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Old 10-09-2006, 09:56 PM   #1
CodeWarrior
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Sound Blaster Live vs onboard sound


I got a Soundblaster live card real cheap. From ALSA's page it looks like it is supported. I have a DFI LanParty UT nf3 250 GB motherboard and the sound from it is decent. It is a nForce3 chipset. It works in Linux just fine. My question is: Am I going to hear any difference between the 2?

Here are more specs from my Mobo sound:

- AC'97 CODEC
- 8 Channels DA Converters with 48 kHz rate
- Stereo AD Converters with 48 kHz rate
 
Old 10-10-2006, 01:21 AM   #2
Electro
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I am picky with sound quality. I was surprise that my brother's nForce2 sound was better than Soundblaster LIVE. On terms on sound quality, the nForce3 audio will sound better. The Soundblaster LIVE has poor audio quality. Though the Soundblaster LIVE has hardware mixing, but the nForce sound does not. For even higher sound quality, I suggest Audiotrak Prodigy 7.1LT.
 
Old 10-10-2006, 12:21 PM   #3
Lucas03
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I think external soun like SBlive is more preferable! Aspecially if you have good 7.1 soundsystem
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Last edited by Lucas03; 06-21-2007 at 07:58 AM.
 
Old 10-10-2006, 12:52 PM   #4
carlosinfl
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The SB Live card will not be as good as the onboard. The NF3 chipset was more advanced than the dated SB Live card.
 
Old 10-11-2006, 04:35 AM   #5
otchie1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carlwill
The SB Live card will not be as good as the onboard. The NF3 chipset was more advanced than the dated SB Live card.
However, as the vast majority of PC users do not have either shielded speakers or cables and considering the amount of electrical noise generated in the average PC then frankly anything from an SBLive up is going to sound about the same.
Far more important than the design date of the chipset will be the quality of the speakers, whether there is a subwoofer, how loud the PC PSU/fans are and the accoustic properties of the location. Your average 50 set of 5.1 PC speakers just aren't good enough to tell the difference between AC97 and NF3.

Personally I always recommend the SBLive because it is easy to get to work under Linux, it offers decent multichannel hardware mixing and it is cheap.

ahh, but run it under proper OSS not ALSA...that does make a difference ;-)

Last edited by otchie1; 10-11-2006 at 04:37 AM.
 
Old 10-11-2006, 11:46 AM   #6
CodeWarrior
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Thanks for all the replys so far. I have a good speaker set for my PC. I have the Logitech z5500 one of the best if not the best PC speaker system out there, short of connecting home theater parts to the PC. My machine produces a fair bit of noise but not terrible. I have 2 case fans and they are both 120mm, so they are not too bad. The Room it is in is your average room, about 14' x 15' and is carpeted. The Sub is sitting on the carpet, but is in a corner which helps provide a good effect.

Looks like most people are saying that onboard sound will be the same if not better than the SoundBlaster Live 5.1 card. That does make sense to me now, since it is quite old technology. Ideally I was looking to buy the Xtrememusic card, but it is not supported in Linux and I don't see any plans on being supported in the near future.

If any others can provide any insite or their personal expereince on the Live card please respond. I plan on returning the Live card by the end of today unless I hear something that will compell me to keep it. Thanks.
 
Old 10-11-2006, 02:02 PM   #7
HappyTux
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CodeWarrior
Thanks for all the replys so far. I have a good speaker set for my PC. I have the Logitech z5500 one of the best if not the best PC speaker system out there, short of connecting home theater parts to the PC. My machine produces a fair bit of noise but not terrible. I have 2 case fans and they are both 120mm, so they are not too bad. The Room it is in is your average room, about 14' x 15' and is carpeted. The Sub is sitting on the carpet, but is in a corner which helps provide a good effect.

Looks like most people are saying that onboard sound will be the same if not better than the SoundBlaster Live 5.1 card. That does make sense to me now, since it is quite old technology. Ideally I was looking to buy the Xtrememusic card, but it is not supported in Linux and I don't see any plans on being supported in the near future.

If any others can provide any insite or their personal expereince on the Live card please respond. I plan on returning the Live card by the end of today unless I hear something that will compell me to keep it. Thanks.
Well I would make sure that the onboard sound actually provides true surround sound not the duplication of the channels that mine does which is why I use an Audigy and before that a SBLive.
 
Old 10-11-2006, 03:11 PM   #8
CodeWarrior
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyTux
Well I would make sure that the onboard sound actually provides true surround sound not the duplication of the channels that mine does which is why I use an Audigy and before that a SBLive.

How do I determine this? Also what model Audigy do you have? How well does it work with linux?
 
Old 10-11-2006, 04:47 PM   #9
HappyTux
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CodeWarrior
How do I determine this? Also what model Audigy do you have? How well does it work with linux?
Well with my onboard sound in the alsamixer I had to use the Duplicate Front option in order to be able get sound from my rear speakers. If you did not have to do similar and only had to raise the volume on the front/rear channels then most likely you have working surround sound. I have the original Audigy it works great but then again so did the SBLive I had if you do anything with midi then you probably want a dedicated card as these have actual hardware not software emulation that onboard has.
 
Old 10-11-2006, 06:42 PM   #10
Electro
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The Audigy card is based on the same chip as Soundblaster LIVE. These two cards do not have real ADC and DAC, so the sound will be colored and miss a lot of sounds. Programs like mplayer, VLC, Xine has sync problems. Anything from Creative Labs is POS.

I have a Turtle Beach Santa Cruz that sounds better than Soundblaster LIVE. If you use Google's Froogle, you can find this card for less than 30 US dollars.

MIDI is history and todays games do not use it. Games uses recorded music saved in a file that resembles a WAV file. Software MIDI sequencers is what professionals uses because it provides easier flexibility and infinite tracks.

An old comparision table but accurate.
http://www.pcavtech.com/soundcards/compare/index.htm
 
Old 10-13-2006, 12:43 PM   #11
CodeWarrior
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Thank you everyone for your great responses. From these responses I think I will return my card and just stick with onboard. It is pretty good and is working just fine in both Linux and Windows without any tweaking. I agree as far as Creative not being so great. Their Linux support is non existant and I have heard that their customer support sucks. Overall sound support in Linux doesn't seem very good, though it has gotten much better over the years with ALSA. How nice it would be if Creative released the Xtrememusic card with a Linux and Windows driver. I think these are the aspects that are preventing/hindering widespread use of Linux on desktops.
 
  


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