# Audigy vs. M-Audio cards for Sound Cue Systems

#### jkowtko

##### Well-Known Member
I am preparing to buy my SCS Prof. license to run up to 8 channels of sound for music and effects, and due to budget constraints I would like to consider using the Creative 7.1 Audigy SE or the 7.1 Audigy 2 ZS instead of the M-Audio 1010.

I don't think I need balanced connections right now because I can get the PC close enough to the sound board to run 3 or 6 foot cables, so I'm thinking the 1010 isn't a requirement unless the sound quality and noise levels demand it.

I also see from the specs that the Audigy SE has a 100db S/N ratio, and the 2 ZS claims 108db. Based on these specs and the fact that I can pick up one of these in the $20-$50 range, I would plan to get one of the Audigy cards ...

Does anyone have any experience with the Creative Audigy sound cards, good or bad, that they would like to share before I potentially waste my time and money?

Specifically, has anyone used the SE with the lesser S/N ratio, and if so, have you noticed any noise coming from the card?

Thanks. John

#### silvrwolf

##### Member
I know with an audigy, some of the outputs are not available when using another set such as some times if your using the main left right output you cant simuintaniously use the rear left right at the same time. You have to experiment first, it all depends on your softwares compatibility and you drivers.

#### soundop

##### Active Member
except for what he said, audigy will give you excellent sound

#### soundman1024

##### Active Member
I use an Audigy from the first series of them, and it works great. Couple it with a Whirlwind PCDI in the future and you've got a good setup in my opinion.

On a side note Creative does have some bloated software that comes with it. After reformatting once I knew what I needed to install and what I didn't when it came to the Audigy and it was better. If you are short on RAM you may consider the m-Audio.

#### jkowtko

##### Well-Known Member
I've also been looking at other sound cards to try to understand the differences. Turtle Beach Montego looks pretty nice, as does Diamond Xtreme, which is incredibly cheap ($30 list price). And they both accept standard 3-pole input jacks whereas the Creative Audigy cards require 4-pole jacks to get the full 8 channels of sound out. I really don't want to have to use 4-pole jacks if possible .. but on the flip side the Audigy cards have the highest posted S/N ratio, at 100-108db, whereas the others either post something lower (93db) or don't have any information at all. While I know that any of these options is going to cost me under$50, I don't want to end up buying two or three cards to find the one that works well.

So ... has anyone out there used Turtle Beach or Diamond cards? If so, any comments and/or comparisons to Audigy in terms of connections and floor noise?

Thanks. John

#### Austinro

I do a bit of sound recording also, and I do have to say that the M-Audio will work better. I use a Motu Ultralite, but that runs for about $550. There is a multipronged answer to your question: 1. Signal to noise ratio doesn't really matter for your application unless it is terrible. The S/N ratio listed isn't really any good or reliable, you have to listen to it. 2. The M-Audio card has ASIO drivers. I don't think the Audigy does. If you are going to output from good sound software or a show control program, you need a sound card with ASIO capabilities. The Audigy card uses the windows Kmixer, which doesn't support more then two channels. You only get "surround sound" (or multichannel output) with those cards when you use DirectSound3D, which no self respecting program other then games use. Remember, you get what you pay for. #### mbenonis ##### Wireless Guy Administrator Premium Member Do you have any Macs available that would run QLab? The free version will let you use up to 8 output channels. Disclaimer: I'm not affiliated with QLab in any way other than being a happy customer. #### jkowtko ##### Well-Known Member Austinro -- thanks for the heads up on ASIO ... I'm slowly learning this stuff. I did check online and it looks like at least the Audigy 4 has it ... but yes doesn't appear to be very common on the cheaper sound cards. I'm not planning on doing record right now -- only playing of sound tracks and FX for the theater. So I'm beginning to think that, while the higher end audio interfaces are more elegant and provide balanced outputs to allow me to bypass the mixing board if needed (I use self-powered speakers), I probably don't need them right now. Sure, if I can get a good price on a Delta 1010 on eBay I'll take it, but last night one went for$300 used (vs. \$360 new) so the bargains aren't that great right now ...

Now -- and this probably warrants a different thread -- I AM very interested in looking into the idea of bagging the mixing board altogether and going to a complete digitial computized sound environment for the theater. I'm just starting to learn about products available in this environment so after a bit more research I will post something on this topic.

Thanks. John

PS: And, Mike, as for Macs, yes it looks like they have an advantage in some areas, but I'm completely on Windows right now so I hesitate to switch OSs unless it's absolutely necessary.

#### Austinro

##### Member
I would suggest that you look for an inexpensive M-Audio card. I don't know your setup and rig, but I would highly suggest against going totally digital. And don't plug the soundcard directly into the speakers, you probably can't. Multichannel soundcards usually only have a volume knob for the "main" or "headphone" outs. The other volume levels will need to be controlled by software, and I wouldn't generally trust that without an analog override. Computers occasionally do odd things, and it is nice to be able to reroute away from the computer and have a CD backup just in case. You might not need this, but I'm a total nut about backups and redundancy wherever possible.

#### jkowtko

##### Well-Known Member
Okay, thanks for the suggestion. I was able to find an M-Audio Revolution 5.1 card for a reasonable price, installed it last night and (through headphones at my house) the sound is pretty good and the SCS software appears to route easily to any of the six output channels. I'll be hooking it up at the theater tomorrow and will know from there if there are any quirks or limitations with this configuration.
I tend to agree with you about hard-connecting the PC to the speakers ... probably a good idea to have a mixing board in the middle to handle any "issues". Fortunately with the Revolution cards I have to go through the mixer since the audio outs from the card are unbalanced.

#### great_beyond

##### Member
I have bought creative products in the past, and in my expirence they are not cut out for use in any professional enviroment. They are fine for home use, espessially the card that you are talking about. The 1010 will be the better choice. I have had only but trouble with the couple creative cards that I have used. I bought an M-Audio 1814 and that is what I use all the time now. I think they sound better than creative. Plus as a future upgrade idea you can by Pro-tools for that, for all your SFX production.

#### anticowboyism

##### Member
My vote is for the M-Audio any day. Audigy is not a professoinal product. It is for consumers and gamers. For production work, you need something reliable and proven in the production world. M-Audio or something better like Digidesign MBox or Motu would be the way to go.