Do I Need A Separate Sound Card?

 
 
 

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I have found that a good sound card does produce noticeably better highs and lows i just need to sound effects downloads. I've never been a fan at throwing money away on useless components that the onboard motherboard components serve fine for. However, I have two games that I can account for that I noticed the change immediately, and what prompted me to try using a sound card.

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tsukasa2k6
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in my opinion it depends what you wantit for

Junkyard Dawg
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I wouldn't say that you NEED a dedicated sound processor component (AKA sound card). I would say that if you're looking to spend some extra money on enhancing your gaming or multimedia experience, than this would serve you well. I have found that a good sound card does produce noticeably better highs and lows. I've never been a fan at throwing money away on useless components that the onboard motherboard components serve fine for. However, I have two games that I can account for that I noticed the change immediately, and what prompted me to try using a sound card.

I bought a Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Pro Series PCI Express sound card around two years ago, because I was experiencing crackling in my speakers from a couple of games. The first game is Cryostasis: Sleep of Reason. Whenever I was outside of the ship and exposed to howling winds, my speakers would sound okay, but then start producing this annoying crackling sound. The crackling then quickly turned to the sound cutting out completely. It was as if the whole game was lagging, but the video was running fine. If I muted the speakers and kept playing, you'd never know there was an issue in the gameplay. The second game is Sniper: Ghost Warrior. There was a mission where you have are supposed to man a 50 caliber turret and fend off enemies for a predetermined amount of time. I didn't notice any sound issues in the game until I played this particular chapter. When I started firing the machine gun, it made deep bassy muffle from my subwoofer that sounded fine at first. Not too long afterwards, the muffle would become distorted like I had water in my ears.

I tweaked with the limited sound options in both titles, but whether on hardware or software processing, the same issue existed. With all hardware in my computer the same, I decided to give a dedicated sound card a try. I installed the device, powered on my computer, installed the latest drivers, and tested these very same titles. I immediately was relieved when I no longer could produce the crackling noise from my speakers in Cyrostasis, or the distorted muffle in Sniper. Again, I want to note that all hardware remained the same, aside from my new sound processing component. I used the "gaming" profile in the Creative Audio Control Panel. Also, the games audio settings were not touched. Later on I was able to notice clearer sounding music from my 5.1 speaker system, when using "entertainment" audio profile on the Create Audio Control Panel.

I hope this helps anyone that is toying with the idea of investing in a dedicated sound card. I'll admit you may never see an issue with a setup that is void of dedicated sound processing, but I can assure most of you will notice a positive difference when you do decide to test a good sound card.

Sorry for the repost, but I thought I was logged into the website.

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Anonymous

I wouldn't say that you NEED a dedicated sound processor component(AKA sound card). I would say that if you're looking to spend some extra money on enhancing your gaming or multimedia experience, than this would serve you well. I have found that a good sound card does produce noticeably better highs and lows. I've never been a fan at throwing money away on useless components that the onboard motherboard components serve fine for. However, I have two games that I can account for that I noticed the change immediately, and what prompted me to try using a sound card.

I bought a Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Pro Series PCI Express sound card around two years ago, because I was experiencing crackling in my speakers from a couple of games. The first game is Cryostasis: Sleep of Reason. Whenever I was outside of the ship and exposed to howling winds, my speakers would sound okay, but then start producing this annoying crackling sound. The crackling then quickly turned to the sound cutting out completely. It was as if the whole game was lagging, but the video was running fine. If I muted the speakers and kept playing, you'd never know there was an issue in the gameplay. The second game is Sniper: Ghost Warrior. There was a mission where you have are supposed to man a 50 caliber turret and fend off enemies for a predetermined amount of time. I didn't notice any sound issues in the game until I played this particular chapter. When I started firing the machine gun, it made deep bassy muffle from my subwoofer that sounded fine at first. Not too long afterwards, the muffle would become distorted like I had water in my ears.

I tweaked with the limited sound options in both titles, but whether on hardware or software processing, the same issue existed. With all hardware in my computer the same, I decided to give a dedicated sound card a try. I installed the device, powered on my computer, installed the latest drivers, and tested these very same titles. I immediately was relieved when I no longer could produce the crackling noise from my speakers in Cyrostasis, or the distorted muffle in Sniper. Again, I want to note that all hardware remained the same, aside from my new sound processing component. I used the "gaming" profile in the Creative Audio Control Panel. Also, the games audio settings were not touched. Later on I was able to notice clearer sounding music from my 5.1 speaker system, when using "entertainment" audio profile on the Create Audio Control Panel.

I hope this helps anyone that is toying with the idea of investing in a dedicated sound card. I'll admit you may never see an issue with a setup that is void of dedicated sound processing, but I can assure most of you will notice a positive difference when you do decide to test a good sound card.

Anonymous

onboard..

dustyschaffner
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Creative Soundblaster Audigy SE for the desktop (older windows XP card, new release of win7 drivers are fantastic though).
Creative Soundblaster X-fi Extreme Audio Notebook, express card for the laptop, fantastic sound.
I hope to get the X-fi HD some day.
I work in a home studio and do field recordings of live bands, events, and ambient nature sounds, these two sound cards do exceptionally well. Perfectly clear audio and good SNR. No issues with drivers at all.
I do comparisons of onboard audio with numerous things just for laughs, the difference is night and day. I have also auditioned a few ASUS cards, which I found repulsive and fatiguing.
Nothing I have is below Hi-Fi, so a dedicated, good quality card is a must. I'm an audiophile!

Little BaBy JESUS
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I have a Creative X-FI Titanium but I've had a lot of issues with their drivers and while the card puts out decent sound it's not amazing. I now have an Audinst HUD-mx1 DAC running my Audioengine 5+ speakers and Sennheiser HD595 headphones. I'm not some amazingly obsessed audiophile, but I like good quality sound and that does the job for me.

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apmontufar
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I use a Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeGamer Fatal1ty Pro Series, with a high end home theater system, i alsaw bought a Sound Blaster Recon3D wich turned out to be a complete disappointment, so went back to X-FI.

Anonymous

I prefer having a separate Soundcard, Not only cause it produces better audio, But it helps in removing the CPU from doing all the audio processing when its done through hardware via the separate Soundcard, I always have faith in Creative Labs because there Soundblaster Cards gives you the highest in audio quality.

Another reason to have a separate Soundcard would be you can use it in conjunction with your Onboard Sound, If your doing any live streaming, Having two Soundcards would be a benefit, since you would be able to broadcast audio from multiple sources.

3dGameMan
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A separate sound card really don't relieve the CPU like it once did though.

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xplaur
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First of all, there is a big difference between NEED and WANT! If I need an audio card? Right now, using a cheap stereo 5w desktop audio system, the on-board audio is just fine! If I had a minimum 200$ 2.0/2.1 speaker system or a minimum 300$ 5.1/7.1 speaker system, probably I would have bought a good sound-card (Asus or Creative).
For a speaker system that you can connect using a HDMI interface, you don't need a separate audio-card (you can use the audio codec from the VGA, trough the HDMI output, even loss-less multichannel sound streaming like DTS TrueHD or DD TrueHD).

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3dGameMan
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LOL... True enough, most of us want everything even if we don't really need it.

TeeBlack
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i use a Focusrite Saffire 6 usb soundcard. i do occasional music recording. Games sound great with my 5" woofers.

You dont know me but that's the way i like it!

Hepatitis Q
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Back in the day though, they were awesome to have for some games.

3dGameMan
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Yep, back then there was no decent on-board audio.

chilliedog2918
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What kind of sound card did u say u have?

3dGameMan
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I mentioned that in the video, but I have a Azentech X-Fi Forte 7.1 Sounds Card.

chilliedog2918
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Hmm couldn find that certain card but..i have seen that u did a review on the Auzentech X-Fi Bravura,any big difference between your card an this 1? hmm no responce yet...

Anonymous

It's "Separate" for the record. :p