What is the best sound card to purchase?

A customer of mine wants me to order a sound card that would give high quality sound.
Also on one of his other computers he can play sound in two different programs and both programs will play at the same time.  The intergraded sound chip that he has now will not do this, so I need to know that the one I purchase will do this.  
    I am not too much up on purchasing sound cards,  So I am hoping someone could help me with this.  This will go into a desktop computer.
Who is Participating?

Improve company productivity with a Business Account.Sign Up

nobusConnect With a Mentor Commented:
KimputerConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Creative Soundblasters have been the default "go to" cards these past decades for high quality sound.
In your case, an Audigy FX is sufficient for your needs (if you go higher, more expensive, it's more for sound engineers, music composers). Probably between 40 abd 50 bucks (if you have a free 1x PCI-e slot)
dbruntonConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Possibly look at an Asus Xonar.

There's a range of models and a range of prices.  But you probably need to define the slot you want to put it into before we can give a recommendation.
Improved Protection from Phishing Attacks

WatchGuard DNSWatch reduces malware infections by detecting and blocking malicious DNS requests, improving your ability to protect employees from phishing attacks. Learn more about our newest service included in Total Security Suite today!

nobusConnect With a Mentor Commented:
from your question -  the guy is a sound addict  -but what does he want to do exactly?
this may need a specific card
beemmerAuthor Commented:
The slot that it would go in is a PCI-E x1 2.0 Slot.  This customer would rather spend some money to get a quality sound system then going cheap and not getting something decent.
nobusConnect With a Mentor Commented:
yes - but what will he do with it?  play guitar, record studio quality sound, or what ??
dbruntonConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Look at the cards at Newegg http://www.newegg.com/Sound-Cards/SubCategory/ID-57

You've got the Creative Z PCIE at around $100.  Admittedly its a gamers card but should be great for music.

Or the Asux Xonar Essence STX which is more of a very high quality music card at around $179.

There's enough there to browse through and look at the specs and price ranges.

Alas, I can't find any decent review sites to make any recommendation from.
BillDLConnect With a Mentor Commented:
I too found myself needing to ask exactly what nobus has been asking.
A high quality sound card is only as good as the speakers it connects to, and the quality of the sound that is output depends entirely on the quality of the audio source.

If this is to play CDs, then an expensive sound card through good speakers will not make the music sound better than a pretty standard sound card and good speakers.

If this is to capture audio using a microphone plugged into the sound card, then the quality of the captured sound depends on the quality of the microphone as well as the sound card.

So, as nobus has asked, what does the customer intend doing with the computer that he or she wants a good quality sound card?
beemmerAuthor Commented:
I was having a hard time understanding just what this customer was wanting to do with the high-end card also until he brought his computer over to me and showed me.  I still don't understand everything he does, but here is some things.
He works with songs on three different programs.  One is Itunes, and the others I don't remember, but he likes to have all three of these programs running at the same time.  On this particular computer he could not listen to the music on all three programs at the same time.  So, after some tweeking, and playing with some setting I was able to get all three programs to play songs at the same time. So then he didn't need a different card anyway.
But this session wasn't wasted because this was a great learning experience for me.  
thanks for all of your help
good to hear you could solve it
Thank you beemer
Question has a verified solution.

Are you are experiencing a similar issue? Get a personalized answer when you ask a related question.

Have a better answer? Share it in a comment.

All Courses

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.