Audio - integrated or sound card?

Used to buy and install separate sound card because integrated used up resources. Is that still the case/necessary?
Thx!
PS (for Win xp AND Win 7 pcs)

One argument is that CPUs now have instruction-sets that allows good cooperation with the MB’s built-in audio set, which can be pretty ‘high end’ in itself.

That’s on the playback side. Signal-Separation isn’t that intensive of operation, though - quality speakers still prove the ‘oomph’ and power but I think most modern motherboards have good abilities. And the ones with THX and 7.1’s… pretty high-end playback.

Recording can be a separate issue, but we take along notebooks and record straight from soundboards for some pretty great live recordings. “Good enough” for catalog purposes. The Sound Board gets to be the critical feature there, though.

That’s good to know.
Thank you!

[QUOTE=ChristineBCW;2650717]One argument is that CPUs now have instruction-sets that allows good cooperation with the MB’s built-in audio set, which can be pretty ‘high end’ in itself.

That’s on the playback side. Signal-Separation isn’t that intensive of operation, though - quality speakers still prove the ‘oomph’ and power but I think most modern motherboards have good abilities. And the ones with THX and 7.1’s… pretty high-end playback.

Recording can be a separate issue, but we take along notebooks and record straight from soundboards for some pretty great live recordings. “Good enough” for catalog purposes. The Sound Board gets to be the critical feature there, though.[/QUOTE]

[QUOTE=b1oo;2650604]Used to buy and install separate sound card because integrated used up resources. Is that still the case/necessary?
Thx!
PS (for Win xp AND Win 7 pcs)[/QUOTE]

I remember those days :). The sound processors integrated into motherboards these days do quite a good job with sound quality, and 0 worries about resource problems with modern chipsets and processors. Unless you will be doing multi-channel mixing or really sophisticated sound editing, you don’t need a separate card at all.

[QUOTE=deanwitty;2650723]I remember those days :). The sound processors integrated into motherboards these days do quite a good job with sound quality, and 0 worries about resource problems with modern chipsets and processors. Unless you will be doing multi-channel mixing or really sophisticated sound editing, you don’t need a separate card at all.[/QUOTE]
Excellent! (Now, if I could just figure out which Blu Ray burner to buy, I could finally close the case and install Windows! :-D)

Thank you!

If you listen to music/soundtracks on the computer using headphones, and your headphones are difficult to drive, then you might want a soundcard with a built in headphone amp, or use a usb driven amp/dac. But for most uses, the onboard sound is pretty good these days.

I use a FiiO E10 for my headphones.

I prefer the Pioneer and LG blu ray burners, but you can find a lot of info on those elsewhere in the forums.

It also depends on how noisy your system is as well. Multiple things can contribute including PSU, hard drive(my Seagate 1Tb 7200 drive is loud), and external hard drives.

Thanks for the help bro! Great work!

Sound engine in Windows 7 is not the same one back in Windows XP and is more built for onboard audio. With multicore processors, sound can be offloaded from same CPU core that game plays on so overhead is very much less than before.

I do not think I would buy external sound card unless audio cleanliness is very important. Then I would buy and well shielded internal card.

[QUOTE=Kerry56;2650729]If you listen to music/soundtracks on the computer using headphones, and your headphones are difficult to drive, then you might want a soundcard with a built in headphone amp, or use a usb driven amp/dac. But for most uses, the onboard sound is pretty good these days.

I use a FiiO E10 for my headphones.

I prefer the Pioneer and LG blu ray burners, but you can find a lot of info on those elsewhere in the forums.[/QUOTE]
I couldn’t persuade you to expound on the why of your Blu Ray Burner preferences, could I?

[QUOTE=b1oo;2650790]I couldn’t persuade you to expound on the why of your Blu Ray Burner preferences, could I?[/QUOTE]

Though I’ve never used one, the Pioneer blu ray burners have a history of excellence according to user reports on this site. The official MyCE reviews reflect this as well. Lots of people I trust in testing drives and matching media to their drives have contributed to this reputation for Pioneer BD burners. But all it takes is some reading in the Blu ray subforum to confirm this.

I have an early LG blu ray burner which has been consistently good. I’ve had no issues burning or reading with it. I rarely burn dvds with it, but those burns I have tested match up or sometimes surpass the output from my regular dvd burners, depending on media used. Its a bit slower than many drives now, but I wouldn’t burn blu ray media faster than 4 or 6x anyway. If you are interested, it is the GGW-H20L drive, and has been a workhorse.

I watched a comparison made between two burners from Pioneer and LG last summer. This was a long series of test burns between the Pioneer 206 and the LG BH12LS35. The member who was doing this rather systematic comparison eventually said he had a slight preference for the LG, though it was so close as to be a dead heat as far as I could see when burning blu ray. The burns he was getting from good media in the LG were really top notch.

The main competitor to these two manufacturers in blu ray burners is Lite-on. And I’ve never been a fan of that brand. They have had a few issues in the reviews I’ve seen, but I don’t know anything about the current crop.

Kerry and everyone else, thanks for this great info. I need more reading about the BluRay Wars.

Back to sound-cards for a moment…

We use rather old AMD dual-core notebooks at our performances, but some pretty high-dollar mix-boards. By the time the signals reach the PC, they’re just “data” at that point - there’s no béarnaise sauce to add, no voodoo war-chants that modify anything - it’s just sets of signals recorded by whatever channels the mix-board is programmed for. A 386-processor could do as well…

On playbacks, those five-year-old AMDs can’t power a PA tower, but run the output to amplifiers, and it does. “Is it live, or is it ___?”

And you KNOW those cheapo notebooks never hoped to have the playback circuitry of a full motherboard. But, gulp, they do - the circuitry just isn’t THAT big. Those sound-chips are pinky-fingernail sized.

However…

With the $30 Creative Labs Soundblaster cards, there is some software (WAV Studio) that can do some mighty great things, and can receive some high-end Effects Library Add-Ins for some excellent remastering efforts.

IF you’re going to make money off of recordings, a $30 Soundblaster card isn’t a bad investment. IF you’re making money off of them.

The $100 cards offer some of those add-in’s immediately, and once you make a few million from your recording studio, you can start buying the $500 sound-cards and REALLY do fancy things.

I personally like to turn most recordings into Alvin & The Chipmunk songs - separating the instrumentals from vocals, speeding up vocals, then readjusting the keys so New Vocals are in tune with the Old Instrumentation.

But that’s just me.

Hearing Frank Chipmunk sing a love song to his daughter Nancy Chipmunk is still sorta creepy, though.

Honestly if you can stay away from intergrated sound and rather spend some money on a decent card.

[QUOTE=Kerry56;2650792]Though I’ve never used one, the Pioneer blu ray burners have a history of excellence according to user reports on this site. The official MyCE reviews reflect this as well. Lots of people I trust in testing drives and matching media to their drives have contributed to this reputation for Pioneer BD burners. But all it takes is some reading in the Blu ray subforum to confirm this.

I have an early LG blu ray burner which has been consistently good. I’ve had no issues burning or reading with it. I rarely burn dvds with it, but those burns I have tested match up or sometimes surpass the output from my regular dvd burners, depending on media used. Its a bit slower than many drives now, but I wouldn’t burn blu ray media faster than 4 or 6x anyway. If you are interested, it is the GGW-H20L drive, and has been a workhorse.

I watched a comparison made between two burners from Pioneer and LG last summer. This was a long series of test burns between the Pioneer 206 and the LG BH12LS35. The member who was doing this rather systematic comparison eventually said he had a slight preference for the LG, though it was so close as to be a dead heat as far as I could see when burning blu ray. The burns he was getting from good media in the LG were really top notch.

The main competitor to these two manufacturers in blu ray burners is Lite-on. And I’ve never been a fan of that brand. They have had a few issues in the reviews I’ve seen, but I don’t know anything about the current crop.[/QUOTE]

Alrighty! I appreciate you taking the time to explain. Narrowing down to Pioneer or LG… Thanks!

[QUOTE=SubZero;2650786]Sound engine in Windows 7 is not the same one back in Windows XP and is more built for onboard audio. With multicore processors, sound can be offloaded from same CPU core that game plays on so overhead is very much less than before.

I do not think I would buy external sound card unless audio cleanliness is very important. Then I would buy and well shielded internal card.[/QUOTE]

This answer is simple and clear. Thank you!

[QUOTE=b1oo;2651067]This answer is simple and clear. Thank you![/QUOTE]

You are welcome. It is good to help back. I have been helped here often.

One great thing is that a consumer can get the base motherboard, try it out and then, for very little money, toss in a sound-card for their own individual tests.

I usually do that by checking volume (at the highest) against distortion. I can torture Hubby, creating a good 10-15 minutes of screams (before he passes out) and then crank up the volume to cover up the sounds. Heck, neighbors don’t even bother calling 9-1-1 anymore just because they hear his yells, seem him screaming, running bloody across the lawns.

“Same ol’ thing…”

“Nothin’ to see here, folks, move along… move along…”

Hubby still doesn’t LET me have fun. But I manage. Yessirree…

With a modern PC your better off spending money on some decent speaker rather than on a sound card. Its worth it to get a pair that have tweeters on the front speakers.

a couple picks:
Creative Inspire T10 10 Watts RMS 2.0 Speaker System
or
Creative GigaWorks T20 Series II 28 watts RMS 2.0 Speakers

[QUOTE=eric93se;2651405]With a modern PC your better off spending money on some decent speaker rather than on a sound card. Its worth it to get a pair that have tweeters on the front speakers.

a couple picks:
Creative Inspire T10 10 Watts RMS 2.0 Speaker System
or
Creative GigaWorks T20 Series II 28 watts RMS 2.0 Speakers[/QUOTE]

Thanks!
Both of those look good. Is there a big difference, sound quality-wise, between the two?

Difference? Power.