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Topic: Sound Card: ASIO2: does SB Audigy2 ZX still suck?

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  1. #1
    Senior Member BlueMax's Avatar
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    Question Sound Card: ASIO2: does SB Audigy2 ZX still suck?

    I know SandBlasters have been the laughing-stock of the music industry for the last 15-20 years - but, all the same, I have noticed the latest incarnation of the Audigy2 (NX? ZX?) seems to be geared towards the entry-level musician, including proper ASIO2 driver support.

    Is this the case? Does the new one actually not suck?

    My reasoning: the Audigy2-whatever has almost-zero CPU usage. That's a good thing. The built-in synthesizer is actually usable, and given a good soundfont like the SynergiGS, sounds every bit as good as a Roland Sound Canvas variant for General MIDI work. It's got joystick MIDI, but that's livable - better than no MIDI port at all.

    But do the ASIO2 drivers actually work the way they're supposed to in music apps, or do they fail like all "ASIO" drivers have in the past. (Previous Live/Audigy cards have been nothing but trouble for most people.)

    I know I lose the "free" General MIDI synth, but I've also been considering the cheap M-Audio Audiophile solutions - the 2496 has really come down since the new 192-bit version has come out.

    Your opinions are welcome!
    "AAAAUUUUGGHHHHHHH!!!!!!" -- Charlie Brown

  2. #2
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    Re: Sound Card: ASIO2: does SB Audigy2 ZX still suck?

    e-mu has a $99.00 card that looks interesting. Also, echo and m-audio both have pci cards that are priced just a little more than the audigy, and (IMO) would work better for music apps. Games, I danno, but music apps, yes, better.

  3. #3
    Senior Member BlueMax's Avatar
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    Re: Sound Card: ASIO2: does SB Audigy2 ZX still suck?

    I really couldn't care less about fancy surround speakers - I have a good stereo pair of monitors (not mere speakers.) Not big on fancy game audio, but General MIDI may come in handy when composing for it - should I get a game project that is web-based and they want MIDI instead of digital.

    Honestly, I can scour around for a used SC-55 if that's the case. The M-Audio 2496 it likely shall be. I dunno about Emu.... Creative Labs bought them some years back and it seems like everything's sucked since.
    "AAAAUUUUGGHHHHHHH!!!!!!" -- Charlie Brown

  4. #4
    Senior Member rwayland's Avatar
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    Re: Sound Card: ASIO2: does SB Audigy2 ZX still suck?

    Quote Originally Posted by BlueMax
    I know SandBlasters have been the laughing-stock of the music industry for the last 15-20 years - but, all the same, I have noticed the latest incarnation of the Audigy2 (NX? ZX?) seems to be geared towards the entry-level musician, including proper ASIO2 driver support.

    Is this the case? Does the new one actually not suck?

    My reasoning: the Audigy2-whatever has almost-zero CPU usage. That's a good thing. The built-in synthesizer is actually usable, and given a good soundfont like the SynergiGS, sounds every bit as good as a Roland Sound Canvas variant for General MIDI work. It's got joystick MIDI, but that's livable - better than no MIDI port at all.

    But do the ASIO2 drivers actually work the way they're supposed to in music apps, or do they fail like all "ASIO" drivers have in the past. (Previous Live/Audigy cards have been nothing but trouble for most people.)

    I know I lose the "free" General MIDI synth, but I've also been considering the cheap M-Audio Audiophile solutions - the 2496 has really come down since the new 192-bit version has come out.

    Your opinions are welcome!
    Well, I think I passed "entry level musician" about 50 hears ago. I find the Audigy 2 ZS sound card quite acceptable, no ASIO problems noted. I don't make use of their onboard synth, which is primitive. Using GPO, and Roland JV1010 with Orchestral Expansion Card, I don't need the synth on the sound card. The key is to update the drivers as soon as you install. I can not tell you why this is the way it is, only that that's the way it is. I do not recommend using the on board synth of any sound card. If you must or wish to use GM without the expense of a synth, you might try the Microsoft wavetable synth built into your system, if you have a PC.

    Richard

  5. #5
    Senior Member BlueMax's Avatar
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    Re: Sound Card: ASIO2: does SB Audigy2 ZX still suck?

    Quote Originally Posted by rwayland
    I do not recommend using the on board synth of any sound card. If you must or wish to use GM without the expense of a synth, you might try the Microsoft wavetable synth built into your system, if you have a PC. Richard
    Having used many a hardware synth over the years (I've always been a Roland man!) I can tell you that the synth on the SB Live/Audigy beats the pants off the revolting junk that is the Microsoft GM Synth. The trick is to use its "Soundfont" capability. Listen to some MP3 demos on their page:

    SynergiGS

    Now it's no Roland SC-88 or higher, but it's about as good as the original Sound Canvas or a touch better. Not bad for near-free.

    So if the Audigy2 NX? (I can never remember the new letters) works as well as an M-Audio Audiophile for ASIO2 low-latency drivers with all the software included in the GPO box - it's worth somewhat considering. It does have some high points, including the synthesizer for the odd GM work I may be asked to do (though snagging an original SC-55 would do the same) but also has very low CPU usage... 5-10% of your CPU being drained by a sound card kinda' stinks.

    Thanks for your input!
    "AAAAUUUUGGHHHHHHH!!!!!!" -- Charlie Brown

  6. #6

    Re: Sound Card: ASIO2: does SB Audigy2 ZX still suck?

    There are proven reliable cards like the AP2496 ($99) that should steer you away from an Audigy.
    The eMu cards are useless if you want to run Giastudio.

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