Overclock.net › Forums › Components › Sound Cards and Computer Audio › Best soundcard for headphone listening under $60
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Best soundcard for headphone listening under $60

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Looking to get a decent soundcard. I don't need anything high end, just something that will drive a decent set of 32ohm headphones like HD280s or HD595s. Mostly I'd like music to sound good, and really, sound cards these days don't really have any gaming-specific features anyway, right?

Xonar DG/DGX seem to fit the bill. They say they have a built in headphone amplifier - is that not a typical thing in a sound card, or is that an unusual feature? The price is right. Is the only difference between the DG and DGX pci vs pci-e? Because right now on neweggg the DG can be had for half as much.

I have no need for digital out, surround sound, any of that - just regular 3.5mm headphone jacks. I just want something with good/non-intrusive drivers, no added delay to sound, and good quality for headphones.

Would it really be worthwhile to bother spending above the $50-60 tier, or is that adequate for my needs?

Are the DG/DGX good? Should I be looking at something else?

Thanks.
    
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
2500k @ 4.6 Extreme4 p67 1070 Gaming X 4x4 ripjaws X 1600 
Hard DriveCoolingOSMonitor
850 EVO, 6TB Hitach/WD Xigmatek Aegir Win7 Shimian 27" 1440p 
PowerCaseMouseMouse Pad
Antec TP650 HAF 922 G400s (RIP 518) Puretrak Stealth 
Audio
Soundblaster Z 
  hide details  
Reply
    
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
2500k @ 4.6 Extreme4 p67 1070 Gaming X 4x4 ripjaws X 1600 
Hard DriveCoolingOSMonitor
850 EVO, 6TB Hitach/WD Xigmatek Aegir Win7 Shimian 27" 1440p 
PowerCaseMouseMouse Pad
Antec TP650 HAF 922 G400s (RIP 518) Puretrak Stealth 
Audio
Soundblaster Z 
  hide details  
Reply
post #2 of 6
I'm using Xonar DG with my DT-770 pro 80ohm headphones (~180$ price range), I also have a Xonar D1 (same as Xonar DX) and they both sound almost the same. But the DG sounds tiny bit better because of the headphone amplifier, so I recommend the Xonar DG over DX/D1.

DG is the best budget soundcard for headphones, the next cheapest soundcard with hp-amp would be the creative SB Z.
And yes, the only difference between DGX and DG is the pci/pci-e.

And for godlike drivers: http://maxedtech.com/uni-xonar-features/
Edited by Tiihokatti - 6/8/13 at 8:13am
Silent Hawk
(21 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel 3570K @4,2GHz delidded Asrock Z77 Extreme4 Asus Geforce GTX 1070 Dual OC 2x Corsair Vengeance 4gb 1600mhz 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
Kingston Hyperx 120gb SSD Western Digital Caviar Blue 1Tb Random LG DVD/RW ID-Cooling SE-214X 
CoolingCoolingOSMonitor
3x AC F12 1x Glide Stream Windows 10 Finlux 40" UHD TV 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Speedlink Ultor Super Flower Golden Green Pro 750W Rosewill Blackhawk Logitech G502 
AudioAudioAudioAudio
Hifiman HE-400 Objective2 Amplifier OR-210Hi speakers Chinese mini speaker-amplifier 
Other
Xilence Fan Controller 
  hide details  
Reply
Silent Hawk
(21 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel 3570K @4,2GHz delidded Asrock Z77 Extreme4 Asus Geforce GTX 1070 Dual OC 2x Corsair Vengeance 4gb 1600mhz 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
Kingston Hyperx 120gb SSD Western Digital Caviar Blue 1Tb Random LG DVD/RW ID-Cooling SE-214X 
CoolingCoolingOSMonitor
3x AC F12 1x Glide Stream Windows 10 Finlux 40" UHD TV 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Speedlink Ultor Super Flower Golden Green Pro 750W Rosewill Blackhawk Logitech G502 
AudioAudioAudioAudio
Hifiman HE-400 Objective2 Amplifier OR-210Hi speakers Chinese mini speaker-amplifier 
Other
Xilence Fan Controller 
  hide details  
Reply
post #3 of 6
Asus makes the best inexpensive sound cards, by far. There's really nothing between the aforementioned models and the Titanium HD that's worth the money, especially when it comes to headphones.
   
Z77 Bench-a-lot
(31 items)
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsGraphics
i7 3930K @ 4.92Ghz Asus Rampage 4 Extreme EVGA GTX670 FTW 2GB  EVGA GTX780Ti Classified K|ngp|n Edition @ 1483... 
GraphicsRAMHard DriveHard Drive
EVGA GTX780Ti Classified K|ngp|n Edition @ 1483... 16GB G.Skill Ripjaws-Z @ DDR3-2248 9-10-9-26 1T Samsung 830 256GB SSD WD10EZEX 1TB HDD 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
WD10EALX 1TB HDD Seagate Barracuda 7200.14 1TB WD3200AAKS 320GB HDD WD5000HHTZ 10krpm 500GB VelociRaptor 
Optical DriveCoolingCoolingCooling
LG/Hitachi Slim DVD-R/W Custom MB-Backside VRM-sinks (Copper) 3x NZXT RF-FX140LB 1-2krpm 98.3CFM Case Fans 2x Corsair SP120-PE Case Fans 
CoolingCoolingCoolingCooling
Heatkiller GTX680 "Hole Edition" Block + Backplate XSPC Single-Bay Res (Single 5.25 bay) EK Multioption Res X2 - Advanced 150 DD "Fill-Port Res" + Fill-Port Fitting (Red) 
CoolingCoolingCoolingCooling
2x MCP35X + Heatsinks/80x15mm Fan XSPC EX420 Alphacool NeXXos UT60 240 6x Bgears Blasters 140mm 1800rpm Fans 
CoolingCoolingCoolingOS
4x Koolance 120x25mm 2600rpm Fans Comp/Rotary Fittings (BP/XSPC/Monsoon) Primoflex Pro LRT - White (1/2x3/4) Windows 7 Professional 64bit  
MonitorMonitorMonitorMonitor
Dell P2210Hb 21.5" 1920x1080p Viewsonic VA2012WB 20.1" LCD 1680x1050 Dell U3014 Eizo 27" 1440p 10bit RGB-LED Backlit AH-IPS Panel 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
55" LG HDTV (their top 2014 model) Ducky Mechanical (Browns) NZXT HALE90 850W + 8 blown-up AX1200/i's NZXT Switch 810 (White) 
MouseMouse PadAudioAudio
R.A.T.3 + MX510 My Desk GRADO RS1i Headphones Grado PS1000 Headphones 
OtherOtherOtherOther
Bitfenix Hydra Pro Fan Controller 5ch 30W/ch Bitfenix Alchemy Individually-Sleeved Extension... NZXT Individually-Sleeved Front Panel Wires (Bl... Phobya Sleeved 1x3pin-to-4x3pin Fan Splitter 
OtherOtherOther
Sleeved Wires w Paracord myself (no Heatshrink) Custom Front and Top Panels w HexxMesh *In Prog... Working on Custom Pedestal Prototype 
  hide details  
Reply
   
Z77 Bench-a-lot
(31 items)
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsGraphics
i7 3930K @ 4.92Ghz Asus Rampage 4 Extreme EVGA GTX670 FTW 2GB  EVGA GTX780Ti Classified K|ngp|n Edition @ 1483... 
GraphicsRAMHard DriveHard Drive
EVGA GTX780Ti Classified K|ngp|n Edition @ 1483... 16GB G.Skill Ripjaws-Z @ DDR3-2248 9-10-9-26 1T Samsung 830 256GB SSD WD10EZEX 1TB HDD 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
WD10EALX 1TB HDD Seagate Barracuda 7200.14 1TB WD3200AAKS 320GB HDD WD5000HHTZ 10krpm 500GB VelociRaptor 
Optical DriveCoolingCoolingCooling
LG/Hitachi Slim DVD-R/W Custom MB-Backside VRM-sinks (Copper) 3x NZXT RF-FX140LB 1-2krpm 98.3CFM Case Fans 2x Corsair SP120-PE Case Fans 
CoolingCoolingCoolingCooling
Heatkiller GTX680 "Hole Edition" Block + Backplate XSPC Single-Bay Res (Single 5.25 bay) EK Multioption Res X2 - Advanced 150 DD "Fill-Port Res" + Fill-Port Fitting (Red) 
CoolingCoolingCoolingCooling
2x MCP35X + Heatsinks/80x15mm Fan XSPC EX420 Alphacool NeXXos UT60 240 6x Bgears Blasters 140mm 1800rpm Fans 
CoolingCoolingCoolingOS
4x Koolance 120x25mm 2600rpm Fans Comp/Rotary Fittings (BP/XSPC/Monsoon) Primoflex Pro LRT - White (1/2x3/4) Windows 7 Professional 64bit  
MonitorMonitorMonitorMonitor
Dell P2210Hb 21.5" 1920x1080p Viewsonic VA2012WB 20.1" LCD 1680x1050 Dell U3014 Eizo 27" 1440p 10bit RGB-LED Backlit AH-IPS Panel 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
55" LG HDTV (their top 2014 model) Ducky Mechanical (Browns) NZXT HALE90 850W + 8 blown-up AX1200/i's NZXT Switch 810 (White) 
MouseMouse PadAudioAudio
R.A.T.3 + MX510 My Desk GRADO RS1i Headphones Grado PS1000 Headphones 
OtherOtherOtherOther
Bitfenix Hydra Pro Fan Controller 5ch 30W/ch Bitfenix Alchemy Individually-Sleeved Extension... NZXT Individually-Sleeved Front Panel Wires (Bl... Phobya Sleeved 1x3pin-to-4x3pin Fan Splitter 
OtherOtherOther
Sleeved Wires w Paracord myself (no Heatshrink) Custom Front and Top Panels w HexxMesh *In Prog... Working on Custom Pedestal Prototype 
  hide details  
Reply
post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 
The Z seems pretty well liked. Is it worth the extra cost over a DGX? Some reviews seem to indicate that it's a very clear step up.
    
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
2500k @ 4.6 Extreme4 p67 1070 Gaming X 4x4 ripjaws X 1600 
Hard DriveCoolingOSMonitor
850 EVO, 6TB Hitach/WD Xigmatek Aegir Win7 Shimian 27" 1440p 
PowerCaseMouseMouse Pad
Antec TP650 HAF 922 G400s (RIP 518) Puretrak Stealth 
Audio
Soundblaster Z 
  hide details  
Reply
    
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
2500k @ 4.6 Extreme4 p67 1070 Gaming X 4x4 ripjaws X 1600 
Hard DriveCoolingOSMonitor
850 EVO, 6TB Hitach/WD Xigmatek Aegir Win7 Shimian 27" 1440p 
PowerCaseMouseMouse Pad
Antec TP650 HAF 922 G400s (RIP 518) Puretrak Stealth 
Audio
Soundblaster Z 
  hide details  
Reply
post #5 of 6
From what I hear, the Z has problems running low impedance headphones.
http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/Creative/Sound_Blaster_Z/5.html

Music
With all the different software oddities turned off, the Sound Blaster Z actually sounds quite alright. It is transparent and can power just about any decent headset or set of headphones. The gain on its headphone amplifier is quite high, which is good if you plan on powering Sennheiser PC-36x series headsets, or another set of high impedance headphones. The gain is almost too high for normal headsets like the ASUS Vulcan Pro ANC and headphones like the Sennheiser PX-200 IIs. Even with a set of HiFiMAN HE-500s, the gain is more than adequate. The gain is just way too high for normal in-ears, making the noise painful. Its sound quality in music playback is really good for a $99 sound card - comparable to the ASUS Xonar STX, although it lacks quite a few features. The Creative Sound Blaster Z is a good match for high impedance and medium to low efficiency headphones.
Silent Hawk
(21 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel 3570K @4,2GHz delidded Asrock Z77 Extreme4 Asus Geforce GTX 1070 Dual OC 2x Corsair Vengeance 4gb 1600mhz 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
Kingston Hyperx 120gb SSD Western Digital Caviar Blue 1Tb Random LG DVD/RW ID-Cooling SE-214X 
CoolingCoolingOSMonitor
3x AC F12 1x Glide Stream Windows 10 Finlux 40" UHD TV 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Speedlink Ultor Super Flower Golden Green Pro 750W Rosewill Blackhawk Logitech G502 
AudioAudioAudioAudio
Hifiman HE-400 Objective2 Amplifier OR-210Hi speakers Chinese mini speaker-amplifier 
Other
Xilence Fan Controller 
  hide details  
Reply
Silent Hawk
(21 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel 3570K @4,2GHz delidded Asrock Z77 Extreme4 Asus Geforce GTX 1070 Dual OC 2x Corsair Vengeance 4gb 1600mhz 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
Kingston Hyperx 120gb SSD Western Digital Caviar Blue 1Tb Random LG DVD/RW ID-Cooling SE-214X 
CoolingCoolingOSMonitor
3x AC F12 1x Glide Stream Windows 10 Finlux 40" UHD TV 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Speedlink Ultor Super Flower Golden Green Pro 750W Rosewill Blackhawk Logitech G502 
AudioAudioAudioAudio
Hifiman HE-400 Objective2 Amplifier OR-210Hi speakers Chinese mini speaker-amplifier 
Other
Xilence Fan Controller 
  hide details  
Reply
post #6 of 6
OP, get the Xonar DG. You will not be disappointed. I have it too and it is awesome.
Ares
(17 items)
 
The Extremist
(20 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel 3570k Gigabyte UD3H Gigabyte GTX 670 Windforce Gskill  
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveCooling
Crucial M4 WD Black WD Black Corsair H60 
OSKeyboardPowerCase
Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit Logitech G110 Corsair TX750W Coolermaster Storm Sniper 
Audio
Asus Xonar DG 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Ivy Bridge E 4930k Rampage V Extreme gtx 780 Corsair Dominator 16GB 
Hard DriveCoolingCoolingCooling
Samsung 840 Pro 256GB EK Supremacy Nickel Plexi EK RIVE FB kit Nickel Plexi XSPC GTX780 WB 
CoolingCoolingCoolingCooling
Black Ice SR1 480 Black Ice SR1 480 MCP655 pump EK 250 Res 
CoolingCoolingMonitorMonitor
XSPC compression fittings Primochill tubing Asus VG248QE Asus VG248QE 
MonitorPowerCaseAudio
Asus VG248QE Corsair 1200i Caselabs TH10 Asus Xonar STX 
  hide details  
Reply
Ares
(17 items)
 
The Extremist
(20 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel 3570k Gigabyte UD3H Gigabyte GTX 670 Windforce Gskill  
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveCooling
Crucial M4 WD Black WD Black Corsair H60 
OSKeyboardPowerCase
Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit Logitech G110 Corsair TX750W Coolermaster Storm Sniper 
Audio
Asus Xonar DG 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Ivy Bridge E 4930k Rampage V Extreme gtx 780 Corsair Dominator 16GB 
Hard DriveCoolingCoolingCooling
Samsung 840 Pro 256GB EK Supremacy Nickel Plexi EK RIVE FB kit Nickel Plexi XSPC GTX780 WB 
CoolingCoolingCoolingCooling
Black Ice SR1 480 Black Ice SR1 480 MCP655 pump EK 250 Res 
CoolingCoolingMonitorMonitor
XSPC compression fittings Primochill tubing Asus VG248QE Asus VG248QE 
MonitorPowerCaseAudio
Asus VG248QE Corsair 1200i Caselabs TH10 Asus Xonar STX 
  hide details  
Reply
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Sound Cards and Computer Audio
Overclock.net › Forums › Components › Sound Cards and Computer Audio › Best soundcard for headphone listening under $60