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Trying to get the best sound using Laptop....

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Hi All,

hope this isn't a double post, I've had a search.

I'm wanting to increase the sound quality coming out of my laptop, for games and music/films.

I've got a good set of 5.1 speakers so that's not a problem.

I'm more thinking about a USB sound card, and headphones for when needed.

Has anyone got any advice on USB sound cards, are they any good, which should I go for?

Also, I've heard that the Roccat Kave cans are good, anyone own these?

Any advice would be great!

Budget of about £150ish, preferably less, but willing to spend more if it's essential.

Thanks!
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Susan Jnr Mk 2
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post #2 of 12
You should consider buying an external dedicated DAC, unfortunately I'm not too familiar with all the DACs out there.

Not sure about the Kave but it's marketed as a gaming peripheral so it has a high chance of being overpriced and lacks the audio fidelity other headphones have.
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post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks a lot Canoners, I'll look into DAC's. I have a few contacts who may know a thing or 2.

The Roccat has good reviews, but yes that is in a gaming capacity. I use their mice so thought was a good starting point.

I've used Sennheiser headphones before, they were good but again overpriced I think.

Long shot, do Shure make headphones?! Because their mics were always the best bang for buck, totally different I know.
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post #4 of 12
Sennheisers aren't overpriced (maybe only some of their products are).

Yes, Shure makes headphones.
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post #5 of 12
Not sure about external DACs, but for headphones you'll want to look at offerings by Sennheiser and Audio Technica at your budget. This is assuming you want to game primarily.

Otherwise, it would help if you stated your music preferences so could can suggest options accordingly.
post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
Hi Narzon, thanks.

I'm getting my bro to talk me through DACs later.

I've got college qualifications in popular music and recording, so I like to think I've got pretty well tuned ears, but I've been out of the hardware loop for a long time.

Used to swear by Shure and Sennheiser.

Primarily games, but thinking about it I quite often mute the sound and crack out iTunes.

Now I know this isn't going to help but my taste atm is anything from Minimalist Techno, to Tech Metal, to Dubstep and down to jazz and acoustic.

Also, 5.1 surround headphones, a fad or do they work?

Help?!?! :S
Susan Jnr Mk 2
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Susan Jnr Mk 2
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post #7 of 12
5.1 headphones are mostly marketing gimmicks. Some say they sound amazing for games, but most say they sound horrendous. I personally never heard tried a surround sound headphone before so I can't comment much.

How much do they sell Creative Aurvana Live! in the UK? That could be a good choice for you. Is that £150 for both the headphone and sound card or just the headphone/card?
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post #8 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tigalione View Post
Hi Narzon, thanks.

I'm getting my bro to talk me through DACs later.

I've got college qualifications in popular music and recording, so I like to think I've got pretty well tuned ears, but I've been out of the hardware loop for a long time.

Used to swear by Shure and Sennheiser.

Primarily games, but thinking about it I quite often mute the sound and crack out iTunes.

Now I know this isn't going to help but my taste atm is anything from Minimalist Techno, to Tech Metal, to Dubstep and down to jazz and acoustic.

Also, 5.1 surround headphones, a fad or do they work?

Help?!?! :S
Hm, well that is difficult. For gaming, jazz, and acoustic, the Sennheiser HD555/595 headphones are perfect. For Dubstep and techno, the bass response isn't generally enough. The M50s are often recommended for very nice bass response, but they're pretty mediocre when it comes to gaming.

At your budget, I'd say either decide between what's more important (gaming/acoustics or bass) and pick between the HD555s and M50s..
Or, if you can stretch the budget a bit the Beyerdynamic DT770s are pretty great for both bass response and soundstage.


@5.1 surround, it's not so much a gimmick (some people like it for games, I use it for BR movies), but the headsets that implement are gimmicky. Fact is, with a sound card like the X-fi or Xonar series cards, you can utilize the same "virtual surround" software on any pair of stereo headphones. Even then, it's far from necessary, and I'd 100% always take good stereo phones over any form of "gaming" headsets.
post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 
Can get the Creative Aurvana Live! cans for £50 here. Ideally £150 for the lot, but I'm willing to pay more for quality if I need to to get a rich sound.

I was hoping to build a new rig but thought I'd put it off and save some money/do this instead. Yeah I've heard mixed review on 5.1, seems the headphones with multiple speakers in them are the only ones which come close.
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Susan Jnr Mk 2
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post #10 of 12
I'd try the CAL! and see if it suits your need.

Say, if you do get the CAL! then all that's left is a good DAC for better sound quality.
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