Looking to Upgrade My PC Audio Setup
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Cyph3r92

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Hi all,

I've got a pair of HD558s and Philips X2s on the way - both easy to drive headphones AFAIK. On my old rig I had a Soundblaster Zx card and it was pretty good, no complaints really, however on my new rig I've been using the onboard audio on my Z370 Taichi, and it's "ok" (not really), but god damn the isolation is terrible. When the GPU is under load the coil whine is transmitted very faintly through the headphones and it drives me nuts (even though you can't hear it most the time because of the game itself).

So I'm looking at getting a "proper" audio solution again. I liked the virtual surround on my old Zx so it's one of the primary features I'm looking for but I've heard the GSX 1000 also does this well.

I'm concerned about shoving a soundcard into my PC for a few reasons:

1. Meshify C is tiny and , I'd have to put the souncard literally 1cm above my PSU and right underneath my 1080Ti which just seems like, well an awful idea regarding isolation (my build is pretty snug)
2. Blocking airflow to my 1080Ti
3. Creative drivers

So I do like the idea of the GSX being on my desk attaching via USB, driveless and generally not interfering with my rig.

However, the more I look into the GSX, the more "meh" it seems overall. Critical analysis of the specs seem to have it lacking, and if I'm spending that much money, I want something good.

So I then found another alternative - the Sound BlasterX G6 (https://uk.creative.com/p/sound-cards/sound-blasterx-g6), which I believe is essentially the AE-5 card in external USB DAC form? It also seems to have much better specs than the GSX1000 and it's cheaper as well.

But I can't really find anyone talking about it?

If anyone could shed some light on this and help me decide it would be much appreciated!
 
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PurpleAngel

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Is this the motherboard you now use?
https://www.asrock.com/MB/Intel/Z370 Taichi/index.asp
It looks like there are two X16 PCI-e slot you could put the SB-Zx into.
Try both slots, with the SB-Zx card, see if there is any noise issue
Disable the on-board audio, in the BIOS, before installing the SB-Zx card.
(me, personally would not use the ACM module, that came with the SB-Zx).
If you still have a noise issue, then the Sound BlasterX G6 would seem to be a wise choice.
 
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Cyph3r92

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Is this the motherboard you now use?
https://www.asrock.com/MB/Intel/Z370 Taichi/index.asp
It looks like there are two X16 PCI-e slot you could put the SB-Zx into.
Try both slots, with the SB-Zx card, see if there is any noise issue
Disable the on-board audio, in the BIOS, before installing the SB-Zx card.
(me, personally would not use the ACM module, that came with the SB-Zx).
If you still have a noise issue, then the Sound BlasterX G6 would seem to be a wise choice.
Ah sorry I should clarify - the Zx was sold along with the rest of my old rig.

Yes there's 2 PCI-E slots:



But it's either DIRECTLY blocking my 1080Ti fans (no thanks, it gets hot enough as it is). Or it's DIRECTLY above my 850w PSU. So unfortunately I don't have a sound card to test potential isolation issues, however I have read that it can be a big issue with AE-5 in close quarter builds especially when it's directly over the PSU which is what concerns me.

I literally just this moment ordered the G6 as it seems to be much better than the GSX1000 and it's a decent amount cheaper (I assume because less flashy design, no touchscreen and it doesn't say Sennheiser on it). Should I still disable the onboard audio when I get the G6? I've never used a USB DAC before.
 
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PurpleAngel

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Ah sorry I should clarify - the Zx was sold along with the rest of my old rig.
Yes there's 2 PCI-E slots:
But it's either DIRECTLY blocking my 1080Ti fans (no thanks, it gets hot enough as it is). Or it's DIRECTLY above my 850w PSU. So unfortunately I don't have a sound card to test potential isolation issues, however I have read that it can be a big issue with AE-5 in close quarter builds especially when it's directly over the PSU which is what concerns me.
I literally just this moment ordered the G6 as it seems to be much better than the GSX1000 and it's a decent amount cheaper (I assume because less flashy design, no touchscreen and it doesn't say Sennheiser on it). Should I still disable the on-board audio when I get the G6? I've never used a USB DAC before.
I would say the SB X G6 is a good choice.
If you were adding an internal sound card, Windows sees two separate sound cards, so disabling the on-board I think just makes Windows job slightly easier (my opinion).
When using a USB sound card, I guess it totally bypassing any on-board (or internal add-on) sound card processing, so disabling on-board, in the BIOS, is not really needed.
I'm going to guess the software that comes with Creative's USB sound card, might even be able to take advantage of the Realtek ALC1220 (Asrock Z370Taichi) on-board DSP processor.
So leaving on-board enable, might even be a benefit.
Creative Labs sells an OEM software package to motherboard manufacturers, that give on-board audio some of the same features, that come with Creative sound cards,
So I'm guessing some of that same software might be included, with the USB Creative sound cards.
 
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Cyph3r92

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Yeah specs wise the SBX G6 actually seems surprisingly good, according to Creative it one-ups the AE-5 card as well. I'll leave the onboard alone then if the G6 will just bypass everything.

Well, fingers crossed it lives up to expectations when it arrives!
 
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I'm concerned about shoving a soundcard into my PC for a few reasons:

1. Meshify C is tiny and , I'd have to put the souncard literally 1cm above my PSU and right underneath my 1080Ti which just seems like, well an awful idea regarding isolation (my build is pretty snug)
2. Blocking airflow to my 1080Ti
3. Creative drivers

So I do like the idea of the GSX being on my desk attaching via USB, driveless and generally not interfering with my rig.

However, the more I look into the GSX, the more "meh" it seems overall. Critical analysis of the specs seem to have it lacking, and if I'm spending that much money, I want something good.

So I then found another alternative - the Sound BlasterX G6 (https://uk.creative.com/p/sound-cards/sound-blasterx-g6), which I believe is essentially the AE-5 card in external USB DAC form? It also seems to have much better specs than the GSX1000 and it's cheaper as well.

But I can't really find anyone talking about it?
I think you already enumerated one reason why nobody's talking about it: the drivers. Even if it's an external unit, it's still gonna need those instead of just the usual USB audio drivers on Windows since it has that DSP to tweak the sound. Everytime I mention the AE-5 before people will bring up not wanting to deal with Creative drivers.


But it's either DIRECTLY blocking my 1080Ti fans (no thanks, it gets hot enough as it is). Or it's DIRECTLY above my 850w PSU. So unfortunately I don't have a sound card to test potential isolation issues, however I have read that it can be a big issue with AE-5 in close quarter builds especially when it's directly over the PSU which is what concerns me.
Unless the soundcard is running Class A, you have a fanless PSU that needs to let intake air blow through it and have hot air go up, or your intake fans out in front have such weak static pressure and low airflow volume that even on the bottom slot the graphics card will get starved of air (or you're after optimum silence running solely on air), I don't see any real problems putting a soundcard on the bottom slot.

Alternately you can install a Kraken G12 and a 360mm or 280mm CLC on the 1080Ti.
 
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