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Headphones to use with Creative X-Fi card?

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April 15, 2008 9:25:38 PM

I recently upgraded to the Creative X-Fi XtremeGamer sound card (for gaming, natch) but am confused about which type of headphones I should buy to compliment the card.

Should I use 5.1 headphones and the 5.1 speaker settings? Or stereo headphones and the CMSS feature? Or 5.1 headphones and CMSS feature? 7.1?

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

I’m currently using an old set Senn 580’s which have been fairly awesome, but they’ve now developed a bass rattle (dropped them one time too many, I guess). The CMSS sounds fantastic on these stereo headphones, but is stereo and CMSS really the way to go?

Thanks,

R

Oh, and if anyone is feeling particularly generous and wants make a recommendation then that would also be well appreciated.

I’ve looked at a number of headphones online but am finding it all bit mystifying. I don’t really understand the stats and stuff. Looking to spend < $150. Integrated mic a plus!

Thanks again
April 15, 2008 9:46:21 PM

-sennheiser hd595(open)
-audio technica a900(closed)


two well regarded audiophile headphones for around 150$. pretty much the best you can get in that price range. also if you want to hook them up to the right sound system they can sound like many thousand dollars speakers. then buy a seperate mic. dont spend on those computer heasets, especially when you can buy high grade stuff that you can listen to music and watch movies with.

i own the hd595 and with a pretty good sound system they are well worth beyond their price.
April 15, 2008 10:20:40 PM

Aren't those both ~ $250? Am I missing something? Did I need to specify american dollars?

Also, those are both stereo headphones. Should I infer you feel that 5.1/7.1 is not they way to go with this soundcard and is CMSS feature?

You are right about the mic being of secondary importance.

Related resources
April 15, 2008 10:52:13 PM

I got my Sennheiser HD 595's from Amazon for $180 and they are great. They are so comfortable that I sleep with them on all the time and wake up with them still on my head. They have Leather on the head band and super soft fuzzy cushions for the ears. If anything breaks on the them you can just send them in to get fixed or order replacement parts. Alot of money but I use them alot so for me it was money well spent I've had them for a little over a year now.

Edit: I use them with a Creative X-Fi Fatality card
April 15, 2008 10:57:10 PM

+1 on the Sennheiser HD595. I'm pairing them with a Cute Beyond headphone amp and Cute Spitfire DAC running off an X-Fi and the Sennheiser's sound great. At their price point its a good deal. Want expert advice on headphones, check here: http://www.headphone.com/

...even if you're not that serious about your headphone listening HeadRoom is a good source of info.
April 15, 2008 11:13:43 PM

deathbybubba said:
I'm using the Turtle beach HPA2's They sound great, are 5.1, and have a ton of bass (they will shake your head). they also cost 73 bucks before shipping.

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


I have tried a few different 5.1 headphones... but these ones (HPA2's) are the best I have ever put on my head for 5.1 mic headphones. Also it comes with an adapter so you can have your speakers hooked up at the same time.

If I'm not in the mood for 5.1 gaming and talking on the mic I have my Senn HD555 and love them. They are open but super comfy.

I just have an older Audigy 4 but the 5.1 on the headphones are pretty cool.
April 15, 2008 11:35:12 PM

So I guess so far its 3-2 in favor of non-5.1 headphones.

Is the basic idea of CMSS that you don't *need* 5.1 to have surround sound? but would 5.1 headphones still be better at it?

Those 595 do look pretty sweet, and I'm already partial to Sennheiser.

April 15, 2008 11:47:03 PM

Sennheiser is great. I have the 555 and love them. However in first person shooter games like BF2 or HL2 you dont experience surround. If I'm standing right in front of a sound source like a helicopter engine running with my Sennheisers than I dont here anything due to lack of center speaker. This sucks because I cant here enemy running up on me straight ahead or from the rear. And I cant talk to anyone with my Sennheiser's because there is no mic.
So I bought the turtle beaches and man... gaming is great with them. They are not as comfy as the Sennheiser's (I could fall asleep with the Sennheiser's on... gosh I love them for music and movies) but they are superior 5.1 headsets. I can hear EVERYTHING and have the advantage over my oponent. Also the mic is great as I can talk to people without having to lean over and talk into a mic attached to a stand on my desktop.
It would be great if you got both. But the average joe cant afford two headsets. I have two because my wife is awesome and got me the Sennheiser's awhile ago for my B-day and I bought the TB 5.1 for my own little PC gift :) 
If I were you I would get a nice set of TB HPA2's and call it a day.
April 16, 2008 12:29:56 AM

hughyhunter, do you have the X-Fi card with its CMSS 3D?

From the Creative forums, the consensus seems to be that a good pair of stereo headphone with CMSS enabled will provide better surround sound than 5.1 headphone without the X-Fi CMSS. Since you have both types of headphones, I'm hoping you also tried the X-Fi with CMSS on your Senns but found the 5.1 TB to be better. But if youre using diff sound card then the 5.1 vs CMSS debate still rages in my head.

Thanks!
April 16, 2008 1:03:48 AM

I was going to give a general recommendation for Sennheisers... I have a $40 pair of HD205s 2 years ago that I'm very happy with. Their upper range probably isn't as accurate as what you are used to but they block out a decent bit of external noise and "lock in" the bass so they have great (smooth) bass response. For the price they were a steal (compared to some POS Sony headphones I've seen people drop way more money on).

-mcg
April 16, 2008 1:15:11 AM

I am using the x-fi gamer as well, and have sampled 8-10 sets of cans over the last several years including the turtles original 5.1 offering.

I have had the Medusa 5.1's for about a year, and they are near perfect. I prefer them to my 5.1 speakers.

Great product, and the bass is not overpowering, but solid.

Should be around $75 online.

If anybody wants the Turtle Beach X-51 set, PM me and they can be yours for very little money. $15 and shipping.
April 16, 2008 1:26:35 AM

ramble235 said:
hughyhunter, do you have the X-Fi card with its CMSS 3D?

From the Creative forums, the concensus seems to be that a good pair of stereo headphone with CMSS enabled will provide better surround sound than 5.1 headphone without the X-Fi CMSS. Since you have both types of headphones, I'm hoping you also tried the X-Fi with CMSS on your Senns but found the 5.1 TB to be better. But if youre using diff sound card then the 5.1 vs CMSS debate still rages in my head.

Thanks!

Sorry man... I have the Audigy 4 so am not much help in your research. I am not familiar with CMSS either.

Granite3 said:
I am using the x-fi gamer as well, and have sampled 8-10 sets of cans over the last several years including the turtles original 5.1 offering.

I have had the Medusa 5.1's for about a year, and they are near perfect. I prefer them to my 5.1 speakers.

Great product, and the bass is not overpowering, but solid.

Should be around $75 online.

If anybody wants the Turtle Beach X-51 set, PM me and they can be yours for very little money. $15 and shipping.


I tell you! I was so looking for Medusa's but never was able to find them online. So I went with the TB HPA2 and am very well pleased with them for 5.1 performance. However they are not as comfy as my Senn HD555.
April 16, 2008 1:52:03 AM

The Medusa's are like a comfy couch. Big, but after hours of use still cool, non sweaty and really good.

Best of all, you cannot tell you have them on after several minutes. The boom mike is great too, really does well on vox.

Only gripe is the ear covers are wont to dislodge if I drop them on the arm of my chair, but easily fixed with some 3m 2 sided tape.
April 16, 2008 3:15:42 AM

Thanks everyone for the input.

I've now seen, here and elsewhere, a number of reccomendations for the Medusa and the TB 5.1. And Senns, of course. I'll likely get one of these 3 once I can determine which course (5.1 vs. CMSS) is the best (tho from the sound of things, I'm sure I'd be pretty happy either way).

I wish I could buy them all locally and just keep the one I like best.
April 16, 2008 7:09:47 AM

ramble235 said:

I wish I could buy them all locally and just keep the one I like best.

Dont we all! :D 
April 16, 2008 7:28:41 AM

I was in the same predicament as you some time back. I did a ton of research and talked to the true experts of sound...audiophiles. What I found out was that there isn't a true gaming headset that will offer you the best sound. For the best quality sound, you will want to purchase a high-quality pair of professional headphones. The top two recommended for individuals who game as well as use their PC's for entertainment purposes (i.e. DVD's, music, etc.) are:

Audio-Technica A900
Beyerdynamics DT770 Pro/80

I personally went for the DT770's and couldn't be happier! I had a few clanmates who purchased the A900's and are thrilled as well. I did have one clanmate who bought the A900's and then returned them and got the DT770's and said that the DT770's provided better sound.

This is in no way a knock on the HD595's from Sennheisser. Those came in a close 3rd and are an extremely awesome set of cans.

I personally would encourage you to talk to people at head-fi.org. These are true experts in sound and they can be a terrific resource for you in your decision process.

Good luck!
April 16, 2008 7:52:29 AM

@ stabgotham. Both set of cans "look" nice and probably perform just as well. However they are out of the OP's budget and dont provide the added benefit of a mic.

Sennheissers have proven again and again to be a very good choice in stereo headphones. I own the 555 and the TB HPA2. The both have separate jobs though. My Sennheissers are for music. They are the best for music. Headphones aren't for feeling bass IMO they are for the "realism" in music and what you are "listening" too. I have never experienced this "realism" in music before I got the HD555. You can pick them up from newegg for 99.

The TB HPA2 are for gaming. With that said I can hear everything from all angles. It has a great fade effect too. I like the mic. They are comfortable but not for very long periods like the Senn's. You can pick them up for 70 on newegg.

If you bought both that would be 170. Best of both worlds. I love both mine and couldnt be happier. Originally I bought the TRITTON and man they sucked. So much so that I returned them and ate the shipping. I heard the TB HPA2 were awesome so I bought them and they are so much more comfortable than the TRITTON's and the mic and sound are more effective.

Hope all this ranting and raving on this post has been good. :kaola: 
April 16, 2008 7:54:38 AM

what do you think about the audio technica AD700? they even consider them better than the a900s due to their open design
April 16, 2008 10:18:13 AM

I've never experienced 5.1 gaming headphones. I'm feeling a little prejudice against them, but I admit that it is...prejudice. I have the aforementioned Senn HD595 and sexy pair of GRADO SR325i. My vote is for stereo cans.
April 16, 2008 10:08:27 PM

Well, I've decided to get a decent pair of stereo headphones and eschew 5.1 based how they interplay with the X-Fi.

I was all set to purchase a set of Sennheiser HD555's but am now torn between those and Audio-Technica A700 or AD700's (open or closed, respectively).

I hadn't given much thought to closed headphones since noise-leak isn't really a problem for me, but now I'm wondering if they might be better for gaming overall.


April 16, 2008 10:36:26 PM

Well darn... my last post failed... so I'll write it again.

I am very biased as I own the Sennheiser HD555 (I bought them for way more than what they are for today) but I have to say in my honest opinion... that I have never experienced sound quality (realness in music and games...) than I have with these cans. Even my 5.1 TB HPA2 dont produce "real" sound like these cans do.

The open design produces better sound IMO and in the experts opinions. They let the sound have somewhere to do instead of getting bouned around. They also produce less heat which makes them more comfortable. Also you will hear your baby cry! :D 

I recommend wholy the Senn cans! You wont be dissapointed... and like i've said before. If you for any reason dont like any cans you get return them. I returned mine to newegg and ate the shipping (the tritton's suck) so I could get the TB HPA2.

:bounce: 
April 16, 2008 11:06:55 PM

I just ordered the 555's from newegg. The final deciding factor being my previous experience with Sennheiser. Proven winner in my book.

Thank you all again for your insight and suggestions. You've been enormously helpful.

Now I can get on with my life :) 


April 16, 2008 11:25:48 PM

ramble235 said:
I just ordered the 555's from newegg. The final deciding factor being my previous experience with Sennheiser. Proven winner in my book.

Thank you all again for your insight and suggestions. You've been enormously helpful.

Now I can get on with my life :) 

:hello:  see ya!

J/K

Report back with your satisfaction/dissatisfaction!

:bounce:  :bounce:  :bounce:  :bounce:  :bounce:  :bounce:  :bounce:  :bounce: 
April 17, 2008 1:16:48 PM

ramble235 said:
I just ordered the 555's from newegg. The final deciding factor being my previous experience with Sennheiser. Proven winner in my book.

Thank you all again for your insight and suggestions. You've been enormously helpful.

Now I can get on with my life :) 


Good choice, I don't think you'll be dissapointed.

NOTE: Do give them about 100 hours to burn in. Hook them up to a source, turn the volume up a bit, and just let the music roll while you're not using them. Many feel that the dynamics improve significantly after some burn in time.
April 17, 2008 7:06:53 PM

halcyon said:
give them about 100 hours to burn in. Hook them up to a source, turn the volume up a bit, and just let the music roll while you're not using them. Many feel that the dynamics improve significantly after some burn in time.

Just keeps getting better over time. I however never left them on without using them. But it is true... they need time to break in... so much so that they may sound pretty bad or "tight" at first.
!