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A long, messy advice request you probably will hate me for

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Hey everyone.

I know I should have a clearer idea of what I want, but all I know is that I'm fed up with the sound I'm getting right now.

Looking for suggestions for some good earbuds for listening to music (mostly at the gym), as well as a set of comfortable headphones/mic combination or a headset.
I will also get a sound card at some point too, maybe at the same time I get the headphones.

  • musical tastes are, unfortunately, extremely varied. I listen to punk, rock, metal, classical, dubstep, rap...you name it. Mostly metal I guess but really everything.
  • I am looking for stuff that is comfortable, good for music, and being okay for gaming is a plus
  • I live in Canada, not sure where to shop for stuff like this though, so site/store recommendations would be great too
  • as stated below, budget is flexible but I am not willing to spend more than $100 on earbuds, $200 on a sound card, $250 for a headset or headphones, and $60 for a mic. Keep in mind those are maximums. If I can get something decent for half of that, then terrific.


Now, first off, earbuds/headphones:

  • good sound quality for a variety of music
  • comfortable/can wear to the gym
  • budget prices are appreciated but not necessary (won't spend over $100 but if I can spend 30 that's great)

After reading the OCN's most recommended, I was thinking about going for the Vsonic GR99.
As long as I can get that shipped to Canada. Where is a good site to buy those, or just ebay it?
Any other suggestions?


Headset/Heaphones and Mic:

  • much of the same as above
  • willing to spend a little more here, but again, most bang for the buck is appreciated (preferably under 100 and no amp required, but could be convinced to go to the $200 range)
  • microphone I just need something functional unless I'm going for a headset (again, flexible budget, most bang for the buck, no XLR)

Again, I will be using this for gaming, voice chat, and music. However I am not competitive I just want good quality sound.
A headset would be nice for convenience, but it seems after looking at recommendations that a headphone/mic combo would be best.

I was also looking at getting the Asus Xonar DX after looking at the guide. Check my profile to see my rig, I have an Asus Sabertooth 990 FX R2.0 mobo if that's of any concern. Currently using the onboard audio (boo I know).

I am flexible on my budget for everything, just looking for decent stuff that I can get the biggest return for my dollar on.


Cheers if you've read this far!

-Bonzai
post #2 of 10
I will start off by saying that earbuds/IEMs are not my thing, so I don't have any recommendations on them.

For the sound card, a Xonar DX is nice, but if you're only using it for headphones you may not need anything more than a Xonar DG/DGX ($30 CDN on Amazon.ca for the DG, $57 for the DGX, the only difference being PCI vs PCIe). Built in headphone amp may come in handy, you never know. Plus it has all the gimmicks like Dolby Headphone, if that's your thing.

For the mic, I would just get a good clip-on mic like this one.

Now for the headphones.

I'm a big fan of the Beyerdynamic DT770-Pro 80 Ohm headphones. Toward the top end of your headphone budget, but you've saved a bunch already if you go with the other recommendations I gave. They sound great. I use mine exclusively for music (Power Metal mainly, some 70s-90s Rock thrown in for good measure). This is where the headphone amp in the DG will really shine for you.

Other recommendations for you might be:

Audio-Technica ATH-M50 - Decent, but you can find better. Highly recommended.
AKG K240 - Good sound stage, not as bassy as the other 2 options

Ones I haven't heard and/or do not own:

Superlux HD668B
Creative Aurvana Live - Essentially a Denon D1001K
Fostex T50RP - Another one I see recommended everywhere
Grado SR80i - People say they're great, but can be uncomfortable. These will likely be my next headphones
KRK KNS6400 - Haven't heard too much about these other than they have a flat sound signature

There are many, many others. These are just some of the ones I've found in your price range (with links). Not sure if you have something like a Guitar Center there, but if there's anywhere near you that deals in pro audio, it might be worth stopping by and having a listen to any headphones they have just to see what you like more. Open vs Semi-Open vs Closed will all have VERY different sound characteristics, so you will have to find the ones you like best.
post #3 of 10
I had the xonar ds with a sabertooth. It was nothing but trouble for me. The drivers were a bear to deal with. So many issues. So I got way frustrated and bought a creative labs sb073a xfi xtreme gamer. Its an older card so I had to get it used off ebay, but I love it! The sound was good on my asus, but way better on the creative xfi. I also listen to all kinds of types of music. I would recommend checking out what creative has to offer. Maybe even find another sb073a on ebay. Might be a good place for you to start.
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DEFCON-3
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post #4 of 10
For ear buds, I would go with what ever is cheap and on sale. Honestly if you are going to be working out, I would not invest in ear buds. They break SOOOOO easily. There are some that are Kevlar reinforced, but the audio quality ends up being a pipe dream.

My personal advice would be some cheap skull candies because they sound better than 5 buck POS ear buds, but cheap enough where you don't cry over them when they break. And when they do break, they are available at most stores, so you don't have to wait for shipping or things like that.

If you want better advice, I am sure someone can help you.

As for headphones, the audio technica ATH-AD900s can be used on lost of different systems without needing amplification. They sound better with amplification, bit it is not something your are going to be crying over.
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post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by liquidzoo View Post


For the sound card, a Xonar DX is nice, but if you're only using it for headphones you may not need anything more than a Xonar DG/DGX ($30 CDN on Amazon.ca for the DG, $57 for the DGX, the only difference being PCI vs PCIe). Built in headphone amp may come in handy, you never know. Plus it has all the gimmicks like Dolby Headphone, if that's your thing.


Not sure if you have something like a Guitar Center there, but if there's anywhere near you that deals in pro audio, it might be worth stopping by and having a listen to any headphones they have just to see what you like more. Open vs Semi-Open vs Closed will all have VERY different sound characteristics, so you will have to find the ones you like best.

Thanks for the input everyone.

What are the differences between the Xonar DX and the Xonar DG? I will be using speakers sometimes too.

I WISH I had a guitar center near me. I'm a drummer, and I see so much good stuff there. There is one about an hour away across the border, but I've yet to go and my passport just expired frown.gif
While we're on the topic, any suggestions for some isolation headphones? Purely to use when drumming so I can listen to guitar tracks/songs and play along. I had some Extreme Isolation EX-25's, and they were pretty much perfect for what I wanted. Sound quality wasn't great but they blocked enough sound I didn't have to crank the volume so bad I deafened myself to hear over my drums.

I kind of figured it wasn't worth investing in earbuds, but I was curious.
I've had skull candies in the past but they seem to break even faster than most earbuds I've bought, but they sound okay for what they are.

Thanks again people!
post #6 of 10
The DG is 5.1 and has a headphone amp, is available in regular PCI, don't think it requires external power.

The DX is PCIe only, I think, 7.1, no headphone amp (I don't think), and requires a 4 pin molex power plug.

For isolation headphones, the ones you have seem to be recommended everywhere. Other ones include the Beyerdynamic DT M series. Not sure on others.
post #7 of 10
I think these are the best gaming headsets out there, Astro A40s, and they're sponsored by MLG. Any headset you see at a MLG sponsored even will use these Astros. They can double up as a headset because you can remove the microphone on them. They also include a MixAmp and in my opinion that makes up for a sound card. These are the headphones that I currently use.

http://www.astrogaming.com/a40-audio-system-astro-edition

These headsets are also cross platform so you can use them on PS3/Xbox 360/PC!
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post #8 of 10
You can find way better headphones in that price range than you will get in that headset, honestly.
post #9 of 10
For gym use, these are the only earphones that actually stay in for me.
http://www.amazon.com/MEElectronics-M6-BK-MEE-Noise-Isolating-In-Ear-Headphones/dp/B0038W0K2K/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1361459543&sr=8-2&keywords=mee+m6

Lots of colors and a version with inline controls too.
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post #10 of 10
I wouldn't recomend the M6 for anything except Electronic/Dubstep. I have a pair, and the sound is just...wierd. Voices and guitar sounds wierd and unnatural.

Now, as for earbuds recomendations, You could just go and grab some JVC Marshmallows, never heard them but they are praised by some. You can find them for cheap at most retail stores, so if they break you can grab a pair without waiting for shipping. Plus, the eartips resist to sweating so they won't fall off all the time.


Gaming phone, I would say either the DT770, K240, HD668b or Aurvana Live.

DT770: Never heard it, but sound is nearly identical to the HD668b but with more bass and detail.

K240: Decent bass, good details and good with nearly any type of music.

HD668b: They are the only ones in the list that i own, so I can do a detailed breakdown.
Take the headband of an AD700, the earcup of an K240 and a DT770 speaker, tone down the quality a bit, put all of it in a blender and that's what you get. They are really good for rock/metal, but lack of sub-bass makes them a bit lifeless for bass-heavy music and cymbals tend to be extremely agressive. Asside from those hickups, they do have great details and guitars have a good punch to them.

CAL!: I heard good thing about them, but maybe someone else can comment on them as opinions tends to be quite everywhere about the sound.


Soundcard side, I think a Xonar DG should do the trick as it have an headphone amp, but I've been told that it's not so great for speakers.
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