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Sound Card Worth It?

#21ClouddxPosted 8/28/2014 6:38:01 PM(edited)
Andrius posted...
Will a cheap $27 Asus like this http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829132020 work as well as a pricier thing like the Sound Blaster Z? Curious if they're all about the same or if more money really makes a difference.


The DG does not have Dolby capabilities thru optical, so you would have to use the analog jacks.

Like I said this(
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829132013&cm_re=xOnar-_-29-132-013-_-Product) is most likely the cheapest new sound card you're going to find that supports Dolby Digital Surround Sound.
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#22WerdnAndreWPosted 8/28/2014 6:37:10 PM
When you use optical you're bypassing the sound cards DAC so it wouldn't make sense to buy an expensive card just for optical.
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#23FossilPosted 8/28/2014 6:37:35 PM
fatali posted...
The sound you get from the 5.1 integrated sound, and the 5.1 sound you get from a sound card will be EXACTLY THE SAME.

Waste of money if your integrated sound is working without problems.


Factually wrong as others have stated. A sound card can and will clean up distortion and make the speakers sound better and cleaner. This is exactly what happened when I got a sound card for my 5.1 system.
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#24ClouddxPosted 8/28/2014 6:40:53 PM(edited)
WerdnAndreW posted...
When you use optical you're bypassing the sound cards DAC so it wouldn't make sense to buy an expensive card just for optical.


Right, but the Z-5500s have their own DAC/AMP I believe. So getting a sound card for Dolby Digital/DTS is definitely worth it.
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i7-920 @ 3.6 // 770 GTX // 12GB G.Skill Ram // My Setup: https://imgur.com/a/2Gd8M
FiiO e9+17 // AKG Q701 + M50 // Deck 82 // G27 // Qanba Q1 // PS3/360
#25ghostly12Posted 8/28/2014 6:40:56 PM
There have been tests done it before. The majority of people couldn't tell a difference between a sound card or onboard sound. They claimed to be able to tell a difference when they thought there was a sound card being used in some of the tests, even when there was no sound card.

Over all, I think they are a waste of money unless you have really good headphones. A sound card *does* make a difference on high end sound systems, but if you are using a pair of 80 dollar speakers or headphones, don't bother. I've got 200 dollar headphones and still don't use a sound card
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#26ClouddxPosted 8/28/2014 6:42:58 PM(edited)
ghostly12 posted...
There have been tests done it before. The majority of people couldn't tell a difference between a sound card or onboard sound. They claimed to be able to tell a difference when they thought there was a sound card being used in some of the tests, even when there was no sound card.

Over all, I think they are a waste of money unless you have really good headphones. A sound card *does* make a difference on high end sound systems, but if you are using a pair of 80 dollar speakers or headphones, don't bother. I've got 200 dollar headphones and still don't use a sound card


What pair of headphones? If they're low powered of course it might sound the same, but anything that needs to be powered will sound better with an AMP/DAC combo.

I can definitely tell a difference b/t my onboard and DAC/AMP with my Q701s as they have a higher impedance than cheap headphones.
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i7-920 @ 3.6 // 770 GTX // 12GB G.Skill Ram // My Setup: https://imgur.com/a/2Gd8M
FiiO e9+17 // AKG Q701 + M50 // Deck 82 // G27 // Qanba Q1 // PS3/360
#27darklink1017Posted 8/28/2014 6:42:37 PM
Clouddx posted...
darklink1017 posted...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829102066&cm_re=sound_blaster_z-_-29-102-066-_-Product

They're going for $60 refurbed, I'd jump on it to be honest.


Oops, if that's the same one I was looking at it I misread, it does have Dolby sound. It's a great price, but I'd rather get the Xonar card new for $60.


The Xonar is better from what I've read for music and games, but I cannot give an opinion on it since I don't have personal experience with it.

Take your pick though. Either one should be a great step up from integrated.
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#28aak57Posted 8/28/2014 6:52:09 PM(edited)
ghostly12 posted...
There have been tests done it before. The majority of people couldn't tell a difference between a sound card or onboard sound. They claimed to be able to tell a difference when they thought there was a sound card being used in some of the tests, even when there was no sound card.

Link(s)? And if they just pulled random people, I really wouldn't consider that valid considering the majority of randoms wouldn't be able to notice stuff like anti-aliasing even though that is obviously a real thing. Give them some "training" and they could though.
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#29ClouddxPosted 8/28/2014 6:58:18 PM(edited)
ghostly12 posted...
There have been tests done it before. The majority of people couldn't tell a difference between a sound card or onboard sound. They claimed to be able to tell a difference when they thought there was a sound card being used in some of the tests, even when there was no sound card.

Over all, I think they are a waste of money unless you have really good headphones. A sound card *does* make a difference on high end sound systems, but if you are using a pair of 80 dollar speakers or headphones, don't bother. I've got 200 dollar headphones and still don't use a sound card


http://www.tested.com/tech/pcs/454839-tested-why-high-end-pc-sound-card-matters/

www.tomshardware.com/reviews/high-end-pc-audio,3733.html

Yeh, IDK where you're getting your info from.

Also utilizing the Optical Output of the sound card will produce almost no buzz/static that you do receive with analog audio.
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FiiO e9+17 // AKG Q701 + M50 // Deck 82 // G27 // Qanba Q1 // PS3/360
#30UberLurkerPosted 8/28/2014 8:17:55 PM(edited)
Fossil posted...
fatali posted...
The sound you get from the 5.1 integrated sound, and the 5.1 sound you get from a sound card will be EXACTLY THE SAME.

Waste of money if your integrated sound is working without problems.


Factually wrong as others have stated. A sound card can and will clean up distortion and make the speakers sound better and cleaner. This is exactly what happened when I got a sound card for my 5.1 system.


Actually if you're using an HDMI or optical connection where the signal is 100% digital then yes, integrated output will sound the same as a sound card's. In this case its what you hook up to the other end of the connection (for example an A/V receiver) that will determine the audio quality, it all comes down to the DAC. Digital signals by their nature cannot be degraded, you either receive it or you don't... this is why $5 HDMI cables are just as good as gold plated Monster Cable abominations. 1's and 0's man!

If you're using the analog outputs, such as the usual 3.5mm jacks, then indeed sound cards usually beat integrated, again owing to the quality of the DAC.

Its ultimately the conversion from digital to analog where signal degradation occurs.

Perhaps this is what fatali was referring to?

EDIT:

OK I oversimplified the issue a bit! Digital signals can degrade but it's usually a function of cable length, you'll get a more-or-less perfect signal up to a certain distance after which the signal quality will bottom out quickly. Analog signals on the other hand start attenuating right from the start and are subject to interference. The end result is that for short runs you'll generally get a functionally perfect signal when going digital whereas when you go analog you have to work much harder to keep your signal integrity.

Here's a pretty good write up on the technical details:

http://www.yamahaproaudio.com/global/en/training_support/better_sound/part1/06/