Picking Soundcard (Headphone and Speaker Output, Good Input)

Discussion in 'Computer Audio' started by GCTonyHawk7, Jul 9, 2008.

  1. GCTonyHawk7

    GCTonyHawk7 Limp Gawd

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    Hey, I am in search of a high quality new sound card, and am having trouble finding one that meets my specific needs. Here's what I need:

    - Surround output to my speakers (either analog or digital, my speakers have both) (Would prefer onboard Dolby so I can amp one of my speakers more than others)
    - Output to my headphone amp (At the SAME TIME as speakers, nothing I hate more than unplugging and plugging in headphones every time I want to use em) (Obviously, this is just stereo)
    - Line-in that can record and monitor over the headphones and speakers at the same time (Use this for my Nintendo Wii, I play and listen using my computer, but also use it for recording)

    So, with those specifications, I would not think it is too hard. I currently have an onboard Realtek sound card and want to upgrade to a higher quality card. The main issue I'm finding with most cards is that they won't output to both headphones and my speakers at the same time. When I want to use my headphones, I'd like to mute the speakers and put the headphones on; don't want to deal with plugging in cords and stuff. The recording line-in is also an issue for me, as it has to record high quality audio at the same time outputting that to both outputs.

    Again, my current setup does this perfectly by using three analog cables for my surround speakers, assigning one of the jacks to "Stereo-out" for my headphones, and plugging in a line-in for recording. I did try the Razer AC-1 and it didn't do any of this and in general just sucked. I've been looking at the Asus Xonar D2 and the Auzentech prelude, but I don't think either of these do what I want. Are there any sound cards for under $200 that will do this for me?

    Just for basic information, I use it for mostly music, sometimes movies. Really don't use PC for gaming.

    Thanks for any help you can provide.
     
  2. spaceman

    spaceman [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Have you looked to Head-Fi yet? I am drawing a blank for under $200. What you are describing is like the Central Station I think. That is an external pre-amp/dac/recording swiss army knife for audio. There must be something cheaper though. I plead duh-ness.
     
  3. spaceman

    spaceman [H]ardForum Junkie

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  4. GCTonyHawk7

    GCTonyHawk7 Limp Gawd

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    :eek: I don't think I want something like that. Obviously what I'm trying to do isn't rocket science; my onboard audio on my cheap motherboard does it just fine.

    I posted this at Head-fi too to get their input too. Thanks for your input guys.
     
  5. CountChoculaBot

    CountChoculaBot Limp Gawd

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    The whole recording bit is the tricky part...

    I'm going to go with E-MU 0404. I'm not sure how it handles switching from Line Out to Headphone Out, though.
     
  6. GCTonyHawk7

    GCTonyHawk7 Limp Gawd

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    Ya, I've looked at cards like that, although they do not seem to do surround sound, which I use. :rolleyes: