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Should I get a soundcard or not?

Azmatik95

34 months ago

Hello, I was wondering if I should get a soundcard to improve the quality of the music I listen to on my computer through a soundbar and subwoofer. It seems like the sound quality is lower than it should be and idk if it is because of my motherboard or video card(I am really new to building a computer and stuff and I just built my first desktop). This is my motherboard, https://www.amazon.com/ASUS-Z170-A-ATX-DDR4-Motherboards/dp/B012NH05UW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1487561200&sr=8-1&keywords=asus+z170a. And this is the video card I have, https://www.amazon.com/GeForce-Dual-fan-Gaming-Graphics-DUAL-GTX1070-O8G/dp/B01JHQSZ40/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1487561213&sr=8-2&keywords=asus+1070.

Can someone please tell me if I getting a soundcard will improve my sound quality through my speakers and what a decent soundcard would be to get that won't break the bank.

Budget = 50-100 dollars.

Comments

  • 34 months ago
  • 3 points

A sound card rarely makes a difference until you get to the really high end stuff. Even then there is still interference.

  • 34 months ago
  • 3 points

also make sure the sound files your listening to are high quality... often people overlook that and just keep throwing money away on sound equipment when the music itself is low quality junk recordings...

  • 34 months ago
  • 1 point

Does streaming the audio also affect the quality of the song?

  • 34 months ago
  • 2 points

Well ya, because not only do you not know what quality the source is, but most streaming music I'd lowered in quality to use less bandwidth... Your limited to what you receive

  • 34 months ago
  • 2 points

Before I can really suggest a sound card, I/we need to know more about your audio setup. Are you using the onboard audio out, or the video card's audio out? What kind of speakers are you using? What's the connection you're using between the PC and speakers?

Good speakers are pretty much a must for good audio as well, but yea, Asus's Xonar series of sound chips are kind of famously hollow with their default drivers; most recommendations I see when dealing with Xonar audio is to get some third party drivers and software to try and help, but sometimes that simply might not be enough.

If you are using at least speakers that support the standard aux jacks, I can easily recommend the Creative Audigy Rx. Among its strengths is that at least it's based on the superior X-Fi chip on a modern driver stack, where the SB Z/x/R are based on the Recon3D - a sound chip that on paper should be blowing the doors off, but in the end is weaker than the X-Fi chip it's meant to replace. Even the standard Creative driver has been solid for me; though Daniel_K's third party drivers for the card is surprisingly more efficient with the thing. It also enables the use of ALchemy, which if you're on a newer OS trying to play an older game, is practically paramount to enabling full audio support.

Of course, none of this matters if either: (a) You're using the video card's audio output to funnel audio to a living room home theater setup, (b) You're using monitor/TV speakers, (c) You're using dollar-store quality speakers... good speakers help lots there, too, (d) You're using any kind of USB sound device - such as headphones.

With the way that Windows' audio stack works, even with older OS's, if you're using USB audio, no sound card will help there.

  • 34 months ago
  • 1 point

https://www.amazon.com/Sony-HT-CT80-Soundbar-Home-Speaker/dp/B013WVVNUY this is what I'm using for the audio on my computer, and I'mean using the optical port on the motherboard I believe, not the video card.

  • 34 months ago
  • 2 points

Okay, if you're using the optical out from the motherboard, then if you get the Audigy Rx, you would just take the optical cable from the onboard jack and plug it into the sound card instead. So the usability there won't change.

I'm still not sure how good any sound bar could be, but I guess I am also speaking as someone that got spoiled on having 5.1 with their PC for years. So take my advice in that context.

Most video cards don't have an optical audio out, but they would instead serve their audio from integrated audio chip on the GPU out through either DisplayPort or HDMI, so I didn't know if you were routing your audio out through that way. At least in this case, having your audio out through a separate connection enables you some more options.

So yea, with that in mind, Audigy Rx is still what I'd suggest in the price range you mentioned. There is a cheaper Fx version with the same chip on it, but I don't recall if that has an optical audio output like the Rx does.

  • 34 months ago
  • 1 point

I will definitely check the Audigy Rx out. Thank you for your input. Is there any speakers that you would recommended over my soundbar and sub? I'm mainly using that right now just because I do not have regular speakers for my desktop yet and haven't felt like hooking the soundbar and sub to my TV like they are supposed to.

  • 34 months ago
  • 1 point
  • 34 months ago
  • 2 points

That's the one.

As for speakers, well... that depends on what you need. Where is this PC at? Living Room? I assume so, if you're using a sound bar.

If it's just for a more standard PC, I would have suggested Logitech z906 to use the optical with, as the new version I've seen at Fry's Electronics implies THX Certification, and confirms optical audio input as well as the standard analog jacks that PC speakers traditionally used. More impressive is that the sub connects to the individual channels via what looks like standard speaker wires, so making them longer to fit a room arrangement shouldn't be a problem. Might even fit for a home theater for a relatively small-ish room, too. Otherwise, if it's in the living room you might need to ask elsewhere, because that is admittedly beyond my circle of knowledge, sir.

  • 34 months ago
  • 1 point

This will be in my bedroom.

  • 34 months ago
  • 2 points

if you are using optical out a sound card will make absolutely no difference as the digital to analog conversion is happening in the sound bar itself.

[comment deleted by staff]

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