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Old Dec 5, 2009, 10:37 PM   #151
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Originally Posted by koralis View Post
I reinstalled my Xfi-Platinum to test the comparison. Yep.. the X-fi is cleaner, less muddy, and louder to boot.

While the 889A is certainly passable, it's not as good. If someone were to ask me if they should spedn $100 on one, I'd probably say no. Since I've already got it, definitely worth the time and hassle of getting it installed.
yea, I got mine LNIB $50 shipped X-FI Titanium.
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Old Dec 6, 2009, 07:46 AM   #152
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so far my only main drawback of my x-fi is with not knowing/not able to get hardware acceleration with it though 7 media center (without hardware accel the sound will randomly jump around to different speakers, forcing me to stick with 2.1 setup instead of 5.1 that i use for games)
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Old Jan 3, 2010, 09:05 AM   #153
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Default About your message!Have a XRumer?

Great news!XRumer 5.0.12 Palladium was released, just ask Google for more info
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Old Jan 3, 2010, 10:48 AM   #154
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Great news!XRumer 5.0.12 Palladium was released, just ask Google for more info
XRumer 5.0 is created for more successfully spam forums and to be editing created profiles.

XRumer is trained to break through the protection (CAPTCHA, text captcha and many other antispam protections) last versions most popular forums in the network: VBulletin, IPB, phpBB 3.
Also it may break through protection many other less common web engines (blogs, guestbooks, wiki, web boards etc.)

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Old Jan 3, 2010, 09:40 PM   #155
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I had an Audigy 2 previously in my old system and got a Realtek 888 in my new motherboard. Thought I'd see how newer onboard audio sounded compared to the olden days (2002 when I bought my last motherboard) and to my Audigy 2.

The onboard sound sounded flat and weak. I spent a lot of time tweaking the EQ settings to make it sound better but to no avail, it was not that good compared to what I was used to.

When I plugged in my large Panasonic headphones (50mm drivers and 50ohm impedance) it sounded downright bad. Sound was muddled and weak. On my Audigy 2 if I turned the volume past 75% is was extremely loud and I couldn't listen at that level for long. On the Realtek I was at 100% and it sounded around half as loud as the Audigy 2 and garbled somewhat.

I'm not impressed at all by onboard sound. I'm sticking with an add-in card...in fact, I decided to get an Auzentech X-Fi Forte because a buddy of mine could get it for me failry cheap from his computer store...can't wait to see how it sounds considering it has an integrated headphone amp!
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Old Jan 4, 2010, 07:32 AM   #156
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Originally Posted by MyTMouse View Post
I had an Audigy 2 previously in my old system and got a Realtek 888 in my new motherboard. Thought I'd see how newer onboard audio sounded compared to the olden days (2002 when I bought my last motherboard) and to my Audigy 2.

The onboard sound sounded flat and weak. I spent a lot of time tweaking the EQ settings to make it sound better but to no avail, it was not that good compared to what I was used to.

When I plugged in my large Panasonic headphones (50mm drivers and 50ohm impedance) it sounded downright bad. Sound was muddled and weak. On my Audigy 2 if I turned the volume past 75% is was extremely loud and I couldn't listen at that level for long. On the Realtek I was at 100% and it sounded around half as loud as the Audigy 2 and garbled somewhat.

I'm not impressed at all by onboard sound. I'm sticking with an add-in card...in fact, I decided to get an Auzentech X-Fi Forte because a buddy of mine could get it for me failry cheap from his computer store...can't wait to see how it sounds considering it has an integrated headphone amp!
If you never used a SB card or have been using onboard for awhile it starts to sound "gound enough". Once I had the SB XFi titanium in there for about a week and went back to onboard I noticed how lacking the onboard really was. Unless you can do a comparison like this I don't think you appreciate the difference an add in card still has over onboard.
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Old Jan 4, 2010, 09:42 AM   #157
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Originally Posted by dnottis View Post
If you never used a SB card or have been using onboard for awhile it starts to sound "gound enough". Once I had the SB XFi titanium in there for about a week and went back to onboard I noticed how lacking the onboard really was. Unless you can do a comparison like this I don't think you appreciate the difference an add in card still has over onboard.
It makes sense when you think about it. The majority of the money spent on components for a motherboard aren't for sound...so how could onboard really come close to a dedicated solution with much better components?

The latest onboard sound isn't bad...it's just, meh. Like a lot of things on computers though, it'll be fine for most people
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Old Jan 21, 2010, 09:54 PM   #158
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Default My thoughs about X-Fi cards

Hi guys I want to share with you my personal experience with my Sound Blaster card.

During my last 10 years I used onboard integrated audio (AC97, Realteck or Intel HD), well on December 2008 I purchase a X-Fi basically because I'm an avid PC gamer so I heard during many years about 5.1 in games and I wanted to try it.

So I got armed with a X-Fi Xtremegamer Pro and the I/O Drive extension (seems that on January 2010 both products are discontinued).

And I re-play it many games with EAX or OpenAL support such as:

Soldier or Fortune 2
Serious Sam (original)
Doom 3
Prey
Quake IV
Frontlines
NFS
Criminal Origins
Mass Effect
Bioshock
Call of duty 2

I prove it with many settings like 4.1 with MacroFX and Elevation Filter or 5.1 and Headphone surround.

Well in summary AWESOME the sound quality with this card is complete different to onboard audio (of course you need a supported game and a good surround sound system).

In doom 3 ufffff the quantity of sounds, the quality of sounds is amazing
In criminal origins using elevation filter I can clearly hear steps above me
In Painkiller, Serious Sam, Bioshock MacroFX rocks!

Also the quantity of reverb effects, occlusion techniques, x-ram (only in openal games) is outstanding.

By the way I compare it with Resident Evil 5 that uses Dolby Digital and quite frankly is far from Creative implementation.

Another comparison: Doom 3 and Dead Space both are "horror" games but Doom 3 is far superior in sound (DS is good but since doesn't use OpenAL or EAX 3,4,5 the reverb and occlusion is quite inferior).

Also right now is more common between developers use Xaudio 2 because is easier to implement but again is too far from Creative.

I'm very happy with my card however not everything is good: Creative drivers and support in general is not bad... is terrible! and many people hate them cause this.

Also still many "modern" games like Rainbow Six Vegas, Fallout 3 or Assassin's Creed use old EAX extensions so you need to use Alchemy with them if you're in Vista (Alchemy sometimes work but not always).

Since Xaudio 2 is "free" and easier seems that won't be release newer games using proper Creative features.

I heard about FMOD is a very popular commercial sound library and supports audio hardware acceleration BUT only if the developers use it so altough is very common not always use these amazing features. (and more and more developers are changing to MS Xaudio 2).


The last game that I know and that explicitly says about support of Audio Hardware is Mirror's edge.

Is sad that PC audio is dying (like everything else in the platform) also that popular libraries don't use that amazing quantity of effects and finally a shame that Creative shoot their own foot.
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Old Jan 23, 2010, 11:13 AM   #159
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alhudson View Post
Hi guys I want to share with you my personal experience with my Sound Blaster card.

During my last 10 years I used onboard integrated audio (AC97, Realteck or Intel HD), well on December 2008 I purchase a X-Fi basically because I'm an avid PC gamer so I heard during many years about 5.1 in games and I wanted to try it.

So I got armed with a X-Fi Xtremegamer Pro and the I/O Drive extension (seems that on January 2010 both products are discontinued).

And I re-play it many games with EAX or OpenAL support such as:

Soldier or Fortune 2
Serious Sam (original)
Doom 3
Prey
Quake IV
Frontlines
NFS
Criminal Origins
Mass Effect
Bioshock
Call of duty 2

I prove it with many settings like 4.1 with MacroFX and Elevation Filter or 5.1 and Headphone surround.

Well in summary AWESOME the sound quality with this card is complete different to onboard audio (of course you need a supported game and a good surround sound system).

In doom 3 ufffff the quantity of sounds, the quality of sounds is amazing
In criminal origins using elevation filter I can clearly hear steps above me
In Painkiller, Serious Sam, Bioshock MacroFX rocks!

Also the quantity of reverb effects, occlusion techniques, x-ram (only in openal games) is outstanding.

By the way I compare it with Resident Evil 5 that uses Dolby Digital and quite frankly is far from Creative implementation.

Another comparison: Doom 3 and Dead Space both are "horror" games but Doom 3 is far superior in sound (DS is good but since doesn't use OpenAL or EAX 3,4,5 the reverb and occlusion is quite inferior).

Also right now is more common between developers use Xaudio 2 because is easier to implement but again is too far from Creative.

I'm very happy with my card however not everything is good: Creative drivers and support in general is not bad... is terrible! and many people hate them cause this.

Also still many "modern" games like Rainbow Six Vegas, Fallout 3 or Assassin's Creed use old EAX extensions so you need to use Alchemy with them if you're in Vista (Alchemy sometimes work but not always).

Since Xaudio 2 is "free" and easier seems that won't be release newer games using proper Creative features.

I heard about FMOD is a very popular commercial sound library and supports audio hardware acceleration BUT only if the developers use it so altough is very common not always use these amazing features. (and more and more developers are changing to MS Xaudio 2).


The last game that I know and that explicitly says about support of Audio Hardware is Mirror's edge.

Is sad that PC audio is dying (like everything else in the platform) also that popular libraries don't use that amazing quantity of effects and finally a shame that Creative shoot their own foot.

I bought an asus xonar essence st recently, and I can say for sure that the X-FI cards are still the king for gaming, theres nothing that touches their CMSS-3D for headphones.
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Old Jan 23, 2010, 01:40 PM   #160
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Doesn't Doom3 use the CPU for processing audio and the card to output only?
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Old Jan 23, 2010, 03:01 PM   #161
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Originally Posted by metroidfox View Post
Doesn't Doom3 use the CPU for processing audio and the card to output only?
It had EAX support added, which would use hardware processing on Creative cards.
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Old Jan 23, 2010, 08:37 PM   #162
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HWA is nice but less relevant these days. Content (i.e. how the audio is rendered) and fidelity remain paramount.

I already posted the following in 'nutha thread but this one is more appropriate:

Quote:
I gave the Realtek Azalia on my new mobo a go and even with digital output it seems muffled and lacking detail akin to the affect from too much compression (despite plain PCM sans effects or encoding). Upon stopping any playback, it causes an annoying pop noise. Its control panel is fugly (vs plain Creative Audio Console) and the environment samples are painful. The HRTF demo is impressive enough but I suppose that capability is just a basic feature these days. Finally, the installation consumes 170MB vs 40MB by X-Fi.

I can understand how many folks could be content with it or not know what they are missing but it cannot compare to my ol' XtremeMusic nor prolly to a succession of even older cards. Not that that should be a shocker -the card cost $40 AR vs $2 for the onboard.
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Old Jan 24, 2010, 02:32 AM   #163
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I tried my realtek onboard sound (alc887) again for a week to compare it to my xtremegamer once again. My opinion is still: creative hands down for headphones.

Realtek seems to have really weak sound. I have to crank up the master volume to 100% and turn the volume dial on my headphones up like 3/4 of the way to get them loud. On the creative card I keep the master volume at 50% and my headphones at 1/4, any higher and it gets loud.

Realtek and creative both sound pretty muffled with no special headphone settings on. The realtek seems worse though. I noticed a lot of things would be hard to hear, like to the point I wouldn't know what it was when I was playing tf2 or something with a lot of sound going off around you. I did a bunch of tinkering with the environment effects and the eq but it always sounded crappy.

The creative cmss-3d pretty much is the best thing ever for headphones. Playing a game with it off makes me cringe. It's really night and day. If I was told I couldn't use the feature anymore, I'd probably stop using headphones altogether and setup my old 5.1 system. I do much prefer headphones now though.

Realtek has something called "headphone virtualization" which kind of is suppose to do the same thing as cmss-3d, but it's not nearly the same. It seems a lot more "cheap" or simple. It basically seems to just make your headphones sound more "surroundy" and simulate more channels and open up the sound, and it did make an improvement overall in most games but it had some bad echo and made everything else like music and voices in games sound off. It pretty much just made sound effects like explosions and gunfire sound decent.

CMSS-3D just sounds way more natural. If a zombie is growling 20 feet behind you to your left, thats exactly where the sound comes from. Not just somewhere in your left ear like with realtek.

Realtek had no random snap, crackle, pop though which is a huuuuuge plus. I really wanted to like it more, since I don't give a damn about EAX or hardware audio but I can live with the occasional SCP for much better headphone sound quality.
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Old Jan 24, 2010, 08:12 AM   #164
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Same. Realtek (over digital) is 'fine' for most purposes but Creative get a lot of undeserved flak in my opinion. While their DDL/DTS encoding is still a bit wonky (I get audio delay in a few games that don't use OpenAL), I've never had the driver issues usually associated with them.

I'm actually using two of their cards. I have the usual PCI X-Fi but also the driverless USB X-Fi that I bought for my OSX install. Even as the USB one is far beyond the Realtek, the PCI card sounds even better.
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Old Jan 24, 2010, 04:18 PM   #165
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Realtek seems to have really weak sound. I have to crank up the master volume to 100% and turn the volume dial on my headphones up like 3/4 of the way to get them loud. On the creative card I keep the master volume at 50% and my headphones at 1/4, any higher and it gets loud.

yep this was always kiling me during my brief time with realtek.

x-fi gamer+fatality non usb headphones is the best in game sound my ears have ever felt.
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Old Jan 28, 2010, 10:04 AM   #166
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Now that I have a quality sound card with a dedicated headphone amp built-in I won't touch onboard audio with a 10ft pole. My old Audigy 2 made my onboard sound plain and weak...especially through the headphones (I have large Panasonic cans). My Auzentech card blows my Audigy 2 card away...my headphones get so much power now I hardly have to move the volume anywhere beyond low. The dynamics are so much better now too

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Old Feb 6, 2011, 07:27 PM   #167
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Creative got a lot of flak because their drivers are horribly bloated and they have issues that they will not fix.

I used to own a 1st gen Sound Blaster Live Gamer. I loved the card at the time. I could never understand why people were bashing Creative.

In 2006 got myself an X-fi. I tried everything possible to get that card to stop Blue screening my system to no avail (including changing motherboards and re-installing OS's). While Creative did respond they were mostly useless suggestions for a card that was clearly broken. Beyond that the some of sound effects on it sounded cheap after using an HT Omega Striker... although it was a while ago and I don't recall what exactly.

I currently own an HT Omega Claro Halo ( http://www.htomega.com/clarohalo.html ) and couldn't be happier. No driver/hardware issues at all with either HT cards. No bloated drivers. Gold plated metal audio plugs (unlike some of Creative's cards and metal plugs are an absolute must have!)

For the record I've never been happy with onboard sound. 99-2005ish was just bad sounding and clearly cheap. Recently I find the onboard sound is good, but I can almost see why people would say Creative cards are better but neither touch the HT omega line of cards.
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Old Feb 20, 2012, 05:02 AM   #168
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I want to share my experiences here. This post will be really long and English is not my native language, so I apologize. I'm far from being an audiophile but I have been gaming on PCs since year 1986. I love sound and I love my games to sound great. After a couple of years of crappy PC speaker audio, I bought the original Sound Blaster card in 1989. I still remember launching Prince of Persia or The Secret of Monkey Island, as well as Carmen Sandiego. Good old times hehe. Then I got the Sound Blaster 16 ASP and enjoyed the first game that used stereo for positional audio: Wolfenstein 3D. It sounded so real... at this time.

A couple of years later I bought the Sound Blaster AWE32, and very few months later I added a Gravis UltraSound ACE to my system, so I used the AWE32 for music and the GUS for sound. The line output of the Sound Blaster was connected to the line input of the GUS, and the line output of the GUS connected to the line in of my receiver with two huge 3-way speakers. That was a really killer setup, my friends were astonished every time they came to my house. I have got really fond memories of games like X-Wing, Tie Fighter, Doom 2, Al-Quadim or Magic Carpet 2 (that game used a sound font file that fitted into the 512 Kbs that had the AWE32) using those sound cards.

PCI came along and I bought what I still consider my favorite sound card ever: the Diamond Monster Sound MX300 with that fabulous Aureal Vortex 2 chip. Had to import it because those cards didn't sell on Spain at launch. Half Life 1 was an incredible experience, the first game that used A3D 2.0 with wavetracing, that was one of the greatest audio experiences I have ever had on a videogame until I played Bioshock with EAX 5.0 several years later, and Battlefield 3 today. The original version of Quake III Arena supported A3D audio, but it was broken after several patches and never was fixed.

After Aureal went down, I finally went back to the Sound Blaster bandwagon. The Monster Sound made me skip the original Live card, so I purchased the Audigy and later the Audigy 2, I found almost no difference between those sound cards. It was the DirectSound3D era, I enjoyed the Prince of Persia Sands of Time trilogy with full 3D audio and EAX. Those games were great and they sounded great too. Those first versions of EAX weren't as good as A3D 2.0, but Aureal was dead so there was no choice.

And then I got the X-Fi. It was the Fatal1ty with 64 MB of X-RAM. Ahh, the X-Fi... it was a love-hate relationship. When it worked it was gorgeous. But when it didn't... oh man, what a nightmare. Doom 3 was an astounding audio experience, but for me, the pinnacle was Bioshock. The audio of that game was incredible, and the X-Fi did an awesome job at it. The subtle reverbs and occlusions were top notch.

Then I started playing The Lord of the Rings Online, and Windows Vista came to my life. LOTRO supports OpenAL for audio and the X-Fi nigthmare began. Creative Labs had lot of problems with the DS3D death. The X-Fi didn't like Windows Vista/7.

Look at this thread I opened at Creative Labs forums. It was September of 2008. LOTRO crashed with a BSOD when using the X-Fi hardware acceleration. As you can see here, Creative spent 3 years to finally fix the issue. 3 years. Yes.

So after several months of LOTRO frustration I jumped to Asus Xonar cards, bought the D2. This card rocks. Really. It's compatible with DS3D and OpenAL via software, but in the age of quad core processors, who cares. That card ran LOTRO perfectly, its DS3D emulation was much more elegant that Creative Alchemy, it was run from control panel instead of copying DLLs into every game folder. And it sounded great.

It was the age of Windows 7. DS3D and EAX were history, only used in old games. Crysis came out and it used a software audio engine, and every other game released in those days did the same. The era of audio acceleration was gone, but gaming audio was great. We mostly played console ports, but the good thing about console games is that developers really cared about audio, because most people has consoles connected to home cinema receivers. Lost Planet, Gears of War, Assassin's Creed... lots of great games with software audio that provided a great audio experience.

That takes me to 2012, present day. Last month I decided to upgrade my entire rig and bought an LGA 2011 platform. It was time to say bye bye to my Xonar because I was buying a motherboard with no PCI slots, so I considered the PCI Express audio because I didn't want to rely on motherboard audio. But I wanted to buy dual video cards, so it was difficult to find a motherboard that could use dual video cards at x16 speed and also a PCI Express sound card. Well, hardware audio was not important anymore, but I didn't want to lose 3D audio in those 'old games', so I decided to try the X-Fi MB solution: a software layer that makes the integrated Realtek audio use some of the X-Fi features. The Rampage IV Formula was the motherboard I was looking for.

Well, I didn't even have time to try its analog audio. A couple of days before buying my new rig, my Logitech Z-5500 speakers died. Bam. That was a shock for me. I needed a new rig and also new speakers, so I started digging. I wanted the best computer speakers, and the Logitech replacement, the Z-906, weren't too exciting, so I started considering new possibilities.

What about HDMI audio? Video cards include a Realtek audio chip since the Radeon 4000 series. And the DAC is not a problem, it's HDMI so audio can go straight to an AV receiver, the receiver's DACs will handle it. No clics or pops, no interferences. Pure 7.1 PCM digital audio from the video card to the receiver. That was worth a try. But I still wanted to use the X-Fi MB2 for my old EAX games, so I needed a receiver with multichannel analog inputs.

And here I am. Last month I bought an Onkyo TX-NR709 receiver with KEF KHT 2005.3 K1 speakers. Not a professional system (around €1300) but much better than any computer speakers. I connected the HDMI output of my video card to the receiver, went to control panel, configured it for 5.1 and the multichannel LPCM light turned on.

And wow... just wow. Audio has never been so pure and clean. Every game I tried sounded miles and miles better than ever. Those days I'm enjoying Battlefield 3, the sound of this game is gorgeous. It's lovely how reverb changes when you enter a building, the war surrounds you from every corner. No game sounds like this one. And you don't need a dedicated sound card to get all its effects, it's 100% software.

And music... I couldn't believe I had been listening to music with those Logitech speakers. Everything seems so different now. And what about movies? Well the HDMI output bitstreams the DTS-HD and TrueHD sound tracks to the receiver, from both BluRays and MKVs. It's... perfect.

But the best was yet to come. Well, the best for people who likes to play old games, like me. I decided to try those old games with DS3D and EAX audio, so I configured the X-Fi MB and installed Alchemy, but before trying the analog motherboard sound, I decided to launch a game using the HDMI sound, just to hear it in stereo. What game? One of my favorites ever: Prince of Persia Sands of Time. The fight system sucks but the charm, the story, the relationship with Farah... it's lovely.

I launched the game, and guess what? It was not stereo but full 5.1 surround with EAX effects. Alchemy works with every sound device on my system, not only with the Realtek audio used by X-Fi MB. Here you can see the OpenAL caps of my Onkyo Receiver connected via HDMI.



Yes. EAX from 2.0 to 5.0, and it's fully OpenAL compatible. It does not matter what game I try, old or new. I'm enjoying a superb 5.1 audio experience every day. I have tried lots of sound cards since I put that old Sound Blaster in my Amstrad PC-1512, and I never thought I could be happy without a dedicated sound card. The HDMI sound of my graphics card and the Burr-Brown DACs of my Onkyo receiver can't be beaten by any sound card/computer speakers. Yes, it's really expensive comparing to any computer speakers, but for anyone who values the audio experience as much as I do, it's a great option.

Thanks for reading.
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Old Feb 22, 2012, 03:46 PM   #169
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Awesome review.
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Old Feb 23, 2012, 05:08 PM   #170
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So to condense that down, we can conclude that the receiver/speaker and XMB2 gave you a most realistic audio experience you have ever had. Only cost over a grand, but awesome...

I just would not go as far as crediting the onboard. Because you are for one not using the DAC....

I'm enjoying that experience right now with a sound card with all the same stuff as XMB2 but with accelerated surround sound with high quality open back headphones. I can hear the plucks of guitar strings in songs, and the depth and position of collisions in games.

Nice set up though.
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Old Feb 25, 2012, 01:31 PM   #171
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The onboard does nothing, the only credit I'm giving it is for allowing XMB2 to run on the Radeon HDMI audio, and that's only for older games that need DS3D/EAX, accelerated sound died years ago. Today hardware audio accelerators are a waste, the only thing that matters is the DAC if you are using analog speakers. A X-Fi Titanium will provide the same exact sound that any crappy Realtek onboard chip in modern, non accelerated games, but the superior X-Fi DAC will beat the integrated hands down using analog speakers or headphones. But if you are using the digital output... difference is zero.

Now that you talk about headphones, I'm mostly a 5.1 guy but sometimes I enjoy the isolation that my Westone 3 earphones provide, especially at night. They also sound crystal clear when connected to the Onkyo.
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Old Feb 26, 2012, 05:04 PM   #172
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Im running X-Fi 2MB right now. So if I use a coaxil connection from my onboard Realtek ALC889 to my Denon 1910, the Denon's DACs will be doing all the SQ work correct?
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Old Feb 26, 2012, 06:03 PM   #173
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Qb2k5 View Post
Im running X-Fi 2MB right now. So if I use a coaxil connection from my onboard Realtek ALC889 to my Denon 1910, the Denon's DACs will be doing all the SQ work correct?
Short answer is yes, but the answer is a bit more than that. Some onboard codec have internal sound processing that could alter the sound even if you run it through digital, but I believe modern codec that uses HD audio could bypass all of this and send out unaltered stream (such as by using WASAPI or ASIO for music playback).
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Old Feb 27, 2012, 01:40 AM   #174
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The X-fi MB things is great for gaming and media consumption. If I didn't need a few of the features of the real X-fi chip for music production purposes, I would just use that.

It is kinda funny that all it takes to turn a realtek on board sound system into the ultimate gaming/entertainment system is..... gasp.... software made by Creative Labs!

I use an X-fi titanium fatal1ty professional (lawls.. who names these things) pcie card. I'll be damned if I can think of another card that has the same level of support for gaming and multimedia, that actually has the low latency multi channel asio system necessary for music production with real time CPU processing, and hardware DSP (mixing, routing and insert and master effects) that I need for the audio production work I do. It also has a front panel box with a headphone amp that actually runs my Sennheiser HD280 cans really well, so one less extra bit of gear needed for the rig to be useful, and no getting behind the computer to plug the headphone in in the first place. Little things that do actually make a difference when you are actually trying to get work done.

Means I can do any work that doesn't require more than 4 channels of simultaneous recording on my home computer without having two sound cards in it. If I need more channels than that I'll be using my other box in the studio anyway.
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Old Feb 27, 2012, 09:42 AM   #175
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Qb2k5 View Post
Im running X-Fi 2MB right now. So if I use a coaxil connection from my onboard Realtek ALC889 to my Denon 1910, the Denon's DACs will be doing all the SQ work correct?
It's not that easy. If you have stereo speakers then yes, you will be fine, but if you want to play games in 5.1 you won't be able to use the coaxial connection directly. Coaxial and optical spdif connections can't transmit uncompressed 5.1/7.1 LPCM signals, there is not enough bandwidth for it, you need HDMI.

However you can encode multichannel audio in real time, this way you can transmit it in Dolby Digital or DTS format. It's not a lossless format but it should provide a good sound quality, the same that you can find on DVD movies. As far as I know, Dolby Digital Live and DTS Connect packs are sold separately to X-Fi Mb, so you could purchase them and you would get realtime 5.1 encoding.
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Old Feb 27, 2012, 07:29 PM   #176
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LordJuanlo View Post
It's not that easy. If you have stereo speakers then yes, you will be fine, but if you want to play games in 5.1 you won't be able to use the coaxial connection directly. Coaxial and optical spdif connections can't transmit uncompressed 5.1/7.1 LPCM signals, there is not enough bandwidth for it, you need HDMI.

However you can encode multichannel audio in real time, this way you can transmit it in Dolby Digital or DTS format. It's not a lossless format but it should provide a good sound quality, the same that you can find on DVD movies. As far as I know, Dolby Digital Live and DTS Connect packs are sold separately to X-Fi Mb, so you could purchase them and you would get realtime 5.1 encoding.
I'm currently using my DVI connection from my main GTX 470 to my Denon 1910 to get 5.1 sound. I noticed even with the XFi MB2 software coming directly from my ALC889 soundchip the SQ is still miles behind my X-fi Extreme Music card. I'm using pretty decent HD280 headphones and in music no matter what I do with the crystalizer, EQ, or cmss 3d the music still sounds flat and the treble and bass sound like they are being played off a cheap mp3 player or car stereo. The difference is night and day. I guess its like hearing the IQ from a well tuned IMAX theater and comparing it with cheaper HT equipment.

Listening with the headphones directly from the 1910 headphone port it improves SQ somewhat but still doesn't match the DACs from the X-fi card. Since Im running tri-sli I'm thinking of just water-cooling one of the 470s to have enough room to fit the X-Fi Extreme music card.
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Old Feb 28, 2012, 03:20 AM   #177
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That's very strange, music sounds impressive on my decoder, bass is deep and treble is crystal clear. I have put a FLAC file on a pendrive and plug it directly on the decoder (it has an USB port) and then compare it to the same file played on my computer using media player. I can't find any difference, except for the volume (it sounds louder when played directly on the decoder). And I'm not using the X-Fi MB features, I'm just sending pure, untouched digital audio.

Be sure to configure the HDMI (or DVI) device in audio panel to 5.1, choose small speakers and enable bass redirection if needed (in my case I didn't enable it). Also you could try different modes on your receiver, there should be options to enable theater mode, full 5.1, direct audio path and so on. The DACs on your Denon should not be worse than the DACs on your Sound Blaster.
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Old Mar 6, 2012, 07:33 AM   #178
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I have similar setup to lordjuan but with a denon receiver instead and agree 100% with his findings. In regards to qb2k5 i dont think nv cards could bitstream 5.1/7.1 pcm aside from the 460 and 560 series. Spdif and coax are limited to 1.5mbps. That could explain why your output with that connection doesnt sound as good. Basically u want the pc to do nothing but output untouched audio and let the receiver do all the work.
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