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Windows 7: What Sound Card?

28 Jan 2010   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate x64.
What Sound Card?

Hello all,

I'm looking for some suggestions on what sound card to purchase for approximately £60.

I have just bought a xfi 5.1 but because it offered no benefits over my on board(apart from it had spdif) I swiftly sold it on ebay.

The card is to be hooked up to a logitech z-5500 system through spdif.

Ive considered the xfi titanium but am reluctant to go with creative again because I was not impressed at all with their drivers.

Any suggestions will be most welcome..


£55 - 65


Preferably PCI-e

My System SpecsSystem Spec

28 Jan 2010   #2
Microsoft MVP

Win 7 Ultimate x64

If you are connecting through SPDIF, unless there is a feature that a sound card has (Dolby Live, DTC Connect, etc) stick with onboard. There is next to no difference what sound card you use when connecting digitally as the speakers (in your case) are doing the decoding, the card is just passing the signal.

That is why you didn't notice any difference between your onboard and the X-Fi. If you had of connected by analogue to the X-Fi and let the better DAC on the X-Fi do the work, you would have heard a difference.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Jan 2010   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate Signature Edition

creative is a good company and the x-fi cards dominate the market right now, saying that they are having some unacceptable driver issues with seven right now. im not sure i could recommend another companies sound card as when creative finally gets it's act together and delivers the fixed drivers they will be the best bang for the buck cards, until then i'd just make do with onboard sound.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

28 Jan 2010   #4

Windows 7 Ultimate x64.


It's actually just passing an analogue signal now where as I want to pass digital to digital, instead of analogue to digital.

I also had it plugged in to analogue on xfi and there was no difference there. If anything it was worse with the xfi because it was a high pitched whistle. It was only subtle but I could notice it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Jan 2010   #5
Microsoft MVP

Win 7 Ultimate x64

You're confusing a few things. First of all the z5500 is still an analogue speaker set regardless of how it is connected. Doesn't matter which connection is used, something still has to convert the signal to analogue or the speakers won't work. When connected via analogue the sound card is using its DAC (digital analogue converter) to process the sound. When connected via digital the speakers are using its built in DAC.

This might help,

How Do Digital Speakers Work? |
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Jan 2010   #6

Windows 7 Ultimate x64.

So by purchasing a 200 hundred pound sound card I would have no improvements in sound quality over on board that has no spdif?

So why the digital connection then in z-5500 if analogue will suffice?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Jan 2010   #7
Microsoft MVP

Win 7 Ultimate x64

Depending on the card, yes there should be a difference when connected via analogue. (in some cases a very big difference). If connected via digital/SPDIF, the difference if any is minimal (and usually more perceived difference then any real difference).
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Jan 2010   #8

Windows 7 Ultimate x64.

Well at the minute I am only using analogue because it's all my on-board allows, spdif it hasn't got and that's why I want to purchase another card.

It's currently running on an acer board, albeit with high def, but I know I can bypass that with a decent card..

Mine is the realtek alc888 hd....
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Jan 2010   #9

Windows 8.1 Pro

A very good card - the X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Pro

I did a small review of it here... My thoughts on Creative’s X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Pro - Vista Forums

I do have to admit that I'm not sure about the multi-channel performance as I'm not using it. I have heard others say it works just fine though, but...

Also for some odd reason, Creative haven't updated the DTS Connect Pack for Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium series, so it doesn't work/install under either versions of 7 (32 or 64 bit)

However It does install and work under both versions of Vista

This download supports the following audio devices only:
  • Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty® Champion Series
  • Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Professional Series
  • Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium Professional Audio
  • Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium
  • DTS Connect is available for Windows Vista only.
It can be had for around $150 bucks (US) or less?

My two cents
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Jan 2010   #10

Windows 7 Ultimate x64.

Thanks everyone for your input.

I've gone for the Asus xonar dx..
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 What Sound Card?

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