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Windows 7: Sound card or not to sound card, that is the question?


18 Feb 2012   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate x64, & Mac OS X 10.9.2
 
 
Sound card or not to sound card, that is the question?

Right chaps (and chappets)

I might be in the market for a sound card.. but im not sure if i need one

I have a set of Roccat Kave 5.1 headset and use it off my ASUS P8Z68's built in audio.
I only use my rig for gaming, and nothing else.
I have tried doing research as always with new purchases, but you get such a mixed bag of answers when it comes to sound cards.. "they are amazing so much better than on board" "dont waste your money, on board is fine unless your a music pro" ect...

soo do i need one? (i want one if i need one lol)

Budget is about 100

Been looking at the likes of Asus Xonar D2 Soundcard - 7.1 Ultra Fidelity With.. | Ebuyer.com

but not sure if me a mear mortal with normal ears will notice the difference between that, onboard or something half the price!?!

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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18 Feb 2012   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 SP1, Home Premium, 64-bit
 
 

I'd guess your 100 pounds would be better spent on better headphones. That would stand a better chance of making an audible difference.

Not necessarily better, but different. Just like different speakers.

When you combine "golden ears" with the placebo effect and typical Internet babble, you are in a spot--as you are finding out. You'd have to experiment to find out, and of course you can't easily do that with new hardware.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Feb 2012   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate x64, & Mac OS X 10.9.2
 
 

lol i only purchased the kaves last week after much research and reading reviews lol. seemed to get a good write up as being one of the best surround sound head phones for gaming soo dont wish to replace them yet lol.

Its not the case that my current head phones dont sound good, they sound amazing!! ive had loads of gaming headsets over the years and ive not had a better sounding pair, i just thought i could take that step even further.

but your right on the placebo effect i guess, i just like buying new stuff for my rig lol
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18 Feb 2012   #4

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 SP1, Home Premium, 64-bit
 
 

Another thing:

Human memory for sound is terrible. Few people can distinguish between 2 adjacent keys on a piano if they are struck a minute apart.

So if you install the new sound card, how would you know it sounded better--or worse? You wouldn't be able to accurately remember what the old sound card sounded like.

But you'd probably not want to admit to buyer's remorse, so you'd tend to favor the new one because you just blew 100 pounds on it.

Then if someone secretly switched you back to the old soundcard, you probably wouldn't notice that either.

How we respond to sound is very peculiar.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Feb 2012   #5

Windows 7 Ultimate x64, & Mac OS X 10.9.2
 
 

lol you remind me of my old physics teacher (thats a good thing) he had a way of getting things across to me!

thank you for your clear and well defined explanation/help kudos as per usual!
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18 Feb 2012   #6

MS Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit SP1
 
 

From experience, a pair of headphones are worth the money. My brother has Sennheiser HD 215 - AMAZING!!

Sennheiser Hd 215 Closed Back Headphones With High: Amazon.co.uk: Electronics
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19 Feb 2012   #7

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Asus's onboard is it a realtek or via? Well, indeed it is very dependent on the listener, but from own experience, dedicated cards sound cleaner, better, and i don't know how to explain but gives you the ideea of reality. Sounds real. If you have high-end headphones, i would also buy a dedicated card. Try a Xonar DX, or DS if you're not into recording. The D2 is excellent if you can afford it. If you've got a friend that uses a dedicated card, take yhour headphones and test them there. You'll be able to tell if it will actually help for you or not. As said, it's very dependent on the listener
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Feb 2012   #8
Microsoft MVP

Win 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Vaseer View Post
Asus's onboard is it a realtek or via? Well, indeed it is very dependent on the listener, but from own experience, dedicated cards sound cleaner, better, and i don't know how to explain but gives you the ideea of reality. Sounds real.
All of the above. Another description would be dead, flat and lifeless. Just tested the Realtek ALC892 on mine and there is a very noticeable difference in music (not as much, but definitely there) and games (very noticeable). I will say that it is much better than it used to be even from a few years ago, but it still has a long way to go to sound as good as a dedicated card (and not some cheap $10.00 card).

Quote:
If you have high-end headphones, i would also buy a dedicated card.
Or even a decent set of speakers. A 2 cent DAC on onboard just can't compare to the DAC's used on sound cards. Most that say onboard is "good enough" either have never heard the difference, or are using equipment that won't sound any better no matter what it is hooked up to.

And now off to uninstall and disable the onboard once again.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Feb 2012   #9

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

10 dollars won't do it but let's not get people scared. Anything equivalent or above Asus XONAR DS will offer a very noticeable difference, and should provide HI-FI sound
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 Sound card or not to sound card, that is the question?




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