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Sound card vs USB headset vs onboard ALC898

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February 7, 2014 1:55:50 AM

Hi all,

Please help me decide on weather or not I should get a dedicated sound card or a USB headset. I have a Gigabyte Z87x-UD3H motherboard which has an onboard audio(ALC898). I'm trying to figure out if buying a sound card or buying a USB gaming headset is the right way to go to improve my gaming/movies/music experience.
I'm also currently using an old Altec lansing 2.1 speakers.

I am interested to buy either of the two:
Asus Xonar DX soundcard
or
Corsair 2100 wireless 7.1 usb gaming headset

Please advise on which of the two should I buy.

Thanks
February 7, 2014 3:26:11 AM

i have a 2100 (replaced my CM Sirus storm), and so far i like it. I am not an audiophile of any sort, so my standards are not as high as them, nor are my ears as sensitive as them.

my setup, i have a dx (i think) that is connected to my 5.1 speakers, but i also have the 2100. So when i want to use the speaker, i just switch it via windows settings. The advantage of this is i dont have to fiddle around the back of my pc just to plug/unplug my headset/speaker if i happen to have an analog(non-usb) headset. That is why i bought a usb headset and a soundcard
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February 7, 2014 4:03:18 AM

I have two mobo's with ALC898 and not all mobo's are created equal.
My Gigabyte Z87x-UD3H onboard sounds a lot better then my Gigabyte P55-UD5's yet both have the same chip.
Both boards tested on the same speakers CORSAIR SP-2500.
Headphones sound better on the Z87x-UD3H too.
The Z87x-UD3H obviously has better audio isolation and includes a built in 600Ω headphone amp.
Being an audiophile I would suggest you buy non-usb headphones to take advantage of that.
Even if you decided to buy a soundcard they don't use usb for headphones.
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February 7, 2014 4:16:55 AM

davcon said:
I have two mobo's with ALC898 and not all mobo's are created equal.
My Gigabyte Z87x-UD3H onboard sounds a lot better then my Gigabyte P55-UD5's yet both have the same chip.
Both boards tested on the same speakers CORSAIR SP-2500.
Headphones sound better on the Z87x-UD3H too.
The Z87x-UD3H obviously has better audio isolation and includes a built in 600Ω headphone amp.
Being an audiophile I would suggest you buy non-usb headphones to take advantage of that.
Even if you decided to buy a soundcard they don't use usb for headphones.


So basically you mean that I don't need to buy a sound card since I have a decent onboard audio? -would there be a dramatic difference in movies/games/music if I choose to buy a sound card? I'm not an audiophile but I appreciate quality audio.

Please advise

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Best solution

February 7, 2014 4:42:09 AM

In my opinion the onboard audio on that mobo is quite good.
Very good for the vast majority of users.
If you have higher end speakers and headphones you can improve audio performance with a dedicated soundcard.
I have good gear ($200 headphones & Corsair SP-2500)that benefit from a dedicated soundcard.
But like I said the onboard audio on that mobo is very good.
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February 7, 2014 6:30:38 AM

davcon said:
In my opinion the onboard audio on that mobo is quite good.
Very good for the vast majority of users.
If you have higher end speakers and headphones you can improve audio performance with a dedicated soundcard.
I have good gear ($200 headphones & Corsair SP-2500)that benefit from a dedicated soundcard.
But like I said the onboard audio on that mobo is very good.


My 2.1 Altec Speakers are 7 years old, I believe they're crappy speakers but they did server me well. Well I guess I'll be buying the Corsair 2100 Wireless 7.1 gaming headset just because I want to experience the "surround". It has good reviews btw.

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