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cheap sound card needed

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by atom1kyak, Jul 9, 2007.

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  1. atom1kyak

    atom1kyak Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2007
    Messages:
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    i have the logitech z-2300 2.1 sound system, and it's great. the only problem is, i'm worried that my onboard sound isn't doing it justice.
    i know that it's only 2 speakers and a subwoofer, but is there a sound card out there that doesn't focus on being '7.1 surround' compatible?
    the main problem i have noticed is that the subwoofer doesn't have the clean..."oomph" of my parent's 30-dollar version.

    i have an asus A8N5X motherboard--it has 7.1 onboard.

    i suppose my question should be summarized thus: with 7.1 onboard sound, would there be an increase in quality without spending over $50?

    any advice is appreciated.

    ps. my paren't sound system is hooked up to a sound card, unlike mine.
     
  2. kryptonite1055

    kryptonite1055

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2006
    Messages:
    243
    The simple answer is no.


    The thing to look at when getting a sound card is to check the SNR (signal to noise ratio). The higher that number is, the better the sound quality. The highest SNR I can see for a sound card is 118+dB (best...It will always get better). My card that I have is 108dB (better). general rule of thumb is anything over 100dB (good).

    But of course with quality comes a price. sound cards with SNR of 100 are about $30. Then for SNR about 108 is $60-100 (I think the sweet spot for sound cards). and then if you have money to burn and have GREAT hearing. SNR of 118+ is +$200

    There are SNR all in between, but just keep that in mind higher SNR, the better.

    If you want to get the best bang for your buck, spend around $70 on newegg.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829102007

    That card would be good for listening to music, and watching movies, but not playing video games.

    Edit: I did buy my sound card off of ebay around $50 when normally it was $80-$90. BUT there were a few bent pins for a midi device that I would never use. That might be a place to look for a nicely priced sound card for you.
     
  3. atom1kyak

    atom1kyak Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2007
    Messages:
    21
    exactly the advice i needed.

    i think i'll mow a few lawns, see if i can scrounge up enough to get one of the nicer sound cards (108db).

    thanks!
     
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