Might be after a new soundcard

S

(Shovel)

Guest
Having decided that Creative's poor quality drivers are equivilent to faulty hardware on my computer I'm after a differet soundcard.
The Kx project drivers are unsuitable for it to work the way I want, so I'm after something new.

The problem now is that I have no idea who else makes good sound cards.

The set up I run is only in Stereo, no surround sound for me cause I don't have the equipment/budget/space for it. I run through a Hi Fi amp and stereo speakers so it does me fine.

Therefore fancy surround sound cards are not required.

It also needs to be reletively cheap. I'm a student so the budget is *very* tight.

The card being replaced is a CL Soundblaster Live Value. Something equivilent or better is all that's required, as long as it has solid drivers.

Thanks for any advice.

Ben
 
S

Scooba Da Bass

Guest
Guillermot seem pretty decent at the lower end of the market, the sound is crisp and clear and even better the cards are pretty cheap.
 
X

xane

Guest
Hurrah another one sees the light.

/me hugs his Aureal Vortex 2 even closer.

Yar, plenty of stuff out there that can match any CL crap. but unfortunately I can't give any recommendations as I'm stuck with my Aureal, it works fine on XP and I have absolutely no reason to change it.

As an aside I was digging out my old PC card collection and discovered three generations of Soundblaster:

A Soundblaster v1.2, circa 1990, 8-bit ISA.
A Soundblaster 16 MCD, circa 1993, 16-bit with built in multi- CD adapter
A Soundblaster AWE 64 PCI
 
S

(Shovel)

Guest
OK, the options seem to be:

Herculese (Guillimot?) Gamesurround Muse LT for £12.50. Looks like it will do the job.

Or there are various cards from Phillips and Terratech for a bit more. I recon £40 will be my absolute maximum.

Thanks for tip offs so far.
 
E

Embattle

Guest
Same Nvidia don't do their own sound card, the nForce2 sound is amazing.
 
F

FatBusinessman

Guest
Isn't the nForce something stupid like the only sound card which can encode Dolby 5.1 on the fly?
 
E

Embattle

Guest
The MCP-T can, which is an optional part of the nForce2 chipset.
 
S

(Shovel)

Guest
Hmm... maybe one day...

For now, what do the masses make of the brands I've suggested??
 
W

Will

Guest
I'm pretty sure the Herc would be fine, but I've never actually tried one.
 
S

(Shovel)

Guest
I've looked it up and (to use jargon) it is a "soft audio" solution. So the processor does the work. Basically, I don't want that.

The only other thing, is that the SBLive (I believe) has enhanced compression? e.g. MP3 ripping is quicker? I can't remember if this is true though.

So, I guess the spec has gone up a bit, I want a soundcard which has a proper hardware processing, rather than passing it off around the system.

As I said, I don't want anything worse than the card I've already got!

Thanks.
 
D

domin8or

Guest
I have a spare Soundblaster AWE 16 ISA at home.
 
S

Scooba Da Bass

Guest
I've got a Guillermot Fortissimo (I think) in the PC outside. It cost about 20 quid about a year ago, no idea if they are still available, but it's been pretty solid so far. you might be able to find one of those.
 
G

GDW

Guest
I have a query.

Ive always used the onboard sound card from my motherboard (Asus A7V266) and never bothered with a PCI card. I currently use one of the Cambridge Soundworks speaker sets with just the 2 speakers and a sub-woofer. Is there any point in purchasing a separate soundcard, i.e. will it make much difference to what I already have?
 
S

(Shovel)

Guest
From what I've found over the past few days - most onboard sound is also a "soft audio" chip - where the CPU does the sound processing. So I guess if you think you need to take some strain off your CPU then yeah, disabling it may be a good move. I really don't know how big the effect is. With two speakers, probably not much.
 
P

Pro]v[etheus

Guest
Originally posted by Scooba Da Bass
I've got a Guillermot Fortissimo (I think) in the PC outside. It cost about 20 quid about a year ago, no idea if they are still available, but it's been pretty solid so far. you might be able to find one of those.
Guillemont still make the Fortissimo range of sound cards, their latest additions being the Fortissimo III 7.1 (£29 OEM) and the Fortissimo DigiFire 7.1.

Fortissimo III got a good review in Computer Active and i've also heard one in action, my personal opinion is it's not a bad card, lacks a bit on the volume, still suffers with the cracks and pops you get on games like BF1942.
 
Y

Yaka

Guest
wot about M Audio revoulution 7.1 sound card its the fucking dogs bollox great sound etc for a great price. audigy is rat shite in comparison.
 
S

Sawtooth

Guest
So the Nforce2 mobo has its own separate audio chip?
 
S

(Shovel)

Guest
Well, in a rather fantastic development I *found* £160 in a disused bank account today - which was a suprise to say the least. I also have some birthday money towards this new toy...

However, I'm still an indebt student, so I've not increased the budget much... my shortlist at the moment is as follows:

>> Terratec SoundSystem DMX - XFire 1024 (£40)
>> Hercules Fortissimo III 7.1 PCI (£44)
>> PURE Digital (VideoLogic) SonicXplosion PCI (£48.50)

Yes, they all have multiple speaker outputs that I wont use, but I can't seem to avoid that now. I'm not a great judge of features on these things though, all I can see is that the Videologic card looks impressively speced.

The pasted names are copied from Dabs so if you want to search for them it should produce an exact match.

Thank very much for any help.
 
S

(Shovel)

Guest
Small update - in the hope of someone having an answer for me.

Having googled for reviews I'm between the Terratec and the PURE Digital cards, on the basis that the Herc doesn't seem to offer "in the right places" - 7.1 audio just isn't what I want.

Both seem to support the main standards for 3D audio, and I really can't call anything between them right now. Apart from £8.

I think, if anyone knows about it, I'm going to judge it on drivers, since that is why I'm throwing out the Creative card..

I can't find out which chip the Terratec has on board, but the PURE Digital uses a Cirrus Logic CS 4630.

Currently, assuming there is nothing wrong with the drivers, I'm headed towards the Terratec model.

Can anyone help out with driver knowledge?
 
P

PR.

Guest
I bought a Herc GameTheater XP when I built my new system, because I was looking for an alternative to Creatives SB Live

I liked all the extra connestions it had like digital in/outs, the 5.1 sound which actually worked with DVDs

The problem I had with it was that many shoddy programmed games wouldn't allow for the 3d audio to be enabled which ended with me replacing it with an Audigy, which I haven't had any problems with.

Hercules have a forum, check on there for problems people might be experiencing.

Good Luck!
 
S

(Shovel)

Guest
Furthur research:

The Terratec and PURE Digital are actually the same card... almost. The PD has an Optical In connection.

They also use identical drivers (identidied by a lengthy version number) so I've plumped for the Terratec model, on the grounds that it's cheaper.

I'll let you know how I get on.
 
N

nko^GAteKeeper

Guest
I have the Videologic Sonic Fury which is the model before the one you are after (its basically a Turtle Beach Santa Cruz) and its a great card, no problems what so ever. It replaced a unstable SB Live! Player 1024 and i have never looked back.

GAteKeeper
 
S

(Shovel)

Guest
I've got the Terratec card in and it seems to run well. I'll see what it's EAX/Misc 3D wizardry performs like later on.

One less piece of Creative rubbish in my system then :D
 
S

Scooba Da Bass

Guest
Yay another turned from the dark side!
 
D

Deadmanwalking

Guest
lol i got the built in nforce 2 sound and it fucking rawks.

That is all :)
 
S

(Shovel)

Guest
OK, a little report on the new soundcard.

Terratec DMX 1024

Sound quality is - in my opinion - better than the SBLive.
Maybe because it's a newer card, I'm not sure. One thing of useful note - since I run a Hi-Fi amp (stereo speakers) rather than a surround set up, I don't use the 4-point surround that it has, unlike the SBLive when in 2 speaker mode you can use the rear output as a second standard output. This is very very useful when I have microphone headset as well as my Amp.
Previously it went thorugh a cheap splitter from Maplin. I accept that this may have made the sound quality worse before (the main cable has gold interconnects, the splitter did not).
So, sound is better. Music especially. Both in WinAmp and in games the card is very strong for music. The control panel includes a graphic equaliser (which I don't use) but allows all the sounds the computer makes to be adjusted, rather than just music in WinAmp.

EAX support is good - I ran UT2003 and it ran as well as it ever did with the SBLive.

I'm really really pleased with it, for £40 it is a very nice card. So if anyone comes round for a cheap replacement card any time soon - this is well worth a shot.

Oh, and the reason for changing from CL in the first place - irritating crashes when using Voice Chat in MSN messenger. Funny enough, they've gone away now. :)
 
M

Mr. 47

Guest
I have a Video Logic Sonic Fury at home, great card, I've never had any problems with it in the last year, I used to have a crappy SB live but, that sucked...
 

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