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A Sound Card that will give me room for a better microphone

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
I like to broadcast (stream) gaming related video, and I like to talk to viewers and friends on Skype while I'm doing it. Right now I'm using an ancient Audigy 2-ZS, which isn't fully supported on Windows 7 64-bit, and it's really bringing me down.

Current Relevant System Specs:
Windows 7 64-bit
Razer Carcharias Headset

Budget: $100-$200 (Preferably closer to the low end)

I realize the headset isn't spectacular on any level, and that the best audio experiences come with legit cans and a separate microphone. What I need is a sound card that will give me good/great microphone support both on hardware and software side so that when I do upgrade my input peripherals, I have room to improve. Sound quality isn't absolutely important, but I do like to crank up the tunes (everything) once in a while.

Can Overclock.net suggest a good option to me? I've heard of all the Xonars and the OMEGAs and stuff, but all people talk about are the sound quality, and I don't know if there's really a difference in the microphone support. I've got my eyes on the X-Fi Titanium HD since it's on sale at Newegg, but maybe there are better options to fit my budget and my needs. Ideas?

BONUS ROUND
Suggest a good microphone to go with it, while staying on budget. Preferably one that isn't going to catch every single sound that happens in my room (like my Zalman clip on, which I don't use for exactly that reason). Desktop is okay.

Thanks,
Matthew
Jillian
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Jillian
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Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus Windows 7 Professional 64-bit Razer Lycosa Corsair 520HX 
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post #2 of 4
Pretty much all consumer-grade stuff is going to give you the exact same microphone experience. If you need really high quality sound capture, then you're going to have to move away from consumer grade stuff and into enthusiast/pro stuff. There's just virtually no emphasis on quality recording for consumers. If you're OK with the way the 2-ZS performed, then you'll get nothing worse from current equipment. But don't expect new sound cards to be able to perform miracles in that regard.

As far as which sound card to get, the recommended audio components sticky has the best recommendations for headphones and soundcards at different price ranges.

As far as the mic is concerned, you might actually be best off getting a cheap desktop mic (http://www.amazon.com/Logitech-Labtec-Desktop-Microphone-600/dp/B000O7K4LO/ref=pd_cp_e_0). You could also look into USB mics (that would get around the whole sound card problem). I can't comment on your issue with the Zalman clip on, because it only picks up me when I'm using it, even if my roommates are goofing off behind me. Personally, that's the mic I recommend to all my friends, but if it doesn't work for you, I'm not sure a desktop mic will work any better.
post #3 of 4
The 2 options you want are the Titanium HD and the Xonar ST/STX. Either will do you perfectly. I too use the Cacharias with my STX and it's a fine sound combination. Sure there are better options, but I like having the mic on my headphones. If someone offered some audiophile grade headphones with a boom mic, I'd seriously look at them (when I had the money).
Ryzen 5 1600
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Ryzen 5 1600
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post #4 of 4
Quote:
Originally Posted by allikat View Post

If someone offered some audiophile grade headphones with a boom mic, I'd seriously look at them (when I had the money).

Both Beyerdynamic and Sennheiser offer headsets, but audiophile headsets are generally aimed at the aviation or broadcast markets, which air fairly small, so the products are really expensive. It basically means you're paying $100 to $200 for a microphone.
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