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Author Topic: Turtle Beach sound cards  (Read 4317 times)
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Turtle
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« on: October 17, 2004, 08:12:37 PM »

I remember hearing that the Turtle Beach Santa Cruz line was getting quite good reviews.  Stable, solid performance, not quite as feature packed as Creative, but not as finickey either.

What's the latest from the company?  How are their drivers?

I'm going to upgrade my sound card soon, partially for HL2, but also because my old SB Live value is having all sorts of strange sound problems.  So, I'll probably pickup a Santa Cruz for cheap.

Any other sound cards I should look into?  I've only got a 2 small speaker and subwoofer setup (the old Cambridge Soundworks one).  I'm not a sound enthusiast and I usually play with headphones.
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egrudzin
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« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2004, 03:56:13 AM »

Have you tried upgrading your drivers for the Live?  I know Creative has released a bunch of updates over the years for those cards.  Perhaps you are playing newer games that require the newer drivers?  I doubt this will help but it's worth a shot if you haven't done so already.

If you do get a new board I would suggest anything but a Creative card.  I have had nothing but problems with games.  I just finished Tron 2.0 and my Audigy had all kinds of static and popping during the game.  I have contemplated ripping the board out and using the onboard audio on my motherboard.  I won't be buying another Creative card.
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Thin_J
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« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2004, 05:14:41 AM »

Weird. Other than an odd issue with Xfire, I haven't had a single error or even remote problem with my Audigy 2 ZS.

It's played everything from Total Annihilation to Doom 3 without static or even so much as a single pop.
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EngineNo9
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« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2004, 08:20:56 AM »

I was having some random problems with my Live! Value until I finally gave up and used the onboard audio on my nForce 2 motherboard.  It doesn't support all of the EAX stuff, but I'm sick of supporting a shithead hardware company that can't support their products or update their drivers more often.  Hell, they were selling Live 5.1 cards for a year before they even had working drivers for that feature!
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« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2004, 12:54:09 PM »

Quote from: "egrudzin"
Have you tried upgrading your drivers for the Live?  I know Creative has released a bunch of updates over the years for those cards.  Perhaps you are playing newer games that require the newer drivers?  I doubt this will help but it's worth a shot if you haven't done so already.

To my knowledge, Creative updated their drivers ONCE for the Live line of cards - and that was when WinXP itself came out.

It's reasons like that that made me rip out my card in disgust and use my onboard sound from there on out.

Turtle Beach made a nice line of cards. If it's still good is another matter. I'm guessing yes though, personally.
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RookieCAF
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« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2004, 09:57:07 AM »

I'm no CL Fanboy, but I have no problems with my Live! 5.1 on my new Asus P4T533-C MB. Perfect! Now on my old Abit KT7 (Via Chipset) it was enough to make me want to stomp the card into dust...
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Hamsterball_Z
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« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2004, 07:33:49 PM »

The Santa Cruz is old and outdated and the new Catalina and Riviera suck (review here).  Right now the best affordable music card is the M-Audio Revolution and the best game card is the Audigy 2zs.  

The Revolution has taken the music card spot from the Santa Cruz.  It's advantage is better DACs and the ability to output 44Khz CD audio without upconverting to 48Khz like the Audigy and even the Santa Cruz do.  Disadvantage is no hardware acceleration for games.  It has Sensaura capabilities but Sensaura was bought by Creative so that's probably not going to see any further updating.  :?

The Audigy 2 has the latest EAX and hardware acceleration but converts all audio to 48Khz before processing.  From what other posters have said it also sounds like the Audigy's still have issues with VIA chipset motherboards.  

Even though I have a Revolution I'd say unless CD audio quality is very important to you get the Audigy 2 unless you have a VIA chipset motherboard.
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Nakor
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« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2004, 10:19:08 PM »

Yes, I'd definitely advise against the Santa Cruz. The drivers are horribly outdated and have problems with a lot of newer games that use 3D sound. It's a pity, because the sound card hardware is awesome.
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hitbyambulance
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« Reply #8 on: October 21, 2004, 01:00:13 PM »

i have a Santa Cruz - music quality (MP3, OGG, CD, etc) is *noticeably better than on my former SBLive or the nForce2 Soundstorm audio.  it doesn't support EAX 3 or 4, tho.
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Geezerone
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« Reply #9 on: October 21, 2004, 02:40:25 PM »

Quote from: "hitbyambulance"
i have a Santa Cruz - music quality (MP3, OGG, CD, etc) is *noticeably better than on my former SBLive or the nForce2 Soundstorm audio.  it doesn't support EAX 3 or 4, tho.


I had a Santa Cruz as well.  The Santa Cruz was the answer to that piece of shit SB Live.  However, I had to give it up due to the horrible echoing it created in Teamspeak. (Anyone having a Santa Cruz card on a Teamspeak channel create really bad echoing for everyone - it's a hardware bug).  I even tried onboard sound for a while until I got my Audigy 2.

Yes the SB live made me into a hardcore Creative hater, but the Audigy 2 has redeemed them in my eyes.  (Similar to Nvidia coming back to challenge ATI).

Do youself a favor, get an Audigy 2 and dont' look back.  You will not be sorry.
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disarm
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« Reply #10 on: October 21, 2004, 08:25:52 PM »

the Audigy2 is a great card...regardless of what people may say based on older products.  i've been using an Audigy2-ZS for about 10 months and it's been absolutely perfect...no driver/software issues, and the sound is incredible.  the SC may have sounded good a few years ago, but there's really no comparison to hearing the latest games with EAX 4.0HD on a nice surround system...
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« Reply #11 on: October 21, 2004, 08:30:59 PM »

What kind of serious difference would the newer Audigy have versus a Santa Cruz on a standard two speaker-one sub system? That's all I've got, so I don't run EAX (which I'm not even sure what the effects of this are) but it doesn't feel like I'm missing a lot. For example, Call of Duty is still deafening whenever I crank it up, and I don't notice any sound distortions or problems with my Santa Cruz. So what would motivate me to run out and pick up an Audigy? And what do those run, anyway? (basically, an excuse for me to not look at New Egg - everytime I do I wind up buying something, and I'm on a budget here biggrin).
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Thin_J
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« Reply #12 on: October 21, 2004, 08:48:39 PM »

I suppose with only 2 speakers most of the advanced features of the Audigy 2 are kind of useless.

Maybe you are better sticking with what you've got at least for the time being.
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jessie
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« Reply #13 on: October 21, 2004, 08:59:09 PM »

EAX is "Environemtnal Audio eXtensions."  

To put it simply, EAX adds environemntal effects to games.  Without EAX, there would be no audible difference between a gunshot in a cave and a gunshot in your living room, when in reality there is a huge difference there.  But it's not all reverb, either.   Occlusion, obstruction, morphing and panning are all part of EAX.  If you really want to understand it (and audio technology in general), there's a great article written by a russian developer named Alexey Menshikov at http://www.digit-life.com/articles2/sound-technology/

As far as a reccomendation, I can't make an unbiased one since I do work for Creative, but I feel that our driver support has gotten much better in the last couple of years since we released the Audigy and our relationship with game developers has netted us some great support in some very GOOD games.
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disarm
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« Reply #14 on: October 22, 2004, 05:30:16 AM »

the benefits aren't limited to someone with a surround system though.  like jessie said, EAX adds environmental effects to sounds...things like reverb, echoes, dampening of sounds that you're hearing through walls/objects.  it's really kind of hard to describe without hearing it for yourself, but it really does make a big difference...and each new version of EAX has made everything sound a little more realistic.  if you don't have a surround sound system, you still get many of the EAX benefits...and you would be surprised how well some games are able to mimic surround using only 2 speakers now.  it's all pretty impressive and developers are getting better at taking advantage of the abilities all the time.  when i got my new pc about a year ago, i made the switch from an old SBLive! to an Audigy2-ZS, and the difference is amazing...way more than i expected Cool

as for cost, you can pick up an Audigy2 for about $70 at Newegg...or you can get the Audigy2-ZS for $92.  the most obvious difference between the two is 7.1 channel surround support with the ZS (only 6.1 with the regular Audigy2)...not an issue if you don't have a surround setup.  it really is a great card though, and i do think you'd notice an improvement over your old TB-SC...even without a surround setup.

maybe someone else who has made the change will jump in and back me up...
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whiteboyskim
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« Reply #15 on: October 22, 2004, 03:06:11 PM »

Might have to put this on the wish list for my birthday in February then. smile
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« Reply #16 on: October 22, 2004, 03:52:22 PM »

Well, after trying an alternative to Creative, I eventually made the change from my Hercules Fortissimo III (not quite as good as the Santa Cruz but roughly equivalent) to an Audigy 2-ZS.  World of difference in favor of the Audigy 2-ZS, and I just have a basic 2.1 speaker setup.  Much better EAX and 3D sound support.

For gaming, IMHO the Audigy 2-ZS is a no brainer, with the caveat that a few folks still seem to experience some sort of system incompatibility with it.  The drivers seem fine and I haven't had any problems with my Intel mobo.
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« Reply #17 on: October 22, 2004, 05:32:15 PM »

Also, with the Audigy2 (I've got the ZS model) I love using my headphones on it as well.  These are stereo only headphones (Grado-60's if you must know) and you get an amazing surround effect on them.  This is due to the Audigy drivers working their magic.

So even without a full complement of surround speakers, the Audigy are highly recommended.  

PS: And I don't have any affiliation with Creative.
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« Reply #18 on: October 23, 2004, 02:37:45 AM »

You sons of bitches, you're making me want to get a new sound card!  

Since I'm lazy, what are the differences between the regular Audigy2 and the ZS?  I read the 6.1 vs 7.1, but since I play with headphones is there any real need for the ZS?
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Thin_J
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« Reply #19 on: October 23, 2004, 06:21:48 AM »

If you want to check out a review of the ZS model, check this out:

http://www.guru3d.com/article/sound/120/

If I remember correctly, it does go into some of the differences between the ZS and the older model.

One of the most impressive points from the review is that after switching soundcards to the ZS, UT2k4 shows an improvement of 20 frames per second(!!!!). Quite a large number for something as seemingly trivial as a sound card.

And the review ends with:
Highly Recommended.

 :wink:
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dangerballs
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« Reply #20 on: October 23, 2004, 07:38:02 AM »

Your Live! card is a lot more powerful than you think.  It can actually do much of was the Audigy can do.  You just need better drivers.  Check out the KX Project [ http://kxproject.lugosoft.com/index.php?skip=1 ] .  Their drivers unlock a lot of potental in both Live! and Audigy 1, 2 and ZS.  KX is a must if you use your card for pro/am sound recording especially to get good ASIO rates.  The only problem is the lack of EAX support.
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EngineNo9
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« Reply #21 on: October 23, 2004, 02:55:12 PM »

Thanks for the link, Thin_J!  

Those drivers might be nice, but since I'd use it as a game card I'd probably stick with the standard drivers.

Yeah, so I just ordered an Audigy 2 ZS from NewEgg.  Hopefully it lives up to your hype!    :wink:
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« Reply #22 on: October 25, 2004, 04:37:28 AM »

How is the Creative card for recording? I play around with Cakewalk when I have the time and I'm out of the loop on hardware.
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EngineNo9
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« Reply #23 on: October 25, 2004, 07:18:29 AM »

That review Thin_J linked to has quite a bit of info about audio quality, recording and that sort of jazz.  I pretty much skipped those pages, but you may want to give it a look.
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Turtle
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« Reply #24 on: October 25, 2004, 08:08:24 AM »

It says it's not a good card for real audiophiles or professionals.

If you're going to be creating anything involving sound, it's not a good card.  If you're just playing or casually listening, it's great.

Thanks, I'll be getting and Audigy 2 ZS.  It's a shame about Turtle Beach though.
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Thin_J
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« Reply #25 on: October 25, 2004, 08:36:39 AM »

Yeah default they said it's a great card for gamers, and for casual listeners but it's not so hot for recording or for real audiophile quality anything really.

I don't do any recording, and it sure sounds great to me when I fire up Doom 3. That's about all I need from it, and it does that in a way that's quite satisfactory.
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« Reply #26 on: October 25, 2004, 02:09:34 PM »

If you're into recording you definitely need a better sound card.  One that has great ASIO performance and one that has a less noisy input.  Plus you definitely want something that can take more than one input at a time.  Of course, you're also going to pay a lot more for a card like that as well.  Here are a couple of good pro/am cards:

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/srs7/g=rec/search/detail/base_pid/705350/

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/srs7/g=rec/search/detail/base_pid/703011/
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