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$90 Asus Sound Card Whips Creative's Best

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the listen-up dept.

Music 387

EconolineCrush writes "Sound card giant Creative caught plenty of flak for its recent driver debacle, and has long been criticized for bullying competitors and stifling innovation. But few have been willing to compete with Creative head-on, allowing the company to milk its X-Fi audio processor for more than two and a half years. Now the SoundBlaster has a new challenger in the form of Asus' $90 Xonar DX, which delivers much better sound quality than the X-Fi, PCI Express connectivity, and support for real-time Dolby Digital Live encoding. The Xonar can even emulate the latest EAX positional audio effects, providing the most complete competition to the X-Fi available on the market."

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Sound Cards (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23006196)

I don't know why people spend tons of money on a computer only to throw in a cheap sound card, or even worse - rely on onboard sound.

My sound card - a Turtle Beech Catalina cost about what this does and was worth every penny, especially when teamed up with Bose PC speakers and sub.

Re:Sound Cards (5, Interesting)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006248)

Well, onboard sound is getting better, for what that's worth. And surround can be physically a pain to setup, assuming it's supported in the games you want to play.

But I think the real problem here is that just about every sound you're going to be listening to is already compressed mp3, range-compressed to hell. It's kind of like suggesting upgrading your monitor or video card if you're only going to be watching YouTube. Hopefully at least a few developers are using high quality sounds in their games...

Re:Sound Cards (5, Insightful)

Metasquares (555685) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006716)

I don't see any point in using it for pre-generated sound, because, as you said, the audio has already been mangled.

What I find a high-end soundcard indispensable for, however, is recording audio.

Re:Sound Cards (5, Insightful)

nulldaemon (926551) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006264)

I don't know why people spend tons of money on a computer only to throw in a cheap sound card
because most people can't really hear the difference and get higher marginal returns putting that extra money in to a faster cpu/gpu.

Re:Sound Cards (4, Interesting)

drgonzo59 (747139) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006650)

Because for really good audio sound cards inside a computer case are not a good idea so might as well go with a crappy one for testing or just use the bundled one. In general D/A conversion needs to be performed outside the computer case, in a specialized box. So that is why people spend tons of money on a computer then spend a lot more money on a USB / Ethernet digital audio platform.

Re:Sound Cards (5, Informative)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006282)

I don't know why people spend tons of money on a computer only to throw in a cheap sound card, or even worse - rely on onboard sound
Because its primary functions are gaming and programming, and neither of those would be seriously enhanced with a better sound card.

Re:Sound Cards (5, Informative)

MrKevvy (85565) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006354)

re: "Because its primary functions are gaming and programming, and neither of those would be seriously enhanced with a better sound card."

Gaming is absolutely enhanced with a better (read: real) sound card. Onboard audio steals system RAM for its buffers rather than having its own memory, which can lead to sound dropouts with multiple simultaneous voices, and even cause stuttering and FPS loss. Not that these aren't effects I've also seen with Creative "real" soundcard products though especially from the Live family. Creative's quality seems to have taken a nosedive since the SB16 days.

Re:Sound Cards (1)

Jthon (595383) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006474)

Most hardware soundcards also have sound buffers in system memory. I believe Creative's do as well unless something very explicitly uses their XRAM feature. The only game I know of that did so was one of the Battlefield games.

The processing/memory overhead is nothing if one has a modern dual/quad core with 2-4 GB of main memory. Most games aren't properly multithreaded anyway so it's not like you're stealing their CPU cycles.

The big difference between onboard/real sound has to do with the ADC/DACs and connectivity. For most people the onboard stuff is probably fine unless you have a really noisy mainboard, and if your onboard is doing DDL or some other digital output even that doesn't matter.

Of course for non-gaming situations such as pro-audio capture/editing there are other issues that make a dedicated card worth it. But you wouldn't buy yourself an x-fi gaming card for that.

Re:Sound Cards (3, Insightful)

Shados (741919) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006554)

Except that not all onboard audio steals RAM, not all onboard audio catches all the surrounding noise (you didn't say that, but everyone else does), and not all onboard audios cause stuttering. Most do come with a slight FPS loss (OH NOES! Crappy non-optimised games like Hellgates:London run at 97 fps on my machine, so they could do 100~! big freagin woohoo).

Seems like getting a decent motherboard may matter in this case. Investing in better speakers is probably more important than the sound card... unless you have a top notch 5/7.1 system, the soundcard will not be the bottleneck.

Re:Sound Cards (1)

Trogre (513942) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006584)

I still swear by my trusty 1999 SBLive. No pissing about with which process has /dev/snd/pcm* locked, nice hardware mixing and lovely sound.

Re:Sound Cards (1)

TheNetAvenger (624455) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006874)

Gaming is absolutely enhanced with a better (read: real) sound card. Onboard audio steals system RAM for its buffers rather than having its own memory

You are correct most of the time; however, there are a few onboard sound chipsets that provide their own buffers and hardware and interface to the mainboard via a PCI interface just like a real sound card, because they are real sound cards.

The usual implementation of the AC97 specification would be an example of what you are talking about, where older onboard technologies using Yamaha chipsets were complete solutions, even having dedicated RAM for GM Wave samples.

Re:Sound Cards (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23006896)

I agree that a real sound card is needed for gaming. But most people are surprisingly deaf and can't hear the difference, and so most game companies don't want to spend the time and money on proper audio.

One of the best games to demonstrate the difference between onboard and hardware-accelerated audio is Bioshock. Using my onboard Realtek HD with 5.1 speakers, I get a muddy mess of sounds. I couldn't stand it and decided to get an X-Fi and the difference is amazing. I can hear the difference between sounds coming from, say, down the stairs or just round the corner. Watery echos and long hallways sound like the would.

Sound is not just some bonus feature, like DX10 vs DX9. It adds significantly to your perception. I still remember the exhilaration when I upgraded to 5.1 sound and was able to spin around and frag someone just behind me because of the accurate positional audio. And there are of course stories of blind people playing video games entirely by sound.

Re:Sound Cards (4, Insightful)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006290)

Because I would rather the computer be fast than sound like a home theater.

I have a desktop speaker pair and thats all I want and need. On board sound is just fine for me.

Re:Sound Cards (1)

mauthbaux (652274) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006424)

Many people have asked why I have a moderately expensive sound system, and yet my TV is old enough to drink (seriously, it's a 15" 1986 panasonic with fake wood sides, pre-coax antenna connectors, and a slot underneath to store the remote). The answer I usually give is that ,"I wear glasses, not hearing aids. I'm going to favor the senses that still work properly."

So yeah, there are people like me out there that would upgrade the sound card before upgrading the CPU (or video card).

Re:Sound Cards (1)

Metasquares (555685) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006740)

With the glasses, your vision should still work properly, though - assuming it's just a visual acuity problem, at least.

I have an old TV because I just don't watch much TV :)

Re:Sound Cards (1)

Symbha (679466) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006510)

how does a (nice) external sound card slow your computer down?

Re:Sound Cards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23006710)

It doesn't, but I can spend more money on the board/processor/ram when I'm not spending in on a sound card and speakers.

Re:Sound Cards (1)

Symbha (679466) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006730)

Ah, ya... external soundcards are not for people that do not care about sound. :)

Re:Sound Cards (1)

mishikal (787729) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006672)

Exactly. If I want home theater sound, I stream audio from my computer to my home theater in the living room. Works great.

Re:Sound Cards (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006916)

I have a desktop speaker pair and thats all I want and need.

Ouch. I'm not an audiophile by any means, but that would drive me to drink. I have a nice set of Aura Aspect 20/40 speakers (with under-the-desk subwoofer). They sound better than most home theaters I've been around, but only cost about $100 or so when I bought them. I like to code to music - for some reason, The Crystal Method's "Vegas" just makes the LOC flow - and they're the difference between hearing a symphony live versus over the phone.

They're also plugged into the speaker outs of whatever an iMac comes with. See? I'm really not that picky. I just can't stand the horrible sound of your average desktop speakers. Do yourself a favor and go buy some good-sounding gear. You don't have to pay an arm and a leg for decent stuff.

Re:Sound Cards (1)

McGiraf (196030) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006450)

what?

Re:Sound Cards (2, Insightful)

Anne Honime (828246) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006572)

Because most computers have noisy fans, that's why. Why would you buy an expensive card just to have the sound overlaid by a persistent "whizzzz" ?

Re:Sound Cards (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23006612)

especially when teamed up with Bose PC speakers and sub.
Seems to me your choice of speakers invalidates your comments on sound cards. Bose is the creative of the speaker world: well known, heavily marketed, low quality.

Re:Sound Cards (1)

Sique (173459) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006634)

As a matter of fact I ordered one computer to be without any soundcard at all, and in the most games I play I turn the sound off. And I never use the computer to play music. So what's the point in spending money on a sound card?

Re:Sound Cards (1)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006658)

My sound card - a Turtle Beech Catalina cost about what this does and was worth every penny, especially when teamed up with Bose PC speakers and sub.

No highs, no lows--must be Bose!

Re:Sound Cards (1)

fooDfighter (916234) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006794)

Not to be an ass but you should get better speakers [zhome.com] .

Re:Sound Cards (5, Interesting)

billcopc (196330) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006876)

You almost sound like a troll, but i'll bite.

Turtle beach = YES. I don't know why they bother, but this tiny company makes great little sound cards. Simple, but clean. Their sound quality puts many "pro" cards to shame.

Bose = GOD NO! I mean, if you like the Bose sound, that's your preference and that's fine, but the term "playback quality" refers to reproducing the original sound as accurately as possible, something Bose speakers don't even try to accomplish.

The thing with sound is there are two main schools of thought: those who seek accurate reproduction, and those who seek "pleasant" reproduction. Studio monitors, high-end headphones and some brands of tower speakers shoot for accurate sound, which many people find cold and dry. Bose speakers typically produce "happy" sound, by using a gazillion drivers and psychoacoustic sound processing (think SRS).

Creative's X-Fi also specializes in this "happy" sound through the use of the so-called Crystallizer. It takes normal, clean audio, and adds the sonic equivalent of glitter dust to appeal to the aural magpies of this world. A few people dislike it (like me), but many people enjoy the effect it has on popular recordings.

So then, what do non-Bose non-Creative users lack ? Happy sound. I personally don't miss any of that stuff, and I have zero issues with my featureless onboard 8-channel sound and my cold-sounding high-end speakers. Even the Asus sound card doesn't tempt me one bit, because the features it offers, I don't want. It would be nice if a sound card could be just that: a sound processing accelerator, but in 2008 the CPU is more than capable of handling the cheap bandpass filters and flanging effects Creative calls "environmental audio". The fact that even Creative uses software EAX emulation for its cheaper products is proof of this, and the only reason it doesn't work on other cards is because of licensing/IP issues.

That'll teach Creative to be stingy about drivers. (2, Interesting)

PaulGaskin (913658) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006206)

Am I paranoid to think that these hardware companies who are stingy with their drivers are mostly on Microsoft's tit, being subsidized to keep drivers out of the hands of free software developers?

Re:That'll teach Creative to be stingy about drive (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23006254)

Am I paranoid to think that these hardware companies who are stingy with their drivers are mostly on Microsoft's tit
Yes, esp. considering Microsoft has no tits and if it did, they'd be nasty man-boob type tits that nobody wants to see or even acknowledge their existence.

Re:That'll teach Creative to be stingy about drive (2, Funny)

jflo (1151079) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006442)

I would suck the hell out of that MS Man Boob... aka the MSMBN - Microsoft Man-Boob Network -.... I mean seriously, how good would that milk be? Seriously.

You might be surprised by M$' man-boobs (2, Funny)

PaulGaskin (913658) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006840)

And how many people are latched onto them. Just look at all the Microsoft-friendly interlopers who are trying to subvert the free software movement. These people are suckling at the M$ teats.

Re:That'll teach Creative to be stingy about drive (0, Troll)

hercubus (755805) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006428)

Am I paranoid to think that these hardware companies who are stingy with their drivers are mostly on Microsoft's tit, being subsidized to keep drivers out of the hands of free software developers?

Ballmer's boobs...

Ballmer's boobs...

jiggling as he does a dance, a raving monkey dance. sweaty and jiggly, hairy and flabby...

need.mind.enema

need.thehun.now.net

glassed babe from Boris, pose for me? smile for me? oh god, i still see his boobs

Oh yeah (1)

arikol (728226) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006210)

All Asus products I have used have been greatusually cheaper than the competion and beating them seriously on price, they seem to be on a roll (or on a bun)

Re:Oh yeah (1)

DCGaymer (956987) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006786)

Sadly though ASUS has the SLOWEST website I've ever used for a tech company. Downloads and updates take hours even over broadband.

Re:Oh yeah (1)

Jesus_666 (702802) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006820)

ASUS is nice, although I had an above-average number of DOA products with them. However, nobody else appears to have that issue so it might be a freak coincidence.

Linux (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23006218)

Does it work in Linux? X-Fi on Linux is terrible at best and doesn't exist at normal. Can someone some insight as to whether it works in Linux or not?

I've hated creative's drivers for years (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23006222)

The last creative sound card I bought was the audigy 2 platinum. After putting up with the drivers for a year I ditched it because it was really dragging down my system. I vowed at that point I'd never buy another creative product again. I'm glad to hear there's a sound card out there that can compete with them at a decent price.

Kudos to Asus (0, Troll)

KnowledgeEngine (1225122) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006230)

I don't know about everyone else here but I for one am happy to see someone bringing the competition to Creative's front door. I can remember resentments towards them from my ms-dos childhood. As a matter of fact I don't think I have any good memories of Creative driver experiences... Hmmmm. I wonder if the emulated EAX drivers can replicate the awesome sound effects like in this video though http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHg5SJYRHA0 [youtube.com]

Yes, it will replicate the rickroll. (1)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006370)

You can't make the voice sound any better.

Re:Kudos to Asus (1)

mycroes (1176405) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006494)

OMG I fell for it again. Like the song though :o

Re:Kudos to Asus (2, Funny)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006670)

WTF? Two girls one cup? On YouTube? That ain't going to last long. I think what you meant to post was this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9sJUDx7iEJw [youtube.com]

Re:Kudos to Asus (1)

KnowledgeEngine (1225122) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006746)

I find if I have my AGEIA PhysX and my Creative Sound Blaster Ultimate Wallet Drainer 3000 hooked up and dual SLI that Rick Astleys right arm swings a little more violently while he dances. That is exactly the kind of experience I paid over $1000 in add on equipment for. And man can you beat the "Concert Hall" DSP for that one? Just joking...I have none of the above.

but ... (1)

eneville (745111) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006232)

does it run linux??

Moot with Vista? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23006236)

Since EAX doesn't work in Vista [ign.com] anymore, does this really matter anymore?

sweet! (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006240)

i will buy one as soon as i see it in the alsa-driver source package...

Any info on ALSA support? (2, Insightful)

Daniel Phillips (238627) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006244)

Can anybody clue me in on the state of ALSA support for this card?

Re:Any info on ALSA support? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23006272)

Can anybody clue me in on ALSA support?

Re:Any info on ALSA support? (5, Informative)

feld (980784) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006438)

In progress

http://www.alsa-project.org/main/index.php/Matrix:Vendor-Asus [alsa-project.org]

Last I heard the higher end Xonar cards are nearly feature complete. I'd expect this to be working fine in the coming months.

Re:Any info on ALSA support? (4, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006392)

There is a beta driver [alsa-project.org] for the D2X. Since, according to TFA:

The DX employs what's marked as an Asus AV100 audio processor while the D2X uses an AV200. Don't pay too much attention to the names silk-screened onto the chips, though; they're the very same C-Media Oxygen HD audio processor under the hood. Asus says the chips go through a "quality sorting" process to separate the AV100s from the AV200s.


So, since the chipsets are the same, I would guess that the D2X driver might work for the DX, perhaps with little or no modifications.

Re:Any info on ALSA support? (1)

Daniel Phillips (238627) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006462)

There is a beta driver [alsa-project.org] for the D2X. Since, according to TFA:

The DX employs what's marked as an Asus AV100 audio processor while the D2X uses an AV200. Don't pay too much attention to the names silk-screened onto the chips, though; they're the very same C-Media Oxygen HD audio processor under the hood. Asus says the chips go through a "quality sorting" process to separate the AV100s from the AV200s.

So, since the chipsets are the same, I would guess that the D2X driver might work for the DX, perhaps with little or no modifications.
Thanks, that's enough for me to go do the buy and try thing.

Competition (1)

ohxten (1248800) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006256)

Good competition is wonderful.

Re:Competition (4, Informative)

MooseMuffin (799896) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006342)

Seriously. I'm tired of sound cards basically being an all Creative market. While this newspost is basically a slashadvertisement, I'll buy it as soon as I dig up another review or two that echo the results of this one.

Re:Competition (1)

ThePhilips (752041) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006630)

And here I thought that sound card market gradually died, being consumed and obliterated by on-board, embedded in chipset audio adapters.

For 90% of uses the adapters are "good enough." For everything else I have an iPod.

tell the difference? (3, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006284)

personally i think most of the audio improvments have been a load of wank.

i haven't been able to tell the difference between my old live and my brandnew supposed "HD" soundcard. maybe on some seriously expensive speakers and a full THX system i could, but who needs to spend $300 on one of these cards creative put out?

Re:tell the difference? (4, Interesting)

TheMeuge (645043) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006338)

"who needs to spend $300 on one of these cards creative put out?" Hopefully nobody. One may, however, need to spend money of a good sound card, in order to output to a decent audio system. For me, the absolutely deal-breaker is Creative's insistence of resampling all 44.1kHz content to 48kHz. I don't rely on my sound card to do any of the work - I just want it to take the data, and faithfully stream it via SPDIF into my external DAC. That's why for many years now, I've been enjoying the services of the M-Audio Revolution.

Re:tell the difference? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23006532)

> That's why for many years now, I've been enjoying the services of the M-Audio Revolution.

Ditto. Excellent quality. Creative sucks.

Re:tell the difference? (1)

ilikejam (762039) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006590)

Maybe one of you fine slashdotters will know...

Are there any USB cards out there that work with Linux, that don't resample 44.1K up to 48K, and have SPDIF I/O ? I have been seeking this holy grail for many years now.

Re:tell the difference? (2, Informative)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006830)

Not exactly. I have a Creative USB sound device hooked up to my Myth box I picked up several yeara ago. It has a switch on the side to disable the analog outputs. If the analog plugs are enabled everything gets the 48Hkz resample. Kill the analog outputs and it will send a proper optical output to my amp at either 44.1 or 48. Haven't tried 32k or 96k, the amp supports em but I didn't have anything handy to test with. Turned out not to really matter in my case since the PVR-350 only captures audio at 48k.

Re:tell the difference? (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006386)

barring HRS-type features and EAX, soundcards are generally soundcards. most any discrete soundcard sounds better than an onboard sound simply by virtue of getting it away from the electrical cacophony on the motherboard surface.

Re:tell the difference? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23006410)

If you want good audio quality, you are much better off looking into semi-pro music production cards.

M-Audio, Terratec, ESI, Ego Sys. (Not EMU though. ;)

Aside from better A/D and D/A and so forth, Creative's cards tend to screw with the dynamics and frequency responses. Don't ask me why.

Get a used M-Audio AP 2496, a standard starter card for home studio musicians, and you will be amazed at the difference.

Re:tell the difference? (2, Informative)

ThePhilips (752041) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006708)

The sound card parameters are floating far above human capability to hear.

At 120db signal-to-noise ratio, to hear the difference you need hi-fi components starting from $600, loudspeakers starting at $400 for piece and cables for $300. And even then you (as most others) probably wouldn't be able to tell difference.

But there are some people (especially musicians) who can tell the difference, appreciate the better quality and actually willing to pay for it. (And note that price is generally high not because they are expensive, but because sale volumes and demand are relatively low.)

For most uses of PC, signal to noise ratio of 80db is more than enough. The problem is of course few cards though boast even higher values, rarely do deliver: PC is crammed with many components which indirectly influence and degrade sound quality. For one, normal chinese power supplies are of terrible quality - and hardly suitable for use with such cards. Add here voltage variance induced by hard drive (re)spinning/seeking and video card draining amps to draw some accelerated 2/3D - and you got all what is required for poor audio quality.

Re:tell the difference? (5, Informative)

immcintosh (1089551) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006918)

At 120db signal-to-noise ratio, to hear the difference you need hi-fi components starting from $600, loudspeakers starting at $400 for piece and cables for $300. And even then you (as most others) probably wouldn't be able to tell difference.
There is no reason you should ever spend this much on cables. Ever. In fact, go ahead and do a blind test between Monster Cable and a coat hanger, and I defy you to be able to tell which is which. It's even extra-funny when people spend these kind of prices for digital cabling.

Re:tell the difference? (1)

Solandri (704621) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006832)

I once plugged my studio monitors (aka really nice headphones) into my computer while gaming. You can tell the difference between good and bad audio if you have good speakers or monitors. Unfortunately, the audio became so clear that it was obvious the sound was synthesized or using looped samples. It actually detracted from my enjoyment of the game, so I went back to the $20 no-name speakers.

It's kinda like how the switch from CRTs to LCDs made text razor-sharp, but it exaggerated the "jaggies" in graphics to the point that anti-aliasing became a mainstream feature in video cards.

At last. (1)

Wowsers (1151731) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006328)

At last a half decent card at a reasonable cost too.

Shame it has no SP/DIF in and the SP/DIF Out is shared with Line and Mic (I hate shared connectors they are a real pain as you can't have permanent connections at the rear). Looks better than my old Soundblaster AWE32 (which I remember only buying because DOS games wanted all things Soundblaster and the card had pretty good S/N ratio for it's day).

As for using it in Linux, ALSA support would be nice, and hope PulseAudio can use it too...

Re:At last. (1)

Azarael (896715) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006654)

That is included in the D2X, which is around the same price as the X-FI's

M-Audio - blatant plug (5, Informative)

2TecTom (311314) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006348)

since we seem to be slashvertising, I vote for M-Audio:

Audiophile, or
http://www.m-audio.com/products/en_us/Audiophile192-main.html [m-audio.com]

Gamer/Home Theatre
http://www.m-audio.com/products/en_us/Revolution71-main.html [m-audio.com]

Re:M-Audio - blatant plug (2, Informative)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006440)

I don't do audio work, but everyone I know who does serious audio work on a PC seems to have an M-Audio Audiophile card of some sort.

Re:M-Audio - blatant plug (1)

ArAgost (853804) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006574)

M-Audio isn't the only maker of such hardware, but the quality is there and the price is absolutely ok, so "normal people" (i.e. who doesn't have a studio budget) will chose Audiophile (this includes me, obviously)

Re:M-Audio - blatant plug (1)

Symbha (679466) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006524)

This is precisely why I did go with the Asus card... You can have both... plus a nice ASIO driver. Instead of choosing.

Re:M-Audio - blatant plug (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23006770)

it's like having a vagina and an anus.

Why pay for ads to geeks when /. will up for free? (3, Insightful)

Kenrod (188428) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006364)

It must be press release Tuesday at Slashdot.

Re:Why pay for ads to geeks when /. will up for fr (2, Interesting)

Xtravar (725372) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006702)

Eh, at least it's ASUS and not another Apple spoogefest.

PCI-E only (1)

nuzak (959558) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006372)

It's a PCI device that requires a bridge chip to work on PCI Express ... but there's no PCI version to be found, unlike its more expensive D2X cousin (which lacks front-panel connectors). Bah. One of the reasons for me to buy a nicer soundcard is to take the load off my aging CPU.

creative cards are dookie (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23006430)

Creative sound cards, even the highbrow models, have always been junk. Ask any audio enthusiast. Poor 44.1 -> 48kHz resampling was forgivable in the 90s, but not anymore. They'll do for casual music/game/internet usage, but if you want to record anything or do some serious listening, there are better cards out there for less than what Creative is pushing, which is pretty much just a fancy box and a well-known name.

Beware those who try to compete with Creative.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23006434)

If Asus's new product really does live up to the hype that's wonderful. I'd love to have an alternative. The problems with creative's products going all the way back to the original PCI live are well known and don't need to be covered.

Unfortunately, if this actually turns out to be a competitive product, Asus (Or more likely whoever makes the chip) will soon be the target of a lawsuit from Creative (Weather there is any merit or not). This is Creative's favorite way of dealing with their competitors.

$90 Asus Sound Card Whips Creative's Best (1)

Cctoide (923843) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006444)

Um... er... kinky?

So, which card to buy? (1)

coldmist (154493) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006456)

So, the current list of half-decent cards to choose from is:

Creative X-Fi (PCI, $60+)
Auzentech Prelude (PCI, uses the X-Fi chip, but should be better, but $180+)
Asus Xonar DX (PCIExpress 1x, $90)
Asus Xonar D2X (PCI, $200)

The X-Fi cards are nice, but not worth the price. I'm looking for some Linux support. I'm looking to hook it up to a digital 5.1 set of speakers and a headset on the front-audio of my case. I play 1st-person shooter games, so good DirectX support is required.

I currently have an X-Fi, with a hobbled front-audio solution, but decent windows support (both games and OS). But, it just is cranky to do anything with front-audio. Drivers suck, etc.

Hmmm. What to do.

MIDI in? (1)

spion666 (922711) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006468)

So, where are the midi inputs?

I think I'll pass.

Re:MIDI in? (1)

Symbha (679466) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006620)

It's on a riser card, attaches to a connector on the board.

Does it work with Linux? (4, Funny)

Godji (957148) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006522)

Please don't mod me funny, I'm asking quite seriously. If it runs with open source drivers, does 7.1 and has hardware mixing so that I don't have to bother with dmix, I'm buying it tomorrow morning.

Re:Does it work with Linux? (1, Troll)

dmsuperman (1033704) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006776)

Someone mod parent funny.

Sound cards. Don't talk to me about sound cards... (1)

Rhapsody Scarlet (1139063) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006546)

I'm currently working my head around making an ideal (Linux-based) PC for my various needs. I've found good components for most of these needs, save one. A decent sound card.

The story of my current PC and sound is a real horror story. An integrated RealTek ALC861VD that has never worked properly. For two Ubuntu releases, it didn't work at all. Even now, setting sound output to ALSA gives me no sound at all for some reason. Setting it to OSS gives me sound, but only one application at a time, nothing from Flash player, and with constant errors from TiMidity. I've been trying to work with this situation for months now.

I'm fairly determined to avoid this situation happening twice, but I've absolutely no idea what I should buy to guarantee Linux compatibility. Should it be integrated or not? What manufacturer? I don't have particularly trained ears. All I really want is simple 2 channel sound (possibly with a sub-woofer), from as many applications at a time as I want, at a reasonably low price. In other words, exactly what Windows XP could give me right fucking now. But the situation of sound on Linux seems so bad that no one can give me a straight answer!

Re:Sound cards. Don't talk to me about sound cards (1)

justinlindh (1016121) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006750)

I fought Linux sound problems with my integrated optical audio for the longest time. Nobody would help on the Ubuntu forums, but I eventually studied enough about .asoundrc to configure ALSA to work correctly. It was a pain, and in the end everything was working aside from the Rhapsody plug-in for Flash (flash uses an odd wrapper for audio in certain cases; YouTube worked, Rhapsody didn't).

It'll take a little learning and trickery, but if you want to fix this, you should be able to by scanning a few example .asoundrc files and documentation and configuring your own. It'll let you define a mixer and select the correct audio device for output, at which point ALSA will use it to properly mix.

Maybe the new PulseAudio stuff in Ubuntu works better. I have yet to test it.

Re:Sound cards. Don't talk to me about sound cards (2, Informative)

eldepeche (854916) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006914)

The new release of Ubuntu comes with PulseAudio by default; it's a much better software mixer than ESD, and has ALSA and OSS emulation. Give it a shot.

Creative can be pretty good! (1)

kipman725 (1248126) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006548)

Some of you saying onboard sound is aceptable clearly haven't had the pleasure of the likes of: ASUS A7V8X-X and Foxconn GMX boards which have terible terible sound that makes creatives driver problems look tame and come complete with crackles @ disk access and mouse movement. I currently have a crative 24bit sound blaster it sounds pretty good works with ASIO4ALL and linux and cost £4 inc P+P from ebay. I would rather have a pro audio card but they are far more expensive and only marginaly better quality.

A Problem With The Article, & Follow Up (4, Informative)

rsmith-mac (639075) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006610)

The article's author has posted a short follow up piece [techreport.com] after someone pointed out that some of the RightMark Audio Analyzer results don't make any sense. The X-Fi's frequency response is all over the place in the loopback (and only the loopback) tests, which causes most of the RMAA results to come in far lower than they should, or indeed where they did score when the card was initially reviewed a couple of years ago. The Xonar still does well regardless, but the RMAA results are effectively useless right now. I suspect the issue is that they used Vista; RMAA is a very peculiar program and has not been certified for use on Vista in all cases because of the UAA screwing with things.

Also, for the sake of being pedantic, the X-Fi they used isn't Creative's best (hence the submission title is wrong); the Xtreme Music was the low-end model and was discontinued last year, to be replaced by the Xtreme Gamer. The Elite Pro is still Creative's highest-end X-Fi.

Why bother (2, Funny)

hack slash (1064002) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006618)

Improved sound quality? What for? I've got tinnitus you insensitive clod.

still love my Turtle Beach Santa Cruz (1)

bersl2 (689221) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006622)

Works 99.999% awesome with ALSA (then again, I haven't experienced the rare problem that the cs46xx driver had in a very long time, so maybe I should say 100%), has hardware mixing (though I am using PulseAudio now; perhaps in the future soundcard manufacturers would be so nice as to have per-mixer-input volumes in hardware---not that it really matters), and generally Just Works.

Of course, maybe if sound starts to recover from the crap Creative has done to it (maintaining OpenAL is the only halfway-decent thing they do now), I could always get a newer one.

hopefully a worthy competitor and I like Asus kit (1)

nozzo (851371) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006646)

I got a top-end XFi package and it costs flippin loads but the crystalizer worked very well with MP3's through my Samsung home cinema box, and there was a noticible performance gain with FS2004 as the on-board sound driver (it's an Abit board) was fairly resource intensive and caused frame rate issues with the simulator. That all cleared up with the Xfi. Problems began when I changed my PC and had a dual boot Vista/Ubuntu setup. Anyone following the driver issues will know what I mean when I say I felt like putting the Xfi on the floor and stamping on it. So Asus have pulled out a decent sound card eh? Me very interested.

Why have analog sound devices in the computer? (4, Interesting)

Marrow (195242) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006686)

Why shouldn't all decoding be moved out to the speakers? Just send them binary data and let
the analog rendering be done as far from the noisy elements of the computer as possible.

Re:Why have analog sound devices in the computer? (3, Insightful)

Khyber (864651) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006848)

So move them from the noisy components of a computer, and build it right on top of the noisy components of a power amplifier?

People still buy soundcards? (5, Insightful)

guidryp (702488) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006698)

I like good sound and I haven't bought a sound card in 6 years or so (Nforce came out with very good integrated sound). Since then I run a single optical cable from my motherboard to my AV receiver; PERFECT sound. Even the HP at work driving my headphones from analog sounds great.

I really see zero need to get a soundcard these days.

Where is the Linux support?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23006706)

Any GPL2 drivers out there?

Sell me a 24 bit 192khz sound card (1)

heroine (1220) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006726)

It's been over 15 years of web advertizing for 16 bit soundcards. Didn't 24 bit 192khz sound cards already beat Creative at something?

Not hard (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006838)

Once you get around Creative's patents it is not hard to make a better card for less. Since Creative has a history of spectacularly bad sound cards.

Mac support? (1)

Hackeron (704093) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006884)

As mac desktops don't come with PCI slots it is very difficult to find a better sound card than the onboard crap for Mac, only ones available are USB and Firewire and I haven't found an external one with sufficient sound quality.

Since this is PCI Express, does anyone know if Asus will be releasing Mac drivers?

Finally!!! (1)

dbleoslow (650429) | more than 6 years ago | (#23006908)

High quality 'Chocolate Rain' at a price that won't make me turn my head the other way!
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