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Windows 7: to use a sound card?

02 Nov 2018   #1

Windows 7 Professional x64
to use a sound card?

Hello everyone.

My pc has an ASUS Z170-AR Motherboard with the integrated realtek audio.
At the moment this is what I am using.
However, I have an ASUS XONAR DG sound card laying around from an old build.

Should I use this in my PC or will it not make a difference?? Will i get clearer sound?

I think the xonar has a built in headphone amp? I don't know much about the onboard audio.

I use logitech z623 speakers and occasionally use headphones with the computer.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Nov 2018   #2

Windows 10 64 bit

I have an ASUS Z170 motherboard and Realtek audio. I also have a recording studio with other high end equipment. But for PC audio the Realtek is all I need.

You can try it and see if the Xonar is any better (if you do first disable the on-board Realtek in the BIOS to prevent any sound conflicts).

FWIW, my previous recording studio build (a Z97 motherboard) I first used a high end SoundBlaster sound card from a previous build but the SoundBlaster was interfering with my recording studio so I removed it and went back to the built in (or "inbuilt" as I should say for you) Realtek and didn't notice any difference in sound.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Nov 2018   #3
Lady Fitzgerald

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit

Newer motherboards often have onboard sound that rival older sound cards or even sound better than them. Also, how good something sounds is highly subjective, being highly dependent on the tastes and hearing of each listener. How well one's speakers or headphones perform can limit the quality of sound being heard, no matter how good the source.

You can check reviews of various audio devices and seek advice from "experts" (more on that in a moment) but, in the end, it's how you hear things what your tastes are that matter. The only reliable way for you to determine what is best is to listen for yourself (granted, not always easy to do).

More about audio "experts" (and this is not a dig at fireberd, who has more than proven himself to be a true expert)... Many audio experts, often called audiophiles, are often more like audio snobs. They tend to cling to established concepts and standards of what hardware is needed to reproduce audio and what good audio is supposed to sound like and anyone who challenges those sacred cows is looked upon with distain. What they refuse to accept is that people have varying tastes and there is nothing wrong with that.

The sum of this is to use the experts and reviews to give you an idea of what direction you want to take to reproduce your audio but make your determination of what you settle upon is based on your personal tastes. Don't worry if anyone thinks what you like is not the best for you. You are the one who is going to listen to whatever you get.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

02 Nov 2018   #4

Windows 7 x64, Vista x64, 8.1 smartphone

I would have thought it worthwhile trying the Xonar on the new PC, just out of curiosity to see what you get.

Both sound devices support a resolution of 24-bit, so there is no difference there. But only the Xonar (headphones) and Realtek ALC892 support that resolution to to a sample frequency of 192 kHz. The Xonar (speakers) supports 24-bit to a slightly lower sample frequency of 96kHz.

The Xonar has excellent Total Harmonic Distortion performance and Dynamic Range. Its good specification is probably due to the fact that the audio chip of the Xonar is mounted on a separate PCB. On the other hand, there are no such figures for the Realtek ALC892 - possibly indicating that it's performance is only quite 'average'.

So, summing up, you probably could expect a cleaner and more involving sound on the Xonar. Yet the resolution and sampling rate of the Realtek could mean that this device has a less brittle treble, on playback. And, well, that could mean that the Xonar sound is a little more outdated.

All of this also depends on what your speakers can handle. The z263 are powerful speakers, and so might not notice the high THD performance of the Xonar, but could favour the less brittle treble of the ALC892. Yet, if the Xonar really has a more involving sound than the ALC892, then you wouldn't want to give up the Xonar for any integrated chip.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 to use a sound card?

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