Looking for a decent audio card

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Well, this RealTek AC'97 audio builtin to my mobo just isn't doing it,
especially not with my nice speaker setup.  So I'm looking to get something
to replace my fried 2-year-old Audigy 2 ZS.

I don't really know what I'm looking for.  It's going to need to be able to
handle digital signals, but also composite signals (my current speaker set
is analog).  Do they even make a sound card that does both?  Also, my
current speakers are 5.1 but I could possibly see myself upgrading to, say,
6.1 at some point in the future, so I'd like an upgrade path available.

Other than that the sound card just needs to have an audio-in line (not
mic-in) for my TV tuner.

Oh yeah, and cheap is good.  Depending on how much more some of these extra
features cost I may just end up getting the "base" model that can play my
current speaker set and that's it.

So, do you guys have any particular brands or models to recommend?  Are
there any good audio card sales going on right now?  (/me is being wishful)

~ Cyde Weys ~

Sub veste quisque nudus est.

Re: Looking for a decent audio card

On Sat, 22 Apr 2006 01:22:12 -0500, Cyde Weys

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A few cards do have optical out in addition to the jacks for
5.1, 6.1, even 7.1 sometimes.  Newegg or another 'site with
good product pictures can be an easy way to see what's on
the card bracket.

If it's for a weak system that needs all the help it can get
(a few single-digit percent framerate benefit "sometimes")
from an underpowered CPU for gaming, a recent vintage
Creative Labs card is the answer.  That is, IF you want to
game with EAX rear channel support... some people don't.

With a strong CPU, software Sensaura gaming support is
enough, you can save some money then (or if gaming isn't an
issue/problem/whatever) and get something like a Chaintech
AV-710.  You'll have to enumerate all the features you must
have though, if that's a long list it will knock most
low-end cards out of the running.

Re: Looking for a decent audio card

Hi Ive used a creative 5.1 live digital card for a few years now & I'm
very impressed with it


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Re: Looking for a decent audio card

The latest Creative Labs X-Fi series of sound cards have 10x the number of
transistors that the Audigy's did.  And it SOUNDS wonderful!  Highly
Note:  I'm running Cambridge Soundworks 2.1 speakers that cost me $500 new.
High fidelity.


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Re: Looking for a decent audio card

On Sat, 22 Apr 2006 16:04:48 -0700, "DaveW"

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The problem is Creative knows almost nothing about audio.
They keep thinking "digital reprocessing" instead of the
bare necessities for a good audio signal.  They want to
alter the signal for you instead of preserving it intact.

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