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creative audigy zx 2 card

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cmescia

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Hi,

I was eyeing this audio card for my pc. it claims to be 24b 192kHz compliant, and has loads of inputs and outputs, inlc toslink and coax spdif.

However, I have heard that this soundblaster is astually NOT 24bit compliant, with just a 16bit chip that upscales and then downscales the bit rate.

anyone know whether this is valid complaint (or does anyone know who might know the truth?). I would love to play stuff from my harddrive thruu my home theater, and I do not need any wireless setups like the squeezebox. My pc is only 20ft from the theater, and I can easily run dig coax spdif under the carpet.....

if this card doesnt do it, does anyone here have a recommmendation for a card with 24b (and at least 96kHz) digital input and output?

thanks,
Chris
 

JonFo

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Hi Chris,

Yes, this is easy: the M-Audio Audiophile 2496 or Audiophile 192

At $129 list ($99 or less street), the 2496 is a great card. I have two and love it.

The SB's are not up to snuff, too much resampling and other games. The M-Audio's support ASIO and have well supported drivers.

You can pass DTS audio (ripped DTS .wav's) through an M-Audio, not an SB.

I use FooBar2000 to upsample my 44.1/16 .wav redbook rips of my collection to 88.2/16 and the M-Audio's handle that just fine.

This is the best solution if just passing ripped .wavs (or decoding MP3's) in stereo for your processor.
If looking for a card that handles surround, well, that's a separate question.

I've had several medium to 'high-end' transports over the years, and this card and FooBar2K are better or equal to any of them.
Tons cheaper and much more convenient to boot.
More complex though, no free lunch ;)
 

Crawdaddy

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What about a laptop? (sorry I'm no computer wiz) Is it easy (possible?) to upgrade a laptop sound card to get a good digital out? If so, any reco's?

I'd like to either upgrade an existing old laptop to use as a transport or buy a new (cheap) laptop. Any reco's on a brand / model of laptop to consider?

Looks like I can get a bottom of the line Dell for <$600. Seems like if I was to pair that with an external harddrive (saw 1T for around $600) and a good DAC (perhaps the Lite 60 with mods for around $700 I think) I could get a kick-butt front end for <$2k.

Any thoughts?
 

enilsen

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I think someone is pulling your leg when they say this card isn't 24-bit.

Maybe there was some misunderstanding about what becomes 24-bit. I.e. if someone re-samples a CD to the hard drive the source is 16-bit and is converted to 24-bit.

If you use this card to sample analogue sound let say from a microphone or an instrument it will store the information as 24-bit. Likewise if you wish to capture your old vinyl albums they can be stored as 24-bit.

The tricks of the trade taking 16-bit sound information and making it 24-bit might in some cases sound better due to the compression techniques used when creating the original CD to make the dynamics fit into 16-bits. Hence you will also notice how the 24-bit sound card also advertises 105 db or better.

Ideally these cards are best put to use when recording (sampling sound) on to a hard drive and later used to mix and edit.

In any event they are significantly better sounding than built in sound processors found in most computers and will obviously produce better sound pending the quality of the digitally stored material.
 
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enilsen

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Crawdaddy said:
What about a laptop? (sorry I'm no computer wiz) Is it easy (possible?) to upgrade a laptop sound card to get a good digital out? If so, any reco's?

I'd like to either upgrade an existing old laptop to use as a transport or buy a new (cheap) laptop. Any reco's on a brand / model of laptop to consider?

Looks like I can get a bottom of the line Dell for <$600. Seems like if I was to pair that with an external harddrive (saw 1T for around $600) and a good DAC (perhaps the Lite 60 with mods for around $700 I think) I could get a kick-butt front end for <$2k.

Any thoughts?
Maybe you should be looking at the Audigy 2 zs PCM card for the laptop. It also suports 7.1 surround sound.
 

Crawdaddy

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Or I guess if all I want the laptop to do is act like a transport, then I could use a USB out to a DAC with a USB in....right? Will a USB connection have the same fidelity as a standard digital / optical out? :confused:
 

enilsen

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USB 2.0 or better should work. I prefer fire wire myself as I think the flow of data is smoother and the fact that I've had good experience with it. I've never tried the optical yet so hopefully someone else might be able give us some input here.
 
C

cmescia

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you -do- want firewire....the fatter pipe make a difference. as for the 24bit, I have read up some more and the creative does -not- have 24b as advertised. google the card and reviews and a very detailed analysis of that card pups up (i think it is avsforum, but not sure....cant find the link now)

My issue is recordings that are 24b 96kHz to start with....wanted to play those from my hard drive thru the card to the stereo.

My recordings are 16b 48kHz, but I am thinking of upgrading to the sound device 222, and mastering everying in 24/96, but downgrading it for burning to regular cd for giving out to friends.

Thanks for the maudio link!
Chris
 

enilsen

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Well here's the link to specifications creative audity 2 zx card which doesn't suggest it simulates 24-bit in any way. In fact I would be surprised if there are any of the better brands of sound cards that don't support 24/96 for recording and playback.

The software drivers or applications on the other hand might force down-grading of bit rates for compatibility reasons. I suspect this is what they are referring too and hence not true 24-bit stored material. The same might also apply for playback as analogue sound (16-bit) but digital output would be 24-bit.

For an example the external DAC could take advantage of this card by using the digital 24-bit output.
 
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