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Need to Pick a soundcard, advice please

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Jul 3, 2001
Well I am in the process of waiting for UPS to deliver all the hardware for my new system (ie: staring at my driveway waiting to see that big brown truck) and I need to pick a sound card. I cannot decide between saving $$ and getting the 5.1 version of eather the SBL! Value, the X-Gamer, or the Phillips card.

I will be playing games and watching DVD's and have a GeForce2 Ultra so I would think that if I am spending all that money on video quality that it should probably sound pretty damn good as well.

Cash is getting a little tight, but why have a $1000 dvd player and playstation if it sounds like a tiger handheld video game.

BTW, I am thinking about getting the Altec Lansing ACS54X 5pc 3D Gaming Subsystem for my speakers, any recommendations in that department?

So please take the time to give me your recommendations, warnings, suggestions, and hopefully I can make up my mind on a good card.

As always, thanks a lot for your help,

I have the X-Gamer and its A good sounding card.
I wish I would have got A Hercules Game Theater XP.
I also hear the Turtle Beach Santa Cruz is A very good card and from what I've heard better its than the X-Gamer.

as far as speakers I have Boston Acoustics, Inc. BA4800 and I think they are the best for the price.
you can get them at www.pricewatch.com for around $100. I would also look into Klipsch ProMedia Speakers.

You Can't Go Wrong With Boston Acoustics or Klipsh Both Make Very, Very Good Multimedia Computer Speakers.
Hercules game Theater XP!!! I had the SB Live Value, and afetr getting the herc, all I can say is WOW.. I use my DVD-ROM and run it thru my stereo to Bose surround sound, and it is like night and day. You cvan get it for about $120.
a lot of people like the new hercules system, but I just got a Soundblaster Live! Platinum 5.1 and it sounds great for games, music, and DVDs, which I care a lot about because I am a movie freak. I use the Creative 5.1 surround sound system and it just sounds great (gotta love Dolby 5.1)... my friend has those Altec speakers and they are really great also...
I have the soundblaster live value 5.1 and it is great! I haven't had a chance to use the digital out yet but the card itself sounds great and is very cheap. I had a 128 before and it sounded really good, but this one does sound better. Great card!
If you are on a budget, then go with the Sound Blaster series. I have the X-Gamer 5.1 and love it. I have heard great things about the Hercules, but that's more cash. As for speakers, that often is a matter of opinion. You need to do some in-store comparisons to determine which sounds the best to you. Even if you mail order it for the better price. Nothing beats hearing it for yourself first.
i have a 5.1 card
it is the worst load of crap i have ever bought
just take a look at creative newsgroups it will help you to decide to avoid these cards at all costs i am now using a very cheap 16 bit card because i have had so much problems
turtle beach santa cruz, 75$ and i like it better than sound blaster. also check out the phillips acoustic edge. seems like the santa cruz is the best feature per dollar card, sounds great (20-bit vs. 16 bit d/a conversion in sound blaster)and also upgradeable with a riser built into the pc card. been running on 98se and no problems so far.
Iancourier, I'm sorry you had bad luck with your Sound Blaster 5.1, however that doesn't mean everyone is having trouble with it. The worst sound card I ever had was a Diamond. At least Creative has good driver support. A friend of mine was having bad luck with her Turtle Beach (I couldn't get it working right either because of some hardware conflict nor could their tech support), so she got a X-Gamer 5.1 like mine and is now happy again. A co-worker recently bought a X-Gamer 5.1 too and is delighted with his card. Seems strange to me that your first post on overclocker.com is to bad mouth the Sound Blaster 5.1 sound card. You never said if yours was a X-Gamer or not. Tell you what, to save you the trouble of throwing that piece of crap in the trash, I'll pay for shipping, send it to me.
I have the older Live card, X-gamer (not a 5.1) and have some problems with the line in and mic in that I've traced to poor onboard inputs for the card. As a musician using this card as his home studio, I find that flaw detrimental to me recommending the card for music enthousiasts. I am debating getting the Turtle Beach Santa Cruz myself, but it doesn't guarantee any better inputs for my home studio.
I just got a santa cruz and love it

Ive also heard the x-gamer and it sounds the same so I would say go with santa cruz and save some money.
I am not a fan of Turtle Beach, so it is down to the SB Live! 5.1 and the Hercules. I would safely say that the SB Live! 5.1 has better sound quality and is more functional for DVD and games than the Hercules, but the Hercules is probably a better all-around system.
well I'm going with the santa cruz, Not only am I a CA surfer, it looks like the best price/value for a 5.1 card.

Thanks for helping

I use the Santa Cruz and I love it..
Havn't tried a Live! though, was scared of the KT133a chip set thing.
hey pinky the the turtle beach has 1 mic in with phantom power(for condensor mics) plus a stero line in. i've only used it(mic input) once but it sounds pretty good. remember to optimize levels with windows media player and the sound card mixer. most static and bad sound result from improper level settings. turtle beach has been making cards for the pro-audio community for a long time. pinky maybe you should check out a mid-price pro-audio card if your into the home studio thing. i reccomend sonorus. they're digital convertors are pretty good. their cards will set you back about 300$. sound blaster live does have the advantage of a breakout box (so you don't have to dig behind the computer) but if your going to drop 200 and you do a lot of home recording maybe think about dropping an extra 100-200 and get a pro-audio card with lots of ins and outs and 24bit 96khz a/d and d/a convertors. (the convertors are what you're really paying for) myself i use a motu mark of the unicorn mk2 card. its got 24 channels of optical ins and outs, 8 analog 24-bit ins and outs plus 2 stereo s/pdif ins and outs, headphone jack, and main stereo outs. word clock in and out, adat sync port and tdif sync. it'll set you back about $800. just add a midi synchronizer (400) and a tube preamp (500-3000) and ok i'll stop it hurts my wallet just thinking about it.
I have been seriously considering this, but my main concern is only in getting the sound into the PC (vox and guiatrs), once there the rest is fine (drums, loops, anything else works fine).

I haven't seen the need to upgrade yet, as the issues are minor. I still think the card's great for the everyday user, I push it a little bit harder and it doesn't really like me for that.

Thanks for the info and recommendation, taking all recommendations into serious consideration. :)
I'd have to reccomend the sound card I currently have, It is the Soundblaster Live platinum 5.1 Search the web for reviews this soundcard tops them all.. If you plan on later connecting this soundcard to a 5.1 speaker setup this is the soundcard to get .. I have this setup connected via fiber optic wires to my reciever which is connected to my Bose surround system and WOW!! Talk about clarity.. games are now awesome to play.. Very hard to get me away from my puter now 8) 8) 8)
Hope your new system goes well..