesn't matter. All I want is a good logic processor and transport.

I will very likely be modding the card with a hard-wired coax cable to BNC and would prefer it to have a transformer-coupled S/PDIF output, but it's not essential since I can always add it later.

Thoughts, ideas, suggestions?

Budget doesn't matter, but there must be reason for the choice. I wouldn't grab the latest and most expensive card by Creative just because it's FOTM or some magazine says it increases frame rates.
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Oct 30, 2008 at 6:10 PM Post #3 of 22

1UP

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Is this for Vista or XP? There's little advantage of a "gamer's card" in Vista, and not much else to go for except an X-Fi on XP, which comes with this lovely breakout
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Oct 30, 2008 at 6:35 PM Post #4 of 22

wudai_e

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how many speakers you use for your pc rig? I don't see the point of owning a gaming sound card if you are using only 2 speakers.

If you have more than 4.1 for gaming, do a search on Prelude 7.1. All creative chip based cards performs better under XP for games, for vista, I don't think they have a clue how to fix their problems, the Alchemy is just bleh.
 
Oct 30, 2008 at 8:11 PM Post #6 of 22

Gollie

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Will the Auzentech Prelude not give you these features? The drivers have come a long way in recent months.
 
Oct 30, 2008 at 8:17 PM Post #7 of 22

Shike

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Personally I don't like supporting Creative after some of the things they did. However, the Auzentech X-Fi Prelude is an excellent card that would do what you want. I own one myself. Personally though, I almost wish I would've went back and got an Asus Xonar D2 myself . . .
 
Oct 30, 2008 at 8:36 PM Post #8 of 22

Gollie

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Shike /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Personally I don't like supporting Creative after some of the things they did. However, the Auzentech X-Fi Prelude is an excellent card that would do what you want. I own one myself. Personally though, I almost wish I would've went back and got an Asus Xonar D2 myself . . .


The danielk issue was not handled very well, but they still make the best dedicated mainstream sound cards on the market.
 
Oct 30, 2008 at 8:40 PM Post #9 of 22

taso89

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The problem that I've come to, at least with my Xonar DX is that there's no way to use features like EAX, that can then be outputted as a PCM signal. The only way to do that with my card would be to send a Dolby Digital or DTS signal, which no DAC that I know of ,other than a receiver, can downmix to two channels.
 
Oct 30, 2008 at 9:21 PM Post #11 of 22

Shike

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Quote:

Originally Posted by FallenAngel
Shike : Why the Xonar D2?


Well, it's the only soundcard that can compete in sound quality to the Prelude (noteworthy is many said it sounded a lot better in general). Their drivers are generally better and stable. Lastly, it allows one to get off of Creative's tit with some actual competition in the market.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gollie
The danielk issue was not handled very well, but they still make the best dedicated mainstream sound cards on the market.


Yes, but at this price range the mainstream doesn't matter, and that's far from the only thing they did. For example they loved twisting Carmack's arm with Doom 3 to force their features or would sue him to no end thanks to their patent whoring of a similar game engine technique.

Let's just say, they're a really bitchy company.

Quote:

Originally Posted by taso89
The problem that I've come to, at least with my Xonar DX is that there's no way to use features like EAX, that can then be outputted as a PCM signal. The only way to do that with my card would be to send a Dolby Digital or DTS signal, which no DAC that I know of ,other than a receiver, can downmix to two channels.


With the D2 EAX 2.0 in inherently supported. However, there's an official driver hack by the company that fakes EAX 5 for games to unlock multiple voices and a few other effects. It's far from EAX 5, but for the most part it does an admirable job and does best in audio quality where it counts.


EDIT:

I also believe they use capacitor coupling on the Prelude. Some were saying taking that out made it sound much like the Xonar (which isn't cap coupled).
 
Oct 30, 2008 at 11:10 PM Post #15 of 22

DaMnEd

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I would say avoid these:
X-Fi Xtreme Audio
X-Fi Xtreme Gamer
X-Fi Xtreme Audio (PCI Express)

As they are not true "X-FIs" (EMU20K1 or EMU20K2 aka PCI-E X-FI chip), thus lacking the hardware acceleration of 3D sound and EAX sound effects. More on this can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X-Fi
 

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