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Best Audio Setup?



What is the best setup you can have for your comp, if you wanted to listen mostly to music and gaming?

My idea is that somehow, I want to connect my stereo system up to my computer, so that I can play mp3's over my stereo.

Whats the best way to do this? Whats the ideal, but feasible, hardware to have for this?

I want the absolute best quality coming out of my speakers. no crackles, hissing, distortion, anything. if this can be accomplished for cheap, than great. But if a cheap setup is going to result in crappy sound, for example, sound not as good as a CD played hooked up to a seperate power amp and preamp, than I'm not interested.

thanks in advance
edited for language - Jewelzz


I wouldn't be interested in surround sound anyways.

I'd care much more about a pure stereo setup that sounds good.

About the RCA from the vid card to the amp, I guess I would need some kind of adapter or special cable to accomplish this?

And what about the make of sound card? would an audigy sound better than my SB live! value card? What about digital output and such?


The Analog Kid
Preferably, an external usb soundcard would sound best. But an audigy will sound better, or even one of the proaudio sound cards from M-Audio or Delta. All you need is a standard rca cable to run from the stereo to computer and a 1/8 inch stereo mini to rca jack.


Originally posted by catch23
Yes, your SB Audigy will sound MUCH MUCH better than an SB Live!
dont have an audigy yet ;p

but if the sound quality is going to be better, than I'll seriously consider investing in one.

thanks for the help


Must be dreaming...
So is it better to use a good quality sound card, with stereo speakers, then those packaged 2.1, 3.1, 4.1, or 5.1 specially made computer speakers that those big companies make (creative, hercules, etc.)?


The Analog Kid
yes, Also, if all you are looking for is sound quality and not all the extras (EAX etc) then I would highly recommend the Turtle Beach Santa Cruz card or any card from M-Audio or Delta. Look for a card that does not resample up to 48khz (The audigy does resample which introduces noise). As I said before, a USB card is good because it gets the converters etc away from the electrical noise in the case and the usb signal is cleaner.

And as far as speakers go, it is best to buy a power amp and a good pair of speakers or powered monitor speakers.


here is the cheapest thing anyone has mentioned...and it is also the best

you buy an audigy OEM(the platinum drive is crap...you will never use it, except MAYBE for headphones) for around 60 bux

then you buy cambridge megaworks 5.1 for about 260 bux

then you 320 dollar system has a 100dB card with EAX support, digital decoder, and 24 bit audio and 95dB speakers with the best woofer on the market, 500 watts of power, and fully digital compliancy

so....http://www.newegg.com anyone?


I would not trust those speakers at all.

Sure cambrigde soundworks makes some damn good speakers, but no computer 5.1 setup is ever going to sound as good as a 10,000$ stereo system. The more money you spend, the better sound you get.

dreamliner: sounds like you know alot about the subject. Im not interested in that EAX crap or whatever. I want the purest audio I can get from a soundcard at a reasonable price. And does santa cruz actually make XP drivers? ;p


the platinum drive is crap...you will never use it, except MAYBE for headphones

You can still use the Audigy without the need of EAX. EAX is sorta like an emulated EQ. If you don't need the EAX features, then don't enable it. It's not that difficult.
Santa Cruz does have XP drivers

#1 reason to stay away from Creative cards: Upsampling to 48khz

That is essentially reencoding your music as you listen. And it adds alot of quantization noise.

Ghaleon- Check out Guitar Center or Mars Music on line. Look for digital audio and the cards they have there will start to give you a good idea of what's out there that isn't in the consumer market (Best Buy, compusa etc)
For audiophile type music though, the audigy is worthless. The Hercules Game Theater is much better, and the Santa Cruz is awesome (they're both cheaper). THen theres the M-Audio cards...


thanks for all the replys guys.

I haven't read the forum in a while due to the downtime, but I'll be looking into the options posted here, and write back with what I think.

That DMX card sounds interesting, but keep in mind that I still do ALOT of gaming, despite listening to music alot to.

So, if the DMX card has no problems with games and all, it might be the better option for me.


ok so many choices..... I am overwhelmed by the amount of choice I have, especially when I thought the choice of soundcards I had was basically SoundBlaster, and um, thats it

I'm calling on the help of the people that know alot about sound cards here - My new system is going to be an AMD 1800+, running a KT333 gigabyte mobo.

I like games as much as I do music....but good quality music, being played off a CD player and my Hard drive, connected to a nice amp and speakers, would be a priority.

Although, I still want games to run smoothly without any problems- I don't care if performance is 76 fps instead of 79 fps.

price range - I want to spend around 150$ to 250$ "canadian"... exceptions can be made if its a good deal, or good card for the money.

I don't use all the fancy surround sound stuff for games or music, and midi and recording options aren't that impotant to me. However, I REALLY like the idea of 96khz playback.....

Plz help, you will have saved me months of researching this stuff....

Thanks ;p


hardware monkey
as far as a video card, look into the geforce4 ti 4200 64mb. it's about $140 usd, super-fast, and a great deal. also, there's the new radeon 9000 pro's which are supposed to be nice and look like they run about $90 usd.

try that dmx card, man... for games, it supports eax 2.0, a3d, and ds3d. i wanna know what it's like. i've never really heard of terratec so i don't know what their driver support is like or anything... but it can't be much worse than creative's. i'm betting you'll be glad you chose the terratec when your hearing every nook and cranny of every instrument in your favorite songs through your stereo with amazing accuracy.

as far as your processor and mobo, those are both exactly what i would buy if i was building a system right now. they're both a good value. but i just wanna remind you that kt400 is just around the corner... some boards (albiet crappy brands) are already out.


I went to 3 comp stores today, and they all said the same thing:

"Don't waste your money on a video card. All you you need is an SB live! 5.1 dolby digital card for 90$"

How lame. These stores dont sell anything other than soundblaster, or REALLY cheap other brands.

I'm really interested in that Terratec DMX 6fire, but the price is a little steep for me. On thier website I found the "DMX 6fire LT" which is like the 'value' edition of the card. Any comments or suggestions on this? It appears to still be 24/96, but has a slightly higher signal to noise ratio......

All the cards I've looked at from M-audio look great, but I feel it might be overkill. Thats real professional stuff.


Originally posted by GhaLeoN
I went to 3 comp stores today, and they all said the same thing:

"Don't waste your money on a video card. All you you need is an SB live! 5.1 dolby digital card for 90$"

As for the SB Live card, I got mine from newegg.com for 32 bucks I believe. Also, get at least a TI4200. As for the Gigabyte Mobo, get the Rev. 2.0 of the GA-7VRXP, it has the voltage regulation problems fixed. I haven't had any trouble with mine though. It's the most solid system I've ever had.



here you go...i can hook you up w/ everything for about 400 american bux(this is as good as it gets)

Audigy OEM- $65 on newegg-95dbs, w/ noise removal to undue the noise of upping the khz

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