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$200 Audio Upgrade, Need Suggestions

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
I'm looking at about a $200 budget for new audio gear. I'm thinking sound card and a pair of headphones. I want a PCI-E sound card to ensure future compatibility. The $200 is split between a sound card and a pair of headphones. If I need to get a headphone amp to drive them that's okay, and am willing to stretch the budget a bit for that.

Budget: $200 preferably, can go to $250 if necessary.

Soundcard Needs: PCI-E, optical out for hooking up to my HT receiver.

Music Tastes: Classic rock, metal, alternative, reggae, hip hop, rap, dubstep. A little bit of everything.

Desired Sound: Analytical, but slightly warm. 25/75 mix of gaming/music. My main focus is on music, with gaming being much less important.

Usage: Will be either used at my desk, or in the car, but rarely ever anywhere else. They need to be portable enough to toss in a backpack, but that's about it. I want a moderate to high level of isolation, enough to use them at a moderate listening level on a plane or in the car without bothering others. Appearance isn't a big deal, but I don't want anything gaudy with ridiculous colors or anything.

Preferred Brands: Asus for soundcard, no preference for headphones.

Preferred Retailer Newegg or Amazon.

Fire away with any suggestions, and ask any questions you think are pertinent. I tried to fill out what I thought was important, but I may have missed some things.
Edited by Wattser93 - 10/18/12 at 9:41am
 
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post #2 of 6
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Bump.
 
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post #3 of 6
If you're going soundcard to receiver then the soundcard has much less importance unless you need it for the gaming features. Grab a Titanium, which is about 60 dollars and grab Ultrasone Pro 550s for 144 dollars.

Otherwise I'd say ignore soundcard, use receiver optical from mobo and spend all money on headphones.
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post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Simca View Post

If you're going soundcard to receiver then the soundcard has much less importance unless you need it for the gaming features. Grab a Titanium, which is about 60 dollars and grab Ultrasone Pro 550s for 144 dollars.
Otherwise I'd say ignore soundcard, use receiver optical from mobo and spend all money on headphones.

I use optical when I'm watching movies through my TV, but 3.5mm out (the green) when doing anything else, that's why I'm looking into a soundcard. The motherboard audio doesn't do the job for headphones.

I want optical so I can easily hook my HT system up to my PC for movies, but that's the only time I'll be using optical. The rest of the time it'll be going through the soundcard and to the headphones or the speakers at my PC.
 
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post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
One last bump...
 
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post #6 of 6
I don't really know why you would need a dedicated sound card or amp if you are spending somewhere in the $200-250 range. I heard good things about the Asus xonar dx so you could grab one of those for soundcards, although I admittedly know nothing about soundcards.

For closed headphones in that price range the Audio Technica M-50 ($160, $120 if lucky on amazon) , Shure 840 ($200) , V-moda crossfade m-80 ($160),Sennheiser hd-25 ($200) are generally highly recommended. I think in terms of sound signature, the Hd-25 is probably something you should do more research on as the M50 and V-moda both have emphasized bass (not like Beats by Dre bass, which is >.< ). If you want some more detailed description of each head-fi.org is a great place to look.
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