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Need help choosing soundcard

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Hi, I'm planning on investing in a high end sound card for my rig that I will use pretty much exclusively for gaming (mostly modern FPS, also some RPG and RTS). I know that the Titanium HD is the go-to card for my needs, but at my available retailers (PC Case Gear, Megabuy, eBay) it is priced even higher than the likes of the Xonar Phoebus, D2X and Essence STX. Is it still worth buying at this price? I will be pairing the card with the Audio-Technica AD700s. Your advice is much appreciated smile.gif
post #2 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by KaiserFrederick View Post

Hi, I'm planning on investing in a high end sound card for my rig that I will use pretty much exclusively for gaming (mostly modern FPS, also some RPG and RTS). I know that the Titanium HD is the go-to card for my needs, but at my available retailers (PC Case Gear, Megabuy, eBay) it is priced even higher than the likes of the Xonar Phoebus, D2X and Essence STX. Is it still worth buying at this price? I will be pairing the card with the Audio-Technica AD700s. Your advice is much appreciated smile.gif

Get the essence stx. Those ad700s are going to get more benefit if you style your choice towards an audiophile card vs gaming card. The reason is because they are rated for 2.1 sound. If you had something that was rated for 5.1 or 7.1 and they had a microphone and everything, then I would be singing a different tune. But those are audiophile style headphones, and they should be paired with an audiophile sound card.

Asus esence stx ftw!.
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post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tjj226 Angel View Post

Get the essence stx. Those ad700s are going to get more benefit if you style your choice towards an audiophile card vs gaming card. The reason is because they are rated for 2.1 sound. If you had something that was rated for 5.1 or 7.1 and they had a microphone and everything, then I would be singing a different tune. But those are audiophile style headphones, and they should be paired with an audiophile sound card.
Asus esence stx ftw!.
Thanks for such a quick reply! Would the STX still give me as good positional audio as the Titanium? I don't actually own the AD 700s yet, just heard they were one of the best headphones for gaming/positional audio.
post #4 of 11
the Audio Technica AD700 won't benefit that much from a headphone amp and the Essence STX is too powerful. a sound card like the Xonar DX will be fine.
    
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post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bumblebee1980 View Post

the Audio Technica AD700 won't benefit that much from a headphone amp and the Essence STX is too powerful. a sound card like the Xonar DX will be fine.
My wallet likes what you're saying, but could you be a bit more specific? What do you mean by 'too powerful'? Does the Essence STX just have a lot of extra audiophile features that won't make in-game sounds any better than on the DX?
post #6 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by KaiserFrederick View Post

Thanks for such a quick reply! Would the STX still give me as good positional audio as the Titanium? I don't actually own the AD 700s yet, just heard they were one of the best headphones for gaming/positional audio.

Ah. The audio technica headphones are meant for music lovers. You will still get decent positioning, but not as good as something like the razer tiamat 7.1. That being said, I say that you should get the best audiophile headphones you can. The reason being is that a lot of the more gaming style headphones have pretty poor sound quality. I have done side by side comparisons between 2.1 audiophile headphones and some multi channel gaming headphones (my friends astro's with a creative sound card(I forget which, but I remember it looked fancy)) and while I was in game (MW3, BF3, Counterstrike) I could still hear where people were coming from and my KDR didn't change at all. The difference came in when I did anything other than gaming. For music and movie watching, the aduiophile headphones were vastly superior as you would expect.

Now keep in mind, that was a personal experiment, but what I gather is that the extra positioning that comes from the gaming headphones are only going to help a small percentage of people. I certainly did not notice any real difference between the two headphones, so I would spend the money on headphones that would make you happy in more than 1 aspect of your PC audio.

If nothing else, I would at least post a budget for a headphone/sound card combo and a link to the best audio store in ausy. thumb.gif
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post #7 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by KaiserFrederick View Post

My wallet likes what you're saying, but could you be a bit more specific? What do you mean by 'too powerful'? Does the Essence STX just have a lot of extra audiophile features that won't make in-game sounds any better than on the DX?

the headphone amp on the Essence STX is for relatively hard to drive headphones. the Audio Technica AD700 are easy to drive.
    
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post #8 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by KaiserFrederick View Post

My wallet likes what you're saying, but could you be a bit more specific? What do you mean by 'too powerful'? Does the Essence STX just have a lot of extra audiophile features that won't make in-game sounds any better than on the DX?

Well yes and no. The reason I prefer the STX is because it is kind of future proof. Meaning that if in the future you want to get a much better pair of headphones, you can. With the DX you could end up being stuck having to buy a new pair of headphones and a new sound card. Plus, the output support on the STX is vastly superior, and the key output that I think is pretty important is the 6.3mm audio output since a lot of the audiophile headphones support 6.3mm jacks. The Stereo output is nice too because you can hook it up to a good receiver and get a nice surround sound speaker system. The last main point is that if you like better sound, you can change out the Op amps to make the card sound better. What more could you want.

As for in game sound, no. But there again, I have yet to find much of a difference in gaming from a 25 dollar sound card and a 200 sound card. I have a feeling that gaming sound cards are kind of hocus pocus. That is not to say that my point of view is right either. My friend and I have big debates on this topic. He swears that gaming style audio gear is vastly superior than audiophile gear, and I swear the exact opposite. We have spent months with each others equipment and he has started to lean more to what i have to say about audio than the other way around. However, we still have very different opinions.
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post #9 of 11
the DX is good value. I like it better than higher end cards like the Essence ST/X because $200 is Mid-Fi territory and that card was designed several years ago when a lot of engineers were using that Burr-Brown chip. anything that isn't Hi-Fi or reference level is prone to aging.
    
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post #10 of 11
If you want to have the best FPS experience i would go with the Razer Tiamat 7.1 and the Asus Xonar phebus... This is my setup and its absolutely spectacular... especially when you enable the Dolby Theater and the Flex Bass...*shivers*
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