What to look for in sound card?
Jan 18, 2011 at 9:34 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 28


100+ Head-Fier
Mar 6, 2007
Im looking for an amp solution that would match an ER4 or an AD700.  I don't own the ad700 yet, but i'm strongly considering that or a DT880, depending on what amp solution I decide.
I would like something that has excellent positional qualities (for gaming) and will make a drastic improvement in sound quality.    
I'm mostly confused about all this X-Fi, EAX features.  I see a lot of rave for them, then I see posts that say not many games utilize them or that they are becoming obsolete.
I hear DACs are an expensive option (my budget is around $200ish) and they need to be married with a home theatre amplifier.  I also hear they aren't great for gaming.  It makes music sound nice but positional qualities are absent.
At the moment I am thinking of the Xonar STX for its sound capabilities and the Fatality X-fi, due to its front panel port and x-fi.
So, any help on what to get?
thanks in advance
Jan 18, 2011 at 9:48 PM Post #2 of 28
I highly recommend the Auzentech X-Fi Prelude 
The only problem it's PCI and not PCI Express. 
Absolutely fantastic  for Music, Film and Games. .
Cheers !
Jan 19, 2011 at 6:46 PM Post #3 of 28
I also agree with Auzentech (X-Fi chipset powered, that is) for your needs. Being PCI isn't an issue (unless your motherboard no longer supports it), actually can be good as so far PCIe implementations for soundcards haven't been the best.
Jan 20, 2011 at 6:44 AM Post #4 of 28
You can find a Auzentech X-Fi forte alot easier then you can a prelude unless you get lucky. Tho the forte does have a headphone amp. AD700 dont really need a headphone amp but i seen few people mention that it helps., Tho when I org had the AD700 i ran it without one.
Jan 21, 2011 at 5:26 AM Post #5 of 28
You probably won't find a brand new Prelude anymore. I heard the Forte would be restocked by the end of this month but who knows... It has been unavailable since last summer.
Jan 22, 2011 at 7:30 AM Post #7 of 28

Save yourself a headache and just get the ASUS XONAR or HDVA series,,,,,,GL>>>>>>HF

danz24 wants to game, so Asus is not the option to go to. Original or modded X-Fi chipsets are the best when it comes to gaming. Asus has a laughable EAX emulation that ever since D2X came out, still is buggy and underperforming. Any X-Fi above XtremeMusic or XtremeGamer will do (NEVER get a XtremeAudio, those are rebranded older hardware).
Jan 22, 2011 at 4:04 PM Post #8 of 28
Before you get a PCI Express sound card, make sure your motherboard supports long PCI-E cards. My ASRock motherboard had a heatsink for the integrated video chip sat right behind the PCI-E slot, so my Auzen Bravura could not fit in.
I had to take out the heatsink, but I believe that voids the motherboard warranty, and in any case it was so hard to get it off that it's impossible to get it back on again.
Jan 23, 2011 at 7:30 AM Post #9 of 28
The op dont have to get a creative chipset card to game, Just because Asus has emulation for EAX5 do not mean it not good for  gaming. Not every one cares for EAX when it comes to gaming. Its up to the op if he wants EAX 3-4 and actual EAX5 or if he fine with EAX5 emulation. He dont have to use the emulation either. I have used the EAX5 emulation sure its not perfect but it works good enough.  The GX2.5 function is not perfect but I find it working most of the time. The only games where I see GX2.5 cause issues is those which act the same way when Alchemy is used with them. I only came across a few of them. I mosty dont use it as I dont need it muiti channel speaker function nor do I miss having EAX5 enough to use the emulation all the time.
A creative chipset card is not the only option for gaming just because it has EAX  and EAX5 native, Asus and HT omega halo cards work very good for gaming even if they have limited or no EAX5. Auzentech does have X-FI Chipset based cards as well that the op can go for if he wants the EAX 3-5 Function. But It dont always have to be creative when it comes to gaming. The op can just pick what have what he wants. People need to realize the choice is bigger then what it used to be.
But yea op your mobo layout  depending on how they have stuff placed on the mobo can get in the way of your PCIE sound card or even PCI. Tho boards with very low HS around the edges of there mosfet sinks should give you breathing room to install the card if its the PCIE slot that near it.
Jan 23, 2011 at 9:17 AM Post #10 of 28
There's a huge choice now compared to the old days. Still, gaming is still at a point where if you want to game, you have to get a creative. Just read every single review out there comparing the lowest X-Fi (except XtremeAudio) to any soundcard. It's not just that Creative has support for EAX 3-5, their hardware does process positional cues better. You might not miss EAX 5, but I surely miss EAX 3, which is from that version onwards that only Creative supports it. Despite me having a much better DAC when comparing to my X-Fi usb, I still plug it in if I want to do some gaming, as it is clearly superior. Many people think that with the jump to Vista/7 OS, that there is no longer need for EAX, but they forget that it is still used through OpenAL. And I don't know why you chose not to read that I also advised Auzentech, as long as it was a X-Fi powered card.
Again, read any reviews comparing X-Fi cards to competition (when it comes to gaming, that is) and you'll see why it's superior to all the others.
Now, for things other than gaming, Creative is surely not that great, but they still hold the gaming crown.
Jan 23, 2011 at 11:36 AM Post #11 of 28
I used to own creative cards and cards that used creative chipsets, I know how EAX3-4 and EAX5 sound like ,The Reviews dont mean a thing. Most of them never used any thing other then the creative card. But then the reviews tend to be reviewed by users who care about EAX 3-4 and EAX5. The point I was making that You do not need to have EAX3-4 or EAX5 when your gaming it not a must to enjoy gaming. You dont seem to realize that not every one care or use EAX when they game. Some people turn it off.  I see audio quailty as the most important factor then a effect. EAX isnt part of audio quailty its a function. I  was not bashing creative or its chipsets. I was stating that its a choice of a user,if you want and like EAX then by all means use it. But dont tell people that they must have it to play a game or to enjoy a game because that would be lying to them as it a matter of choice for the option or not which is why i responded to your post.  Now if games start telling you to gtfo because you dont have EAX then I see it as a must to have to game. Tho I sure that would just annoy folks instead.
I also never said EAX was dead, you shouldnt had got that from my posts. I said it wasnt a must have to game.I already know openal can do EAX in fact I tell people that all the time when they mention EAX is dead on other forums.I my self keeps repeating my self on it being alive in openal esle where.
Jan 23, 2011 at 12:39 PM Post #12 of 28
Excluding some games which only implement EAX up to version 2, which is what every single gaming card from other brands might support, proper EAX implementation makes a world of difference, which any emulation can't accomplish. A good example is the Battlefield games series, which have very good EAX. From the moment that a competing product like Xonar D2X has clipping and underperforms with positional cues, and even making games have lower fps because they don't process any of the hardware features, other than EAX, that Creative has, then it's definitely not something to get for gaming. But don't get me wrong, I'm all in favor of a desktop having a Creative soundcard to game, and another one with higher SQ for everything else. Just that gaming IS for Creative soundcards (Auzentech included).
Forget that it's about EAX, just think of how games just work and sound better on Creative hardware, just like the majority of games run faster on Nvidia. If the hardware is already ok, or on some models so so, and the developers optimize it for certain hardware, then there's no point in advising some other manufacturer that will underperform.
Jan 23, 2011 at 1:39 PM Post #13 of 28
To me the  Fps lost is just a over-reaction, I didnt loose any FPS at all not even a 1-2fps lost, When I moved away from a Auzentech X-Fi Prelude to a HDAV1.3. This was when I was on a Q6600, maybe it was because I had a q6600 which why I did not see a lost . Even now I dont see the fps lost when I game on my improved setup, even if the 1-2fps was their, I not gonna get into a fuzz over it when my games already fly. maybe if the person had a dual core or single core then they prolly would notice it.I mention a couple times that the emulation of EAX5 was not perfect and worked good enough for me when I came off a X-Fi Prelude to a Xonar HDAV1.3.
When you forget about EAX all together then it become open game and becomes about audio quailty rather then features that one might or might not care for. Creative is not perfect ,just like Asus isnt perfect as well as other hardware makers.hardware is gonna act up for people reguardless of the maker rather it works for one group and not for another. 
Gonna stop because I dont want this thread to get locked because we dont agree with each other. Then make the op start pulling his hair out because of that.
Jan 23, 2011 at 2:03 PM Post #14 of 28
There is no such thing as EAX 5 emulation, for starters. Only Creative soundcards can do anything above EAX 2, which is what all Asus only supports. The shift in computer gaming audio happened due to arguments between major corps when Vista kernel surfaced.
Just like increased video settings lower fps, so do increased audio settings, as it required more cpu cycles, with Asus soundcards, that is, as they don't offload the audio pipeline to the soundcard, letting the cpu do all the work.
My point is, for gaming go for Creative, for everything else, go for other brands, like Asus.
Jan 23, 2011 at 2:11 PM Post #15 of 28
I take it you havent used a Xonar card recently have you. Because the DSGX 2.5(GX) had the emulation of EAX5 for a couple of years now. it is disabled when you turn off GX mode in the asus control panel. When its on the eax 5 emulation is enabled and games detect it as EAX5 even tho its emulated. When in vista/7 GX mode controlls EAX1-2 function as well. in XP it Doesnt.
But Yes the emulation does exist on asus cards thru the drivers and has been for a long while now. If The emulation didnt exist at all in asus drivers then games which has EAX5 wouldnt not Detect EAX5 from the emulation function of DSGX2.5. When the Xonar cards orginal came out the Emulation EAX5 in DSGX didnt exist. it didnt come til DSGX 2.0 was upgraded to 2.5 which when they started to add a way for games to let EAX5 work thru emulation.  Some one who havent used a Xonar cards or not lately wouldnt know about the it being added.
Yes I can prove it too.

Users who are viewing this thread