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  1. #1
    Joined
    Oct 2009
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    16

    Audigy 2 vs Onboard

    Ok, so I just upgraded my system and have always been happy with my Audigy 2, but the motherboard I got advertises "Real HD Audio" blah blah blah. I usually ignore claims like that, but it did get me thinking that my Audigy is rather old and that onboard MAY have gotten some nice advances.

    So Audigy 2 vs Onboard Realtek HD Audio?

  2. #2
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    I've moved.....I'm over here now.
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    Re: Audigy 2 vs Onboard

    Compare them and write a review for us!

  3. #3
    Joined
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    Re: Audigy 2 vs Onboard

    Onboard audio is the better choice. Soundcards are a waste of money. I recently caught the upgrade bug and I just wanted to spend $100 on something so I bought a Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium... It would have been better if I had bought $100 worth of magic toilet paper and flushed it because both choices would have given me the exact same performance upgrade... NONE. Also the mic-input sucks on the Sound Blaster so I still use the onboard chip for my mic and use the Soundcard for audio.
    I also have the Audigy 4, the X-Fi and my current MB onboard Audio sound slightly better but the difference is minuscule.

    BF3 Dino:
    i7 2600k, ASUS P8Z68-V Pro, 8GB Corsair, X-25M 120GB, WD 300GB Raptor, 2xEVGA GTX570HD 2.5GB, X-fi Titanium, Antec 1200W.
    Monster: i7 930, MSI X58 Platinum, 9GB Corsair, WD 74GB Raptor, WD 2TB, Palit GTX460 1GB, PCP&C 750W.
    Beast: AMD4400+, Asus A8N-SLI Deluxe, 2GB Corsair, 2x 1TB WD Green Raid0, 2TB WD Green, KFA2 9600GT, Dynex 500W.
    Relic: Intel P4 3.2GHz, Asus P4SD-LA, 1.5 GB PC2700, 160GB WD, 120GB Maxtor, ATI 9600Pro, Dynex 500W.

  4. #4
    Joined
    Apr 2001
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    New Jersey
    Posts
    7,606

    Re: Audigy 2 vs Onboard

    I'd say test them both. Everyone hears things differently. To me, the onboard is lacking compared to the XFI, but I use the crystalizer and CMSS. Both gimmicky, but still they work.

    The A2 doesn't have the crystalizer, but it does off cMSS 2.0, I believe. Which, in some cases, can make things sound a tad nicer.

    Drivers can be an issue too, creative has long been notorious for horrible ones. Who knows though, the onboard may be worse...if that is possible.
    Rig:

    Athlon 64 X2 7750 Kuma @ 3360 Ghz @ 1.475V (14.5x223)
    (NB: 2240, HT: 2015)
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    Onboard sound (yuck)
    4GBs Mushkin DDR800 (6/6/6/18/24 @ 928mhz)
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  5. #5
    Joined
    May 2003
    Posts
    1,237

    Re: Audigy 2 vs Onboard

    If you use a digital connection to a receiver, stick with the onboard.

    If you are using analog speakers, the Audigy will probably sound better than the onboard. Motherboard audio tends to suffer from electrical noise and poor quality DAC's.


    Intel 7820X, ASRock X299 Taichi, 32GB DDR4 3200, Radeon 290X, 8TB WD Gold with 32GB Optane cache

  6. #6
    Joined
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    Re: Audigy 2 vs Onboard

    Quote Originally Posted by GTwannabe View Post
    Motherboard audio tends to suffer from electrical noise and poor quality DAC's.
    Years ago that would be true, but not today, not on well built motherboards. Those problems are reduced and in most cases completely eliminated.

    BF3 Dino:
    i7 2600k, ASUS P8Z68-V Pro, 8GB Corsair, X-25M 120GB, WD 300GB Raptor, 2xEVGA GTX570HD 2.5GB, X-fi Titanium, Antec 1200W.
    Monster: i7 930, MSI X58 Platinum, 9GB Corsair, WD 74GB Raptor, WD 2TB, Palit GTX460 1GB, PCP&C 750W.
    Beast: AMD4400+, Asus A8N-SLI Deluxe, 2GB Corsair, 2x 1TB WD Green Raid0, 2TB WD Green, KFA2 9600GT, Dynex 500W.
    Relic: Intel P4 3.2GHz, Asus P4SD-LA, 1.5 GB PC2700, 160GB WD, 120GB Maxtor, ATI 9600Pro, Dynex 500W.

  7. #7
    Joined
    Jun 2002
    Location
    NM
    Posts
    1,879

    Re: Audigy 2 vs Onboard

    What do you plan to do with the sound card?

    If you're into games, I'd definitely recommend using the Audigy. There are all these EAX effects that some games make use of.

    I'd choose a Creative product over an onboard anytime. Especially if you have the card already!

    At work I'm using an onboard card and don't seem to miss anything in the music with my closed Sennheiser headphones...


    In regard to Windows 7 compatibility - I've got this weird issue that I need to troubleshoot further. When upmixing stereo music, the sound from the rear speakers sounds very distorted. As if they were blown...


    But only you can be the judge. As stated by others, give it a try and see if you can notice a difference...


    Q9300 with 4 GB DDR2 1066 RAM
    UltraSharp 2408WFP (needs to be RMA'ed) on GeForce GTX 285 on two 18 amp 12V lines
    Audigy X-Fi Fatal1ty w/ Logitech Z-5500 & Sennheiser HD 280 Pro and HD 595
    plus the usual stuff in a poorly designed Antec P180 PW case

  8. #8
    Joined
    Apr 2001
    Location
    Northern California
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    38
    Posts
    799

    Re: Audigy 2 vs Onboard

    I'm still a fan of dedicated audio cards, there may be very little difference these days, but i get a nice warm fuzzy feeling knowing that all the audio processing is being offloaded.

    That being said i may have to test out my current onboard solution and compare it to my X-FI at some point, i may even do a small write up on it and post it here.
    Last edited by zeejay; 12-08-2009 at 01:58 PM.
    -Zeejay

  9. #9
    Joined
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    374

    Re: Audigy 2 vs Onboard

    Quote Originally Posted by tjdehya View Post
    Years ago that would be true, but not today, not on well built motherboards. Those problems are reduced and in most cases completely eliminated.
    I guess I have a not so well built motherboard then :Asus M2N-SLI Deluxe. Fairly new, only 2 years old.

    I have two of them, both that suffer from horrible background noise.
    After 20+ years of building computers, I still have yet to luck out with a good on-board audio feature in a motherboard. I use either USB or PCI versions in sound cards, but I gotta say, the USB ones are so far the most flexible designs with the largest dynamic range and cleanest audio output. A friend gave me a a Creative SB0940, and there is no turning back.
    Last edited by Pixels303; 12-08-2009 at 04:36 PM.
    Two power supplies in one case (Connected the green wire) and a Thermaltake 550 PSU in the other.
    Two ASUS M2N-SLI Delux Motherboard
    Athlon X2-6000 and a Phenom 9850
    Big azz 11 bay server tower and a regular 4 bay full size tower. (Noname)
    A speedy PCIe based ATI 1950 chipset and a Radeon 5750 video card.
    4 Gig or 2 Gig Kingston brand (Total 6) DDR2-800 memory
    Around 19 Terabytes in 17 hard drives.
    I refuse to use DVD disks as they die by oxidization, get scratched and would take too many of them to write for the data I have.

  10. #10
    Joined
    Aug 2003
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    5,843

    Re: Audigy 2 vs Onboard

    It's not just the chip, but the noise filtering they put on these boards. I've seen expensive Asus and Gigabyte boards with lots of little capacitors, and what not around the vicinity of the onboard audio chip. Then on some lower-tier motherboard models with the SAME audio chip I see a smaller amount of this stuff.

    You can really tell the difference when gaming, not so much when playing music, unless you're really into heavy-low bass tracks.

  11. #11
    Joined
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    374

    Re: Audigy 2 vs Onboard

    How to test your sound cards:

    1: Turn up your amplifier outside your computer to Maximum gain.
    2: Use the lowest volume playback on high quality music or video to a acceptable listening volume with the speaker or headset gain set to maximum.
    3: If you hear clicks, white noise or squeaks while minimizing or restoring windows, moving your mouse or accessing your hard drive, then you have bad audio.


    PCB Manufacturing: Removal of crosstalk by means of not tracing audio lines near other interfering lines or using ground lines adjacent to them, place a ground moat around pre-amp circuits, filter power with chokes & high response time ceramic capacitors and shielding around preamp circuits to prevent pickup of radio waves.

    These are many things that motherboard manufacturers do not take into consideration when making a motherboard. Many digital signals are square wave and as such transmit harmonic frequencies in the radio frequency range. These radio frequencies can be picked up by amplifiers and sometimes by other electronic equipment. These can be reduced by filtering higher current data lines and power lines to digital IC's by use of in line resistors, capacitors or ferrite chokes. Again, FCC regulations may be loosely regulated with consumer electronics. With more effort is being made to make the computer run faster or functionally speaking, less effort is being spent with the quality aspect of how the boards are made. That's why audio is usually better suited outside of your computer.

    As Madhatter pointed out, I also noticed boards with less features having fewer issues. I can only speculate that PCB designers can concentrate on using more available PCB space for making a better design.

    If I had a choice, I'd use the Audigy 2. I have never had issues with Creative sound cards yet, and would even be happy using legacy Creative sound cards, just so long as they support 48khz sampling rate.
    Last edited by Pixels303; 12-08-2009 at 06:31 PM.
    Two power supplies in one case (Connected the green wire) and a Thermaltake 550 PSU in the other.
    Two ASUS M2N-SLI Delux Motherboard
    Athlon X2-6000 and a Phenom 9850
    Big azz 11 bay server tower and a regular 4 bay full size tower. (Noname)
    A speedy PCIe based ATI 1950 chipset and a Radeon 5750 video card.
    4 Gig or 2 Gig Kingston brand (Total 6) DDR2-800 memory
    Around 19 Terabytes in 17 hard drives.
    I refuse to use DVD disks as they die by oxidization, get scratched and would take too many of them to write for the data I have.

  12. #12
    Joined
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Broken Arrow, OK
    Age
    30
    Posts
    1,927

    Re: Audigy 2 vs Onboard

    I can tell you guys this much, that on my Asus P5Q pro, the integrated audio is almost a joke compared to my xonar D2X on my Z-5500s.
    My heatware

    Proudly NOT a console or subscription/micropayment gamer.

  13. #13
    Joined
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    26

    Re: Audigy 2 vs Onboard

    +1 to discrete

    For some reason, onboard audio always seems to have a lower volume for the mic incput(s)... which is a pain when you're using voice comms like: ventrilo, teamspeak, etc. Everyone will either need to boost your volume or they will just whine about you being quiet.

    Also, I would have to agree with hearing noise/crosstalk or whatever you want to call it with onboard audio. On my last motherboard (d975xbx 'bad axe') there was a discernible noise with mouse activity (while scrolling or clicking for example). The sound quality between that an a descent discrete card is like night and day.

    Now I can't speak for the latest & greatest stuff, but I do have little faith. I did just buy a P7P55D-E Prem. and I was debating whether or not to give it a chance, but I am not going to get my hopes up

  14. #14
    Joined
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Hamilton, On, Can
    Age
    37
    Posts
    827

    Re: Audigy 2 vs Onboard

    Good luck with your 10 chan P7P55D Prem, my 8 Chan P7P55D Deluxe has low end noise, especially noticeable when using headphones or studio monitors like I do. also, the v-deck control software is a joke. even with an update for it released december 22nd, it still is really buggy and enabling enhancements dont always work, or when they do, dont seem to stay on that long. i've noticed this in other p55 boards i've used for customer builds.
    I threw in my x-fi Fatailty pro and no more noise, the sound was more crisp, and seemed louder at the same volume level while using the onboard. and this was without using any enhancement features.

    So +1 for discreet sound.
    Last edited by JSLEnterprises; 01-21-2010 at 05:59 PM.

  15. #15
    Joined
    Nov 2001
    Posts
    463

    Re: Audigy 2 vs Onboard

    I can't speak for all OB solutions but I never found one that I liked.

    My board isn't the newest on the block, it's an ASUS M2NE and the dynamic range clipped and fell flat when using the OB. I bought an Audigy and the difference was instant and huge.
    Never deprive someone of hope... it may be the only thing they have.

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