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What sound card do you use on your modern PC ?

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Reply 80 of 98, by keropi

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Desomondo wrote on 2020-04-21, 22:44:

I'm still using a Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium in my current system. Sounds great, has really good compatibility with both older games and newer ones, and it has solid Windows 10 drivers. I haven't had a single issue with it since I got it back in 2008 and have used it across 3 separate builds. I tried a Z for a couple weeks back in 2012, but quickly switched back. Everything, from the sound to the feature set, felt like a step backwards. Same with every onboard audio solution I've tried. Not bad, just lacking in either features or sound quality.

same here! I know use the Titanium as well but before that I was using the X-Fi Forte 7.1 one until latest win10 killed it's drivers. You would think that since it's a X-Fi card the drivers would work but nope... it is a shame because it's output quality was even better than the creative cards...
all my systems since many years use some form of x-fi card , I am very pleased with them

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Reply 81 of 98, by Errius

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It's not a modern PC (Pentium 4), but I also use the Audigy 2ZS with breakout box (and remote!) on my audio/video capture machine. It's connected to the Hi-Fi system, which sees the computer as just another tape deck.

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Reply 82 of 98, by Desomondo

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keropi wrote on 2020-04-23, 08:56:

same here! I know use the Titanium as well but before that I was using the X-Fi Forte 7.1 one until latest win10 killed it's drivers. You would think that since it's a X-Fi card the drivers would work but nope... it is a shame because it's output quality was even better than the creative cards...
all my systems since many years use some form of x-fi card , I am very pleased with them

Nice! I didn't know AuzenTech even had a X-Fi model. I'm surprised Creative even agreed to such a thing 😀 Shame you had to replace it. Since Microsoft killed Directsound3D with Vista onwards my X-Fi has become even more important to me, if only for Alchemy alone.

I know Creative have a really bad reputation for the quality of their products, drivers, support, etc. but I've always liked their cards and never had any issues with them. I must have been either very lucky or ignorant 😀 I didn't know the SB16s for example had so many bugs until I saw this forum. Could never afford a wavetable board back in those days!

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Reply 83 of 98, by UCyborg

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The thought about getting a dedicated sound card did cross my mind at times, but one thing that's not clear is if I would gain anything with it when it comes to how it would sound compared to onboard VIA VT1708B I currently use.

Would it make any difference when paired with headphones like Plantronics GameCom 388? I don't use use those ATM, but some Sony model from the same price range. Sounds about the same, maybe slightly better.

I thought it might be interesting to see EAX in action under Windows XP, I suppose that would require older Creative model, right? It doesn't seem like anyone intends to write a XP compatible wrapper like DSOAL that would work regardless of what sound card or its drivers support. That alone wouldn't be worth it for me, just a nice bonus.

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Reply 85 of 98, by repaxan

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I've only ever used a sound card twice. Once when the mobo was AC97, the case was HD Audio, and I wanted to get front panel audio working. The other time it was a server board without any onboard audio.

Otherwise I'm fine with the onboard sound chip, if I can hear it it's good enough for me. I just don't understand the appeal.

Reply 86 of 98, by computerguy08

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I have quite a few sound cards in my main rig:

For headphones, I use a Creative X-Fi SB0720 USB thing with a large volume wheel. It sounds really good with my on-ear SONYs and I enjoy it.
For speakers, I have a ASUS XONAR AE which sounds really good as well, but the drivers are pile of trash and the built-in headphone amplifier is kind of weak.
For cassette/ reel tape recording, I use a Sound Blaster Audigy 2 (Gold), which paired with an EQ sounds incredible (my favorite card to this day, the XONAR AE couldn't match it).

Onboard sound is fine, I don't hate it, but these cards have many little quirks, which makes them enjoyable. All of these work well under Windows 10.

Reply 87 of 98, by appiah4

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Can you please give more information on your Xonar AE it's what I am considering as a semi hifi sound card to use with both desk speakers and good headphones. Hearing about a weak headphone amp was kind of a meh for me. I was really fond of my Xonar DG and its headphone amp, if it is at least comparable I would be happy enough..

Also, does anyone use the Xonar SE and know if it is good?

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Reply 88 of 98, by computerguy08

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appiah4 wrote on 2020-04-30, 14:04:

Can you please give more information on your Xonar AE it's what I am considering as a semi hifi sound card to use with both desk speakers and good headphones. Hearing about a weak headphone amp was kind of a meh for me. I was really fond of my Xonar DG and its headphone amp, if it is at least comparable I would be happy enough..

Ok, so as you know, this card features quite a few bells and whistles: CS4245 CODEC, ESS sabre 9610 headphone amp (a very tiny SMD package), NE5532P swappable op-amp, CM6632 DSP and transistor amps for each audio jack, like a Audigy or X-Fi.

On the audio quality side, there is nothing to complain about, it performs very well, like advertised. It has a separate rear jack for the headphone amp (goes to the sabre chip). The software suite allows you to change the headphones impedance (Low,med,high). Even on high impedance mode, the sound is a bit tiny compared to any Creative card. It may not like my SONY MDR-XB550 (which has 24ohm impedance), I don't know for sure.

Plus, I find the software side lacking. A few settings which you already have in Control Panel like sample rate and volume, an EQ and some special effects (Virtual 3D audio, reverb, and a few others) which I don't care about.
It doesn't bring anything significant to the table, the EQ is very rigid and limited (I use EqualizerAPO, which is miles ahead in curve customization).

To be honest, I purchased it for the headphone amp as well, thinking that it will save me from turning on my big speaker amp everytime I needed headphones (the onboard audio is hopeless for this).

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Reply 91 of 98, by Jo22

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I used to use a SB Live! 24Bit External and a Xonar D1.

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Reply 93 of 98, by shamino

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I have 3 modern PCs that I use frequently, so 3 answers.

1) Sound Blaster X-Fi something something - I inherited it from a relative, I remember it was cheap when he bought it in the 2000s. I use it on a small Core2 office linux PC because I sometimes listen to music on it, and this sounds better than the onboard. I don't have a low profile bracket for it so it's just hanging there, and it has popped out of the slot once.

2) Sound Blaster Audigy 2ZS - this is in my "Ultimate" WinXP machine which I still prefer using when I can. Besides the sound I also like that this card brings a joystick port. Since WinXP is the last OS to support this kind of port, it gives me the most powerful PC I can use with my old CH Flightstick/Pro joysticks. I tried using those joysticks with a USB adapter and the resolution sucked.

3) Dell T1600 onboard sound. I've been needing this machine lately, but I don't like how music sounds on it. A lot of that might also be due to my headphones though, and my inability to use an equalizer to fix whatever is wrong. To be really fair I'd need to carry the same headphones to each machine.

Reply 94 of 98, by dr_st

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shamino wrote on 2020-06-30, 06:07:

2) Sound Blaster Audigy 2ZS - this is in my "Ultimate" WinXP machine which I still prefer using when I can. Besides the sound I also like that this card brings a joystick port. Since WinXP is the last OS to support this kind of port, it gives me the most powerful PC I can use with my old CH Flightstick/Pro joysticks.

I do hate the fact that I would get a BSOD more than half the time when trying to suspend, then resume the system with a gamepad plugged into the port. Some bug in the Creative driver. Are you, perchance, familiar with the issue, and perhaps have a solution?

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Reply 95 of 98, by shamino

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dr_st wrote on 2020-06-30, 06:55:
shamino wrote on 2020-06-30, 06:07:

2) Sound Blaster Audigy 2ZS - this is in my "Ultimate" WinXP machine which I still prefer using when I can. Besides the sound I also like that this card brings a joystick port. Since WinXP is the last OS to support this kind of port, it gives me the most powerful PC I can use with my old CH Flightstick/Pro joysticks.

I do hate the fact that I would get a BSOD more than half the time when trying to suspend, then resume the system with a gamepad plugged into the port. Some bug in the Creative driver. Are you, perchance, familiar with the issue, and perhaps have a solution?

I'm not familiar with that issue but I basically don't use any power management on that machine. It's the most power hungry PC I have so it definitely needs it, but it's always been problematic.

When you say suspend do you mean hibernation (to disk), or suspend to RAM (S3 standby)?
I gave up on S3 standby on that machine long ago because it has never worked. That motherboard (a Gigabyte AM3 board) always wakes up dead no matter what I do. It has never worked a single time.

I had trouble even with hibernation to disk because apparently the driver for another PCI card disallowed that option. I believe at one point I had it in a state where hibernation was available, but that was before I had the sound card. On the current install I don't know if the hibernation option is available or not.

Reply 96 of 98, by badmojo

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Creative Play! 3 here - nifty little USB DAC. My motherboard has decent onboard sound but this creative thing has much better software; sounds great I think.

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Reply 97 of 98, by dr_st

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shamino wrote on 2020-06-30, 11:30:

When you say suspend do you mean hibernation (to disk), or suspend to RAM (S3 standby)?
I gave up on S3 standby on that machine long ago because it has never worked. That motherboard (a Gigabyte AM3 board) always wakes up dead no matter what I do. It has never worked a single time.

I had trouble even with hibernation to disk because apparently the driver for another PCI card disallowed that option. I believe at one point I had it in a state where hibernation was available, but that was before I had the sound card. On the current install I don't know if the hibernation option is available or not.

I mean both S3 and S4, actually. For PCI devices they are both mapped to D3 state anyways. Yeah, there are tons of possible causes why they wouldn't work properly, especially on XP-era stuff, or generally when using a non-period correct OS on given hardware. On my system which hosts the Audigy 2 ZS (Intel 875P with Windows XP), both Standby and Hibernate are quite reliable, as long as I don't have anything attached to the Gameport. The only other issue is with the TP-Link Wireless driver which starts hogging the system with interrupts after resume from Sx (solved by a script which disables and re-enables the device).

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Reply 98 of 98, by CrossBow777

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Another SB ZXr user here. On my second one actually as my first one somehow burned out when trying to attached an old cassette tape recorder to the line in through my front panel connector? Never figured out what the heck happened but it somehow shorted out the card and while it still came up and said it was working in Device manager...etc. I could never get any audio from it again. Current ZXr has been excellent and I like the sound reproduction from it a lot! Sounds especially good when I put my old HD600s on for personal listening.

I've thought about getting one of the newer creative SB cards but the ZXr still seem to be supported with working drivers so I'm good for now. Anyone have any experience with EVGAs sound card they released like a year or two ago?

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