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OrigamiMan64

Sound Card

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I would like to buy a sound card to improve the sound quality on my computer, but I dont know exactly what I need. Right now I have incredible speakers, but the onboard motherboard sound seems crackely and uneven between them. I would like high quality sound for gaming, DVDs, and mp3s, but do not nessicarilly need surround sound support. I have seen that the range in prices goes from $11 to around $300. What would you recommend buying?

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You can find a SoundBlaster Live! card now for less then a $100. Still a good card and creates sounds that are very good for gameplay, and its used so much it is almost a standard.

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I recommend the basic Creative Aureal 2, the Turtle Beach Santa Cruz, or whatever Phillip''s top few choices are (any of their 5.1 cards ... they have lower cards that are stereo, 2.1, or 4.1) ...

The sound blsater live is ok, but the Aureal and Aureal 2 have MUCH better noise characteristics ... and an OEM Aureal 2 can be had for $70 online (places like www.mwave.com)

You should pay between $35-$100 for a sound card ... anything cheaper is rarely better than modern motherboards and anything more expensive is unnecesary ... unless you want the external gear or things like remote controls super dodad ...

Turtle Beach''s is the oldest and least powerful of my recommendations - but has great sound quality. Creative''s is the most powerful and most common, but Creative almost always has custom drivers with all sorts of panels that pop-up and stuff. I haven''t used the Phillips products, but the 5.1 that came out a year or 2 ago got very nice reviews from some audiophile website (and it''s only $100 dollars RETAIL, less online).

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quote:
Original post by codeguy
You can find a SoundBlaster Live! card now for less then a $100. Still a good card and creates sounds that are very good for gameplay, and its used so much it is almost a standard.


Actually...I believe SBLive! is selling for about 30-40 USD at www.creativelabs.com.



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$41 - PHILIPS SONIC EDGE 5.1
$55 - TURTLE BEACH SANTA CRUZ
$69 - CREATIVE LABS AUDIGY 2

these prices are at mwave.com for OEM version (non-boxed) ... I highly recommend you pick one of these cards (or a retail version if you want, or even the more expensive Platinum versions of the Audigy 2 if you want the extra remote and jack bay) ... but there is really no reason to get a worse card than these ... and the Live and Audigy 1 ARE worse ... the Live is much weaker processing wise than the Audigy and Audigy 2 ... and is much worse sonically than any of these choices ... the Audigy 2 is clearly the most powerfull choice, but I personally avoid creative sound cards due to their drivers (this is probably not an issue any more, but I haven''t got over my distaste for them - not exactly an objective opinion) ...

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I''d fork out for the creative. It will probably last you a long time, as the technology is just so damn good. I''ve got a Live, and that''s still kicking some major ass.

Also, if you''re having problems with cracklyness, make sure you check your cables, make sure your output isn''t too loud or too soft as well.

Good test is to test with another cable, and another input device to the speakers (like a diskman or something).

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did both of those tests... changing the wire didnt help, changing the input device did. I''m gonna buy the Creative Audigy 2 as soon as I can scrape together the money for it (I really need to find a job somewhere).

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While you are thinking of a sound card upgrade, you might want to think of a card with good recording facitities if you might want to fiddle around with your own sound effects, music or dialog. I have a Terratec DMX 6/fire which I think was around 250€ and has all the regular playback features + surround sound as well as many different input and output holes.
Mind you, it would only be a good choice to you if you are going to use the extra features.

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I only really need it to improve sound output... I don''t do any sound input of my own. If/when I need sounds or music, I''ll come here to find someone with talent in that area.

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