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Help me move to the world of better audio...

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
So, I feel like I have been building high-end PC's for long enough now, that it is about time I actually equipped my computer with better audio components. However, since I am new to this, I need some help/input.

First off, some background and what I need audio for...

I rarely listen to music on my computer, but when I do it is through speakers when I am working on something else in the room. So music is pretty far down my list of important qualities. I do however play a lot of fps games (CSS and BF:BC2 for the most part) and do a lot of online racing with iRacing.

I have never used anything but onboard sound or from a headset's usb controller. I have owned a few pairs of headphones over the years...started with old school logitech usb-350, then had the Razer Barracuda (how I hated those), and have now been using Plantronics Gamecon 777's for the past 2 years. I have really liked my gamecoms because they are very comfortable, have a great mic, and have been durable.

For my new setup, I would like an actual sound card (PCI-E 1x), a pair of good headphones primarily for gaming, and a Zalmann clip-on mic. I am not working with a strict budget, but am one who usually goes for component with the best quality for a decent price. In other words, I don't want that extra 5% in quality for double the money.

I have read a lot already and have a good idea which headset/sound card is going to be recommended, but figured I would pose my question anyway.

Thanks.
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Heavy Armor
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post #2 of 26
Strictly for gaming I'd say the absolute best pair for gaming would be a Titanium HD with AD700 phones. The HD can be a little expensive, but it's probably the best internal sound card for gaming.. ever. The only downside is that it's only for stereo output, but that's hardly a downside for most people who use headphones. It's also a PCI-E card. If you want to go cheaper, get an X-fi Titanium. I personally had driver issues with it, as did others, but it seems to work fine for a lot of people.

The AD700 are often considered the very best gaming headphones within $100, and very few things can really beat them even past that mark. For music they're a little bright if you ask me, and the bass is what some consider "anemic". Even so, they'll destroy the other headsets you've been using in terms of pure sound quality. Their biggest advantage is that they have an absolutely huge soundstage, partly due to their huge drivers. This allows you to pinpoint sounds across the map with greater ease. The other headsets you've used might have allowed you to hear from which direction sounds come from, but a good soundstage will also alert you to distance (and height to a certain degree).
post #3 of 26
Thread Starter 
So just to use $250 as an arbitrary target point...you are saying that the money is better spent purchasing the $150 Titanium HD sound card and the $100 AD700 headphones vs. buying a cheaper $50 sound card and a set of $200 headphones?

I also did want to add...I do from time to time watch movies and tv shows on my computer through the headphones....maybe once every couple of weeks.
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post #4 of 26
You can also consider the ASUS Xonar HDAV 1.3 if you like good sound quality on movies (Dolby TrueHD)
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post #5 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by turbocharged;14294970 
So just to use $250 as an arbitrary target point...you are saying that the money is better spent purchasing the $150 Titanium HD sound card and the $100 AD700 headphones vs. buying a cheaper $50 sound card and a set of $200 headphones?

I also did want to add...I do from time to time watch movies and tv shows on my computer through the headphones....maybe once every couple of weeks.


Yes, simply because the only cards worth buying lower than the $80 X-fi Titanium are the Xonar cards, which are excellent, but don't measure up to the X-fi's in gaming. It may seem strange to pay more for the source than for the actual phones, but when you go higher than AD700s for gaming you really start encountering diminishing returns.
As for movies and TV shows, that doesn't really change much, except that you might want a little more bass. To make this simpler, what is your total budget? I know you said you want the best "value" for your buck, but it's really hard to recommend things without knowing how high you'll be willing to go. The DT770s are also fantastic gaming headphones, and have much more bass presence than the Audio Technicas. You could also look at the Sennheiser 500 line and see if anything there appeals to you, though I'd look at those more for 50/50 gaming+music tastes.
post #6 of 26
Thread Starter 
I would say that my budget for everything (phones, card, mic, amp) would be 300-350...maybe more if it were really worth it, but would obviously like to spend as little as needed.

Those DT770's look nice, but wouldn't the closed back take away from the sound stage for gaming? And do they require an amp?

I can get the AD700's, Titanium HD, and Zalman mic all for $249.57 shipped at Amazon. Under $250 seems like a solid price if the setup is as good as everyone says it is.
Edited by turbocharged - 7/21/11 at 10:49am
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Schiit Vali Headphone Amp Zalman Clip-on Mic 
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post #7 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by turbocharged;14295767 
I would say that my budget for everything (phones, card, mic, amp) would be 300-350...maybe more if it were really worth it, but would obviously like to spend as little as needed.

Those DT770's look nice, but wouldn't the closed back take away from the sound stage for gaming? And do they require an amp?

I can get the AD700's, Titanium HD, and Zalman mic all for $249.57 shipped at Amazon. Under $250 seems like a solid price if the setup is as good as everyone says it is.

I'd, in your position, take the AD700s and the Titanium HD. The DT770 have a surprisingly large soundstage, but they do benefit from an amp, and they do have a lot of bass, which for gaming can be detrimental.
post #8 of 26
I have a PCI Creative X-Fi XtremeGamer and i love it. get yourself an X-Fi Titanium. you wont be dissapointed wink.gif
post #9 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by turbocharged;14295767 
Those DT770's look nice, but wouldn't the closed back take away from the sound stage for gaming? And do they require an amp?

They have a nice soundstage despite they are closed, and the 32 ohm version are easier to drive.
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post #10 of 26
first i think that the Titanium HD and the AD700 are great equipment for Gaming
Xonar cards performs better in Music/Movies but not as good as the Creative in Gaming

and the HD has great stable drivers (unlike older X-Fi cards)

and yeah the Titanium HD is great upgrading form on-board
    
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