PC sound system advice needed


Must be dreaming...
27 Apr 2002
I am thinking of upgrading my sound system, but I want to use the least cash I possibly can (I'm quite strapped when it comes to cash :( ).

I've currently got an Epox 8RDA+ running onboard sound (Soundstorm?! but on the Epox website, it states that my board has Realtek ALC650 6-channel... so I not so sure) channelled to an old Aiwa NSX-520 hifi with its stock speakers, probably 8+ years old, and a XMS 8" subwoofer.

I play a lot of games and love listening to music while working/playing. I also like quite a bit of bass, quality sound would be nice too... but it has to be cheap... lol. Currently, I think either my subwoofer is just plain crap, or I need to upgrade my soundcard. Any advice?
Most of the time the bass is not affected as much by low quality soundcards it is usually the high frequencies that is affected. Listen to your soundcard through a good set of headphones to see how it realy sounds like. For the price of good soundcard and a few bucks more you probally could get a better stereo system, and you find out that your pc sound is not as bad as your thought.
audigy 2 cards have dropped in price, very good value for quality and taking the load off the CPU :)
You can have Soundstorm and the realtek codec. Soundstorm is only used for the digital out. My suggestion: if your receiver has a digital input, use this to accept the soundstorm out. The soundstorm digital out actually ranks higher than the Audigy2, plus it will encode to dolby digital in realtime. If your receiver is not digital, don't buy a new sound card, buy a reciever with a digital in.

If you must stay analog (I advise against it, go digital as above), invest in a Turtle Beach Santa Cruz card.

Soundstorm is/was a great move by nvidia.
It depends on how much you're planning to spend. I like the Altec Lansing 251 5.1 speaker system for low-priced speakers. Your Realtek 6 channel will be just fine for playing most games, but if you want high quality sound for a low price, spit on Soundblaster and get yourself a Guillemot Fortissimo III.

Personally, I have an Audigy 2, but only because I want to edit audio. I'm looking into a higher-end solution to change sound cards.
I'm not here to give an advice to the Ragnarok, because I'm almost in the same situation as him/her, and I seek for help as well. :p

I've just moved away from my uncle's place to my old computer. So, I'm really tempted to get an Audigy 2 as I'm using an onboard sound of an old mobo. I have the money to get an Audigy 2, however, if I get that card, I'll be on a tight budget for a set of speakers. Real tight. I'd only be able to get an Inspire 5.1 5100. Now would that be wasting the good card? :confused:

Note: I'm not planning to turn on the speakers too loud as I have near neighbours and will soley be used for my small room. So it doesn't really matter if the sound quality isn't all that good at high/loud volumes. Thx guys.

Good luck on your purchase as well, Ragnarok. :)

Oh btw, Unwonted... You're in South Korea? Well, whadda ya know. So am I~! Didn't expect to see a fellow Korean here in OSNN. Although, I'm the newer member. :eek:
blade.. the inspire's are not a bad set of speakers for being non-thx and the price.. decent bass and clarity though not of klipsch level naturally...

ragnarok... most onboard audio devices are not bad @ all... the audigy's have the advantage of EAX support (which is more proprietary than anything) but thats about it...

there is a difference... I won't lie to you but if you are using an onboard device it is generally at least 90% or greater of an add-on card... the cpu-overhead may actually be less when utilising an on-board v/s discrete solution...

my answer to getting decent sound was to invest in a decent set of headphones :D

cheaper than a speaker option and I don't have to mute em for my friends/family/etc :D
Thx Sazar for the answer. But I'd greatly appreciate it if you could elaborate on it a little more, my question being "will Audigy 2 be worth buying even if i get a inspire 5100"? I'm sure they're decent speakers, however, are they good enough for the audigy 2. :confused: thx a bunch
audigy2's are decent sound-cards..

I have the 1st audigy's... the gamer edition and they are definitely a step-up from my on-boards... I am not an audio-phile and I can tell a distinct improvement when my audigy is in there...

I also have creative inspire 4.1's (4400 I think) from back in the day and there is a marked improvement in audio quality with the sound blaster so you WILL notice the difference..

you can get audigy2's for cheap from some places depending on which version you get...

and yes if you get better speakers eventually to complement the audigy2 you will notice a difference then too in your bass (max db) and also the treble...
I see. As long as the speakers are good enough to produce the "difference" , like new stuff the audigy 2 produce that Live or something can't, i'm happy. I'll try getting it.

I'll see if i can get an OEM, that will save me some money. I'm just worried if the card might have problems. OEM don't have warranty or A/S do they? that will suck. trying to save some money and lose more :( hope that doesn't happen *fingers crossed*

Thx Sazar, for the great quick help. :D
Thanks for the advice guys. :D

dreamliner77: unfortunately, my 8RDA+ didn't come with the S/PDIF interface, so currently my mobo is digital-output-less. Also, it seems that the Santa Cruz/Sonic Fury are quite rare in Australia.

Blade195: Thanks Blade195, good luck to you too. :)

Ok, from reading this thread a few times, I've come up with some possible solutions:

1. Stick to the soundstorm, somehow get the digital output interface and buy a digital receiver/amplifier.
2. Buy a new soundcard (Audigy 1s, Audigy 2s, Santa Cruz, Guillemot Fortissimo III?)
3. Buy a new hifi and/or speakers and/or receiver/amplifier... expensive though...
4. Buy headphones... (though I'd rather not) ;)

What ya guys think?
My opinion on the choices:

1. If your onboard is in fact soundstorm, going with this option would be a good idea. Heard soundstorm is somewhere between Audigy and Audigy 2.

2. Getting a sound card like Audigy 2 not only gives less load on your cpu, but gives great sound. The better your speakers are, the more you'll get out of it for sure. Sazar has mentioned you will see a difference even with the speakers on the low end. So this is a great way to go as well, especially since you're a gamer like me :) Audigy 2 = EAX 4.0 Doom 3 and HL2 will be supporting this! :)

3. I don't know how good the speakers you own now are so I can't comment on this. Purchasing good ones are definitely expensive.

4. Not a big fan of headphones myself.

Why don't we both buy an Audigy 2 and celebrate together... haha! :D

Just wanted to input my Stance on Audigy 2, WheN I got my AMD Motherboard, Abit NF7-S 2.0, I decided immediately I wanted a sound card, and not use the Onboard Soundstorm(I guess I've been used to seperate sound cards for ages)

My Soundcard is Audigy 2 Platinum, and I have to say it's very good sound for everything from music, to games, to dvd movies. And The Front drive bay is very convenient. I'm not sure if I would've liked Soundstorm if I tried it or not, since always had a seperate soundcard whenever I had a PC that could take one.

My speakers are Klipsch 4.1 THX Cerifited
My advice would be to run the Soundstorm and invest in a digital input equipped amp/reciever or even a set of Logitech speakers with digital input.

The problem with with the Audigy 2 (all SoundBlaster cards except the SB16) is that they resample all audio to be output at 48kHz. And the SB's are notoriously bad at this. Most audio (cd's, wav's, mp3, etc) is native at 44.1kHz. Do a search for a .wav sample called udial.wav. If you play this and your card resamples you most likely here weird quantization noise and harmonics that are not in the original sample.

Heh, the old joke about soundstorm equipped boards still stands, buy a good sound card and get a free motherboard in the deal.
dream... you are right... the audigy's have problems with reproduction @ some levels...

otoh for gaming they are w/o a doubt the best cards due to EAX (naturally since this is proprietary)... due to this and the fact that music plays pretty decent off it as well its a pretty decet choice in its price range...
dreamliner77 said:

:eek: No... Tell me that ain't true!

If that's how it is, I'm not buying an Audigy 2. Are you just kidding? I couldn't hear the humorous tone through the text. :(

So based on the opinions here, did I actually waste my money getting a SB AUdigy 2 Platinum Soundcard when I got my new motherboard? (My one friend keeps telling me I did) but then again I never used any onboard soundcards since 1997, so I wasn't sure, so I went ahead and spec'd that I wanted Audigy 2 Installed as well, even if waste of money.

Patrick Taylor
Despite how often I see people who post their specs with an Audigy 2, not many people seems to have an answer to this. EAX is quite an ambiguous topic, and I'm quite anxious for someone's reply that would really clear this up. :(

Bikeman, I was actually hoping you'd answer that yourself, and answer me along the way. You have the card and have experienced it. So, how is the EAX? Is it really just marketing, or does it really deliver that worth-buying immersion? :confused:

I feel I'm being very picky with this, but when you are on a real low budget, you really don't want to regret on a purchase you've just spent all your precious money on. I'm sure everyone agrees :)

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Also Hi EP and people. I found this place again while looking through a oooollllllldddd backup. I have filled over 10TB and was looking at my collection of antiques. Any bids on the 500Mhz Win 95 fix?
Any of the SP crew still out there?
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Impressed you have kept this alive this long EP! So many sites have come and gone. :(

Just did some crude math and I apparently joined almost 18yrs ago, how is that possible???
hello peeps... is been some time since i last came here.
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Rest in peace my friend, been trying to find you and finally did in the worst way imaginable.

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