Im quite happy with my audigy 4 sound quality wise, i wish i could enable the special x-fi feature in bf2 to work with my A4 though :( I havent heard any other soundcard but i would save up for the x-fi, as im sure it will be better.
from hearing this, go with a cheaper card
Dr ZoidbergOk, even though my Audigy 2 has fiber optic digital out, and supports 24bit 96khz audio out, and was a very good price at 50 bucks, it is a piece of crap.
The A2 has a 3.5mm minijack digital out that does not support S/PDIF passthrough; all you can get is 2 channel, except when dealing with Creative's digital speakers. The breakout box does have optical jacks, but that's not a standard feature of the A2.
It does do 24/96. Unfortunately, as I've said before, the A2 has a 48kHz native sample rate. CDs and a great many games use 44.1kHz. Upsampling is possible, but Creative uses an atrocious algorithm to do it, which results in worse sound than if it had been left alone. As for 24-bit resolution, all the A2 does is pad the 16-bit word that everything short of hi-def audio uses. You can't add that data back once a track has been encoded at 16 bits (despite that Creative will tell you about the Crystallizer on the X-Fi).
The A2's only redeeming features are its low price tag and widespread compatability. In fact, that brings be back to my original point: the A2 is the only Creative product worth wasting money on.
Upsampling is not what the 96khz is for, it is used for recording, then you down sample the recording. Works very well for me.
And yes, I do know that you cannot add back the quality of 24bit to 16bit, it might be used for, uh recording too?
A 'redeeming' feature might be that little thing called EAX. Very unheard of in games, I know, but still a useful little thing.
Oh and by the way, the Creative Zen Video looks to be a good money waster as well, quite a preferable deturent to the Ipod.
I guess while were at it, why not call Nvidia's Geforce 7900 512 megabyte card a waste of money? That 512 megs of video ram wont be used until higher quality textures are used in games. As is the 96khz and 24bit playback capabilitys of the Audigy & Xfi cards until higher quality sound is used in games or Blu-ray DVDs.
How does 96kHz audio out help you with recording...? (I'm no sound expert, that's more of a noob question than anything else)
EAX adds reverb. Ooooh, I so need that to play games. Sensaura was a superior technology; pity Creative got their mitts on it.
Bs~ In theory, an analogue waveform has an infinite sample rate, which is to say that you can trace the wave as a single, continuous signal (in reality, with respect to sound reproduction, a vinyl record stylus can't reach this perfect form, but comes close enough that we can't legitimately tell a difference). Digitally-stored waveforms however, cannot have this continuous signal. Instead, when the analogue waveform is digitised, the encoder samples it at a certain rate. The result is an approximation of the continuous wave made up of discrete data points. In the case of Redbook CDs, that sampling is done at 44,100 per second. Somewhere along the line 48,000 samples per second happened. 96,000 and 192,000 are both multiples of that 48,000 figure. In theory, the more samples per second in a digitised waveform, the more closely it approximates the original analogue signal, and the more "real" it sounds.
Unfortunately, as the good doctor fails to understand, upsampling (or down) can and will ruin a digital waveform if done improperly, and Creative hardware does it just so. Everything is resampled (up or down) to 48kHz (poorly) and the resampled again to whatever the output rate is using the same subpar algorithm.
And no, I cannot call the 7900GTX a waste of money on account of it having 512MB of RAM, as (unlike it's predecessors) it doesn't cost twice the "normal" model. It's no more a waste of money than the 256MB 7800GTX was, and you can argue that every which way; it isn't salient to sound cards.
Lastly, for high quality audio: $130 gets you an M-Audio Audiophile 192, which supports 24-bit/192kHz, true PCM passthrough and balanced I/O. All without the amateurish conversion algorithms. It can even sample at 44.1kHz.
Right, this turned into a big discussion. So what should i go for? The A2? OR a completely other brand?
Dr. SharKRight, this turned into a big discussion. So what should i go for? The A2? OR a completely other brand?
A2. For all its flaws (and they are substantial) it's cheap, widely-supported and for the most part one doesn't notice the butchering of sound in games. I'd recommend one of the Auzentech cards, but they're in the $80-$150 range.
As a BF2 player, I say go for the X-Fi. You can get the Xtreme Music edition for a pretty decent price.
Ok, thanks. I have an M-Audio Revo 7.1, and although it's maybe a little unfair to compare it to an older Audigy Player that I also have (although it went and died on me), the difference is amazing. And no bloody awful Creative software to deal with.