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Audio newbie needs help! (Laptop headset/headphones)

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Hey guys!

Last year I bought a laptop and I've been looking for a new headset for a while now cause these $30 skullcandy I bought in Marshalls are noticeably low quality.

Steelseries is having a 35% off discount on all audio devices for father's day. I wanna buy a headset to use it for HoN, Counter-Strike, VOIP, etc(60%) music (40% electronic music mostly) since 35% off is extremely cheap.

So here's the question: I game on a laptop (which I guess doesn't have a sound card or has generic one or something) and I'm looking at the Steelseries headset because of the discount. I'm willing to pay around $100 so I guess the top options are Steelseries Siberia V2 USB which comes with a USB sound card that I THINK makes it work much better on laptops (correct me if I'm wrong please) and I've also seen other options like Sennheiser HD555 or the Audio Technica ATH-AD700.

Which of these is the best option or is there a better one (for a laptop)? I'm truly sorry about my ignorance, I'm new to audio stuff and I really want to learn a lot about it. I'm just confused about how audio works in a laptop since I've heard laptops don't have the same audio than desktop computers. It'd be really cool if any of you could explain me a little so I can start to understand. Thanks! biggrin.gif

PS:A headSET is not really necessary since I can survive with my laptop's mic, I'd take much better headphones over a headset any day.
post #2 of 20
Go with the Sennheisers or the Audio Technicas. You will hear a massive improvement over your skullcandys. Then if you want to upgrade further down the road, I recommend a Fiio E7 DAC (basically an external soundcard).
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post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thanks! So I'm guessing that the AD700/HD555 are the best options even today right? (i can push my budget up to 150 if there's a much better choice)
So basically, I need an external sound card in order to feel the real difference between my skullcandies and one of those headphones I guess. Will the difference still be completely noticeable even if I don't buy a sound card? Thanks again!
post #4 of 20
I´d recommend a pair of HD595´s if your budget is now 150$.
The Fiio E7 that hes talking about works as a DAC and amplifier. It does its job pretty well (for being as cheap as it is), speaking from experience. If you´re serious about your 1.6 I´d get a good sound-card instead, so you have the option of enabling positional sound, making it easier to locate enemies.

[ame="http://www.amazon.com/Sennheiser-HD595-Performance-Premiere-Headphones/dp/B0001FTVE0/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1308338039&sr=8-2"]http://www.amazon.com/Sennheiser-HD595-Performance-Premiere-Headphones/dp/B0001FTVE0/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1308338039&sr=8-2[/ame]
Edited by Goaky - 6/17/11 at 12:19pm
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post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the quick response!

Those sound like the best ones so far. However, I want to have noise-cancelling headphones as an option too since my computer area is kind of like in my living room and I'm pretty sure my brother can be bothered with all the sound that the 595 leaks out. If anybody can point out another option for $150 or around there, it would be great. Thank you!
post #6 of 20
The hd555 and AD700s are open headphones, and therefore will leak sound.
I can speak from experience that the audiotechnica ATH M50s are excellent for electronic, bassy music, while still being clear in other registers. For gaming, their soundstage is a bit small compared to open headphones (to be expected) but i dont have trouble deciphering position with them.

Also, you cant get a soundcard in a laptop, but you can buy an external USB DAC like the FiiO E7.

Also, if you want a mic, you can look into the, [ame="http://www.amazon.com/Zalman-Microphone-Zm-Mic1-Sensitivity-Headphone/dp/B00029MTMQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1308339868&sr=8-1"]Amazon.com: Zalman Microphone Zm-Mic1 High Sensitivity Headphone Microphone Retail: Electronics[/ame] , cheap and good.
post #7 of 20
If I were you I would try them all out. I was on a tight budget once and bought the sennheiser HD515's, they are hated by many people because they supposedly had bad sound quality compared to HD555's which were 40 euro's more expensive, and the HD595's obviously. Once I tried the HD515's I was very happy with how they sounded, they are perfect for me.

My dad has an HD595 and I tried those on and they were very smooth. I personally like to listen to lots of drum and bass, dubstep, dance, trance, electro. The bass of the HD595's was perfect, very smooth but I liked the bass of the HD515's more because it fitted more to my music styles. Its obvious that the HD595's are better but they cost €120 more which was not worth it for me.

Please do yourself a favor and test the headphones yourself.
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post #8 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mutill;13908935 
Thanks for the quick response!

Those sound like the best ones so far. However, I want to have noise-cancelling headphones as an option too since my computer area is kind of like in my living room and I'm pretty sure my brother can be bothered with all the sound that the 595 leaks out. If anybody can point out another option for $150 or around there, it would be great. Thank you!

$150 is a sweet price range. Here are a couple of headphones you might wanna read about.

[ame="http://www.amazon.com/Ultrasone-PRO-550-Professional-Headphones/dp/B000YDYEDW"]Amazon.com: Ultrasone PRO 550 S-Logic Surround Sound Professional Headphones: Electronics[/ame]

[ame="http://www.amazon.com/Beyerdynamic-Open-Studio-Headphones-Ohms/dp/B0011UB9CQ"]Amazon.com: Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO Open Studio Headphones 250 Ohms: Electronics[/ame]

[ame="http://www.amazon.com/Audio-Technica-Studio-Monitor-Headphones/dp/B000P62ND6"]Amazon.com: Audio Technica Pro Studio Monitor Headphones: Electronics (audio technica ath-m50)[/ame]

[ame="http://www.amazon.com/Audio-Technica-ATH-A700-Audio-Technica-Headphones/dp/B000E9VKUQ"]Amazon.com: Audio Technica ATH-A700 Headphones: Electronics[/ame]


actually u might want some kind of amp for the dt 990s so forget about that one.

Oh yeah... you definitely want to get a USB DAC for your laptop.
Edited by cuad - 6/17/11 at 2:05pm
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post #9 of 20
My recommendation is the ATH-A700's, no D, just A700. The difference is that the A700's are closed back and when listening to sound you shouldn't be able to hear much if anything outside of what you are listening to, and the sound won't leak far, if at all. Their is also better bass production in the A700's than the AD700's due to the closed back design and this improves the quality of Rock and Metal music. That would be another useful piece of info for us, what type of music do you listen to? How often do you listen to music? How much gaming compared to music do you do (60% gaming, 40% music? 70% music, 30% gaming?)? I have also heard that the loss in sound stage (sound stage helps a lot with positional audio and the AD700's are considered very high end in terms of sound stage) is not to great in the A700's compared to the AD700's. Also, some form of a sound card would be much better than the on-board sound that I do believe you are most likely using on your laptop. Since the FiiO E7 works as a DAC and an amp, that would be a great option to pick up along with the A700's if it fits your budget. Headphones first though. Also pick up a zalman clip on mic if you wish to use VOIP. Only $12 on Amazon. Also keep in mind that most "gaming" headphones are over priced and for around the same price you can find them you can find entry level audiophile phones that will grant you a much better audio experience. thumb.gif
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post #10 of 20
Cuad has some excellent suggestions, the ultrasone 550s and 580s are supposedly really good headphones as well. The DT990s have 250 ohm impedance which you would not only want an amp for, you would pretty much NEED one, especially going off of a laptop.
You wont be sorry with the M50s or ultrasones.
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