Sound Blaster Z & Audigy Rx – Detailed Look at PC Sound

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Motherboard audio or add-in sound card? USB audio or analog sound? Detailed look at multiple ways to get sound into and out of your PC!
— Detailed Product Links Below – Expand Video Description —

Sound Blaster Z — @Amazon — @NewEgg
Sound Baster Audigy Rx 7.1 — @Amazon — @NewEgg
Sound Baster Audigy Rx 5.1 — @Amazon — @NewEgg

Blue Yeti USB Mic — @Amazon — @NewEgg

Basic USB Audio Device — @Amazon — @NewEgg

— My Current Sound Gear — (All links @Amazon)

RODE PSA1 Swivel Mount Studio Mic Boom Arm —

Audio-Technica AT2035 Large Diaphragm Studio Condenser Mic —

Audio-Technica AT4053B Hypercardioid Condenser Mic —

Audio-Technica AT875R Condenser Mic —

Neewer 48V Phantom Power Supply —
K&M 21021 Overhead Mic Stand —
XLR Audio Cable —


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hello and welcome to tech deals unboxing an overview of the Sound Blaster Z sound card and a discussion of various audio options for your computer in 2017 in just a few minutes yes I will take this out of the box and show you everything that you get but the real purpose of doing this video is to talk about all of your audio choices in 2017 most computers have built-in sound cards and have had built-in sound cards for a long time you may be saying why would I use anything else good question maybe you shouldn't we'll talk about that we'll talk about external USB audio devices add-in PCI Express sound cards full USB mixers and the reasons why you might choose them I'm also gonna talk about my sound situation why I bought these because I did buy these and what I'm using them for first of all let me be very very clear for most of you probably 90% of the people watching this video the built-in sound in your computer is actually all that you need if you just have 30 to 50 dollars worth of speakers on your desk you watch some YouTube videos you listen to some streaming music maybe you play a few games the built-in sound is actually just fine where that changes is if you have very high quality speakers or headphones and I'm talking about $100 plus speakers or headphones or you record audio for a living either in podcast audio form or for a video such as I do then exploring your audio options may make sense I'm going to discuss these options in order of price from lowest to highest I've already mentioned the built-in sound let me offer the under $10 option you can buy these USB audio devices for less than $10 a link to this and everything I'm discussing down in the video description below to all the various sites but these are under $10 and they simply plug into a USB port on your computer and provide a headphone and microphone jack on the back it's a very inexpensive analog to digital converter they do work finding no special drivers required I have tested this the sound quality is okay it's not great the primary use of something like this in my opinion is for failed audio if the motherboard audio in your computer is either defective or staticky or simply does not work at all you can this to plug in your speakers and you will get audio back on your computer if you are recording audio for a living if you have high end sound skip these they work but they're cheap and they're no better than the built-in audio at least in my experience moving on from those that brings us to the thirty five to fifty five dollar options including the audiology rx series from creative labs yes they still make Sound Blaster cards in 2017 if you're my age you may remember the original ad-lib the roland mt-32 pro audio spectrum and of course sound blaster cards from the late 80s and early 90s now of course back then computers only had PC speakers or at least pcs did amigas and Apple's had better sound but for the PC side you had to add a sound card to get any kind of music or sound effects the $35 version of this card is a 5.1 surround sound and the $55 version is a 7.1 surround sound it also has a couple more features some more inputs on the back it's a full-height card the $35 version is a half-height the $35 version may be met very well meet all of your needs but if you're buying a sound card to record audio for a podcast or youtube videos I would consider the $55 version to sort of be the minimum entry requirement if you're buying a PCI Express sound card you get gold plated connectors and a few extra features which are nice and for an extra $20 if you're gonna put it in step up to the 7.1 now for those of you curious this is what you're actually listening to me on right now or rather my overhead shotgun microphone which is an audio technica hundred and seventy dollar shotgun microphone is on a boom arm overhead and it is plugged into this card which is why I can't do an unboxing of it because this is physically installed in my skylake X system right now one of the reasons I'm making this video is I've gone on a journey to try to improve my audio quality and one of the things I did was I got some extra sound cards such as the USB device there and these to see if I can improve my sound recording now speaking of sound recording this is a good point to take a quick pause and say there are other factors besides your sound card or audio device that's going to control your sound quality the room you're filming in makes a big big difference there is a flat wall on that side of the camera there's a flat wall behind me there are flat walls on either side and there's a flat ceiling over I do not have foam padding on any of them and I probably need to that's probably the next thing I need to do to get rid of any echo or reverberation in the room but this does sound better than the built-in sound card did in fact a video that I posted a few days ago the MSI Z 370 crate gaming motherboard was filmed using the onboard audio of my motherboard so if you want a simple example of the difference between this and the built-in sound you can listen to that video and hear the difference so if this is fun at 55 what is this the Sound Blaster Z is a $90 sound card it does have better signal-to-noise ratio it does have more features than the $55 card does this is going to stay here in my youtube recording machine this card is going into that machine back there which if you follow my channel is my $2,000 Cadillac build it's an i7 8700 K and that is going to be my new twitch live streaming machine which is going downstairs it's replacing an older i7 4790k now that has very nice built-in audio on the motherboard however I've had various issues both positive and negative with built-in audio and I recently made twitch partner link to my twitch account is down in the video description below and since I'm now going to be able to be making an income from live streaming it's time to get a decent sound card truth be told I could probably buy another one of these but I also have a youtube tech review channel so buying a different model gives me a chance to take a look at both of them and then compare them now we'll get to the unboxing of that in just a minute but I wanted to discuss two more options available first of all the microphone I'm using overhead is an analog microphone it connects using an XLR cable I've got a 48 volt phantom power supply under the desk and then that actually runs into the back of the sound card the other option you have is to go with something like a blue Yeti microphone those are about $90 and they use a USB connection basically the digital to analog conversion occurs or rather the analog to digital occurs inside the microphone and it sends a digital signal direct to your computer truth be told if I had the entire thing to do over again I would be tempted to do that I don't own a blue Yeti and I've thought about buying but you know at some point you end up with more microphones than you know what to do with I already own least microphones so I'm going with the sound cards I could certainly mount the blue Yeti overhead and then simply run the cable to a USB port and that probably would provide just as good as sound as my current audio-technica microphone that's overhead but since I already have that one it is what it is now that is one option the other option is to go to a full-blown external USB mixer to where the microphone headphone speakers and everything plugs into an external full mixer with gain control and volume and balance controls all the sound goes through it and then that connects via USB to the computer that is probably something I will eventually end up with especially as a twitch streamer I know a lot of professional full-time twitch streamers use external mixers it's just something that I haven't gotten to yet and if I do then I will definitely make a video about it basic external USB mixers at least the good ones that have been recommended to me by other people are about a hundred dollars you can buy them for less but the ones that have been recommended to me are about a hundred but you can easily spend four hundred to a thousand dollars on a really fancy mixer with a lot of different inputs very few people need such a device the basic hundred R units are all that most people need truthfully if you add a hundred and seventy dollar shotgun microphone plus a $100 external USB mixer that suddenly makes the blue Yeti microphone seemed pretty reasonable which is probably why they're used by so many streamers although do allow me to turn that argument on its head because while a blue Yeti microphone gives you a nice digital microphone so the sound system of your computer is completely irrelevant because it's just digital sound going into your machine that does nothing for your headphones or your nice surround sound speaker system coming back to these sound cards for a minute if you have a nice 7.1 full surround sound system with front side rear and subwoofer well you need something like this if you want to get the most out of it now it's true that 7.1 audio was supported by a lot of onboard sound chips these days but if you've spent two three hundred dollars on a really high end surround sound system fifty to ninety dollars for a sound card is really not that much all things considered so that's enough of the overview why don't we open this up and see what you get for your $90 now I can't open this up of course because I've already put that in the machine no I didn't film it I probably should have it has been a very long time since I've actually bought a sound card I owned an original sound blaster card years and years ago skip the sound blaster Pro went to a sound blaster 16 skip the aw e 32 went to an aw e 64 and to be completely honest don't remember what happened after that at some point we all went to unboard sound I probably had one or more sound carts after the aw e 64 but if you're older like I am you remember those days and frankly I remember them fondly except for the price of those cards which were kind of expensive at the time and here you can see what's in the package it's basically just a foam type container with the sound card a couple of cables and then you have an instruction manual and driver CD over here there are some twist ties on the back that you have to undo to get the card off because it is tied in nice and tight they are quite serious about protecting this and now you can see the sound card now one nice thing about this assuming you like the color red is it is a much more attractive card with the shroud it has a nice look to it then say the $55 card which is basically just capacitors a chip and it's a simply a standard interface card that assumes of course you like the red theme if you don't well then maybe buy the less expensive one on the back of the card we have a full suite of gold-plated inputs and outputs microphone jack here headphone and surround sound and then there is an optical out and an optical input in the back if you curious what the card looks like on this side well okay this is just a black side what's interesting because of how PCI Express cards are in your system it's actually going to be looking like this with the red side down in most people's computers so you'll see some red here and black on the top with the red side actually facing down all of these cards the 35 55 and 90 dollar card all have a plug here for the front panel audio connector so your headphone and microphone jack on the front of your computer will plug into the card instead of the motherboard one nice feature that the $90 sound card comes with that the other to do not is a beamforming microphone this is a stereo microphone it's got a pad on the bottom a little clip here you can put this on top of your monitor if you're just recording audio or simply one a good microphone you can use this and save yourself the cost of buying one the other cards don't come with a microphone so the extra cost of the $90 card may be completely justified by the microphone alone it is a better sound card but for most people probably the other ones are good enough unless you want the microphone in which case it's a value to summarize all this for most of you just use the built-in sound it's fine if you're thinking of going to an ad in sound card consider your needs do you have high quality speakers does your current sound have a problem you get a lot of crackling and Static on your current sound do you perhaps have issues with older drivers or perhaps you have an older motherboard that's not well supported in Windows 10 for example maybe a new sound card will work very nicely speaking of drivers let me say when I installed the audiology rx into my sky like X system in Windows 10 I did have to install creative labs drivers Windows 10 did not automatically install the drivers no problem the download was quick and easy I'm also pleased to report that while it did put a small icon in my task tray it's not obtrusive and I'm not noticing any performance difference so it's not slowing down the system in any regard they're very lightweight drivers there are some extra options in the drivers that you don't get with the realtek audio that's built into motherboards simp if control and some additional configuration of surround sound settings and other things which are not basically included with the realtek cards now I have not used this yet since I just unboxed it but if you follow me on Twitch you're gonna get a chance to because I currently live stream using a built-in sound card but I'm gonna install this in that computer back there and start live streaming with it and I'll talk about it more during those streams having said all that if I had the entire thing to do over again would I still go the route that I did honestly no downstairs I have an audio technica at2020 I just simply wasn't aware of that as the right choice at the time I bought it and I'm already invested in that solution which is why I bought the sound card if you currently don't own a microphone and all you want to do is twitch stream by blue Yeti everything I've heard from people I've talked to says that that's probably a better choice for most people than going with a sound card and a separate microphone perhaps one of these days I'll get a chance to try that out like this video if you liked it share it with your friends if you loved it remember to subscribe to my channel with that big huge red button directly below questions and comments in the comment section and as always links in the video description link to twitch to follow me over there link to my Twitter and patreon is down there as well links to Amazon and Newegg for everything discussed as well if you found this video helpful and useful in any way please use those links they are affiliate links they support the channel if you want to see me around in 2018 I would greatly appreciate your support thank you so much I will see you in my next video

Sound Blaster Z & Audigy Rx – Detailed Look at PC Sound

22 thoughts on “Sound Blaster Z & Audigy Rx – Detailed Look at PC Sound”

  1. onboard audio is ok for most things. I found that when I have the opportunity to turn up the volume on a game when the family is not around, the onboard audio just isn't loud enough. Not that onboard audio sounds bad, in fact the sound is good, just that it never got loud enough for what I wanted and that is why I got a sound card.
    So the opportunity came along to buy one and I got a the sound blaster Zx. Immediately after setting it up, it does have a much higher volume level.
    HOWEVER, what I didn't expect was just how much clearer and crisp the sound card audio is over the onboard audio. Various sounds like footsteps and movements are now much easier to pick out and hear sooner than onboard audio, even when the audio is set at about the saem volume levels for each.

  2. I finally got my titanium HD to work again for 2018 it’s been on the shelf for a few years but I just plugged it in and it randomly worked after new bios update and installed Daniel K’s drivers and let me tell you coming from on the board sound huge improvement and games and movies FPS games actually sounds scary now

  3. this is a very very good channel, so much useful when I need to buy something on the PC world (Mothreboards, Graphic cards, cpu and more). The speaker is very objective about everything, and the subjects are often updated. I am not english but He speak a very good english so with subtitles I can understand everything. congratulations!

  4. Honestly, built in cards are fine for stereo output. I finally decided to build new PC. I previously used Auzentech X-Fi 7.1 Prelude (old PCI) and it was working fine in Windows 10 with 3rd party drivers (there is pack for Windows 10 as it's not officially supported). I used a few features: Stereo Xpand (expand stereo sound to surround), bass settings (crossover frequency and subwoofer independent sound level +15db). That's all and yet SupremeFX on new Z390-F ASUS board can't do it. Actually, it does not work with 5.1 sound for some reason, crashes in chrome, has massive issues with drivers. It's a mess. After so many years motherboard sound cards are worse than they were before.
    I need some replacement on PCIe.

  5. I'm sorry I do enjoy your videos and just how detailed you get into the specs of most things and their real world applications, but waiting 9 minutes to get to the review in your 14 minute video is a little outrageous

  6. "200 to $300 on real high end system" hahaha was that a joke? Since when $300 can get you a high end system???? You mean those pc speaker toys from logitech etc? $300 will barely get you a nice set of 2 speakers like the CBM-170 SE from Ascend Acoustics. That is it. So please never mention high end audio and $300 in the same sentence. It just shows your lack of knowledge about the topic.

  7. Still using creative x-fi titanium pcie sound card and its sound quality, clearity, treble and deepness of bass outpasses any onboard option. Once creative, always creative. I'm thinking of getting a sound blaster Z card due to lack of drivers support on titanium and windows 10.

  8. Still have my old Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS with the front panel controller. Still awesome after all these years.

    I remember when all of the AAA games during the 2003-2008 had the sound blaster audigy commercial on them. Good times!

  9. just found this. My Asus laptop is called a .. ho ho .. ''SONIC MASTER'' meaning that it is a master of frying fish in crackling fizzing oil — well at least that is what it sounds like. So I had to buy an offboard card — not too expensive at about 70E but a fkn hassle with wires klutzing up the space. If this puts anyone off buying a misleadingly named ASUS computer it's not gonna reduce me to tears..

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