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Please reccommend a Sound Card & Head Set Combo

post #1 of 59
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I'm looking into enhancing my computer sound experience with a sound card / head set combo that will elevate my on board sound in music, movies, and gaming. I own a gaming system which I enjoy watching 3D movies with and currently listening through Bose Companion 3 computer speakers.

I realize there isn't a card that does all three well so I emphasize more on all three in general being 'decent' rather than one that 'excels' in gaming and 'poorly' in music / movies. I understand that either way it's going to be an eargasm of an upgrade for me compared to the sound I'm getting and wouldn't be able to distinguish if I could obtain better.

Noobs like myself are drawn to sound cards like Asus Essence STX , Creative XFI Titanium HD, Creative Labs Sound Blaster Zx when I read through these threads. If I made a choice I wouldn't really know why I'd prefer one over the other.

Which is better out of those three? Or if there is better than those please do suggest?

As for head set I have no clue, no direction, other than I don't want cheap. I'm tossing my Creative Fatal1ty. I'm not big on talking online if at all so microphone is not an emphasis. If there was a head set without a mic that is great sound I'd consider it. Can always add a separate mike.

Example of quality I'm hoping would be in comparison to a Monster Dr. Dre Beats I got to hear first hand at the store and was impressed. I read these current cards can handle up to a 600 ohm audiophile-grade headphone and want to take as much advantage of that as possible.

Budget I'm up to spend $400 on both combos. If you have any questions n order to help you help me please ask.
     
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post #2 of 59
The asus essence stx is by no means a noob card. It even holds it's own against several other dedicated audio hardware products that cost much more.

Plus, if you change out the op amps, you can turn it into a very nice audio solution, and if you can find it used for ~$150 then it is pretty difficult to beat.

http://www.amazon.com/Audio-Technica-ATH-AD900X-Audiophile-Open-Air-Headphones/dp/B009S331VU/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1360470482&sr=1-1&keywords=audio+technica+ath-ad900x

These are really great headphones, but it eats through too much of your budget. They are open design too. If you like closed, go with the audio technica ath-a900x and the schiit magni and modi. After which you just get a mod mic and slap it on your headphones.
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post #3 of 59
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tjj226 Angel View Post

The asus essence stx is by no means a noob card. It even holds it's own against several other dedicated audio hardware products that cost much more.

Plus, if you change out the op amps, you can turn it into a very nice audio solution, and if you can find it used for ~$150 then it is pretty difficult to beat.

http://www.amazon.com/Audio-Technica-ATH-AD900X-Audiophile-Open-Air-Headphones/dp/B009S331VU/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1360470482&sr=1-1&keywords=audio+technica+ath-ad900x

These are really great headphones, but it eats through too much of your budget. They are open design too. If you like closed, go with the audio technica ath-a900x and the schiit magni and modi. After which you just get a mod mic and slap it on your headphones.

Thank you.

So your suggesting Asus STX & Audio-Technica ATH-AD900X combo and providing some info. smile.gif

I'd like to clarify I meant I was a noob, not the cards level of entry. redface.gif So much I learned something new when you mentioned the head set being 'open air' rather than 'closed air' and I never even thought of that. redface.gif I'm not sure even I know if I prefer 'open' or 'closed'.

Going to assume open air is lighter weight but not as noise canceling? I would rather have open air I guess as I can always turn up the volume.

My budget can go a little up to $500 if need be, I'd just wait it out.
     
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post #4 of 59
Hey there Arizonian I got suggested this sound card and headset:

I am not sure but I just chose newegg since your in America, no idea about American sites but: (there currently out of stock) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=0TH-000X-00002&ParentOnly=1

here is the sound card: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829132006

Now those headphones don't have a mic and I am not sure about what a good mic is, hopefully someone else can help you with that smile.gif
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post #5 of 59
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Is the only difference between these Audio-Technica open and closed? ATH-A900x closed & ATH-AD900X open?
     
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post #6 of 59
What kind of music do you like?

Grab the Asus Essence STX $180 new or find a used/refurb for sub 150

For headphones
The AT A900 or AD900 are good. The closed version is going to have more bass, but I haven't heard these so I can't really comment. If the AD900 is anything like the AD700, there wouldn't be enough bass for movies imo.

Beyerdynamic DT880 Premium $350 - Pretty neutral, great sound overall

HiFiMAN HE-400 $400 new but you might find a used pair - These are great for the price. Pretty neutral but with excellent bass extension and smooth high end. These would require a a budget stretch obviously.
Edited by DrGroove - 2/10/13 at 1:44am
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post #7 of 59
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrGroove View Post

What kind of music do you like?

Got a wide range in the family as a whole. I like metal, hard rock, alternative. Spouse likes country, classic rock. We listen to music the most and about in that order. Other styles aren't played as much would be hip-hop by the kids.

Edited to add: Watch 3D blu-ray movies on this computer as well. Love the explosions effects etc which is a staple of the computer being a 3D entertainment system for me. We do this by speakers mostly unless it's late and I'm alone watching it.
     
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post #8 of 59
Then I'll stand by my earlier suggestions. If you had said mostly electro and hip-hop I would have suggested some headphones with more bass.

Also check out AKG K701/702 or Q701/702, those are in the $250 price range. Although, they have less bass probably comparable to the AD900
Edited by DrGroove - 2/10/13 at 2:26am
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post #9 of 59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrGroove View Post

Then I'll stand by my earlier suggestions. If you had said mostly electro and hip-hop I would have suggested some headphones with more bass.

Also check out AKG K701/702 or Q701/702, those are in the $250 price range. Although, they have less bass probably comparable to the AD900

Thank you both BrighteousPony and DrGroove for your suggestions. thumb.gif

I've got a much better understanding and glad I've been pointed in the right direction. It would not gone this route and have thrown more money away. I'm looking into all the above options as I continue to do some homework on audio.

So far I'm leaning to add the Asus Essence STX to which ever head set I narrow this down to. Hearing good things about the Creative SB Zx cards with drivers but seems it's too soon yet to draw a conclusion on the new sound cards performance wise I guess. I'm just speculating.

As for head set looks like I want a nice 62 Ohm set which ever I choose and I've been looking at the Quincy Jones series. smile.gif
     
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post #10 of 59
I should also add that you want the output impedance of the amp to be less than 1/8 the impedance of the headphones. The Essence STX is 10.7 Ohms, which wouldn't be as good for the 62 ohm Q701. There would probably be distortion, but it would be very slight and you wouldn't notice or care. It's just something to think about. I think the Zx is around 20 Ohms.
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