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Gamer, looking for audio options

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I've finished building my computer and am turning my eye to my sound now.

I'm looking for a decent audio solution for competitive gaming.

I play FPS games, usually ones where positional audio is very important (L4D, 1v1 Quake).

Currently, I am using onboard, ALC892 from my ASRock 770 Extreme3. I do not have surround sound speakers (and wouldn't want speakers, anyway), and am using my iPod earbuds.

I have an old Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeMusic, original SB0460, from 2005. It's dusty, but I imagine it's still functional.

I also know that I will need a better headset or headphones.

A few things are running around in my head:

- USB Headset vs Dedicated sound card?
- Upgrade from X-Fi XtremeMusic?
- If I stick with a dedicated card, what are a decent pair of headphones?
- My only PCI-e slot is occupied by my videocard, so it'll have to be PCI or USB if I upgrade.
- I'm no audiophile, but definitely require good positional audio and don't wanna break the bank

If I can manage good positional with this XtremeMusic with a good pair of headphones, I'll be happy.

It's been years since I've looked into the audio situation and would appreciate some guidance.

Thanks.
Edited by rotodoflowdo - 12/29/10 at 10:06am
post #2 of 9
With what little I have learned so far, I can tell you to stay away from USB headphones if you want better sound.
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post #3 of 9

The PCI-E X1 port is still available on your board.

From what I hear the Audio Technica AD700's are great for positional locating. They're recommended tons and seem to be a good value.



And then for a sound card the Asus Xonar DX would work for you.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16829132006

And clip the Zalman clip-on mic to your shirt or the headphone cord.

http://www.xoxide.com/zmmic1.html
Edited by Confessed - 12/29/10 at 11:46am
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post #4 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by rotodoflowdo View Post
I've finished building my computer and am turning my eye to my sound now.

I'm looking for a decent audio solution for competitive gaming.

I play FPS games, usually ones where positional audio is very important (L4D, 1v1 Quake).

Currently, I am using onboard, ALC892 from my ASRock 770 Extreme3. I do not have surround sound speakers (and wouldn't want speakers, anyway), and am using my iPod earbuds.

I have an old Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeMusic, original SB0460, from 2005. It's dusty, but I imagine it's still functional.

I also know that I will need a better headset or headphones.

A few things are running around in my head:

- USB Headset vs Dedicated sound card?
- Upgrade from X-Fi XtremeMusic?
- If I stick with a dedicated card, what are a decent pair of headphones?
- My only PCI-e slot is occupied by my videocard, so it'll have to be PCI or USB if I upgrade.
- I'm no audiophile, but definitely require good positional audio and don't wanna break the bank

If I can manage good positional with this XtremeMusic with a good pair of headphones, I'll be happy.

It's been years since I've looked into the audio situation and would appreciate some guidance.

Thanks.
For strictly gaming, XFI-based cards are your best option. They have EAX (environmental audio extension) which for my money created the best audio experience in gaming that I've ever heard. If I recall correctly only Creative XFI cards have the latest EAX version. I think your XtremeMusic (Music, NOT audio) is perfect for the job. I had one a while back and I loved the thing, it was great for gaming and music listening. I just had to ditch it because I had constant issues with their software and drivers, it was driving me nuts. Perhaps they have gotten better over the past couple years.

If it makes any difference, I currently have the B-Gears b-Enspirer and an HT Omega Claro Plus+ sound cards which are both fairly high-end cards. My music listening experience is better than my old XtremeMusic, but gaming has just not been the same. Its not bad by any means, but I really think EAX makes a huge difference.

With that said, a lot of people love the Sennheiser HD555s for gaming. They are affordable and open air which means your ears can breathe. Great for long gaming sessions.

One more thing. Sound cards and other audio equipment hold their value throughout the years a LOT longer than most computer components. You don't need to feel like you've got to upgrade to the latest and greatest every 6 months. Your XtremeMusic is still quite nice. Hope this helps!
Edited by Zulli85 - 12/29/10 at 12:10pm
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post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zulli85 View Post
For strictly gaming, XFI-based cards are your best option. They have EAX (environmental audio extension) which for my money created the best audio experience in gaming that I've ever heard. If I recall correctly only Creative XFI cards have the latest EAX version. I think your XtremeMusic (Music, NOT audio) is perfect for the job. I had one a while back and I loved the thing, it was great for gaming and music listening. I just had to ditch it because I had constant issues with their software and drivers, it was driving me nuts. Perhaps they have gotten better over the past couple years.

If it makes any difference, I currently have the B-Gears b-Enspirer and an HT Omega Claro Plus+ sound cards which are both fairly high-end cards. My music listening experience is better than my old XtremeMusic, but gaming has just not been the same. Its not bad by any means, but I really think EAX makes a huge difference.

With that said, a lot of people love the Sennheiser HD555s for gaming. They are affordable and open air which means your ears can breathe. Great for long gaming sessions.

One more thing. Sound cards and other audio equipment hold their value throughout the years a LOT longer than most computer components. You don't need to feel like you've got to upgrade to the latest and greatest every 6 months. Your XtremeMusic is still quite nice. Hope this helps!
Thanks, I'm glad I can rely on this old card and save some money there. Can anyone recommend how I should go about installing the software/drivers? What's needed and what isn't? I hear Creative's still packaging a lot of bloatware.
Edited by rotodoflowdo - 12/29/10 at 12:36pm
post #6 of 9
can't recommending anything without a budget...
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
I ordered the AD700s... Now figuring out how to configure them and my X-Fi so I'm actually getting surround sound in my games, that's gonna be tricky, too...
post #8 of 9
The X-Fi XtremeMusic is actually really good for gaming so definitely stick with that. As for headphones, I really like the JVC HA-RX900 for games especially when paired with the X-Fi but the AD700 is a superb choice for FPS games (tried it meself). You may find it lacking in bass and that the X-Fi equalizer doesn't do too good a job.

I actually don't do much setting up when it came to my X-Fi XtremeMusic. I turned off the CMSS-3D stuff (Creative says it makes gaming better but it makes things sound really weird for me) and turned off the EAX stuff. For the most part, I kept it on Audio Creation Mode but I've not noticed much of a sound quality difference switching between the three modes (Audio Creation, Entertainment, and Gaming).
Edited by RallyMaster - 12/30/10 at 4:14pm
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post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
My thanks to all of you who gave advice. Really appreciate this site and the community.
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