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Thread: Good sound card recommendations.

  1. #1
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    Default Good sound card recommendations.

    What would be a good sound card to get for use with Trainz? My machine is beefy enough with a GTX 1060 6GB (Though Might upgrade that too since TRS19 seems to shutter often) But I feel like the sound is kind of lacking. My main issue is that with longer trains (Especially using JR's (Bogey_USA) sound files, the sounds seem to fade away here and there and then pop back again, before cutting out again. I'm not sure if this is a sound card issue or a Trainz issue since these sounds have been doing this since Trainz12 and am looking for some recommendations on what I could do to get the best experience sound wise from Trainz.
    See Oahu By Rail.........Ride The OR&L

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    There are two brands worth considering for reasonably-priced discrete sound cards - Asus and Creative.
    I have an Asus Xonar PCI card which is audiophile quality and has served me well for many years now.
    Newer versions from Asus (Like the Asus Essence STX II 7.1 PCIe Sound Card and Headphone Amplifier, for example, tend to be somewhat expensive, catering for purists and the affluent) so suggest decide on the minimum set of audio features that you actually need/ and can actually perceive/ discern/ hear, and purchase accordingly. i.e. Don't buy a card with esoteric features you can't hear/ use!
    I run my TRS19 and T:ANE simulators on rigs attached to 7.1 surround sound speakers (and occasionally high-end Sennheiser headphones) and choose the 'Enable 3D sound effects' checkbox in the Trainz Settings menu under Sound Settings.
    Sounds great - though obviously dependent on the quality of the in-session sound assets employed. Sad fact is that high-end gear will faithfully reproduce any crappy sound recordings too!
    Also - goes without saying - make sure you have a spare PCIe slot - and sufficient room within your case, otherwise you'll need to consider acquiring an external, USB sound card solution...
    Last edited by PC_Ace; August 24th, 2019 at 02:04 AM.

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    To be honest, I would avoid anything with Creative Labs because they are not the same as they used to be. The hardware is okay, but the drivers are garbage. I have had nothing but trouble with the latest drivers being resource hogs and doing weird supposedly "intelligent" things like randomly reset settings so what works one day doesn't work the next.
    John
    Trainz User Since: 12-2003
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    T:ANE Build: 94829
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCitron View Post
    To be honest, I would avoid anything with Creative Labs because they are not the same as they used to be. The hardware is okay, but the drivers are garbage. I have had nothing but trouble with the latest drivers being resource hogs and doing weird supposedly "intelligent" things like randomly reset settings so what works one day doesn't work the next.
    Seconded, not good at keeping up to date with Win 10's "Feature Updates" I find on board sound is pretty much as good as anything else these day unless you want recording studio quality.
    Malc


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    Quote Originally Posted by JCitron View Post
    To be honest, I would avoid anything with Creative Labs because they are not the same as they used to be. The hardware is okay, but the drivers are garbage. I have had nothing but trouble with the latest drivers being resource hogs and doing weird supposedly "intelligent" things like randomly reset settings so what works one day doesn't work the next.

    Hey John, you seem to be pretty helpful when ever I ask for help, so is there anything you'd might could recommend I try as far as card's go? I also do alot of IRacing and sim racing stuff as well so I need something that can handle alot of sounds with out taking a massive dumb on itself lol.
    See Oahu By Rail.........Ride The OR&L

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    My current PC motherboard has Creative sound system on-board, and it's been fine with all the versions of Win 10. I suspect that the drivers are from Gigabyte and don't change regularly.
    Previous pc had an external Soundblaster card. That really helped performance by reducing the motherboard/CPU bottleneck.

    Whatever card, get a decent set of audio speakers - 2.1 as a minimum. The bass speaker really makes a big difference.

    Colin

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    Quote Originally Posted by joshmeister View Post
    Hey John, you seem to be pretty helpful when ever I ask for help, so is there anything you'd might could recommend I try as far as card's go? I also do alot of IRacing and sim racing stuff as well so I need something that can handle alot of sounds with out taking a massive dumb on itself lol.

    Hi Josh,

    Thanks...

    There are other manufacturers that don't use the Sound Blaster hardware. Maybe I'm being paranoid now, but I got burned a few times now. I have one of the SB chipsets built into my Alienware laptop that has given me nothing but trouble with all the same issues I had with XFi my desktop card. The Z-series SB are crap. They have some kind of monitor-software that runs in the background and can't be killed. When that kicks in, it causes awful spikes in CPU usage and that caused awful stutters in Trainz every time it kicked in.

    The other XFi card I have worked fine until Creative "fixed" things with an updated driver. Once they did that, I had random issues like no sound due to ports swapping, which is the same issue I have with my laptop. Yes it would assume I had headphones plugged in and switch to the headphone port rather than stick with the speakers. On the laptop, I end up with a tinny, tiny sound when I plug in the laptop to the digital piano, which acts as external speakers. On my desktop, I get nothing out. Once I figured out what was happening, I would check my settings to ensure it was still on my speakers. The speakers, by the way, are older Sony speakers I picked up at Egg Head (Remember them) back in 1994. They still work well and still sound awesome.
    John
    Trainz User Since: 12-2003
    Trainz User ID: 124863
    T:ANE Build: 94829
    TRS2019: 98592

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    Quote Originally Posted by JCitron View Post
    Hi Josh,

    Thanks...

    There are other manufacturers that don't use the Sound Blaster hardware. Maybe I'm being paranoid now, but I got burned a few times now. I have one of the SB chipsets built into my Alienware laptop that has given me nothing but trouble with all the same issues I had with XFi my desktop card. The Z-series SB are crap. They have some kind of monitor-software that runs in the background and can't be killed. When that kicks in, it causes awful spikes in CPU usage and that caused awful stutters in Trainz every time it kicked in.

    The other XFi card I have worked fine until Creative "fixed" things with an updated driver. Once they did that, I had random issues like no sound due to ports swapping, which is the same issue I have with my laptop. Yes it would assume I had headphones plugged in and switch to the headphone port rather than stick with the speakers. On the laptop, I end up with a tinny, tiny sound when I plug in the laptop to the digital piano, which acts as external speakers. On my desktop, I get nothing out. Once I figured out what was happening, I would check my settings to ensure it was still on my speakers. The speakers, by the way, are older Sony speakers I picked up at Egg Head (Remember them) back in 1994. They still work well and still sound awesome.


    Sounds pretty interesting. I'm not really having any issues with every sound in Trainz dropping out though, it's mostly just bogey sounds because as you know, theres a TON of them having to play at the same time on a mile long train, those sounds will sometimes fade out if the camera isn't really close to the tracks, but things like locomotive sounds and the like will continue to play. I'm honestly not sure if its just my pc not being able to handle so many sounds, or if it might infact be an issue with Jointed Rail's bogey sounds?
    See Oahu By Rail.........Ride The OR&L

  9. #9
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    Most Sound Blaster (Creative Labs) are decent enough.

    Make train simulators great again #MTSGA obiter dictum

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    Quote Originally Posted by joshmeister View Post
    Sounds pretty interesting. I'm not really having any issues with every sound in Trainz dropping out though, it's mostly just bogey sounds because as you know, theres a TON of them having to play at the same time on a mile long train, those sounds will sometimes fade out if the camera isn't really close to the tracks, but things like locomotive sounds and the like will continue to play. I'm honestly not sure if its just my pc not being able to handle so many sounds, or if it might infact be an issue with Jointed Rail's bogey sounds?
    It's a combination of things. There's a lot of sound issues within Trainz anyway, and i think JR's sounds are a bit heavy to begin with and all that takes a lot of muscle. The in-game sound issue is going to be addressed at some point so there's not much we can do with that until it does happen.
    John
    Trainz User Since: 12-2003
    Trainz User ID: 124863
    T:ANE Build: 94829
    TRS2019: 98592

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    Quote Originally Posted by joshmeister View Post
    What would be a good sound card to get for use with Trainz? My machine is beefy enough with a GTX 1060 6GB (Though Might upgrade that too since TRS19 seems to shutter often) But I feel like the sound is kind of lacking. My main issue is that with longer trains (Especially using JR's (Bogey_USA) sound files, the sounds seem to fade away here and there and then pop back again, before cutting out again. I'm not sure if this is a sound card issue or a Trainz issue since these sounds have been doing this since Trainz12 and am looking for some recommendations on what I could do to get the best experience sound wise from Trainz.
    Have a read of this article, which compares an external $2000 PC connectable sound gubbins to three other PC sound gubbins, using blind listening tests with various kinds of sounds sent to state of the art headphones upon the heads of experienced audiophile listeners.

    https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews...udio,3733.html

    The conclusion?

    "Using world-class headphones, a $2 Realtek integrated audio codec could not be reliably distinguished from the $2000 Benchmark DAC2 HGC in a four-device round-up. Again, all four devices sounded great".

    In short, don't waste your money on a sound card used only for listening purposes. As Clam1952 mentions above, a sound card may be of use for recording high quality audio.

    Lataxe

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    I'll cheerfully admit that onboard sound solutions on high quality motherboards these days are really, really good - and frequently hard to distinguish from their discrete, more expensive add-on sound cards cousins.
    However, the add-ons often overcome some inherent, audible EMI problems that are introduced to the system by various components - especially GPUs.
    Additionally, hardware acceleration on your sound card allows for less stress on the CPU and slightly better frame-rates in games, together with much less sound distortion.
    Here's a very timely review (released today) by Hardware Canucks of a Soundblaster card and why they say that there's still a strong case for add-on sound cards in today's computing environment, especially for recording.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N9-ulTBgd9I

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    Quote Originally Posted by JCitron View Post
    It's a combination of things. There's a lot of sound issues within Trainz anyway, and i think JR's sounds are a bit heavy to begin with and all that takes a lot of muscle. The in-game sound issue is going to be addressed at some point so there's not much we can do with that until it does happen.

    Yeah, I was kinda thinking it was likely just a sound issue with Trainz to be honest, cause those JR Bogey sounds are pretty much the only sounds that do this, Just kinda sucks cuz I've found alot of sounds I can replace them with but they just don't feel as real to me.
    See Oahu By Rail.........Ride The OR&L

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    Quote Originally Posted by joshmeister View Post
    Yeah, I was kinda thinking it was likely just a sound issue with Trainz to be honest, cause those JR Bogey sounds are pretty much the only sounds that do this, Just kinda sucks cuz I've found alot of sounds I can replace them with but they just don't feel as real to me.
    The same here. I tried replacing them, but nothing fit. This I think is one of the weakest parts of the program that really needs to be addressed. I wrote a substantial post on this a year or so ago. Maybe once N3V gets the graphics squared away, they can do something with the sounds. I recall Windwalkr discussing this briefly with the Trainz Dev group, but not much came of it due to the other projects going on unless stuff is going on in the background we're not aware of.

    Getting back to the sound cards. The only reason you would want a separate sound card is if you need to do a lot of sound processing because the sound card, like a separate video card, takes the load off of the CPU and everything else going on. I have found, even with my music editing and recordings, the built-in RealTek sound chip on my motherboard does a fine job with no skipping, and the sound fidelity is quite nice. To confirm my editing, I played back something I recorded from my digital piano and it sounded just as nice as it did originally at least to my ears.
    John
    Trainz User Since: 12-2003
    Trainz User ID: 124863
    T:ANE Build: 94829
    TRS2019: 98592

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    Default I have no good ideas on this

    I have no good ideas on this. Because I've been thinking about buying a good sound card myself for a long time. But I do not understand which sound card will be good. Let me know if you find one that is good. Thanks.

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