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Another sound card thread, The dying art of finding a new audio card
Rubeus
post Feb 5 2012, 00:31
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Let me start by saying I've frequented this forum a lot in the past years. There is a lot of great information here.

My issue is this: I'm upgrading my computer, and my new motherboard does not have a regular PCI slot on it. This means I can't use my Audigy 4 Pro any more, which I have been extremely happy with, aside from a few bugs with it. What I need is something comparable. The external box/front panel isn't a requirement, but it would be nice. I would like the 192HZ 24bit playback, which seems fairly common these days. SPDIF in would be nice, but, not required. I'm looking for something in the 7.1 flavor.

I use my system for music, movies, gaming, and recording. From what I've seen, most cards these days are either high-quality in/out without 7.1 support(Like Emu cards, afaik), or HT/gaming cards with no features for people doing recording(XFi based cards afaik). I haven't been able to find anything that combines those features, but I may have overlooked something. If there is no such thing, I can use my current machine as a dedicated recording box, so the HT type features are a little higher on my list.

It seems like most sound cards currently available are at least several years old; I'm guessing with the spread of digital sound via SPID and HDMI, sound cards are becoming a thing of the past, possibly because of the nature of digital audio, that the sound card doesn't matter any more? From what I understand, it's the DAC that really determines the sound quality when being output to an analog device.

Anyways, I know Aurentech used to be well-respected back in the day. What would your opinions be on something like the Forte? Can anyone tell me how Asus Xonars and Omegas compare? Any thoughts or comments would be much appreciated; I'm a bit stumped here.

FYI- This will be connecting to a Yamaha Aventage 3010 w/ Paradigm speakers.
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saratoga
post Feb 5 2012, 02:54
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Do you even need a sound card given that you have the Yamaha? Sounds like you could just do digital out to the receiver and use it for playback and recording. Or is it missing something you need?
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Rubeus
post Feb 5 2012, 06:03
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That could potentially work; but the motherboard I'm getting is a workstation board, and has built-in sound that was crappy even back in 2000, and no digital out or in. I will need a sound card anyways, and I want something that sounds great so I can plug headphones into it for times like those hot summer days when keeping a hot receiver powered down is in my best interest.
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andy o
post Feb 5 2012, 09:42
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If you buy any AMD or NV card nowadays, it will have an HDMI option which can perfectly take care of your 7.1 needs. Then you can buy one of the pro cards for recording.
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JJZolx
post Feb 5 2012, 10:28
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QUOTE (Rubeus @ Feb 4 2012, 16:31) *
My issue is this: I'm upgrading my computer, and my new motherboard does not have a regular PCI slot on it. This means I can't use my Audigy 4 Pro any more, which I have been extremely happy with, aside from a few bugs with it.


If it's important to you and you have a card that works well, why not buy a motherboard _with_ a PCI slot? There's certainly no shortage of them.

QUOTE
I'm guessing with the spread of digital sound via SPID and HDMI, sound cards are becoming a thing of the past, possibly because of the nature of digital audio, that the sound card doesn't matter any more?


I'd guess it's the inclusion of onboard sound on almost virtually every motherboards today that has nearly killed the market for sound cards. And yes, most also give you the ability to bypass the onboard sound by running digital out to a receiver.
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Rubeus
post Feb 5 2012, 17:55
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I'd get a motherboard with PCI, but I'm looking at workstation boards where they have PCI-e, but no PCI. PCI just doesn't come on the style of board I am going to purchase(I need it for a specialized purpose). These same boards rarely have anything but a basic 4 channel + mic analog sound option. They use the Realtek ALC262 which is CAPABLE of in/out digital, but they just don't have the ports on the boards.

So if I am using the receiver for everything, and hook it up to the pc via digital(lets say optical), there would be no difference in quality between a $50 basic card and a $300 brand name card? Would I be mission out with a cheap card, with things like hardware processing, cmss, EAX, bit-perfect options, etc? I've been out of the loop for a while, and I remember it used to make a pretty large impact with performance when switching from onboard to an add-in card...

Things were a lot easier back in the day when all I had to do was look at the Audigy line-up for the best price/performance stuff.
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Batman321
post Feb 5 2012, 20:39
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Onboard chips used to be like crap but today they are surprisingly good and versatile.

But if you still want to buy an add-in card, get an X-Fi, they have all you could ever need.
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