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Should I get a new sound card?

sfleurietsfleuriet Texas New
edited Dec 2007 in Hardware
I'm about to get a new subwoofer for my stereo system, and I was thinking a new sound card for my computer might be a good addition as well. Currently, I just use the headphone jack coming out of my computer, an adapter cord to convert it to left and right RCA plugs, then it goes into my stereo receiver.

My question is.. would I get better quality sound with a PCI sound card?

Receiver: http://www.amazon.com/Aiwa-AV-D50-Audio-Video-Receiver/dp/B00000JXUO

Any help is appreciated.. thanks :cool:

Comments

  • Your-Amish-DaddyYour-Amish-Daddy The heart of Texas
    edited Dec 2007
    You'd get a better signal if you switched from analog to digital. Realtek audio is actually pretty good if that's what you got. You'd get the best possible sound reproduction from optical to your receiver. I rarely see a nonprofessional sound card have optical, but even my Audigy has support for s/pdif through a switcher. My setup is a Creative Itrique 3300 or something at my desk, but behind me is about 4000~ watts of stereo equipment that my grandad left over here. Now if you got the dosh to get a Rotel 1050 (I want one so bad.) you can get a multitude of means to connect, but if at all possible, I recommend Toslink (Optical). A good clean amp is always a must, I have no recommendations, since all of this stuff is Panasonic and Pyramid, it all works real good together. I don't always get a clean reproduction to my left channel, but I think it's because the cables are bad. May rewire them on the first.

    The best recommendation I can do; is to tell you to get an M-Audio Audiophile 2496 since it has RCA connections already, and a few of my blind friends who work in the audio field recommend it. And if you get that card, stick with gold plated RCA cables.
  • SonorousSonorous F@H Fanatic Virginia Icrontian
    edited Dec 2007
    Improving sound quality can be a very tricky thing to accomplish. What speakers are you using?
  • airbornflghtairbornflght Houston, TX Member
    edited Dec 2007
    Yes and no. Your source, destination and everything in between comes into play.

    It largely depends on what you're feeding the sound card and where you are sending the signal too. And no, optical does not mean a great signal. I wish people would forget that ****. Because at some point that digital signal has to run through a D/A converter.

    I personally prefer to run analogue straight out of the sound card if it is a decent card. Now if I was running it into a nice stereo receiver that I knew had a better D/A circuit than the sound card I'd let the receiver do the heavy lifting. I plan on getting an HT Omega Striker sound card. It's not an excellent card, but it is very respectable for its price range.

    Now remember that you're only going to notice a difference if your source material is high quality. 128kbps mp3 probably isn't going to sound much better. But if you are playing lossless or high bit rate ogg/wma/mp3 you will most likely notice the difference if you have nice speakers. And that is another thing. The best way to improve sound quality is to invest in a nice set of speakers.

    It all depends on how attuned your ears are in all seriousness. I consider myself somewhat of an audiophile and low bit rate (<192kbps) drives me crazy. But if you are just a casual listener then I would get a decent set of speakers and call it good.
  • sfleurietsfleuriet Texas New
    edited Dec 2007
    Well I just stuck with the built in. I figured out I have 3 ports on the mobo that I can basically "assign" - Rear, Front, Sub/Center. I simply bought 2 more Mini to RCA adapter cords, plugged all 6 plugs into the 5.1 input on my receiver, and it made a huge difference. Added the 12" 150w Dayton sub, and WOW my system is complete :cool:

    By the way, I'm using 2 front bookshelf Bose, 2 rear surround Bose, 1 center Bose, and the Dayon 12" sub.
  • Your-Amish-DaddyYour-Amish-Daddy The heart of Texas
    edited Dec 2007
    Yeah man, what's your wattage out?
  • sfleurietsfleuriet Texas New
    edited Dec 2007
    Hm. I really do not know.
  • airbornflghtairbornflght Houston, TX Member
    edited Dec 2007
    Wattage really doesn't matter as the efficiencies and THD of the speakers is going to be just as important. Also if I remember correctly I think it takes ten times more power to get twice as loud, assuming the speaker can handle the power mechanically and thermally.

    It sounds like you went down the path I would have chosen. Even though I'm not a big fan of bose systems I will give them the credit for sounding good though I think they are terribly over priced for what you get.
  • sfleurietsfleuriet Texas New
    edited Dec 2007
    I definitely don't have one of those $5,000 Bose systems in a box.. it's separate speakers from different series. The center channel speaker is truly impressive though. It's a $200 speaker, but easily worth the money.
  • SonorousSonorous F@H Fanatic Virginia Icrontian
    edited Dec 2007
    Also if I remember correctly I think it takes ten times more power to get twice as loud


    To change SPL as little as 3dB you need to double output power. Here are a couple formulas I have used while working with pro audio gear.

    To get this change in dB
    1dB 2dB 3dB 4dB 5dB 6dB 7dB 8dB 9dB 10dB
    Multiply starting power by:
    1.25 1.6 2.0 2.5 3.15 4.0 5.0 6.3 8.0 10.0

    To determine the change in dB from one amount of wattage to another use this formula:

    dB = 10 x log (P1 ÷ P0)

    P1 =desired watts
    P0 = starting watts

    Hope this help in anyway.
  • airbornflghtairbornflght Houston, TX Member
    edited Dec 2007
    Yeh, that's correct. Got out my books and did some math. And that is all assuming the speakers motor and soft parts can handle the mechanical and or thermal load of the increase in power.

    3 dB = twice as much power, noticeably louder
    6 dB = 4 times as much power, significantly louder
    6 dB = twice the amplitude
    9 dB = 8 times the power, nearly twice as loud
    10 dB = 10 times the power, twice as loud
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