Auzentech X-Fi Forte 7.1 or Asus Xonar D2X

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Auzentech X-Fi Forte 7.1 or Asus Xonar D2X

Postposted on Sat Apr 04, 2009 8:15 pm

I have never owned a discrete sound card before, now planning to buy one primarily for games on Vista.

-Auzentech X-Fi Forte 7.1 is a new card and has received good reviews and supports the following APIs: WDM, ASIO2.0, EAX 5.0, Direct Sound, Direct Sound 3D, OpenAL.
-Asus Xonar D2X supports the following APIs: DirectSound3D GX 2.5, DirectSound HW, DirectSound SW, A3D1.0, OpenAL generic modes, 128 3D sounds processing capability.

Currently I am deciding which one to get and am leaning towards Auzentech because it supports EAX 5.0 and OpenAL. I am aware that EAX 5.0 is supported on Vista via proprietary software "Alchemy" and developers are moving away from EAX but I can still use it for older games. Asus Xonar D2X on the other hand claims to have universal solution for Vista Audio problems called DS3D GX. This makes me think twice should I opt for a sound card that offers universal solution but may have finicky drivers? Or should I opt for a sound card that offers great sound effects which may vary from game to game and may not always work properly?

In the end I am more interested in excellent sound quality and stability rather than fancy sound effects.

Any insight is appreciated.
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Re: Auzentech X-Fi Forte 7.1 or Asus Xonar D2X

Postposted on Sat Apr 04, 2009 8:38 pm

What are you going to hook the soundcard up to (speakers, headphones... reciever?)

Also, "finicky drivers" does seem to be par for the course with discrete sound cards these days, regardless of manufacturer. Companies either seem to create quirky drivers or update them about as often as Halley's Comet passes 'round these parts (people like M-Audio, cough, cough), alas.
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Re: Auzentech X-Fi Forte 7.1 or Asus Xonar D2X

Postposted on Sat Apr 04, 2009 8:45 pm

insulin_junkie72 wrote:What are you going to hook the soundcard up to (speakers, headphones... reciever?)

Also, "finicky drivers" does seem to be par for the course with discrete sound cards these days, regardless of manufacturer. Companies either seem to create quirky drivers or update them about as often as Halley's Comet passes 'round these parts (people like M-Audio, cough, cough), alas.


I have Logitech Z-2300 speakers. Auzentech has drivers dated Feb. 20, 2009. Asus latest driver was released last month and still beta.
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Re: Auzentech X-Fi Forte 7.1 or Asus Xonar D2X

Postposted on Sat Apr 04, 2009 8:46 pm

Idk if you are at least somewhat familiar with the Xonar DX, I point it out because the name is deceiving. TR has a review.
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Re: Auzentech X-Fi Forte 7.1 or Asus Xonar D2X

Postposted on Sat Apr 04, 2009 11:25 pm

These days you should pick your card based on: basic features (input/output jacks, etc), driver support and sound quality (and audio features if you're going to do any production) rather than bullet points on technologies that are dying / going to die. Namely, any flavor of EAX and its emulated counterparts, and basically any form of hardware-accelerated sound.

Barely any games come out now that have or use EAX, so in the end it ends up being minimally assured sound quality with driver updates, and counting jacks for what you need.
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Re: Auzentech X-Fi Forte 7.1 or Asus Xonar D2X

Postposted on Sun Apr 05, 2009 12:37 am

Morphine wrote exactly what I was thinking. EAX would be one of my last considerations at this point, maybe it's different for you. Between Asus Xonar cards and Auzentech both have sufficiently good drivers. So I'd look at connectiviy and make sure the card does what I'd use it for. Also someone mentied the Asus DX which you could consider if you want to save a fair chunk. I've had the Xonar DX and D2X and sound-wise they're extremely close.
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Re: Auzentech X-Fi Forte 7.1 or Asus Xonar D2X

Postposted on Sun Apr 05, 2009 2:34 am

The cheaper one? My recommend though is to save your money, your onboard is enough for your speakers.
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Re: Auzentech X-Fi Forte 7.1 or Asus Xonar D2X

Postposted on Sun Apr 05, 2009 7:03 am

I got the D2X and found it to be a nice card. From the optical outputs to the coloured leds making finding a jack very easy. Also, i never use the DS3D GX mode, but it works fine with surround in games anyway. I'm happy with it when i replaced my older Terratec card that didnt have Vistra drivers. Good quality. For the future, i wouldnt care that much about EAX at all. Use it both for my videologic sirocco crossfire system with the comp, and to the quite expensive home theatre in the living room.

The only thing i dont like is that i cant get a single source output through both the spdif and normal speakers at the same time, since the spdif gets its own device in windows.
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Re: Auzentech X-Fi Forte 7.1 or Asus Xonar D2X

Postposted on Sun Apr 05, 2009 12:03 pm

Both cards have nearly identical inputs/outputs, except Xonar has Digital Input and CD-In, Aux-In. While Auzentech uses analog I/O D-SUB 15 pin multi connector because it has low profile not sure if it impacts sound quality at all.

So, Xonar has some more inputs which I currently do not need, in the end it comes down to sound quality for me when EAX/DS3D GX modes are disabled on respected cards as well as driver stability.
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Re: Auzentech X-Fi Forte 7.1 or Asus Xonar D2X

Postposted on Sun Apr 05, 2009 8:26 pm

I too was contemplating this buy for my new i7 setup I am leaning toward the Xonar myself. Since I game with Teamspeek and Vent can any Xonar owners tell me their experience when using a headset?

I noticed none of the reviews touched on this subject. So I am curious.
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Re: Auzentech X-Fi Forte 7.1 or Asus Xonar D2X

Postposted on Sun Apr 05, 2009 8:43 pm

tanker27 wrote:I too was contemplating this buy for my new i7 setup I am leaning toward the Xonar myself. Since I game with Teamspeek and Vent can any Xonar owners tell me their experience when using a headset?

I noticed none of the reviews touched on this subject. So I am curious.


A review really wouldn't need to touch on the topic unless there was some weird incompatibility, which there likely isn't one. Teamspeak and Ventrilo will limit the quality far before the sound card will, likewise so will your headset limit the quality far before your sound card will.
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Re: Auzentech X-Fi Forte 7.1 or Asus Xonar D2X

Postposted on Tue Apr 07, 2009 1:00 am

I have the same setup (Z-2300 speakers and vista 64).

I really like listening to my music loud, and the speakers are nice in that they go much louder than i can tolerate (or the neighbors for that matter).

I have only used onboard, but so i was wondering how much a difference a discrete card would make, if theres a point in getting a $30 card or would only a Xonar be worth it, and finally if there was a store or something i could go to and hear the difference for myself. I can definetly appreciate the differnce between my speakers and my headphones ... so i assume i would appreciate the difference between a Realtec chip and a premium one.

thanks for any advice.
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Re: Auzentech X-Fi Forte 7.1 or Asus Xonar D2X

Postposted on Tue Apr 07, 2009 8:37 am

I suppose a reasonable rule of thumb would be: how much background hiss do you get on your sound right now? Every integrated chipset I've heard until my latest motherboard was absolute crap, with tons of background hiss if you turned the volume up a notch.
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Re: Auzentech X-Fi Forte 7.1 or Asus Xonar D2X

Postposted on Tue Apr 07, 2009 10:18 am

Love it or hate it but I'm here for X-Fi chip.
I just bought X-Fi Titanium (PCIe card) and I like it.
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Linux support is much better. (tested with X-Fi Fatal1ty on Fedora 10)

I read Xonar DX release note (it shares the same bugs improvements with D2X)
and felt like the ASUS driver support is still far behind Creative.
(FYI, the latest Xonar DX driver fixes BSoD in WoW, wrong 5.1 channel in Red Albert III, etc.)
But I still want to buy Xonar DX for my backup system anyway, for comparison purpose at least.
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Re: Auzentech X-Fi Forte 7.1 or Asus Xonar D2X

Postposted on Tue Apr 07, 2009 10:50 am

fpsduck wrote:and felt like the ASUS driver support is still far behind Creative.

You're kidding right? :o
I never had an ASUS soundcard, but I'm finding it hard to imagine how can there be worse driver support than Creative's :o
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Re: Auzentech X-Fi Forte 7.1 or Asus Xonar D2X

Postposted on Tue Apr 07, 2009 12:50 pm

I'd recommend the auzentech card. Especially if you game and use a mic.
Their card is built better than creative's, and the driver control panels are configured better too.

I upgraded from the xtreme music to a prelude, and think the prelude is certainly a better card.
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Re: Auzentech X-Fi Forte 7.1 or Asus Xonar D2X

Postposted on Tue Apr 07, 2009 1:25 pm

I echo fpsduck, I've got the X-FI Titanium and its fine. I exclusively use headphones, Sennheiser HD280 Pros. If I was doing it again and going all out, I'd go for this-- http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829132010.

I've used Creative products for a while, and I've never had a problem with them FWIW.
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Re: Auzentech X-Fi Forte 7.1 or Asus Xonar D2X

Postposted on Tue Apr 07, 2009 2:28 pm

I'd highly recommend spending money on a better audio devices besides the sound card. Start investing in real audio options like a external DAC and amp for headphones or a receiver for bookshelf speakers or a full system.
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Re: Auzentech X-Fi Forte 7.1 or Asus Xonar D2X

Postposted on Mon Apr 20, 2009 4:26 pm

morphine wrote:
fpsduck wrote:and felt like the ASUS driver support is still far behind Creative.

You're kidding right? :o
I never had an ASUS soundcard, but I'm finding it hard to imagine how can there be worse driver support than Creative's :o


I'm like two week late, sorry for bringing back the thread if it had die, but I was reading stuff about the X-Fi Forte and came across this thread. I just need to add my comment on this. First off I owned the X-Fi XtremeGamer, the Xonar DX, the X-Fi Titanium Pro Fat4lity and finally the X-Fi Forte in that order, in the last year or so and I can assure everyone that ASUS support is far worse than Creative. They release like a driver every six month when you’re lucky and their EAX emulation doesn’t work as intended.It gave me way too much problem and since I needed a PCI-E card, going back to my old PCI X-FI wasn’t an option. So I went with the X-Fi Titanium which turned out to be somewhat ok, it had better driver than previous generation, but my microphone didn’t work under Vista. The sound was too low and Creative crappy support did not believed me when I told them that the issue was the non-existence of the boost function (for info, I tried 3 different headset and my iPod as a source, all with same problem). I had bought 2 cards at the time one for me and another one for a friend, we both have the same system and both did the same on each computer under Vista. Under XP it was fine though. I got tire of fighting with Creative so I went with Auzen with the X-Fi Forte. No issue so far. I’m never buying a Creative or ASUS product (in audio market) again. Since its release the Auzen got like 3-4 driver release, which is quite good. The audio quality is splendid and the gaming experience is what you would expect from an X-Fi.

So for me the Xonar has a great sound quality, but his poor support and game compatibility make it a non starter if you’re a gamer. For audiophile though it’s a great card. For Creative well it’s Creative. It might work well, it might not, you never know. I never had any single problem with my older Creative product, but with my Titanium experience and their crappy support, they sure lost my support.

Ho well, that was my 2 cents.
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Re: Auzentech X-Fi Forte 7.1 or Asus Xonar D2X

Postposted on Wed Apr 22, 2009 8:54 am

I've had **** support from Creative in the past, and have exclusively used kx drivers on my Audigy 2 for several years now because of Creative driver issues. The number one rule of phone tech support: when the "technician" tells you that you have a "configuration issue" that means they don't know what the f--- they're talking about.

Feeling the need for something better, I ordered a Xonar D1 last week. It's supposed to arrive today, so when I get it installed later this week, I'll report my experiences. My system is used for mostly music and movies these days, since I game less and less.
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Re: Auzentech X-Fi Forte 7.1 or Asus Xonar D2X

Postposted on Sun Apr 26, 2009 7:52 pm

Just installed the D1, and it didn't take 10 minutes to come to my conclusion:

Image

Regardless of anything else I do with it, this card rocks for music reproduction. I really can tell the difference, the amount of extra detail in songs I've heard dozens or even hundreds of times with the Audigy2. The drivers control panel lets you get it just right. Wow, oh wow, I'm in love with this card... :o I wish you could turn the graphic EQ off though; it's an unnecessary CPU hog. Still a minor inconvenience though, since you just set it and forget it. Big thumbs up to C-Media and Asus.
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Re: Auzentech X-Fi Forte 7.1 or Asus Xonar D2X

Postposted on Sun Apr 26, 2009 10:33 pm

Heh can't go wrong with lolcatz!

I've enjoyed both the DX and D2X. He never gave any deatails, I wonder what specific game-related problems Prevok had? I never had any audio reproduction problems under Vista, enabling EAX within game menus might not always work but that's not a big issue imo especially going forward. Just watch out you might start on the audio upgrade path and that can be even worse for your wallet than computers.
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Re: Auzentech X-Fi Forte 7.1 or Asus Xonar D2X

Postposted on Thu Apr 30, 2009 10:34 am

Too late. Over the past week, I've found that my center speaker kinda sucks. I had hidden this from myself (perhaps subconsciously) with the Audigy2 and kx drivers because the intricate bus manipulation of kx allowed me to run my real center and a phantom center simultaneously, which sounded right damn good.

I tried watching Dark Knight on Monday and vocals were horrid. I did some cable swapping last night and verified that the speaker is indeed not up to snuff. Bye bye Acoustech, hello KEF.

(it's impossible to series-match a center, because I have JBL CF-150's for fronts... it's all trial and error until I find something I like)
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Re: Auzentech X-Fi Forte 7.1 or Asus Xonar D2X

Postposted on Thu May 28, 2009 10:05 pm

Hey i have a Asus Xonar DX, and it rock. From music to games. I have never had a problem with the gx feature. I dont know what people are complaining about but i have never run into a problem with that feature with any game. Mind you, I play almost all the popular games and have never come across one problem. I also run a home theater system through my computer. I have a pair of Energy C-7's and Energy C-2's, an Energy RC-LCR, JBL E250P subwoofer, Integra DTC-9.8(and for those of you who have read all the reviews about this preamp you know that its one of the best preamps on the market under $10K), Emotiva XPA-5 amp, and a Belkin PureAV PF-60 line conditioner. I have used Audigy 2 zs, onboard sound, Razer barracuda AC-1, Auzentech X-plosion, and Asus Xonar DX. The Asus is is bar none the best. Asus support blows creative away by leagues and fathoms. I have yet to try the Auzentech X-fi Forte, but I am very curious. I am considering trying it because of the switchable opamps, and the X-fi Crystallizer and CMSS-3d. My audigy 2 zs sound quality was outstanding when using CMSS 3D. I'm going to purchase it soon and will write a review comparing it to my Xonar DX. I'm currently using Optical cable to my preamp with dolby digital live encoding, but I'm switching to analog soon when I get my Kimber Kable 3.5mm to RCA interconnects. Analog tends to be better on sound cards.
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Re: Auzentech X-Fi Forte 7.1 or Asus Xonar D2X

Postposted on Fri May 29, 2009 8:06 am

Yeah, you're missing all the card's strong points with digital out. If you have a good set of headphones, be sure to try out Dolby Headphone mode. I have Sennheiser HD-600's, and it is out of this world! The new Essence ST (the PCI version of the STX) will have the analog 7.1 breakout panel, as well as the swappable op-amps and hi-fi headphone amp of the STX. I'm awful tempted to get it when it is released, but I think the D1 is good enough for now.

http://www.guru3d.com/article/asus-xona ... ew--test/2
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Re: Auzentech X-Fi Forte 7.1 or Asus Xonar D2X

Postposted on Sat May 30, 2009 12:57 pm

Wow, this thread just will not die. :D Do you guys know what the difference is between Xonar D2X and Xonar STX in simple terms?
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Re: Auzentech X-Fi Forte 7.1 or Asus Xonar D2X

Postposted on Sat May 30, 2009 1:42 pm

The STX is aimed at audiophiles. The DAC and op-amps are upgrades over the D2X, and the op-amps are socketed for inveterate tweakers. The output amplifiers (including the dedicated headphone amp complete with 1/4" TRS jack) are powered separately by a Molex connection, meaning that the EMI/RFI hash picked up through the PCI-E slot won't bleed into the amp section, at least through the power lines. The amp section is also built into its own Faraday cage to further suppress EMI/RFI. All caps on the board are Panasonic Os-Con or Nichon Fine Gold; both excellent selections for audiophile equipment.
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Re: Auzentech X-Fi Forte 7.1 or Asus Xonar D2X

Postposted on Sat May 30, 2009 2:56 pm

It'd be wonderful if they made a version of that card with a digital and a couple of XLR inputs. Would be great for audio work.
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Re: Auzentech X-Fi Forte 7.1 or Asus Xonar D2X

Postposted on Mon Jun 01, 2009 9:09 pm

I did not know Asus was coming out with the ST, I had researched the STX extensively but wow, now that I know thats coming out, I'm stoked. I think I'll get that and the X-fi forte and still compare. Since the STX only supported stereo and digital I didn't want to get it because I wanted analog surround. But now that an analog version is coming out I'm definitely getting that. I dont like to use headphones. I have a good home theater system for a reason. I'm purchasing some new 3.5mm to RCA cables from bettercables.com pretty soon to try the sound out with my asus xonar dx. I know it will be better sounding than my digital. I have some right now but the 3.5 mm jacks are so thick that I can't plug them in 2 or 3 at the same time. Believe me guys if your into home theater, cabling makes a difference. Also plan to change my speaker cables.

Do you know what the ETA is on that card. I'm not too happy that its PCI. I would prefer PCI-Express.
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Re: Auzentech X-Fi Forte 7.1 or Asus Xonar D2X

Postposted on Tue Jun 02, 2009 8:22 am

Those cables at bettercables.com are quite expensive. Take a look at Infinite Cables instead. They have a cheap line and a premium line. Their premium line is reasonably priced and look nice.

I do agree that cable choice does make a difference, but not by much. It more a matter of whether the signal gets there than what medium is used to transport the signal. As long as the cable is shielded, there isn't any perceptible difference.
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