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is Sound Blaster Live still the best sound card for Linux?
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MartinB
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 07, 2018 9:47 am    Post subject: is Sound Blaster Live still the best sound card for Linux? Reply with quote

So everything in my current PC is four or five years old (i7, GT660, 16GB, 120GB SSD, etc.), except for the Sound Blaster Live! card, which I've hung onto now for about eighteen years. The card is still working great, but we're reaching the point now where the PCI slot that accommodates is rapidly disappearing on new motherboards, so I may have to finally let it go when I do my next upgrade.

Thing is, every time I've checked, it seems that no other audio chipsets can do hardware mixing on Linux like the SBLive can, so you always end up relying on shitty software solutions like that awful PulseAudio thing. I got rid of PA on my system a long time ago because it caused so many problems, and I'd really rather not have to deal with it again.

So is there any good upgrade path from my eighteen year-old SBLive? Surely something has bettered this card on Linux over the last eighteen years?
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bunder
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 07, 2018 11:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

intel-hda isn't as bad as it used to be. creative kindof had a downfall around the vista or 7 ages since none of their drivers supported 64bit or something... add-on sound cards kindof disappeared as well around that point. i think they still do make one or two pci-e sound cards though.
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tholin
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 07, 2018 2:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had a similar problem a few years back. I just couldn't keep using my sound blaster live anymore.

Most people rely on on-board sound these days and add-on sound card are aimed at audiophiles and priced accordingly. Most on-board cards use intel-hda which is not actually a sound card. It an interface for communicating with sound cards like ahci is an interface for communicating with disk controllers. There are some fancy intel-hda based cards with hardware mixing but many are cheap and doesn't even have hardware volume support.

What I ended up doing was mailing the alsa-user mailinglist with a list of my requirements and the author of the oxygen driver confirmed that Asus Xonar D2X had what I needed. It was expensive but it works well. The driver is solid, good sound, hardware mixing and volume, hardware loopback. The only problem is the loopback interface doesn't have it's own volume so the volume of the loopback must be adjusted with the main volume control.

The cheaper Asus Xonar cards that use the oxygen driver might work just as fine.
https://alsa-project.org/main/index.php/Matrix:Vendor-Asus
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P.Kosunen
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 5:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alsas dmix should be ok, new processors can easily handle even better resampling algorithms.
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Ant P.
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2018 6:32 pm    Post subject: Re: is Sound Blaster Live still the best sound card for Linu Reply with quote

MartinB wrote:
So is there any good upgrade path from my eighteen year-old SBLive? Surely something has bettered this card on Linux over the last eighteen years?

An Aureal was better than it 20 years ago ;)
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