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At what point is a dedicated sound card actually required? - Page 2

post #11 of 16
Thread Starter 
I see. I think I'm going to get a sound card then. My main headphones are HD555s. What's a good midrange option? Do sound cards tend to be PCI?
post #12 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by TrueOptic View Post
I see. I think I'm going to get a sound card then. My main headphones are HD555s. What's a good midrange option? Do sound cards tend to be PCI?


Depends, there are a lot of PCI-E x1 ones too. Those will work in any PCI-E slot though, FYI.
post #13 of 16
Thread Starter 
Well, I've got a fair number of slots to spare, as long as it's a single-slot card, which I'm assuming most sound cards are.
post #14 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by TrueOptic View Post
I see. I think I'm going to get a sound card then. My main headphones are HD555s. What's a good midrange option? Do sound cards tend to be PCI?
Heya,

For the HD555's and basically most nice headphones up to even some of the higher end ones can be well driven by the Xonar DG. It's cheap. It has an amp that can push headphones with impedance up to 150ohms. Great card for the money for headphones.

Beyond that you need more powerful amps. The STX can power up to 600ohm headphones. Or you can go with the Titanium HD for a bit less scratch. Then there's the Forte or HomeTheater HD. They all handle high impedance headphones pretty well. But they still don't have the power of a real external amplifier for pushing serous headphones. They're more than enough for entry to mid-level hifi.

Otherwise, if more is needed, time to look at external DACs and AMPs. They're more fun personally (but do nothing for gaming, software effects, emulations, etc, just pure quality of sound).

Very best,
post #15 of 16
A good sound card like the asus xonar essence will have better sound quality than onboard sound for a LONG TIME. The way I see it, buy a sound card (they aren't too expensive) and it will last several builds.
post #16 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by amvnz View Post
A good sound card like the asus xonar essence will have better sound quality than onboard sound for a LONG TIME. The way I see it, buy a sound card (they aren't too expensive) and it will last several builds.
This, But I wouldnt recommend getting an expensive one right away.
Get a Xonar DG or something like that for $30 and see if you notice a difference.
There is no reason to spend almost $200 on something you might not even notice in the end.

The only reason ive got a DG and not am external DAC/AMP is because im cheap.
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Micro Mule
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