A sound-card/headset query

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On my MSI m-ATX board I was using the on-board RealTek audio chip until
the right-channel failed and so I fitted a Creative Audigy SE board that
was to hand. This works fine except that I seem to have lost the feed to
the front panel headset sockets. If I re-enable the Realtek device in
BIOS I get them back but then lose the Audigy SE capabilities and so no
right-channel. BTW, the headset sockets are connected directly to the
motherboard because the Audigy one doesn't have such a connector.

Now the question, is this normal or am I expecting too much? Is there
normally an analogue take-off from a typical sound-card through the PCI
bus that would feed front-panel sockets or do I need a board with this
type of connector? My audio requirements are modest and the price of a
medium specification sound-card is (here in the UK) about the same as a
new m-ATX socket-775 board so it is really, I suppose, a no-brainer.

It goes without saying that I have tried every menu I can find and
re-loaded all drivers.

TIA - Joe

P.S. If it matters, I'm running under Vista Home Premium.

Re: A sound-card/headset query

On Fri, 26 Jun 2009 22:05:20 +0100, Joe McElvenney

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This is normal.  The motherboard pin header for front panel
output is only for the motherboard integral sound.  However,
you should not have to disable or re-enable the onboard
sound in the bios, you can have two sound devices enabled
and pick which one to use as the default device for
particular applications in the operating system.  For
example in windows it's in Control Panel under sounds or
audio devices.  Some applications also support picking which
sound device to use without having to set it as the default
in Control Panel.

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Yes there is often, but not always, an analog pin header to
provide front panel sound on midrange or better sound cards.
Sometimes it is on cheap ones but often the cheaper they get
the more likely it isn't present and with Creative Labs
cards they probably do it just to differentiate their high
priced alternatives as you can get other sound cards costing
little if any more than Audigy SE with the pin header you

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Define what medium specifications are.  I don't know UK
pricing but a typical 5.1 or more channel sound card with a
pin header might be found in the US for about $20, while any
reasonable quality motherboard costs >= 3X that much.

You didn't mention which motherboard you have, so we'd know
if it has PCI-e slots (and if any are available for use),
but personally I would go the route of seeking a PCI-e sound
card so it frees up PCI bus bandwidth, and since there are
fewer and fewer PCI slots on new motherboards these days...
presuming that if you get a halfway decent PCI-e sound card
it will be desirable to reuse it with the next system so
long as it has driver support for your preferred OS at that
point in time.

Re: A sound-card/headset query

Joe McElvenney wrote:
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After looking at a few sound cards, trying to find something with a
2x5 front panel header, I had to give up.

What about a solution like this. This is a USB to stereo audio
adapter. You could plug this into the computer, to get front
audio. It comes with a short adapter cable, in case the area
around the USB is too crowded to allow the adapter to be seated.
It uses a CMedia CM108 USB to audio chip. I don't know whether
this setup, would automatically flip from Creative card, to
using the CM108, but it is relatively cheap. Worst case, you'd
need to select sound devices, before using the headset plugged
into this.

StarTech ICUSBAUDIOB 2 Channels USB Interface Black Audio Adapter $20


Several companies make these adapters, and the brands offered
may be different where you live.


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