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Soundcard performance

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spirovious

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Soundcard performance- Xonars

Hi friends,

Many of us may be using soundcard for betteraudio performance out of basic PC.I was searching for Asus Xonar & found some good reviews.
The cards are little higher in prices,but uses high Q chips from Burr,Ciruss etc
They can stream aud & vid too with HDMI 1.3,good Blueray support.

Any other card with similar features with less price?

ASUSTeK Computer Inc.
Xonar HDAV1.3 in India, Premium High Definition Multimedia - Monitor & Video Cards
Techtree.com India > Reviews > Basics > Sound Cards > Asus Xonar D2X
Elite Bastards - ASUS Xonar HDAV 1.3 Deluxe sound card review
ASUS Xonar 7.1 D2 Review - Page 7 - Hardware Canucks
 
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Rem

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No spirovious I do not think there is any other card in the market with similar feature set with SQ as good as the Xonar for the same price available.

For music the only card which can compete with Xonar in pretty much the same price range is the M-Audio cards but then that do not have the same kind of feature set which Asus has. Moreover M-Audio would be good for users who use it primarily for music and with very less gaming.

Asus Xonar gives you the best of both worlds though creative would be slightly ahead in terms of gaming.

Couple of people in this forum own the M-Audio and the Xonar cards Spiro a little while back there was a posting regarding those a quick search would get you that link and you can shoot your questions directly to them.

Happy hunting
 

moserw

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Depends...
Like Rem said M-Audio is good. I've also read lots of good things about HT Omega Claro Plus - HT Omega - Claro Plus+ and it costs the same USD 200 as the Asus Xonar Essence STX.

BTW I was having an interesting discussion with a friend who was of the opinion the Asus Xonar Essence STX was too pricey and that Creative would give the same performance at a much lower cost. The reasoning was that the improved SNR in the Asus would not be perceptible to most people in a blind listening test. Also, the Asus would need matching speakers and headphones for one to really appreciate the difference.
 

reignofchaos

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Like Rem said M-Audio is good. I've also read lots of good things about HT Omega Claro Plus - HT Omega - Claro Plus+ and it costs the same USD 200 as the Asus Xonar Essence STX.

BTW I was having an interesting discussion with a friend who was of the opinion the Asus Xonar Essence STX was too pricey and that Creative would give the same performance at a much lower cost. The reasoning was that the improved SNR in the Asus would not be perceptible to most people in a blind listening test. Also, the Asus would need matching speakers and headphones for one to really appreciate the difference.

I'd beg to differ on both those points. The Claro plus doesn't have a head amp. The Claro Halo has a headamp with the same chip as the xonar. But the implementation is very quirky and folks at headfi rate the head amp to be sub par. Plus you physically need to change jumpers to use headphones of higher impedances. In comparison, the Essence STX headphone amp is rated by most people to be as good as 200-300$ discrete amps and you can use different headphones by just selecting the impedance in software.

I have the top of the line XFi (elite pro) and the Essence STX. In music quality, the latter is head and shoulders above the xfi and even the EMU 1212M which sounds significantly better than the XFi.

Also the Xonar costs 8000+taxes in India which is an incredible price - around 20% below US MSRP.
 

moserw

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Depends...
I'd beg to differ on both those points. The Claro plus doesn't have a head amp. The Claro Halo has a headamp with the same chip as the xonar. But the implementation is very quirky and folks at headfi rate the head amp to be sub par. Plus you physically need to change jumpers to use headphones of higher impedances. In comparison, the Essence STX headphone amp is rated by most people to be as good as 200-300$ discrete amps and you can use different headphones by just selecting the impedance in software.

I have the top of the line XFi (elite pro) and the Essence STX. In music quality, the latter is head and shoulders above the xfi and even the EMU 1212M which sounds significantly better than the XFi.

Also the Xonar costs 8000+taxes in India which is an incredible price - around 20% below US MSRP.

Not much of a headphone user myself so did not consider headphone performance at all. BTW I too did disagree about the Creative since even I found the Asus to be leagues ahead.

Finally, can you tell me where you picked up the Asus Xonar Essence STX at Rs. 8000+ taxes? Can it be shipped to Hyderabad? Still trying to source it locally here and not sure how much will be quoted for it.
 

reignofchaos

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Not much of a headphone user myself so did not consider headphone performance at all. BTW I too did disagree about the Creative since even I found the Asus to be leagues ahead.

Finally, can you tell me where you picked up the Asus Xonar Essence STX at Rs. 8000+ taxes? Can it be shipped to Hyderabad? Still trying to source it locally here and not sure how much will be quoted for it.

That is the all india price I believe since the card's box has a sticker from rashi peripherals. There may be a regional variation of 100-200 bucks but not more I think. The MSRP mentioned is 10900 but I doubt anyone will sell it at msrp. Its a good card and great value at 8000. I'm reasonably certain it'll hand most budget CD players under 30k their rear end.
 

moserw

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Depends...
That is the all india price I believe since the card's box has a sticker from rashi peripherals. There may be a regional variation of 100-200 bucks but not more I think. The MSRP mentioned is 10900 but I doubt anyone will sell it at msrp. Its a good card and great value at 8000. I'm reasonably certain it'll hand most budget CD players under 30k their rear end.

Thanks, very much appreciated. Got the local branch address for Rashi Peripherals from the web.
 

moserw

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Depends...
I should start looking at HTPC's instead of blu ray players and ps3.:);)

I am absolutely convinced they are the way to go for music at least. I got 2 new HDDs of 500 GB and 250 GB. All FLACs on the 500 GB, all MP3s on the 250 GB and I have most of my music collection on hand instead of having to hunt for CDs. Also, by the time my music collection grows 2 TB or even higher range of HDDs will be available. Also, the CDs themselves are safe and not prone to scratches and other damage from daily usage. Even in terms of SQ the PC with the right soundcard and speakers delivers great quality.
 

spirovious

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Very thanks,

One of the reviews says Xanor 7.1 is available for 7k.
Secondly there are 2 types,PCI-1x & PCI regular.Which card can be better?
Secondly Xanor 1.3 comes with stereo output only(unlike 7.1)
 

prashant_dv

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Secondly there are 2 types,PCI-1x & PCI regular.Which card can be better?

Hi Spirovious,

In terms of performance a PCI-1x (which is a PCI Express 1x card) would be much better, this type of card will have much better data transfer rate and performance. But, today's mobo's are limited to 1 or 2(at the max) PCI E slots, and if you need to have multiple cards which are all PCI-E it would be a difficult situation :).

You would have 133Mb/s for normal PCI slots and for PCI-E 1x you would have 250MB/s data transfer rate where as PCI-E 2x and above would have 500Mb/s and above.

For eg: i have a display card for which i am using PCI-E and my mobo only supports one PCI-E and hence i cant choose other cards which are using PCI-E interface.

You could very well go for the PCI-E if you dont have any existing cards or are not planning for any other PCI-E cards.

Hope i dint confuse you.
 

moserw

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Depends...
Very thanks,

One of the reviews says Xanor 7.1 is available for 7k.
Secondly there are 2 types,PCI-1x & PCI regular.Which card can be better?
Secondly Xanor 1.3 comes with stereo output only(unlike 7.1)

Spiro,

Firstly check your mobo, that will dictate above all else and what prashant_dv says is true. PCI-Express has been introduced/available for a while and is intended to replace the older PCI, but that's not happened and in fact most manufacturers still persist with h/w for the older PCI bus. Also, there are limited PCI-Express slots in most mobos, mine has 2 PCI slots and 2 PCI-Express slots. BTW if you are looking for audiophile music then go with the Asus Xonar Essence STX, its absolutely great and takes music on the PC to new levels. The Xonar HDAV1.3 Deluxe is also another great option if you're working towards a HTPC and HD Audio on the PC.
 

thevortex

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To the OP - when I bought a sound card a few months back I scoured information on the web to see what would be the best sound card for a HTPC. While music was a major point for me, I was clear that I would also be using this HTPC for movies as well as for TV (using a TV Tuner card).

For these purposes, no card even came close to the capabilities of the Xonar D2X.

The Essence Xonar from ASUS is a specialist music card - the one to get if you are an audiophile. I have recently installed drivers from this card to work with my Xonar D2X and can feel the difference:) - although technically speaking I am not sure how the drivers can make a difference. But in reality they do.

And as Moserw said, the Xonar HDAV is a powerful solution for audio/video purposes - although I am not sure that it is essential if you are going for a TV Tuner card separately. But the other aspect is that this solution offers Full HD audio decoding.

You could also consider the Auzentech Prelude. I believe it has got a new model up its sleeve - a Xonar competitor which was due in the market about this time. I could not source this card at all from Chennai. Maybe you can have better luck.

My understanding on this card is that this is a card you should go for if you work on Vista and/or if gaming is important to you from a sound solution point of view. If audio quality is the question, the Xonar soars above. That is what all reviews point towards.

To the other experts - how is the ESI Juli as a soundcard solution? Is that comparable to the Xonar series? Or better? Or worse?
 

thevortex

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Though PCI-E (not PCI-X, that's different) is a more modern interface capable of transferring more data, the fact is it does not carry a -12V rail like the older PCI spec.

Basically, it means that the opamps on a PCI-E card operate at only +12V, which theoretically (and in my case, really) affect the performance due to only half the voltage being available.

Since I'm accused of technical obfuscation in the past, I will simply say that I prefer to use PCI cards, for the most part - there are exceptions, and I will not detail that observation, don't want to get too technical.

@thevortex: There should be no difference from just installing drivers. I don't know what you're experiencing, there are a few latency and timing issues that effect soundcard performance but those are very subtle and I don't know that just installing new drivers would make a difference. Again, I'll steer clear of tech details as it may confuse the thread.

The Prelude basically is an X-fi with a superior converter and opamps, and a slightly tweaked driver set.

Lastly, the Juli@ is a pro audio card, not really aimed at this crowd but more at the Home studio or project studio. It's not a master quality card, but it shot to fame because of its digital output, which is a very well thought through and implemented part, and its interchangeable analog section. It has no headphone amps, and the mixer takes some learning. The audio quality will be excellent, but it may be bettered by some of the top-end cards mentioned here (or maybe not). I don't know that it is strictly comparable to anything here.

Cranky - I know I should not be experiencing any differences. But the fact is, I am. For one, the D2X does not have the very latest of driver updates. That is one of the reasons for this hacked driver from Essence. Plus - the fact that this driver finally got my ASIO ouput working could have contributed to the difference in sound quality I am hearing.

One note about the earlier point you made about the PCI-E card. Is that not exactly why sound cards such as Xonar tend to use the extra power circuit of something like the floppy drive in your case?
 

spirovious

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Spiro,

Firstly check your mobo, that will dictate above all else and what prashant_dv says is true. PCI-Express has been introduced/available for a while and is intended to replace the older PCI, but that's not happened and in fact most manufacturers still persist with h/w for the older PCI bus. Also, there are limited PCI-Express slots in most mobos, mine has 2 PCI slots and 2 PCI-Express slots. BTW if you are looking for audiophile music then go with the Asus Xonar Essence STX, its absolutely great and takes music on the PC to new levels. The Xonar HDAV1.3 Deluxe is also another great option if you're working towards a HTPC and HD Audio on the PC.

My MB has 1 PCI-1X, 1 PCI -16X,2 reg PCI.
 

thevortex

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My MB has 1 PCI-1X, 1 PCI -16X,2 reg PCI.

Are you decided on the sound card yet? If you are set on the Xonar, it does need a PCI-E slot. Thats just for the Xonar D2X though. The DX can fit in a PCI slot as far as I can remember.

Do check if the 16X slot is PCI-Express.
 

spirovious

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Are you decided on the sound card yet? If you are set on the Xonar, it does need a PCI-E slot. Thats just for the Xonar D2X though. The DX can fit in a PCI slot as far as I can remember.

Do check if the 16X slot is PCI-Express.

PCI E is 1X not 16X as if you take closer look of card,interphase is shorter than regular or 16X PCI

ASUSTeK Computer Inc.

Secondly I believe driver can improve overall performance,same happened with my avertv 007 FM plus card.
Earlier driver cld not record FM,the newer one can & picture improved with extra settings.

The DACs on card are used in Highend AVRs-
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1083704
 

moserw

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My MB has 1 PCI-1X, 1 PCI -16X,2 reg PCI.

Is your mobo Intel? If so both would be PCI-Express...

Two PCI Conventional bus add-in card connectors
One PCI Express x1 bus add-in card connectors
One PCI Express x16 bus add-in card connectors


Quite common configuration among Intel mobos that I have come across. If your mobo is Intel then all Xonar cards would work for you.
 

spirovious

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Is your mobo Intel? If so both would be PCI-Express...

Two PCI Conventional bus add-in card connectors
One PCI Express x1 bus add-in card connectors
One PCI Express x16 bus add-in card connectors


Quite common configuration among Intel mobos that I have come across. If your mobo is Intel then all Xonar cards would work for you.

Yes,its MSI-945GCM5-V2(same config as you said). C2D4500, 2GB ram, VIP gold 400w SMPS.

How does 1.3HDMI series work?I meen aud is OK,but How does vid pass through HDMI of soundcard(SC)?
bcos I have graphiccard(GC) with S vid,DVI out.
 
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thevortex

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PCI E is 1X not 16X as if you take closer look of card,interphase is shorter than regular or 16X PCI

ASUSTeK Computer Inc.

Secondly I believe driver can improve overall performance,same happened with my avertv 007 FM plus card.
Earlier driver cld not record FM,the newer one can & picture improved with extra settings.

The DACs on card are used in Highend AVRs-
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1083704

Sure Spiro - I was just trying to suggest you to check as to whether the slot you were saying was 16X was actually PCI-E. One of my friends did the exact same mistake...hence the check.

On the drivers - I must say it is strange. I would attribute a lot of the improvement to ASIO and Foobar. Although sometimes even any player using the BASS engine seems to be at par. I think the differences are minimal - but noticeable during intense listening sessions.
 
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