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Thread: Sound Card recommendation

  1. #1
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    Default Sound Card recommendation

    A recommendation for a good affordable sound card that work for Linux?

    I have searched and Asus Xonar DX seems good and supported by ALSA .

    I don't understand very much about actual sound cards, brands etc.

    It's not for professional use, is more for music (HI-FI stereo, headphones etc.) and some gaming.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    I have a D1 (same as DX but for PCI instead of PCI express; I avoided the DX because it needs a floppy power cable to operate since PCI express can't deliver the same power as PCI). Driver support in Linux is nice. I bought it because of its low latency with ASIO (Windows) and JACK (Linux). If you don't intend to use music production software that requires low latency hardware, I recommend the Xonar DS instead, which only costs half the price of the D1/DX. Also, the extra DSP hardware functionality of the D1/DX (Dolby Digital/Pro logic, Dolby Headphone, etc.) is not available in Linux at all. If you also use Windows though, then go for the D1/DX. Gaming will be better with it (Dolby Headphone actually really works.)
    Last edited by RealNC; 01-15-2012 at 09:17 AM.

  3. #3
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    Thanks! Only Linux. You know other sound card with that extra dsp hardware functionality that works under Linux?

  4. #4
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    I'm not aware of one. This is proprietary stuff with lots of Dolby and DTS patents involved, and sound card vendors only support Windows. I don't believe the ALSA developers have access to the DSP documentation anyway, so they can't write DSP algorithms for Linux even if they wanted to.

    So no, any expensive card with DSP hardware you buy is wasted with Linux.

    Edit:
    Unless you're an "audiophile" and want the high quality DACs for low SNR and stuff like that. For this purpose however, you should not buy a Xonar or other "desktop multimedia consumer" card. You should in this case look into stuff like the M-Audio Audiophile 2496 card. But IMO, this isn't worth it anyway. Sound quality differences are rather minimal and assume you're using very expensive speakers/headphones (and even then the differences in quality will be minimal.)
    Last edited by RealNC; 01-15-2012 at 11:29 AM.

  5. #5
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    Ohh patents... Well thank you.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by RealNC View Post
    I have a D1 (same as DX but for PCI instead of PCI express; I avoided the DX because it needs a floppy power cable to operate since PCI express can't deliver the same power as PCI).
    This is new to me, wikipedia says PCI allows 25W and PCI-E 75W?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by curaga View Post
    This is new to me, wikipedia says PCI allows 25W and PCI-E 75W?
    Maybe they mean the PCI-e x16 slots (the ones where you put the graphics card in) not the small x1 ones. Sound cards are used on PCI-e x1 slots.

  8. #8
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    I have found ASUS Xonar D2X is best among all. The best point about ASUS is audio performance which is superb as compare to others. Another good point about it is the reasonable price.

  9. #9
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    For desktop, audio hardware is dead since 1995. For normal use, just standard analog codec is enough. If you need something with less noise/signal, do as suggested above - buy "audio interface". You donīt need soundcard for digital since its noiseless and DAC-free.

    Creative is crap, as its high-noise on analog outs (and masking that). I donīt know why would you buy sonar?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by crazycheese View Post
    For desktop, audio hardware is dead since 1995. For normal use, just standard analog codec is enough. If you need something with less noise/signal, do as suggested above - buy "audio interface". You donīt need soundcard for digital since its noiseless and DAC-free.

    Creative is crap, as its high-noise on analog outs (and masking that). I donīt know why would you buy sonar?
    For Dolby Pro Logic encoding and Dolby Headphone (D1; the D2 also has DTS.) For games, the driver can also be important. On-board supports at most 24 channels. Xonar supports 128. Creative's X-Fi can mix up to 128 in the actual hardware. That means that the game is less likely to cut-out audio due to reaching the 24 channels limit.

    So, no, audio hardware is certainly not dead. Well, at least for Windows. That stuff isn't working on Linux to begin with. The only other thing I can think of that also affects Linux is the stereo cross-talk and dynamic range. With on-board that doesn't perform very well in this regard, the sound is going to sound slightly "garbled" when compared to a Xonar. But good luck ABX-ing this without $200 headphones, so for most users it's not an issue.
    Last edited by RealNC; 01-19-2012 at 10:08 AM.

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