Computer Audio: New sound card [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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11-02-2004, 07:51 AM
Okay, I bought my first real set of decent quality headphones earlier this year and have been enjoying them immensely. Having always used the headphones included with my portable audio players I was a bit skeptical about paying $60 for Sennheiser HD 212 pro's, but I must say that this investment has been worth every penny. I could never tell the difference between the quality of cds and 128kbs .mp3 files before this, now I know why, cause I never had high enough grade equiptment to make this difference noticable.

I still mainly listen to .mp3 files just because i'm so attached to my laptop, though the quality is usually higher than 128kbs, sometimes 256kbs and above. However as of late i've begun to notice quite a bit of distortion that I was not aware of before. Putting the same files onto my minidisk player greatly reduces the distortion, in fact it almost seems completely gone, which confuses me since the .mp3s have to be converted and reformatted into ATRAC files. I'm beginning to get the impression that the sound card in my laptop is completely crap, in fact, even when music isn't playing I can hear a high pitched ring or squeal on my headphones if I turn the volume up all the way.

So i've been looking around the internet to check out external USB sound cards. Specifically all I need is something small, compact, lightweight, self powered and with higher quality than the card i've got. I don't do any type of recording whatsoever, so it really isn't important that the card has inputs, also I only use micro stereo jack plugs, so I don't need optical output or rca, etc. or whatever.

Looking around the web for sound cards I found something similiar to what I think i'm looking for:

I was just wondering if anyone else had any suggestions for getting higher quality sound, I really know nothing about hifi audio. I'm also open to a decently wide price range, and maybe some extra features (a real non-windows media player equilizer would be nice).

11-02-2004, 08:43 AM
That thing is a sound amplifier or "enhancer", it sounds to me like you need to check the recording properties in the control panel of your laptop and find the mic, and line in section and either mute or turn them down. It sounds like you are getting a kind of intermodular noise coming from having too many inputs trying to pre amp the signal that is not really there. try this first. Double click the little spkr icon and go to advanced properties, then see which inputs are checked for recording, let me know if that works! -audioman

11-02-2004, 09:01 AM
Don't think its that, but then again I don't know much about the controls. Line in and Microphone are both muted. Other controls include Volume Control, Wave, SW Synth, CD Audio, PC Speaker, Phone, Reverb and All 2D.

Apart from Volume control, which I vary according to what i'm playing, all the others are at their maximum settings. I'm not sure what some of these do, but I have all of them on maximum volume to get the loudest sound out of the system. I had been figuring that if I did it this way the sound would be digitally amplified (less distortion) than when I plug it into my set of Creative 2.1 speakers.

11-02-2004, 04:22 PM
Its not good to have the wave control at 100%, 75-80% is sufficient. This could be the source of your distortion.
Creative has 4 external soundcard models which you can check out on their website . I have the platimum II internal version which is a major improvement over just the soundblaster.You won't be sorry if you upgrade. You can also then connect to an external receiver/amp and use your computer as music source which is comparable in sound quality to dvd players.
Also if you add an external soundcard or the you have is not the one that came installed or your computer. You need to disable the soundcard that comes with your motherboard or there will be a conflict between the two soundcards.

11-03-2004, 01:54 PM
Turning down the wave maybe helps a little, but there is still a LOT of static and other noise coming over the line even when music isn't playing. Thanks for the advice about the sound card, any other suggestions for an external sound card?