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Sound card suggestions...

Discussion in 'Computer Audio' started by a kodak moment, Aug 24, 2012.
  1. a kodak moment
    I have a budget of $200
    I need it to have an Optical in and an Optical out because they are plugging into my 5.1 home theater receiver and the is the best input it has. The optical in is so I can plug my 360 or PS3 into the card.
    I will use it for 70% games, 25% movies, and 5% music.
    Have been looking at the  Creative Recon3D Fatal1ty Pro, Creative X-Fi Titanium HD, HT Omega Claro II, and the HT Omega Claro Halo. Have not been looking at any ASUS cards because most, if not all, don't have dual optical. Also thinking about the HT Omega Striker if I can find one.
    Need good 3D sound for games. Recently purchased a Plantronics Gamercom 780 USB Headset
  2. stv014
    Do you actually intend to use the analog outputs or inputs of the card ? If not, then there is not much point buying a high quality one. The X-Fi Titanium (not HD) has optical input and output, good 3D audio support, and is inexpensive. I do not have one myself, though, so I cannot tell for sure if it really suits your needs.
  3. a kodak moment
    I'll probably never use the analog, but I need to make sure it has good 3d capabilities and has dolby digital live for the optical ports
  4. PurpleAngel Contributor
    Why not just plug your PS3 and xBox into the receiver?
  5. a kodak moment
    Because my receiver is an older Sony one and it has no HDMI and I want good audio from my whichever console I use. Plus the receiver only has 1 optical in. Other than that, it only has RCA plugs.
  6. cel4145
    Does your graphics card on your computer have HDMI out? If so, you are probably better off going for a new HT receiver.
    As for the Plantronics gaming headset you bought, does it need a good sound card? Isn't it a USB sound card onto itself that you load your drivers on Windows and it just works with whatever sound card is already there (or in spite of whatever sound card is already there). 
  7. NamelessPFG
    Can't you just buy a Toslink/optical S/PDIF input switch that you can connect all your consoles and the PC to at once, and use the switch to share the single receiver input? It'll be a lot less complicated than trying to pass through console S/PDIF signals through a PC sound card, especially factoring in Dolby Digital and DTS.
    This $43 shipped X-Fi Titanium deal is about as good as it gets. Might as well grab it while it's hot!
  8. PurpleAngel Contributor
    Get a receiver with at least three HDMI inputs, HDMI can transfer 8-channels (7.1) audio in PCM format (which is better then optical).
    Does your computer's graphics card come with HDMI output?
    Get a decent used receiver off Craigslist, get a Yamaha because they usually come standard with headphone surround sound (Silent Cinema).
  9. a kodak moment
    My graphics card does not support sound over HDMI. I'm not sure how my USB headset will work. I don't even know if I'll use my headset for movies. I've got a pair of Pioneer headphones with a normal 3.5 jack that sound great with movies and music. The headset was gotten mostly for gaming. I'm not able to get a new receiver at this time and I don't do craigslist because I don't have a vehicle. If anything, I'll save for a few months and get and Onkyo 7.1 system. I went ahead and purchased the Creative X-Fi Titanium HD because the HT Omega Claro II was not in my budget.
  10. cel4145
    You should wait until you see how your USB gaming headset works before buying a sound card. If you don't need a sound card for gaming, then you are going the wrong (and more expensive) direction for good audio if you are trying to build a HT setup with multichannel audio from your PC. And if you can't do Craigslist, accessories4less.com carries affordable factory refurbished, factory warrantied Onkyos and Denons. Then all you need to stream 2 channel audio is optical out from your PC, and that card that NamelessPFG linked to would be more than suitable; there are even cheaper cards that would work well for that. 
  11. a kodak moment
    Update: Plantronics Gamecom 780 sounds amazing. Only con is the actual lack of an equalizer. Did not need the sound card due to the headset being USB. Returned it and upgraded my video card from a 4870 to a 6870. I will still get a sound card at a later date after I upgrade my home theater. Thank you all for your input.
  12. cel4145
    Awesome! I was hoping that would be the case for you. 
    Always more fun to upgrade a video card than put the money into a sound card [​IMG]
  13. NamelessPFG
    And yet I've been through THREE sound cards already while still using the same 8800 GT from five years ago...
    Admitted, I didn't really need to replace the X-Fi Prelude I originally used in my main computer, but I wanted to move it to an older one and get a more future-proof PCI-Express card in the process. As a result, I bought an X-Fi Forte, then traded that for an X-Fi Titanium HD.
    Also, I am feeling the itch for a new graphics card, especially when I'm going to purchase a new monitor on Saturday, but GTX 670s are expensive...and then they depreciate hard once a newer generation of graphics cards shows up. At this rate, we'll be on Maxwell (NVIDIA next-gen codename, after the current Kepler cards) before I finally make my move.
    Head-Fi isn't helping, either. Every time I get close to affording that new graphics card, I see a deal on Stax equipment I can't refuse...
  14. cel4145
    Yeah. But it's pretty easy to upgrade over the 8800GT and almost double frame rates without spending a fortune.  It never seems cost effective to buy the graphics cards near the top because they seem to drop 1/2 in price within 12 to 18 months. 
    But yeah. I hear you. I went from an M-Audio Revolutions 7.1, to a Xonar D1. And I replaced the D1 with the Xonar Essence STX with the "excuse" that I needed the D1 in another machine. And I simply "had to have" the separate headphone and L/R outputs on the STX (I have an HK 3390 powering my desktop speakers). LOL
    Although it certainly seems like the X-Fi Titanium HD, Essence ST/STX, and the top HT Omega cards are a plateau with nowhere to go for now with any appreciable gain from upgrading. That's a relief [​IMG]
  15. NamelessPFG
    That I can believe, but when I built that system almost five years ago, my requirement out of any future graphics card upgrades was basically "must run Crysis at Very High DX10, 60 FPS average, if not minimum". We're about at that point now, but it takes a $400 GTX 670 to get there.
    And if a graphics card can manhandle Crysis (and Metro 2033), everything else should run at 120 FPS easily, even maxed out. (Yes, I actually would perceive framerates over 60 FPS thanks to my choice of monitors.)
    I have little tolerance for low framerates, unfortunately for my wallet.

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