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Getting a new sound card, is it worth the upgrade?

  1. Sep 3, 2012 #1
    I am thinking about upgrading my soundcard from the creative soundblaster fatality X-Fi to the new creative SB fatality X-Fi Recon-3D.

    Is this upgrade worth the money? Will I notice an improvement in sound quality? What is the benefit of a quad-core audio processor? How is the X-Fi Recon-3D superior than the card that I have?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 3, 2012 #2


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    Have you auditioned upgraded speakers? I have an older pair of Klipsch speakers with a sub-woofer, and that set is fine for me. I can't recommend chasing upgrades on sound cards. That market changes fast, and there is a lot of hype in the fan-mags. Good luck.
  4. Sep 3, 2012 #3


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    Are you noticing any sound quality problems?
  5. Sep 3, 2012 #4
    Integrated sound is good enough for almost any purposes these days and 80 watt 2.1 speakers are more than enough for most people. The exceptions would be if you have serious speakers in which case I recommend buying a stereo instead or if you have cheap surround speakers for video games. So when you ask if you'll notice any difference we need to know what kind of speakers you have and what you use them for.
  6. Sep 4, 2012 #5


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    Chances are you are limited not by the sound card, but by the speakers.
  7. Sep 4, 2012 #6


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    Do you only want it for games or do you want it for real sound processing, like using onboard DSP effects for audio production and effects and for general music production?

    A lot of the high end sound cards are built for music enthusiasts and professionals based on their needs and not in the same way that you upgrade your video card so you can crank up the resolution and the anti-aliasing on your new FPS.
  8. Sep 4, 2012 #7


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    That's true, but the whole range of Creative soundcards is aimed at the gaming market, not high speciification audio processsing.

    The basic audio specs (frequency response, signal to noise ratio, D/A amd A/D conversion accuracy, number of audio channels, low latency audio drivers, multple applications using the card at the same time, etc) are pretty miserable compared with the cheapest "pro audio" cards, but pro audio cards don't come with all the processing options for gaming that you get from Creative.

    I wouldn't spend any money updating from one Creative card to another, unless the new card has sone new functionality that you really want to use (e.g. 7 channel surround sound when your old card only had 5, or whatever)
  9. Sep 5, 2012 #8
    I noticed a HUGE improvement in overall sound quality after I upgraded from integrated audio to SB X-Fi. The "Fatality" sound card is designed specifically for gaming, which is what I do often on my PC.

    I was wondering if the new X-Fi Recon 3D is worth upgrading over my current X-Fi Fatality card.

    The Recon 3D is a quad-core APU. I wonder how much of an improvement that is over a single core APU. I have a 5.1 speaker system that is a few years old, but it works great!

    High-end speaker systems like 7.1 surround can cost $700-1000+
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