I recently got into a shopping frenzy of sorts and bought the logitech z-5500 speakers. I'm not disappointed about the speakers, but they've only made my current sound card seem pretty inadequate. It's the X-fi SupremeFX that came with my Rampage Extreme II mo-bo. So, once again, I'm looking for some advice. Been looking at the Creative SB X-fi Titanium cards. As far as i can see there are currently three different versions: Titanium, Titanium Fatal1ty and Titanium HD. And I can't tell the difference. I realize this is a question for google, but I've not gotten any clear answers other than some audiophile answering the question by not answering it at all but rather advertises some other brand. The first two, Titanium and Titanium Fatal1ty are, unless I'm mistaken, the same hardware except for the shiny cover on the Fatal1ty. As for the HD, I can't see any difference other than the 2x multiplier on the price tag.
I'm open to suggestions. The Ausentechs are getting great reviews, too, but the popular ones tend to sport a hefty price tag. Are they even worth the money?
The one I'm considering is the HT Omega Claro. It's certainly not the cheapest, but around average price for an entry level high end card. It gets rave reviews for movies, music and gaming, and is unique in that it will take a digital audio out signal and upmix it to 5.1 analog out, so if you have an HDTV hooked to your PC you don't need a HT receiver to get surround sound from TV broadcasts.
In your case however, you don't really need that feature, because the Z-5500s hardware decode DTS and Dolby. Personally I think it's nice to have the feature on the Claro though, because not all audio output sources use the same surround encoding, and in case it's not covered by your hardware, the Claro will easily upmix it, since all surround encoded sources are basically carried via stereo signals.
I don't really need the 5.1 analog feature at the moment. How's the driver support for Win7? Lack of updated drivers seem to be a problem for all except Auzentech, for some reason. Also - the HT Omega Claro is pretty much the same price as the X-fi Titanium HD here... Let's just say I like shiny stuff - why shouldn't I go for the X-fi instead, now that I'm about throw this kind of money at it anyway?
EDIT: ... other reasons than the fact I'll also need some new optical cables... dammit
The HT Omega driver support is easily as good as Auzentech's. The Claro I linked to has 94 reviews at Newegg averaging 5 eggs, with reports of it working fine with W7.
There's not many reviews on the X-Fi Ti HD yet, but one of the things I really don't like about it is there's no analog 5.1 out. I believe your speaker set has a digital audio input though, so it should work on yours, but digital is your only option for surround.
The X-Fi Ti HD is advertised to have clearer midrange and treble than previous models, but I'd be skeptical about it having as good bass output as the Claro, esp for a speaker set like yours with powerful 10" sub.
Creative has never had very robust capacitors on their sound cards, which are necessary for storing the current required for solid bass performance, and you can't even see the ones on the HD due to the shield.
Sound is always a personal preference thing. I prefer analog sound over digital, because I find it sounds more natural. HD sound is always digital, it has clear high end and sometimes midrange, but usually lacks tonal quality in bass.
Bottom line, I would still lean toward the Claro. Your speakers will support analog or digital though, your choice.
Get a cheap DAC instead of some expensive sound card. With speakers, esp those z5500's you're not going to notice a big difference from sound card to sound card. A DAC would be a much better use of funds.
kow_ciller;5459190Get a cheap DAC instead of some expensive sound card. With speakers, esp those z5500's you're not going to notice a big difference from sound card to sound card. A DAC would be a much better use of funds.
Was that meant for Omen or me? I don't even need analog audio. What I do need is a sound card that'll output decent sound and allow me to actually adjust the volume settings independently. My SupremeFX should do that, but I've had nothing but trouble with the drivers, and to top it off, it's starting to make some weird noises.
The Claro is starting to look like a pretty good alternative to the Titanium.
If you want to be rid of driver problems, Creative isn't exactly the best direction to look.
Yeah, I realized that. Right now I'm torn between the Auzentech Forte and the Claro that you suggested.
The Auzentech cards use the same technology as the Creative cards, just with their own (higher quality) components. I'd guess that their drivers are based on Creative drivers as well.
I never heard about the Claro, so I can't say much about that.
That's one of the main reasons I decided to forgo the Auzentechs, the main chipset is still Creative.
Sorry I can't comment personally on the sound quality of the Claro yet. I've yet to get my display and GPU, which need be done before getting the sound card because it's PCI vs Pci-Ex.
The reason I'm shopping for the display (TV) now is to hit the last sales of this season, which are typically Super Bowl time.
As for getting the GPU first, I'll have to plug the GPU I get (GTX 580 maybe) into the bottom Pci-Ex slot to see if it clears the USB and case power headers, because with a PCI sound card that's the only slot I can put the 2nd GPU in, and I DO want to leave dual SLI as an upgrade option.
So if you do decide you want to try the Claro, keep in mind it's PCI vs Pci-Ex, so it makes SLI a bit harder. I think you'll find the reviews on the Claro are quite favorable though, for everything from gaming to music to movies.