Soundcard recommendations
Feb 27, 2006 at 12:33 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 7

ldan

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Hello,

I'm currently searching for a replacement for my aging and noticably dying SoundBlaster PCI512. Tha card will be connected to a PA2V2 (http://www.electric-avenues.com/audio8.html) amp, which is connected to my HD595. After reading some of the postings here I thought of buying a Chaintech AV-710 but I was unable to find any shop located in Europe that has them for sale, so I have to find another card.

So far I've been considering either an E-mu 0404 or a Creative X-Fi XtremeMusic (which both are propably way better than the Chaintech), but I have no idea which one of these will provide the better sound. My main focus is on listening to music (rock/classical, ripped to flac, a few 96kHz/24Bit recordings), but the card should also be able to handle DVDs and games. How good are the X-Fi features (especially the surround -> stereo thing)? Has anyone an idea how large the output quality difference between the two cards is? Could it be audible, considering my existing equipment? Is there any other soundcard available for less than the price of these that can be expected to provide the same quality?

Thanks in advance for your answers!
 
Feb 27, 2006 at 12:51 PM Post #2 of 7

jiiteepee

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Quote:

Originally Posted by ldan
Hello,

I'm currently searching for a replacement for my aging and noticably dying SoundBlaster PCI512. Tha card will be connected to a PA2V2 (http://www.electric-avenues.com/audio8.html) amp, which is connected to my HD595. After reading some of the postings here I thought of buying a Chaintech AV-710 but I was unable to find any shop located in Europe that has them for sale, so I have to find another card.

So far I've been considering either an E-mu 0404 or a Creative X-Fi XtremeMusic (which both are propably way better than the Chaintech), but I have no idea which one of these will provide the better sound. My main focus is on listening to music (rock/classical, ripped to flac, a few 96kHz/24Bit recordings), but the card should also be able to handle DVDs and games. How good are the X-Fi features (especially the surround -> stereo thing)? Has anyone an idea how large the output quality difference between the two cards is? Could it be audible, considering my existing equipment? Is there any other soundcard available for less than the price of these that can be expected to provide the same quality?

Thanks in advance for your answers!



Since there is an analog input only on PA2V2 --> get a card with good DAC (like the E-MU 0404 from your own choices). I suppose you would not need the PA2V2 with the X-Fi.

jiitee
 
Feb 27, 2006 at 1:30 PM Post #3 of 7

ldan

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Thanks for your advice, jiiteepee, but I'm still not convinced about the best way to go...

Quote:

Originally Posted by jiiteepee
I suppose you would not need the PA2V2 with the X-Fi.


Why wouldn't I need the amp for the XtremeMusic? Does it already have one build into the card, that provides better sound quality than the PA2V2? Would I be better off forgetting the amp and just plugging the headphones into a X-Fi? So what I'm asking is, which configuration would propably sound the best:
  1. XtremeMusic -> HD595
  2. E-mu 0404 -> PA2V2 -> HD595
  3. Anything else?
Please excuse me, if I post stupid/repetitive questions here, but I'm not very experienced with soundcards...
 
Feb 27, 2006 at 1:48 PM Post #4 of 7

jiiteepee

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Quote:

Originally Posted by ldan
Thanks for your advice, jiiteepee, but I'm still not convinced about the best way to go...


Why wouldn't I need the amp for the XtremeMusic? Does it already have one build into the card, that provides better sound quality than the PA2V2? Would I be better off forgetting the amp and just plugging the headphones into a X-Fi? So what I'm asking is, which configuration would propably sound the best:
  1. XtremeMusic -> HD595
  2. E-mu 0404 -> PA2V2 -> HD595
  3. Anything else?
Please excuse me, if I post stupid/repetitive questions here, but I'm not very experienced with soundcards...



It has enough output power for Headphones --> and wouldn't your signal go through it to PA2V2? --> quality remains or gets worse.

jiitee
 
Feb 27, 2006 at 1:51 PM Post #5 of 7

BushGuy

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Since you mention the Chaintech card - it seems fair to assume you're inquiring about a card primarily to be used for music............actually, I believe the best card for you to be ESI (or now EGO) Juli@. (found in US $129, and readily available in Europe). A consideration for some in choosing the EMu 0404 is the "bloom" it provides the bass - which is not a need in your case with the HD595. Yes, I have been using the 0404 and also the Juli@ on another machine, and think these are both very good cards to consider. BUT, SB, Audigy, and XFI cards are not in the same league at all. I despise those Creative cards for music.
 
Feb 27, 2006 at 5:40 PM Post #6 of 7

ldan

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Yes, you're right BushGuy, I'm looking for a card for playing music.
The Juli@ already looks quite nice, but I'm not certain how I could connect the card to the amplifier. Which side of the card would I have to use? Can I simply plug a 6.35mm to 3.5mm adapter into the balanced TRS socket and connect it to the amp? Or would I have to get an adapter from RCA to TRS and plug the amp into that... Considering that I know very little about the audio jacks currently in use, is there any page on the internet, that explains, which type should be used for a certain task?

I also wonder if there are any less pricey cards, that I could get (somewhere between 50 and 100$). Of course they wouldn't be as good as the Juli@ but I guess the Juli@ would be a bit oversized for my demands anyway. After all I'm only looking for good audio playback, it doesn't need to be perfect.
 
Feb 27, 2006 at 9:12 PM Post #7 of 7

BushGuy

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Juli@ comes out of the box setup for RCA use............you need to buy an RCA-> mini Y cable as the amp you mention is one mini input. Actually that is simpler than EMu 0404..........costs = complete enjoyment factor divided by X years
smily_headphones1.gif
instead of woulda, coulda, shoulda.
 

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