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What is the best sound card to purchase?

Posted on 2015-02-20
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Last Modified: 2015-02-28
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.
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Question by:beemmer
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LVL 36

Assisted Solution

by:Kimputer
Kimputer earned 452 total points
ID: 40621017
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)
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by:dbrunton
dbrunton earned 572 total points
ID: 40621902
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.
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by:nobus
nobus earned 856 total points
ID: 40622701
from your question -  the guy is a sound addict  -but what does he want to do exactly?
this may need a specific card
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Author Comment

by:beemmer
ID: 40623226
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.
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by:nobus
nobus earned 856 total points
ID: 40623900
yes - but what will he do with it?  play guitar, record studio quality sound, or what ??
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by:dbrunton
dbrunton earned 572 total points
ID: 40624042
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.
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nobus earned 856 total points
ID: 40624128
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LVL 39

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by:BillDL
BillDL earned 120 total points
ID: 40634938
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?
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Author Closing Comment

by:beemmer
ID: 40636388
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
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by:nobus
ID: 40636864
good to hear you could solve it
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by:BillDL
ID: 40636992
Thank you beemer
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