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Sound card options


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#1 Venek

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Posted 26 January 2009 - 01:30 PM

Hello all,

Doing some early research here in anticipation of buying an HDTV later this year. One of the things I'd like to do is to hook up my PC to the HDTV so I can play my games on the big screen and possibly play Blu-Ray movies if I decide to buy a Blu-Ray drive. I have the video card issue out of the way with a pair of 8800 GTs in SLI mode.

The problem is the sound card. Right now I have my computer speakers and subwoofer hooked up to the onboard mobo audio (eVGA 680i, for the record). Why would I do that, you ask? Well, I'm totally deaf in one ear and a wear a hearing aid in my right ear, so I have no clue not only what stereo sounds like, but cannot tell the difference between EAX, HD or even just plain 'ol straight mono sometimes. Mind you, I hear enough that I can enjoy music and enjoy the games with guns a-blazing.

What I need is a sound card that I can output to my receiver (S/PDIF, if I'm not mistaken). Is there a sort of "bare essentials" sound card out there that I can buy relatively cheaply to be able to outsource the PC sound to my stereo receiver? I thought maybe the Creative Audigy SE as it seems to be a very decent card at a great price, but didn't see any digital or coaxial ports, despite the specs saying it's S/PDIF capable.

Thanks!
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#2 BlackSpyder

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Posted 26 January 2009 - 04:56 PM

The Audilgy SE ($25) is a descent card I used one for years. I just upgraded to the base X-Fi model ($60) (one step up from the SE). Both cards use the "Analog Audio IN" 3.5mm jack to transmit digital out. There are other brands or rebrands of these cards cheaper but I would suggest sticking to a Creative or other name brand Card.

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#3 DJBPace07

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Posted 26 January 2009 - 08:53 PM

I really do not like Creative's SoundBlaster cards. Creative does not treat their customers well and their drivers are bad. I don't think the Audigy has S/PDIF inputs, at least not without a digital I/O module. I prefer the Asus Xonar line of cards, they're expensive but of very high quality and have all the Dolby technologies, like Heaphone and Pro Logic.

ASUS Xonar D1 7.1 Channels 24-bit 192KHz PCI - This is one of the lower-end cards but it does have S/PDIF TOSLINK combo port. $89
ASUS Xonar D2 7.1 Channels 24-bit 192KHz PCI - Their premier card, which has S/PDIF input and output jacks. $180

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#4 Venek

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 04:25 PM

I really do not like Creative's SoundBlaster cards. Creative does not treat their customers well and their drivers are bad. I don't think the Audigy has S/PDIF inputs, at least not without a digital I/O module. I prefer the Asus Xonar line of cards, they're expensive but of very high quality and have all the Dolby technologies, like Heaphone and Pro Logic.

ASUS Xonar D1 7.1 Channels 24-bit 192KHz PCI - This is one of the lower-end cards but it does have S/PDIF TOSLINK combo port. $89
ASUS Xonar D2 7.1 Channels 24-bit 192KHz PCI - Their premier card, which has S/PDIF input and output jacks. $180



Yeah, I didn't know if Creative was really as good as advertised, so I was skeptical about them. The one card I've been looking at for a little while is from HT Omega. Here's the specific card: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...N82E16829271001

Any thoughts? It's one of the more popular cards on Newegg.
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#5 DJBPace07

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 06:01 PM

That looks like a good card, the Xonar uses the C-Media chips that the Omega uses. Make sure you have an available PCI slot for the card, I have two large GPU's and a wireless card which means that I had to get a PCIexpress audio card since there were no more PCI slots left.

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#6 Venek

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 06:12 PM

That looks like a good card, the Xonar uses the C-Media chips that the Omega uses. Make sure you have an available PCI slot for the card, I have two large GPU's and a wireless card which means that I had to get a PCIexpress audio card since there were no more PCI slots left.


Glad you reminded me about that, I also have 2 big honking GPUs taking up space. I'm trying to remember if I have two PCI slots or just the one that's already in use by a USB card.

Thanks for the input, I put the card on my wishlist. I'll probably get that along with the necessary cables, wireless keyboard/mice, etc. to hook up the PC to the new HDTV when I get it. Then...I probably should utilize some of my vacation time as I don't see myself leaving the couch for a few days! LOL!
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