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  1. #1
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    Dedicated sound card worth it? - for Audio Technika ATH-m50; Antec Soundscience rocku

    Hello everyone,

    Here to ask some advice :). I've got the Maximus VI gene motherboard with SupremeFX, and I'm planning on buying headphones for listening to music and watching films, my first choice is the Audio Technika ATH-m50s, and I'm going to get Antec Soundscience rocku 3d 2.1 speakers. So should I get a dedicated sound card for them, to make them sound better, or is the on board sound card good enough for them.

    Oh and also feel free to give other choices for speakers (not for gaming, already have the Corsair 1500 headset for that :).) with good aesthetics and with a similar price tag, and for headphones that would be for listening to music and watching films.

    Cheers and thank you in advance :)

  2. #2
    ROG Guru: Orange Belt Array fbm211's Avatar
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    You could use the onboard first to see if you like it. It is said to be pretty good but then again its a dressed up REALTEK so you would have to decide for yourself if its acceptable.
    If you decide to go dedicated I would suggest the soundblaster ZX SBX or Z SBX.
    I have soundblaster onboard audio which blows away any onboard audio I've heard yet.
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  3. #3
    Twisted Silicon Array nleksan's Avatar
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    (This is coming from someone who does audio engineering, so my tastes/preferences likely are quite different, even moreso than the average difference in sound tastes...)

    I've owned/used nearly every consumer sound card available in the past 5+ years that wasn't pure junk, and a large number of "professional" ones as well. Almost all of them are an upgrade over onboard sound, a decent amount are a worthwhile upgrade relative to the cost, some of them are good, and a few are truly excellent/exceptional.

    The best sound card out of everything I've owned and used, and which I use to this day, is the Creative Titanium HD. It's simply the most balanced in terms of gaming, music, film, and even audio production. It works as well with stereo speakers as it does with headphones, it has exceptional build quality (look "under the hood" and it's all better components than what I've seen in most $1200-$1300 and under receivers!), and while it doesn't offer true 7.1 channel surround sound, you can get semi-lossy 5.1 through the optical output.

    It is, without a doubt, the best headphone and stereo card I've used, and yes, that includes the newer, more expensive ZxR (which I had loaned to me for a month by a member of a band I recently mastered an album for).

    If all you are not planning on using surround sound speakers for your PC (and if you are, you shouldn't run them from the sound card's analog out anyway, as surround PC speakers are universally terrible; you need real speakers + receiver to get anything close to good imaging much less sound quality), but instead just 2.0/2.1 speakers and headphones, then stop searching, this is the card to get!

    Second on the list would be the HT|Omega Claro Halo XT with the daughterboard, which is a phenomenal music/film and even production card, but it's not good for gaming IMHO, but the biggest blow is that it's PCI. I'd have trouble buying a PCI sound card these days...

    A lot of people will say "internal cards are awful, you need external", but I can tell you that I've never once gotten a better MASTER using an outboard instead of internal (and you cannot hear what isn't present in the final master), and on two occasions I've had to completely redo my work because of intereference resulting from the USB bus....
    Still, they are convenient, offer good features for the price, and the 02DACamp is a nice piece of kit.

    If there's anything I can help you with regarding a specific card, just ask!

    Oh, and YES, the 50's 100% benefit from better audio! I use Audio Technica products a lot, including the AD700's, AD700x's, A700x's, AD900/x's, and a few others for gaming and when I need a wide sound stage, in fact the only headphones I use more are my many Grado's (PS1000's and GS1000's for recording; RS1/RS1i's and SR225's/325's for pleasure)!
    The ATH-M50 are an excellent set of cans, and if fed properly you will hear things you've never heard before even on your most listened to tracks, assuming these are your first decent set of cans

  4. #4
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    Thank you for your answers .

    I will definitely look in to the titanium HD. I just got my ATH-M50 headphones, and tried it on my pc and it sounded amazing, but for the fun of it i went to my friend who has the pheobus sound card, and the experience was mind blowing.

    Thank you again for your replies, the help was immense .

    Oh one more thing what about the speakers , what would be a good speaker system (2.0 or 2.1) for around £200.

  5. #5
    ROG Guru: Orange Belt Array fbm211's Avatar
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    Klipsch 2.1 for gaming.
    That is if can find a set in good condition.
    If your a music lover you should get a good set of audiophile quality bookshelf speakers.Like Audioengine 5+ (A5+) Premium Powered Speakers.Or M-Audio Studiophile AV 30 for a tighter budget.
    Here is a link to the Audioengine set. http://www.ramelectronics.net/Audioengine-A5.aspx

    OH, And I stand corrected... nleksan is right about that HD card. Simply awesome card.I of course use my Audiophile home system to listen to music.You just cant beat a vintage pair of Polk audio SDA speakers with stripped and upgraded crossovers recapped with claritycap MR caps.
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  6. #6
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    I was also looking into the Gemini SR 5 speakers, in my opinion they look great, but if the sound isn't as good as the audioengine 5 then i will go for those

  7. #7
    Twisted Silicon Array nleksan's Avatar
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    You're quite welcome!

    If you're interested in great speakers for around that price range, the M-Audio BX5a's are quite good.

    I agree that most "Computer Speakers" will never sound as good as full-blown "Real Speakers", but computer speakers don't require the added expense of a high quality amplifier (I have 5 different McIntosh amps for my home studio, amongst others, so while you can certainly get good amps for much less, it's still an added cost) or receiver.

    Right now, having just moved, I decided to pull out some sweet vintage RTR Digital V Model 20 speakers I have, along with an old Denon 130W (actual) per channel receiver/amp, for computer use and honestly, these are now my favorite gaming speakers! They remind me of my Cerwin Vega (fun) speakers in terms of their tightly controlled but loud bass (explosions are felt AND heard), but unlike my VE-12's they have a very well defined top range and smooth mids (CV are a bit harsh above ~8khz), probably do to these being 4-way's vs the CV 3-ways.

    Best part? Speakers, which were a few grand (they're hand-made with custom drivers from a boutique mfgr) when new, cost me a $20 bill, and the guy gave me the receiver for free!


    Point is: you don't have to spend a lot to get great, FUN sounding audio, if you are patient and play your cards right!

    (check Freecycle and craigslist!)

  8. #8
    Twisted Silicon Array nleksan's Avatar
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    Grr, double post :S
    Last edited by nleksan; 08-17-2013 at 01:42 AM. Reason: Double Post Monster Struck!

  9. #9
    ROG Guru: Yellow Belt Array Masterbobo's Avatar
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    Will the creative soundblaster Z or xfi titanium give you DIgital signal to the desktop?

    cause my previous gigabyte board did, but my new rampage extreme doesn't, so bummed.
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  10. #10
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    nleksan - Can you offer specifics as to why the Titanium HD is better than the ZXR?

    Thanks.

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