Best balance for quality sound


Sep 6, 2017
Hi Everyone, I am helping a friend put together a new PC build but I really don't know much about audio quality. My questions is about how to best balance his components for quality sound. While budget isn't the only factor andhe certainly isn't an audiophile, he has determined that he would prefer to not have his audio sound like it is coming out of a mobile phone speaker.

He is currently looking at two motherboards, the Asrock Killer SLI and the Asrock Extreme 4. One has the Realtek ALC892 codec and the other has the Realtek ALC1220 codec. Both have 7.1 surround. The Killer is about $50+ cheaper right now.

Since he needs a new gaming headset, does he go all out on say a Steelseries Arctis Pro, or can he get an Arctis 3,5 or 7 to still deliver quality sound?

If he was going to get a budget ($50-75) headset, does getting the better codec even matter? What matters more, the codec or the headset itself?

Looking for any and all recommendations for balancing his components for decent sound.
Jul 16, 2018
Sounds like to me the current run of sound chips on motherboards will be perfectly adequate for your friends use - he is probably thinking back to the days of the cheap mono speakers generating beeps :p I havent bothered with a dedicated sound card in years and never experienced "mobile phone speaker" quality.

Buy decent speakers and pretty sure he'll be satisfied.

As for headsets, the Arctis Pro is USB based, so a dedicated card/onboard sound wont be used anyway, the USB dongle/box will be processing the sound.

Getting decent headset is always a good move, I got a Logitech 933 Artemis, and love them.


Sep 22, 2011
Yeah agreed, onboard sound has been very good for years and is all most people need. I haven't added a sound card into one of my gaming rigs in more than a decade, (it used to actually affect performance once upon a time).

But my advice is simply don't worry about it, odds are very good he'll be happy with onboard sound and if not there are all kinds of add in external or internal devices you can add later. Or he could just go for a USB headset with it's own codec and amp and then it doesn't matter what's in the PC.

My only negative comment about onboard sound is that it can lack enough volume if there's a lot of ambient noise around if you connect directly to the line out without some form of amplifier. Personally I hate headphones and use a nice pair of bookshelf speakers and a small amplifier.
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