Without wanting to sound ignorant..

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Are sounds cards worth it compared to onboard sound on a modern mobo? (say asus P8P67)

I brought a new amp and speakers today and wondering if its worth spending ~£100 on a Sound card for a 2 speaker setup (Mission mx3's) used for music, gaming and the odd film.

Thanks.
 
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Are sounds cards worth it compared to onboard sound on a modern mobo? (say asus P8P67)

I brought a new amp and speakers today and wondering if its worth spending ~£100 on a Sound card for a 2 speaker setup (Mission mx3's) used for music, gaming and the odd film.

Thanks.

depends on the sound card, the more you spend the more its worth it.

onboard sound cards are very good for general use, but if i was using the pc for a home cinema setup or home audio setup, i would want a decent seperate sound card.

i dont think its worth spending £100 unless your using it for that purpose.
 
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It's definitely worth buying a sound card, if you have spent money on a decent amp and speakers.

Onboard audio is fine for cheap speakers and cheap headsets, but any kind of decent speaker set up, or headphones, deserves a decent sound card.

You don't have to spent £100 on one though.

A Xonar D1/X is a great card or £60.
 
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Don't listen to people who say things like "if you've spent a decent amount of x then you should be spending a decent amount on y" it's a logical fallacy.

These same people will also advise you to buy expensive cables to make the sound system "shine" as well.

It's not necessary at all to have an expensive sound card just because you have a good amp and speakers. The best thing for you to do would be to run a digital cable to your amp from your PC, I'd imagine most if not all modern motherboards have digital sound outputs by now, be they optical or coaxial.

Looking at your motherboard, it has both coaxial and optical sound outputs, so grab yourself an optical cable long enough and use that. Digital audio connections give you the best options when it comes to audio.
 
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Thanks Kyle, Psycho and marsman.


I will look into getting an optical sound cable today.

cheers :)
 
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Don't listen to people who say things like "if you've spent a decent amount of x then you should be spending a decent amount on y" it's a logical fallacy.

These same people will also advise you to buy expensive cables to make the sound system "shine" as well.

Sorry mate, but I don't agree with this. Something you've forgotten to include is that you get diminishing returns with hi-fi gear. There's no way you'd keep buying better and better speakers to use with an old crappy amplifier, as the money would be better spent upgrading all the components gradually.

Eventually then one would start looking to get new cables/interconnects to "match" the quality of the rest of their stuff, but anybody with any sense will save this until they've put many hundreds of quid into the bits which make the biggest difference.

It's not necessary at all to have an expensive sound card just because you have a good amp and speakers. The best thing for you to do would be to run a digital cable to your amp from your PC, I'd imagine most if not all modern motherboards have digital sound outputs by now, be they optical or coaxial.

Only if the DAC in the amp is better than one you would get in a sound card. This is very likely to be the case, and optical is immune to interference which is a good thing.

Looking at your motherboard, it has both coaxial and optical sound outputs, so grab yourself an optical cable long enough and use that. Digital audio connections give you the best options when it comes to audio.

Again, only if you want to delay DAC until later in the chain.
 
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Sorry mate, but I don't agree with this. Something you've forgotten to include is that you get diminishing returns with hi-fi gear. There's no way you'd keep buying better and better speakers to use with an old crappy amplifier, as the money would be better spent upgrading all the components gradually.

It was mainly in reference to cables. I've lost count of the amount of times I've seen people suggest you should spend 10% the cost of say a TV, on cables. It's nonsense.

Eventually then one would start looking to get new cables/interconnects to "match" the quality of the rest of their stuff, but anybody with any sense will save this until they've put many hundreds of quid into the bits which make the biggest difference.

Well not really since audio cables (no cable does) don't colour the sound in the first place. If your cables are of a sufficient gauge then you're good to go. "High Quality" cables won't do anything for your sound system, as I said above, as long as your cables are of sufficient gauge then you'll be fine. If they're not then you'll get audio artifacts.
 
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If your amp has a built in DAC with an optical input, then you could just use the optical output from your motherboard with no loss in quality over a decent soundcard.

On the other hand, if your amp doesn't have a built in DAC, and hence only analogue inputs, it would be wise to get a decent sound card. The analogue section in a dedicated soundcard will be vastly superior to anything you'd get in from an onboard solution. With decent speakers/headphones and a good amp, the difference will be pretty obvious.
 
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Thanks for the responses guys, Confused me a bit (but thats not hard lol)

Amp is Yamaha A-S500, I've googled but cant see if it has DAC on it? :/

On the receipt the cables (speaker) total was £85, Cambridge ultra 100 (silver) for high freq and Cambridge symphony 400 (copper) for low freq connections, bi-wired. (all 2.5mm)

I think ill keep these cables as to me, it sounds awesome :D

Definitly gonna buy a Optical cable, Saw 1 at £20, looks decent enough.

Should I get a sound card? If yes could you recommend me a couple, I've been looking at this: Asus Xonar D2X 7.1 PCI-E Sound Card

Thanks
 
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Check the rear of the amp and see if there's any SPDIF inputs, particularly any optical ones. If not, it means your amp probably does not have a built in DAC, hence you'd benefit greatly from a good sound card and to a lesser extent, good analogue interconnects.
 
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Don't spend £20 on an optical cable, you can get ones for a fiver that'll be perfectly fine. You also won't need an additional sound card, you're using a digital connection so it's the straight audio signal with no conversion. But check if you've got a digital input on your amp first as it'll be pointless buying a digital audio cable if it doesn't.

Is that £85 on cables? They won't enhance the sound quality in anyway at all. It's money wasted essentially.

Edit: Give this a watch

 
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as500%20x%203%20large.jpg


Back of the amp, I'm not 100% what a SPDIF connection looks like, Can you see 1?

I didnt pay £85 for the cables, They were free. I told guy in richer sounds I had £600 and wanted the mx3's at £350 and as-500 amp at £250 so he put the cables to 0.00 but they should of been £85.

e2a: What is that connection under the Dock? (sorry for noobyness)
 
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Soldato
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Don't listen to people who say things like "if you've spent a decent amount of x then you should be spending a decent amount on y" it's a logical fallacy.

These same people will also advise you to buy expensive cables to make the sound system "shine" as well.

It's not necessary at all to have an expensive sound card just because you have a good amp and speakers. The best thing for you to do would be to run a digital cable to your amp from your PC, I'd imagine most if not all modern motherboards have digital sound outputs by now, be they optical or coaxial.

Looking at your motherboard, it has both coaxial and optical sound outputs, so grab yourself an optical cable long enough and use that. Digital audio connections give you the best options when it comes to audio.

Pity you didn't bother to ask if he actually has an AVR, or a stereo amp with a DAC.
 
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Back of the amp, I'm not 100% what a SPDIF connection looks like, Can you see 1?

Doesn't have one. It's just a stereo amp.

One doesn't have to spend a lot on a sound card, but it's a damn sight better than using onboard audio. IMO anyway.
 

mrk

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kylew's post seems to assume that everyone has a digital amp or receiver connected t their speakers, certainly that isn't the case!

If you have a stereo amp then you're going to want a soundcard with analogue outputs, not some onboard jobby that isn't up to the task.

Since your amp is analogue you could buy a card for £50, a Xonar D2/X etc will be perfectly suitable. Then just connect via a half decent able, doesn't have to be expensive but it should be fairly well built so it lasts. I have a 2 metre WiresCR RCA lead going from mine to amp and the cables are fat, it cost less than £20 too.
 
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But check if you've got a digital input on your amp first as it'll be pointless buying a digital audio cable if it doesn't.

Pity you didn't bother to ask if he actually has an AVR, or a stereo amp with a DAC.

kylew's post seems to assume that everyone has a digital amp or receiver connected t their speakers, certainly that isn't the case!

But check if you've got a digital input on your amp first as it'll be pointless buying a digital audio cable if it doesn't.
:o :p
 
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Ahh I see now, Thanks mrk :)

How do you rate your Asus Xonar STX?
Also, How does RCA<>RCA compare to 3.5mm<>RCA? Is there a noticable difference in quality?

thanks :)
 
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