Soundblaster Live!, or on-board AC'97 sound?

Discussion in 'DIY Computers' started by Asfand Yar Qazi, Apr 6, 2006.

  1. Hi,

    Which is better, an old Soundblaster Live! jobby (remember those), or on-board
    AC'97 sound (in this case on an nForce-4 4X motherboard)?

    Thanks
     
    Asfand Yar Qazi, Apr 6, 2006
    #1
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  2. Asfand Yar Qazi

    Jim Howes Guest

    (boggles)

    The vast majority of onboard sound devices are PCI devices, and consequently
    indistinguishable from each other in that respect.

    Whether a particular plug-in PCI card has it's own memory for samples, etc. is
    another matter. Windows seems to want to load entire .WAV files into memory
    before it starts to play them anyway, so any resources the card claims to have
    may be left unused, except by specialised applications.

    If you are after studio-quality sound, you are more likely to be interested in
    plug-in cards, as they can (but do not necessarily) have more analogue
    electronics. I have an old SoundBlaster-2 SCSI which is absolutely packed with
    analogue components, and I still think it sounds better than many built-in sound
    systems (when connected to the external amplifer and the rather large external
    speaker stack..).
    I would disagree in that:
    a) No sound device sounds any good with terrible speakers. Get a decent
    external amplifier, and speakers with a very good range (i.e. multiple cones of
    appropriate sizes per cabinet). Then, for when you want to frag away into the
    small hours, you can plug in your headphones, and let the neighbours sleep....
    b) Proper DTS/Surround is really helped by having a large room (and many
    speakers) to enjoy it in, and then it takes a lot of work setting it up and
    getting it 'right'. Sadly, most people's hearing is not as acute as they like
    to think it is, and many 'audiophiles' (or 'audiophools') waste a lot of money
    on kit they do not need.
    If you are just blasting the bug-eyed bad-guys, is it really worth it?

    Swings and roundabouts. Try both, and see what suits your ears, and your
    listening environment.
     
    Jim Howes, Apr 6, 2006
    #2
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  3. Asfand Yar Qazi

    Conor Guest

    SBLive! Far better quality sound and lower CPU usage.
     
    Conor, Apr 6, 2006
    #3
  4. I`ve got a C-Media 8738 5.1 PCI Card in this PC which used to have a Duron
    1.1ghz and Geforce 2 GTS (upgraded to Duron 1800 now) but I noticed in Grand
    Prix 4 (and maybe others) the frame rate was significantly lower when using
    the C-Media card for sound ie it dropped down to about 11fps however using
    the onboard VIA AC97 (on ECS K7VZA) the frame rate was up at about 20fps
    which doesn't sound much but its capped at that with this game and gets that
    with an FX5200 in 2.4ghz system.

    11fps ran like a dog... tried numerous tricks to speed it up becuase this
    game seemed to have the same problems with the onboard sound on my laptop
    and I had to set the sound acceleration to basic to get the 20fps otherwise
    it too had the slow frame rate problem. So I don't know if it was just that
    game but still intriuging.
     
    Nick Le Lievre, Apr 6, 2006
    #4
  5. Thanks all! SB Live! it is then!
     
    Asfand Yar Qazi, Apr 6, 2006
    #5
  6. Yeah I got one of those SB Live 5.1 OEM's off eBay for £ 5 off eBay and it
    was *much* better then the C-Media 5.1 you should've heard the sound of
    Metallica mp3 through my Inspire speakers the cheap ones w/o digital
    connection that is and SBLive I had didn't have digital connection anyway
    although this C-Media has an SPDIF connection. I would use an SBLive over
    onboard everytime.
     
    Nick Le Lievre, Apr 6, 2006
    #6

  7. Use both. Have WMP and Winamp, etc. configured to output to the
    Soundblaster and have the onboard sound set as the default sound device.
    That way you can have your films and music playing loud through your hi-fi
    or whatever and system sounds coming through your desktop speakers.

    ss.
     
    Synapse Syndrome, Apr 9, 2006
    #7
  8. So what would be the point of having the capability of 64 simultaneous
    hardware mixed voices coming from the SB Live, if I'm only using 1 of them? :)
     
    Asfand Yar Qazi, Apr 12, 2006
    #8
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