Help me choose a sound card
I am looking for an economical decent-quality (not high end) sound card that will work with my Polk Audio speakers (which are NOT self-powered) and to which I can connect two CD-ROM drives.
It can be ISA or PCI 2.1 compliant. The computer is used mostly for solo games, burning music CDs, and general Internet surfing. No DVD drive.
1- What should I look for in the description of the card so I know it will work for my system. Some say "Built-in amplifier" which I suppose I need. Is there any other way of knowing if the card will power my speakers?
2- As mentioned, I need a place to connect my two drives but I see that some cards have two different sockets (one small, one large). Will both work if I can connect the drives to them?
3- Anything else I should have in mind when making my selection? Any pointers will be greatly appreciated.
I beleive the smaller connector is digital, I could be wrong. The larger is th estandard connector.
As for which card. It's really a matter of taste. I personaly do not use creative labs for their poor driver support and really crappy sound, to my ears anyway. However other can and will argue that Creative makes the best product...
I use the Hercules Fortissimo II, a middle of the road card, for about $50..they have the Muse XL which is around $30..both cards are excellent for what you need...and are PCI compliant...Also, look into the Turtle Beach Santa Cruz..
Tiger, tiger, burning bright,
In the forest of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
I have the Turtle Beach Santa Cruz and absolutely love it! Great sound and terrific bundled software equalizer etc. I saw it recently for $79 - 20 MIR so for $59 final cost you cannot go wrong.
I have the SB Live mp3+ and it sounds great. I have had other sound cards but this is the best and has mp3 acceleration to boot. There is NO driver prob.s with this card. There is only one thing and I can help you if you get one. Sb lives emu10k1 file is junk. But someone took it upon themselves to fix it long ago. Just copy this file into the sb live directory and all is fixed no other prob.s at all. I might also add that I've had this card on 3 dif. sys. now. The Asus P4t-e is the first to show this prob. but like I said it was easily fixed. Chances are you get one it will work on your sys with out a hitch and if not its only one file to dwload and its like 20k or something. No biggy. As far as I'm concerned the SB cards are and always will be the best sound and performance for music and game play. Go auidigy!
My choice also...
I have the Turtle Beach Santa Cruz and absolutely love it!
Thanks to you all for your recommendations; I'll study these cards.
Any other suggestion is welcome.
Sorry, but none of the suggested sound cards will work for you.
You stipulated that your speakers are NOT POWERED. This is a requirement of all the cards mentioned above. Sticking a high-end Santa Cruz or Audigy in your system is useless unless you also get new speakers or an amp to hook it up with.
Your best bet (in terms of economy) is to search the dealer sites to see if you can buy an old Soundblaster AWE32 or AWE64. Both are ISA.
Here you can have my feathers for your cap.....:o
I'm glad someone was paying attention, Good Catch...
Personally I would say get rid of those speakers and get some that are amped. Why run a legacy sound card? Your next sys. prob. wont even have ISA as it is a dead format! Now if you insist on running those speakers of yesterday get a pci card and save yourself some headaches. You can get some SB compateable cards that are pci so check for one. My buddy has a AWE64 thats pci and is amped output. Also what are the watt requirements of those speakers. I had ones that ran off the headphone output quit well but nothing sounds as good as a amped speaker sys. The reasons are many but as a audio buff I'll tell you if interested. For starters High powered speaker signals are prone to distortion by electrical devices which your pc is riddled with. So by removeing the amp from the card and putting it in the speaker sys it has a better sound. Second amps in speakers are larger and more powerfull as it doesnt need to be powered form the slot (pci or isa) but is powered by external source i.e. batterys or A.C. outlet. The are more reasons if you need to know but the whole amped sound card idea is a thing of the past and for good reasons.
Thanks much Brian48!
And thank you P4 gamer for your input. I'll keep it in mind. But for now, this is just a PC that I'm putting together for my brother using components from two machines. A sound card is the only thing I'm missing.
So (please continue educating me) "AWE 32/64" are the words to look for in a sound card if the speakers are to be powered by the sound card itself?
I have an SBS10 speakers which also doesnot have an amplifier i mean those volume knobs (and don't even need power just plain connection to audio out jack) at front so i had to buy a AWE64 ISA card for audio, this has the in built amplifiers, it worked and the sound is also great.
$13 from Computrade. Very Cheap now i bought it for around $35 around 1 and half years back checkout@Price Watch SB AWE64
Last edited by Swordfish; 05-08-2002 at 11:12 PM.
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