audigy2 zs or m-audio

Vulcanus

Supreme [H]ardness
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building up a new comp and I need a sound card. Most of my listening is split up 50/50 between music and games. I use a pair of Sennheiser 555's and very rarely connect them to my home theater setup.
 

Mister X

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How about I just totaly ignore the title? :rolleyes:


For your setup I would suggest the Audigy2 Zs for game and the AV-710 for music. :)
 

Vulcanus

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Sorry, <$150.


And as far as the AV-710, I have to actually be able to buy it ;)
 

Mister X

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lol... yea I noticed that no-one has it in stock after I posted that.
Seems I was more distracted then I thought.
 

chizu

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If you don't mind, I'll sell you mine ZS for $70 shipped. It's still brand new, I still have all the accessories and games with it. I just got it three weeks ago.
 
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What makes the AV-710 so much better for music than the Audigy 2ZS? And if it is better, why does it cost about 4 times less than the ZS?
 

Vulcanus

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What makes the audigy 2 so much better in games than an Envy24 based card?


Because if all the audigy2 has going for it is surround sound in games, then I'll just get the m-audio instead (unless the audigy2 has excellent vitual surround for headphones)
 

stunna

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a1rocketpilot said:
What makes the AV-710 so much better for music than the Audigy 2ZS? And if it is better, why does it cost about 4 times less than the ZS?
I'd also like to know
 

NightRaven

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To be honest, I think a multi-soundcard setup is an added unnecessary hassle. The M-Audio Revolution is probably a good, balanced solution for your needs.

As to why Creative's more expensive sound card can sound worse than the AV-710? Good question, why don't you ask Creative. While the Audigy is loaded with features, apparently they decided that sound quality was not one of their priorities. Moving from a Audigy 2 ZS to the EMU 0404 (albeit decidedly a better card than the 710) was a real eyeopener. The ZS feels compressed and tinny. Thin would be a good word for it. I had always wondered how it could possibly be that sometimes it seemed like my PCDP sounded better than my ZS. All the reservations I had about the card and its sound were confirmed.

So unless you need every last FPS you can squeeze out of a game, you're probably better off with something else.
 

MartinX

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a1rocketpilot said:
What makes the AV-710 so much better for music than the Audigy 2ZS? And if it is better, why does it cost about 4 times less than the ZS?

Sample rate.
Most consumer music is sampled at 44.1Khz (I've never seen anything come off a cd that wasn't), for some reason best known to Creative they decided to make the native* sample rate of the Audigy 48Khz (I have a theory, I'll explain later), which means that any 44.1Khz source (which is nearly everything) has to be resampled to 48Khz before the Ax can output anything.
This wouldn't neccessarily be a huge problem, except that the card does a really crappy job of the resampling which screws up the quality (this is beyond question, although how much, and how noticable are hotly debated).

The AV-710 (and all envy based cards) natively samples at 44.1Khz, so there's no resampling, on top of that, the AV-710 also has suprisingly high quality DACs, so in terms of output quality it punches well above its price range.

On why the Audigy would be better for games, that's easy, EAX2+ and the hardware acceleration thereof, i.e better effects and less cpu load with it.

My theory on the 48Khz? DVD-Audio, and they thought no-one would notice (which most haven't).

*On native sampling rate, it is my understanding that on all cards the actual sample rate is governed by a physical component (a crystal) so to natively support 44.1Khz and 48Khz without resampling there would have to be two crystals (I don't know about any other cards, but I believe that the EMU0404 for instance, has three sample clock crystals), which makes things more expensive. With one crystal of the right type you can get 48Khz, 48x2Khz (96Khz) and 48x4Khz (192Khz), which some will recognize as the sample rates associated with high definition audio.
At least that's my understanding, I could be way off.

Theoretically at least, the Audigy4pro, given its native support for high def sample rates, and high quality DACS (the same ones used on the EMU 1212m) should be absolutely brilliant for high def audio (but still not so good for regular audio).

You do gain a tangible improvement if you resample to 48Khz in software (using, say foobar, or winamp) before sending the data to the AudigyX though.
 

Talonz

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From my personal experience, the Audigy series still sounds like crap compared to a properly amped AV-710. The AV-710 is a barebones sound card. That means, no headphone amp, no fancy hardware processing or acceleration. Your money that goes towards the audigy pays for glossy ads, a big name, and most importantly, hardware acceleration. The AV-710 is exceptional because it has a very good Wolfson DAC onboard the rear channels. When outputting to the AV-710 vs the Audigy2, both resampled through software, the AV-710 is a clear winner in all aspects of the sound. Just remember, the AV-710 is NOT AMPLIFIED. So you're going to need the proper equipment and software setup (rear channel, resampled to 96khz, 24 padded to 32 bit, kernel streaming) to take full advantage of the sound. If you don't have an amp, then go with the Audigy 2.
 

canislupy

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Just to rile things up... how about the HDA X-mystique 7.1 Gold? :p :D

This thing is schweet. I should probably bench it vs my Audigy2... but I'm too lazy for all of that.

Only problem is its still an ebay item at this point.
http://search.ebay.com/hda-x-mystique_W0QQfkrZ1QQfnuZ1QQsatitleZhdaQ20xQ2dmystique

Got mine for $62. Good card for the money if you are a patient bidder.

I got the optional I/O card as well, they don't tell you but you need a 12pin ribbon cable... so I made my own by hacking an IDE cable. :eek: :D

Got my PS2 running optical into my PC out to the speakers. Will soon have my real speakers hooked up to this through a Dolby Digital reciever. Can't wait to get it all setup.
 

Vulcanus

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Do any of the Envy-24 based soundcards have an onboard headphone amp, or should I just get a seperate headphone amp?


Keep in mind that I'm only planning on spending no more than $150 for soundcard + amp setup. So like a cheap soundcard/good amp, good soundcard/shitty amp, etc...



EDIT: cause im a a tard
 

MartinX

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Nearly all cards have some kind of amp'ing on the line-outs (or at least one of them, for headphones), it's just the budget type nature of the av-710 that means it doesn't.

I'm sure the m-audio would be fine on that account, as long as you're not using senn hd650s or something.
 

MartinX

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Vulcanus said:
senn HD-555's

They'd probably be okay, the line-out on my Audigy was able to drive my hd280pros acceptably, and I think the hd555s are lower impedence, I wouldn't imagine the m-audio would have much difficulty.

I'd be inclined to pick up a cmoy/mint type thing anyway, but that's my general feeling for anything above cheaptacular portable player type phones.
 

Talonz

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MartinX said:
Nearly all cards have some kind of amp'ing on the line-outs (or at least one of them, for headphones), it's just the budget type nature of the av-710 that means it doesn't.

I'm sure the m-audio would be fine on that account, as long as you're not using senn hd650s or something.

In any case, the AV-710 does not have an amped rear output using the Wolfson dac, the only reason to buy the card. It's a straight line out, and a weak one too.
 

OTL

Gawd
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Keep in mind the 3D sound engine the M-Audio uses is from the now defunct Sensaura. Enhancements to the sound library aren't going to happen from now on, so the card's sound quality and compatability will not be improved through any forthcoming driver updates unless M-Audio licenses another engine or creates their own.

The other thing it has going against it is the prohibitive cpu usage in games. Expect to give up 10-25% of your framerate on even the fastest processor.
 
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