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So i'm planning for a new PC build soon and i realise i have to get rid of my old soundcard :(

nkarafo

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Yes, it's pci-e 1x.
I bought a whole new system, i9 109k, z490 chipset mobo, and this card works fine with daniel_k's drivers

This one right?

Thank you, this is what i'm getting then.
 

Reizo Ryuu

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This one right?

Thank you, this is what i'm getting then.
yes that's what I got.
 
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rofif

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The internal sound cards are very good for years now. On some motherboards, even shielded and so on.
Or you can get fiio dac or whatever. The soundcards driver hell of old is dead.

I don't have sound card and have internal disabled... I don't even use fiio anymore. my oled is connected to pc with hdmi 2.1 cable and gpu provides sound. I don't even care how it works nowadays.
And when I listen to headphones, I connect dongle and sonly pulse 3d just works.

So you might actually completely have no need for either internal or pcie sound card at all
 

Schmick

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I've been thinking about upgrading my PC for a while now. I've always had a soundcard. I'm currently using a Sound Blaster Z SE with stock drivers. It never crossed my mind that using a USB DAC would be a acceptable alternative.

I would love to downsize my PC case but never thought it would be possible if I want to retain the SC. I suppose using a USB DAC is the solution and I could go for a smaller case then my mid-tower.
 

ThatPolishGuy

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My friend has one of these if someone wants to have USB external sound card. It has optical input too so it should make use of new consoles too, I think.

And if you have an vintage or new integrated amplifier and loudspeakers, you can get signal from RCA outputs. And drive your loudspeakers or headphones through your integrated amp.

Heard also a lot of positive opinions about Schiit Audio stuff but it's mostly unavailable here in Poland so that's a bummer.

I use NuForce uDac-3 as signal source for my vintage integrated/stereo amps and drive my headphones and loudspeakers from there. But it's much more limited, no optical input and a bit more fragile than AudioEngine dac, so I'm can't exactly recommend it because of that. It's supposed to be mobile dac, but I am afraid to even move it now after USB input has broken a year after purchase of this DAC and I had it send it in for a warranty repair. AudioEngine D1 is build like a tank, so that's what I would get if I didn't have one right now tbh and if Schitt was too expensive...
 
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DarkestHour

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I've been thinking about upgrading my PC for a while now. I've always had a soundcard. I'm currently using a Sound Blaster Z SE with stock drivers. It never crossed my mind that using a USB DAC would be a acceptable alternative.

I would love to downsize my PC case but never thought it would be possible if I want to retain the SC. I suppose using a USB DAC is the solution and I could go for a smaller case then my mid-tower.

Motherboard audio has come a long way and works great for the majority of use cases now.
 
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raduque

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I used to use a Chaintech AV-710 with Wolfson DACs. I upgraded from my ancient Core2Duo pc to laptops for a long time, then got a new desktop with no PCI slots and realized I didn't miss the soundcard at all. Now I use the onboard on my MSI b350 bazooka to my ancient Sony receiver to power my floor standing Sony 3 way speakers.
 

Pagusas

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I use to be like you… then I upgraded to an 11.2 Atmos setup and switched fully to sound over HDMI via the graphic card. never ever turned back after that. I use alchemy and a few other community tools to keep old EAX and OpenAL support in legacy titles, mostly without issue.
 
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reektann

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I always use a sound card with Dolby digital live so 5.1 works in my PC games output to my amp over optical.

I’ve never had any luck sending over Hdmi - never seems to work properly so I will need a sound card in my next build again too. I think I would need a new amp that can do eArc to fix that. Mine only does arc.

It’s annoying as I see these nice case shots that look super clean or a nice mini itx case then remember I also need to put a sound card in.
 
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Superwave

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Soundcards are so 90's lol.

Get a good audio interface so you aren't tethered to the back of your PC.
 
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SScorpio

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I always use a sound card with Dolby digital live so 5.1 works in my PC games output to my amp over optical.

I’ve never had any luck sending over Hdmi - never seems to work properly so I will need a sound card in my next build again too. I think I would need a new amp that can do eArc to fix that. Mine only does arc.
It depends on your setup, but if you have an HDMI cable running from your PC to the receiver you don't need ARC or eARC. If you run the cable to a TV and your receiver is connected to a different input on the TV then ARC can forward the audio back to the receiver. The whole point of ARC is to let a display send audio back to a receiver which is useful if the display has built-in apps like Netflix, your soundbar can playback the audio while the app runs natively on the screen. But if you have the option running the audio directly to the receiver rather than over ARC will let you run with higher quality audio unless your setup supports eARC.

Another option is an HDMI audio extractor. You run an HDMI cable to and from it. And it will give you a TOS link optical connector and COAX stereo jacks.
 

recursive

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Here's another issue i have...

With the Audigy and the fully working driver, i get this option in the speaker settings:



My speakers are pretty solid, an older Logitech 5.1 z5400 set, but they do need a small push with the higher frequencies. And that particular Treble Balance setting you see in the pic, makes the sound crystal clear.

I can't have the same result with anything else like player equalizers, for instance. Plus, this panel fixes the sound across every program, media player or game.

I couldn't find this option with the Omni. Not sure if it exists with the SoundBlaster Z.

Does anyone else use a device that gives them this particular panel?
I have the omni 5.1 and love it. Did you try this with the official drivers? It has a control panel with an equalizer (10 band I think but not at my pc) among many other features. I am wondering if your experience may have been due to not eq -ing for your setup.

Edit-i can grab some screen caps of the control panel if interested.
 
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DonJuanSchlong

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A quality DAC and amp go way longer than any soundcard could ever go. Do yourself a favor, go to the local audio store, demo as many headsets or speaker setups. Get the DAC you want, pair it with a good set and amp, and you are golden.

Fuck what everyone else is saying. Your listening preferences will be different compared to what other recommendations are slung your way. You might even hate my recommendations, which is why it's important to get your own opinion (facts), on what YOU like. Different strokes for different folks.
 
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alf717

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I had this problem back in 2019, my x-fi fatality was the pci version. I just went with the pci-e xf-i titanium fatality. Onboard audio isn't good enough for me. Bass and treble levels were horrible. My setup sounded like a rusted out honda tricked with an expensive walmart brand audio system. My Z-5500's weren't happy. :messenger_grinning_smiling: As said before sound cards still can make a huge difference in audio quality compared to onboard. The only thing I lost was access to the front bay unit. Good luck OP, hope you find a replacement that works for you. You could also go for the pci x-fi titanium. I picked up one of those for a second PC to have as a backup.
 
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nkarafo

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I have the omni 5.1 and love it. Did you try this with the official drivers? It has a control panel with an equalizer (10 band I think but not at my pc) among many other features. I am wondering if your experience may have been due to not eq -ing for your setup.

Edit-i can grab some screen caps of the control panel if interested.
I did test the omni 5.1 and i was not happy with it. The Audigy 2 sounds better for me with the settings i'm using. There was no treble setting with onmi, which is a big part why it doesn't sound good. The equilizer settings are a different thing, the Audigy also has those but, from my testing, i couldn't get the same result as i do with the treble setting.

Basically, i absolutely need the treble setting in the control panel options. The Rx has it (according to the poster above) and it's more or less the same as the Audigy 2, with a newer PCi connector.
 

recursive

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I did test the omni 5.1 and i was not happy with it. The Audigy 2 sounds better for me with the settings i'm using. There was no treble setting with onmi, which is a big part why it doesn't sound good. The equilizer settings are a different thing, the Audigy also has those but, from my testing, i couldn't get the same result as i do with the treble setting.

Basically, i absolutely need the treble setting in the control panel options. The Rx has it (according to the poster above) and it's more or less the same as the Audigy 2, with a newer PCi connector.
You should have been able to adjust the high frequency bands using the equalizer. It takes a bit more to get the same result since you need to determine what frequencies you want to apply gain or attenuation. Do you keep you equalizer flat on your audigy or is it also adjusted?
 

Andrea23

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Yeah, my current PC still has a PCI slot and that allowed me to use my trusty old Audigy 2 Platinum with it. The same card i used in my previous builds, so that's 3 PCs in a 15 year period. And yes, it fully works on Windows 10 as long as you use community drivers, the official ones don't make full use of the card.

Sound cards is one area were most people don't give a shit for a long time now. Ever since CPUs were powerful enough to handle sound without a performance hit (that's what, 20 years ago?) sound cards became a niche. All motherboards have sound chips in them so why bother paying more to get something you already have for free? Even Graphics cards have sound now. But the sound quality (another thing people don't give a shit about) is night and day. Despite being so old, the Audigy 2 still sounds so much better than your average modern motherboard chip. And i mean MUCH better. I can immediately tell if you are using a sound card or a MB chip the moment i hear some sound coming from your PC.

The Audigy Platinum even sounds better than some cheaper modern sound cards. This isn't like graphics cards where a cheap modern card can be as powerful as an expensive one 4 years ago. Sound quality is something we perfected a long time ago so an expensive older sound card will still sound just as good as an expensive modern card. The only thing that changes is the different interfaces, slots and features. Which means, if you have a good sound card and you don't care about it having an HDMI slot, you shouldn't need to replace it, ever. But the problem with the Audigy is the PCI interface. Modern PCs don't have that slot anymore so i can't use it. Which means i have to find a card at least as good that i can connect in the new PC.

I was somewhat happy with the Soundblaster Z a friend lent me (which sounds good but still misses a few things the Audigy has like the extra tone slider in the Windows panel) but that card is also somewhat old and i hear a lot of issues with it on Windows 10. And i'm not aware of community drives similar to the ones i'm using for the Audigy. My next choice is an external card with good support, i tried the 5.1 Omni (again, by a friend) but that sounds worse than the Audigy. Remember, the Audigy 2 was a somewhat expensive card back in the day while the Onmi is a mid-tier. So now i have to try one of the more expensive cards that cost 100$+ just to have the same sound quality as i did for 15 years now. And i can't just buy something, i need to have a sample to test and sound cards are hard to find in the wild.

Anyway, that was a rant. Any recommendations would be appreciated.
If you use an AMD processor on x470 / x570 platform be very careful (especially - but not exclusively!!! - if you overclock) ... there are a lot of unsolved problems on pciex sound cards or usb dacs ...

See here:
https://support.creative.com/kb/ShowArticle.aspx?sid=200427



I spent two months trying to fix it, with no success.
Personally I solved ... by selling my soundblaster Z + z906 🙁 and replacing them with a denon avr and suitable speakers.
The alternative was to go back to Intel ... (which attracted me, but the prospect of having to disassemble and reassemble the whole config... made me lean towards the avr).

One thing is for sure, the 5900x will be my latest Amd processor, ever...
 
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nkarafo

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You should have been able to adjust the high frequency bands using the equalizer. It takes a bit more to get the same result since you need to determine what frequencies you want to apply gain or attenuation. Do you keep you equalizer flat on your audigy or is it also adjusted?
It's flat because i couldn't get the same result. Treble is different than rising the higher frequencies, or at least that's how it sounds to me.

I prefer the treble option to be increased globally and then use equalizers for each application independently.

I also use a custom EAX preset for music that makes everything sound much deeper. Combined with the treble adjust, it sounds like heaven to my ears. I never managed to achieve the same results in any other setup i ever tried. I guess i got used to it now and i can't accept anything else.

If you use an AMD processor on x470 / x570 platform be very careful (especially - but not exclusively!!! - if you overclock) ... there are a lot of unsolved problems on pciex sound cards or usb dacs ...

See here:
https://support.creative.com/kb/ShowArticle.aspx?sid=200427



I spent two months trying to fix it, with no success.
Personally I solved ... by selling my soundblaster Z + z906 🙁 and replacing them with a denon avr and suitable speakers.
The alternative was to go back to Intel ... (which attracted me, but the prospect of having to disassemble and reassemble the whole config... made me lean towards the avr).

One thing is for sure, the 5900x will be my latest Amd processor, ever...
I wasn't going to get an AMD system anyway. I'm waiting for some newer intel CPUs to make the build since their latest ones seem vastly improved. Plus, i need intel because i use the PC a lot for emulation. Thanks for the info though, i wasn't aware of this.
 
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V4skunk

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Sound cards are a joke unless you intend to hook up a 7.1 surround sound system to your pc.
 

nkarafo

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Sound cards are a joke unless you intend to hook up a 7.1 surround sound system to your pc.
Unless you are using a motherboard with some magic sound chip inside, every single sound card i ever used, even older ones like Soundblaster Live, sounds a lot better than any motherboard. You may have to adjust a few things to achieve the optimal sound you like but that's something sound cards can offer. Motherboards sound flat.
 
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M1chl

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Sound cards are a joke unless you intend to hook up a 7.1 surround sound system to your pc.
They are not out of the basic elektronic principles, that there is way less high frequency noise which is getting into your sound, when it's on the separate board. I have X570-E and even if there is more quality sound card there, it's no match for my old SoundBlast X-FI elite. Not the mention X-FI support low latency ASIO interface, which is needed for the music production, which I am trying to do for multiple years.
 

recursive

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It's flat because i couldn't get the same result. Treble is different than rising the higher frequencies, or at least that's how it sounds to me.

I prefer the treble option to be increased globally and then use equalizers for each application independently.

I also use a custom EAX preset for music that makes everything sound much deeper. Combined with the treble adjust, it sounds like heaven to my ears. I never managed to achieve the same results in any other setup i ever tried. I guess i got used to it now and i can't accept anything else.


I wasn't going to get an AMD system anyway. I'm waiting for some newer intel CPUs to make the build since their latest ones seem vastly improved. Plus, i need intel because i use the PC a lot for emulation. Thanks for the info though, i wasn't aware of this.
I can understand, once it sounds good to your ears it's hard to change. And really that is all that matters.

The treble tone control does adjust high frequency response. The drawback is it doesn't show you the center frequency and is using a very broad bandwidth so it would take some trial and error to get that on an eq. Not sure if the creative control panel allows for adjustment of CF or BW. I tend to run flat and sometimes turn on crystallizer to brighten up the sound on my headphones.
 

DonJuanSchlong

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Personally, a neutral DAC is your best friend. I don't like creative, don't like soundblaster, etc.

Once you get a good DAC, it's all on your next set of gear. The amp and speakers/headphones. Get what you like, don't just go for the schit or other popular brands. Get what makes YOU happy. Get YOUR sound signature, and enjoy it to the fullest.

Convincing others about sound is the dumbest thing ever, as we all have different sets of ears, different preferences, etc. Get what you like, can't stress this enough.
 
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ToTTenTranz

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I remember when creative used to push sound cards and eax. What happened to that.

They got majorly screwed by Microsoft when Windows Vista came with no support for DirectSound, which EAX was built on. With Vista, the Creative cards were brought down to the same functionality as any card with a Realtek or C-Media codec as hardware support for reverb effects was dropped. They could use EAX 2.0 like all the others, but EAX 3.0 -5.0 was hardware-only and Creative's custom audio processors couldn't be used under Windows Vista (and later). Creative tried to spearhead the adoption of OpenAL to support their cards but it was seemingly too late as by then most PC gamers had regressed to onboard audio with Realtek chips.

Environmental audio got pushed back by over a decade, as we only recently started to get decent audio positioning and reverb in videogames. Sony kickstarted a new trend in audio effects/positioning with Tempest and raytracing for audio and things should evolve positively from now on, but EAX 5.0 would still hold up very well nowadays.


Man the z5500 was the shit. It kills me they haven't released anything similar to it in quality
Logitech's Z906 is similar in sound output and you can often find that set on sale for sub $200 / 200€. It's actually a pretty good option even for small and medium sized rooms.
I'm more bummed out for Creative ceasing to make PC surround speakers like their excellent S750 and other solutions from Cambridge Soundworks. All they have now are stereo systems or soundbars.
 
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Polelock

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They got majorly screwed by Microsoft when Windows Vista came with no support for DirectSound, which EAX was built on. With Vista, the Creative cards were brought down to the same functionality as any card with a Realtek or C-Media codec as hardware support for reverb effects was dropped. They could use EAX 2.0 like all the others, but EAX 3.0 -5.0 was hardware-only and Creative's custom audio processors couldn't be used under Windows Vista (and later). Creative tried to spearhead the adoption of OpenAL to support their cards but it was seemingly too late as by then most PC gamers had regressed to onboard audio with Realtek chips.

Environmental audio got pushed back by over a decade, as we only recently started to get decent audio positioning and reverb in videogames. Sony kickstarted a new trend in audio effects/positioning with Tempest and raytracing for audio and things should evolve positively from now on, but EAX 5.0 would still hold up very well nowadays.



Logitech's Z906 is similar in sound output and you can often find that set on sale for sub $200 / 200€. It's actually a pretty good option even for small and medium sized rooms.
I'm more bummed out for Creative ceasing to make PC surround speakers like their excellent S750 and other solutions from Cambridge Soundworks. All they have now are stereo systems or soundbars.
I tried the z906, it just didn't have that same full feeling to it. I got rid of the 5500 due to a hum coming from the sub, all the time. I tried everything to fix it, new wiring from sub to amp, replace all the resistors and diodes and fuses, I think it was was the coil causing issues, but regardless, it sucked losing it. I just put a Yamaha 5.1 in my office and running a good 2.0 system, does what I want and can add a sub anytime. I wish there were more high quality pc 5.1/7.1 systems. EAX was amazing. Back in 2004, I believe it was, I bought a Dell XPS, huge big blue bastard. I got the Altec Lansing 5.1 and man, it was something. I remember playing Painkiller and hearing everything circling me, just great times.