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Odd audiophile build -- advice appreciated!

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May 5, 2008 8:15:06 AM

I already have all of my components picked out for my new gaming rig but still on the fence about what sound card/headphones/sound system to go with. The catch is that I have to be extremely mindful of sound since my room is located between two other rooms with the door closest to the living room so the Z-2300/5500 is out of question. The X-540 looks like a decent general use sound system being able to get decent quality sound and still be able to hear anything else like my cell phone ringing; it's only 70 watts but it'll have to do.

As for gaming/music, open ended headphones are out of the question and long cords are preferable. The HD280PRO looks like a good all around pick but the cord is only five feet at most. I have price range of $150 to $200 for headphones so recommend me anything under the sun.

How much of a difference am I going to see between the Auzentech Prelude and X-Fi Fatal1ty with my specifications?
May 5, 2008 8:38:53 AM

I have the 540 system.
It is alright but not great.
Bass is a bit louder than it should be and it tends to crackel a little at the very high end.

The 5500 is suposed to be exelent quailty and you can always turn it down when your flat mates are home...
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May 5, 2008 1:04:02 PM

Reagarding sound cards: How are you getting the signal from your computer to your speakers? If you're using a digital (Optical/BNC) output into an outside D/A converter (built into your receiver, for example), then there should be no detectable difference between the Auzentech and the Creative. OTOH, if you are using the card itself as your audio source - plugging your headphones directly in to the comp - then *definitely spring for the Auzentech Prelude. It has a better/more powerful amplifier built in, and you will definitely notice the difference on the analog side.

Also, I tend to be leery of anything using the words "Creative" and "Drivers" in the same sentence.



Regarding Headphones: I'm a fan of midrange or better Sennheisers. They sound great - dynamic and neutral - and aren't fatiguing to listen to for long periods of time. These sound VERY VERY nice on a good sound card and are on sale at Egg: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
May 5, 2008 1:21:06 PM

I like the Sennheisers for high end non-noise canceling headphones (their noise canceling units don't perform as well as Bose and Audio Technica IMO, and they've got this nasty battery box hanging on the cable). They are expensive though, with the truly audiophile quality units costing $500 and up.
a b 4 Gaming
May 5, 2008 1:57:22 PM

If you are runing Vista, the creative drivers are horrible.
Under XP I was very happy with my X-Fi Gamer. Once I upgraded to Vista, you lose 3/4 of the functionality of the drivers through the application software.
Really, Creative just plain sucks if you are running, or are going to upgrade to Vista.
Get the Auzentech.
May 5, 2008 10:47:54 PM

As for headphones, you're probably looking for something more upper scale, but I am extremely happy with the Sennhieser HD485's : http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
You can find them somewhere for even $65. They are some of the best headphones I have ever listened too, and even though they are open back, they really don't leak sound as much as you would think. I am in a similar situation that you are, and speakers are not an option for me. I infinitely recommend these phones. They also have a very long cable. Don't think their sound isn't good just because they're cheap!

The HD280PRO's are good phones too, they're just older technology, and that's why they're so much cheaper nowadays. Go for those if you like.
May 6, 2008 5:01:29 AM

Yes, I do plan to plug it directly to the computer running on XP32 and there's always someone around the house so a little privacy to myself is rare.

How much of a difference am I going to see between a HD280PRO and a A700?
May 6, 2008 4:11:01 PM

gahh!!! You will not get decent sound quality out of any PC speaker system. If you want to get some decent sound you're going to have to revise your budget.

For a decent starter stereo you're looking at around $1000. This should buy you a decent CD player, such as the Cambridge Audio 640C, decent amp like CA 640A and then you'll have some leftover to get some decent speakers such as Wharfedale Diamond 9.1 or Monitor Audio BR2. Sorry if this sounds "elitist" i just can't bare to listen to music through some crappy PC speakers!

If you really must use PC as an audio station and stay within a limited budget i recommend Sennheiser HD595:

http://www.amazon.com/Sennheiser-HD595-HD-595-Premier-H...

with a decent soundcard, something like the HT Omega Claro:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

This would be a little over your budget but WELL more than worth it, in my opinion. If you want decent audio quality, you gotta pay for it!


A friend of mine has one and it's absolutly fantastic.
May 6, 2008 6:44:54 PM

Well AKG K601 is really good one. They are confort and sound is good.
Beyerdynamic DT880 is ok too, but not so good as previous.
If you like a lot of bass, Denon AH-D2000 may suit you. For mee there is too much bass, but it's a matter of taste. Otherwise very good headphones.
Grado SR125 has allso good sound, but they don't with to everyones head, so you should try them first, but the sound is very good, Level with AKG.
If they are too expensive, you may try Sennheiser HD595, that has guite good performance price ration. It has somewhat more force in middle sounds, but they are good for acustic instruments.

Oh, and one more AKG K271 is also good studio guality headphone...
May 6, 2008 6:49:18 PM

Allso if you are serious about audiophile build, forget X-Fi Fatal1ty and take instead Sound Blaster X-Fi Elite Pro... It has desent external soundbox, that is nesessary, if you want to get rid of static noice...
May 7, 2008 8:03:57 AM

OK, where can I find a front panel audio connector? This is going from either a Fatal1ty or a Prelude to my Antec 900 case and I can't find it on Newegg even though I've seen it once.
!