Audigy 2 ZS or onboard device?

Objekt

Limp Gawd
Joined
Apr 6, 2012
Messages
302
I'm going to build a new system once the Ivy Bridge stuff is all on the market.

My existing desktop has a Creative Labs Audigy 2 ZS sound card I bought years ago. I'm wondering whether I should transfer it to the new build.

What I don't like about the Audigy is that Creative doesn't support it properly. Their drivers don't really work in Windows 7 64-bit. There's a bug that prevents the microphone input from working most of the time, and Creative has never lifted a finger to fix it. Probably never will, since the Audigy 2 is an older card.

If it's time to ditch the Audigy, what particular motherboard audio device should I look for? Are the common Realtek devices good enough, or are there still benefits to a discrete audio card?
 

XacTactX

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Dec 13, 2010
Messages
4,133
  • Yes, the A2ZS will sound better than onboard. I had one and it wasn't half-bad.
  • A discrete sound card (or USB DAC) is useful if you want to listen to music with high sound quality.
  • A sound card is also helpful with gaming because they usually have headphone virtualization, which gives better directional cues for gaming/movies with headphones.
  • If the above two points are not important to you, onboard is fine.
 

Objekt

Limp Gawd
Joined
Apr 6, 2012
Messages
302
Output is fine, and if that were the only consideration, I'd simply transfer the Audigy.

However, like I said, Creative's drivers for the Audigy 2 ZS are simply broken in Windows 7 64-bit. The microphone usually doesn't work.

I think I'll look for a motherboard with a better-than-average built-in sound device. Some of them even have Creative Labs devices. Presumably, they will work properly in Windows 7.
 

royo

n00b
Joined
Mar 13, 2011
Messages
60
Onboard sound is usually decent, but you should look into buying a Xonar dedicated sound card if you want better sound quality.
 

XacTactX

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Dec 13, 2010
Messages
4,133
The integrated "X-Fi" motherboards use the same Realtek sound chipset, it just has a software layer that gives you more customization over the sound.
 

roaf85

2[H]4U
Joined
Jan 8, 2005
Messages
2,766
The non gimped Audigy models including the 2 ZS are really bad ass cards. There is a reason they still sell for around 20 bucks on ebay since their DACs are really good quality.

Still like you said the support sucks, which isnt great on the Asus line either. If you need a sound card I would move to the X-Fi or buy a better MB with an onboard solution.

However if it were me I would just stick to onboard now a days.
 

Objekt

Limp Gawd
Joined
Apr 6, 2012
Messages
302
So tonight I figured out a solution.

I had the motherboard's sound device (Analog Devices ADI1988B) disabled for years because...long story short, it was incompatible with several flavors of Linux.

I re-enabled it, since I pretty much only run Windows 7 on this box lately.

I found that I can have the microphone hooked up to the motherboard sound device, but the output coming from the Audigy 2 ZS.

Best of both worlds! I'm going to transfer my Audigy to the new PC I'll build around the end of the month. That will be the 3rd computer it's been in.

I'm also still using the same set of Altec Lansing VS4221 speakers that I bought in 2003. I can't believe they've lasted this long. Great speakers for a 2.1 channel setup.
 
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