New speakers, should I get a sound card?

ShepsCrook

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Feb 16, 2003
Messages
9,395
I have an MSI X99S Sli Plus motherboard with onboard sound and a basic Logitech 5.1 surround sound speaker set.

I've got a Klipsch Promedia 5.1 surround sound set that I just picked up and would like some good audio for it. I typically play with headphones but sometimes like some good game surround sound when playing by myself.

What's good out there because I haven't had a sound card since X-Fi Platinum
 

B00nie

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Nov 1, 2012
Messages
9,327
I have an MSI X99S Sli Plus motherboard with onboard sound and a basic Logitech 5.1 surround sound speaker set.

I've got a Klipsch Promedia 5.1 surround sound set that I just picked up and would like some good audio for it. I typically play with headphones but sometimes like some good game surround sound when playing by myself.

What's good out there because I haven't had a sound card since X-Fi Platinum

Microsoft has gimped the sound subsystem (no more directsound and even OpenAL has trouble) so gaming sound is not what it used to be. If you're looking for a gaming surround, Creative is probably still your safest bet. Creative has the 'alchemy' which supposedly lets you emulate the old direct sound but I'm not sure even that works anymore with Microsoft making hostile moves with their OS.

I would test it and compare it to your current onboard sound first though. The promedias are not that high quality, chances are you won't even find a difference after you disable the Creative sound distorting functions such as the crystalizer.
 

ShepsCrook

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Feb 16, 2003
Messages
9,395
Microsoft has gimped the sound subsystem (no more directsound and even OpenAL has trouble) so gaming sound is not what it used to be. If you're looking for a gaming surround, Creative is probably still your safest bet. Creative has the 'alchemy' which supposedly lets you emulate the old direct sound but I'm not sure even that works anymore with Microsoft making hostile moves with their OS.

I would test it and compare it to your current onboard sound first though. The promedias are not that high quality, chances are you won't even find a difference after you disable the Creative sound distorting functions such as the crystalizer.

The ProMedia's are MUCH better than the Logitech X-540 set that I have right now.

I might give using a sound card a try again. I was thinking Creative as their stuff still seems to be highly suggested for gamers.
 
Joined
Feb 13, 2003
Messages
634
Largely depends on how you are connecting the speakers (to the audio chipset) and what (audio chipset) you are currently using. Motherboard chipsets aren't the total crap they were years ago. And as Windows has changed how it handles audio, sound cards no longer have an advantage in specialized support.
 

Nenu

[H]ardened
Joined
Apr 28, 2007
Messages
20,161
If you want a soundcard the AE-5 has just been released and is getting good press.
It appears to be a good step up in quality for internal cards.

If you want better a good quality external DAC will do it.
But that gets costly for surround.
 

Mad Maxx

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Apr 12, 2016
Messages
6,313
Beware, because once you start down the dark path of computer audio, forever will it dominate your destiny. Consume your wallet it will!! Just like so many of us...
 

Nenu

[H]ardened
Joined
Apr 28, 2007
Messages
20,161
Cough, yep.
I just splashed £1400 this week on a stereo DAC.
<whistles>
 

ShepsCrook

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Feb 16, 2003
Messages
9,395
Clearly I've been running onboard sound for a quite a few years, along with lower end speakers. So this is a decent step up from there. So, that being said, I'm going to try the AE-5. It sounded intriguing. It arrives on Sunday.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Nenu
like this

Brian_B

2[H]4U
Joined
Mar 23, 2012
Messages
3,356
The Klipsch system is going to sound a lot better than your old setup just out of the box.

External DAC for superior sound, but your gonna be mostly limited to stereo there.

I would try it with your current sound - if it sounds good to you, then yay. I couldn't definiteively say that a sound card would really improve your sound all that much (unless your getting a lot of hissing or popping or something that is very obviously wrong). I can say a good DAC will technically be more pure, but again, stereo only, and only if you have an ear that can actually notice the difference.

My layman's ear (and the fact that I work around generators all day long doesn't help), I can tell the difference in a good set of speakers, and in a good amp - those are night and day differences. The differences run-of-the-mill onboard sound and a DAC - much more subtle, and only significantly discernible with a good speaker/amp setup for me, and only when I'm actually listening to music. While gaming, it mostly gets lost on me because I'm concentrating on the game.
 
Top