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X-Fi Soundcard vs Onboard Audio vs USB Headsets


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#1 DarkStar

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Posted 15 December 2006 - 09:05 AM

I plan on buying a new gaming rig in mid January, although I might order earlier if I can decide on all the specifics before sooner, but I have a question that I figured I would see what everyone here had to say about it.

First some background, I always use a headset with my computer, I bought a pair of Klipsch 4.1's with my EGAD but barely used them at all and I've never even had a set of speakers hooked to my Rage. So with that being the case which audio solution would be the way to go for me, a SB X-Fi card, sticking with the onboard audio or going with a USB headset?

I do listen to music on my rig occasionally but as my hearing sort of sucks after FAR to much time on various weapon ranges without hearing protection I don't need the ultimate audiophile setup but I need something with at least halfway decent sound and excellent positional 3D support for gaming.

Thoughts, suggestions opinions?
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#2 Mofo Jones

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Posted 15 December 2006 - 12:14 PM

A Creative card and a set of Grado SR-80 headphones. That's my setup and I have zero complaints.
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#3 popeyecu

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Posted 15 December 2006 - 02:39 PM

The onboard stuff works pretty good for stereo. An X-Fi will probably give you more FPS by a couple, and the audio may be a little higher-quality, but maybe not.

For reference, I use a Bluegears X-Mystique with the Dolby-Digital Live output to my receiver. Every now and then I actually turn on the DDL :devil:
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#4 Farfik

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Posted 15 December 2006 - 08:40 PM

Try the onboard audio and a set of stereo headphones (Grado and Sennheisser make kick ass cans) and if the audio isn't up to snuff add a card. IMHO.

#5 Mofo Jones

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Posted 16 December 2006 - 01:22 AM

I'll add that I went with Grado on Farfik's recommendation and have not regretted it. :)

/owes Farfik a beer or two at some point. :)
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#6 BSartist

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Posted 16 December 2006 - 07:44 AM

Get an X-Fi if you use headphones.

The difference in audio quality (and surround processing) on my HD595's on my X-Fi versus my Audigy 2 is astounding. I have two PC's set up side by side so I can compare easily...night and day.

Your sound is only going to be as good as your speakers/headphones producing it. So if you have low quality speakers/headphones I wouldnt bother with anything more than on-board. But if you have high end equipment I think you need an X-Fi even if it's only the basic X-Fi (like $80 I think).

I have the X-Fi Elite Pro and am loving it.

#7 popeyecu

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Posted 16 December 2006 - 10:50 AM

Supposedly the X-Fi Fata1iy239u and the Pro will speed up games with the X-RAM. The lower models don't have it.
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#8 BSartist

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Posted 16 December 2006 - 11:49 AM

it will in games that support X-RAM which are few and far between (but they do exist)

I would not really factor that into my decision.

#9 GooZ

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 01:24 PM

Did somebody say headphones? Look no more than the Sennheiser HD580's.
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#10 Andrax

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 02:00 PM

I noticed a difference between my old Audigy II and my new xFi. xFI for the win for audio processing!

#11 Farfik

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Posted 05 January 2007 - 03:14 PM

Did somebody say headphones? Look no more than the Sennheiser HD580's.


I have a pair and they're great.