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Suggestions for a soundcard to go with my Audio-Technicas PDG1 Gaming Headset?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Hey guys,

Just picked up an ATH PDG1 headset. Now, I just need a soundcard as my onboard is an AL889 - nothing special.

Any suggestions?

I'm thinking of:

X-Fi Titanium Sound card (new)
Creative Sound Blaster Z (new)
Asus Xonar STX (used)

All about the same price.

Cheers !

Nick
Edited by nick2124 - 1/23/16 at 3:29am
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post #2 of 9
Nothing special? Not my ALC889. Mine sounded the same as the TWO Xonar Essence STXs and the Titanium HD that I bought. I strongly recommend that you save your money.
Edited by cuad - 1/23/16 at 5:33am
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post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Wow.

I underestimated it.

Still, I don't have any audio utilities (ie. no Dolby) no program to play around with the audio settings.

Is that normal?
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post #4 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by nick2124 View Post

Wow.

I underestimated it.

Still, I don't have any audio utilities (ie. no Dolby) no program to play around with the audio settings.

Is that normal?

You should be able to download some software for your ALC889 somewhere. Check Realtek's site or your motherboard's site.

But anyway, I don't think those things are necessary.
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post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cuad View Post

You should be able to download some software for your ALC889 somewhere. Check Realtek's site or your motherboard's site.

But anyway, I don't think those things are necessary.

Do you know which port I should be using? I've just got ATH AD700s plugged into the green slot. But, I read it's best to use the S/PDIF slot. Though, I don't recieve any audio when plugged in - and I've tried playing around with windows audio settings.

Any idea's ?
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post #6 of 9
First off Cuad must be deaf because the RealTek ALC889 is trash compared to the SBZ. I used the ALC889 for a year before I switched to the SBZ and it was a night and day difference especially for positional sound in gaming the SBZ is the best on the market IMO. The soundstage is much better and everything just sounds cleaner and crisper.

Cuad has no idea what he's talking about.

http://www.overclock.net/t/294689/soundblaster-audigy-vs-realtek-alc889/0_100
post #7 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Atomagenesis View Post

First off Cuad must be deaf because the RealTek ALC889 is trash compared to the SBZ. I used the ALC889 for a year before I switched to the SBZ and it was a night and day difference especially for positional sound in gaming the SBZ is the best on the market IMO. The soundstage is much better and everything just sounds cleaner and crisper.

Cuad has no idea what he's talking about.

http://www.overclock.net/t/294689/soundblaster-audigy-vs-realtek-alc889/0_100

The people who claim this either equate louder to better or do not use high fidelity settings and instead use one of their new soundcard's DSPs (Creative's Entertainment Mode for example). The latter absolutely creates a different (and in fact distorted) sound, but these guys spent $100 on the sound card, so they just assume it is better.

As for deafness, I had my ears checked out by two docs (audiologist and ENT), just because that was everyone's favorite defense for months. Both said I was fine.

Anyway, since I actually care about helping:
Quote:
Originally Posted by nick2124 View Post

Do you know which port I should be using? I've just got ATH AD700s plugged into the green slot. But, I read it's best to use the S/PDIF slot. Though, I don't recieve any audio when plugged in - and I've tried playing around with windows audio settings.

Any idea's ?
The AD700s (and all 3.5mm and 1/4" headphones) only accept as input an analog signal. The green port outputs an analog signal. The SPDIF port outputs a digital signal. Therefore, the AD700 and the SPDIF port are incompatible (hence you don't receive audio), and therefore you should use the green port.

Why do people claim SPDIF is better? It outputs a digital signal that you can pass to the digital-to-analog converter (DAC) of your choice. Whereas, if you use the green port, you are forced to use your motherboard's integrated DAC. However, they are not really celebrating choice. What is really going on is that they believe that the DACs of their choice are better than the motherboard's DAC, because they paid $100+ for it and because that is what they read everywhere blind tests were not posted.
Edited by cuad - 1/23/16 at 1:19pm
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post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
Many thanks Cuad.

You literally just saved me $150 - no joke.

I'd give you 100 reps+ if I could, haha.

One more Q: Someone suggested I get something like an AMP/DAC or something to boost the quality of my headphones other than a soundcard. What do you think ?
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post #9 of 9
Here's a few reads for you:
http://techreport.com/news/28065/do-i-still-need-a-sound-card-in-my-pc
http://www.techspot.com/article/751-should-you-buy-a-sound-card/

It shouldn't have to be said, but sound is subjective. If the onboard works for you then by all means.

A DAC or digital-to-analog converter is present in all sound cards. How else do they turn those bits to smooth jazz? I believe people are using it as a catch-all for external DACs but that still needs to be clarified. So why do people recommend external DACs? Well for one it's outside your PC. Interference from the beehive is greatly reduced and therefore minimizes any affects on your sound. (Of course there are external sound cards as well)

So whats the deal with sound cards then? Well typically it's the software suite. You can color the sound to your liking, employ noise reduction on your microphone, enable virtual surround among other things. You may not have a large portion of these options with onboard sound or at all. I believe that's a huge step up as I have more control over my sound.

Anyways, there's a lot that can be said but honestly you're going to have to do some exploring for yourself to find what sticks. As for a recommendation, a sound card is up your alley since you have a headset and want some control over your audio.
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