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Well, I'm getting a new computer and I want to put a Creative sound card in in it. The last time I looked (several years ago) I only had maybe two real choices. I went to the Creative site a few minutes ago and my eyes glazed over.

Can you folks please tell me what sound card to get? I am not a gamer so those features are irrelevant. I just need an all-around sound card but that produces quality music. Thanks.
 

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Gary

Will you be doing any recording with it? Or are you just wanting the card to reproduce high quality CD and MP3 playback?
Reason I am asking is Creative doesnt really lead the pack anymore when it comes to recording - look at spending a little more to get an Echo or M-Audio card.
Also, if your new computer is loaded with Microsoft Vista, make sure the card you select has compatible Vista drivers.
 

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I ran into the same thing not too long ago.

I wound up going with the Creative blaster X-FI extreme gamer (like I care about games).

It does sounds excellent - and it was easy to install (no problems).
I haven't tried recording with it yet...
 

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Here are two places that have provided me as much information about computer stuff as SOTW has about, well you know. They will usually have head to head reviews like here, etc, etc.

www.anandtech.com
www.hardforum.com
also
www.tomshardware.com

The first site is probably the more authoritative of the bunch, they will have reviews by folks who are professionals and work for the site as well as user reviews as well as the best places and prices. Jay.
 

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gary said:
Well, I'm getting a new computer and I want to put a Creative sound card in in it...
Do you want to record with it? If, yes, I really doubt whether Creative is any good. Why don't you just get a USB or Firewire interface, there are some that are very cheap.

Presounous Firebox is supposedly good (check that you have firewire-connection first... :)

Digidesign M-box or Edirol or M-audio.

There is one very cheap Centrance Micport Pro (125 dollars at www.sweetwater.com) to be used with a single mic. Have no idea about the quality, but probably ok.

If you have a mac and a slightly higher budget check out MobileIO from www.mhlabs.com , excellent sound.

Bjørn
 

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if you have a firewire port... you cannot go wrong with M-audio Firewire Solo
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks so far, folks. To answer some questions -

no I do not plan on using this to record; only for playback. I play play-along recordings, listen to stuff from internet sites, playback for transcribing and listen to playback of music I'm working on in Sibelius.

I'll have Vista as the OS.

I went through this some years ago and had two sound cards in my computer and other fancy stuff and have just decided that for me it's better to just have good, standard and universally compatible components in my computer with a minimum of fuss.
 

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Gary, for the purposes you outlined, get the least expensive you can. Since you're not recording.

if you are planning to record I would suggest an M-Audio 2496 pci card, about $99.
 

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Bill Mecca said:
Gary, for the purposes you outlined, get the least expensive you can. Since you're not recording.

if you are planning to record I would suggest an M-Audio 2496 pci card, about $99.
Gary,

You haven't said if this is a desktop or laptop unit but I'm assuming it's a desktop for home use.

Bill's suggestion is a good one. For a reasonable price you'll have great audio for music and IF you decide to record in the future you'll have good capability in the M-Audio card. Better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. ;)

I use an M-Audio Firewire Audiophile myself.

Glen
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Bill Mecca said:
Gary, for the purposes you outlined, get the least expensive you can. Since you're not recording. if you are planning to record I would suggest an M-Audio 2496 pci card, about $99.
Bill/others - I just read that it is not compatible with Vista (which I will be using).

I also read this: "the M-Audio is known to have problems on its SPDIF output. So, for people who want a sound card to connect to your receiver or an amp, this becomes a drawback. Practially speaking, it's not a huge problem, but it'll bug audiophiles because the digital output on the M-Audio does not have native support for ASIO."

I want to hook up my TV to my computer and run TV and films through it. Does this affect that?

Thanks.

p.s. Yes, desktop; specifically HP Media Center TV PC m8 100n.
 

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Well, there's your problem Vista. :LOL: My M-Audio card didn't work with my Avid software (now Avid owns M-audio so duh!) anyway I got it to work by installing another video editor, and its been chugging along fine. I never use the SPDIF. If you want to take the TV etc, (only you know why you would want to) it depends if you have to use the SPDIF or if you could go via analog connections, firewire etc, whatever your box has on it.

(fwiw my system is an HP XW6000, dual xeon proc, 1.5 gig ram, and a video card that lets me run up to 4 monitors, not that I have the space.) XP, sp1.

BTW, I have used Creative products and gotten good results. I have an SBlive in the work pc and use that for voiceover for my video work here at the office.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Bill Mecca said:
If you want to take the TV etc, (only you know why you would want to)...
Bill - I have a very small place. If I could get rid of my TV I could use the space for something else like, oh, say a chair. :D
 

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I'd go with M Audio too. I use one on my Laptop, but i use usb and haven't used the SPDIF output. i go sax into small mixing desk (behringer would do), desk into soundcard, soundcard into speakers (or stereo if you want).
 

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Gary - be VERY careful with audio interfaces in Vista. Vista is horribly incompatible with many products right now.

At the consumer level there is very little difference between sound cards, very very little difference, and you should be good to go with any after-market sound-card, provided it is fully compatible and is easy to use. Often the features included in sound cards are just senseless bull that have nothing to do with sonic quality. As long as it can playback CD audio, and the engineers that did the recording didn't fxxx up, any choice will be fine.

If you go the route of audio interface, be aware of the compatibility issues as I've already stated. All you really need is something capable of at least 44.1khz playback (or 48 if you run into any sort of video environment that plays back at 48khz). Keep in mind that you will most likely need speakers with 1/4" connections.

If you are a really serious audiophile with a sizely budget let me know and I can make a good recommendation for studio monitors and interfaces
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks Mike.

(BTW - I am not "a really serious audiophile" - more like a really serious penny-pincher.) :D
 

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Gary -

Sorry I didn't see this thread sooner. Did you get the new machine? My initial thought is that the HP Media Center should already come with a sound card that will be more than sufficient for your needs. Why are you thinking about adding in another?

Frank
 
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