1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Which Sound Card??

Discussion in 'Sound City' started by willhub, 15 Jul 2006.

  1. willhub

    Capodecina

    Joined: 3 Jan 2006

    Posts: 23,697

    Location: MediaCityUK

    Hi, i recently purchased a logitech z5500 Digital surround sound system, this system has optical and coax inputs on it, to get dolby digital 5.1 and DTS etc.. i have to use either coax or optical, and my motherboard does not have either of them, so i was thinking of getting a new sound card, i do quite alot of gaming, and i listin to lots and lots and lots of music, and watch movies on my pc, now at the moment i am stuck between 2 cards, these are the HDA Digital X-Plosion 7.1 DTS Connect and the Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Fatal1ty FPS Edition, the creative card comes with a front panel, but appart from that, the HDA card seems ot have alot better fetures, i aint sure as the price of the Creative card is alot higher so maybe its better? and it has 64mb of xram.

    I need help to decide, which one do you think is better, is creative way over rated?
     
  2. Phil99

    Capodecina

    Joined: 29 Oct 2004

    Posts: 10,901

    Why can't you use the 3x miniplug inputs for analogue 5.1?

    If you can use them, get the X-Fi Xtreme Music (OEM). Similar price to the HDA but alot better for gaming and no real difference for music/movies.
     
  3. willhub

    Capodecina

    Joined: 3 Jan 2006

    Posts: 23,697

    Location: MediaCityUK

    i would rather use coax, and also i want to use the z5500's built in decoder.
     
  4. hp7909

    Soldato

    Joined: 8 Jun 2003

    Posts: 5,016

    Being a Creative person (i.e. never used anything else) I'd say go for the Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Platinum (though not pictured, also comes with a 'front panel' A.K.A. X-Fi I/O Drive) :cool:
     
  5. Phil99

    Capodecina

    Joined: 29 Oct 2004

    Posts: 10,901

    Only reason I ask is that you aren't going to gain at all using co-ax through the decoder, unless you have ALOT of interference. Infact you'd be introducing latency to the audio so there'd be a very slight delay.

    If you use Co-Ax on the X-Fi you'll only get stereo, if you use Co-Ax on the X-Mystique/X-Plosion you'll get 5.1 but you wont get any enhanced hardware acceleration features (EAX5 etc.)

    If you used an X-Fi with the analogue inputs you'd get 5.1 and enhanced hardware acceleration.
     
  6. willhub

    Capodecina

    Joined: 3 Jan 2006

    Posts: 23,697

    Location: MediaCityUK

    only advanced hardware acceleration is EAX, there is nothing else right? whats so good about EAX?.
     
  7. Dr.EM

    Mobster

    Joined: 15 Jun 2006

    Posts: 3,903

    Location: Swindon

    EAX adds ambient effects, ie you get echos when you enter rooms/tunnels in a game environment. I expect it does other things too, but thats what I noticed mainly. It does make things seem a lot more believable.

    As pointed out, you gain nothing by using the coax connection, except having fewer connecting cables if for some reason thats an issue. You do however loose out on certain things. You'll be using the Z5500s decoders, which are probably quite inferior to a sound cards purpose designed ones. You also loose out on the software enhancements mentioned, including EAX. Its generally more difficult to set up anyhow, and you may loose the use of the harware volume control though i'm not certain on that.
     
  8. james.miller

    Capodecina

    Joined: 17 Aug 2003

    Posts: 19,469

    Location: Woburn Sand Dunes

    you dont loose out on eax if your using ddlive or DTS , its still supported and you'll get eax2 (which is all those cards support anyhow). its a piece of cake to set up - one wire and select DDLive on the control panel, easy peasy. Volume also works fine.

    Thats quite true. the z5500's analogue inputs could also be quite bad, which is the case with my yamaha av amp which is why i use a ddlive card. My amp is much happier with a digital feed:)
     
  9. willhub

    Capodecina

    Joined: 3 Jan 2006

    Posts: 23,697

    Location: MediaCityUK

    so what should i do, get X-FI and use analoug inputs, or get HDA and use digital?
     
  10. Phil99

    Capodecina

    Joined: 29 Oct 2004

    Posts: 10,901

    X-Fi + Analogue.

    I just can't see any advantage going with the X-Plosion/X-Mystique over the X-Fi, especially for gaming.

    Also, unless you really really really need the front panel box I'd strongly suggest getting the X-Fi Xtreme Music over the Fatal1ty as not only is it alot cheaper, the X-RAM is very much a gimic at the moment (which I can't ever see being a real advantage)
     
  11. willhub

    Capodecina

    Joined: 3 Jan 2006

    Posts: 23,697

    Location: MediaCityUK

    The thing is, i thought coax was better than analoug, as aint signals getting sent to each speaker seperately, and with analoug its all gunna be mixed up or somthing?
     
  12. Phil99

    Capodecina

    Joined: 29 Oct 2004

    Posts: 10,901

    Co-Ax (in the case of the Dolby Digital/DTS encoding cards):

    6 channel audio from game -> encoded in to bit stream -> co-ax cable -> decoded -> each channel sent to correct speaker

    Analogue:

    6 channel audio from game -> 3x cables (each one carries 2 channels) -> speakers

    (missed out some stages in the above but that's a basic overview)

    The end result of both is the same, the only real differences being the latency (+compression) added by the encoding and the single cable.
     
  13. willhub

    Capodecina

    Joined: 3 Jan 2006

    Posts: 23,697

    Location: MediaCityUK

    Hmm, Whats DTS Neo PC, DTS Interactive and DTS Digital LIVE? i see the X-Plosion has that but X-FI doesent, and really i dont want to spend £150 nearly on a sound card, the X-FI Extreme music OEM doesent have a front panel or anything, and looks like it dont have as amny fetures as the X-Plosion, i dunno, it does look like the X-Plosion is better, i aint botherd about latency and a slight delay when using digital, i would rather use digital than analoug.
     
  14. Phil99

    Capodecina

    Joined: 29 Oct 2004

    Posts: 10,901

    They're basically the features that encode/compress the audio.

    Why do you think you need digital? (that's in a non-offensive tone, genuinely interested why you think digital is better)

    I can assure you the X-Fi will be ALOT better than the X-Mystique/X-Plosion for gaming. Dolby Digital Live or DTS Interactive won't make your games sound better - the higher versions of EAX will.

    edit: I have first hand experience of X-Fi Xtreme Music vs Dolby Digital Live card (same chipset as X-Mystique) and can assure you the difference is night and day)
     
  15. willhub

    Capodecina

    Joined: 3 Jan 2006

    Posts: 23,697

    Location: MediaCityUK

    Yes i understand that the X-FI is the best for games, but the new question is, whats better for Movies and Music?
     
  16. Phil99

    Capodecina

    Joined: 29 Oct 2004

    Posts: 10,901

    Movies = the same (you can use your digital connection for this if you so wish, but the X-Fi also has Dolby Digital Decoding)

    Music = Nothing in it at default, whereas the X-Fi has all the fancy crystaliser stuff to play around with.

    (Also note you don't get a front panel with the X-Plosion either - in my opinion this card is massively over priced)
     
  17. willhub

    Capodecina

    Joined: 3 Jan 2006

    Posts: 23,697

    Location: MediaCityUK

    to buy the x-fi platinum i have to blow £123 so i get the front panel :o, it's too much and i want the front panel, uhmm, so if i got the X-FI, would i just use my normal anloug cable (3 cables) that i use now and get Dolby digital and DTS, and when listning to music in media player like i normally do, will music sound different, will it be in dolby digital etc..?
     
  18. Phil99

    Capodecina

    Joined: 29 Oct 2004

    Posts: 10,901

    You'd just use the normal 3 cables and you'd be able to listen to music in 5.1 (either DVD-Audio or upmixed stereo), 5.1 in games and of course DVD Movies.

    Note that Dolby Digital doesn't make music sound any "different", other than perhaps compressing it as it's a lossy format, there would be no encoding/decoding happening when you listen to music etc, which is by no means a bad thing.
     
  19. willhub

    Capodecina

    Joined: 3 Jan 2006

    Posts: 23,697

    Location: MediaCityUK

    Hmm, so what would i get using coax or optical with an X-FI?
     
  20. Phil99

    Capodecina

    Joined: 29 Oct 2004

    Posts: 10,901

    Stereo in games/music, 5.1 with DVDs/Pre-encoded sources (e.g. AC3 audio files)