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New PC: Lackluster Audio

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So I recently built myself a new gaming rig. It is a huge upgrade from the Dell laptop I was on for the past 4 1/2 years. First PC I built myself, and It has been worth every penny. The only problem seems to be the audio.

 

The motherboard is a Maximus V Gene from ASUS, which is supposed to have great on-board audio. I figured it would be a big step up from my laptop, and while it definitely has less hiss, the audio quality seems worse now. All sounds seem to lack the punch that they used to have. I first noticed it with gunshots in Half-Life 2, especially the 9mm pistol. It almost sounds muffled/distant now. I noticed it in some music I listen to as well (I mainly listen to classical). The same thing happens whenever a bass drum hit occurs or a lot of instruments start playing.

 

It should be noted that all sounds are like this now, but it is especially noticeable when the things that I talked about above occur. Messing with the equalizer doesn't really help, and neither has plugging in the headphones to the back to the computer rather than the front panel header. I am using the same headphones I was before, so the only change is the internal computer hardware. The motherboard is working fine otherwise.

 

Can anybody help me out?

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That motherboard appears to have a Supreme FX III sound chipset. I haven't heard of it before, but it seems to be an offshoot of Creative Labs' audio (which is weird since Asus makes their own soundcard chipsets as well). From the time that I had a Creative soundcard, see if there's an option to change the default sound from "headphones" to "2 speakers" in any sort of software that came with the onboard soundcard. I remember Creative's software would essentially make the audio sound worse all-round in headphone mode, even on headphones.

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It may also have a virtual surround sound setting activated, which could easily cause similar lackluster sound performance. If neither of these helps, call ASUS customer service and see if they have a remedy.

Don't insult me. I have trained professionals to do that.

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Switching it to front speaker mode from headphone mode reduced the effect, but didn't totally eliminate it. Turns out that THX TruStudio Pro was the problem. I turned it off, and bam, the problem is gone. Thanks for the help.

 

I'm fairly certain it's a Realtek chip since it shows up as a Realtek High Definition Audio device in the device manager and system information. The codec is also Realtek, ALC898, as well as the driver and software that pops up when you plug in an audio device. However, the software that goes with the motherboard is Creative Sound Blaster, X-Fi 2, EAX, and ALchemy. All on an ASUS board with on-board audio. I'm not sure what to think. Is it worth having all that extra software installed? Or is it doing something that I don't notice right now that's needed?

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