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Looking for a high-end sound card for my high-end headphones!

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Recently I've started to get real tired of my on board audio so i'm looking for a replacement in the form of a discreet audio card. The sound being sent to my headphones is almost turned me away from using my headphones as much as I want to and just listen to my iPhone while I game. I normally use my pair of V-Moda M100 with the boom pro mic for gaming and these are more than enough for me but i'm looking for a boost in overall "oomf" of my headphones. So far I've looked at the Z series (particularly the Zx or the Zxr) and to me they seem quite nice and a solid price point for what I want, but i'm asking the masters of OCN to see if they can find me anything better!
post #2 of 9
What's your budget?
Bruce
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Bruce
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Hyper 212+ with extra fan Windows 10 Education x64 Shimian QH270 @110hz Medieval Dell OEM Keyboard 
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Corsair TX750 V1 Antec 300 Black Illusion  Logitech G400s Xonar ST 
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post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Looking to keep it around maybe 200-300 USD. I don't want to skimp out on high end sound, but i'm no where near willing to spend 500 and up on a card.
post #4 of 9
Well that's the high range smile.gif

I believe the auzentech X-meridian 7.1 2g or the HomeTheatre HD are the best you can get, as I believe they have reciever class DACs and are licensed for every audio technology under the sun. But I'm not sure they're still for sale.

The Titanium HD and Xonar ST/STX are both fantastic for music, better than the ZX or ZXR. The Asus cards have dolby support and are better for movies, but the creative cards natively support EAX so are better for old games. However the SBX headphone virtual software found in the ZX/ZXR might be better than dolby headphone (Asus) or CMSS-3D (Creative titanium hd and older). The STX/ST has a (real) built in headphone amp if you don't want to buy a seperate schiit magni to crank up the volume (which is why I got my ST biggrin.gif )
Edited by brucethemoose - 11/16/13 at 4:46pm
Bruce
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Hyper 212+ with extra fan Windows 10 Education x64 Shimian QH270 @110hz Medieval Dell OEM Keyboard 
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Corsair TX750 V1 Antec 300 Black Illusion  Logitech G400s Xonar ST 
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Bruce
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Hyper 212+ with extra fan Windows 10 Education x64 Shimian QH270 @110hz Medieval Dell OEM Keyboard 
PowerCaseMouseAudio
Corsair TX750 V1 Antec 300 Black Illusion  Logitech G400s Xonar ST 
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Fostex T50rp with BMF mod Archer T9E Wifi adapter 2x Yate Loon D12SL-12D 120x38mm fans Thermalright TY-143 fan 
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post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
I seldom watch movies on my main rig so from what you are telling the Xonars probably would not be really for me? Since I mostly use my rig for pure gaming and music in the background it'd be wise to go with sound blaster? What advantages does the Titanium offer over the Z series?
post #6 of 9
The new Sound Blaster Z is really good nothing to do with the older creative stuff i have one and i love it, though for music the best would be the Asus Essence STX without a doubt money wise you would be pleased with a Sound Blaster Z no need for the Zx or ZxR in my opinion.
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
Is it safe to say that the Essence STX is comparable to the performance of a ZxR?
post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zazmaquin View Post

Is it safe to say that the Essence STX is comparable to the performance of a ZxR?

IMHO you should go with the cheaper Creative Titanium HD + a schiit magni. For all practical purposes the DAC is just as good as the STX and a step above the ZXR, and CMSS-3D is probably better than dolby headphone. With that, you still have money for a magni, which will let you crank the sound WAY up without any distortion.

To answer your question, the STX has a better DAC that's protected by a real headphone amp, so it'll sound a bit better with lossless music.
Edited by brucethemoose - 11/16/13 at 6:33pm
Bruce
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Seagate 1TB 7200RPM OCZ Agility 4 128GB PNY 240GB LG Blu Ray Burner 
CoolingOSMonitorKeyboard
Hyper 212+ with extra fan Windows 10 Education x64 Shimian QH270 @110hz Medieval Dell OEM Keyboard 
PowerCaseMouseAudio
Corsair TX750 V1 Antec 300 Black Illusion  Logitech G400s Xonar ST 
AudioOtherOtherOther
Fostex T50rp with BMF mod Archer T9E Wifi adapter 2x Yate Loon D12SL-12D 120x38mm fans Thermalright TY-143 fan 
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Bruce
(20 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
4670k Asus Z87 Pro HIS 7950 IceQ X2 2x2gb + 2x4gb DDR3 1333 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
Seagate 1TB 7200RPM OCZ Agility 4 128GB PNY 240GB LG Blu Ray Burner 
CoolingOSMonitorKeyboard
Hyper 212+ with extra fan Windows 10 Education x64 Shimian QH270 @110hz Medieval Dell OEM Keyboard 
PowerCaseMouseAudio
Corsair TX750 V1 Antec 300 Black Illusion  Logitech G400s Xonar ST 
AudioOtherOtherOther
Fostex T50rp with BMF mod Archer T9E Wifi adapter 2x Yate Loon D12SL-12D 120x38mm fans Thermalright TY-143 fan 
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post #9 of 9
Also just FYI, game audio SUCKS these days... All in game sounds are heavily compressed and the devs don't even take headphones into consideration anymore. It's not about the "performance" of the sound card's DAC anymore... It's about which surround software you prefer: dolby headphone (c-media/Asus), CMSS-3D(creative), or whatever the core3d has.

The best thing about to happen with gaming sound is AMD's trueaudio. The consoles have a similar hardware dsp, so I think it'll catch on. If you care about immersion, keep an eye on that.
Edited by brucethemoose - 11/16/13 at 6:32pm
Bruce
(20 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
4670k Asus Z87 Pro HIS 7950 IceQ X2 2x2gb + 2x4gb DDR3 1333 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
Seagate 1TB 7200RPM OCZ Agility 4 128GB PNY 240GB LG Blu Ray Burner 
CoolingOSMonitorKeyboard
Hyper 212+ with extra fan Windows 10 Education x64 Shimian QH270 @110hz Medieval Dell OEM Keyboard 
PowerCaseMouseAudio
Corsair TX750 V1 Antec 300 Black Illusion  Logitech G400s Xonar ST 
AudioOtherOtherOther
Fostex T50rp with BMF mod Archer T9E Wifi adapter 2x Yate Loon D12SL-12D 120x38mm fans Thermalright TY-143 fan 
  hide details  
Reply
Bruce
(20 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
4670k Asus Z87 Pro HIS 7950 IceQ X2 2x2gb + 2x4gb DDR3 1333 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
Seagate 1TB 7200RPM OCZ Agility 4 128GB PNY 240GB LG Blu Ray Burner 
CoolingOSMonitorKeyboard
Hyper 212+ with extra fan Windows 10 Education x64 Shimian QH270 @110hz Medieval Dell OEM Keyboard 
PowerCaseMouseAudio
Corsair TX750 V1 Antec 300 Black Illusion  Logitech G400s Xonar ST 
AudioOtherOtherOther
Fostex T50rp with BMF mod Archer T9E Wifi adapter 2x Yate Loon D12SL-12D 120x38mm fans Thermalright TY-143 fan 
  hide details  
Reply
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