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Author Topic: What's a good sound card these days?  (Read 2247 times)
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whiteboyskim
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« on: June 29, 2005, 08:23:52 PM »

I've got a Turtle Beach Santa Cruz that has proven terrific in the past, but as it's the oldest part of my hardware I am considering other options. The boys in #gonegold suggested looking at Turtle Beach's other models, but I'm open to all suggestions. What would be a premier sound card these days, and what are the benefits over a Santa Cruz?
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Daehawk
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« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2005, 09:16:05 PM »

I want a sound blaster audigy 2 zs myself. I know nothing of any other brands.
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« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2005, 10:16:37 PM »

Did you actually find good drivers for the Santa Cruz? I used to use one, but the drivers are ancient and basically don't seem to support any modern titles that use 3D sound properly. I'm back to on-board sound.

sorry, that doesn't really answer your question. smile
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« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2005, 10:25:33 PM »

I'll be interested to see what this is all about:  http://www.soundblaster.com/products/x-fi/technology/
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« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2005, 11:04:06 PM »

Ive been sticking with SoundBlaster products since I got into x86 PCs.  They seem to have the best game compatibility.

The recent on-board sound many mobo's have seems to be good, but YMMV, since there isnt a ton of control over that.
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whiteboyskim
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« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2005, 11:16:40 PM »

Quote from: "Nakor"
Did you actually find good drivers for the Santa Cruz? I used to use one, but the drivers are ancient and basically don't seem to support any modern titles that use 3D sound properly. I'm back to on-board sound.

sorry, that doesn't really answer your question. smile


I don't have 3D sound enabled on mine because there is no need with my speaker setup. Two speakers + sub = no need for hardware sound effects. I probably need to get better speakers at the same time as a new card though.
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« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2005, 04:10:31 PM »

The reviews say not to bother with the riviera and catalina cards from Turtle Beach, for some reason they're way behind the times with those cards.

They do have a third card out right now called the Montego DDR, but I haven't found any reviews on it yet.

Everyone says that the Audigy 2 ZS is the way to go these days.
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« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2005, 06:11:40 PM »

I have the original Audigy 2 (ie not the ZS), and I haven't been able to find a comparison between mine and the ZS version.  Everyone says the Audigy 4 is a non-essential upgrade from the ZS, but it's not clear if the same can be said of upgrading from the non-ZS.  Anyone know when this new X-Fi thing is supposed to come out?  I'll probably just wait to see what that's like.
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« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2005, 06:40:01 PM »

Quote
Anyone know when this new X-Fi thing is supposed to come out? I'll probably just wait to see what that's like.


If you click that link a couple posts up it has a timer counting down. Looks like 9 hours to go.
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« Reply #9 on: June 30, 2005, 07:48:09 PM »

Actually, I posted the link.  And I got fooled by that counter once.  It actually counts down to when new information on the X-Fi will be released.  Lame.
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« Reply #10 on: June 30, 2005, 08:21:28 PM »

lol
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Knightshade Dragon
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« Reply #11 on: June 30, 2005, 08:22:47 PM »

Built in sound card.  smile
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« Reply #12 on: July 01, 2005, 08:01:25 PM »

Quote from: "Knightshade Dragon"
Built in sound card.  smile

I had an old Creative sound card, but after Creative not releasing updated sound drivers (took them more than a YEAR AFTER WinXP came out for them to release drivers for my SB card), and having constant crash issues with multiple titles, I ripped out my Creative card in disgust and vowed to never support them again.

Built-in all the way, baby! biggrin

Although I might try out a Turtle Beach card given the right push...
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« Reply #13 on: July 01, 2005, 10:13:01 PM »

the Audigy2-ZS is a fantastic card and really does have significant benefits over other options, mainly EAX 3/4/HD support and high-quality surround sound capabilities.  i've had one for about 1.5 years now and wouldn't even consider going back to anything less Cool
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« Reply #14 on: July 02, 2005, 12:53:02 AM »

I just use crap desktop speakers or nice headphones so I use onboard sound on both my machines.

Before that I was firmly in the Creative camp despite their lousy drivers and bloatware.  I hear they have really improved the bloat lately.  Unfortunately, unless you stay on the latest product cycle you are going to have to use hacked drivers to get any kind of updates.

If you are going to use a 5.1, or heaven forbid, 7.1 setup then you will probably do well to go with the Audigy 2.

My Audigy 2 with LiveDrive II was a sweet setup.  I loved all the extra crap it gave me access to, all in an extra drive bay.  One thing I miss is that the Creative card would automatically mute the speakers when you plugged in headphones.  That was convenient.
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« Reply #15 on: July 02, 2005, 07:09:10 PM »

I agree with Stiffler.  Unless you are using more than 2 speakers and a woofer you don't need anything more than onboard sound these days.  

If you have the room and inclination for 5.1 or higher speaker set-up, then the Audigy series is probably your best bet.
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« Reply #16 on: July 03, 2005, 03:57:37 PM »

Quote from: "disarm"
the Audigy2-ZS is a fantastic card and really does have significant benefits over other options, mainly EAX 3/4/HD support and high-quality surround sound capabilities.  i've had one for about 1.5 years now and wouldn't even consider going back to anything less Cool


I agree.  Even with my $50 2.1 Logitech Z-340 speakers, I noticed a significant difference in sound quality in games when I upgraded from a Hercules sound card to an Audigy 2 ZS.

I strongly disagree that the A2-ZS is not worth it unless you have surround speakers.  In my experience, it has definitely been worth it.
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« Reply #17 on: July 04, 2005, 06:06:49 PM »

So creative is getting better? My complaint and why I went with oboard 5.1 (nforce etc.) was because creative became all about the bloatware and shitty drivers. I may try again if they've gotten better.
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« Reply #18 on: July 05, 2005, 12:01:23 AM »

I never install the applications companies try and force on you, so I dont have the 'creative mixer' and all that other crap.

Hmm, I take that back.  A while ago my sound card starting making some weird echo noise, and wouldnt stop.  I had to install one of the creative utilities to get it to stop.  Then when I uninstalled the application, it came back  :x
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disarm
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« Reply #19 on: July 05, 2005, 02:57:06 AM »

Quote from: "Ranulf"
So creative is getting better? My complaint and why I went with oboard 5.1 (nforce etc.) was because creative became all about the bloatware and shitty drivers. I may try again if they've gotten better.

my Audigy2-ZS has worked flawlessly since day one...no driver, software, or sound problems for about 19 months now.  they included the typical suite of software, but you aren't required to install any of it for the card to work (i do use the surround mixer software and DVD-Audio player though).  in the time i've had my card, i think the only updates i've installed are the couple they've released to add new/improved features...DTS support, OpenAL, and improved EAX4/HD quality.  it's been completely stable from the first time i flipped on my system with the card installed Cool

of course i also used a SB Live! for about 5 years without ever experiencing any of the problems that some people complain about all the time...
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