I finished a haswell build and to my misfortune im having issues with the included Realtek 1150, in the past i had nightmares with Creative and their drivers, to the point that on my PC i use only realtek and accepted the worst sound for stability. But im willing to go into a dedicated sound card again, as i have lot of static noises on the realtek.
Sound card ---> 3x 3.5 mini stereo plug to RCA ---> Emotiva UPA-5 amp ---> JBL NSP1 speakers + Sony SA700 sub
Mostly gaming, most of the time im playing alone on the 5.1 setup, but i do play with friends regularly maybe couple of hours at night, but the rest of the time im speakers. I play BF3, LOL, WOW, SC2, DOTA2, CS:GO, D3. I do use it for music but still more on the speakers, i do play ocasionally a movie or two but not what i spend most of the time.
The Sound card needs
5.1 analogs - 3.5 mini streo plugs
No static at all when gaming or playing music
Has to sound better than Realtek
Stable drivers for windows 7 pro
Has to be PCIe, i have no PCI slots
What im considering atm, but open to any none creative suggestion,HT Omega eClaro
I have read good things about HT Omega over the years, but one thing that has remained is they are expensive, but as long as it works well, i don't care. I like some features of it, like serial cable for speakers, this will help me a lot when cleaning and not needing to replug individually. I like also has a dedicated connection for the headphones, so i don't need to do what im doing atm to have the 2 channel front go to my headphone amp and then to the speaker amp, but not a big deal either. The other thing that worries me is that the last windows 7 drivers that i see from them are dated 2010... thats a long time, either they are really good into their drivers and no issues have happen on 3 years, or their support lacks.Asus Xonar DSX
A friend has one and he says been perfect for a year, he is using asus drivers, but i have read a lot of support on asus lacks and that many go into unified drivers, but checking asus web for the card, has 2013 windows 7 drivers, so maybe is not as bad as im thinking or not with this version. One thing that i like is the price, more than 3 times less than eClaro.
So what do you recommend me? im open for other sound cards as long as they are not creative.