New speakers, new sound card

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New speakers, new sound card

Postposted on Tue Dec 25, 2012 3:42 pm

So I just opened my Christmas gift from my wife and she got me some Bose Companion 2 speakers. :D

My question is should stick with the onboard audio I currently have or get a dedicated sound card? I'm eyeing the Asus Xonar DSX right now and would like some advice on what to do. The motherboard is an old Dell Inspirion. I believe it was a Foxconn(sp). if I do get the Asus should I get the PCI version or PCI-e version?

Any and all advice is appreciated. I don't consider myself a serious audiophile, though I can tell the difference between good and crappy sounding speakers, the latter being what i have right now :evil:
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Re: New speakers, new sound card

Postposted on Tue Dec 25, 2012 5:21 pm

If you buy a new sound card in 2008 or later, it should be PCIe, not an obsolete PCI card.
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Re: New speakers, new sound card

Postposted on Tue Dec 25, 2012 6:00 pm

Get a sound card, but you shouldn't need to spend a ton to make your speakers sound better. Something like the Asus Xonar DSX, maybe.

http://techreport.com/review/23358/asus ... s-reviewed
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Re: New speakers, new sound card

Postposted on Tue Dec 25, 2012 8:11 pm

Here are few cards to consider:
$61 -10MIR Asus Xonar DSX
$45 Creative Labs Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium SB0880, Refurbished
$50 Creative Labs Sound Blaster Recon3D SB1350
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Re: New speakers, new sound card

Postposted on Tue Dec 25, 2012 8:13 pm

There are some reports of signal distortion with the PCI-e version of some of the Asus Xonar cards. I read this somewhere about a year ago when I was trying to decide between PCI vs. PCI-e soundcards, but I can't actually find the link (so maybe it's not true?).

From what I have read (e.g. the Techreport article), the PCI-e versions of cards are just PCI cards that have been reworked to run in a PCI-e slot. This is because sound card technology is so old that it predates the adoption of PCI-e.
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Re: New speakers, new sound card

Postposted on Tue Dec 25, 2012 8:18 pm

The three cards that I linked were all designed from the get-go as PCIe solutions, not for the obsolete PCI bus.
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Re: New speakers, new sound card

Postposted on Tue Dec 25, 2012 8:22 pm

The article I linked to mentioned the Xonar's bridge chip. The card itself is natively PCIe, but the chip at its core is natively PCI so it needs a bridge chip.
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Re: New speakers, new sound card

Postposted on Tue Dec 25, 2012 8:56 pm

I'm sorry but speakers in that level / range - I would not bother with a dedicated soundcard unless you have a very bad / faulty onboard one.
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Re: New speakers, new sound card

Postposted on Tue Dec 25, 2012 10:31 pm

I agree with AbRASiON on this one, I highly doubt you'll hear a difference with those speakers. From what I can tell from previous posts you're using a Dell Inspiron 530 as your system? If that's using a proprietary motherboard (its been a while since I've paid attention to Dell systems) you MIGHT see some benefit, assuming Dell cheaps out on its onboard audio implementations.
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Re: New speakers, new sound card

Postposted on Tue Dec 25, 2012 10:42 pm

Thanks for the input guys. I think Im gonna hold off on the sound card for now. I was thinking it would be in the 25-30 dollar range, but that was for the PCI version. 60 isn't too much but I just can't see spending it on a sound card when i could possibly upgrade to a SSD instead and see better benefits.

Side note: Is there a noticeable difference in quality when using PCI-e vs PCI? Does it effect what your gonna be hearing?
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Re: New speakers, new sound card

Postposted on Wed Dec 26, 2012 4:27 am

greenmystik wrote:Side note: Is there a noticeable difference in quality when using PCI-e vs PCI? Does it effect what your gonna be hearing?
Nope. If you have the same model with the only difference being PCI vs. PCI-E, they should sound exactly the same. The primary (if not only) reason to buy PCI-E over PCI is that once PCI goes the way of the dodo in the next couple years, you aren't forced to buy a new sound card. We're already seeing many motherboards forgoing PCI slots in order to put in more PCI-E slots - mainly higher end boards looking to cram in an extra slot for yet another x16 slot but you'll find more than a couple uATX and ITX boards without them at all.
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Re: New speakers, new sound card

Postposted on Thu Dec 27, 2012 2:06 am

I've done a little more research on this (because I'm currently deciding between the Essence ST and STX) and it seems the PCI-e is the way to go. While the PCI version is technically better (something about an updated jitter clock) some users are reporting problems using PCI cards on Sandy Bridge or later motherboards because PCI is not natively supported.
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