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Topic: looking for a decent sound card with soundfont compatible (Read 4327 times) previous topic - next topic

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  • weee
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looking for a decent sound card with soundfont compatible
Hi, i'm looking for a good sound card with soundfont function, it's not necessary to be high-end or too expensive, just to use the soundfont to help midi palyback a bit more pleasant;
been wondering is there a huge performance difference among those soundfont compatible cards? like while dealing with soundfont (a big one maybe), is a mid-range x-fi much faster than a older model something liek audigy x? cheers!
  • Last Edit: 24 February, 2010, 07:56:44 AM by weee

  • Sycraft
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looking for a decent sound card with soundfont compatible
Reply #1
Well if you want SoundFont, you are pretty much looking at Creative Labs. In terms of consumer cards, they are the only ones that are really interested in it. That means an X-Fi these days. You might be able to find an Audigy 1/2 used, but I don't think they are made anymore. So in terms of X-Fis you've got several choices from Creative themselves and also from Auzentech. Auzentech makes different hardware configurations, but using the Creative drivers and X-Fi chip so full SoundFont support.

My recommendation is to find the one that has the features you like best and get it. Which one depends on what you want.

--The Creative X-Fi Xtreme Gamer is probably the cheapest option, costing about $100. Don't get much in the way of output choices or extras, but it'll do the trick. It is PCI.
--The Creative X-Fi Titanium should be the same price (for the base model) and also have digital in and out. It is PCI Express.
--The Auzentech X-Fi Bravura is a step up. Costs $140 but has better quality analogue components and more output choices. Swappable opamps, if that's your thing. It is PCI Express.
--The Auzentech X-Fi Prelude is similar to the Bravura but maybe better components. Cost $190. It is PCI.
--The Auzentech X-Fi HomeTheater HD is an HDMI soundcard. So if you want to use HDMI with an X-Fi, it is your only option. Costs $240. It is PCI Express.

Don't get the X-Fi Xtreme Audio. Despite the name it doesn't actually have an X-Fi processor on board and so can't do hardware mixing. Means it might not do SoundFonts as you like.

As for advantages of the X-Fi over older cards, there's a few. One is of course you can get the X-Fi in PCIe, if your motherboard supports it. Another related to SoundFonts is that it can handle 128 simultaneous sounds being played back, the Audigy can only do 64. Also, it has a very high quality resampling engine, so resampling should be totally transparent.

So more or less I'd go and look at those, and choose the one who's features you like for your setup. Personally, I use a HTHD since I wanted HDMI.