Soundcards! What do they do these days?!

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His Royal Majesty King V
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Soundcards! What do they do these days?!

Post by His Royal Majesty King V »


Ok, because that P4 I've just gotten uses the AC 97, which I'm told is a mostly software-driven system and thus, relatively speaking, a CPU hog, I figured I'd probably go with a PCI soundcard.

BUT . . . I know nothing about soundcards anymore. My knowledge dates back to the ISA and early PCI days for soundcards.

I've had the SB16 and AWE32, which had a hardware setup to run MIDI.

The Ensoniq AudioPCI card sounds nice, but is a bit dated. Also, it seems to do MIDI via software, seeing as there are two big wavetable files. At least, that'd be my assumption.

Is that the case with most soundcards today? Is MIDI no longer done via hardware?

Anyway, onto my issues. Casually strolling through Circuit City, I came across a few Creative cards. SB Live, SB Audigy, and something I can't for the life of me remember.

Uh, what's the difference between all these? I just want good sound with minimal sapping of CPU cycles.

Yes, I realize I'm clueless. Any guidance is much appreciated!
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Post by Guest »

Well I've got both Cl SB Live 5.1 cards; and CL SB Audigys. My local computer shop says that the difference between them lies mainly in the software that comes bundled with them. Apart from that the Audigy is a bit bigger; and comes with one firewire port built in. There may be other differences between them but I don't know them because I am not an expert either.

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Post by endmilled »

Here’s what I know… (Another non-expert here) The Live series of Sound Blaster’s were their high-end 16-bit cards that use the EMU10K1 Digital Signal Processor. The Audigy series uses a newer 24-bit processor. All I know about them is that Audigy cards sound great. I’ve used a couple Live cards over the years. They didn’t get along with Via chipsets very well. The Live cards use an awful lot of the PCI Bus bandwidth. If I remember correctly many of the Via chipset North Bridge’s were the cause. Some worked better than others. The Live cards always worked great with my boards with Intel, Nforce, Ali and even the AMD Slot-A IronGate chipsets. When PCI bandwidth was an issue I always went with The Sound Blaster PCI 128 or PCI 512. I believe those cards were based on technology obtained from Ensoniq. I also liked cards made by Turtle Beach. Sorry I don’t know much about how MIDI is handled now days.

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Post by jsc1973 »

The problem with the Live and the original Audigy on VIA/AMD platforms was that Creative only did the proper testing and validation on Intel platforms. Support for AMD was an afterthought, and it was hit or miss. When AMD users started flocking to the Turtle Beach Santa Cruz in droves, Creative got off their butt and fixed the problems in the Audigy series.

I still use the Santa Cruz and it's still an excellent card, especially at current prices ($36 at Newegg), but it is getting a little long in the tooth and the DSP isn't supported by Cirrus anymore, and the new Turtle Beach cards are junk. I'd just go ahead and grab an Audigy2 if I were wanting a new soundcard right now.

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Post by Super_Relay »

yeah an audigy 2zs will be pretty good

highly compatible with upcomming games and things as well

pci latency patch

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This patch resolv problems with soundcards with Via Chipstes Mobos

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